Tuesday, 12 February 2008

1968 and all that...

The band came together in August 1968 when two Blandford lads, Chris Williams and Roy Putt, thought it a good idea to have some fun playing their kind of music. Chris was already an accomplished guitarist and had recently moved to Dorset from up North, and Roy took up the bass guitar. The drummer was another local chap called Pete Redfearn. In the early days, a lad called Roger took lead vocals and odd dancing during Chris's longish guitar solos.

They took the name "The Room" after a poem by somebody. Previously they were "One Way"...

Roy was an art student (yep, unusual eh?) studying graphic design at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and quickly turned his considerable artistic talent to publicity material. One very early small handbill might be recalled even today as it depicted a gruesome head with the upper part hollowed out and filled with the slogan "Room to Let". It is a sign of the times that anyone wishing to contact the band had to telephone a Mr Williams during the day (who would have been at his work as a civil servant) - no calling people by their first name in those days!

Pete worked at a record shop in Poole and had easy access to all the best material of the day.

The band did all the usual commercial stuff like "Midnight Hour" (people at the dances insisted) but also did a lot of their own songs.

An aspiring guitarist, called Scott, from Bournemouth-way joined and added depth to the sound. Also, Chris's girl friend, Jane Kevern, was also known to have joined in the odd chorus.

The band were now making quite an impact locally especially with the head-bangers that were starting to appear. The lad from Bournemouth left and was replaced on October 27 1968 by Steve Edge, a local guitarist, and also studying graphics at Bournemouth.

Gigs became more frequent and widespread. One was at the Royal Ballrooms also had Pink Floyd and Status Quo on the bill...

The music was influenced by the changes in line-up. Roger the vocalist left to be replaced permanently by Jane. Believe it or not, a girl vocalist was unusual in the late sixties especially in a local band.

Still playing all the standards, but deeply into West Coast type music, the band's music changed subtly with leanings towards folk-rock and especially blues. The band also tried their hand at classical tunes a la Dave Edmonds ("In the Hall of the Mountain King" seems to stick in the mind)

The "musical direction" was, in truth, in turmoil, but it all added to the moulding of the later, more unique sound of Room.

Above: (l-r) Jane, Steve and Chris at Wimborne in 1968

Above: (l-r) Pete and Roy at Wimborne in 1968

Above: Steve at Wimborne in 1968
Above: Roger at Wimborne in 1968

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