Sunday, September 11, 2011



This was Martin Jenkins new band after Dando Shaft. Martin had played with Mathew's Southern Comfort - From Hobo Magazine 1973

"Mathew's Southern Comfort has, I'm told, been graced with the talents of Coventry's Martin Jenkins, late of the Coventry band Dando Shaft. Martin, who has writen some incredible songs including Whispering Ned, Waves Across the Ether) and plays Mandolin, flute and fiddle (etc.). Martin has been featured as a guest on a previous Southern Comfort tracks" 
Martin Jenkins. Photo Copyright of Dave Trinder

Martin Jenkins (ex Dando Shaft) - Mandolin / guitar / fiddle / flute / banjo / vocals

Barry Skinner - guitar / vocals (A leading professional folk singer and pioneer of the Coventry folk scene in the 60's / 70's)

John Mackintosh - double bass (Member of assorted groups including the Coventry Mummers and Sneaks Noise / Earlsdon Morrismen / Phoenix Jazz band)

I met Martin Jenkins in Broadgate, Coventry while doing Hobo magazine not long after Dando Shaft had split up and he told me about his new electric folk band - One Day Thomas. Below are some pieces from the Coventry Evening Telegraph and Hobo Magazine.

From Hobo Magazine
One day Thomas - Martin Jenkins
ONE DAY THOMAS is the name of Martin Jenkin's new band (formerly of Dando Shaft)
"The new band features other established personalities such as Barry Skinner on guitar and vocals / John Mckintosh on double bass and John Astle on drums. Martin plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin and flute. They are of course an electric band and most of the material is far removed from that of Dando Shaft. They play mostly jigs and reels and electrified folk songs."

Not long after Martin was back with Dando Shaft version 2 including Baz Andruszcko and Rod Felton for a play at the Belgrade Theatre c1974

Colin Armstrong - Coventry Singer-Songwriter / Artist

Colin Armstrong in the 70's

Colin Armstrong - one of the Top Coventry singer songwriters and artists to come out of Coventry.
I met Colin in 1971 when he was playing in Music Box with Rob Armstrong (the renowned Coventry guitar maker and musician) who made the album Songs of Sunshine in 1971. They were playing the Plough Club (London Road) with Dando Shaft and i tried to book them for the Umbrella club only I think they split up not long after.

Colin featured a few times in HOBO magazine and the local press (which can be seen below). I had a lot of respect for Colin as a singer songwriter, artist and a friend. Colin was well involved with the Hobo Workshop at the Holyhead Youth Centre in 1974 / 5 where we encouraged new bands and artists who were struggling to get first gigs. Colin often performed for us in between the bands and took an active and advisory role on the Workshop's management committee and was indeed a great advocate for it. It's thanks to Colin that Hobo was mentioned on the original Broadgate Gnome Music Directory site initiated by Ian Green and Paul Leather - and through that mentioned in the book Godiva Rocks - Pete Chambers - a comprehensive guide to Coventry music new and old. (Thanks for that Colin - if you read this).

Colin Armstrong in his bookshop
Colin was making great leaps forward towards developing his career in songwriting and art during the Hobo period as the press cuttings show. He won the Midlands are heat of the National folk / rock contest and was entered into the semi-finals. The top prize was a recording contract with EMI. He was judged the best soloist act from all over the West Midlands. He was the only one from the area chosen to go through to the national semi finals. He did 10 minutes with three of his own compositions -  Country Boy, Country Bound; Blues for Glenda; Heaven and Hell.

Colin Armstrong
He described his music at the time as Funky Folk. Like many, he'd made the trek to London to try and get a contract and sell some songs but without success. Colin was an engineer by trade and also an Abstract Artist. His work had been displayed at the Minster Gallery, the Kongoni Cafe and Methodist Central Hall and Warwick University, Herbert Art Gallery and Belgrade Theatre. Colin did a certain amount of recording, radio and televison work. (See the press cutting was from Covrntry Evening Telegraph c 1978 / 9.)

From Hobo issue 1 June 1973) -
"Congrats to Colin Armstrong in reaching the Semi-finals in the Melody Maker National Rock/Folk contest and also to Just Jake, Willow, Naked Light, Just Before Dawn, Bumble and all the other Covnetry bands / artists that took part. More on them if poss - later."

From Hobo Issue 4 (Unpublished version)
"Coventry singer - songwriter COLIN ARMSTRONG, who reached the semi-final in the Melody Maker contest last year, is to entre again this year...Lotza luck Colin..."

While involved with the Hobo Workshop - Colin formed a little band with  Bob Rhodes (the detached youth worker involved with the Hobo Workshop) and Myself - Trev Teasdel. The band didn't get beyond a few rehearsals at the Canal Basin and Holyhead Youth Centre but the material involved covered some of Colin's and my songs and a few standards favoured by Bob Rhodes such as Summertime; a Peter Paul and Mary song and Jerry Lee Lewis song and the current I Hear you Knockin'. I don't think we got as far as naming the band but finding time for rehearsals was difficult with Bob's work committments and I was full time at Henley College on a Social Studies Course and the band split before it had got off the ground but the sessions were fun and I learnt a lot from Colin's approach to writing and playing.

We were in admiration of Colin's Gibson Acoustic which we figured had set him back a bit but Colin explained that he saw it in a second hand shop in Cov going very cheaply (because the shop keeper didn't know the value of Gibson guitars!), so Colin used his rent money to buy it. He obviously made great use of it through his performances and writing.

More recently Colin ran his own shop - Armstrong Books and Collectables in Albany Rd.

