1967-1972 The Amen

The diary of a Christian Beat Group

I grew up in the town of Newbury in the county of Berkshire (UK).

When I was about 14 years old I used to go to an interdenominational midweek fellowship evening a couple of times a month. It was organised by Mr Hubert Summersby, the owner of a small department store in Newbury Market place called "Beynons". Mr Summersby would hire the Baptist or, more usually, the Congregational Church Hall and book impressive visiting speakers like (Brother) Tom Butler from up north.
Probably the biggest attraction to me however was "The Gospel Tones" - a singing group with melodicas and a GUITAR.
Mr Summersby’s son, Richard, was a youth leader, some 6 years older than me, and he owned and played a guitar, led and sang in the group. He had even made his own bass guitar.
This mightily impressed me, a fairly sheltered, naïve, young Christian lad.
Mum and Dad were badgered into buying me an f-hole acoustic guitar for my 15th birthday - it was highly lacquered and had "Magic" on the headstock and I thought it was!
Guitars were largely considered to be too worldly for most church stuff back then but times they were a-changin’. "Youth Praise" was about to be published.

early amen.jpg

Some eighteen months later, post Bert Weedon’s "Play in a Day", the Gospel Tones were no more and I was proud and thrilled to be invited to join Richard’s new group.
A single pickup Höfner Senator replaced the old Magic (by now fitted with a cheap Dearmond pickup).
We called ourselves "The A-Men".
Below is a diary of all the bookings that we did over the years along with a few pictures.
Have a look - we may have visited a church hall near you!

Visit this link to listen to The A-Men.

Amen Audio

A glimpse into the past...

And There's You

The Amen
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1970
Artist: 
The Amen
Composer: 
Richard Summersby

Cattleshed Rock

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
Composer: 
Richard Summersby

Do it Now

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby

Don't you Realise?

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby

Gift of God

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby

Natural Born Again Boogie

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby
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No Time

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby
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Portrait

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby
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Still Small Voice

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby

The Place of a Skull

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Richard Summersby

Why?

The Amen
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1970
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The Amen
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Herb Payne
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Your Mind

The Amen
year: 
1970
Artist: 
The Amen
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Herb Payne

The Amen Repertoire

(Do it) now!
10,000 angels
100 years
Accept Him
And it's you
Can it be you?
Does He really figure in your life?
Don't you realise?
Drifting
Forgiving God blues
Friend for you
Gift of God
God cares for you
Green hill
How can you refuse Him now?
How great thou art
If and But
It is no secret
Jesus is the Saviour
Just a closer walk
Keep me in your love
Long lost cause
Lord on our side
Love that's all around
Many years ago
Mountain railroad
Mr Self Sufficient
My God is real
Natural born again boogie
No time
Old fashioned meeting
Pearly gates
Portrait of Jesus
Sinner man
Sunday morning
That's how the world goes around
The place of the skull
The Voice
Things
Water into wine
We shall not be moved
Were you there?
What you want
When I come to the river
Whole wide world
Why?
World of God's own
You know it's true
Your mind

The Amen diaries - 1967

1967

January

We kick off with Richard on guitar (Burns Marvin) and vocals, Herb (Graham) on lead guitar (Höfner Senator) and Tony Redstall on drums.

20th St Bartholomew's Christian Union
28th Over 60's Social Evening - Newbury Baptist
Amen_Jan67

February

At the beginning of February Derek Trivette joins the group on bass guitar and vocals. Herb upgrades to a red Höfner Colorama later to be sprayed white to match the other guitars.

11th Maidenhead House Squash
17th Valentines Party, Headley
24th Wantage Baptist Church Youth Club
26th Green Lane mission, Thatcham

"Squash" is a curious term meaning something like "an informal youth meeting usually held in someone's house".

March

3rd "Festival of Queens", Corn Exchange, Newbury
30th Mortimer

April

14th-16th Bracknell Youth Weekend, Worthing

May

It was a fashional thing to do for a church trying to reach young people to organise a regular coffee bar. These were often in disused shops but sometimes in church halls. Coloured lights and large drapped fishing nets usually employed to created the ambience.

