For anyone who ever rocked, rolled, bopped and reeled at a gig in Croydon... raved to the Yardbirds in the back room of the Star public house or spent the last penny of their student grant on a ticket for Genesis at the Greyhound. If you were at Croydon College to see Kilburn & the HighRoads make their debut or sat through the recording of the ‘Five Bridges’ album by the Nice at the Fairfield Halls - then this book is for you.
‘Rockin’ (and around) Croydon’ is the first book to attempt the task of documenting the thriving Croydon music scene during the years 1960 to 1980 - be it rock, folk, blues or jazz. Although primarily a book with a strong local interest, it will also appeal to anyone with an interest in music history, featuring information and photographs covering groups from all over the country, not just the Croydon area; any group who passed through and played in the area gets a mention - this includes nearly every major British band of the time, plus a large number of visiting American artists. The book therefore reflects the music and the period as much as the town itself.
The basic format shows year by year listings of concerts - date, venue, support act, ticket price - while the text features reviews, related trivia, as well as anecdotes and memories from local people - musicians, promoters and the all-important paying public. This year by year section is sandwiched between interviews with some of the better known locals, including Ralph McTell, Mike Vernon, Francis Rossi, Peter Sarstedt, Wizz Jones, Cliff Aungier, Matthew Fisher and Captain Sensible - as well as musicians from many of the lesser known, but equally important local groups. On the illustration front, the book includes many previously unpublished black and white photographs, plus a liberal sprinkling of posters, handbills and advertisements from the local and national press.
The book proved to be a little too specialised for the major music publishers and consequently is the first on the independent WOMBeAT publishing imprint.
Consisting of 224 A4 pages plus 4pp cover, ‘Rockin’ (and around) Croydon’ is priced at a very reasonable £11.50. After six and a half years, the project was finally completed and launched in October ‘98 and is now available from most Croydon book and record stores and from the wonderful Helter Skelter in London; or by mail order - see the order form page for full ordering information.