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Southend Standard

Friday 23 December 2005

Back in the groove – The Paramounts on stage at Riga on Saturday
Photos:  Anna Lukala

The magic’s still there
It was truly a night to remember – and one which many must have thought they’d never witness. 

After 43 years, the four original members of legendary Southend band, The Paramounts, were back together on Saturday night on the stage of Westcliff’s Club Riga. 

Rock legends Robin Trower and Gary Brooker, who became huge international stars with Procol Harum, joined original drummer Mick Brownlee and bassman Chris Copping (the latter flying in from his home in Australia specially for the reunion). 

The show came about as a result of the interest stirred by Standard readers’ letters, photos and stories, remembering the coffee-bars of the Fifties and Sixties, featured in our Rock’n’Roll Years series.  Believe it or not, your reminiscences have won a worldwide readership, courtesy of the official Procol Harum website, which has been reproducing online. 

And the sellout audience in Riga reflected that – with fans present from the USA, Norway, Rome, Denmark and Germany, as well as all four corners of the UK. 

“It was a truly magical night,” said drummer Mick Brownlee.

“I really never thought it would happen, but it did – it was just amazing.  All the guys in the band had such a great time and played really well.  I’ve never seen Robin smile so much.  He just had this huge grin all night long!”

Once again, guests of honour were Robin Trower’s parents, Len and Blonde Shirley, who ran the Shades coffee bar where The Paramounts often played.

“It was wonderful to come across so many people from the old days, too,” Mick added.

“It wasn’t all that easy to recognise some of them, though – we’ve all changed a bit over the years!”

Photo caption:  Global gathering – fans came from as far as the USA Norway, Rome, Denmark and Germany

(namely, Jill McMahon and Al 'One-Eye' Edelist from LA, Linda Clare and Roland from the UK, John Denton from Southend, Jens Anders Ravnaas from Norway, Andrea and Stefano Ciccioriccio from Rome; no Germans pictured, sadly: in the background, The Paramounts soundcheck St James Infirmary)

Thanks, Dave; and Jill, for the typing

More about the Paramounts' reunion