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Pompey Pop - Venues from the 50s and 60s - The Oasis/Soul Parlour North End

Author: Dave Allen Published: 4th August 2010 22:37

 If you walk across North End Junction towards Hilsea, almost immediately on your right is an alleyway that leads to the snooker hall. Above it in the early 1960s was the Oasis, a private members-only drinking club which the owners Norman and Katie Loades, rented out for weddings and other events. They also ran their own members dances on Saturday nights. In the mid-1960s there was briefly a folk club there (‘The Folk Barn") including an appearance by Tom Paxton and among local artists regular performances by Jakki. In addition, Ernie Sears of the Rendezvous promoted jazz there around 1966 with regular act the New Tia Juana Jazz Band and occasional guests including Ken Colyer.

By early 1966 Linn Ashton-Evans was managing local group the Soul Society and she began renting the hall to promote them and other groups like Academy, St Louis Checks, Blackout, Inspiration, Harlem Speakeasy and Sons of Man on Friday nights, re-naming it the Soul Parlour. This became sufficiently popular that Linn moved away from managing bands and gradually expanded the club's musical policy beyond soul, at which point she shortened the name to the Parlour.

 Most of the local bands played there over the next few years including Tangerine Slide, Coconut Mushroom, Wanted, Rosemary, Heaven, Gold Dust, Virgin Circle, Dragonfly and also some of the newer sounding recording bands including Free, Skip Bifferty, Blossom Toes, Blonde on Blonde, Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera, the Iveys (who became Badfinger) and the Human Instinct.

Around 1968 the police began to take a closer interest in whether this was still a members-only club so to ease pressure the name reverted to the Oasis Club so that visitors could be signed in by members. During the next couple of years Linn continued to book regular gigs there, adding local lightshow Light Emporium and in 1969 briefly renaming the club the Yeti. By the autumn of 1969 audiences were declining at most clubs around the city. As the 1960s drew to a close on New Year's Eve, the club offered a cabaret quartet and insisted "collar and tie essential" and the days of the Parlour were over.

(With thanks to Linda Du Pret - formerly Linn Ashton-Evans)

More of Dave Allen's music memories can be found on his blog at http://pompeypop.wordpress.com/

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At 21:01 on 28th March 2013, Gray commented:
In 1972 I became the resident DJ at The Oasis when it was owned by Kim. By this time it was a Rock and Roll venue. I can remember booking "Shakin Stevens" and the Sunsets for the princely sum of £25 to appear on a Friday night, I think he was en route to the Isle of Wight to appear at a holiday camp. Many of the "Pompey Teds" at that time still turn up today at various different venues that are doing Rock and Roll revival nights.

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