THE '70s DECADE:
ON THE ROAD IN ENGLAND: A DIARY
We took many hundreds of photos during our three performing tours of England.
Unfortunately they are all in slide format and until we can find
an economical way of converting them to digital files
the following journals will remain unillustrated.
Hillman '76 Tour of England
With Bill Hillman's Personal Rating of Each Club
Fort Francis, Ontario ****
Travel Day: Ontario ~ USA ~ Manitoba ~ England
Travel Day: London to Bromley, Kent
RAOB Club - Middlesbrough *** *
Priory Club - Middlesbrough *
Whitehorse Inn - Royal Hotel - Whitby *****
Portrack Conservative Club - Stockton ** *
Old Skelton Social Club - North Yorkshire *****
Old Thornaby ****
Silksworth Comrades Club - County Durham ****
New Shildon Social Club *** *
Ironapolis Club *** *
British Legion Club - Middlesbrough *****
Carlin How - W/Mens Club **** *
THE HILLMAN RECORDING ANECDOTES SITE
Our original song, Reelin' in Soho, is an account of our first recording session in London, England. As suggested in the first verse, this was the culmination of a tour in which we - The Hillmans From Canada - had played 30 one-nighters in night clubs and discos across Northern England. Many nights found us in the ubiquitous Workingman Clubs where a house band opened at 7:00 pm, followed by opening acts which usually offered variety entertainment. We would then come on for a show set, after which there would be a long break for housie (bingo) - a national addiction. After this exciting gambling break we would return for a dance set - but by 11:00 pm the dancers would call it a night since they had to work the next day. Being so used to the long drives, long gigs and late nights back in Canada, it was hard for us to wind down so suddenly and every night found us driving around looking for some place which might still be open - we met some very colourful characters on these midnight rambles.
The audiences attended these clubs every night of the week and had seen it all, so it was especially rewarding to 'go down a bomb'...to 'bomb' has a different connotation there than it does in North America. It was tremendously exciting to study the dressing room walls which were festooned with pictures, cards and stickers left by previous entertainers - even the Beatles, early in their careers, had toured this circuit. These backstage walls were seldom refurbished since it seemed that the more 'name' acts displayed, the more prestigious the club. Perhaps the most fascinating venues though, were the Country and Western Clubs where nearly everyone showed up in full Western regalia - including boots, hats, gunbelts...and western drawls - Geordie cowboys.
Our strangest and perhaps most memorable night occurred at Scarth - a village in Yorkshire. Throughout the tour, we spent most mornings and afternoons being tourists - traipsing through castles, cathedrals, and pubs and across highlands and moors. Scarth, however, offered a special reward because it is home to James Wight, aka James Herriot of All Creatures Great and Small fame. We visited his veterinary office and toured his small museum just down the street. Fittingly, the club we were to play was on the outskirts of town surrounded by a meadow or cow pasture. It was a 1920s pavilion-style hall. Our opening act for the night arrived late - surrounded by an entourage of people in formal wear. He was a singer who had been married just a few hours before in Newcastle. This set the mood for the whole evening - the place seemed to explode and although the club should have been emptied by 11:00, the management barred the doors to keep out the local constabulary and the party continued into the wee hours. When Sue-On wearied of the drums, a succession of people - our agent, the bartender and even the groom - took control of the sticks. Something right out of the fictional Darrowby.
Friday, July 2, 1976
Fort Francis, Ontario
We left Maple Grove early - still half asleep
Played in Saskatchewan last night
Took the shorter US route to Ft. Francis, Ontario.
Very busy schedule this weekend
Travelled through 3 countries to play in 3 Canadian provinces and Northern England in 4 days.
Our crude instrument list was adequate to get us through US customs.
Got in town in time for a supper pizza
Over to the hall to set up for the free dance.
Dance and sales went well
They seemed pleased enough to want to hire us again.
Saturday, July 3, 1976
Travel Day: Ontario ~ USA ~ Manitoba ~ England
Arose early to go for a pancake breakfast in the hall
Headed for home.
This time the US Customs were sticky.
We had to open equipment and take multi-screwed backs off our amps
They did a drug search
Checked us against their draft dodger and criminal record lists.
Reached Winnipeg by 4
Spent some time at Polo Park Shopping Centre
As usual we bought books - I found the Jack Benny bio I'd been looking for.
Off to the airport
Met Kevin's girlfriend Susanne Bogen who was going with us.
Alan Jones and Kevin Pahl finally showed at 10:30.
We starved and waited at the terminal for five hours.
I had an excess weight of luggage (mainly record albums we were taking with us)
Got through the weigh scales by holding the bag up off the scale as they weighed.
We made Customs declarations, bought a map of England, read and waited,
Finally boarded a 747 Jumbo.
All quite excited.
AIR CANADA #852y leave 10:10 pm ~ arrive 11:25 am
Sunday, July 4, 1976
Travel Day: London to Bromley, Kent
In-flight movie: Lucky Lady with Lisa Minelli
We slept through movie as we'd seen it.
It was pretty much daylight all night (northern great circle route)
Sky was getting really bright just after the movie.
Breakfast: sausage, eggs, potatoes, melons & orange juice & coffee
As we neared our destination Al & an Aussie were talking about aborigines.
I escorted Al to the washroom and looked out the window at Scotland - Intricate farm patterns.
We were stacked up 30 miles out of Heathrow for 15 minutes.
Banking made us sick but we had a good look at countryside & hedgerows.
After we landed we met Dorothy Ray of Newdale on the way out.
We were all separated...
Al was given assistance - they lost and found his luggage.
Finally we all picked up our luggage and headed for Customs.
The airport was full of mostly 747s from just about everywhere.
The Indian Customs inspector looked especially hard at our stuff
(It could be because we said we had wine & cocktails from the plane & duty-free cigarettes.)
He looked at my guitar but sent us on our way, assuming for some reason that we were high school students rather than musicians.
Al's brother Keith and his wife Margaret met us
I headed for the washroom while we waited for Al.
The terminal was very busy and crowded.
We headed out to load up and board a Commer mini-bus that Keith had rented for us.
Keith drove through heavy London traffic to Kew Gardens.
England was in the middle of a long drought
Vegetation in the city was uncharacteristically brown and parched.
We paid a penny admission to this Garden on the Thames,
Bought a 50 cent booklet and and took pictures as we walked around.
A very impressive park but we were all jet lagged and Kevin's feet gave out.
We made a difficult trip to Bromley, Kent
Wing Music closed so we pick up our rented instruments tomorrow.
Arrived at Bromley Court Hotel which was fairly expensive
16 pounds per room - but very nice.
Took a bath, pictures, and went down for a 7:00-8:30 dinner:
Beef and pudding, trifle and gateaux
To the garden for cocktails.
Back to the room to see the American 200th Year celebrations on the tele and then to bed.
Monday, July 5, 1976
Hot 85 degrees - muggy
RAOB Club - Southfield Road - Middlesbrough 8-8:30/10:15-1040
*** 1/2 Large upstairs
Keith knocked & hotel phoned at 7:30 am
I dressed, shaved and took luggage down.
SO & I went to dining room for a buffet English breakfast free with room:
Juice, corn flakes, prunes, (I ordered kippers but they didn't bring them as
they were sure I wouldn't like the fish), coffee, bacon (mushy and salty) & fried eggs.
SO had sausage and scrambled eggs which were lightly done mush.
Went back upstairs to wait for Al, Kevin and Susan to finish packing
Over to Wing Music at 9:05 but the store didn't open till later.
A very small and dirty place with equipment piled to ceiling.
They were expecting us as the Traynor company in Toronto had set up sponsorship:
Yamaha Twin for bass - 2 Traynor Twins - HH PA head, small transistorized with huge Traynor speaker columns and horns - electrostatic mikes and Rogers drums (SO forgot snare stand).
There was no Fender piano so we rented a Clavinet.
All seven of us and instruments and baggage squashed into the Commer somehow
We were soon on our way through dense London traffic.
Keith did a marvelous navigation job and we made it to the Motorway about noon.
We stopped for lunch and to phone Hunter (booking agent) at 12:30.
I had hamburger, chips, peas, milk, and ice cream in a very modern US-style oasis.
Everything was OK with Hunter and we said we could set up at 6 .
It was a long, hot, crowded drive north on the Motorway.
We stopped again for pop 16p.
Drinks were all warm but we eventually found a petrol station that had some cold in a machine.
We followed Motorway M-7 most of way through beautiful country.
We found Middlesbrough and asked for Southfield at the first turnoff.
We were on it!
The club was just down the street
Large, second storey room that seated 500.
We struggled up the stairs with the instruments - no air conditioning.
Set up on a nice stage that already had an organ and drums.
The power outlets were all 220 and took large flat plugs.
Panic time! No batteries for mike!
As it was Sunday evening, everything was closed
But Keith found a supply somewhere and he and Alan took off to Spennymoor.
We were introduced for a set after the house band opened the show.
Just getting into it when the MC announced that we had to stop for Housie (bingo).
This was a regular nightly feature of all the workingman clubs.
Comedian Brian Lewis did his act and then we returned to do a dance set.
Sue-On was on the Rogers drums,
Kevin on the Hohner keyboard bass that we had brought (it worked on batteries) as well as the rented Hohner Clavinet.
I played my Fender Telecaster Thinline guitar.
We struggled with a strange sound all night as we weren't used to the drums, PA, amps and the sound of the Clavinet.
After a dance set everything closed down around 10:30
Patrons left for home and bed as most of them had to work in factories the next day.
We tried the warm beer, chatted, and had suitable praise from the audience and management.
There was a tremendous number of people crammed into the room
All seated around very small circular tables that were just large enough to hold the drinkers' pint glasses.
A very unusual experience as everything was so different from what we were used to.
We got permission to leave the equipment to pick up the next day
Keith took us over to spend the night at his Aunt Nellie's.
We didn't see her as she was already in bed.
Tuesday, July 6, 1976
Priory Club - Marton Road - Middlesbrough - large - main floor
We awoke at 10:30.
Aunt Nellie and girl friend Rhoda had already left much earlier as the work on a factory floor.
We went down for breakfast: scrambled eggs, tea and cookies.
Had a chance now to look around at where we where in daylight:
A new and cozy council house with tall grass front.
Margaret Jones came in around at 11:20.
Kev and Susan were still in bed back at Keith and Margaret's.
We went over to Al's mom and dad's.
Mrs. Elsie Jones was in a wheel chair - she's not too well.
Al was just getting up. We had a visit while Al ate breakfast.
Keith brought the Cromer from work as he had gotten a half day off.
We went over to Keith's to wake up Kevin and Susan.
The town of Spennymoor is quaint and Keith lives in nice new house which he is adding on to.
We piled into the vehicles to pick up Al with 4 guys in the bus and 3 gals in Keith's car.
Enjoyed the great scenery on the trip over to Sunderland to Cowies bus rental to change to a Ford Transit van.
I paid 5 pounds to add my name as an extra driver.
Sue-On paid them 70 pounds.
On our trip back Middlesbrough I drove for first time on an A highway and Motorway
But I Let Keith take it into town.
We found our way back to RAOB Club at 3 pm where we loaded the equipment.
Then went in Keith's car to find agents Borrow-Hunter on Borough Rd.
I talked business with Joe Hunter.
He covered for lack of permits and said there was real problem in getting them.
We were to work a 7 day week but there would be no other agents coming in because of the permit situation.
We then made a rush trip to Cleveland Centre to find snare drum stand for SO.
At 4:45 pm we found a music store but no good stands - just a cheap second hand one in a bag that we bent to use.
We learned that the salesman was a guitar player at the club we were play tonight.
Hurried back to RAOB as Jones' must leave for a PTA meeting at 6:30.
I took over the bus and drove to Marton Rd and down and into Priory Club
Club was very much like a new CFB Mess.
We set up and noticed there was a house organ.
We had supper at the Highland Hotel: mixed grill (assorted meat)
Then to the club.
I wore my "tangerine" denim.
We opened to a lukewarm audience -
Two singing comedians stole the show -
And then finished with a dance set after the bingo -
Packed and left the stuff and drove to the Crest Hotel: 11.50 pounds,
Beer at the desk, coffee in the room.
Talked over the day, showered and hit the sack.
Wednesday, July 7, 1976
Whitehorse Inn - Royal Hotel - Whitby -large C/W club
PHOTOS: coastline and miniature model of coast and model ships - from steps going down on beach - breakwater and sea cliff - SO and bikini and caves/cliffs - Abby and church in background - from steps on hill - Bill in tombstones - in ruins arch - of whole ruins - band in front of Hillmans posters - of Whitehorse Club
We got up with the alarm at 8:15, woke rest and went down to breakfast
Breakfast not included as they had promised over the phone.
The three guys went down the street to the club to pack up.
Back at the hotel I phoned four rooming places listed in the back of my journal
Settled on Viponds, a boarding house on Oxford.
SO and I got a room upstairs, Susan & Kev another room downstairs,
Alan got one bed in a 5-bed big room.
The place was nice, friendly and clean - 3 pounds per day or 18 pounds per week.
We all piled into the van and drove down to Morton,
Then out to Guisborough and across the hills and moors to Whitby.
Parked by a row of houses, walked toward sea and took many steps down to the beach.
Al walked into the breakers among dogs and bikini gals.
Warm day so we bought ices (cone and oyster - cone in shape of oyster full of ice cream and hard marshmallow and covered with coconut)
Then we climbed to the top of the cliff to get fish and chips.
I had Plaice (1 pound) and chips, tea and bread and SO had scampi (little shrimp) - all were big portions.
Took a promenade along the resort street and bought: cards, map, tennis hat.
Found our way across the bridge and along more shops to the foot of Abbey Hill,
Leading Al all the way, up 199 steps to the Whitby church cemetery (site of Dracula first landing in England).
