1965 – the last days of Aylesbury Bluesville

May 1965 saw the end of Aylesbury Bluesville, and with it the link with promoters Ron and Nanda Lesley, who had begun the Aylesbury Jazz Club at the Grosvenor Ballroon in January 1961. The Lesleys also promoted in London and other towns, and in particular in Ipswich on Monday evenings, where they continued with the local Bluesville for a few more years.

The list of artists appearing at Aylesbury Bluesville in 1965 typified those who had been promoted by the Lesleys in previous years: from the world of trad jazz there was Kenny Ball and Chris Barber, and from R&B there was the Spencer Davis Group, Rod Stewart and the Soul Agents and the Yardbirds.

Rod Stewart had previously appeared at Aylesbury Bluesville many times with Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men – and some say that it was the Lesleys who first billed Rod Stewart as “Rod the Mod”. In an interview with Geoff Bradford in 2002, Long John Baldry recalled: “They were the people who nicknamed Rod the Mod – they started putting it on posters, Rod the Mod Stewart.”

Aylesbury Bluesville 1965:

DateClubArtist 1   
5/1/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleTony Knight and the Chessmen
19/1/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleSpencer Davis Group
26/1/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleKenny Ball and his Jazzmen
2/2/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Art Woods R&B
9/2/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleRod Stewart and the Soul Agents
16/2/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleSpencer Davis Group
23/2/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Downliners Sect
2/3/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleChris Barber's Jazzband
9/3/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Yardbirds
16/3/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Cheynes
6/4/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Downliners Sect
13/4/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleT-Bones
20/4/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Shevelles
27/4/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleZoot Money and his Big Roll Band
4/5/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Downliners Sect
11/5/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleJohn Mayall's Blues Breakers
25/5/1965Aylesbury BluesvilleGarry Farr and the T-Bones

1964 Aylesbury Jazz Club and Aylesbury Bluesville

With the decline in the popularity of trad jazz, Nanda and Ron Lesley made the decision to shut down the Aylesbury Jazz Club and to move toward rhythm and blues. Aylesbury Bluesville bought a different range of artists to Aylesbury – British artists such as The Animals, The Yardbirds, Manfred Mann, Georgie Fame and Long John Baldry, and American artists including John Lee Hooker, Little Walter, Charlie and Inez Foxx and Jimmy Reed.

The year started with trad jazz artists who had been regulars at the Aylesbury Jazz Club – Terry Lightfoot, Chris Barber, Acker Bilk, Ken Colyer and Kenny Ball. Acker Bilk was still pulling in the crowds.

Acker Bilk review

The following week, the Aylesbury Jazz Club presented Sonny Boy Williamson, supported by Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men featuring “Rod the Mod” Stewart – a first move towards rhythm and blues.

Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men, with Rod Stewart, would become regulars in Aylesbury – and were back a few weeks later for the opening night of Aylesbury Bluesville.

Sonny Boy Williamson ad

Tony White in the Bucks Advertiser wrote:

Sonny Boy Williamson sang, played and swung his way into the hearts of a capacity crowd at the B.A.H. on Tuesday night. This tall, ageing, stooping negro blues man came, the audience saw, and he conquered.

Sonny Boy Williamson review

The final night of the Aylesbury Jazz Club was on 17th March with the Dutch Swing College Jazzband. Tony White wrote in the Bucks Advertiser:

Traditional jazz left the Borough Assembly Hall on a wave of applause on Tuesday. The final session, before the Rhythm and Blues men take over, was wildly successful, with the Dutch Swing College band in tremendous form.

Like many other jazz clubs in this country, Aylesbury has found it necessary to go over to rhythm and blues because of the rapid drop in audience numbers.

The following week, 24th March, was opening night for Aylesbury Bluesville with Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men, with Rod Stewart.

Bluesville opening ad

The Animals played four times during the year, with Eric Burdon and Alan Price in the group. The first appearance was on 21st April. By the time of their visit on 20th June, the group were at number one with The House Of The Rising Sun.

Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered
Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered

The Bucks Advertiser reported that The Cheynes also appeared – see below. The other appearances by The Animals were on 18th August and 24th November.

