Into the early 1960s, Gerry and Royd Rivers worked as a duo, playing live in pubs and clubs throughout Southern England, including the Red Lion in Sutton, Surrey, one of England’s first folk clubs.
Other emerging talents of the British folk and blues scene at this time included Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch, Ann Briggs, Jo Ann Kelly, Davy Graham, John Renbourn, Wizz Jones and Jon Mark.
Gerry continued to pursue his blues ideals with unrelenting zeal. He saw Blues legends such as Josh White, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee play live. Gerry even managed to learn some finger-picking blues techniques directly from Brownie.
In 1961, Gerry took his musical obsession further when he bought a classic American acoustic guitar, a Martin D28 – the guitar played by his idol, Big Bill Broonzy. One of the earliest gigs Gerry played with his new Martin guitar was at a folk club in East Street, Brighton, West Sussex on 29 October 1961.
Thankfully, this gig was put onto reel-to-reel tape by local club organiser Jim Marshall and the recording is still enjoyed by Gerry’s family today. Other Southern clubs played by Gerry at this time included the Lewes Arms and the Royal Oak, both in Lewes, East Sussex.
Gerry and Royd continued to perform as a duo until 1963, after which Royd started to perform with Cliff Aungier. Royd and Cliff’s partnership resulted in an LP called ‘Wanderin’, produced by Jimmy Page, who was later to form Led Zeppelin.
Gerry continued to perform solo throughout the early 1960s and his live work included tours of France, Germany, Italy and Sicily. These early European tours also brought Gerry into contact with more American blues legends including Memphis Slim.
In 1963, Gerry’s mother died, he married Bobbi and their first son, Jason, was born in 1964.
In 1964 Gerry also begin an association with Jersey in the Channel Islands, performing on television and radio. Footage from these performances still exists, preserved in the archives of Channel TV.
Around April 1965 Gerry changed the spelling of his surname from Loughran to Lockran for stage purposes. His British live schedule at this time also included a package tour called ‘Kings of the Blues’ with Long John Baldry, Alexis Korner and Duffy Power.
The Half Moon pub in Putney, South West London, presented Gerry with his first major opportunity to run his own folk and blues club. It was on August 6th 1965, that Gerry, together with his old friends Cliff Aungier and Royd Rivers, first opened ‘Folksville’, a folk and blues club at the Half Moon. This music venue continues to thrives into the year 2000 – 35 years after being started by Gerry, Cliff and Royd!
Other young performers who played live at ‘Folksville’ were: Ralph McTell, Wizz Jones and Martin Carthy. Indeed, Ralph, Wizz and Martin would still play live at the Half Moon during the 1990s. ‘Folksville’ also booked American blues legends, including Champion Jack Dupree, who remarked to Gerry after hearing his opening floor spot, that he was the closest thing he had ever heard to Big Bill Broonzy!
However, Gerry needed to develop his career further by recording and releasing records.
In 1966 Gerry secured a recording contract which resulted in the release of his first LPs Hold ‘On-I’m Coming!’ , featuring Danny Thompson on double bass.
Gerry followed this release with ‘Blues Vendetta’ in 1967, which featured his powerful fingerpicking style on self -penned compositions like ‘Guitar Boogie’ and ‘Jason’s Blues’ (written for his three year old son). In 1969 ‘The Essential Gerry Lockran’ was released and Gerry also featured on ‘The Blues at Sunrise’ compilation with Redd Sullivan and Dave Travis.
Gerry continued to write, record and release records up to the end of his career in 1981.
In 1968, Gerry, Bobbi and young Jason moved to East Molesey, Surrey where they remained for the rest of Gerry’s life.
Gerry and Cliff Aungier
Photo: Jon Milton