13th Bracknell Coffee Bar, Priestwood Youth Centre

June

Throughout most its life the group practises every Thursday evening at Henwick Court with the kind permission of Miss Christine Davies. It must have been a terrible racket to put up with.

17th Newbury Coffee Bar, Brigade Hall - with Jimmy Darius

July

17th Newbury Coffee Bar, Brigade Hall - with Jimmy Darius
16th Evensong, Chieveley Parish church.
Amen_Jul16 67 Chieveley
Amen_Jul67

Tony leaves the group this month to do teacher training

September

We recruit Paul Needham on drums.

16th Romsey Baptist Bar-B-Q
17th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church.

October

9th "Cliff" rally, Whitchurch Methodist
14th "Glory Hole" coffee bar, Bible Pattern Church, Newbury
15th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church
15th "Glory Hole" coffee bar, Bible Pattern church, Newbury
Amen_Oct 67 GloryHole
Amen_Oct 67 GloryHole
27th Halloween Party, Headley
28th Nu Kreetcha, Reading

"The Nu Kreetcha" was THE place to play for local Christian bands. It was in a shop condemned for re-developement at the bottom of Castle Hill.

November

"The Coke Hole" was more than a coffee bar in the basement of an Andover church. It became a trust for helping youngsters with drug related problems.

5th Tilehurst after church fellowship
18th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
19th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church
19th Squash, Kingsclere
25th Coffee Bar, Maidenhead
29th Coke Hole, Andover

December

1st Coffee bar, St Birinus church, Calcot
10th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church
30th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
31st Mortimer Methodist Church

The Amen diaries - 1968

1968

January

8th 21st Party, Bucklebury
13th "The Way" coffee bar, Swindon

"The Way" was a regular coffee bar held in the upstairs rooms of a disused shop in Swindon. I remember some rough visitors.

February

3rd "The Way" coffee bar, Swindon
Amen_Spring68 THEWAY

9th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
11th Whitchurch Parish Church, nr Pangbourne
17th Andover Congregational coffee bar
Amen_68
18th Andover Congregational church service
21st Coke Hole, Andover
24th The Way, Swindon
28th Young People's mission, Shipton Bellinger
Amen_68 colorama smile

March

22nd Nu Kreetcha, Reading
23rd The Koupe coffee bar, Eastleigh Baptist with the "Free Folk".

April

19th St Birinus youth club, Calcot
24th Grammar school Christian Union, Swindon
26th The Way, Swindon
27th Crowning the Reading Temperance Queen

May

10th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
11th British Transport Christian Fellowship, Providence Free Church, Reading
18th Youth for Christ, Swindon with "Last Week's Collection"
19th Andover Congregational Church

June

8th Andover Crusade for Christ (outside Guildhall)
Amen_Jun8 68 AndoverYFC1.
Amen_Jun 8 68 AndoverYFC2
29th Romsey Youth for Christ, Abbey Hall
White Guitars

The AMen Unplugged. Richard introduces his Gibson J45 for some songs.

6th Romsey Baptist Bar-B-Q
10th Andover Carnival, Congregational church float
13th Andover Crusade for Christ, playing fields
28th Evening service, Bible Pattern church, Newbury
30th Andover Bar-B-Q, Picket Piece

August

30th Nu Kreetcha, Reading

September

7th Newbury Congregational "Piscados" club
8th Newbury Baptist squash
11th Henley Baptist "New People" club

October

Herb trades in his Colorama for a Harmony H75 3 pickup sunburst guitar.