Folklore (Coventry folk band)

C    1969 - 81 (and beyond)
Traditional Folk Band.
Line up
(Barry Jackson is in the middle with glasses - Roland Mathews with the guitar)
Graham Holt
Alan Rowe
I came across Folklore in 1974 / 5 while studying at Henley College. Although a Social Studies A'level course, I took an Art O'level. Our tutor was Barry Jackson, (always much more than an art teacher). I discovered just how wide his talent was as time went on. Barry was an acknowledge artist in his own right - as the press cutting below shows and also designed the cover of Coventry Arts Umbrella's own literary Journal Umbrella in the 50's / early 60's. The magazine is noted for a rare article by Phillip Larkin

I started the Hobo Workshop (at the Holyhead Youth Centre) while at Henley College and Barry was very encouraging. In the discussion about music it came out that Barry was a multi-instrumentalist and often brought in unusual instruments for drawing and play them too. He revealed that he was one of the founder organisers of the Henley College folk club at the New Inn, Longford with acts on such as The Yetties, Derek Brimstone, The McCalman's and a member the longstanding folk outfit - FOLKLORE. The club had had various homes including the Biggin Hall Hotel.

Norman Wheatley
The band were formed around accountant Graham Holt, GEC Engineer Alan Rowe, Henley College lecturer Roland Mathews and artist / art lecturer / musician Barry Jackson who could play more than 12 instruments - Barry Joined in 1973. Their 2nd album was called Eine Klein Folk and was produced by local radio presenter (Radio Mercia/ BRMB / singer songwriter / poet Norman Wheatley. Norman was the organiser of folk sessions at the Coventry Arts Umbrella in the early 70's and a prominent member of the Umbrella poets.

Described by CET (Sat Nov 14th 1981) as the longest running folk outfit.
CET go on to say ‘Folklore was established in 1969 around accountant Graham Holt, Alan Rowe (an engineer at the GEC) and Roland Matthews (A lecturer) when they formed the Henley College Folk Club at Bell Green’. Artist and art lecturer, Barry Jackson (a talented musician who can play more than 12 instruments, joined in 1973.’

News from Gillian Parnell Folklore have a vinyl album from 1977 album titled Room For Company. Hoping we can get some audio from it on here.

Jamie Lord - Cosmic Folk

In September 1973 Hobo got a letter from the manager of singer songwriter Jamie Lord. Jamie, who would describe his music as 'Cosmic Folk', didn't fit neatly into the traditional folk circuit. None the less, this 24 year old Warwick based talent was highly popular in folk clubs such as Rude Bear (run by Rod Felton and Dave Coburn) and a growing reputation on the Midland Folk circuit. An advert in Hobo says that Jamie was managed by Mick Donovan in Colliers Wood, London.  Mick Donovan wrote to Hobo in 1974 - (letter included here)

" Thought you might be interested, for a future edition, in some information about Jamie Lord, who's rap[idly gaining a reputation as a major new talent on the Midlands folk Circuit."

Mike Donovan included some date sheets (with some of  Jamie's own artwork) and a cutting from the Leamington Courier (also included here).  Jamie was also an artist. According to the press cutting Jamie recorded some demo tapes - shame there's nothing by Jamie on You Tube or on line anywhere that I've found.

His music and songs looked to the influence of Todd Rungren whose album

Mike Donovan's letter to Trev Teasdel - Hobo Mag
  "Wizard a True Star" had been  reviewed for Hobo by Mike O'Hare of  Coventry Virgin Records (posted on this site). The letter (on this blog) also included an interview with the Leamington Courier on 31st August 1973 (also posted here). In his own words he described his music thus "It can't be called folk music in the usual sense of the word. Folk music is dead. Everything I do is very alive and up to the minute, but it's very difficult to find anywhere that has a large enough audience who are really into it."
Jamie was also an artist, designing his own publicity scene here and hoping to work on a combination of lyrics and art work in a Tolkien style. More on this in the press cutting.

I saw and enjoyed Jamie's works at the Rude Bear on many ocassions.

Jamie also played in a Leamington band called Stepmother with Jim Pryal on drums (Jim has been in so many Coventry bands including Wandering John, Ning, Hot Snacks and many more).

Jim Pryal says of Stepmother
" I moved to Leamington in the early 70s and met up with a  bass player called Harry Frazer and a singer/songwriter called Jamie Lord.  With Mick Smitham we formed a band called Stepmother. I only remember Stepmother playing 1 gig  with that line up  and that was at the Regent hotel in Leamington. Quite an amazing gig. We also did a  recording  at Monty Bird's studio in Snitterfield. Good to see info about Jamie on other parts of this site. . For whatever reason, the band folded. "

STEPMOTHER are now featured on The British Music Archive here


1. Elderly Lady

2. Lady Midnight

3. Geraldine

4. All The Young Girls

5. Twilight

Recording date:

Group Members: Jamie Lord (gtr, vocs), Mick Smitham (gtr, vocs), Harry Frazer (bass gtr), Jim Pryal (drums)

Additional Info: Stepmother originated from Coventry circa 1969. Recordings made at Monty Bird's studios, Snitterfield, circa 1972.

Here are some comments carried over from the Hobo Vox site where this post was originally hosted -

Sylvia Kus (2009)
We are trying to locate Jamie Lord. Pete Metcalfe my partner used to play the folk circuit with him in the 70's. We would love to get in touch with him now.

I am hoping to get in touch with Jamie too. Sylvia do you remember me? The American girl with Jamie in the mid 1970s. I remember your cheesecake and artwork.

Pete Metcalfe (2009)
If you remember that cheesecake you're in the club Diane. What has become of you and when did you split up with the boy wonder? Does anybody out there know where the boy wonder is??????????????

George Wooten 2009

I spent a half a day searching the internet for boy wonder on behalf of Diane (the American girl). No luck. When and where was the last time you saw him? I think he visited Diane on the west coast at one point. I think he liked it. My searches were targeted to England, so maybe a search on the west coast might yield results? You think?