Saturday, November 18, 2006

Brian Auger Trinity With Steampacket

Steampacket circa 1964 L to R Long John, Brian, Julie & Rod

One of my earliest musical mentors was a teacher named Roger Edwards who introduced me to the UK R&B scene which had passed me by as I was always more interested in black American music.

He had been friendly with Rod Stewart in the early 60's when Rod was a member of the Steampacket along with Brian Auger, Long John Baldry and Julie Driscoll. He regaled me with tales of that period and the excitement generated by the band. My friend Nick Sands has also told me how good Steampacket were and how he rated them amongst the best of British R&B bands.

Julie Driscoll 1964

Julie also became an icon for me in the early 70's when I saw her in a BBC Play For The Day called Season Of The Witch which had a big impact on me as a teenager. The film follows 3 characters around Brighton who had dropped out to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle which seemed so simplistic to me at the time.

Roger Edwards had gone to Sussex University in Brighton and it seemed logical that I should follow his example and go to Brighton and live like Julie and her friends. So I ended up in Brighton in the early 70's studying an appropriate course in American Studies.

I got the chance to study with David Morse, the first writer in the world to write a book about Motown published by Studio Vista in 1971. David and I would sit around his study room talking about Motown and I would play him Northern Soul tracks such as Eddie Parker Love You Baby. I recall him being dismissive of what he regarded as poor imitations of the real thing!

Julie Driscoll Circa 1969

While in Brighton, I did get the chance to visit one of the clubs featured in the play with Julie, the name of which escapes me, but it was located under the promenade not from the Steine in Brighton. I remember being cracked up that the decor of psychdelia hadn't changed from the film and the vibe was exactly the same. I don't remember going too many times because my fondest memories of Brighton's music scene are from my days of the Brighton Art College club which was located on the Steine and Wednesdays was soul night or going down to the Inn Place on the front which had a great funk night on a Saturday. Though I also recall with pleasure watching the go-go dancers in cages which a more sophisticated club, near The Lanes, still had every evening when I first went!!

Julie & Brian Circa 1968

Most of theses memories were sparked off by catching the Steampacket on Youtube. So catch the sheer excitement of one of their performances here:

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