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MIKE FIGGIS trumpet, flugel horn
ALBERT KOVITZ clarinet, bass clarinet
DAVEY PAYNE tenor, alto & soprano saxophones, flute
PAUL JOLLY tenor, alto & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
MICHAEL O’DWYER (SPOON) tenor saxophone
GEORGE KHAN baritone & tenor saxophones, flute, electric guitar
MEL DAVIS piano, organ, trombone
ADAM HART piano, organ, trombone
CHARLIE HART double bass
TERRY DAY drums, alto saxophone, bamboo flute
Everybody percussion, voices

A1 - SOHO STUDIO 1 - 10:38
A2 - SOHO STUDIO 2 - 5:38
A3 - SOHO STUDIO 3 - 10:52
A4 - SOHO STUDIO 4 - 14:06
A5 - SOHO STUDIO 5 - 4:47
A6 - SOHO STUDIO 6 - 2:27
A7 - SOHO STUDIO 7 - 4:02
A8 - SOHO STUDIO 8 - 4:01

Analogue studio recordings made in London by Bob Woolford - 1969/70

MIKE FIGGIS trumpet, flugel horn, electric guitar ?
EDDIE EDEM trumpet, conga drums
IAIN JACOBS alto saxophone ?
DAVEY PAYNE tenor saxophone, flute
PAUL JOLLY tenor & baritone saxophones
MEL DAVIS voice, piano, prepared piano, cello, percussion
BUTCH POTTER electric guitar ?, electric bass ?
CHARLIE HART double bass, electric guitar
GEORGE KHAN drums, saxophones, flute
TONY EDWARDS drums, percussion
TERRY DAY drums, percussion, alto saxophone ?
everybody percussion, voices


Analogue home recording made in London by Mel Davis - 1969/70

ALBERT KOVITZ clarinet, bass clarinet, piano
DAVEY PAYNE alto & soprano saxophones, shaker
PAUL JOLLY alto saxophone, bass clarinet
CHARLIE HART double bass

B1 - PARADISO - 23:40

Analogue concert recording made in Amsterdam (Paradiso) - 1970 March 11

EDDIE EDEM trumpet, congas
MEL DAVIS trombone, voice
ROSE WIDDISON penny whistle
GEORGE KHAN flute, drums, saxophones
DAVEY PAYNE flute, saxophones
ALBERT KOVITZ clarinet, bass clarinet, voice
PAUL JOLLY saxophones, bass clarinet
IAIN JACOBS alto saxophone
TERRY HOLMAN baritone saxophone ?
CHARLIE HART double bass
TERRY DAY drums, bamboo reed pipes, alto saxophone
TONY EDWARDS xylophone, congas, bells, shakers
Everybody flutes, whistles, shakers, rattles, percussion, voices etc.

B2 - IN THE WOODS - 23:21

Analogue outdoor recording made in Trent Park woods near London by John Darling - c 1969

EDDIE EDEM trumpet, congas
MEL DAVIS trombone, voice
RUSSELL HARDY flute, penny whistle, bamboo reed pipe
GEORGE KHAN flute, drums, saxophones
ALBERT KOVITZ clarinet, bass clarinet, voice
PAUL JOLLY saxophones, bass clarinet
TERRY HOLMAN baritone saxophone ?
MIKE FIGGIS acoustic guitar, flugel horn
GEOFFREY PROWSE one string Thing-a-Phone with extended horn
CHARLIE HART double bass
TERRY DAY drums, bamboo reed pipes, alto saxophone
TONY EDWARDS xylophone, congas, bells, shakers
Everybody flutes, whistles, shakers, rattles, percussion, voices etc.


Analogue outdoor recording made in Trent Park woods near London by John Darling - c 1969

Total time 128:15

All previously unissued


Excerpts from sleeve notes:

Soho studio

This was a one off session when the band crowded into the small studio in Gerrard Street. Unlike the 1968 session there was no discussion as to what kind of music the band would go for or who was or wasn’t going to be included. Like People Band gigs it was a question as to who turned up on the day. You never knew who would turn up or how many guests had been invited to sit in with the band! In many ways this studio session represents both the music and personnel of the second generation of the People Band – the 1968 album represented the first generation.

"Chaos was always incorporated into the music" writes Adam Hart. Atmosphere, mood, anarchy, fast tempos and high nervous energy were also intrinsic to it. Other elements according to Mike Figgis were "how the band explored the ‘dynamics of volume’, e.g., contrasting the very loud with instant drops to zero with an underlying very fast quiet percussive pulse". He continues: "All had an equal voice to change the direction of the music. I liked to introduce a bit of structure into the anarchy with a simple harmonic melody that could be reciprocated. At times it was a beautiful orgasmic collective – quite tribal. The music could be sexual, sensual, primitive, and not polite!"

