One dark Sunday…

Norman is a talented caricaturist - why not visit his site and take a look?

Norman is a talented caricaturist

Here’s a little gem I happened upon while dredging t’internet the other day, rummaging for information about Coombe House. It turns out that during it’s brief tenure as the Pennycliffe Club, it was host to a gig by none less than a nascent Black Sabbath!

I chanced on the Cartoonstore, the site of Cartoonist, memorabilia dealer and caricaturist Norman Hood, based in Market Drayton, Shropshire. It seems that Norman spent some time promoting and organising gigs in Lichfield in the late sixties and early seventies, staging a blues club upstairs at several pubs in the city. The club was mostly called the ‘Pokey Hole’ and was in residence at The Prince of Wales, then the Robin Hood and lastly The Malt Shovel.

Norman says the following on the page detailing his adventures…

‘There were spin-off clubs from the original Pokey Hole, and these are two contracts for appearances by earth in 1969, just a year before they released ‘Evil Woman’. On the left, they are booked to appear at the pennycliffe club in Brownhills on a Sunday night for the princely sum of fifteen pounds. On the right, they are to perform at the caves club in walsall on a monday night – this time for twenty five pounds’

‘Earth’, of course, soon became Black Sabbath, and Norman has lots of tales to tell about those days on his page.

Norman also includes some newspaper adverts from the period which may be of interest…

I wonder what became of these bands?

I wonder what became of these bands?

Brownhills once seems to have had a bustling music scene

Brownhills once seems to have had a bustling music scene

Do you have any recollection of these times? Did you see Ozzy and co. at The Pennycliffe club? Who did you see at the Station Hotel? I can remember seeing a band called ‘The Red Lemon Electric Blues Band’ at the Rising Sun sometime around 1988… but sadly in my youth, most live music happened in Walsall.

As an aside, I went looking for the remains of Coombe House a few weeks ago, and this seems to be all that remains:

(both pictures will open in Panoramio if you click on them)

If you have anything to add, if you remember these times, want to correct me or hurl abuse, contact me on brownhillsbob at googlemail dot com. I’ve got lots of stuff to go up and if I’ve not discussed your topic yet, please hang in there. Your contributions are always interesting, valued and most welcome.

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5 Responses to One dark Sunday…

  1. Laura Coe says:

    I work for Big Bear Music, a record label based in Birmingham. The director of this label is Jim Simpson- Sabbath’s first manager and the man who opened Henry’s Blueshouse. As part of the Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival he is going to be hosting a talk at the old Henry’s Blueshouse called “Remembering Henry’s”, and we believe that this will be a must-go for any Sabbath fanatics and music fans in general!

    If there is any way that you can publicise this that would be fantastic.

    The event is free and on Friday 6th July, 6pm @ The Crown on Station Street.

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  3. Norman Hood says:

    Norman Hood

    Two of the original promoters of the Pokey Hole, Terry Gallagher and myself, are thinking about doing a ‘Blues Brothers’ and ‘getting the club back together again’ to mark its 45th anniversary in 2014.

    The original venues – all three of them – are now closed, but that is a minor consideration as we were always getting booted out of them anyway. We would love to hear from anyone who has memories of the club, short-lived though it was. Any info sent to me at norman@cartoonstore would be most welcome.


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  5. captainocd says:

    Hi Bob, I was a member of the original Pokey Hold above the Prince Of Wales, ( somewhere in the loft, I should still have my card!).
    Sadly, I missed Earth, though.
    Tea & Symphony were brilliant, – more bluesy, – before their Harvest signing.
    John Pitt.

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