Moved on past the church to Whitby Abbey ruins - 15p -
Roamed about the ruins marvelling at its one-time grandieur and great age.
Went down to explore the very old St. Mary's Parish church:
Stalls all fenced off, 3-tier pulpit with hearing aid horns for rector's deaf wife,
Read about the bell pulling team that appeared every week.
Kev bought an Indian shirt at the bottom of the steps and we made our way back to bus.
We found the Hotel which had our posters all over - a big western place.
We all went down for fish and chips in a newspaper after setting up.
Played 3 1/2 shows to good response and record sales.
Alternated sets with Paul Wheater - a Jim Reeves style singer.
Kevin wouldn't let groupie have his shirt: "But I only bought it today."
Curry chicken for an after-show lunch.
Got back to Viponds at 12 and were glad to find the house door still open.
SO and the black band had lunch.
Thursday, July 8, 1876
Portrack Conservative Club - Maritime Rd - Stockton - A large room with stairs
Breakfast: bacon, eggs, milk, toast, tea.
Al tried to phone home as he had no clothes or money.
I drove the bus downtown and tried to park up in Cleveland Centre
But it was reserved just for service vehicles, so we returned to the vacant lot where we had been with Keith earlier.
Al went with Kev and Susan to the Mall while SO and I made business call to Borrow Hunter.
We were now booked 7 days a week.
Found there was no way we could get a month of insurance on instruments -- living dangerously.
Out and down along street where I bought Tarzan and Marvel comics, maps of Spennymoore, Teeside, London, Mbro,
Through a record store, towels and cheap "adidas" 3+ pounds -
Mailed post cards - and couldn't find a pub.
We learned later that pubs would have been closed that time of the afternoon anyway.
Eventually we met Al at the Mall music store playing a Fender Rhodes - 1030 pounds!
SO got a receipt for the drum stand that the guitar player had charged 5 pounds for.
Others all went for coffee while I looked for a Vox pignose and phaser.
The Vox had just been sold and the phaser cost 50.
I joined the others for coffee and stayed with Al as all left to shop - SO got shirts.
We all met at the bus and returned for supper at 5:00 pm: fish, potatoes, peas, carrots.
Joe Vipond gave directions to club and as we left we met the black band -
ERUPTION - coming in from rehearsing all afternoon.
On the steps on the way out I upset 20 empty milk bottles with my guitar.
My driving went well until the last roundabout when I got on the Motorway and had to come around.
I made the right turn this time but turned back when we thought we had gone too far and hit the other Motorway.
Eventually we broke down and read the map and found the place.
Only to find a garbage truck blocking the entrance
Carried gear up two flights of stairs so we were hot and tired by the time we had set up.
We met pick-pocket comic Bob Nelson and a pilot from Manchester, now Newcastle, who crashed while in USAF.
He invited us to an old Aircraft Museum and wild animal park.
Off to a bad start with a slow crowd and I broke a string in the first show.
Then comedy/bingo/comedy in which SO came on stage to help.
Keith and his father, Norman Jones, arrived.
The dance set was sluggish but we had many compliments and talked with fans outside
Couldn't get away till after midnight.
Al went to Jones's and we went downtown to a Curry and Kabob restaurant: I had ravioli - SO curry chicken and all had banana splits.
Background noise was provided by a nonstop burglar alarm and disco music in the background.
We drove back in high spirits and I read M*A*S*H till bedtime.
Friday, July 9, 1976
Hot sunny with bit of cloud - rain at supper time
Old Skelton Social Club - Skelton - North Yorkshire - small
Breakfast at 10:30 - same - wrote last 3 days of diary - rest till 12:30
Downtown via new short route as on way to Conservative Club - parking lot by Corporation St.
Gang shopped while I went to Borrow-Hunter - haggled price - no way
Cheque 275 minus 65 (pickup) in my name
Met gang at Hamiltons - Kevin trying keyboards
Bought strings and picks Fender thin 12p
Split up - To Cleveland Centre - coffee and carbonated lemonade from bottles - Sunday
SO bought clothes - I bought comics, etc.
Records: Elvis Sun Sessions 1.99 - Cliff Richard 1.25
SO bikini - I can't find clothes (still wearing only denim outfit)
Met at restaurant - I spilled tea - walk to bus - bought pastries
4:30 - heavy traffic but missed mainstream
Supper: corn beef hash, chips, salad, carrots, peach melba (with pineapple and jap orange)
SO & I had shower - read Gallery and Linda Lovelace
Off to Skelton - rain - Susan had headache and stayed home
Found club - small old 200 pop
Private organ with no fuse so Al not allowed to use it
Power all over on wall so man rigged up poor extension - power buzz blew fuse
Keith, Margaret & Al came - Keith made new cord & Club MC brought better cord
Poor crowd at start - starting 8:30 many came - good applause
Satisfying funny show - place packed - we were the only act
Mike stand dropped: funny bit 'pants split' - wore all white
Gave picture to parents of mongoloid brother of MC
Ticket taken with most horrible strawberry nosed man we had ever seen
Scot fans invited us for a drink to their house - no go - packed - talked outside
To Enterprise for lunch - SO and I had Mousaka - others had meat etc.
Back to Viponds and to bed.
Saturday, July 10, 1976
Old Thornaby - average sized club
Arise 10:45 - good sleep - first good morning
Some breakfast but with tomatoes instead of beans
Upstairs to diary and postcards
To Al's room to hear black soul disco band's 6 demos - good stuff
Eruption paid American producer 9000 pounds to produce two sides
On top of this he is scheming to get 1/2 writer's royalties
Talked to Welsh singer Terry Jordan - got agents' names
Talked to singer from Connecticut
SO and Susan to laundry to do clothes - writing journal with no pants on Read all day -
Al talking to Eruption leader abut recording studios
Supper: mince stew
Used map to get to Old Thornaby
Main floor - a little smaller than some - no other act
Did 3 shows as I made up this afternoon and as in front of the journal
Organ useable - SO drumstand broken but able to use house stand
Walked on stage alone played
Then introduced Susanne who walked on with drum case as equipment manager
Then Kevin and set rhythm,
Then Al - then SO and we did On My Mind
Crazy hot show - good response -
Keith and friend Billy Turner there
Kevin complimented in washroom
Enthusiastic urinator turned hose on our lad - peepee all down pant leg of new European black trousers
People dancing everywhere in aisles, etc. - fire scare - smoke actually came from incinerator in women's washroom
Wild chase to Fiesta Club in Stockton & caught last number of soul band "Leibi....?" - thin disco
Had lager and fish & chips
Danced to house band - not too enthusiastic: keyboards, drums, bass, & singer all reading
Searchers next week
Into bus and home to bed.
Sunday, July 11, 1976
Silksworth Comrades Club - Silksworth - County Durham
PICTURES: double deckers & tri car & SO - coast tankers, boats on dock and me by Mbro - resort ball room - SO and boats at Redcar - Folk group on beach: Crooked Oak
Breakfast the same but terrible mushy sausage & runny eggs
Eruption in at 4 last night and erupted at 8 am to leave for London.
Read paper and Linda Lovelace book while waiting for Susanne
To Redcar resort for Folk Festival - drove along beach - long - nice
Parked by Coatham Bowl where festival held - free acts in coffee lounge
Bought another antler crown piece necklace, straw fertility penis, horse brass good luck charm
Lager and good old English folk songs - nothing on main stage
Walked on beach - left Al on seawall-
Bought winkles, mussels & cockles for 10 & 20p a package
Split from Susan & Kev to meet in one hour
Downtown where I bought three Shadows records, one 1.50 others 1.99
Pictures of double decker, beach, etc.
To van at 4 - to home - turkey supper with all trimmings - rest and read
Followed map out of town north to Sunderland - sign to Silksworth
Made good time on A HW - club closed.
While waiting Kevin had serious philosophical discussion with mongoloid youngster:
"You're a fart!" "Pardon?" "You're a fart!" "You think so... really?" Great guffaws.
Carried equipment up winding inside stairs to second storey - very small
Kevin deftly repaired SO's drum stand
Presented Star of the Show, Susanne doing the dance of the two platters.
I walked on - no applause - walked off - said band scared off by thunderous applause
Brought all on - very noisy crowd
MC tried to quieten - no other act, but bingo
Sat with Keith who came in for second show ~ Wild wingy show
Pack up - I was tied up with drunk ex-guitar player agent - address in back of book
Van back home - meat pies in room - bed.
Monday, July 12, 1976
Overcast - Rain at supper
New Shildon Social Club - 17 Redworth Rd. Shildon
Same old breakfast
New roomers: two guys from country rock band SAND, once STATE EXPRESS
Plus 6+ kids from young show band
Read - Al stayed - dropped Susanne and Kev off at laundry on corner
SO and I downtown - cheque and list of this week's venues
No luck getting bus - Joe phoned and got van at Thornsby for 40 pounds per week total
To printer down the street for sign: The Hillmans ~ Featuring Bill and Sue-On Hillman
with Kevin Pahl and Al Jones ~ Maple Grove Records - Borrow-Hunter ....
Left watch, broken strap pin - across street to Pop In & bought Union Jack & soccer stickers
Down street to electrical and bought thick guitar cord for 2.50
To theatre to check schedules - to Cleveland Centre and bought pastries
To Great American Pants GAP and bought cheesecloth denim shirt and two for Al
Trouble using Master Charge - to sale at C&A Modes department store: jeans, denim shirt jacket
SO bought leather vest and velvet jacket and two jeans
To Wimpy's for a drink - to bus - home to cream cod pots, vegs, fresh fruit
On to Shildon by south route to Darlington - heavy rain
Thru Darlington - too far west, eventually back after winding little country roads
Upstairs - rough climb - sunken dance floor - beautiful club - few pop
Singer comic Marcus Bailey opened - OK - gave us a photo
We did a half hour at 9 - again at 10:20 - string broke - bass drum pedal broke - to house drums
Keith there - rough - manager happy - will book again if around
Followed Keith partway home - coin op gas pumps saved empty
To Enterprise for mousaka de Greque - strippers there 40 - home.
Tuesday, July 13, 1976
Ironapolis Club - Bright St. - Middlesbrough
PICTURES: Wear River, Durham - river bank going up along castle wall - approaching Durham Cathedral - knocker - inside looking left - stained glass - Tomb of Cuthbert - through courtyard of group - Monk's room - behind robes in Monks - tombstones - altar ....
BF before 11 - different sausages & ham
On to Durham via Stockton, Coxhoe and Bauburn - thru city to parkade
Walked along tourist shops up river bank along castle wall
Posed at gargoyle knocker - bought tourist guides - saw organ - Cuthbert tomb
Up to Monk's room full of books and old relics - seals, robes, coffins, jewelry
Kevin found ancestor's diary - down to bookstore - SO showing Al so far
Bought many many books and maps - back to Cathedral to main altar
20p to climb to top of tower - very long hard winding climb - out of film
Good view of river, castle, mill, etc. - down easier but dizzy
To castle but no tour for another 20 minutes - bought literature but had to get back thru shops - good stuff
Had lollis and rest and into parkade - everyone leaving and discourteous tie up - traffic jam
Out and home PDQ - supper - rest - close job tonight - to club before 7
Still locked - poster advertised C&W group from Australia - I changed it and put up photo
Drive up close to stage - sunken dance floor - 2 40-minute shows
Good organist (liked Canada) and drummer - organ & drums in almost every club we've done
SO still borrowing stands - new heavy strings gave me some trouble
Drum pedal still falling apart and mike stand drops at weird times
Good applause - OK night - back to room to get Susanne who didn't come
To Club Marimba to see Johnny Duncan and the Bluegrass Boys but closed Mon & Tues
To Fiesta Club in Stockton to see Searchers but too late to bother
Mixed grill and Mousaka at "Elsie's"
Home - musicians still up - talked to SAND frontman - knew of Dick Damron tour.
Wednesday, July 14, 1976
Sunny and windy
British Legion Club - Park Rd North - Mbro
Breakfast at 11 pork - SO to laundry - I read for awhile and then followed her
Lollis, mags, chinese noodles take-out - ate in our kitchen
Upstairs - showered - Downtown with Kev and Susanne shopping
I saw Thunderbolt and Lightfoot at ABC theatre for 90p (double bill with Midnight Cowboy but had to leave at 4:15)
Nice to see a touch of America - to Hamilton Music Centre
Bought SO drumsticks - all totally broken - she had to borrow last night -
Back - missed rush hour traffic by going by Marton Rd.
SO stayed all PM to bath
Got carpet for drums from Colin from Bette (Colin at our show last night)
Supper: meat pie, chips, beans, trifle - Musicians all friendly - lie down after supper
Left around 7 sans Susanne
2 minutes later we arrived at little rundown old shabby, grubby, smelly, gloomy British Legion
Club where Joe Hunter drinks - upstairs - no organ - grand piano yes, drums yes - 2 shows
No other acts - rapport form the start - great applause - used "Foreign Legion" reference - great success
Keith and Margaret arrived - we introduced
At break Kevin went with drummer Alan McLachlan and bass player to dive (55 Falmouth St. Mbro 43883) to hear the young band staying with us - OK
Rock last set - Joe H. there briefly and gave thumbs up
Other club chairman there auditioning us - OK talk with MC after about this scene
Sold 1 album - everyone wants my necklace, Indian choker
Dropped off Kevin and went downtown for Mousaka.
