An extended interview with us at Pheonix Radio in Brentwood, Essex. Click on the link for the full interview and two live tracks.
Excellent review of our album launch gig at Kardomah94, Hull.
It’s not often an ex-Housemartin buys you hot chocolate and cookies.Tonight is the night Ted Key and the Kingstons release their debut album, Raconteur Rock, a swaggering record mashing reggae, punk, folk and raucous anthemic rock.Joined by renowned Golborne Road drummer Nick Harrison, and producer/promoter and writer Paul Greendale on bass, the trio bring their own brand of thoughtful, toe-tapping, hip-wiggling pop gems.
It’s plain to see the influences and origins of the sound. The social commentary and story style narrative of the first House Martins record shines through, including catchy choruses and sincere, honest lyrics. Later in the set, we even get a short but sweet solo rendition of ‘Happy Hour’, met with rapturous applause.
He’s a fan of The Clash, as any real music fan should be. This is obvious, but if you’re not sure, ‘Me copy O’London Calling’ should cover the basics. The Strummer-esq, reggae-infused, clean guitar extends further, sprinkled throughout tracks like ‘Len’s Lion’ and ‘As Drunk as a Drunk Man Can Be’.
‘(You treat me like I’m) Dead Bod’ struts in with a bluesy, Stones-style stomp, with hooky lead guitar and punchy percussion. ‘Oh Cruella’ soars with driving bass, sounding like a 50’s American rockabilly blazer – a harking to Ted’s tenure in The Gargoyles. Pure brilliance.And then there’s the incredible ‘Anarchy in Argos’.
It’s an intimate, relaxed and easy going affair, made all the more so by how welcoming the band are – and who can say they’ve been to an album launch where you get free hot chocolate and cookies in the intermission?
Raconteur Rock is available now through streaming services, and physically via Amazon.
Words by Luke Goodhand | Photography by Rowan Zynoni.
Starting the night is local legend and Housemartin Alumni Ted Key and the Kingstons. The three-piece provide a blistering set, a mixture of jangle pop, folk rock, blues and punk, with soulful stomping riffs and harmonica to boot. I expect we will hear a lot from them over the City of Culture year, and I welcome it. It’s well written, honest and fun.
In Spring 2017, Ted and The Kingstons played at the third Portobello Live Festival, performing two sets at the legendary KPH venue on Ladbroke Grove, West London:
"Ted Key and the Kingstons played one of their first ever gigs at The KPH and had a real stormer of a set. These musicians are top notch pros, and are going from strength to strength. The songs are fantastic, ranging from rock to pop to reggae, full of stories and catchy tunes.
Their last set at the Acklam village was even better, with Ted playing his new blueline Gretsch electric instead of the trusty acoustic. It made a big difference to the sound of the band, and it can only be a matter of time before the rest of London sits up and takes notice of this quality act."
Micky P, promotor for The KPH, Acklam Village and Portobllo Live!
“It’s back! For the third year running, Portobello Live! returns to West London with its winning formula of music, cabaret, spoken word, performance and art.
Held over the May Day bank holiday in association with dance label Wall Of Sound and Rough Trade records, this year’s festival also takes a retrospective look at Rock Against Racism, a movement which sprang into life 40 years ago.
A stunning line up of new bands and performers, rock royalty and special guests will play out across the stages of Portobello's iconic pubs, clubs and venues. This year, Portobello Live! is delighted to announce punk performance poet John Cooper Clarke as one of the headline artists, along with Bandante (The Bad Seeds), Glen Matlock (the Sex Pistols), The Egg, Youth, Salad Undressed, Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot (Curiosity Killed The Cat), Don Letts, Rusty Egan and Noel Watson, with more to be announced. Music, film, poetry and art lovers will join with music industry and media professionals to enjoy the best of the West in a diverse programme of delight.
