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.
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.
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.