Chris Scott Wilson Writer
Cream : Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker
Stepping Out at Redcar Jazz Club
Redcar Jazz Club. No better magnet on England's North-east coast during the 1960s on a Saturday (dance night) or Sunday (sit-down audience night) than The Coatham Hotel on Redcar's seafront where the Jazz Club promoted the finest bands England had produced. There was one golden rule before joining the queue to buy your ticket: Always check the alley behind the hotel to ensure a Ford Transit 6-wheeler was parked there. If there was, then you knew the band had arrived.
A 6-wheeler Tranny screamed BIG TIME. Not a 4-wheeler, box-shaped, good enough to do the job, or maybe good enough for the support band. Nah, it had to be 6 wheels. Bull-nosed with wheel spats at the back where the twin wheels on either side oozed mile-devouring power. A bench seat from a scrapped Jaguar bolted facing forward behind the driver's seat, back against a wooden partition to seal off the cab from the cargo bay. Or airline seats if you really had enough cash. And if you knew what you were doing, the very expensive jigsaw of amps, speaker cabinets, drum cases and guitars would fit tightly in the back. You think bands only care about their image on stage? Wrong. A 6-wheeler was, well, cool, and it had to be white or black. And dirty. The dirtier the better. It showed you had put in the miles. A dirty white 6-wheeler had been around.
And it just about knew the way home.
The remainder of this two-part article can be read on the Cream : Those Were The Days website.
Parts of this article were quoted by Melody Maker journalist Chris Welch in his book CREAM : the Legendary 60s Supergroup, published by Balafon Books 2000
above : The day after Cream played the Jazz Club. Those 100 watt Marshalls are loud!
No, seriously, this is Redcar's Coatham Hotel ballroom dressed to
be a burnt-out Dunkerque café in the 2007 movie Atonement,
starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy