£9.99 GBP

The Skatalites (Catford, 1967)

 The gig took place on the7 July 1967, a Friday night with The Guns of Navarone as support. The Skatalites were not unknown to UK audience’s at this point. Their cover of Guns of Navorone had peaked in the UK Charts at number 36 in April of that year. Ska and Bluebeat had always had a Mod audience from the early 60s listened, who’s look at this point, and in a rejection of flower power, was slowly evolving into the ‘Skinhead,’ which would take an even more pronounced influence from Jamaican Rude Boy culture

 The importance of The Skatalites to Jamaican music cannot be overstated. Band is largely credited with both creating and popularizing Ska, particularly through the release of their Ska Authentic LP on Studio One in 1963.  Members read as a who’s who of Jamaican music legends, comprising at different times of  Roland Alphonso (tenor sax)  Theophilus Beckford (keyboards) Lloyd Brevette (bass) Baba Brooks, (trumpet) Karl Bryan  (alto sax) Drumbago (drums) Don Drummond (trombone) Bobby Ellis, (trumpet) Raymond Harper (trumpet) Jah Jerry (guitar) Hugh Malcolm (drums) Tommy McCook, (trumpet, tenor sax) Jackie Mittoo (keyboards) Johnny “Dizzy” Moore (fluegelhorn, trumpet) Lloyd Nibbs (bass, percussions) Ernest Ranglin (guitar) Rico Rodriguez (trombone) Lester Sterling (alto sax.)

As the band officially disbanded in the summer of 1965 with last gig at the Runaway Bay Hotel, Kingston, it’s hard to know exactly what line-up would have played this particular gig. In their native Jamacia, the band had morphed into the Soul Vendors and then Sound Dimension, whist the individual members continued to release solo material and collaborate with a range of other Jamaican artists.

The gig does not suggest itself to be part of any British Tour undertaken at the time, so it may well have been a standalone date which was the result of the Witch Doctors geography. South East London was a home from home for many of the Caribbean diaspora, with a large number of the Windrush generation settling in the area. Jamaican artists such as Desmond Dekker were actually living full time in the area by the late 60’s, and artists such as Jimmy Cliff and The Ethiopians had also played The Witch Doctor.

The Savoy / Witch doctor (Rushey Green, Catford. SE6)

An art Decor building built after the First World War; Savoy Ballroom was a focal point of local entertainment throughout the big band era. In 1939 it was commandeered by the government for social services, providing food, drink and medicine to local schoolchildren.  During the 50’s, as fashions changed in hosted Rock n Roll events, such as sessions by Lord Rockingham's X1, stars of pop TV show ‘Oh Boy.’

It’s popularity, and also notoriety, was augmented during the 1960’s. Upstairs continued to operate as a music venue, first as the Savoy Rooms and from 1965 onwards The Witch Doctor, drawing many of the best acts of the era, including The Who, The Animals, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones, as well as Jamaican acts such as Desmond Dekker, The Skatalites, Jimmy Cliff, The Ethiopians. A booking strategy which no doubt reflecting the considerable Caribbean diaspora who had recently found a new home in South East London.

A noteworthy feature of the venue was the drawing power of DJ Steve Maxted and his Sunday Night sessions. A professional film stuntman, his routine involved balancing razor-sharp swords on his chin, piercing his skin with meat skewers, and stapling various parts of his body with pins. Apparently, this resulted in the regular fainting of female patrons whose boyfriends them had to carry them home.

During the mid-1960s the downstairs was acquired by successful Manchester-based businessmen Dougie Flood, a club/hotel/leisure business owner and alleged member of the Quality Street Gang, and Bill Benny, the space becoming a casino and nightclub. The story goes that in their Northern naivety, they had asked the infamous South London gang the Richardson to "protect" the club in exchange for gaming machines being placed there. After a particularly fractious evening, where guns were drawn, the venue was torn-up, resulting in one fatality, multiple injuries and most of the Richardson gang being arrested.

Despite this, the upstairs continued to function as a respected live music venue until 1969, when the ground floor was converted to retail and the first floor became a Snooker Hall, and more recently a Pentecostal church.

Peckham Soul Prints

Designed by Craig Jamieson, these prints explore the unique diversity of South London’s cultural and social history. From archive research, they draw on contemporaneous listing material to create original graphic artwork not actually designed at the time, as well as uncovering original prints from the era.

All designs are silk screen lithographic printed and use 100% recycled and sustainable paper.

Changed Giver - RSD 2024
£21.99 GBP £27.99
Embarrassment - RSD 2024
£19.99 GBP £24.99
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Come Away With ESG
£19.99 GBP
Chutes Too Narrow
£19.99 GBP
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Blue Banisters
£34.99 GBP
£27.99 GBP
No Singles
£17.99 GBP
Harry Pussy
£15.99 GBP
Liquid Skin
£21.99 GBP
The Age Of Quarrel
£28.99 GBP
Flash And The Pan
£10.99 GBP
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£14.99 GBP
A Casa
£21.99 GBP
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Happy Birthday
£11.99 GBP
Mister Heartbreak
£11.99 GBP
Remote Echoes
£19.99 GBP £26.99
Call by Night
£14.99 GBP £18.99
The chant of solitude
£14.99 GBP £18.99
Ace of Spades
£49.99 GBP
Harmony Corruption
£50.00 GBP
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The Age Of Nero
£85.00 GBP
Stop The Bleeding
£110.00 GBP
Now, Diabolical
£249.99 GBP
Ocean Rain
£21.99 GBP
The Versions
£14.99 GBP £21.99
Life On The Road
£14.99 GBP
Night Pillers
£16.99 GBP
Hotel Aporia
£18.99 GBP
Floor It!!!
£18.99 GBP