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About Coconut Grove


Coconut Grove's musical history goes back to the early 1960's.

I first played with "Coconut Grove" on Friday 23rd July 1976. The venue was Trevelgue Holiday Park. The two songs I played were "When the Train Comes" by Sutherland Brothers and "All Right Now" by Free.

After a few more gigs at Tall Trees, Doublestiles and Trevelgue I was asked to join the band on Monday 6th September 1976

Of all the bands I have been associated with, "Coconut Grove" was the most special. I spent two era's with this band, the first being in the 70's and then when we reformed in the 80's. On Sunday 15th July 1979 we recorded at Sawmills Studios, Golant. One of the songs we recorded was "Blue Eyes" and a b-side . Sadly I don't have a copy of these recordings.

We had the privilege of playing at the Beach Boys convention in 1989. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys played his first solo gig at this convention. How do we follow that. This gig, in London, was a fantastic success.

We played at the famous "Cafe Royal" in Regents Street, London on Thursday 20th December 1979.

We also recorded a cover of a Beach Boys song, "Problem Child", which was released on a CD on the M&M label in Japan.

"More Than Just A Friend", "Do I Have I The Right To Say" and "The Way It Used To Be" were recorded by Coconut Grove at Roche Recording Studio. Another song recorded at this session entitled "Where Do We Go From Here" was written by Alan Martin of the Coconut Grove.

Coconut Grove have also featured on Radio Cornwall on several occasions. Freddy Zapp still uses our jingle, based on the Jan & Dean song, "The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena). Updated lyrics by Alan Martin of Coconut Grove.

Coconut Grove decided to disband in 1995. Our last gig was playing support to the Merseybeats at Roche Victory Hall. Another successful gig. This one will always be very special to me as this final gig, was also one of our best performances. Here is a photograph of our last gig. The venue was Roche Victory Hall.

During April 1991 we recorded a Coconut Grove CD of our "live set" at a major studio. One of the tracks on the CD was officially released on a
CD in Japan.

May 2009, saw saw the release of the 14 track CD, "Hits from the Beach Boys & The Four Seasons".



Performance of "Rag Doll" at Nanpean Football Club.



The Final Performance

From the Cornish Guardian, Thursday, May 18th, 1995.

Gig marks end of era

The end of an era was witnessed by close on 1000 people last Saturday at the Hendra Tourist Park, writes Derf Woldus.

Coconut Grove, the Newquay based band, whose cover versions of the Beach Boys records were always second to none, played their final gig.  Originally formed in the early sixties, the band survived many changes from the original line-up.  Throughout the years though, they always gave a professional performance at every venue – large or small, many of which were for local and national charities.

“The Grove” would always “have a go” at any new songs that came along.  Somehow they always managed to reproduce the records to perfection – much to the delight of their fans, both young and old!

A couple of years ago, they really put themselves to the test with their version of Bohemian Rhapsody, made famous with Queen.  Anyone who was unfortunate enough not to see them perform this song missed a very rare treat indeed!

Their music will be sadly missed, not only by the locals, but also by the tourists who enjoyed their holidays even more for having seen the band.

So, on behalf of all your fans, wherever and whoever they are – Thank you, Alan, Graham, Neil, Dave and Pete, for all the good gigs – but then you never did have any bad ones!!


Coconut Grove - Brief History

Coconut Grove were formed during the early 60's in Newquay, Cornwall.  The initial intention of the group was to form an instrumental group.  This event took place during the summer of 1960 at the Newquay Grammar School.  The original members were Nigel Toon (lead guitar), John Kessell (bass guitar), Geoff Treverton (drums) and Dave May (rhythm) and they called themselves the Vigilantes.

During 1961, the group started playing in public at the grammar school dances, and at various hotels in the surf resort of Newquay.  In 1962, the group expanded with Brian May joining as vocalist.  They played a lot through out Cornwall, and in 1965 underwent additional personnel changes.  John Kessell (bass) left with Pete Coombe replacing him.  Nigel Toon (lead guitar) left at the end of 1965 with Alan Martin replacing him.  With this new line up in place, the group changed its name from the Vigilantes to Coconut Grove in honour of the famous Cocoanut Grove club in Los Angeles.  At this time Dave May switched from guitar to organ.

The group were now more vocal orientated.  They developed a 5 part harmony sound based on the sounds of the Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Jan & Dean and other harmony groups.  During the 60's the group's vocal sound was backed up by the following equipment.  The P.A. system was a VOX with a Binson Echorec.  Alan Martin used a Fender Jazzmaster guitar with a VOX AC-30 amplifier.  Pete Coombe used a Fender Precision bass with a VOX Supreme amplifier.  Dave May initially used an Epiphone guitar, an Hofner Galaxy and a VOX Ac-30 amplifier.  When Dave switched to keyboards, he played a VOX Continental organ, and later upgraded to a Hammond Organ with a Leslie cabinet.

The group continued to play two or three times a week through out the years around their hometown.  More changes came to the group as Geoff Treverton left and was replaced by Clifford Lake. Clifford later left and was replaced by Neil Sudlow on drums (Tama kit).  Graham Hicks joined the band in 1976 as a 2nd lead guitarist and lead vocals.  Graham used a Tokai (Stratocaster), Fender Stratocaster, with a Fender Twin Reverb and Fender Pro 185 amplifiers.  Bob Etheridge auditioned as bass player for the band on Monday 13th March 1978. Pete Coombe's farewell gig was at Foxhole W.M.C. on Friday 28th April 1978, so Bob would have joined soon after that date. Bob continued to play with the band during the late 70's, early 80's. At this time Alan Martin started using a 60's Fender Stratocaster, a Levinson Blade guitar and a Mesa Boogie amplifier. Dave May later used a Roland D5 and Yamaha keyboard.


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The famous Cocoanut Grove club in Los Angeles.