Thursday, July 15, 1976
Carlin How - W/Mens Club - Carlin How - Past Skelton
Ham, tomatoes & egg then downtown to pick up broken watch - 1 pound
To Stockton and back to Thornaby to confirm bus pickup tomorrow
Parking lot - walk over to High St. - window shop - bought many magazines & 5 pound satin shirt
To little pub for Guinness - cross street to shopping centre - no market in town today
Bought 2 Shadows in record store 2.99 - to music store at end of street (Al & I)
Kevin back to bus with sore feet again - music store bad so we walked back
Explored abandoned house on street (one of many there)
Met at bus at 4:30 - home - Hunter phoning all day but office now closed
Tough stew meat, gravy & potatoes - short rest and left for Carlin How
Arrived 6:45 - raining - small club with 3 flights of stairs -
had a lift but idiot manager wouldn't let us use it
Another group had broken lift and it had cost 40 pounds - I offered to pay 40 if we could use it
Tough climb - house band laid off - organ - start at 8:25 with two 45-minute shows
Not packed but very responsive
Father and obese mongoloid son David there - David danced obscenely all night
Father danced with him on intimate numbers -
Great response but few dancers though because "Buddha" had the floor
No other act - two girls from Skelton were big fans - thunderous applause
Welsh couple bought two albums for all the money in their pockets 4.50
Drunks ganged up on us and wanted us to give David a free album
Revolting scene - picture scroungers - MC very happy
A slot-machine-playing WWII air ace (Spitfires) invited himself into our crowded bus and we dropped him off at Skelton
Al headache so dropped off - we went to Europa for spaghetti - home - new boarders.
Hillman '76 Tour of England
With Bill Hillman's Personal Rating of Each Club
Dorman's Athletic Club - Middlesbrough ** *
High Spen Excelsior Club - Durham *****
Ferry Hill Village W/Mens Club *** *
Malleable Club - Stockton *** *
Brambles Farm British Legion *****
Whitby Football Club *****
Western Social Club - Middlesbrough ** *
Thirsk & Sowerby Club *****
(James Herriot's Darrowby)
Travaux Sport & Social Club - Catterick Army Garrison *
Free Day 1: Trip to Scotland
Free Day 2: Trip to Scotland
British Legion - Grangetown **
Middleton in Teesdale *****
Acklam Steel Works - Middlesbrough ***
Northallerton British Legion *****
New Marske Club *****
Marine Hotel - Saltburn *
Longlands Club - Whitehorse Hotel *****
Continued in Part 3
Friday, July 16, 1976
Dorman's Athletic - Oxford Rd - Mbro - (across road)
Up at 8:30 - wake Kevin - unload bus of all equip onto front lawn and in for breakfast
Kev, Al & I plus Bette's friend's little boy from Scotland (David) pile into bus - gas 2 pounds at Shell
On to Silksworth club to meet Keith - into town - deposit bus
Keith got 25 pounds back (we had paid 70 - later pay Keith 56)
Back to Stockton & Thornaby in Keith's car (1/2 day off work) to Rent-A-Van to see if we can pick up van
No van till 4 pm so to Viponds.
Girls went with singer Colin Norvic to meet our agent Findley and then to shop
I go with Al and Keith - ate in Upton's Cafeteria: Plaise and chips poor - paid their's
Walked to Hunters for pay cheque - closed - band sign ready on Monday
Back home to lounge - sat - carried in groceries for Bette - over to rent van at 3:30
Keith went home - waited till 5 to get bus - 16 days 91 pounds - brakes weak but good power
Back at 5:30 for late supper
Yvonne Pollack had phoned form London, out of money and going home - can't come to see us
SO bought white show linen pants on sale 1@
Kevin can't get insurance to drive as he is under 21
New guy at supper (pork & egg pie): Scottish guitar spent 3 years in Ft. Churchill: Brian Gibson
Load gear into bus - cross street to huge barn-like club - set up
Relaxed before show with beer and lager & lime and Britvic orange juice as usual
So-so polite response
Fans told us that Bay City Rollers had played to similar so-so reaction last year
Dancing to end - compliments - pack up
Hurried to Fiesta Club in Stockton and saw Needles & Pins by Searchers
Scampi and chips - beer - danced to house band
Out to find gas at first place Keith took us to the first night, all night
Home - read - bed.
Saturday, July 17, 1976
PICTURES: quarry east of Spennymoor - miners' banner with drunk miners and mountie - miners' band and banner - miners going into church - view of Main Street crowd from hill - at bottom view of band - carnival shot - square where bands form up and entertain before march through street - many in field just out of High Spen
High Spen - Excelsior Club - High Spen - Near Rolands Gill - Durham
Away to Spennymoor - missed turn off and took many pictures in country - stood on van
Into Spennymoor to drop Al off - Off to Durham Miners' Gala
Street closed out but found good spot by roadblock - walked in to Cathedral Square
Drunk young miners saluting the banner - three bands came up
We followed one of the bands into the Cathedral taking photos
Beautiful funeral type march - great sound in Cathedral - packed - didn't have time to stay
Left and got raspberry lollies - Castle closed today so downtown
More bands - many pop - soft ice cream - past jail to carnival grounds - many drunks
Walked through midway - interesting - much very similar to fairs at home
Fair food mainly chips, mince meat burgers, hot dog sausages - boxing sideshow -
Back to downtown - upstairs to Chinese restaurant
Ate our meal surrounded by loud drunk & partying Geordie men and women
Onlookers Amazed by chopsticks - brought a temporary hush - OK meal
Walk along river on way to bridge - very scenic - roofs of tile (slate) - continued along the river on the other side
Short cut to van - Off to High Spen via Consett - found club after 6
Killed time and film out in field nearby
Down a paved path across pasture thru thickets down dam to little stream - remains of a swing there
Crossed stream, explored and back - Kevin attacked by "huge mad" dog
To club - beautiful new but long trip upstairs - many Findlay posters - "4 boys and a girl"
Great Show - fine crowd - good dancing - Keith and Marg there (brought Al at 8 as he had spent the day at home)
Talked to guy from Louisiana who had married Geordie girl
Followed Keith on way home but generator light on - dash shorted - a Bobby helped us
On to home but had lost Keith - stayed up till after 4 talking with guitar player Brian about the Shadows.
Sunday, July 18, 1976
Ferry Hill Village - W/Mens Club - Ferryhill Village (Danny O'Connor)
Up early to get to Lumley Castle by noon - Chester-Le-Street just off M-1
Had rum and coke in lounge - Keith late arrived 12:20
Norman & Elsie Jones (in wheelchair) - daughters Beverley oldest and Angela - Keith & Margaret & her mother
Roast beef & pudding, coffee (3) - nice but not in main dining room which is reserved for special Medieval meals
3 pounds each - many waiters - SO got 2 pictures - left after 1 1/2 hours
SO bought print and 2 goblets from desk - rooms not bad 9-14 pounds
I explored old towers and rooms, etc. got photos from turrents
Into car and on to Beamish open air museum - ran out of time
SO and I had changed to denim hoping to get album cover photos
Talked to old miner in museum who explained all
To Spennymoor for Tea at Margaret's: shrimp tarts, chicken sandwiches, cake, trifle, milk, tea - got photos
On to Ferry Hill - upstairs - dump stuff on street and then up - carried up Al's mother
Danny O'Connor on bill - looked and sounded Mexican - good singer/ guitarist with Gibson copy and real Gibson pickups
OK show - but we refused encore - they overpaid us - no room to dance
We at last met Aunt Nellie, a real fine person ~ Introduced Al as local boy
Phoned Chinese food order - SO excited because they had the same dialect
Ate at Keith's and saw Olympics from Montreal - girls up - Aunt Nellie and her friend Rhoda there - Norman & Elsie Jones
Home after SO and Marg did dishes - Kevin sick
Had planned trip to moors with Marg and girls but turn signal broken so must repair tomorrow
Gave Ian and Betty's Mandy a record for birthday.
Monday, July 19, 1976
Malleable Club - Morton Rd - Stockton
Quick breakfast - to Rent-A-Van - tightened battery cables and put in new fuse OK
Back to digs - gang talking to US Connecticut performer who lives here
Downtown - got agenda from Hunter & picked up our new linen sign
Got adapter for my razor - Jerry Lee, Everly and Vincent albums 6 at Hamilton's Music
Home to read and rest - read Emmanuelle - saw ad in today's paper for tonight's show "From Canada"
Al listened to radio he got from home - Sue-On did laundry
Ian Hughes DJ and brother Kevin celebrating Ian's birthday
He brought big bottle of wine - we supplied cake at supper
Ian and Kevin with us to club near Fiesta in Stockton - main floor easy pack
Saw most ugly man we have ever seen in window - revolting -
Vicious dog tied at back - put up new sign in front of Kevin's keyboards
Jackie ??? from Scotland shared the bill - good belter
Brian Findlay came running in as management had phoned to complain
Told him that we were displaying a Burrow-Hunter sign - they were blacklisted there.
Show was a disaster: broke string on first number and SO 2 sticks
SO played housie - Jackie had nice show but ran 15 minutes into our act
We packed whole last act into 15 minutes - no dancing but crowd excited Management sold two albums but kept the money - one was stolen -
Picture scrounger couple from Scotland bought one - Old girl with rhythm kissed me - ech
Packed up and to Indian restaurant: curry lamb and chicken, Indian bread, two soups
Ian and Kevin there - we were mistaken for Americans - home to Olympics and bed
Susanne phoned home collect - said she's staying another three weeks.
Tuesday, July 20, 1976
Brambles Farm British Legion - Turford Ave. - Brambles Farm - MBro
Downtown by 12:40 - dropped off Susanne to shop and change flight reservations to ours: Fly out to Canada August 17
Kevin had gone swimming to public bath with Ian Hughes and will meet later
We go to ABC Theatre to see Freebie and the Bean with James Caan and Alan Arkin plus Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee and John Saxon
Good entertainment for 90p - bought 90p of chocolate - out at 4:20 into rain
Coffee in Greek coffee shop - back to car to meet K&S - picked up tailored jeans at cleaning shop on way back supper
Joe and Bette Vipond just leaving for holiday in Tunisia - Colin Norvic filling in for them
Rest and over to Legion - on Redcar road - huge pool of water in front of door
Met Kevin, the guy who had approved our act at the last Legion
Another act on the bill: Dave Venture - once 1/2 of adagio team with wife
Venture now a vocal and comedy act (drummer also) - out in drag and sang "Me Cock's Me Own"
Great night, great response - sold Free Spirit - hall in semi circle around stage
Picked up Susanne and went to Enterprise with Venture for mousaka -
We talked over show biz and recording
Drunk ex-con won't pay bill - waitress won't let him out - he punches her - runs out - Bobbies arrive
Back home - Olympics on TV - read a bit.
Wednesday, July 21, 1976
Whitby Football Club - Upgang Lane - Whitby
Leave after usual wait for Kevin and Susan -
Sue-On has promised to pay Susan's room and board for a week
Drive down through Moors - many photos of sheep - moor fires - sheep shelters - BM - valleys
Stop at Rosedale - quaint old village - bought maps, etc. - tea and scones at snack bar (pub closed) - gas
Drove thru narrow paved roads - great beauty - followed bus - into Scarborough
Photos of resort area - much like Redcar - 4 photos - bought denim hat - SO bought charms
Plaice and Chips at restaurant - 1/2 as good as Whitby - down boardwalk for ice cream - left Al on beach
Back to car at 6 - on to Whitby on hilly winding road - 20 miles - thru middle of Whitby
Past Whitehorse to Upgang Lane - little army hut building - smallest yet - small stage - no organ
Not room for everyone on stage so I stood on floor
Sue-On borrowed stand from nearby drummer - great response - right with us
Elvis: The Way It Was on TV - 3 shows - last show ended after 11
Keith and Billy there - sold 2 albums - Al sat out the night - pack up and back to Mbro
Followed Keith and then took over and lost them - drove around town for an hour after but gave up
They had gone to Billingham for gas - we returned to bed
Keith, Billy, Sue-On and Susan in car.
Thursday, July 22, 1976
Western Social Club - Union St. - Mbro
Breakfast of egg, beans and SAUSAGES ech - shower & listened to Alan's radio while doing diary
Into bus and downtown to waterfront photos of ships, tugs, channel, bridge - in and around whole front
Returned early to drop off Kevin and Susan at park - SO did hair & wrote postcards for Alan
Supper at 4:30: mince stew, pears
Over to club - new round building - beautiful - Roadie Susanne read book in back all night
Two 45 minute shows - worked hard on them and got crowd - young blase crowd
Good house band of organ and drums - SO forced Kevin into buying first round
Many dancers in last set - no enthusiasm - wall graffitti summed it up "Thanks to Madame Tussaud's for half the audience."
Lazy MC - SO broke drum pedal - off - we refused encore -
After the show, the steward had big boxer going around eating plate remains
Cliff Ledyard local country act - coming next
Dropped off Al who had pulled muscle in neck
Over to 21 Club in Stockton where Ian Hughes working as disco DJ.
His girlfriend Janet was there and brother Kevin - bought round 1.7
Ate American double decker (single small hamburger) - danced - small place with good atmosphere
Lights on dancers - Ian did good job - bought him a drink and all rounds again
Home at 1:30 - Kevin and Susan home later.
Friday, July 23, 1976
Thirsk & Sowerby Club - The Flats Off High St. - Thirsk
Sunny - Cloud cover that ended in rain
PHOTO: Cleveland Hills potatoes and grain - sheep and tree stump - valley - pbu - antique place - Helmsley Castle shots - inside Thirsk club
Same bean breakfast
Letter from Grandma Hillman - told where her father had lived and was born:
Family farm at Westmorland County, Kendal - Kirby Lonsdale P.O. - Farm is Akrigg Green
Brian Findlay called asking if we got extra 15 pounds at Ferry Hill
Drove down west side of moors - Cleveland Hills - beautiful country
Stopped at pub - slot machine - Juke box: Combine Harvester by the Wurzels
Also: One Piece at a Time by Johnny Cash - Fifth of Beethoven - I Recall a Gypsy Woman by Don Williams
Urinated in cement room with gutter all around then drove southward
Antique sign - quaint shop in old blacksmith shop with forge, bellows, etc.