11th Oxford Brethren coffee bar, James St hall
13th Bridge St. Methodist evening service, Andover
16th Commonweal school, Swindon. Harmony H75 purchased
19th Huntercombe Borstal, Nuffield
A Borstal - an institution for reforming and training young offenders. The Vicar had a beautiful old Alvis and drank hot water and brown sugar before bed.
20th Huntercombe Borstal morning service Nuffield Parish church
22nd Mortimer Youth club
26th Shinfield Free Evangelical coffee bar

November

15th St. Marybourne Methodist guild
20th Henley Baptist coffee bar
23th Gorse Hill Baptist church, Swindon
29th Abingdon Barge youth club

The church in Abingdon had a narrow boat ("barge") on the river as a facility for youth work. Slightly cramped for a band.

December

1st Northcott church, Oxford, squash
4th Grately youth club, nr Andover
13th Whitney Technical College Christmas Special (with Nigel Goodwin, Jimmy Darius etc)
23rd Huntercombe Borstal

The Amen diaries - 1969

1969

January


Richard changes his J45 into a Gibson J200 beastie.

10th Abingdon Barge coffee bar
19th Henley Baptist church
24th Assemblies of God, Basingstoke.

February

The Marvin develops cracks in the paintwork and goes to be resprayed. It'll never be the same again! This was an original Marvin with the carved "violin" headstock.

15th Crossways coffee bar, Havant.

March


A regular newsletter is published from this month.

5th Andover Bridge Street Methodist. Young Wives Club
7th Basingstoke Baptist, in aid of "Shelter"
12th Henley Baptist youth club
Amen_Spr69
Amen_Spr69
Amen_Spr69
Amen_Spring69
14th Abingdon Barge coffee bar
21st Basingstoke Folk evening
23rd Newbury Baptist "Breakout" mission, service with a team of students from Spurgeon's college
25th Newbury Baptist "Breakout" mission, coffee bar
26th Grately youth club

April

3rd Chilterns Crusade, Amersham
4th Good Friday service, Oxford Town hall (with Richard Wurmbrand)
6th Catacombs coffee bar / disco, Oxford
(I remember this is where someone first suggested I check out Eric Clapton.)
13th North Leigh Memorial Hall, nr Whitney, youth meeting
15th W.E.C. Andover Baptist
Amen Spring69
17th W.E.C. Whitchurch Methodist
20th Milbourne Port Congregational service and squash
26th Temperance Spring Festival, West Reading Methodist

May

Herb upgrades again - this time to a Baldwin Burns Baby Bison (sunburst). "This was a nice guitar."

3rd Coffee bar, Cheltenham Teachers Training College arranged by Tony Redstall (our ex-drummer)
4th Evening service, College chapel, Cheltenham
10th Glory Hole coffee bar, Marston Shelton nr Bedford run by Irene Wardle and Ralph Chambers
11th Glory Hole coffee bar, Marston Shelton,
18th Evening service and afterwards, Farnborough Baptist.
31st Mustard Seed restaurant, Sheffield with Dave Stillman and "New Song" folk group

"The Mustard Seed" was special. It was run as a full-time coffee bar in faraway Sheffield. We felt it a privilege to be invited to play there.

June


Richard finally gets his Marvin back!

1st Leicester Prison with Dave Stillman and "New Song" folk group
6th Binfield Bar-B-Q
7th Crossways coffee bar, Havant
8th Methodist camp meetings, Chieveley with Hannington Brass band
13th Reading University
15th Catacombs coffee bar / disco, Oxford
20th Assemblies of God, Basingstoke
21st Upper Gornal, Dudley, Glory Hole coffee bar
22nd Upper Gornal, Dudley, Glory Hole coffee bar.
29th Crusader's club, Wroughton, nr Swindon

July

6th Swindon Youth Week with "The Ribbonettes", "The Proclaimers" and Phil Vogel
9th "Sausage Sizzle", Tent meeting, Marcham nr Abingdon with Ken Brighton
12th Andover Crusade for Christ, Playing Fields
19th Audition for Musical Gospel Outreach, Dive Inn, Kingston with Geoff Shearn and John Webb

August

23rd Youth for Christ, Abbey Hall, Romsey with Ernest Plant

September

7th Lambourne Methodist Church
12th Basingstoke Baptist Young People
21st Andover Congregational Youth service
25th Chippenham "Flipside" rally with Dave Stillman
26th Reading "Flipside" rally, Providence church with Dave Stillman

October


Paul decides to leave the group this month - we are drummer-less. Nigel Woolmer tries out for a couple of gigs but this turns out to be temporary.

