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I Googled Picador Club, Blackpool, the other night to see what memories it could bring back.. very good. I have enjoyed looking at it all and the websites it took me to. So I wondered if I could add my recollections of it. I should say that I haven't read your book so you may have already covered them.


Anyway, here goes.. I guess that I first went there around 1962; maybe a year earlier, but anyway after I had moved up from Southend in Essex in 1960, and I was 18 in 62. I had a school friend, Phil Chapman, from St.Annes, who was playing bass guitar around our area. We decided to take a look at the club, which I had seen when I was going to the football ground.


He quickly became involved with other guys there and played with various combinations. I can remember Paul Jackman (guitar), Pete Yoxall (Sax), Tony Bell, Terry Earnshaw and the best of the lot, Dave Waggitt. He was sensational on piano, playing fantastic blues and R&B. I wonder what became of him? The only thing I can remember was he was supposed to have seen Tony Bell by chance at Chicago Airport.. on his way to play with Howlin' Wolf! Was that true? I remember the customers.. Brian London, and Jack and Dominic Pye. Not much room inside when they were there! I remember Arnold Frankitt and his wife, Trixie. He had been a wrestler and she had been a high wire act. They had three Alsatians, one of which was so heavy it lent against your legs all the time! Phil was in a group with Arnold that went off to Manchester to cut a record.. what were they called? The Picadors? What happened to the record? I usually went to see Dave Berry and the Cruisers. They were a fantastic act.. all Chuck Berry. What a sound!


Phil and I used to walk back to St.Annes and get home about six in the morning. Not much fun actually!The other thing I wanted to tell you was the great night at The Queens Hotel in Bispham. After they had done their acts in Blackpool, rumour had it that Jerry Lee Lewis was going to have a session there with John Lee Hooker. Very late on they arrived and played individually for a bit and together a little. But what an event. Jerry Lee was rocking up a storm! That piano would never be the same! Did you know that? So there you are. I've got it off my chest and hope that it helps in some way. I had great times there. Dark, sweaty, noisy, but what times eh!


Best wishes

Donald Johnson: January 2016


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