Kevin bought walking stick - Susanne two crystal glasses - SO 4 Chinese markers
Beautiful yard with much Chinese stuff
South to Helmsley - bought Alan denim in market - fish & chips - bought antique maps upstairs
Walked to castle - booklet, cards, photos - much ruins but still good rooms left
51 Bentley parked outside castle
Kevin talked to owners - SO showed Al around - rain on way back to van - to Thirsk
Deep drop down from "plateau" - drove around Thirsk to find James Herriot's vet office
Disappointed that Doc Whyte not in
Went across the street to see the Herriot museum of antique vet instruments
Found club in the rain - into club from back through cow pasture
Building a nice 30s style country club - scared new MC in tux
Other act showed up: Steve Ross with bride and wedding party - confetti in hair
Small but great crowd - started late and went to 12
Brian Findlay the agent was there - he bought round
Thunderous crowd - crowd forced Alan up - we went to sing Auld Lan Syne - crowd cheering - photos - sold 2 albums
Steve wanted one - said we would send - gave Findlay 3 - Brian tipsy and ended up on drums
Club management locked the door to keep constable out and we played way overtime into the wee hours
Ate rest of Vipond picnic lunch on way home: corn beef and cheese
Kevin lost in back of van reading map - great day.
Saturday, July 24, 1976
Travaux Sport and Social Club - Dane Rd - Catterick Garrison
Rain start - Sun finish
To Darlington and Barnard Castle area (Raby Castle)
Kevin made navigation mistakes and spent day by self moping : ) - Many photos
Toured castle 50p and book & souvenirs - good stuff
Ended up in garden picking and eating raspberries
Walked through cricket match - tea, ginger cake scones (on way we ate lunch packed by house: cheese & corn beef)
Over to Richmond to see Easby Abbey ruins - got book - followed map - photos - over to town for gas
Walked around castle - to Catterick - tiny club - no organ or drums - dumpy - set up
Keith, Margaret, civil engineer friend Gordon and Margaret Vester, Billy and Judith Turner
Three likely lads went out for fish and chips - man stormed into shop looking for owner of red van (ours)
Man claimed careless passengers had scratched his car with door of van - Wanted 15 pounds - I said no - see insurance - first accident of tour and it was caused by backseat drivers
Back to club - no MC - no dressing room - no people - no nothing - drums broke - ugly people
I dismissed crowd and played for dance instead - very undesirable management
Many fans want to know where we play next though
We gave Gord and Billy album (Billy the black #4 - Gord the original #5)
Packed up - drove through fog - followed Gord to Hellinique Greek Restaurant
Enterprise still the best
Keith and Billy lost and late - good mousaka night - fun - home in hilarity.
Sunday, July 25, 1976
Trip to Scotland
Away at noon - Alan stayed because Keith is picking him up to take to parents
To Darlington - M-1 South and across to West Coast - bought Esso set of maps
Up to Gretna Green - gas - filled front right tire and ate picnic by the church
Kevin forgot walking stick so we drove back to pick it up then north to Glasgow
Scotland is much like home in architecture and much of country - sparsely populated
Much of Glasgow very slummy and old but we finally found downtown - nice
Theatres closed so we went to Marigold for Chinese meal - good but unfriendly
North we go to Loch Lomond - sail boats - swarming tourists - twisting road along Loch
Gas at Strath Lomond - jockey has two sisters working at University in Winnipeg - Spence St.
Nice tourist hotel - Kevin came to the rescue, translating for French couple at the desk.
North along road to Crian...??? - 5 pounds per person per night -
Charged 2.50 for tea that they offered!
Fine old hotel - Kevin and Susan slept in lot in van but used our facilities
Bath - wash hair - read - day of hard driving on Loch road that was so narrow and winding.
Monday, July 26, 1976
Knocked up at 7:30 - wash up - woke Kev and Susan
Breakfast: porridge, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, coffee pot - pay up
Drove into open country: rolling highlands - pictures - mountains - highlander, etc.
Stopped at town at bottom of Loch Ness: coffee, pee, pastry, postcards photos
On road again - narrow and winding - to north of Loch Ness headland
Photos of Kevin posing as Nessie monster in the Loch - down to water - waded
Back up into Inverness - slow travel - stopped just to north for gas and lollie
On to Blair Castle - booklet and slides - souvenirs - good castle - good treasures
Down to Edinburgh - drove around - walked streets - pictures - bought souvenirs by bridge - sweater, tea muff
Listened to band in park down below and tried Spanish restaurant but full
To Angus Steak House chain - cheap steak - I had Angus - OK - Lager & lime
Drove around city looking for way south and hotel - gas - south - tried places but no one would open
Finally found The Eagle in Lauder - owners, a young London couple, were partying with guests
They had a farty Great Dane dog - horses out back - offered riding tours for 4 pounds each
Kev and Susan slept in bus
Talked over free coffee and then up to bed - tired - SO getting bad cold.
SO NOTE: On way to Edinburg Susan realized that her Aunt was in Glasgow and not Edinburg.
We rushed trip to get to see her aunt. Should have checked before we left.
Tuesday, July 27, 1976
British Legion - Grangetown - Derwant Water Rd. - Mbro
(originally to be Port Transport Club - Southfield Rd. - Mbro
Up at 8:30 for breakfast in upstairs dining room: (dummy waiter) coffee, sausages, eggs, juice
Woke Kev and Susan in the van - they washed in public lavatory & buy fruit for breakfast
Take more photos - on road down to Newcastle - near miss with passing car
Park van - fair going on - blimp on grounds - look for van we can take to London - phone calls but no one-way rentals
Shop - SO sleeping in bus with bad cold - leave at 2:30
Onto freeway and home PDQQ - have to rest
Waiting for us are 2 letters from home - Mom and Pollacks
Supper and load equipment at quarter to seven
Arrive at Transport Club after 7 - we're not on the bill - phone Joe - slipup
We're actually in British Legion Grangetown
Rush set up - other performer was Lurch Martini - pain in ass at start -
We are warm up and dance set - even tho top of bill
Open to average audience - Dracula on with tons of copycat echo - funny and audience loved it
Management cool to us but fawn over him
Legionaire comes up to Kevin to tell him to cut his hair
We finish to so-so audience - Keith there to help pack
To Enterprise: lamb cutlets OK - all male staff this time
Kevin had gone home to join Susan and didn't come.
Wednesday, July 28, 1976
Middleton in Teesdale (want to book us privately)
Go to Hunters - talked to Borrow - let Sue-On sleep for a while
Left for Darlington and Barnard Castle - to Bowes Museum - 20p -
Susan and Kev downtown to market and got wine and cheese
Beautiful museum - showed Al around then on to Middleton - all closed but had fish and chips at Bridge Inn
To club at 7:00 OK - easy in / easy out - MC had disco setup - played to fantastic audience
Al's parents, Marg and Keith, Bill and Mona Johnson (butcher from Spennymoor) and their daughter-in-law Vivian, Aunt Dorothy
Much applause and appreciation - sold albums but many give-aways too Club bought album - bonus one - gave bonus 2.50 as they were tickled
SO's mike broke but we still did well - pack and on to Bill and Mona's for lunch
Johnson's had just visited Yugoslavia (son in army in N. Ireland)
Home we go (police stopped to question - break ins)
Our supper was in oven (liver) but we don't want it now
Borrow phoned - said he found someone with van to drive us down to London: Mick Sandbrook
Phoned Mick in Stockton - from band Innervisions - will get van - pick us up at Rent-a-Van - drive down will cost about 30.
Thursday, July 29, 1976
Acklam Steel Works - Park Rd. - Mbro
Kev and I went early to Borrow-Hunter
Got extra Saturday booking in Saltburn - no docked pay for Scotland
To ABC Theatre to see Confessions of a Pop Performer - sex comedy - and Shampoo
Sue-On doing laundry at home
Home at 5:00 - stew - fire in vicinity so much smoke - fixed mike with Colin's soldering gun
Had a hard time finding the club - set up - Mr. Guitar Man on the bill: Leil Edwards - mediocre rhythm guitarist
(SO NOTE: Willie showed him up completely)
Mick, John and Brian of Innervisions visited us to talk over London trip -
(SO NOTE: Three crazy guys - John much like Kerry Morris.)
Susan's not feeling well. We had a good night.
Entertainment Chairman, however, was a grouchy old man - he wanted us to pack up in 10 minutes
Willie went with Leil to his van to see his H&H amp
Leil's set was cut by 10 minutes - nice fella
All boys helped pack up - load - and 3 cars headed for Enterprize for "coffee" as usual.
For the first time we had seating upstairs and it was very private.
Boxer-waitress's sister was there. Said boxer on holidays.
Crazy time: All tap-danced... not queers!! 3 guys in little mini truck - Got Mance??? As souvenir
Friday, July 30, 1976
Northallerton British Legion
To Borrow with Al to do final business
Left right after tea for North Allerton - Tried to find Harlsey Castle -
One-lane roads through farmers' yards
Took a dirt road through a field chasing families of prairie chickens - Kevin out to lift them off the trail
We got stuck trying to turn around - stuck between wet grass and fence - and had to push our way out.
On our way - scenic country - into Legion - warned me that we must not be loud - but turned out to be a real great night
We were the only ones on bill - everyone happy and beaming
Sue-On and Susan bought a box of cucumbers, cabbage, etc. and I played my first and last game of bingo
Sold many records - gave out all pictures - good shows
House band had an old jazz drummer Ron and local municipal (archives) clerk Ernie on organ - great enthusiasm after
Packed up and drove to greasy spoon next to Enterprise but closed, so... to Enterprise: lamb chops - home to bed.
Saturday, July 31, 1976
DOUBLE HEADER: New Marske Club - Gurney St. - New Marske
Marine Hotel - Saltburn 12-1 *
Sunny and warm
Starting to pack - drove roomer Ted Epworth to Port Transport Club to get Gable-Clark gear
Brian working on Gable & Clark broken car
After 1:30 Keith, Marg, girls and Alan show up to spend the day at Redcar
We promise to take Ted and their gear to Hartlepool and meet Keith later trouble finding Coop??? Club
Found large Corporation Club instead (but the Searchers were playing there)
Finally got to Redcar 10 minutes late and met others at Coatham Bowl
Walked to indoor amusements and all rode dodgem cars - girls rode tilt-a-whirl - gambled - played soccer machine - gamble shoot - ghost ride
Al, Marg and I went back to the car while the rest rode boats in the pond
Keith and Sue-On's boat stopped on them - took pictures - Kicked around soccer ball
Then off to Saltburn to find club - tiny hole - no drums or organ - manager counting heads -
Not a good feel here
On to New Marske club - big with balcony - seats over 400 - repairman working on organ
We went out for Chinese takeaway paid for by the band - back to club - set up then ate
Started at 8:30 - rave-up place with great crowd - many albums - standing ovation encore
Did a rush pack up and hurried over to disco - set up - weirdo crowd - some applause then return to dancing
Tipsy girl from Chatham, Ann Boges (later, back home, saw her on CTV network game show)
DJ introed us - some good fans there but generally depressing - pack up -
Keith took Al home while 4 of us went to Viponds' for tea and toast.
Sunday, August 1, 1976
Longlands Club - Longlands Roundabout - Mbro (Whitehorse Hotel)
Sue-On and I drove back to New Marske club to return the stand their drummer had lent us last night for the disco job
1:30 Kevin, John Grace (lead guitar from Clockwork Toys) and I go downtown to Odeon to see ERB's At the Earth's Core
No showing till 4:30 so we go for a drink in the Highland? Hotel
Chat and learn that John has been playing pro for 10 years
Back home - pack up many mags - sold two records to Gable and Clark @1.50
Ready to roll - study London map and head for the club - a good-sized average style
Susan stayed home to pack - Keith and Marg came dressed up
Crowd great and we sold all the albums we had left -
MC Frank was a lot of fun and we used him to get response - great wind-up
Pack up and over to Enterprise to celebrate upstairs - lager & lime
4 drunks singing at next table gave great atmosphere - mousaka - happy singing night - a great windup
Back to house for tea and goodbyes.
Monday, August 2, 1976
Cloudy - then sunny
Up before 8:30 breakfast and tried to get Kev and Susan moving - not much luck, tired
Letter from home - American Song Festival in California announced my songwriting award
I had entered Cajun Stomp, Memory Take Me Back, In Sadness and Massacre
They want lyrics for Cajun Stomp which has reached a higher level of judging
Wrote out lyrics for Stomp in Vipond's lounge
Finally took off - sold Colin a record for 1 pound - 50 p of gas and to Thornaby at 9:30
No driver Mick and no answer at his phone - finally he showed up - relieved
Brian going too so will be very crowded
They disconnected the mileage indicator so we could get some free miles
I sat in front all the way - motion sickness always a problem
Stopped at Mecca at Nottingham for lunch: Plaise and chips... ech - treated Mick and Brian
Bought London maps - reached London in rush hour and out of gas
Drove past all the landmarks on fumes . . . suspense!
Mick did OK in scary traffic - finally through city to Bromley, Kent to return instruments
I tried to rent a car at a place on Tweedy but they only had vans.
