This coming Friday (31 May) will be a significant one in the diaries of fans of sixties Soul music. BBC 4 will be running a series of programmes on Otis Redding, and his impact on British popular music. The advanced programme publicity promises "unseen home movies from his 1967 tour of Britain". Whether this includes footage of his time in Forest Gate remains to be seen.
Otis Redding, Uppercut Club, Woodgrange Road March 1967
We will be featuring the history of the club, which is now commemorated by a local historical plaque, on the gate next to Percy Ingles, over the coming weeks. The Uppercut only lasted a year and was owned by then British heavy-weight boxer, Billy Walker (known as the Blond Bomber) and his manager -brother, George - hence the boxing-related name, in 1966. A useless bit of Walker-related trivia is that Simon and Garfunkel's track The Boxer was written about Billy.
Original Uppercut sign, rescued from demolition
Another fan remembered the performance - 40 years on; "Truthfully, I have long forgotten what everyone else on the show was like that night - I only had eyes and ears for Otis, despite the fact that I had records by everyone else on the bill. It will always be up there with the very best nights of my life, even if I live to see another million of them."
Redding died in a plane crash nine months after the Woodgrange Road gig, but not before a stat appearance at the Monterey Pop festival of that year and cutting his critically acclaimed hit Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay, the first posthumously published number one hit.
For further details of Otis' career, see his Wikki entry and www.soul-source.co.uk, from where the quotes from his gig attendees have been taken.
This site has published a number of articles on the history of the Upper Cut club: the first detailing the time when Otis visited it, in March 1967. This post was followed by two, recording the first six months and the final six months of the club's existence.
These posts were followed by almost monthy updates on who played at the club, that month, 47 years previously. The final blog is a record of a recent meeting with former boxer, Billy Walker, the name under whom the club exisited, on his memories of it and Forest Gate almost half a century ago.
Below is a list of those blogs: the hyper links are the titles of the articles, and when hit upon should give access to them. The dates (in italics) are the time covered by the blog and the date in bold are the months the blogs were posted.
Although the content, and some of the comments on the individual posts, is pretty definitive, we'd love to hear any memories readers may have of the gigs, or corrections they could make to the copy. Just post in the Comments box, below.
When Otis played Forest Gate (March 1967) May 2013
Upper Cut (1) - a summary of the emergence of the first six months of the club (December 1966 - July 1967) July 2013
Upper Cut (2) - a brief survey of the second, and final half year of the club's existence (August 1967 - December 1967) July 2013Georgie Fame, The Tremeloes and Unit 4 + 2 - (September 1967 at the Upper Cut) October 2013
When Stevie Wonder played Forest Gate - (October 1967) November 2013
Mouthwatering musical fayre on Woodgrange Road - (November 1967) December 2013
Club bills for the Upper Cut's two Decembers - (Decembers 1966 and 1967) January 2014
The Upper Cut beds down - (January 1967) February 2014
Essex comes to Forest Gate - (February 1967) March 2014Stax comes to town - (March 1967) April 2014
A mixed bunch at the Upper Cut in April (April 1967) May 2014
Upper Cut - May 1967 (June 1967) June 2014
Summer of Love in Forest Gate (Summer 1967) August 2014
Golden Boy, Billy Walker's Forest Gate memories September 2014