Particularly relevant in today’s social climate, Rock Against Racism photographer Syd Shelton will reflect on the movement which, 40 years ago, came to public attention through music and marches, or ‘carnivals’, inspired by Notting Hill’s annual event where many RAR artists had their musical and street-fighting apprenticeships. Also highlighting current social affairs, the Oasis World Choir, composed of refugees from Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan, will sing at the festival.
Aimed at preserving Notting Hill's rich and diverse artistic heritage, the festival provides a deserved platform for the area’s past and present music and cultural history. Venues are all within walking distance and include Acklam Village, the KPH, the Cow, Mau Mau, Rough Trade, Westbank, Rum Kitchen, Maxilla Social Club and Book & Kitchen.
Ongoing support for this year’s festival is being provided by established sponsors and local patrons including Mick Jones (the Clash), actress Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral), film director Kevin Allen (Twin Town, Under Milk Wood), Don Letts (B.A.D., DJ, filmmaker and author) and artist Mark Wigan.
‘Not only is it great to be working alongside some of the amazing people and organisations who consider West London home; these important collaborations have presented Portobello Live! with the opportunity to expand and develop, as well as giving it greater visibility in the community,’ says Portobello Live! promoter, Micky P. “
When Ted came to London to play some solo shows in December 2016, he performed at The Island Experiment, Wade Bayliss’ regular Wednesday night event at The Paradise in Kensal Green. It was here that he met drummer Nick Harrison, the regular drummer for the house band – also known as The Island Experiment.
"I didn't know what to expect when Ted and the Kingstons got on stage. I knew Nick is one of the funkiest drummers in London, but I didn't know how that would sit with Ted's folky story telling. It was a revelation to hear this impressive blend of pop, rock and punky-reggae, all with a funky, danceable edge. The audience loved it, and so did I. They are most welcome anytime Ted's down this way"
Wade Baylis MC at and chief Funkster at The Island Experiment
Welcome to The Island Experiment, an event with music that is happening every Wednesday from early evening to midnight. On the 7th November, 2012, we moved to our current home... Paradise (By Way of) Kensal Green. The address is 19 Kilburn Lane, W10 4AE If you would like to participate, contact our host by email: The Island Experiment... a Bohemian pub-with-restaurant, look for the stairs, go up them, and find the club room. Last year's finest new acts were... I am Alice (aka 'electro girl' Alice O'Leary) Bee Bakare, singer/songwriter Lauren Rycroft, singer/songwriter Metamorfosi, a band from Italy We Are The Cold Men, two guys in a band. Regular returning heroes and heroines: (Sonia) Bernardo, Chelsea Blues, Karin Fransson, Lisa Grand, Rosie Holloway, Red Indra, Ina Reni, RUTH, and more. Sebastian Blake, Elisha Blue, Joe Brandon, Joseph Dean Osgood, Tomi Saario, Ivamore nusoul Williams and more. Bands: WHALLS, Ted Key and The Kingstons, The King's Parade, La Explosion, 150 Friends Club, Laura Matthews and the Flakes and more. And then there is the crowd...and you among them. The ISLAND EXPERIMENT is a country on a hill of sand. We are people first and foremost. Then there is the music. And finally...as GEORGE MICHAEL said...you gotta have faith. PEACE, LOVE. UNDERSTANDING, FAITH.
"I had the privildge of being invited into the Kingstons rehearsal rooms, otherwise known as Nick's basement flat on Golborne Road. A tiny space with the band packed into the living room, drum kit in the corner and just enough room for me to set up my recording gear on the table next to the PA. The Kingstons romped through seven songs, from punk-reggae to rock to folk. A mix of beautiful ballards and hard hitting rockers, all telling fascinating stories with evocative imagery. Ted and the guys then gave a forthright and honest interview, with great stories from Ted's time in the Housemartins, Nick's life as manager on the Greenfields at Glastonbury and Paul's time as a trance DJ. I don't think I've met a band with such depth of musical knowledge and integrity. And they did a fantastic set, all for little old me! Many, many thanks. One of the highlights of the radio year for me."
Greg Weir - DJ Portobello Radio