The Author

Al Read


Beeches Skiffle Club 1957

It began when Al received a guitar for his fifthteenth birthday and formed the Cemetery Skiffle Group and, very soon after, started the Beeches Skiffle Club. This once a week gathering was surely one of the first teenage music clubs in Bristol. On to art college at sixteen and from skiffle to pop with Daryl Grant and the Descants. Then he fronted Alan G Read and the Statesmen, all Buddy Holly with the occasional Shadows instrumental. Soul outfit Franklyn Big Six was next with the superb vocalist Joanne Justice and the talented Fennell brothers Frank and Tony.

Al with the Franklyn Big 6 1962
alstatesmen Al with the Statesmen 1960


Al with the Descants 1958
Towards the end of the Sixties Al joined Picture of Dorian Gray who underwent a quick name change to East of Eden. Al was with them when they recorded their first single “King of Siam” and when they appeared in the Tony Richardson film “Laughter in the Dark”. The band started their own regular progressive rock Monday night at the Dugout Club which nearly came to an end when East of Eden split in two when Al, bassist Terry and drummer Tony left. Calling on other local groups, the popular Monday nights at the Dugout continued and Al, Terry and Tony became rock trio Barnaby Goode.

eastofedenEast of Eden - Al 2nd on right 1968

Soon afterwards the ‘Plastic Dog’ club night was moved to the newly opened Granary Club. Rejoining up with Frank Fennell, Al’s final band was Phineas Fogg. At the Granary Al became the club’s DJ, its booking agent and, for a time, the licensee. His serious involvement in both the Granary and the Plastic Dog Agency, Management and Concert Promotion Company attracted the attention of local BBC radio who wanted someone to front a new weekly rock show.

alreadbackthenAl 1970

For sixteen years Al presented programmes on BBC Radio Bristol, at first Six O’Clock Rock and the Rock Show, then on to general entertainment programmes like ‘Til Midnight, the Weekend Wonder Show, Late Night West and the Afternoon Show. He became one of the station’s regular daily presenters. In 1976 Al left the Granary but carried on with radio until 1990. Al then worked part time in the graphics studio at Bristol Zoo until retirement in 2007. Al now devotes his spare time to the running of the Granary reunion events, the Granary web site and regular appearances at the Prom Music Bar as one of a team of Pop Quiz masters.

Al on local radio