3rd Shipton Bellinger Youth Club
5th Newbury Baptist Church, "Progression or Stagnation"
10th Maidenhead Barbeque with Ken Brighton
11th Youth Squash, WEC HQ, Bulstrode, High Wycombe
12th Bible Pattern Church, Newbury
18th "Link Up" rally, St Mary's, Crawley.
19th "Link Up" rally, Crawley.
24th Coffee Bar, British Legion, Saffron Waldon
25th Brethren Hall, Saffron Waldon

November

Herb introduces the flute into the set.

1st "The Coffee Cellar", Lewisham
2nd Cirencester Crusaders Union Weekend
5th Bonfire Nite, Easthamstead Park
8th Barbeque, Lane End, High Wycombe
12th Henley Baptist Youth Club
22nd "Getaway" Coffee Bar, Hilltop Free Church, Earley, Reading
23rd Amersham Old Town, Baptist Youth service
29th "13th Hour" coffee bar, Wolverhampton
30th "13th Hour" coffee bar, Wolverhampton & evening service

December

A new Baldwin Marvin for Richard purchased from Peter Dyke in a music shop under Centrepoint after much soul-searching. Is it to be a Strat or a Marvin?. This guitar was not a match for the old Burns however and it never quite satisfies.

2nd Romsey Youth for Christ with Dave Stillman, Abbey Hall
5th Romsey Youth for Christ with Dave Stillman and "Three in One"
6th "Selah" coffee bar, Oak Hall, Harrow Weald
13th Richmond "Flipside" rally, Duke Street Baptist with Dave Stillman
14th "Barge" coffee bar, Abingdon with Eddie Vass
20th Burghfield Common coffee bar with Dave Stillman
27th New Park Baptist coffee bar, Streatham
28th New Park Baptist evening service, Streatham

The Amen diaries - 1970

1970

January

9th Ebenezer Youth Club, Didcot with Ken Brighton
10th "The Mustard Seed", Sheffield
17th "The Coffee Cellar", Lewisham
30th "New Christian Sound", St Lawrence's Hall, Reading with "Change","Two Good Reasons", Dick Hall, "Messengers", "Shepherds Hut"
31st Gospel Hall, Liphook

February

7th Huntercombe Borstal, Nuffield
8th Huntercombe Borstall and Nuffield Parish church
14th Maidenhead House Squash
15th North Caversham Congregational service
22nd Elim church, Reading
27th "Truth for Youth", A.O.G. Basingstoke

March

1st Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham
8th Crusader's Club, Wroughton, Nr Swindon
13th Film Rally ("Misfit"), Argyle chapel, Reading
15th Stoke Row Free church, Nr Henley-on-Thames
17th Coffee Bar, Naphill Evangelical Free church with Ken Brighton
Amen_mid70 Flute
20th Ebenezer Youth Club, Didcot
24th Coffee Bar, Naphill Evangelical Free church with Ken Brighton
28th "New Life for All", Woodstock Rd Baptist, Oxford

April

4th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
5th Morning and evening services, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
11th "Getaway" coffee bar, Earley, Reading
12th North Leigh Memorial Hall, Nr Witney
19th Newbury Baptist Squash
Amen_Apr70 HerbFlute
Amen_Apr 70 RichardandMarvin
Amen_Apr 70 DerekSings

May

2nd "The Coffee Cellar", Lewisham
10th Botley Road Elim, Oxford
16th "No 1 Gospel Disco", Sidcup, with Ralph Chambers
17th "No 1 Gospel Disco", Sidcup, with Ralph Chambers

June


We record a dozen songs (2 track overdubs on a Revox) and produce an acetate.

