Small, but still perfectly formed – 45 years on

HEYDAY Left to right, back David Yearley, front Alan Christmas, Pete Pinckney, Graham Hunt and Rod Taylor                                                                                        Picture: Terry Aldridge
HEYDAY Left to right, back David Yearley, front Alan Christmas, Pete Pinckney, Graham Hunt and Rod Taylor Picture: Terry Aldridge
Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. 			 (Robert James collection)

BOB HIND: How ways of doing business have changed from the old days

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It was 45 years ago that a five-piece prog rock band called Aubrey Small stepped on to the stage at South Parade Pier, Southsea, for their maiden gig.

It was Valentine’s Day 1970 and a cult following quickly developed a love affair with the Portsmouth lads who came together via Highbury College where three of them were studying.

TODAY David Yearley, George Francis, Alan Christmas and Rod Taylor ' Aubrey Small discussing their gig at Portsmouth Guildhall on November 26. ''They will be supported by a local young singer songwriter Eleanore Hodge and by another Portsmouth band Scarlet Town. ''It features Dave Allen who has written extensively about the local pop scene, has been instrumental in organising the Pompey Pop exhibition, and has played in many local bands. Tickets �8. Doors 7pm.     Picture: Dave West

TODAY David Yearley, George Francis, Alan Christmas and Rod Taylor ' Aubrey Small discussing their gig at Portsmouth Guildhall on November 26. ''They will be supported by a local young singer songwriter Eleanore Hodge and by another Portsmouth band Scarlet Town. ''It features Dave Allen who has written extensively about the local pop scene, has been instrumental in organising the Pompey Pop exhibition, and has played in many local bands. Tickets �8. Doors 7pm. Picture: Dave West

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club took the band under its management followed by regular sessions on Radio One’s Sounds of the Seventies for Bob Harris and John Peel.

The band quickly found themselves performing at landmark venues such as the Marquee, Flamingo, Samantha’s, Thatched Barn at Chalk Farm and the Roundhouse with Ronnie Scott’s becoming a second home.

Tour gigs followed with major names including Edgar Broughton, Supertramp, Collosseum, Hawkwind and Pink Fairies.

But they lasted just four years.

The 1971 album Aubrey Small.

The 1971 album Aubrey Small.

Now Aubrey Small are playing live again and to promote the release of a new EP and remastered version of their only album Aubrey Small they’ll be performing at the Guildhall, Portsmouth, next Thursday on the first floor adjacent to the Pompey Pop exhibition in which they star.

Bass player and flautist David Yearley says: ‘We will be playing a mixture of songs taken from the Sounds of the Seventies radio broadcasts, the original album, songs from the new EP, and some new songs which we hope to include on a further EP release already in the pipeline.’

The original Aubrey Small members, Alan Christmas (guitars/vocals), David, and Rod Taylor (keyboards/vocals), are now joined by George Francis (drums/percussion/vocals), enabling Aubrey Small to record and perform live again.

Progressive rock music emerged in the late 1960s to challenge the boundaries of traditional rock and pop music. This saw a more eclectic range of musical influences being explored by bands composing their own material. Aubrey Small’s line-up featured five-part harmonies, twin guitars and flute – pioneering for those times.

The new Aubrey Small EP All Those Days. Cover designed by Chris Heasman

The new Aubrey Small EP All Those Days. Cover designed by Chris Heasman