Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Roger Williamson and East Light

There is a lot more about Roger Williamson on his site, Art, music, biography etc. http://rogerwilliamsonart.com/
Roger Williamson is a Coventry singer songwriter, musician and band leader, artist, author and occult Bookshop proprietor now living in Minneapolis.

Prominent both on the Coventry folk scene and band scene in the 1960's and 70's Roger now lives in Minneapolis and runs the Magus Book store. We first blogged about Roger on the former Hobo Vox site and Roger got in touch with us and sent us half a dozen tracks which were published both on the site and via The Broadgate Gnome's Gnome Label.

My first recollections of Roger Williamson was at the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club where he used to hang and often play, both in performance and informally in the coffee bar area. I was introduced to him by Esther Breakwell in 1970. In 1970 Roger's band East Light played Pete Waterman's progressive music Venue at the Walsgrave in Coventry. I used to do the door duty and help the bands set up for Pete at the Walsgrave and still have ticket for that gig with East Light. However Roger's musical journey began long before that as we hear in his biography -

Once Upon a Time 6 tracks by Roger Williamson from Coventry Music Scene on Vimeo.

Tracks on the above video of Roger'sCD Once Upon a Time in 70's

My first adventures into playing music were inspired by listening to rock and roll transmitted on Radio
East Light
late at night.  I would pick up this station on a home made crystal set when I was supposed to be asleep.   A couple of years later, probably around 1963, I would go and listen to bands on Wednesday nights at the Orchid Ballroom on Primrose Hill Street.  This was about the time of the Beatles release “With the Beatles” album.  I remember there was a large copy of the cover projected on the back of the stage.

There was also the Sombrero coffee bar next to Pool Meadow bus station which had the most amazing juke box.  This juke box was fabulous and I’ll never forget hearing Bo Diddly singing Pretty Thing.  This would have been around 1962.   I discovered a whole other world different from my upbringing.

In 1964 I played bass in a band called the Elements which included Paul Saunders on lead guitar and John Underwood on guitar.  After the Elements I played Bass for the Red White and Blues and then in 1966/67 left them to play bass for the Darkness.  The Darkness was originally going to be Alex Sun and the Darkness but Alex the singer dropped out.

There were great venues we played at, Chesford Grange on Saturdays, Plough on the London Road the Avonside Country Club and The Navigation Inn.  Chesford Grange was great on Saturday nights.  It had two stages, as one band took a break the second band came on.  This was all going on while ballroom dancing took place upstairs, all very bazaar.  After finishing at Chesford Grange around 11pm we would often move to the Avonside Country Club and play there until the early hours.

Began singing on the Coventry folk scene in 1967.  In 1969 I formed East Light with Paul Saunders  and we moved to London.  We played as East Light for a few months before Paul emigrated to Canada.  I continued to play in and around London folk clubs for the next few years until I joined a reformed Dando Shaft in the early 70’s with Martin Jenkins, Ted Kay and Bill Bones.  Martin Jenkins and I busked in the London underground to rehearse each others songs and earn a few bob.  This lasted for about six months until Martin Jenkins and Ted Kay moved back to Coventry.  I went back to the folk scene performing on my own until forming the Roger Williamson Band in 1974.

I moved to the USA in 1985.  I wrote The Sun at Night which was released in 1989 it was reprinted in Labyrinth: Tales of a Rite of Passage about a year later, Lucifer’s a Basic Handbook of Lucierian Sorcery in 1994 reprinted in 2002, Black Book of the Jackal in 2000 as a limited signed and handbound edition, this was released in soft cover in 2006, Calling up the Spirits was released a couple of years later, Howling at the Sky in 2002 and Lucifer Diaries in 2004.  Lucifer Diaries was released as a limited edition signed and numbered hardcover and as a softcover.  I released a limited edition compact disc “On the Arrival of the Machine and its Mode of Operation” in 2003 for which my son Luke provided the music.   Tarot of the Morning Star deck of 22 cards due to be released October 2007
1997 followed by

Opened Magus Books in September of 1992.

