Sent in by ROGER MORSE
I heard about the Ace Café from
a work colleague, but had never been there.
However when he gave me a programme of events, I just had to go on the 22nd.
November. I remember seeing Johnny Kidd and the Pirates in the early sixties at
the Watford Town Hall just as ‘A Shot of Rhythm and Blues’ came out and
seeing Johnny throw his sword into the stage. Mick Green of the Pirates became
my first guitar hero. I would tape
record performances from the radio show ‘Saturday Club’ of the Pirates and
|I had never seen the Pirates
live since the early sixties, so I thought here is a great chance to meet them
in person and maybe get an album cover signed. I waited, with others, in front
of the small stage and then we were told the Pirates were going to be another 45
minutes. I went back into the café/bar
area, then upstairs to the toilet. I
came out to find a door open to my right and there was Mick, Frank and John.
Mick was cleaning the neck of his guitar ready for the evening.
I held up my album cover and pen and Mick said “come in”.
How great to meet Mick, Frank and John after all these years. I asked
Mick if he still had his old ‘Gibson Les Paul Jnr.’ he used on the early
hits and the cream ‘Telecaster’ from later Pirate days and
|The café filled up and I was right near the stage as the Pirates came on starting with the powerful and loud MILK COW BLUES. After thunderous applause, John said they would be playing Johnny Kidd as well as Pirate numbers. He also thanked Johnny Kidd’s wife for being there. Mick joked “we’ll do a bit of Liberty X just for a laugh”. Then into Johnny Kidd’s PLEASE DON’T TOUCH. The house P.A. was not working very well and we weren’t getting much of Mick’s vocal backing, but never mind, it still sounded great. Then into I CAN TELL, John said that it was the first number they had recorded with Johnny Kidd, LINDI LOU followed. Mick then spoke about going to the Ace when it was a ‘Proper Café’ in the sixties and playing cards out the back, “Gambling was what it was all about then” he said. Then into TEAR IT UP. Mick then mentioned that they had a combined age of 185 years and “There’s only three of us”. Next came YOU DON’T OWN ME, John said “Me an Mick wrote it”. Mick replied “No you didn’t”, John said “Oh well there will be something else I wrote, does it matter”, (everyone laughed).|
|John then spoke about when they
had some time over at Abbey Road Studios after a Johnny Kidd session.
That’s when they recorded My Babe (they had remembered my request).
He said it was a bit disconcerting as Ella Fitzgerald was there watching
them record. Mick said they hadn’t
done MY BABE for 20 years. John
said, “Mick hates it”. They went
into it starting just like the record, brilliant.
Frank Farley then requested they do the other side, CASTING MY SPELL,
which although John said the words were silly and he couldn’t remember them
was also great. Johnny Kidd’s I’LL
NEVER GET OVER YOU followed, (audience joining in on harmony backing
|Then a well-earned break, the
atmosphere was electric. Stuart of
the Wild Wax Show kept the music coming until the Pirates returned for their
second set. Straight into a very
loud instrumental, PETER GUNN followed by the Mick Green/Wilco Johnson
number, GOING BACK HOME. Then
came a number from the Out of their Skulls album, LONESOME TRAIN.
John sprung the next one on Mick and Frank saying only, “its in G”.
That was Johnny Kidd’s LETS TALK.
‘G’ probably, being the wrong key for John but it didn’t matter!
Mick then starts of a semi-feedback chord as the intro to HONEY HUSH, the
audience joining in the chorus. A
SHOT OF RHYTHM AND BLUES came next, followed by GIBSON MARTIN FENDER
and DON’T MUNCHEN IT.
John then introduced the band
and himself as they went into BRAND NEW CADILAC. They had to do
Johnny Kidd’s SHAKIN’ ALL OVER, to end with a very powerful BABY
PLEASE DON’T GO. We shook hands as they left the stage and they were
really too tired to come back on, even though there were plenty of calls for
more from the audience.
What an evening!! I left with my ears ringing, lots of photo’s and a T-Shirt, thinking, must do it all again someday.