People Band music was always improvised & 99.9% of the time it was open and spontaneous. On the very very rare occasions when a score or organisational element was introduced, it was quickly abandoned, as can be heard with Albert trying to organise a sound check!

The house of music

Since the birth of the Continuous Music Ensemble (CME) around 1966 through to the demise of the People Band in 1972 there were regular ‘Jam Sessions’ at Mel Davis’ house. It wasn’t a large room and the grand piano and drum kit took up much of the space. However, we all managed to crowd into it. As with People Band gigs there was no discussion as to what we were going to play, it was literally a ‘Jam Session’ - at times loud and raucous, then quiet, gentle and delicate.

At times it is difficult to know who is playing what. This is partly due to the habit of the personnel playing each other’s instruments. This practice of rotating on each other’s instruments – especially the drums, fostered personnel to become multi-instrumentalists. During gigs that could last three hours most of the band would get to play the drums; as such there was quite a lot of stylistic and idiosyncratic influence.

Paul Jolly‘s reminiscence about Jam Sessions at Mel’s: "After surviving the first one, and digging deep to find the courage to attend the second one, the jam sessions at Mel’s developed into the kind of further education – not just musical – that you would never get anywhere else or ever obtain a grant for. Listening and learning, week after week, – great, great music – most of which is lost for ever - but not for those who where there – thank you Mel, Terry, Mike, Charlie, George, Davey, Ian, Albert, the other Terry, Tony, Eddie, Lyn, Barry and all those others who came, stayed awhile, loved and went away. This was heaven and hell in a dining room in Palmers Green."

Iain Jacobs writes: "At Mel’s we did the love, the anger, the silly, the serious; I think every type of mood was expressed and every kind of response to another’s stimulus. That was what excited me so much about the music, it was creation and reaction, such an intimate interaction and like Paul in his thoughts I have always been grateful to everyone in the band for all that they gave me. However, it wasn’t easy being in the PB, it was always an assault on the emotions & the reason, but it was an unforgettable experience.

"The People Band was a way of life which extended beyond the music. It was a philosophy of sharing and interacting while accepting and fighting our own and others’ inherent selfishness, which is another way of defining a family. Although we didn’t have a leader, through experience and ability, Terry (Day) and Mel were always the root of the band and we all agreed on that most of the time."


According to Mel Davis the People Band first ventured to Holland in 1967, then again in 1968 and 1969. However, Davey Payne reckons it was around February 1969 that the Band decided to ‘seriously’ seek gigs in Holland. Over the next few years the band had well paid gigs, acclaim and recognition that was never accorded it in England – in short it was well received, or as Davey Payne expresses it: "We always went down well in Holland. They were open to the energy and honesty of the music." Not only that, overall the music was more focused – mainly due to the band being solely comprised of ‘accomplished’ musicians. However, this did not exclude guests sitting in and ‘audience participation’. A nucleus remained in Holland, whilst others went backwards and forwards for specific gigs. As such there were two People Bands, one in Holland and the other in England. The quintet at the Paradiso formed the nucleus of the People Band in Holland, and Charlie Hart considers this recording to be "a very good example of the PB genre – abstract, collective, humorous etc."

Paul Jolly waxes about the Paradiso: "Amsterdam, the Melkvej the Cosmos and above all the Paradiso, had a special meaning for me and I think for all of us who made the trip into Holland and the rest of Europe – there were other cities but we stayed nowhere as long as we did in Amsterdam. The cliché would be about a coming of age, though in reality we came of age the moment we decided at that time to leave London and go. I always felt that those of us who went somehow became the liberators of the liberated.

"For me especially, it was the moment the music we had played in the back-rooms, the front-rooms, the woods, the church halls, the colleges, the pubs, the arts labs and the streets, moved onto a stage – and what a crazy stage the Paradiso was. Mad projections, and even madder projectionists, proclamations and poetry, jazz and jive, Surman and Stu Martin, Burton Greene with bloodied hands, Han Bennink taking the inner note from the wings as Terry laid down a storm and propelled the band from the silence between his sticks. Two-horn Davey, Charlie with that sound and that enigma that was Albert – as they said at the time it was just rock ‘n’ roll. But we played on that stage not just as a band but alongside those we left behind."

Amsterdam had become our second home.

In the woods

It was common practice for the PB to explore the environment or space they were playing in, which at times meant occupying the audience’s area, or wandering into every nook and cranny or going into other rooms of a building. Obviously fixed instruments such as drums and piano remained where they were, whilst everybody else was free to roam. However, at certain points in the music everybody would focus and congregate together around the fixed instruments.

In the woods some of the band can be heard wandering far away from the microphone whilst others come up close to it. The drums and double bass remain at a fixed distance. The band ‘focus’ when jets are directly overhead. Iain Jacobs recalls that "the planes were treated like another instrument". Mike Figgis adds, "the jet becomes part of the music".