Animals review

On 16th June, John Lee Hooker was in Aylesbury, supported by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (who had appeared as headliners a few weeks earlier).

John Lee Hooker was back in October 1964, this time supported by John Lee and the Groundhogs, later to become The Groundhogs. The Groundhogs took their name from a John Lee Hooker song, “Groundhog’s Blues”.

Review from Bucks Advertiser. Photo: Bucks Herald.

John Lee Hooker review

John Lee Hooker 1964 BAH
Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered

In October, Bluesville presented a number of shows under the banner of the American Negro Blues Festival. On 13th October 1964, Charlie and Inez Foxx appeared. Tony White writing in the Bucks Advertiser was impressed – both by Charlie and Inez, and also by the Spencer Davis Group who were the backing band.

No-one can doubt that at Bluesville on Tuesday the young American brother and sister team of Inez and Charlie Foxx scored a triumph. Their 45-minute show, ably backed by the Spencer Davis Group, was a tour-de-force that had the fans shouting for more …

A special word is in order for the Spencer Davis Group. This quartet from Birmingham is undoubtedly one of the most polishred, exciting rhythm and blues bands to appear in Aylesbury. They played the first half on their own … Particularly impressive was drummer Pete York, and lead guitar and vocalist, Steve Winwood … The group only turned professional in May this year and it’s obvious they have a big future. They play with taste and intelligence.

The Spencer Davis Group were back in Aylesbury at the Granada supporting Manfred Mann in November, and headlining at Bluesville in December, with further appearances in January and February 1965.

Charlie Inez Foxx report

On 15th December Rufus Thomas appeared, backed by the Tony Knight Chessmen, including Lol Coxhill. Lol made his first TV appearance in 1964 on “Ready Steady Go”, playing with the Chessmen backing Rufus Thomas on his hit “Walking The Dog”.

Rufus Thomas review

Aylesbury Jazz Club and Aylesbury Bluesville dates for 1964:

DateClubArtist 1Artist 2  
7/1/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubTerry Lightfoot And His Jazzman
14/1/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubChris Barber's JazzbandOttilie Patterson
21/1/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubBack O' Town Syncopators
28/1/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubAlan Elsdon's Jazz Band
4/2/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubAcker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band
11/2/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubSonny Boy WilliamsonLong John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men featuring Rod Stewart
18/2/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubTerry Lightfoot And His Jazzman
25/2/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubKen Colyer Jazzmen
3/3/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubKenny Ball and his Jazzmen
17/3/1964Aylesbury Jazz ClubDutch Swing College Jazzband
24/3/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleLong John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men
31/3/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleJimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions
7/4/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleManfred MannJohn Mayall's Blues Breakers
14/4/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Downliners Sect
21/4/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Animals
5/5/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleGeorgie Fame and the Blue Flames
12/5/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Yardbirds
19/5/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleTerry Lightfoot's Jazzmen
26/5/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleJohn Mayall's Blues Breakers
2/6/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleGeorgie Fame and the Blue Flames
9/6/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleLong John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men
16/6/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleJohn Lee HookerJohn Mayall's Bluesbreakers
23/6/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Yardbirds
30/6/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe AnimalsThe Cheynes
7/7/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleTerry Lightfoot's Jazzmen
21/7/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleManfred Mann
28/7/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleGeorgie Fame and the Blue Flames
11/8/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Cheynes
18/8/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Animals
25/8/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleLong John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men
8/9/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleJimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions
15/9/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleLong John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men
22/9/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleGeorgie Fame and the Blue Flames
29/9/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleLong John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men
6/10/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleLittle WalterArt Woods R&B
13/10/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleCharlie and Inez FoxxSpencer Davis Group
20/10/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleJohn Lee HookerJohn Lee and the Ground Hogs
27/10/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleLong John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men
10/11/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleJimmy ReedJohn Lee and the Ground Hogs
17/11/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleZoot Money's Big Roll Band
24/11/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Animals
1/12/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Falling Leaves
8/12/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Authentics
15/12/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleRufus ThomasTony Knight and the Chessmen
22/12/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleThe Cheynes
29/12/1964Aylesbury BluesvilleSpencer Davis Group