Broadgate Gnome (Comment from the former Hobo website on Vox 2007)

Ooo, I had forgotten all about the Sombrero, slightly more pop,,p,y crowd than the Ship's wheel and a Stoke Park annex around 4.00.  Tried to be a bit like the London coffee bars and more or less succeeded. Chesford Grange was good music ,,very much a couples type of place though, mainly for those with transport as it was awful to get to and a sod to get back from if you couldnt get a lift,,,,no street lights, or pavements and having to walk past   cows.

In 2007 Roger Williamson contacted us via e mail after we had put up an initial post on his band East Light - and he sent us half a dozen tracks which will be uploaded here via You Tube. Roger Says in his e mail...

"I remember it being a wonderful and exciting time but then of course it was the 60's.  There were so many small folk clubs in the back rooms of pubs, The Fox and Vivian in Leamington, others in Warwick and Stratford and so many in Coventry.  Such a lot of talent as well June Tabor, Rod Felton, Martin Jenkins just to name a few.  It was a great time to grow up in. I have lived in Minneapolis for about the last 23 years and started Magus Books 15 years ago.  Magus is in Dinkytown next to the University Of Minnesota, Minneapolis on 4th Street SE, which is immortalized in BobDylan's Positively 4th Street.  He used to live across the street from the store.  I have written several books since moving here, The Sun at Night, set in London, The Black Book of the Jackal, Lucifer Diaries and Howling at the Sky.  These are all available from Magus or Amazon USA.  I recorded a limited edition CD, "On the Arrival of the Machine" a couple of years back which is myself reading some of my short stories set to music by my son

Roger Williamson - The Artist - Roger's Art Website http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/r/roger/

Roger Williamson - Book Shop Owner
About Magus Books http://www.magusbooks.com/main/links.htm
Magus Books began business at high noon on September 1st, 1992 with the commitment of supplying new and used religious, metaphysical and thought-provoking books to the community at large.

You will discover upon inspecting our inventory that we do not subscribe to any one belief system, as we realize that what is right for one person's quest of self-discovery is not necessarily right for the next person. Therefore our selection of titles covers a wide range of material including Wicca, Buddhism, Hindu, Christianity, Islam, Alchemy, Voodoo, Santeria, Magic, Freemasonry, Tarot, Astrology, Palmistry, Dowsing, Mythology, Herbalism, Alternative Healing, Celtic Mythology, Norse Mythology, Native American, Psychedelic, UFO'S, Lost Civilizations, Martial Arts and other subjects.  We supply herbs, candles, oils, incense, tapes, compact discs and jewelry. Our focus has always been to develop individuality, to encourage interested parties to explore themselves and the environment, and to seek out our own untapped potentials.

Roger Williamson CD Once Upon a Time in the Seventies
Cover Art - A Strange Guitar by Roger Williamson
1.Shadows 2.End of the Night 3.Maybe 4. Big G 5.Shadows and the Urban Exile 6.Spellbound - Copyright Roger Williamson

Roger Williamson - Acoustic guitar and vocals
Delta McCloud - Lead guit. / backing vocals
Peter Locket  - Lead guitar
Danny Wilding - Flute

This version of Shadows in the Night by Roger Williamson was already on YouTube uploaded by Kathmandu56 and recorded 1980 "A Roger Williamson song we recorded in about 1980.  Roger singing with Vic on piano and Bryson playing far too much on the drums as usual, but ya gotta love him. Dead now of course as well as Vic."
This is another version of Shadows in the Night which Roger sent us in 2007 for the original Hobo site and which featured on his CD. Roger called the song just 'Shadows'

The End to the Night - Roger Williamson

Maybe by Roger Williamson

For a short while Roger Williamson played with the legendary Coventry folk band - Dando Shaft.
Visit Roger Williamson's site here - 

Listen to more of his songs Here http://www.reverbnation.com/rogerw

Other relevant pages of his website http://rogerwilliamsonart.com/?page_id=906&preview=true

On The Arrival Of The Machine And Its Mode Of Operation: An Occult Adventure

Roger Williamson is featured on The British Music Archive where you can find out more information and tracks. 

Thanks to Dave Cooper and Ted Kay's son for this photo of Roger with the reformed Dando Shaft c

Dando Shaft 1972 version with Billy Bones, Roger Williamson, Ted Kay and Martin Jenkins.

Roger Williamson's earliest band from the early 60's - The Tears. From left to right John Wright drums, Paul Saunders lead guitar, Roger Williamson bass.

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