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Suburban Steps to Rockland – a new documentary about the Ealing Club

Inspired by American touring blues acts such as Muddy Waters and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and with the help of a 19-year-old art student Fery Asgari from Tehran, in 1962 guitarist Alexis Korner and harmonica player Cyril Davies opened the Ealing Club, London’s (and Britain’s) first rhythm and blues venue. Soon young music fans from all over the country began attending Alexis and Cyril’s shows and sit in during their sets. The list of youngsters who learned the blues at the Ealing Club includes Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Paul Jones, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Dick Taylor, Jeff Beck and Eric Burdon, to name just a few.

The Who first played the Ealing Club in November 1964 and over the next four months appeared there a further dozen times. Here they are, above, on February 25, 1965 at the Ealing Club with Fery Asgari when, for a brief few weeks, they were billed as The Who London 1965. At the time Fery was a student at Ealing School of Art as well as managing the club.

The Ealing Club, “the cradle of British rock”, so says Mojo magazine, was a dingy and smoky concrete-floored basement barely mentioned in music history books, and it would last only three years. However, its pivotal role in fostering a golden generation of classic rock musicians and kick-starting the British blues movement remains undeniable.

Screening of the documentary Suburban Steps to Rockland will take place on 4 November 2017 at 4:00pm as part of the Doc n Roll film festival at the Barbican Screen 1, London. Further details and booking information can be found here.

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