“Une Pause Dans Le Temps”
Richard H’s memories
1. 1962: The Formative Acoustic Days - "Chad and the Drumbeats" (Might be ‘63 - Ed)
Around 14 years old - as "Chad and the Drumbeats" we started practicing upstairs at my Holland Road home. Acoustic guitars and home made drums. We searched around for better instrumentation. Paul H was the nominated bassist. Scout Mick Pallot found us a rope-tensioned bass drum from his local Boy Scout troupe. Ian Hamilton offered us his family's acoustic Hawaiian steel guitar - rejected because no-one knew how to play it. (The timescales may be mixed up here.) There may have been a piano accordion - also left aside. I constructed a home-made tom tom from an upturned coal scuttle. A Boosey & Hawkes snare drum was purchased from Arthur St John's music shop on Old Road. I made a lever-operated bass drum pedal. Richard G, Paul S and Paul H all set about constructing electric guitars. Dave H was also building an electric bass, but in those early times was not part of the group. We built up a set-list of early ‘60s pop songs - plus a couple from this new up and coming band "The Beatles". Paul H was struggling with bass lines - despite my Dad writing out suitable bass parts for some Beatles songs.
2. 1963: Electrification
Now 15 years old. Dave H was invited to take over on bass. We bought our first amps. The home-made electric guitars hit the front-line. My dad died in Dec 1963, my Mum moved house, so we had to find a new practice space. We were offered use of one of the turnstile enclosures of the Clacton Football Ground. Bass and drums one side of the turnstiles, guitars the other side. (Actually my Grandfather’s football-pool revenue collection hut - Ed!) Still using the rope-tensioned bass drum, one fateful Saturday we found the ground was hosting a fête, whilst we were getting stuck into our weekly practice session. "You Can't Do That" was one of our most-practised numbers. The fête organizers realized that we might be more entertaining than Tombola - we were invited to either turn off our amps or come out to play to the crowd. Chad and the Drumbeats had their first gig. I think we just kept repeating two or three songs!!
3. 1964: Developing a decent live performance
16 years old. I was selling ice-creams on the beach in the summers - and saved enough to buy a small drum kit (from the son of the golf club manager near Butlins). We secured a practice opportunity in St James Church Hall opposite my Mum's new maisonette. Band was renamed "The Blueberries". We started building a good foundation in playing to an audience at St James Church (was that early months of 1964 soon after my Dad died (in Dec 1963??). Seem to remember we built up quite a fan-base. All spoilt when the vicar realized that very few of the "youth club" members were actually (confirmed) Christians. That must have been around the time Richard G and Paul S won their black (RG) and white (PS) Burns' electrics in the infamous Rice Krispies competition. We bought the 50W Selmer amp with built-in reverb and twin speakers - which was put to use as a PA for vocals. At some stage we split out the speakers and had "columns" to either side of our set-up. Richard bought a Vox amp (actually loaned - see my bit - Ed). We had established a half-decent line-up.
The Blue-Berries Richard Higgins’s memories (1/4)