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ONE of the world’s top rock guitarists, who died last week, played on of his earliest professional gigs in the Post area.
Many local people remembered seeing Jeff Beck when they were teenagers and he played in Holsworthy with a group called the Tridents. Although he was almost unknown at the time word was spreading of this amazing guitar player who could produce sounds like no-one before him.
The Tridents had been brought down from London by Colin Gregory, then a young reporter on the Post, and two friends Christopher Sandercock and John Hambly.
Launceston’s The Shade of Blues were the backing band.
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Colin was a young trainee journalist in the 1960s and was an avid rock music fan.
“No touring bands ever came to North Cornwall so I decided the only way to see them was to book them myself and put them on in a local hall. I had done this many times when in 1964 I heard about an amazing guitarist playing with an unknown band in the London area. I saw they were due to play at the 100 Club in Oxford Street and made the trip to see them. I travelled up with Colin Cotterell in a lorry which he just parked beside the road in central London and we went to the 100 Club.
“It was amazing, I had never seen a guitarist like it. Jeff Beck was the man and he brought the house down. He ended up falling into the crowd from the top of his amplifier, still playing his Fender Stratocaster. I went up to him right away and booked him to play at the only venue I could get at short notice, Holsworthy Memorial Hall.
“I boosted it with so much publicity, newspaper adverts and posters everywhere together with buses organised from Launceston, and on November 28, 1964, the Tridents appeared at a packed Holsworthy Memorial Hall. He pulled sounds from his guitar I didn’t know existed,no one had seen anything like it.
“His incredible guitar solos soon brought him recognition in the rock scene and within months he was a member of top band The Yardbirds, a really big name at the time. I met up with him again about a year later at the Royal Albert Hall where we were both at the memorable appearance of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. About five years ago he was due to appear the Bristol Colston Hall, so I contacted him through his manager. I was lucky to be invited to the party after the show, in which Joss Stone had been vocalist. I asked Jeff if he remembered appearing at Holsworthy and he replied: “How could I forget. I drove the van down from London and back with the band and all our equipment for just £35 shared between the four of us!It was not long before he was a millionaire living in a castle in Surrey, where he died last week.”
A ticket to see Jeff Beck in Holsworthy was just 5 shillings, 25 pence, in 1964. His recent appearances in the United States with Johnny Depp cost over 100 dollars.
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