13th Recording at Capel Studios.
Amen_Jun70 STUDIO
Amen_Jun70 J200POSE.
Amen_Jun70 j200 pout
14th Checkendon Parish church, Nr Henley
20th Recording at Capel Studios
27th Coffee bar, British Legion Hall, Saffron Waldon

July

5th Open air, Golf course, Nuffield
31st Coffee bar, Faringdon with Ken Brighton

August

2nd Morning service, Arborfield Army camp

September

26th "Selah Coffee bar", Harrow Weald

October

1st Bible society rally, Congregational Hall, Newbury
2nd "Pop Concert", St Mary's church, Maidenhead with "The Overcomers"
4th Elim youth service, Reading
11th Youth service, Winterslow Methodist
17th Youth service, Welcome Hall, Witney

November


A brand new 50 watt Vox transistor PA amplifier is purchased.

14th "Youth Contact" coffee bar, Ross-on-Wye with Billy Strachen
21st Barbeque, Water Hill farm, Wokingham
Amen_ Nov70 Wokingham
Amen_Nov70 Wokingham
Amen_Nov70 derek wokingham
Amen_Nov70 Herb wokingham
22nd Newbury Baptist Squash
25th Youth Club, Eynsham, Nr Oxford

December

5th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
6th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
Amen_winter70
12th Binfield Free church
23rd Youth for Christ Christmas concert, Swindon

The Amen diaries - 1971

1971

January

2nd National Crusaders Camp Reunion, Westminster Central Hall
9th Coffee bar, Congregational Hall, Andover
Amen_AndoverCongJan71
17th Luckley Public School for Girls, Wokingham
23rd Concert, Tilehurst Methodist Hall
28th "Why?", coffee bar, Westminster College, Oxford
30th/31st Coffee bar, Labour Hall, Saffron Waldon

February

Richard finally turns his back on Marvins and acquires a sunburst Fender Stratocaster with a hard tail.

7th Northway church, Nr Oxford
13th Coffee bar, Birkbeck chapel, Sidcup
Amen_Feb71 SIDCUP
14th Covenanters, Sidcup
20th Coffee bar, Birkbeck chapel, Sidcup.

Amen_Feb71 moody sidcup

21st Covenanters, Sidcup

March

Martin Wells, an old friend, joins us as an evangelist, roadie and sound man. Until now he has been living in Brixton and playing guitar in a similar band called "Cornerstone".

Herb gets a Gibson - a second-hand ES345TDC Stereo.

6th "Selah coffee bar", Harrow Weald
13th Barbeque, Winterslow, Nr Salisbury
Amen_mid 71 FLUTE
Amen_mid 71 GIBSON

21st Arborfield Parish church plus after-service
27th Youth rally, Baptist church High Wycombe with Ken Brighton

April

4th Evening service, R.E.M.E., Arborfield
8th Coffee bar, Union Baptist, Eastleigh
17th City Challenge rally, Salisbury

May

2nd Lord Wandsworth College, Long Sutton
15th "The Permanent Revolution", Trumpington, Nr Cambridge
16th Free church, Trumpington, Nr Cambridge
23rd North Leigh Memorial Hall, Nr Witney

June

6th All Saints church, Upper Bucklebury
8th Tent meeting, Yately
13th Luckley Public School for Girls, Wokingham
19th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
20th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton

July

3rd "Bible Reading rally", King's Meadow, Reading
4th Arborfield Parish church
11th Holy Trinity church, Bristol

October


Martin replaces Derek on bass guitar. Derek moves to the Oxford area to pursue a new career.

2nd Saffron Walden Teacher's Training college, coffee bar
3rd Saffron Walden Teacher's Training college afternoon meeting
4th Open air at Ock fair, Abingdon with Jimmy Darius
9th "Burning Bush" coffee bar, Bournemouth
16th YPF evening, St Andrew's, Great Ilford
23rd Pathfinder's evening, Christchurch, Abingdon
24th Youth service, Newbury Baptist and afterwards
31st Evening service, Bible Pattern church and afterwards

November


Rupert Notley begins to play with us regularly on drums.

