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Here and Now Column- June 2nd, 1980

Around the early 1980s there were a number of excellent local bands covering practically every genre of music. In this edition of Here and Now we featured the Yarmouth based Yarebeats who were an excellent 60s covers band. the average age of the band was just 21.

Chris Wise visited West Runton Pavilion to see none other than the legendary Chuck Berry and pointed out that the place was anything but full. Perhaps the ticket price of 6.50 put people off. Chris concludes his review with the words "For just about the first time in my life I felt privileged to be at a concert." The reason was simply that Berry was in good voice, in good humour, played  100 minutes despite only being booked for an hour and even allowed youngsters on stage to dance with him near the end.

I was into slightly more mundane concerts, writing the following review on Mike Harding's gig in Norwich:


For one man to hold an audience for over two hours takes a special kind of magic. Mike Harding has that special something.

I first saw Harding about 18 months ago at Derby and was not totally convinced of his ability to keep a one man show going. But in Norwich last night he came up with a completely new and highly entertaining mix of funny stories, comments and original songs.

Harding is rude without being crude and his humour, while obviously leaning heavily towards the North of England is as vital in East Anglia as anywhere else. Down here we may not eat mushy peas at the same rate as in Lancashire, and we may not call everybody "our kid" but at least we know what they mean.

The most surprising thing was Harding's musical ability whether on the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin or harmonica. One newspaperman is alleged to have referred to Harding as a "Cuddly owl." He may have that appearance but he is certainly a cuddly owl with a kick.

Elsewhere there were reviews of The Beat at the UEA, Bad Manners at Cromwells and the local charts which had We Are Glass by Gary Numan at number one in the Norwich singles and  Bloody Revolutions by Crass at number one in the alternative chart.

There was also plenty of news about Elvis with impersonator Rupert playing Norwich Tudor Hall and Elvis the musical at Norwich Theatre Royal fresh from the West End.

The lead story was my article on Chris Smither which is reproduced below.


Norwich folk singer Peter Bellamy and American Chris Smither have developed a strong friendship over the past ten years despite admitting that they stand at the opposite ends of the folk music spectrum.

The pair met at the Newport Folk Festival in 1967 and over the years Pete has enjoyed the hospitality of Chris in the States. Now the tables have been turned with the American artist visiting the country and staying with Pete in Norwich.

Chris comes from New Orleans and will be appearing throughout England during his five week stay. Dates include an appearance at the Norwich Folk Festival towards the end of June and at the Louis Marchesi public house in Tombland.

Chris' music is heavily influenced by Blues. A self-taught guitarist his early influences included Burl Ives and the Kingston Trio. It was in 1966 that he consciously decided to make a career out of music, left university and travelled to Boston.

"I was told that was the place to become famous, So I decided to become famous. I was very naive in those days," he said.

It was then that Chris realised where his future lay: "I was enjoying myself and making a living out of it and I have been doing the same kind of thing ever since," he said.

Chris has toured extensively throughout America and had two albums released there. His osngs have been recorded by artists such as Esther Phillips and Bonnie Raitt. Now he is taking on the English audiences not quite knowing what to expect.

"I have been astonished at the number of English people who are aware of Chris' music. He is something of an underground folk music hero over here. I think Chris should go down very well," Peter Bellamy said.

The Louis Marchesi concert will go ahead despite the closure of the venue's folk club. The evening will feature Chris Smither, Pete Bellamy with his traditional brand of folk and various other artists.