In his notes for the woods tapes Mel Davis says: "“My vision – I can only speak for myself – but without community we are nothing. We become nihilist. - it’s like something you get your head around – love/art – no rules no compromise – ‘free at last’. The only structure ‘form’ – your voice, your instrument – where you are (your environment) – and where your head is. everybody has a voice – to express.

"One afternoon - upstairs – the Starting Gate – sun shining – me, Terry Day, Terry H, Frank Flowers. I’m sure some other people – I had a chart with an occasional ‘note’ – T Day says Man! I really have trouble playing ‘notes’ why don’t we just play – well yeah! Why not? It was difficult – like you throw the last crutch away – it was entirely you and who you were playing with (I had been there before but not with others) – it’s great to play alone – you can work things out – but it’s el supremo to play with others.

"I offer my great debt to all the musicians who played, and the great sound recordist who engineered it – another seminal moment in 20th century music – far out – mucho gracias compadre – molto Zen – Molto Anarchy – MOLTO ALLEGRO."

Texts collated by TERRY DAY (2008)


Excerpts from reviews:

"Long before The Sex Pistols, People Band were the real instigators of anarchy in Britain. Invited to play the Anarchists Annual Ball, the group - originally known as The Continuous Music Ensemble - were ejected soon after taking the stage for being too anarchic, an irony somehow lost on the organizers, but one that People Band could proudly wear like a medal.

This double disc set of live and studio recordings fulfils the promise that was hinted at on the earlier Emanem disc. Recorded at various venues 69/70 features the group at their creative peak. As their name implies, People Band played communal music, a joyous exchange of energy and ideas that produced extraordinary results out of seemingly discordant chaos.

The first disc pulls together the principal members for a series of fast and furious improv pieces urged along by the occasional vocal direction. For the most part, however, these are usually ignored as the group sound establishes itself, breaks free and runs riot. Disc two is just as wild and fascinating, featuring a pair of outdoor jams that capture them playing live in a patch of London woodland, their exploratory instrumentation boosted by natural sounds and the low roar of jet engines passing overhead. The resulting live mix of free music, nature and machines is a spontaneous sound clash rippling with anarchic humour - People Band in their absolute element."


"A 2-CD set of previously unreleased recordings of this band of merry improvisers, a kind of communal group of anarchists/musicians who pushed the art of free improvisation and performer/audience debunking to new extents. It’s tribal, extatic, funny at times, but also intelligent and dense. A sort of Nihilist Spasm Band whose members are deconstructing their musical training instead of not having training at all. It’s also an important historical document, but you can easily forget about that dimension and simply get carried away by the spirit of sharing and surpassing of one’s self that blows through these recordings."


"69/70 includes handfuls of interesting incidents, running the whole gamut of aural reactions while encompassing doers and receivers in a single, virtually unconscious act. The improvisations collected in Soho Studio, which take the bulk of the first disc, are the most amusingly vociferous ones, intermittently recalling the Mothers Of Invention circa The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet yet informed by a lesser level of drama, the instrumental designs always incredibly intelligible and rather lucid despite the massive cluttering of timbres and dynamics, percussion and screaming voices emerging from the mix to define what the liners call 'a beautiful orgasmic collective - quite tribal'. The self-explanatory In the Woods is obviously a prevalently peaceful chapter in terms of space distribution, the participants drifting in and out the microphones' range to explore different areas of fortuitous artistry and subsidiary presences (such as passing airplanes). The slight diversion here is represented by Paradiso, named after the notorious Amsterdam venue which often hosted PB's concerts. The quintet of Albert Kovitz, Davey Payne, Paul Jolly, Charlie Hart and Terry Day tends to a type of half-introspective free jazz tinged with altruism - especially towards the audience, treated to intensely expressive moments where the interplay is logical, unpredictable, nimble-footed, totally in tune with the addressee's needs."


"The list of locations gives some sense of People Band's philosophy around 1969-70. They often played simply for the joy of sharing the experience with each other and with the audience. The studio recordings open with a lone saxophone plus studio chatter and then lead into a series of free blowing pieces, some with vocal exhortations. Apparently, the studio was crowded with people, with frequent comings and goings to get fresh air. Consequently, as with the rest of the album (except the Paradiso recording), details of who was present are approximate. With everyone present contributing percussion, the pieces are often highly rhythmic and surprisingly structured. The same is true of the home recording and those made in the woods.

The recording made at the Paradiso is unique in that the band is a five-piece rather than the larger ensembles elsewhere. With the twin saxophones of Davey Payne and Paul Jolly plus Albert Kovitz on clarinet, the quintet cooks up an energetic free improvisation featuring sax and clarinet lines that crossover and interweave. Of the album's twelve tracks, it is the most focused and hence the best. The band clearly responded well to an audience; maybe they should have recorded live more often.

The whole of this release is an entertaining and interesting historical document which is a snapshot of the time. This music was clearly enjoyable for the musicians to create. It is almost impossible not to be drawn into its infectious sense of fun."



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