6th Evening rally, Russell Road Elim, Palmers Green, London
7th Services, Russell Road Elim, Palmers Green, London
13th Concert, Tower Road Gospel hall, Liphook
20th "Getaway" coffee bar, Earley
27th Romsey Youth for Christ, Abbey Hall
28th After church coffee bar, Romsey Baptist

December

5th Crusader's meeting, Cirencester
11th House squash, Maidenhead with Mr Grunbaum
12th Maidenhead Youth Centre

The Amen diaries - 1972

1972

January

15th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
16th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
29th Coffee bar, Birkbeck chapel, Sidcup without Richard (Colin & Kevin on vocals)

February

19th "Youth Contact", Henry St Hall, Ross-on-Wye

March

5th Arborfield Parish church and afterwards with Vic Jacobsen

Amen_Mar72 arborfield

18th Crusaders at Wantage Baptist
24th Faringdon Corn Hall coffee bar
26th Romsey Baptist and afterwards (with Kevin, Marg and Hazel)

April


Around this time Herb finds an old, beat-up Fender Strat, renovates it and sprays it white. Two guitars!

1st Youth for Christ, Eastleigh
9th North Leigh, Windmill Gospel hall and afterwards at Memorial Hall
15th Tower Road Gospel hall, Liphook
29th British Legion Hall, Saffron Waldon

May

6th Youth for Christ, Museum Theatre, Bristol
14th Maidenhead Youth Centre
20th Salisbury "City Challenge" rally, Town Hall with Tony Stone

June

3rd Barbeque, Waterton House, Cirencester
10th Summer Sounderama '73, Eldon Road, Eastbourne

Amen_mid72 with wells

17th "The Tomb", Brunswick Road Baptist, Gloucester

July

1st Winterslow Barbeque in the Barn
8th Indoor Barbeque (raining), Cumnor, Nr Oxford
15th Godalming Jesus Festival with "The Clearways" and "Something Else Entirely"
16th Eastleigh, After church meeting, Town Hall
22nd Basingstoke Festival for Jesus with Raleigh MacKenzie, "His Way", Andrew Culverwell, "New Creation", Gerald Coates etc
23rd St Aldate youth service, Oxford

"Something Elso Entirely" (as opposed to the Pythonesque "Something Completely Different") was another Christian Rock Band led by David Oliver later to become an elder at Basingstoke Community Church

September

23rd Romsey Barbeque
30th Salisbury Festival of Light, Jesus Festival, Market Hall with "Corpus Cristi", Raleigh and "His Way"

"His Way" was a worship group based at Basingstoke Community Church. Herb and Martin were also involved in this project.

October


Herb and Martin give Richard notice that they intend to leave to concentrate on "His Way".

1st Sunday Youth Club, Women's League hall, Carterton Nr Witney
3rd Barbeque, Shoreditch Teacher training college, Egham with Randy Stonehill
8th Reading Prison
9th Ock Fair, Abingdon Baptist
10th Ock Fair, Abingdon Baptist
13/14th Night Life, all night youth convention, Kings Rd Baptist, Reading with Cliff & Char, and "New Wine"
21st Festival of Light Jesus rally, Hoglands Park, Southamption with Randy Stonehill, "Breath", Vic Ramsey and Tony Stone Herb & Martin give notice
21st Youth rally, New Farm chapel, Arlesford
27th Pollington Borstall, Nr Goole
28th Youth rally, Standering Hall, St James church, Selby
29th Morning services, St John the Baptist, Pollington

November

18th "Youth Contact", Ross Youth Centre, Ross-on-Wye
19th "Youth Contact", Henry St Hall, Ross-on-Wye

December

3rd King Edwards mixed boarding school, Witley, Nr Godalming
9th Christmas Coffee evening, Shirley Baptist, Southampton