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Shades Reunion No.1

2 December 2005 : John Bobin, for BtP

Southend musician John Bobin (hear him here) reports:

Last night I went to the first of a number of planned reunions for old (and in some cases very old!) devotees of The Shades. This was a coffee bar in Southend-on-Sea in the sixties, which will by now be familiar to all BtP readers, as our Webmasters extraordinaire have featured many snippets from the Southend Standard about this particular era for Southendites. (see foot of this page)

The venue at the Ekco Club in Southend was well chosen as it was small enough to encourage conversation and friendly banter but large enough to accommodate about 130 old mates.

It was strange to note that many of the gents had gone grey over the years but the ladies had often gone blonde. Must be in the genes! I joked with one of these gents that after all we had tried to get into their jeans many times.

One attendee was assured that he featured heavily in an intimate diary written by a lady in the sixties (who is probably now in her own sixties.) They reminisced about these happy and apparently energetic times.

I arrived at the club together with [Paramount] Mickey Brownlee and as we observed the sea of faces it was gratifying to find out that many people recognised us even after all this time.

There was however a lot of “I am sure I know your face?” and “Aren’t you Fred?” conversation. The organiser, Brian Ayling, had suggested that we wear name badges but only a few people had taken up his sensible recommendation.

The DJ turned out to be Ken Todd of Sounds Around, with whom I had played many times when I was in The Fingers, at the Cliffs Pavilion; but he did not sing last night.

The band was a Cliff and The Shadows tribute band called Rich Clifford and The Saddows. They were perhaps a surprising choice for an audience that had been weaned on R&B and Rock and Roll.

They did however treat us to music that had many people dancing such as Forty Days, It’ll Be Me and Route 66 as well as Cliff and Shads staple fare, including an instrumental interlude featuring numbers like Apache and FBI.

Brian Ayling is organising a larger ‘do’ on 8 April 2006 and is planning to headline with a name band plus contributions from old sixties Southend bands.

All in all then a great night out. You wouldn’t believe the number of people that said to me that today’s music can’t hold a candle to what we listened to all the time at ... The Shades ...

Thanks, John

Shades Reunion, 2006, reviewed More about the Paramounts

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