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KEVIN DIXON: Remembering the Riff Power Band

By This is SouthDevon  |  Posted: November 05, 2012

  • Riff Power Band poster

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MANY thanks to QBSaul who has posted clips on Youtube of the much loved late 1970s Riff Power Band, writes local historian Dr Kevin Dixon

Here was pub rock at its finest.

The Band played between 1976 and 1980. It didn’t appear to have a settled line-up and preferred to play original material. Riff Power’s main venue was the Pelican Inn, a pub which hosted many bands and eventually became the Parrot. It’s now been demolished and the site is a block of flats opposite the Police Station.

The first clip is of the Riff Power Band live at the Pelican on Christmas Eve in 1977 performing 'Hoochie Coochie Man' & 'High Heel Sneakers'.

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The line up is Mike Windus (guitar), Paul Green (vocals), Ric Walton (bass), Colin Speakman (drums) plus special guest Vincent Crane (electric piano/Hammond organ).

Second is ‘Dance Craze' with Mike Windus (guitar & piano), Paul Green (vocal); Ric Walton (bass & vocal), Colin Speakman (drums).

It was recorded by engineer Steve Norris at Swan Street Studio. The Studio is long gone and buried beneath Fleet Walk. The People's Republic of South Devon website did a piece on the Studios which was used by many local bands and artists, some well known such as Harry H Corbett of Steptoe fame:

Here’s ‘Sound System Man’ recorded live at Torquay Town Hall in the summer of 1978: Mike Windus (guitar), Paul Green (vocals & tenor sax), Ric Walton (bass), Colin Speakman (drums)

Finally, ‘I Got My Mojo Working' which was recorded in 1977 at MIke Windus' home studio by engineers Colin Speakman and Mike Windus: Mike Windus (guitar), Paul Green (vocal), Michael Williams (tenor sax), Richard Walton (bass), Colin 'Speakman (drums).

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  • qbsaul  |  December 31 2012, 1:48PM

    Thank you, Kevin and everybody for your generous comments re the Riff Power Band. I'll pass them on to the others, whom I'm still in touch with. After some time in Hay and later Hereford ( fifteen years as media lecturer in a college for the blind) I'm now in Sussex, mostly writing, as you can see from my website: http://tinyurl.com/aq8j3r6 Oddly enough, I wrote a play about a teacher who gets involved with the pub/punk rock scene, broadcast on Capital Radio in 1984. Colin is still playing in Torbay, and Mike is very active in the Surrey/Hants area with http://tinyurl.com/bbqedj5 MIke re-married recently and the four of us all met up at the reception. We didn't play - not having rehearsed for 30 plus years - but there was definitely a Blues Brothers moment - 'Let's get the band back together!' As Ric is mostly abroad, this looks unlikely. But thanks for remembering us, ladies 'n gentlemen...

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  • DarylDante  |  November 08 2012, 12:28AM

    Yeah Torquay Townhall has appalling acoustics.

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  • omnivore23  |  November 07 2012, 8:22PM

    From his website it would seem he has moved on.... http://tinyurl.com/cwp9kbw

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  • tallpaul  |  November 07 2012, 7:48PM

    Is Paul really in Hay on Wye it's just up the road from me. Anyone know which bookshop, there's millions of them there.

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  • tallpaul  |  November 07 2012, 7:45PM

    Ah memories!! I believe I still have that O Band poster in my attic! I even still have my home made Riff Power band badges including Ripper Boys Rule! Nice one Kevin.

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  • omnivore23  |  November 06 2012, 7:40AM

    Nice post Kevin. If you go down to the Town Hall today and listen very carefully you can still hear "sound system man" being played - absolutely the worst acoustics ever. Paul was a lecturer at South Devon Tech - having previously fallen from grace as "Little Brother Saul"- a blues DJ in America - when the audience realised that despite his bluesy southern tones he was in fact a skinny white bloke from Torquay. Last seen happily running a bookshop in Hay on Wye. Those with a fondness for local bands of that era might be interested in a rumour that the mot excellent Arthur's Other Tortoise are reforming for a one-off gig at Pub Alibi some time soon.....

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