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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I know where I was in the 60's....
I knew that this book was in preparation sometime ago and offered the authors, who I had never met, three photographs to add to their collection, but this book is a lot more than just a trip down memory lane for those who remember one of the greatest jazz and blues clubs of the 1960's. This is a thoroughly researched history of two adjacent buildings in West Hampstead,...
Published 20 months ago by Paulinderwick

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3.0 out of 5 stars Liked story of Klooks Kleek club but not Decca studios section
I bought this book as a fan of British blues, I remember seeing ads in the Melody Maker at the time for the Klooks Kleek jazz and R/B club but as someone living in the provinces I dreamt of being able to see the bands advertised on a regular basis. The book tells the story of two adjacent premises in West Hampstead - a works which later became the Decca recording studios...
Published 10 months ago by G. E. Harrison


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3.0 out of 5 stars Liked story of Klooks Kleek club but not Decca studios section, 1 Oct. 2014
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G. E. Harrison (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book as a fan of British blues, I remember seeing ads in the Melody Maker at the time for the Klooks Kleek jazz and R/B club but as someone living in the provinces I dreamt of being able to see the bands advertised on a regular basis. The book tells the story of two adjacent premises in West Hampstead - a works which later became the Decca recording studios and the Railway Hotel which later hosted the Klooks Kleek club on its first floor.

I've still got my original 60s vinyl of John Mayall/Eric Clapton's 'Bluesbrealers' LP recorded at these Decca studios, probably the greatest ever British blues record, not to mention copies of John Mayall, Zoot Money and Graham Bond live LPs recorded in Klooks Kleek by microphones whose cables went over the roof to the studios next door. However, apart from this there was no real connection between the two buildings, except that a few of the artists who appeared at Klooks Kleek also recorded at Decca and staff from the studios drank in the pub. (Decca's biggest blues act the Rolling Stones only did a couple of early recordings there, doing all their subsequent work at independent studios.) The book details the history of the studios and also lists the producers and engineers who worked there. I'm afraid that I found this history of the studios a bit dull and the list of people who recorded there was also a bit plodding and needed more interesting stories of the sessions rather than the brief career resumes given.

Similarly the history of the pub was also a bit unnecessary but I did really enjoy reading about the establishment of the Klooks Kleek club - originally a jazz club but then switched to a blues and R/B club - and the many acts who played there. These were much more personal stories giving a real insight into the running of the club, its patrons and the many young hopefuls who played there and later went on to be famous. I also found the appendix with its lists of the bands who appeared between 1963 and 1970 very interesting: Graham Bond - 39 appearances, John Mayall - 33, Georgie Fame - 22 etc. I found this book very much a curate's egg, I thought that the history of both of the buildings was irrelevant really and that by far the most interesting portion of the book was the section relating to the Klooks Kleek club.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I know where I was in the 60's...., 22 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: West Hampstead's Musical Heritage Remembered (Kindle Edition)
I knew that this book was in preparation sometime ago and offered the authors, who I had never met, three photographs to add to their collection, but this book is a lot more than just a trip down memory lane for those who remember one of the greatest jazz and blues clubs of the 1960's. This is a thoroughly researched history of two adjacent buildings in West Hampstead, London. Two buildings linked, sometimes in more ways than one, both by their history and the accident of being next to each other. The story of the buildings is also a social history of the rapid expansion of London suburbs in the late Victorian period. The Town Hall was not A town hall, but a large meetings and event venue, next to the Station Hotel, a Victorian pub of the finest kind with three floors of facilities, and a roaring fire downstairs - this had a 1st floor ball-room destined to become Klooks Kleek. The Town Hall went on to become Decca Records recording studio - this book is also a history of British popular music from the 1920's as many of the artistes recorded there - and was, of course, the scene of the most famous audition in the early 1960's when the Beatles were turned down - find out why! The early 1960's saw the birth of Klooks Kleek, the jazz (at first) and later R&B club which charted the development of the London Music scene during the 1960's, featuring a host of bands who were important in London - from Georgie Fame through Graham Bond and my personal favourite - John Mayall. Because the Decca Studios were next door this was one of the few venues in London where making a live recording was as easy as passing the cables out of a skylight in the Decca Building and into the First Floor Music Room via the roof-top and an open window. By 1970 the London music scene fragmented, and the landlords of the pub decided to turn it into a disco. Decca closed their recording studio and the Town Hall is now the headquarters of the ENO. This is also the personal tale of the Victorian developers and business men who created the buildings, the stockbroking visionary Sir Edward Lewis who turned the Town Hall into recording studios and the two young men - Dick Jordan and Geoff Williams who created Klooks and many happy memories for the many thousands of members who crammed into the venue to hear not only the finest bands London could offer but also international stars from T-Bone Walker to Howling Wolf, from Annie Ross to Sonny Rollins and - if that wasn't enough, there is a listing of every band and artist that appeared over that period built up from Geoff's booking lists. They say that if you can remember the 60's you weren't there - this book fills in some gaps for me and now I know where I was for at least part of that fantastic decade.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully detailed history of a important, but little known, London recording studio and music venue, 1 April 2015
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This is a staggeringly interesting piece of work if you are interested in the history of recording studios, UK rock, jazz or indie music clubs of the 1960's to 80's, especially in West London ! superbly researched, this had so much information that I had never heard about before. a brilliant read.

Needs a bit more on when the Railway turned into the Moonlight Club in the late 70's early 80's but nevertheless, pretty comprehensive!

Recommended
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Klooks section is very good, making the Decca half even more disappointing, 12 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: West Hampstead's Musical Heritage Remembered (Kindle Edition)
Interesting, but had hoped for a bit more detail about the Decca studio. Also, would have expected the classical recording operations to be covered. The Klooks section is very good, making the Decca half even more disappointing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Mar. 2015
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Excellent, detailed book covering the story of Decca Records and the legendary Klooks Kleek R&B Club.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 24 April 2015
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A good read but more of a list of facts than a cohesive story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 6 Sept. 2014
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mike clynes (camberley, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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good but would have liked more pix from the 60s
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a well written book about the initial years of British R & B, Blues and Decca records, 30 Mar. 2014
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a really good read for anybody, especially if you were around and were into the start of British blues. It's good to know some of the history of this innovative time in the development of British rock.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 May 2015
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A very nice book.
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