Celebrating Birmingham's Popular Music History
One of Birmingham’s most notorious pubs, The Swan, Yardley.
17 September 1967 – The Penny Peep Show (with Martin Barre on guitar) with Jigsaw
7 October 1967 – Yellow Rainbow and Chances Avenue
10 December 1967 – The Penny Peep Show and Magazine
The Swan was an enormous pub on the traffic island, beside the Coventry Road underpass at Yardley. It was demolished some years ago, long before the pub trade recession which has caused the loss of so many pubs. An idea of its size can be gained from its replacement, which is a huge building with a small clock tower. opposite Yardley Shopping Centre. Bands played on a stage in a huge room upstairs
I recall that I was told by Ultra Sound’s bass player Malc Harker (who went on to play and record with Indian Summer), that we were due to play there, and that it was a huge pub with about 12 bars. Always the joker, I said “That will be a blues pub then”. It was 1969 when we worked there on the same bill as The Family, in their hippy phase.
Roger Chapman, ( Family’s lead singer) had such a strong and distinctive voice that it was decided that Ultra Sound’s normal 3 piece band format might benefit from a fuller sound on that night, and I spoke to Modie (Arthur Albrigton) who joined us for one night to play harmonica. Modie had recently left Peppermint Kreem who had split up when Don Fardon whom they had been backing, had a sudden international solo success with his record Indian Reservation.
I was Ultra Sound’s roadie, and lighting engineer, and quite literally played a set of lights from an on stage location at the front of stage. That night I was dubbed “Sparkie” by Roger Chapman.
I also saw Family there. Mothers was packed that night so I couldn’t get in. Instead I ventured to The Swan to witness Family play another blistering set.
I remember seeing the Cream play at the Swan in Yardley in 1966 when I was 15. Anyone else remember?
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