Moyse’s Hall Museum Unearths Pure ‘Rock And Roll’ Gem of Local Music History.
Moyse’s Hall Museum is to host to one of the most fascinating record launches this year after its Loving the 70s Exhibition unearthed one of the quirkiest and most unusual tales of local, and even national, rock and roll history.
Volunteer researcher Aimée Blampied, 28, had no idea when she found a faded local newspaper clipping about a world-record breaking, non-stop, 102 hour musical jam by a young band from Bury St Edmunds in 1970, quite what she had stumbled on.
For not only was the band’s guitarist Steve Vaughan-Williams, now 63, still playing in the town - but is also about to have a single he recorded over 40 years ago re-released by a new East Anglian record label.
Spoke Records contacted Steve after spotting some vintage local TV news of the marathon
charity blues jam by the guitarist’s late 60s/early70s band called Smoke, on
YouTube, and asked if they could re-release a single the band had recorded called Dreams of Dreams.
One of the record label’s founders, Col Wolfe, 42, from Newmarket, had been a fan of the original 1970 Smoke single - ever since he bought it at record fair 20 years ago, and felt the time was right to release the perfect combination of 70s sounds and production to a whole new generation.
Rare copies of the original single, meanwhile - the Bury band’s only release - have been changing hands privately for up to £700 as the track is still revered by psych-rock music aficionados, regularly played by DJs and is still packing dance floors all over the country - unbeknown to Steve.
“We all loved the story of Smoke and gave it pride of place at the entrance of the 70s exhibition,” said Peter Jones, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Heritage Officer.
“Steve Vaughan-Williams mentioned the single release to us, quite by surprise, and we thought what better place to hold the official launch for Dreams of Dreams than during our exhibition dedicated to leisure and entertainment in the 70s.”
Moyse’s Hall is one of 11 museums across Suffolk and Hertfordshire to join forces for the two-year ‘Saving the 70s’ project, led by the Association of Suffolk Museums. The project has been awarded a £247,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Researchers also managed to find the original Smoke video by Tom Taylor, one of the early pioneers of pop videos for programmes such as Top of the Pops, and who also lived locally at the time.
Said Steve Vaughan-Williams, from Bury St Edmunds and who now plays in the Bury Folk Collective: “I had a phone call from Spoke this time last year asking if they could re-release my band’s single from 40 years ago! It was certainly a surprise as I hadn’t heard it in as many years, but thought, why not."
“The limited edition record package they have produced is stunning and includes 4 tracks as well as the complete version of Dreams of Dreams, with an extra verse to the original we recorded for Revolution Records in London in 1970. It was wonderful to hear the record again, as it was the extra verse: it was the best one.”
Said Col Wolfe, of Spoke Records: “We set up Spoke records as a hobby between friends to produce vinyl records for bands which we believe really should have made it. For every Rolling Stones there were 100 local bands trying to make it."
“Dreams of Dreams is a fantastic record and after seeing the YouTube clip, I contacted Steve because I bought the original single 20 years ago and asked if we could re-release it, because it has always been a favourite."
“Dreams Of Dreams is special because its ability to cross musical genres makes it the perfect 1970s construction. The production is fantastic too, so always guarantees a busy dancefloor. I was at a 60s/mod weekender in Brighton last bank holiday and this track had a couple of hundred people going crazy to it!”
The Dreams of Dreams launch party with Spoke DJ’s playing 70s music including tracks by Smoke, will be held on September 13 between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. The Loving The 70s exhibition runs until October 24.
Researcher Aimée Blampied said: “I stumbled across the young lads in the local paper at the time. Being a musician myself I was drawn to the story and I had to read through the next few papers trying to find a follow up of the jam! I was so pleased they made the world record, and that I really like the music too!”
To see the Smoke Look East clip from 1970 on youtube: click here
To see the Legendary 100 Hour Jam in Mojo Magazine: click here
(N.B: It was 105 hours to raise money for charity, not instruments)
To see Dreams of Dreams: click here
To see the Smoke 4 Track Video Including Tom Taylor footage, compiled by Spoke Records: click here
Steve Vaughan-Williams, Tuffy Ridgeon, Ted Chapman and Billy Gray toured England as Smoke through 1969 and 1970.
They played residency gigs in Truro, Weymouth, Exeter and Yeovil, and supported bands such as the Move on Weymouth pier. They travelled around in a van, parking on beaches, sharing flea pit hotel rooms and surviving on a breadline budget.
Revolution Records, Smoke’s ‘Dreams of Dreams’ was recorded at Orange Studios. Manfred Mann’s horn section were booked for the session but they failed to show up. Tony Fernandez, who joined the band as drummer in 1970, and plays on the records, later went on to become Rick Wakeman’s main percussionist. In subsequent decades the single has been gradually subsumed, mistakenly, into the archive of a completely different band called ‘The’ Smoke who hailed from York and reached number 45 in the UK singles chart with ‘My Friend Jack‘ in 1967. Thus, ‘Dreams of Dreams’ is now a bonus track on Repertoire Records 1993 CD reissue of The Smoke’s’…It’s Smoke Time’, until now, that is. (The drummer in the jam video is David Whybrow.)
About Spoke Records
Spoke Records was founded in September 2010 and is currently run by Andy Cann, Ian Townsend, Col Wolfe.
After pooling their resources they started to the record label from scratch and now create high quality 7" vinyl 45rpm records for DJs who love the format, reissue great songs that are either expensive on original or hard to find, reissue great songs that have been overlooked, convert LP only songs to create great double-sided 45s, release brand new material or previously unissued songs, regardless of genre.
They are based in Norwich, Newmarket and Brooke.
For more info about Spoke Records, click here
About Moyse’s Hall
Moyse's Hall has looked out over Bury St Edmunds market place for almost 900 years. The landmark 12th century building’s rich and varied past has included serving as the town gaol, workhouse and police station, first opening as a museum in 1899.
Today the museum offers a fascinating view into the past with collections that document the foundation of the early town - from the creation and dissolution of the Abbey, to prison paraphernalia and artefacts providing intriguing insights into superstition and witchcraft.
Situated in a beautiful medieval building, Moyse’s Hall Museum houses eclectic collections and exhibitions, and hosts events ranging from themed craft workshops for all the family to historical talks and lectures.
For more info about Moyse's Hall, click here