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Wandering John

Wandering John c 1969 - 70

Blues / Rock
Line up
John Gravenor - Vocals
John Alderson - Lead / rhythm / slide Guitar
Ade Taylor - Bass
Al Walder - drummer - replaced by Jim Pryal - (and for the 2010 reunion - Paul Hayes)
Manager - Dave Sullivan (2010 / 11 Julie Sullivan)

Arguably one of Coventry's coolest rock / blues bands of the time, formed in Coventry c 1969 with their hippy following,
and especially those involved with Coventry's first underground magazine The Broadgate Gnome. Lead singer John Gravenor with his shock of red hair, was an integral part of the Coventry scene, albeit a wandering one, hanging out in the muso pubs like the Dive bar (Lady Godiva) and the Golden Cross when not playing. Wandering John had an acoustic country blues off shoot called Last Fair Deal, consisting of John Gravenor - Vocals John Alderson - Dobro and John Westacott - Harmonica and Violin. They used to play in between Wandering John sets and independently sometimes. Numbers included Louisiana Blues, There's a Man Going round Taking Names etc.

How they formed
John Alderson and Ade Taylor joined Rod Grant's band - Interior War - with John on slide guitar and Ade on bass. It didn't work out but John and Ade met John Gravenor and Al Walder in the 'Dive Bar' - Lady Godiva pub in Coventry and formed Wandering John. The band practiced at Binley Park Junior School - as did John and Ted Duggan and Pete Waterman and later Riot Act. The band took their name from John Gravenor's nick name.

Their Set
Their set consisted of a mix of original numbers and classic rock or blues numbers, delivered with John Alderson's virtuoso blues guitar playing, John Gravenor's distinctive blues voice and underpinned by Ade Taylor's cool bass playing and Al Walder's, or Jim Pryal's (later Paul Hayes) drums.

The set included - original numbers like Don't You Worry, Vision of Ezra, Dead Dog Dead (A Tribute to Captain Beefheart) and classics like Statesbro Blues, Blister on the Moon, Catfish, My Babe, It Hurts me Too, Where do I Belong, Hideaway (instrumental), Boom Boom ba ba Boom, Sensitive Kind, Shake your Money Maker, Second Time Around, Bring it on Home.

YouTube Video

Wandering John at their 40th reunion at the Sphinx Club, Coventry 2010 from the DVD
More coming......

Proposed Wandering John Album 1970
Before they split up, Wandering John were recorded by Pete Waterman at their last gig in 1970 at the Lanchester Poly Tech in Coventry 1970 and the tapes were going to be a basis of an album by Wandering John, produced by The Broadgate Gnome on the Pig Mother Label. It was to be called "Music to Throw Bombs to"!! The album never materialised and attempts recently to get the tapes released by Broadgate Gnome and Wandering John were thwarted as the sound quality after all these years is not as good and there were problems with mics and balance at the gig itself. Still, imperfections there may be but it would still be nice to hear them. However the 2010 reunion gig produced a DVD recording, filmed by Nomad (Gordon Smith) of Lyme regis Internet TV and the footage may soon be on youtube and if so will be linked here. An example is linked above - Statesbro Blues.

Wandering John played many gigs during their existence including the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club,
Newlands, Tile Hill (Tile Hill Social club) 25.10.69,
Art College on 27/10/69
Cov City Football Ground + advert from Cov Telegraph for Football Ground gig on 30/10/69
Railway Union Club, 31/10/69
International Centre, Cov Cathedral 9/11/69
Art College with Last Fair Deal - shared proceeds! 10/11/69
Mantra, Bantam, Hen Lane, 13/11/69
Navigation Inn, Stoney Stanton Rd, 15/11/69
Mantra, 20/11/69
Coventry Arts Umbrella Club, 22 and 23/11/69 (Music Marathon which included Last Fair Deal, Indian Summer, Dando Shaft)
Crown, High St, Leamington, 22/11/69
Kirby Corner Rd, Canley, 19/12/69
International Centre, Cov Cathedral, 4/1/70
Wyken Parish Church Hall, 10/1/70 (this was when Al Walder left the band)
Building Trades Club, 16/4/70 (First gig for drummer Jim Pryal)
The Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa, 18/4/70
Plough London Rd, 8/5/70
Sportsmans Arms, 7/6/70
British Legion Club, Spon End, 12/6/70
Wyken Parish Hall, 13/6/70
Antelope Pub, Hertford Place, 10/5/70
Woolpack, Union St, Rugby, 16/5/70
Building Trades Hall, 4/6/70
Walsgrave Pub, The Walsgrave (Pete Waterman's venue) 23/6/70 
Lanchester Poly, 21/11/70 (The last gig) - Recorded by Pete Waterman - recently the 'lost tapes' re-emerged but were deemed 'unbalanced'. Live recording and mixing weren't as sophisticated as modern digital equipment.Gigs not fulfilled by Wandering John (other bands substituted)

Gigs scheduled that were unfulfilled owing to splitting up 
Police Ballroom (with Comus, Demon Fuzz) Advertised as Wandering John 2 (John Gravenor and new version of the band which included Neol Davies - later of Selecter) but not fulfilled. Rogue substituted! Village disco and lights.
Plough, London Rd, 27/11/70
Walsgrave, 29/12/70,
40 year Reunion gig - Sphinx Club, Coventry



Picture from Broadgate Gnome 1970

Ade Taylor - reprocessed from Broadgate Gnome 1970

The original pic from Broadgate Gnome

Managers Dave and Julie Sullivam

Dave Sullivan - manager of Wandering John

Wandering John band card 1970

Ade Taylor's stage outfit.

Centre - Alex Murphy - a Wandering John Roadie and friend along with most of the Wandering John crowd and includes Neil O'Connor (Hazel's brother) on the left.

Ade Taylor reprocessed from Broadgate Gnome 1970 - used for Hobo website

Brighton Crew - 

YouTube Video

Song about Alex Murphy and the Brighton Crowd by Neil O'Connor

Below - the gig accounts from Dave and Julie Sullivan - Management

Wandering John poster work by Hilary ( Patchell) Kennelly