1960s live music venue
A fairly unremarkable pub
In the 1960s there used to be a fairly unremarkable pub called Jimmy’s in a little back street off Old Steine. It did, however, have a reasonable sized function room upstairs and once a week on Thursday nights it was transformed into arguably Brighton’s best ever live music venue, run by the UOS Blues Society. In the 2 years during which a crowd of us were regulars we saw blues legends Mississippi Fred McDowell and Champion Jack Dupree, stalwarts of the 60s British blues boom such as Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack and Jo-Ann Kelly, and bands in their very early days who went on to become household names like Jethro Tull, Free and Mott the Hoople.
A totally new experience
It is difficult to overstate just what a fantastic time this was. I was 16 when we started going and was still at school. The only previous live music I’d seen was at The Dome or the Top Rank Suite. Jimmy’s was basically just a room above a pub and had a capacity of around 150 or 200 as I recall, compared with The Dome’s 2000 plus seating. Seeing bands in the atmosphere of a small club was a totally new experience.
A closet archivist
I’d love to know more about the history of music at Jimmy’s. I suspect it all finished in spring 1970, or we would have carried on going, but it would be interesting to know how long it had been running prior to May ’68 when we discovered it. I was a bit of a closet archivist at that time and I noted all the live music I went to see, sometimes with notes on the performances, as well as keeping the odd programme and flyer. Now, decades later, it occurs to me that this might be of some historical interest. If you are interested in reading this list, you can download it below.
Do you remember Jimmy’s?
I would love to hear other people’s memories, both of these gigs and the ones I missed. Maybe we can fill in the gaps of who appeared when. Are there any of the organisers or performers out there who can contribute? If you can share any memories of Jimmy’s and the bands and performers who played there, please leave a comment below.