LP sleeve notes by Peter Meaden.
...but in the beginning there was some years back an exceptionally broke, eight-handed coloured band who played Rock n' Soul and that not many wanted to know (on account of no-one ever hearing of an English-based coloured band before and anyway groups were in that week) and this rather cheesed off and very hungry band drove, in their borrowed van, with half of the 'Who's' equipment in the back (they dug this band) through the lower reaches of Hampshire on their way to their second date at the Birdcage Club in Portsmouth. They swung down that hill into Portsmouth. And there - low and behold! Everywhere! Everywhere one could be stuck, were posters, posters and more posters. And feasting on them, this band read: THE NEW RELIGION: JIMMY JAMES AND THE VAGABONDS - THERE AIN'T NO ONE ELSE!'
Jimmy James and the Vagabonds at the Birdcage, c.1965.
'Tonight it doesn't matter that you might cough, or your chair scrapes, tonight is for wild. For live.....Suddenly two lights leap on and a dark suit on stage is screaming "Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, and the Alan Bown set.'
So began the sleeve notes to the 1966 album,' London swings "Live" at the Marquee club'. Turn the album over and on the cover photo-montage a banner with 'Birdcage' written across it is being waved an enthusiastic crowd from Portsmouth who had travelled by coach to Soho to fill the famous Wardour Street club. The ocassion was a live recording by Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, and the Alan Bown Set, two of the most popular groups that ever played at Portsmouth’s Birdcage Club.
LP cover of 'London Swings 'live' at the Marquee Club'.
Marquee membership card.
Birdcage membership card
I met up with Jimmy James at the Birdcage reunion at South Parade Pier in 2000.
Photo: Kevin Purdy.
When it was all over it became The Brave New World.