Mick offered to stay until we're established
To London Road to new Wings store to drop off gear - got back 20 deposit - friendly staff
To McDonalds for supper and Mick and Brian are as excited as kids (first time)
Phoned for an hour to find lodging and finally found Abbey Guest House just off Tweedy Road
The house was run by a befuddled landlady, Mrs. Meanie, but we finally got in for 17 per week
We sent off Mick and moved in OK - nice garden terrace, etc. -
Kev and I strolled downtown to explore
Tuesday, August 3, 1976
Cloudy then sunny - nice
Up at 8:30 for breakfast by myself: - egg, bacon, sausage, coffee, toast, fruit juice -
Almost empty dining room. . . one other old reserved guy eating
Downtown to explore - cheap maps at Bromley Station South - magazines - record shops - home
I phoned recording studios - Gooseberry Studios the only available one at a cheap price
Downtown en masse with Al as guide - he has an amazing memory
He has no eyesight but led us all over the city
47p return on train to London for a half hour trip
Change over at Grove Park to even train to Charing Cross just off Trafalgar Square
A good trip on a rocking train - interesting sights - Peek Freen Biscuit factory... great smells
Took photos of Lord Nelson statue, lions, pigeons, tourists, Canada House
Walked along Waldaur in Soho - London a great cosmopolitan city
Ate at Swiss sausage house - many prostitutes in business here - many theatres - exciting people
To Gerrard St. and into Gooseberry - office is a coal bin under the sidewalk
We took a ladder down through a manhole/service grate
Studio was small and rugged but with a 16 track board - 12 / hour
I booked time for Monday 9:30
Hired session drummer and bass for 25 for 2 hours - tape spool 30
Dubious place but should be an experience
Out along Shaftsbury where Sue-On bought two Chinese tops in silk
Up Charing Cross Rd to Tottenham Ct. Rd. and took subway 15p to Marble Arch
Alan led us through Hyde Park and Speakers' Corner - ice cream for 45p
Alan took our picture on a log - walked along the pond and fed geese - more pictures
Walked back to Speaker's Corner where an old gal was blasting Jews & Yanks
Two more were fanatically spouting gospel and "end of the world" warnings
Tried to see ERB's At the Earth's Core but next show was 9- too late as trains stopped at 12
Past hookers on corners to Italian Restaurant where I had lasagna and Sue-On had fish
Tube to Oxford and Trafalgar - took the train home - read and ate Chinese candy - bed
Wednesday, August 4, 1976
Sunny - Great
Sue-On and I up for breakfast and then back to bed for awhile
Trains leave on 20, 40 & 60 after the hour but Kev & Susan slow starters and we missed the train
We took Cannon Street and had to cross over at London Bridge - walked along the Strand
On way back Sue-On, Al and I had lunch at Wimpy Bar -
Then to Trafalgar to meet Kev & Susan at 2
East Indian taking family photos on lions with lens cap on <g> - up to Art Gallery
Susan mailed parcel while we waited 1/2 hour watching sidewalk painters by Portrait Gallery
Dashed in and out of Gallery - then along Charing Cross Road and stumbled on Soho Market
Sue-On bought Indian vest/poncho and long white skirt
I bought many English Tarzan comics from the '50s at 20p each and Chinese tunic
I went to Denmark Street to see a publisher and made an appointment with EMI for tomorrow
Sue-On to a theatrical place and bought material - we then met group at Tottenham Ct. Subway
Subway to Marble Arch - to Odeon to see At the Earth's Core at last - somewhat disappointing
A full day of busy swarming streets - SO doing fine job as usual escorting Al through the masses
Saw many big tit tart ladies of the night by Marble Arch Station
We're getting better every day, with Al's coaching, at riding the tube and train
Took tube back to Charing Cross - to home and dressed up for New India Tandoori House
Great hot Indian food - excellent service from two little Indian waiters
We had house specialty 3.50 for two - a whole chicken
Staff wouldn't accept Chargex despite vehement argumentations - home.
Thursday, August 5, 1976
Hot and sunny
I went to breakfast and brought back tea pot and milk to princess
Kevin and I left for London around noon - SO and Susan to the bank for money
Girls went shopping and bought sweaters
We got tickets for Agatha Christie's Mousetrap matinee (Tuesday) - 2.75 front row
In to publishers on Denmark then shops but not much luck finding any publishers open
To EMI at 3:30 and left records - back at 4:45 -
They had listened to the songs but there was nothing he was "wildly excited about"
Bought Combine Harvester sheet music at EMI - good novelty number to learn.
Kevin accosted by beggars but politely moved on
To ShoBud steel guitar shop then down Oxford to Regent - past Liberty Department Store
Bought tickets for tonight's show at London Palladium
A "has-been" show for 2.00 with Johnny Ray, Billy Daniels, Ink Spots and Francis Fay
A great opportunity to see this famous theatre
Burger and pancakes at Tennessee Pancake House - eastbound to Carnaby
Walked through to Poland? Street to set up appointment with David Barnes of Essex Music
(Al had sent Barnes a tape from Canada)
Back to EMI - then to Tottenham to wait for crew
I went to bookstore and bought Tarzan of the Apes by Hogarth 50p
Met up with gang at 5:30 and back to Carnaby
Walked to restaurant by Palladium: beer upstairs then down to veal shnichtel, filet, etc.
Changed into beige pants and Chinese tunic in washroom
I left crew and explored Regent St. - back at 7:45 - into theatre to top balcony, third row
Unexciting show - Johnny Ray unusual though
Out and down through Soho to see market - train and home to tea, coffee and tarts.
Friday, August 6, 1976
Warm and sunny... as usual
I took off early for Denmark Street to see publishers and to get recording rates
Central studios - lined up meetings and left records at places.
Sue-On, Susanne & Al to King's Cross Station to meet Keith, Margaret, Beverly & Angela
Kevin stayed home til 4 - I met all at Soho Market after 3
Sue-On and I to Oxford St. - great shops
I bought high square toed black boots which I talked down from 10.95 to 10
At next store got ragged patched chamois jacket to wear as a shirt.
Met Al and Keith at essex on Poland St. at 4 - up for interview with Barnes
Played Cajun Stomp and Massacre demo for Barnes to which he was mildly impressed
He called all our stuff very country - polite and helpful - a good guy - a one hour interview.
On to Carnaby Street. Left Al with Marg and the girls
Met Sue-On and looked around a bit but clothes entirely overpriced - many tourists
Walked south through Soho after we rounded up everyone.
To Lee Ho Fook on Shaftsbury for traditional type Chinese food - hot & crowded
All ate but Keith, Marg and the girls - walked toward Picadilly for McDonalds burgers for girls
Trafalgar for rest and pictures (film later exposed) then walked along Whitehall
Picture of Sue-On and bobby at entrance to #10 Downing Street
To Big Ben and back along Thames to see boats and docks
Finally to Charing Cross where we all caught a train for home - guys went for beer
Kevin only used money for one-armed bandits from which he won enough to buy cigarettes.
Everyone gathered in our room for coffee and tea.
Keith tried on my chamois jacket and liked it.
Saturday, August 7, 1976
Warm and Sunny
Sue-On up for breakfast - Kevin and I went to Wing Music to rent equipment for the session
Rented clavinet, Fender acoustic, and Traynor one-channel amp for 11 pounds & 4 deposit
Carried back amidst local comments "instrument of torture," etc.
Hot heavy work - set up at the guest house and rehearsed.
We learned Al's number and worked on four of mine.
Susanne and Joneses returned from shopping in Bromley and we played songs for them.
Got fish and chips from East Street shop to eat on train 45p.
All left for London, stopping at London Bridge Station.
Sue-On and I with girls to London Dungeon - a good display of cruelty and torture.
We bought each of the girls a rubber mouse.
(Keith, Marg & Al waiting in pub while we were in the Dungeon)
Then we walked on Tooley St. to Tower Bridge and bought Italian ice cream from vendor
Took many pictures but film pulled of the roll and all were wasted.
Down to the river and walked to the Tower of London
Walked around the Tower and bought slides and postcards.
Took pictures and queued for long wait to see crown jewels and fabulous riches.
In to large middle building of 3 or 4 stories
Explored the armoury's great collection of armour and weapons
Stayed there till closing but didn't see it all. We filed out, all very tired
Took the tube to Charing Cross and then walked up toward the Strand.
Ate at Florence, a good cheap Italian basement place: Lasagna, etc.
Tube to Westminster and walked along St. James Park to Queen Victoria Monument.
Saw Buckingham Palace and took pictures at dusk.
Then went along palace to Victoria Station & took tube to Charing Cross & train for home.
To pub but Kev out of money - Al bought ale and lobster, clams.
Girls learning guitar from Sue-On.
Sunday, August 8, 1976
Warm and Sunny
Sue-On and I up for breakfast - I had haddock - Joneses there
Left early for Petticoat Lane (Aldgate Tube Station).
Kevin shoved out of Queue by rude wierdo:
"Move!" - rebuttal - "When I says move I mean move!"
The market was huge and packed and everyone got separated - I walked around.
Too many people to buy anything - a real experience though.
Al bought two big suitcases.
We all met at the bank sign at 1 and 1:30 - Sue-On and I ate winkles.
Took tube to Madame Tussaud's but gave up because of huge queue.
On to Baker Street and Quality Inn which had a Peter Sellers style waiter
Worst and most inept waiter we've ever seen (see anecdotes section)
Keith was playing "Bag O Laughs" that he had bought at the market.
We walked down Baker Street leading Al and carrying suitcasess,
Along Oxford to Hyde Park Speakers' Corner: weird speakers: preachers, gays, blacks, etc.
SO got a necklace from oriental vendor in Ped Subway
A vendor charged Angela 40p for a coke
Walked along Bayswater Road with paintings and artwork all along the route.
The girls went with Joneses to King's Cross. Kevin and I home to practise.
The rest returned after seeing Keith and Marg off at 7:00.
Kevin and Susanne to fish and chips shop.
Sue-On, Al and I dressed up and went to Indian Tandoori Restaurant.
Extremely hot Indian food, almost unbearable but good - ate all the meat but left the sauce.
Monday, August 9, 1976
Warm and Sunny
Up early and carried Clavinet and guitars through rush hour mobs on train -
Rough ride shaking up last night's curry - Susan stayed home
Walked to the other side of Trafalgar till got a cab - then he took us all over London
(see anecdotes & lyrics)
Cabbie went to George St instead of Gerrard so we got to Gooseberry a little after 9:30.
Lloyd Ryan on drums and Joe Fegin on bass.
(Back home would later see them in credits for Dick Clark movie on Beatles)
We set up and started rehearsing.
Joe caught on fast but we had trouble getting together on the drum rhythm
Down Down Down and Walkin' Wreck both took a long time.
Al's song went quickly though (Bossa Nova beat),
Finished so fast that I tried my ballads for a small bit more
Shelter and Farther Away went fast (total cost of session men 40 pounds)
Then had trouble getting rid of the musicians jamming with Kevin in the studio
Put on some guitar - a little piano and that's all: 430 = 6 1/4 hrs at 12 + VAT & 30 for tape
Caught a taxi to Trafalgar and down to Chinese restaurant in Bromley
(left Clavinet at baggage check at station to save carrying it downtown tomorrow)
Band bought meal - so-so food - walked down to Bromely South
Al with Kev and Susan -
Nice to be alone at last with Sue-On...
First time she hasn't been Alan's seeing eye for 5 weeks - quite a responsibility
Sue-On and I ordered Keman Nan (Indian yeast bread with meat inside)
Waited in bar across from the station then picked order up - bought order for Al & Susan
Drank some stout - ate - talked lots - bed.
RELATED ANECDOTE FROM
THE HILLMAN RECORDING ANECDOTES SITE
We picked Gooseberry Recording Studios from an advert in the British rock paper Melody Maker. The ensuing telephone conversation clinched the deal as they swore that their studio was always cool and their previous cliental included such clean-cut groups as the Sex Pistols. On the first day of the session we lugged our gear down to Bromley Station in Kent and boarded a train that took us to Charing Cross, London. We sweated across to Trafalgar Square where we hailed a cabbie who mistakenly drove us half-way across London because he couldn't cut through our 'Canajun' accents.
Eventually, we found the Soho studio... it was an underground studio - literally and figuratively. In stunned amazement we dragged our equipment through a sidewalk manhole and down a ladder into a dark, damp...but cool...converted cellar and coal bin. The advertised 16-track recording console had only 13 working tracks and most of these were usable only with the help of chewing gum, rubber bands and constant spraying and banging. I squeezed into a tiny closet with my acoustic guitar and a studio mike to isolate my playing from the sounds that our keyboardists Kevin Pahl and Alan Jones were able to eke out of the beat-up piano. The session drummer and bassist were good - in fact, I have since seen their names on many movie and concert credits out of England - but our session was constantly interrupted as they had to climb up the manhole ladder to confer with other clients. We closed the session at 10 PM because we had to run through the streets to Charing Cross to catch the last train home to Bromley. Our engineer suggested that we might want to stay underground a little longer because there had been Tong wars and Chinese unrest on the streets above all evening. I called the song Shelter - we needed it.
Tuesday, August 10, 1976
Sunny and Warm
Breakfast - Kevin, Al and I carried instruments back to Wing and picked up deposit
Back to station - train in - shopped & cashed $300 American Travellers cheques to 166 pds
Saw publishers - no real luck but somewhat promising talk with Campbell Donnelly
Left records with publishers & ran to St. Martins Lane to see Agatha Christie's Mousetrap
Missed the first few minutes of the play but joined others in front row - very entertaining
Looked for food but Frigate closed - Mexican place too expensive
To Oxford where Al bought Keith a chamois jacket like mine
Sue-On got chamois vest, jacket and scarf blouse - Susan got scarf dress -
Back to Soho desperate for food
Finally to Grovenor's Steak House (chain) - high priced with hidden costs
I had lamb and lamb liver, Sue-On had steak & mushrooms
To Leicester Square & saw Bugsie Malone a gangster musical starring an all kid cast
To station and home for tea.
