Medicine Head live in the early to mid 70s

Medicine Head live in the early to mid 70s. medicinehead ticket Medicine Head were one of several hippie/underground bands who played their own unique blend of the blues and broke through to the mainstream, hitting the charts in the early 70s. Championed by John Peel, they featured on his Dandelion record label and would often pop up at festivals “back in the day”. The core of Medicine Head were John Fiddler (guitar and vocals) and Peter Hope-Evans (mouth harp, jaw harp, and crazy bushy hair). In the early days they played as a duo, although they were augmented by additional musicians in some later incarnations. I saw them at least four times: at the Buxton 1973 festival (which was the duo), at Sunderland Locarno (during a period where ex Yardbird front man Keith Relf was singing and playing bass with them, and Peter Hope-Evans had left the band for a spell), at a great gig at Spennymoor Top Hat Club (back to the duo), and at a gig at Newcastle City Hall (where they were joined by a full band). The City Hall seemed a big venue for Medicine Head to play, and the venue was pretty sparsely attended, even though they had hit the charts with their single “One and One is One”, which reached No 3 in 1973. My ticket is pictured here, and tells me that the support act was local band Beckett, featuring singer Terry Wilson Slesser who went on to play in Back Street Crawler with Paul Kossoff. The Medicine Head band for the City Hall show featured Rob Townsend (ex Family) on drums, and possibly Tony Ashton (Ashton, Gardner and Dyke) on keyboards.
medicienheadpostyerThe gig I have the strongest memories of is when I saw Medicine Head at Spennymoor Top Hat Club. The Top Hat was a great little club in a village near Durham. It seemed very modern at the time, with golden cages where dancing girls would entertain the crowd. The Top Hat played host to many rock concerts in the early 70s. I remember seeing Stray, the Groundhogs, and the Edgar Broughton Band play there. Marie and I went to the Medicine Head gig. It must have been in 1976, as I remember it being on the same night as the Eurovision Song Contest, and that we kept popping downstairs to the bar to watch the TV and see how we were doing. We won that year, of course, with Brotherhood of Man and “Save your kisses for me” 🙂 Anyway enough of my guilty past, and back to Medicine Head. They were back to the duo format, and were just great fun. John Fiddler would sit playing guitar and singing, and banging a bass drum with a foot pedal. But the star of the show for me that night was mouth harp player Peter Hope-Evans. He is quite a little guy, and I’ve never seen anyone put so much power and passion into playing a mouth organ. He would blow it as if his life depended upon it; I was almost expecting his head to explode. Peter had a massive round ball of curly hair which would fly about as he played, and he would run around the crowd at the same time. At the Top Hat gig, Peter ventured into the audience as was his style, running up and down the stairs, around the tables, and squeezing unbelievable bluesy howls out of his instrument. Marie and I were just amazed by his performance. Unforgettable.
That gig at the Top Hat was the last time I saw Medicine Head. They split shortly afterwards, and are largely forgotten. John Fiddler has been promising a reunion on his website, and a couple of dates were set up, but never took place for some reason. It would be good to see them again.
Thanks to John for the scan of the amazing poster from the City Hall gig.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by dawn on November 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    One band i would liked to have seen “Rising sun” magic.

    Reply

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