Wednesday, August 11, 1976
Sunny and Warm
Sue-On, Al and I started off late - they took the tube to Chelsea
Met them later at subway Charing Cross after unsuccessful meetings at Noel Gay Agencies
Pizzaland Pizza, strange - Took tube to Sloane Square and walked down King's Row
Bought blue jeans and 5pd T-shirts for kids - SO got 3 Indian tops 1@, 1 pr satin pants
Antiquarius (Chelsey) where Sue-On and I bought Chinese tops
Heard a band in park by station after which we ate grapes in a churchyard & back to subway
To Sherlock Holmes bar on Whitehall - to river - queue at 6:30 for 1 pound boat tickets
Bought tickets for Kev and Susan from nasty man at booth - Al and I waited on boat
Sue-On waited for Kevin and Susan on the dock but no show
(train was cancelled and they arrived 5 minutes late)
OK trip - good narration - many photos - all the way past Greenwich - riverside pubs, etc.
Landmarks: place where wives dunked by husbands, prisoners drowned, ancient wharves
2 hour cruise and back at dark at 9:30 - Kevin and Susan were waiting
To Charing Cross - 32 flavours ice cream - home
Three of us walked to the New India restaurant again for Indian food.
Thursday, August 12, 1976
Willie and Sue-On have day together alone.
We'll be in Gooseberry tomorrow so told K&S to take Al along with them for the day.
Alan was with us pretty well every day in London and up north so it's a nice change for him.
Al will take them to Chelsea as Kevin wants satin pants,
Then we're to go on ferry boat ride in the evening.
We are to meet Al at Charing Cross subway at 6:30 pm and he will spend evening with us.
Willie and Sue-On shopped around Oxford area for the afternoon.
Willie showed Sue-On Liberty and we were really fascinated by the layout of the shop
Very classy - inside a 4 layer cake with bannister all around outside of each floor -
Can look all the way down from top to bottom centre.
Each room has a different department e.g. Oriental Room (materials from India, etc.)
Basement had an antique place and oriental rugs: expensive
Toured through new designs building - all new toys, tools, art, etc. shown there.
Stopped in at warehouse and bought wooden toys for Anna and Lisie.
Met Al at 6:30 and went to Leicester Square and saw Barry Lyndon:
Great movie for England atmosphere - described the all the action events for Alan.
Home to New India as usual? No parsley so they gave us salad and roasted peppers.
Friday, August 13, 1976
Spent the morning packing parcels and book duffle bag (6 pounds /box - sent 2)
Had to open one box for one comic!
Willie and Sue-On to Gooseberry today. K&S came along in case need for redo on piano.
W&S checked through last session and put on vocals.
Will did Down, Down, Down with 50s style echo on voice for Walking Wreck. Sounded good.
SO sang Shelter, Farther Away and Al's. Mood in studio and playback on headphones good
Songs were easy to sing - even sitting on a stool.
Did 3 voices on Shelter and overdub on middle part. Sounded real good.
Al's song was also done quickly. K&S impatient and anxious to leave. Left.
Al had gone with Aunt Dorothy and Norman and twins in the morning.
Will came down with Keith on Mon. Session started in late afternoon? & worked till 11:35 pm
Engineer Mark Lesardi warned us that there were Chinese Tong wars on the streets above.
We had to run like hell for train, the last one to Bromley being at 11:45 pm.
Nothing stopping us... had to jump over drunk in the middle of the sidewalk ... no Tongs.
Didn't get all mixing done - back tomorrow. Made train all right.
Phoned New India Restaraunt and ordered food to take out.
Ate late night supper out on lawn - Tandoori chicken and beef curry and nan.
RELATED ANECDOTE FROM
THE HILLMAN RECORDING ANECDOTES SITE
I wrote this one under pressure. One of the sponsors for our first tour of England was the Traynor Sound Equipment Company of Toronto, who were trying to promote their sound equipment in England. Upon our arrival at Heathrow Airport we were directed to pick up the gear at a music shop in Bromley, Kent. Here we found a grand old house near the station which offered overnight bed and breakfast lodging. We were so fond of these digs that, after our six week tour in the north, we returned to this B&B for R&R. Since we could commute easily to London by train, I impulsively booked studio time in Soho...the only problem was a lack of material to record. Shortly before we left Canada we had recorded enough original songs for Album 6 and all I had left were scraps of unpolished song ideas in my head. Our room opened onto a gorgeous English garden where I immediately started to bounce song ideas off Sue-On. After we came up with something akin to music, the four of us - Kevin, Alan, Sue-On and myself - threw together some hurried arrangements which we hoped would cut down on studio time. We eventually recorded five songs at the session of which three, Farther Away, Shelter and Al's While You're Away, appear on this CD album number 10.
Saturday, August 14, 1976
Willie and Sue-On mixing at Gooseberry studio today.
Reggae band in there - running late and they also took up time arguing with Mark
Band didn't want to pay their bill and they kept us waiting.
W&SO had to wait so went out for Chinese food - upstairs in Soho restaurant.
Got mixing done, but must wait till Monday to pick up master dub
Must go to bank early Monday to get money to pay for the session.
Anyway - had to run like hell AGAIN for train
Jumped streams of urine from two fellows peeing on sloped sidewalk by Leicester Sq.
Left trails "running down the road!"
Can't remember any more so Will will fill you in : )
Think I bought some new blue jeans for pictures anyway - can't remember.
WILL: I can't remember much either... info overload.
RELATED ANECDOTE FROM
THE HILLMAN RECORDING ANECDOTES SITE
WHILE YOU'RE AWAY
This song was Alan Jones' contribution to our London sessions - you can't help but notice his unique piano style behind Sue-On's equally unique vocals. Alan and I have known each other since the early sixties when he moved from England to Brandon, Manitoba to work as a physiotherapist. At the time, I was playing four hours of guitar solos every night with our group - The Blue Angels - so, when we heard that Alan played piano and sax, we pressed him into service to offer our fans a little musical variety and relief from Shadows and Ventures material. Following a return visit to England, he amused us with stories of an outrageous new band with a silly name and girlish haircuts that for some strange reason was stirring up quite a bit of excitement back home...the Beatles?...Nah, they could never make it here. After a year or so, we went off in different directions, but we got together some time later to record a Maple Grove album, comprised mostly of his songs, under the title FREE SPIRIT. He later contacted an Middlesborough agent for us back in England and helped us line up our first tour of England - he even went along and filled in on organ on many of the gigs
Sunday, August 15, 1976
Sunny and Warm
Picture day for W&SO - K&S to St. Albans
We planned to see all the major sights in London.
Took train to London Bridge. On to Pettycoat Lane: Got silver chalices
Took tube back to 'Monument' tube station and took 29 alibis poster.
Photos for album at .... and from monument. SO in chamois vest.
Across London Bridge - photos - Japanese tourist bus - along Thames past London Dungeon
To Belfast ship - toured the ship and into bow bridge, machine shop, engine room,
Good tour of the ship - got souvenirs for dad.
Belfast part of the 1945 US/UK Pacific convoy dad was in
Dad's ship was the HMCS Prince Robert that sailed to Hong Kong to accept Jap surrender.
To London Bridge Station and Charing Cross where we checked in parcels.
To Buckingham Palace and Victoria Monument.
Bought Bobby helmet and took many photos.
Walked through St. James Park to Big Ben and Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Abbey & Parliament to Trafalgar, Charing Cross to Shaftsbury for Chinese food
Monday, August 16, 1976
Willie off bright and early to bank at Canada House
Got money to pay Gooseberry and picked up dub.
So, I stayed home to pack as haven't started yet. K&S are home to do the same.
Al phoned earlier on to meet him at Leicester Station with Keith and Norman at 5:30 pm.
Sue-On packed till 4:00 then took train to meet the gang - was early
Shopped and waited by paper stand with suspicious man looked at her funny all the time there.
Finally guys showed up with Willie who met them earlier on
(caught him while walking by restaurant window. )
Headed for Keith's car (rented) - stopped to buy tea for Blankenburgs.
All piled in car and drove back to Bromley. Rested, washed up.
Weighed K&S's bags - found earlier they had near empty suitcase
(Al's - so bought sweaters etc. at afternoon)
Now 126 lbs but allowed only 88. We're over as well so all sorted out things to leave behind.
Willie had to leave 2" tape.
Went out to Chinese restaurant for supper paid for by band funds.
Stopped at pub for drinks. SO left early and walked home to finish packing.
Guys back later - took W&SO's bags to weigh but station closed - will do early in the morning.
SO made tea and coffee for all in our room. Bed late.
K&S up till 4 am packing still.
Tuesday, August 17, 1976
Air Canada #853 L 10:55 am - Arrive 12:45 pm Winnipeg (Noon)
Norman up earliest - got rest of us out of bed - over to main house for breakfast
Keith and Willie took bags to get weighed - packed all left overs in car -
Car already full with just our luggage with no room for passengers.
Decided Al and Keith to drive to airport. Willie, SO, Kevin, Sue and Norman took train
Rail from Bromley to Waterloo Station to Faltham (long distance train)
Then changed to bus for airport, terminal #3.
Made trip in good time - hit every connection right on.
K&A arrived ahead and had dropped all luggage on sidewalk.
Al stood guard over the luggage
Keith went to park and we all helped take luggage in and we passed the weigh in.
Willie actually smuggled 15 lbs of books on as hand luggage!
Went for continental breakfast with Al and Norman - K&S wandered.
Went to check on plane - will be late - boarded finally at 1:30 pm
Hugs, hard saying goodbye, but no tears!!
Got last 3 seats in plane - K&S upset over seats.
Anyway had lots of room although a bratty kid ran around all trip.
Movie was Sunshine Boys - good but no sleep!
Sick kid in front of us - 6 bags full!!!
Long wait at Canada customs - given the runaround but finally through.
Kevin's dad, Howard Pahl was there. Cars looked strange: big and on wrong side.
Long ride home but air conditioned.
Picked up motorhome, milk and paper and home to 2 months of mail.
This chapter of our Musical Odyssey contains excerpts from the
Hillman July/August 1977 Travel Journal.
Recording anecdotes are found in the chapter featuring
Album Vol. 7: On Tour In England.
August 3, 1977 Wednesday
First Rehearsal Day: At Mick and Margaret Sandbrook's House
We first met Mick at the end of our 1976 tour of England.
He offered to drive us from Middlesbrough to London
We then went on to Bromley to return our equipment to Wing Music.
We had set up a correspondence over the next year.
Mick was invaluable in the setting up this year's recording session
Kevin Pahl and Alan Jones were unable to accompany us on this tour, so...
We had planned to use Mick's band in the studio but they broke up just before we arrived
We then had to scramble to find studio musicians for the session.
During the recording sessions we stayed in Spennymoor, Durham County
Alan Jones' brother, Keith and his wife, Margaret, had invited us into their home
We drove from Spennymoore to Stockton for our first pre-session rehearsal at Mick's house.
Finally met Mick's wife Margaret.
Guitar player Alan showed up even though a guitarist wasn't really needed
I planned to do all the guitar parts, but Alan is also a piano player.
Alan has a solo act and he used to work with Mick. The drummer didn't show.
We rehearsed till 9 pm. Mick is an excellent bass player.
Funny and great guys to work with - Mick does some very funny Cheech and Chong routines
Went to the pub for a pint and after and back to Mick's for tea.
Sue-On was tired and sick - we headed back to Keith & Margaret's house - read and bed.
August 4, 1977 Thursday
Sue-On still sick, and worried about the baby.
Saw a doctor and he ordered her to bed all day.
I left for Newcastle at 11 to make arrangements at Impulse Studio with manager, Dave Wood.
The studio was only 8-track, not fancy but serviceable.
Rates: 12 pounds per hour - 25% extra Saturday and 50% extra Sunday.
Much of the equipment was not as good as our home set up: Tannay monitors, Peavy twin amp.
I hired a session drummer and pianist.
Back at 3 and left for rehearsal at Mick's alone
Back home Sue-On wrote out lyrics for tomorrow's session and slept.
Rehearsed with Mick only as Alan was working at Whitby
The drummer didn't show again - just as well as I had hired a replacement.
We spent much time on my originals. Ate fish and chips with Sandbrooks.
August 5, 1977 Friday
Friday - Sunny
Keith Jones knocked us up at 7:50am.
We had a quick breakfast and Sue-On and I headed off to the studio at Newcastle.
Sue-On was feeling better and not as worried about the baby as the dull cramps were gone.
The Joneses were off to Scarborough for a day or two.
We took the Tyne Tunnel to Walls End.
Dave Wood and I carried the equipment up to the THIRD floor, above a bingo hall.
Sue-On went to get baking for snacks.
Drummer Alan and his dad arrived and started to set up.
Pianist Bernie arrived at 10 A.M. and then Mick
(Mick had to go to work at 8:30 A.M. with a Canadian Club hangover.
I had brought him a bottle from Canada).
Alan and Bernie worked together in a group at a club in Newcastle - La Dolce Vita
They also worked in a large band in Aubin Byker?.
They were both solid musicians and things started off well.
By 12 noon we had done bed tracks for two originals and two oldies.
By 1:15 we were working on "Horizons" (Swamp Romp).
Sue-On and I ate our first Cornish Pastries.
The session involved much concentrated work: rehearse from scratch, then record - over and over.
Mickey Sweeney, the engineer, goofed.
He had the whole first tape on fast varispeed
This resulted in our using two 1" 8-track Scotch & Ampex tapes at 25 pounds each.
We could use the session musicians till 6.
We did Tammy and Song Sung Blue in the last half hour.
Paid them 40 each and left the equipment in the studio.
We talked Dave into wiping out the overtime with just 10% extra on Sunday.
Headed out for gas... only had 2 pounds.
To a Chinese place with Mick for tons of bean sprouts (Sue-On still has a craving for sprouts).
To the Superstitions Club - Scottish bass player signs us in - a good group -
Then Alan and Bernie backed a country duo - we stayed for an hour and left at 9.
Motorway - Mick points us to Spennymoor.
Alone in the house watching TV until Keith, Margaret and Beverly come in.
They decided that one day at Scarborough had been enough.
They had seen The Spy Who Loved Me. Bed
August 6, 1977 Saturday
Up at 8. Mick and Margaret arrived at 8:30.
Mick bounced around in the back of our van for a fast trip up the Motorway.
Through the Tyne Tunnel to an Esso
We talked the salesgirl into taking a 10 pound travellers' cheque.
Dave Wood let us into the studio and we drank coffee
We waited for Mickey who arrived at 10.
Sue-On and Marg went out to cash travellers cheques and to get pastries.
We did One Night Stand first - in a low A instead of the stage E - an answering duet.
Sue-On's voice a bit croaky but it went well.
Sue-On then did Tammy - croaky and many takes - no harmony.
Song Sung Blue - some harmony.
Montana - used third take - bed track: electric piano instead of acoustic.
Why Me, Lord: Sue-On did a knockout version with great harmony.
Paper Roses/Rambling Rose medley.
Goodtime Jamboree dragged a bit and Sue-On added some harmony.
Horizon (Swamp Prairie... eventually Swamp Romp): did 'Barry McGuire' vocal : )
Horizon a bit too extreme - tamed it down a bit - funky.
Outlaw Ramblin' Band: one take.
Silver Threads and Golden Needles. Please Release Me.
Alan Studholme and Bernie Watson came around for the last three songs.
Finished at 4: 30 and we all headed out to Priory at Tyne Mouth.
Many old bunkers there. Took many photos. Marg took some.
Very windy sunny chilly. Old ladies helping us to choose poses.
We left Bernie and Alan and went to a fish and chips shop.
An old colonel was giving the waitress a rough time.
He latched onto us, shooting down foreign investments.
Against Yankees and Canucks coming into the country - actually very funny but vulgar.
Motorway to Thinford Inn for a pint of lager and lime.
To Joneses and Sandbrooks left for home. Watched Cliff Richard on TV.
Norman and Elsie came in and invited us all to KGH Club.
Dorothy and Norman and Johnsons are there.
To Elsie's for sandwiches and tea. Got Jubilee gifts and watched Frankenstein.
Home to Premature Burial.
August 7, 1977 Sunday
Overcast and cool but turns sunny.
We slept in till noon and got up for tea and crumpets.
Caught up diary while watching serious BBC drama on TV
TV shows: The Addams Family animated and Top 40.
Sue-On and Margaret cooking chicken, mushrooms, etc.
Mick and Marg arrived at 1:30 and we piled into van to make 3 P.M. session at Impulse.
Arrived to bad news: John the string synth man can not come . . . overworked, etc.
Packed up and make new date for Wednesday, Aug. 10.
Back to Spennymoor and dropped off Sandbrooks.
We left a note and drove to Liverpool.
The next day we visit Chester and
Blacon Cemetery where Uncle Bill and his Lancaster crew are buried.
Tuesday we explored York and old haunts in Middlesbrough.
August 10, 1977 Wednesday
Up early at 8:30 and arrive at 9:30 for 10 A.M. session.
Dave Woods is there alone.
Mickey & keyboardman John Ashcroft arrived late but soon set up Vox string synth & ARP Odyssey.
We started vocals with Why Me, Lord and the sound is very impressive
John came up with lush beautiful sounds from my head arrangement suggestions.
He did a great job in getting the sounds I describe that I want to hear.
Paper Roses: Strings and ARP solo.
Tiny Bubbles: Strings and sfx (bubbles and sea).
Goodtime Jamboree: Jews harp sound from the ARP.
Horizons: ARP clavinet sound.
Outlaw Ramblin' Band: Growly bass on chorus.
Montana: Flanger on strings with wind fx at end.
Silver Threads: ARP solo.
Release Me: nothing can help : (.
One Night Stand: good strings. Tammy: good strings.
Song Sung Blue: strings and ARP solo.
Great job - he worked till 4 PM and asked only 25 pounds but we gave him a 5 pound bonus.
Started the mix. Bernie came in and John stayed for a few.
Mick phoned and drove over.
A gruelling day but some good mixes
A few bass mistakes to punch out. (missed a glaring one in Outlaw Ramblin' Band).
Didn't do any more guitar as we had taken long enough with the ARP and strings.
Sue-On brought Chinese food in at 1 and 6.
Keith, Marg and Norman arrived at 8:30 and stayed durng the Swamp Talk mix.
Sue-On then left with them for Grey's Casino.
I finished the mix at 10:30
Dubbed backing tracks onto a stereo tape to use on stage at home.
Mickey had to leave so Dave took over.
Charged for 12 hrs studio time - 10@ for mastering 1/4" tape. Two reels instead of three.
Phoned Sue-On, they were leaving so will meet them at home.
Phoned Canada - airstrike over - everything is OK.
Sue-On home at 2 AM - she won 38 pounds playing blackjack.
Toast and tea and bed.
August 11, 1977 Thursday
Sunny and hot
Slept in to catch up on sleep.
Norman brought over Alan Jones' Free Spirit master 1/4" tape
We decided to take the tape over to Impulse again for a dub of one of my songs.
The secretary was alone as Dave was at the radio station with Why Me, Lord.
One of the jocks flipped over it and played it three times.
They will feature it on his religious programme on Sunday.
Dave returned dubbed Boogie Woogie Band from the Free Spirit master for 5 pounds.
Talked and explored the storage rooms.
Many good groups have recorded at Impulse, including the Chieftains.
He gave us an Impulse logo T-shirt
Second shirt was left over from the recent energy crisis: "Save Energy, Fuck Slowly."
August 12, 1977
Spent a night at the Fiesta Club in Stockton a large show and dance and disco club.
Good house band, MC and English C&W singer played to a full house.
Then tonight's feature act: Jet Harris and the Diamonds (original Shadows bass player).
Jet is a small balding spaced out, tippsy man on bass.
His lead guitarist did all Shadows and Ventures.
Harris ended the set by playing Diamonds & Rhythm and Greens on a terribly out-of-tune guitar.
During the evening a group of guys asked him in the toilet if I was Kenny Rogers -
They were fooled by the accent, long hair and beard.
August 16, 1977 Tuesday
We spent the day roaming London:
Picadilly, Knightsbridge, Harrods, British Museum, Museum of Natural History and Science,
75 Years of Recorded Sound Exhibit, Royal Albert Hall, Leicester Square
(saw ERB's People That Time Forgot), Chinese restaurants,
Returned to our bed & breakfast room just a terrific storm hit.
Shocking news on the radio:
Elvis just reported dead at 10:30.
Hotel keeper and roomers in grief.
The storm flooded the streets and closed down parts of the tube system. Surreal.
BBC solemnly signs off with Elvis' How Great Thou Art.
August 17, 1977 Wednesday
Cloudy and drizzle
We hit the streets of London early: Oxford, Regent, Wedgewood, Carnaby, Shaftsbury,
London Experience show, Chinese restaurants.
Every paper displayed on the streets has "King is Dead" headlines.
I bought up all the unusual English Elvis records I could find. BBC signoff tribute to Elvis.
August 18, 1977 Thursday
Took the train to Gatwick.
In the airport queue a
French Canadian couple ahead of us remembered us from our shows at Winnipeg's Club LaVerendry.
Behind us was a girl who knew us from a dance we played in Oak Bluff two months ago.
Another lady in the lineup knew us also... heard us paged on the PA and let us know.
The Joneses were phoning the airport to say goodbye.
August 19, 1977 Friday
Home in time to play a gig at the Rossburn Indian Reserve - an outdoor dance.
Heavy rain before the dance.
We set up on a low, dumpy outdoor stage with mud and water all over and around it.
The audience made up of little kids to old people -- all of them wet and mud covered.
We played in the fog and wet and cold. Very responsive crowd.
We backed many of local singers including the chief who played fiddle songs.
An amazing contrast to the English scene we had left yesterday.
contains excerpts from the
Hillman July/August 1979 Travel Journal.
Related expanded anecdotes are found in the companion chapter:
Volume 9: On Stage In England
July 16, 1979 Monday
Sue-On, 1 1/2 year-old baby Ja-On, Mom Hillman and I drove into Winnipeg
We made an 11th hour pickup of our new passports at the Richardson Building.
Said goodbye to Nana and she took the car home.
We got three front row seats on a DC-10
Great seats that gave us more room with a very restless Ja-On.
We finally got baby tranquilizer medicine from the stewardess
Ja was knocked out for the rest of the trip.
July 17, 1979 Tuesday
Hot and sunny but became cloudy in the North
We landed at Prestwick (Glascow) and on to Gatwick.
Mick Sandbrook had driven all night from his home in Stockton to pick us up.
No trouble getting gifts, duty-free and my Fender Thinline guitar through Customs.
We piled into his small company "mini van" and started long drive back.
Slow hard drive through London traffic.
July 18, 1979 Wednesday
Cloudy and cool - Occasional sun
Mick and Margaret Sandbrook invited us into their home for most of the stay.
We stayed in the master bedroom even though Margaret was nine months pregnant
We met Paul Duckers, drummer and then rest of Mick's band, Desperado:
Mick Sandbrook ~ Alun Edwards ~ John Whittingham ~ Colon Bradley
I set up a joint recording session with Desperado.
About half of the 20 songs I finally choose will be numbers that we both know.
We will then share backing tracks, but the songs will have two different mixes.
Desperado will have a mix with their lead vocals, and we will have one with ours.
We used a Workingman's Canteen off Portland Lane for a practice hall.
Spent this first session on learning my original stuff. Still rough but coming.
We took Ja to the practice for awhile
Our son wouldn't sleep so one of Mick's friends took Sue-On and Ja home early.
July 19, 1979 Thursday
Cloudy and cool
We borrowed Mick's Morgan van to visit the Jones family in Spennymoor
Then on to Guardian Studio in the little, hard-to-find village of Pity Me near Durham.
The studio is in two adjoining row houses on 26 Front Street.
Manager Terry Gavaghan wasn't there and there is a session in progress,
Ja soaked his last nappie (diaper), so we return to Sandbrook's.
We had brought two suitcases full of Pampers, not trusting the UK disposables
After a traditional Thursday night meal of fish and chips we left Ja with Marg
Off for a 7:00 practice.
Worked on my originals and things went better in this second session.
We tried Sue-On's ballads but will probably leave them for the keyboard player.
Desperado worked on their own originals
The band had a few disagreements on the direction they are going to go with originals.
July 20, 1979 Friday
Sunny and Cool
Start the morning off with letter, diary and lyrics writing.
I had no luck tracking down last year's keyboard player, John Ashcroft.
Band set up at a large canteen for ICI workers at Billingham, past the Fiesta Club.
Met guitar player Colin's wife Angela and her two girl friends.
Slow crowd, older, and all the lights were left on.
Good band sound but many of crowd complain it was too loud
The sluggish crowd gradually got into a dance mood as the night went on.
Paul was having some trouble fitting in.
I made many music notes,
Trying to decide on which songs would be good for a joint recording project.
Packed up and home.
DESPERADO STAGE NUMBERS (1979)
July 21, 1979 Saturday
Cloudy and Cool with some rain
Set up at club at North Kenton near Gosworth - small but good reception.
Keith and Margaret Jones came in... they liked the band sound.
Packed up and back home after successful night.
Sue-on posed for a photo in Mick's Formula 2 Racing car outfit
Mick will wear this orange maintenance jumpsuit at tomorrows race in Hartlepool.
July 22, 1979 Sunday
I spent the day with Mick at the Formula 2 Hartlepool races
Mick works the pits for #705 driver Peter Manson.
The drivers are real stars with dollies on their arms and packs of groupies.
We arrived at Guardian at 7:30
Waited for two hours waiting for a demo session with 3 songwriters to finish.
I finally met owner/manager/engineer, etc.,
We arrived at Guardian at 7:30
Waited for two hours waiting for a demo session with 3 songwriters to finish.
I finally met owner/manager/engineer, etc.,
Terry resembled cross between Tiny Tim and Alice Cooper in appearance.
The meeting went well - very keen, enthusiastic and competent.
The studio was small and hot with 24-track Studer board.
Terry had toured as lead guitarist with the Carpenters
He saved enough money to open his own studio here in the North East
July 23, 1979 Monday
Cloudy and Nice
The band gathered at Mick's and then we waited for Alan.
To Pity Me and set up.
Terry took 2-3 hours to set up, plug everything in, and get started.
Recommended keyboard player, Alan Clark, brought a Rhodes 63 & Clavinet.
A solid musician but smoked constantly ~ acrid fumes
He was also a health food freak and had many strange organic mixtures.
Paul insisted on setting up his own drum kit.
Drums didn't work out, sounded awful and had to be torn down.
We set up the Yamaha house kit which had belonged to Who's Keith Moon.
Terry had bought them at a London auction.
The low upright piano was from The Chateau in France
This piano had been used by Elton John for Yellow Brick Road.
We took a long time getting the bed tracks... things were slow coming together.
Paul had trouble with the drums - cracked hi-hats.
He was new to session drumming with a very busy bass pedal and mushy snare.
The rest of the band came together really well.
I directed the session while playing my Tele through a Vox practice amp
Led bed tracks with rough vocals and guitar.
(I ended up using my rough guitar track in the final mix to save time.)
Generally a great atmosphere but Terry was making furious phone calls
One call was to the coal man who had double charged him.
We did 12 bed tracks: Needles and Pins, Sail On 747, Disco Stomp, Reelin' In Soho,
Auction Block, Hold Me Darlin', Lady Luck (Desperado original), Take It Easy,
Rock Medley, Promised Land, I Can't Stop Loving You, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.
We packed up after midnight
The end of a tough, grueling day with hot steady work
I was under a lot of pressure with many crucial on the spot decisions all day... long day
We didn't take time to eat although we had gone down to the pub around 9:30 for a beer.
July 24, 1979 Tuesday
Cloudy and Warm - Some sun
Sue-On, Mick and I met the other guys at Pity Me a little later than we planned.
We started work on five more bed tracks: Joker, Bring Back the Good Times,
How Many Arms, Summer Time, You Light Up My Life.
Paul couldn't handle ballads Arms or Light Life so Sue-On took over on drums.
Terry had to rush out to confront a grouchy neighbour
The man had kicked his dog and hit his young 7 or 8 year old son.
Terry had a few domestic pressures as his wife was very pregnant
She also had been bandaging their son in the groin area for some injury.
We finally started the vocals in the late afternoon.
We worked late and Sue-On and I did all the vocals on the songs we brought
We hadn't learned the Desperado songs yet.
Sue-On's songs were last but we worked hard and did all of hers in record time.
At the end of a long day the session appears to be sounding good.
Sue-On went out for pies and pastries, etc. but that had been our only meal..
Mick, Alun, Sue-On and I were there all day, right through.
We phoned Marg before we closed... Ja was all right.
July 25, 1979 Wednesday
Cloudy and Warm
Harmony vocal day at the studio.
Desperado worked on backup harmonies most of the day.
Paul 'helped' in the control room.
We spent a long time doing the harmonies but they sound really good.
We overdubbed them all as well.
Alan Clark waited around all day to add some synth and strings.
We finished the vocals in late afternoon.
Colin and John then put on some lead stuff.
Frustrated by many telephone call interruptions.
Mick and I went to the fish shop to bring back fish and chips for the band.
Then the band left for the day.
For the evening Alun, Mick and I set up the synths.
Watched and suggested arrangements for Alan who was using ARP equipment.
He did nice work - easy to communicate what I was hearing in my head arrangements
The strings weren't quite as convincing as John Ashcroft's in our Newcastle sessions.
Alan put on low strings, then high, and then added other synth stuff for sweetening & lead
Auction Block: full strings and French horn and flute (the flute got lost in the mix).
Hold Me, Darlin': Just strings with a synth intro.
Lady Luck: high strings.
Take It Easy: Strings at the end which I later flanged.
I worked with Alan on developing a 5-string banjo technique with a G drone string and rolls.
It came out quite convincing at the end of the song.
I skipped the Rock Medley.
Promised Land: tried to get a full "Rockin' Pneumonia"-type horn section & high alto sax.
Alan Clark was just getting rolling
Terry was pooped however, and dozing off at the board.
I realized I'd been driving these sessions beyond endurance.
We dubbed the day's work onto John's cassette
Took the tape home for Sue-On who had gotten a ride back earlier with the boys.
Got home very late - 2 AM.
July 26, 1979 Thursday
Sunny for much of the day
Sue-On, Mick, Alun and I arrive back at the studio around noon.
A late start today as the previous days started around 10 AM.
We resumed adding string parts.
I Can't Stop Loving You: Strings and Sax/Trumpet-like sound.
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain: Strings, bass runs and weird synth fills.
The Joker: Full treatment of strings and brass.
Bring Back the Good Times: Disruption - we get a bomb-like phone call... One of many.
Alan's manager is insisting on more money for the session.
We had agreed upon 140 pounds for the session with Alan
I had paid him 40 advance.
Finally another long heated call
Alan said that the manager had ordered him out unless we paid him 50 quid more.
I said go, but he then agreed to stay until 7:30 when he would have to take a taxi to a gig.
There were bad vibes for awhile but eventually things got back to normal.
Luckily I had still not paid him the full amount.
We finished How Many Arms, Summertime, and Light Life with a full treatment.
Needles and Pins: beefed up the main riff with synth.
I paid him 100 quid and he ran for his taxi.
The last we saw of him
(we actually saw Alan twice about 15 later when he appeared at the Winnipeg Arena,
first as backup for Eric Clapton and then as part of Knopfler's Dire Straits -
a group he joined a few months after playing on our session.)
We still needed acoustic piano on the R&R Medley, Sail On 747, and a few other parts
We plunged into the vocals.
Sue-On brought Chinese take-away to the studio.
Tough going on the Needles and Pins harmony.
Sue-On had a bit of a rough night.
I double tracked Lady Luck, Take It Easy, R&R Medley and Promised Land.
Sue-On went across the street to the phone kiosk to make phone calls
I was singing Take It Easy in the drum booth that doubled as a vocal isolation booth.
Part way through the song, a brilliant flash of light lit up the room from behind my right shoulder
Mick and Terry appeared startled behind the board and stopped the tape.
I assumed that some piece of equipment had blown up.
Terry motioned me into the control room
He phoned a buddy who lived upstairs above one of the row houses.
The guy rushed in saying, "She's back!?!"
Apparently Mick and Terry had seen the negative image of a short figure in the brilliant flash of light that had lit up the room behind me. Terry went on to relay the story of the ghost of an 8-year-old girl who had been struck by a lorrie in the street 30 years ago. They had brought her in and laid her on a couch that was situated where the drum booth now stood. She died. The girl's ghost was a bit of a legend in the town. There was even a picture of her in the pub down the street. The legend was that she usually appeared before a disaster of some sort happened. Strangely, a few weeks back, in the middle of the night, Terry and his wife had heard a cry from someone falling down the stairs from their upstairs suite. The only other person in the suite was their young son who slept in another room. They raced out but found their son still fast asleep in his bed. But on another occasion they awoke to see the glowing figure of a young girl standing at the foot of their bed. They learned the next morning that a close relative had died that night. I am not at all superstitious and have still to be convinced about the validity of the supernatural... and I didn't see a ghost girl... but there certainly was a brilliant light behind me that night.
We had a good story to tell Sue-On when she returned from her long phone call.
Mick took her home while I stayed to do the Chuck Berry stuff
I went on to learn and attempt to sing Desperado's The Joker.
After this I was too worn out to attempt their Bring Back the Good Times.
This worked out very well as we later took the two inch master tape back to Canada
We adapted this original Desperado song to a very powerful, but bitter sweet, melancholy duet.
I got back to Stockton and Sue-On after 2 AM.
July 27, 1979 Friday
Final day of the Guardian marathon session.
We waited for Alun Edwards, dropped Marg off downtown
We reached the studio around noon.
Our mixing session got off to a bit of a late start.
We started at the front of the tape and went through it in sequence.
I had a difficult time burying and working with the drum tracks:
a busy and sloppy bass drum - terrible high hat that leaked through to the snare track
and since the snare had no natural recorded punch, it was difficult to EQ it.
We mixed two versions of eight songs: Needles and Pins, Lady Luck, Take It Easy,
R&R Medley, Promised Land, Can't Stop Loving You.
Took us 4 reels of 1200 Ampex 20/20 - 2-3 pounds per reel. Desperado 2 reels.
Most were easy mixes but it still took a long time.
Alun got pies and Mick later went out for fish & chips.
The mix took approximately one hour per song so we ran late into the night.
We all got kinda punchy.
I was running out of time so I finished all of Sue-On's in a row
This was to save mixing time, to make sure they were done, and give a more consistent sound
Then we did Desperados two originals.
We wound up around 4. Reached home in encroaching daylight.
Wiped out. One hour's worth of songs on cassette from John's recorder left on the deck.
July 28, 1979 Saturday
Cloudy with some rain
Show at the Normanby Hotel with the Desperado wives and friends attending:
Alun and Rose Edwards, Colin and Angela Bradley,
John and Kath Whittingham, Paul Ducker and girlfriend Anne,
Mick and Margaret Sandbrook. Keith and Margaret Jones came in later
Joneses won a camera in a raffle.
A good show.
Packed up and home for sandwiches, coffee, Star Trek, all left and we headed for bed.
July 29, 1979 Sunday
Sunny then light rain
We listened to the cassette of the sessions many times.
Ja-On enjoyed singing "bye-bye" with Disco (Ja Ja's) Stomp.
We had actually written Stomp together back home
Eventually I put Ja's name into the song and title
Ja and I went for many walks during the day and spent some good times together.
I left with Mick for the Brotton W/C at 6:20
Sue-On stayed with Ja until after the opening act:
Opener was a magician who hanged himself and had a good standup routine.
Keith and I got good stage and crowd pictures.
Finally able to unwind with the band as the recording pressures were off.
Many girl groupies at the gigs.
Tonight, one groupie in black bra and deep cut tight T-shirt pursued the band
Some of the guys started to bark... the insulted girl stomped off in a huff.
Packed up and band members headed for home
Keith, Sue-On and I went to the Enterprise for mousaka - home, TV, talk and bed.
July 30, 1979 Monday
Sunny and nice ~ Rain after tea
Borrowed Mick's van to go to the bank to approve funds for the session
Toured Durham Castle & Cathedral & put in time till meeting with Terry in Pity Me
I proposed a deal on session fees
Terry told us that Alan's agent Rob is still phoning for more money... weird : )
July 31 - August 3, 1979 Much replay of 1976 Tour
We made final payment to Guardian Studios and headed for Wales: Llanogen ~ Swallow Falls ~ Port Marion (The Prisoner Series) ~ Castles ~ Liverpool (first signs of punk culture) ~ Chester ~ Blacon Cemetery (Uncle Bill's Grave with Lancaster crew) ~ Manchester ~ Darlington.
Back to Stockton: "It's a girl... Kelly Louise!!!" Celebrate
Off Again: Guisborough ~ Captain Cook Museum ~ Whitby ~ Goathand ~ Flying Dales radar ~ Chop Gate ~ North Allerton ~ Thirsk ~ James Herriot ~ Thirsk Sowerby Club ~ Castle Howard ~ Fountains Abbey ~ Newcastle ~ Heddon ~ Hexham ~ Roman Station ~ Hadrians Wall ~ Holy Island ~ Berwick ~ Gifford ~ Edinburgh Castle ~ War Memorial ~ Derwent ~ Countryside
Back to Stockton: Margaret and beautiful baby Kelly Louise finally home from hospital
August 9, 1979 Thursday
Band played Western Social Club Middlesbrough. OK audience.
To a farm in Stokesly for a barbecue and barn dance performance.
August 10, 1979 Friday
We set up on a lowbed in a large barn
The stage was decorated with camouflage netting from the nearby military base
Waited till 10 to play
A long cold night with a steak barbecue at 11 ~ Much English beer.
Big lively crowd.
Sue-On and I did much old rock and roll but the sound system wasn't great.
Songs like: Memphis ~ Blues ~ Baby What You Want Me To Do ~ Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Chuck Berry ~ Originals from Session ~ It's So Easy ~ Summertime, etc.
August 11, 1979 Saturday
Show at Billingham Social Club: large club with good crowd, good stage & good lights.
Opening act: a show off keyboard and circus drummer.
Mick still had a bad cold - can't shake it.
Colin's and Alun's wives attended.
Played tape of recording session on PA before the show.
August 12, 1979 Sunday
Phoned home and firmed some bookings,
Carman changed date of dance to one we could make.
One Night Stand single from Volume 7 climbing high on Manitoba charts.
Show at Hartlepool Central Club - upstairs - a dive but redecorating.
A wingy crazy night. Swapped phone numbers.
August 13 - 16, 1979
Tourist Break: Stratford ~ Bath ~ Stonehenge ~ Salisbury ~ Winchester Cathedral ~ Jane Austen' house ~ Windsor ~ Oxford ~ Blenheim Palace ~ Stockton
August 17, 1979 Friday
Band and session windup party at John and Kath Whittingham's.
A fine old house that rocker Chris Rea was trying to buy...
House close to Vipond's Oxford Road digs where we stayed in '76
Kath had a big spread of food, Sue-On brought Big Mac hamburgers,
Much beer, Mick brought the 26 of Canadian Club I had brought him.
We played tapes through John's Fender amp.
Many photos ~ Much chat.
Band's old drummer Norman was there for awhile,
He was leaving for holiday in the south and was driving all night.
Paul and Anne left early for another party.
Angela dragged Colin home... jealous tiff.
Someone invited him to come back, which he did
This prompted many irate calls from his wife and he finally left again.
Women all crying so party ended abruptly ~ Very unhappy farewell party
August 18, 1979 Saturday
Evenwood Club gig at Bishop Aukland.
Sue-On left for club early with Mick
I stayed with Ja until Keith brought daughter Angela over to babysit.
I arrived late. Smelly big club was packed.
Band and Sue-On huddled backstage. No tables available.
I sampled barley wine and beer.
Opening act a solo with tons of loud echo delay backed by house band, tiresome.
Good audience response for band.
Sue-On left early while we packed and came later,
They had car trouble and got home after we did. TV, sandwiches, bed.
August 19, 1979 Sunday
Back to Pity Me for pictures and final tape tweak.
Terry was in session but changed to old denim for photos.
The musicians in the session were the same ones that we met there the first day.
Photos: Ja at the deck ~ outside the front of the studio ~
me in borrowed hat at the Pity Me roundabout sign ~ Sue-On and Ja by sign
~ at the pub ~ me at the telephone kiosk.
Terry coudn't clean up the cough on the Needles and Pins track until 10:30 tonight.
Back to Spennymoor to say goodbye to the Jones family & return borrowed odds & ends
Haverton Hill Billingham gig: a new strange-shaped club
Kath & Anne were there and roadie Jeff & fiance ~ later Mick's friend Harry.
Good show and crowd for this final show
Chats, goodbyes, hugs and kisses during and after show.
Tried many different drinks.
August 20 & 21, 1979
Mick and Margaret saw us off at Darlington Station
We took the train to Scotland to leave from Prestwick.
My mother met us at Winnipeg Airport. Ja-On slept all the way home.
Sue-On and I started planning Album Number 9: On Stage In England for Xmas release
1979 was a good year.
It culminated in our winning the
MACA Manitoba Entertainers of the Year Award.
Bill and Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio