Starting Out


In 1964 in Battersea, south London, Marian Segal began singing with a group of school friends, in the basement of the family shop. One of her band mates was a young Danny Kirwan who offered to play drums and it wasn’t long before he had asked to borrow Marian’s guitar. He soon mastered that, too; a few years later, Danny would find fame with Fleetwood Mac before making some excellent solo albums. Marian absorbed the output of American singer songwriters such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Richard and Mimi Farina, Bob Dylan and later Joni Mitchell and this love of American folk would influence the sound of Jade – evidenced by their multi-part harmony and dense acoustic guitar sound. 

Marian’s first public performance, proper, was at the Folk and Blues club at the Nags Head in Battersea in 1965, where she performed with a friend Malcolm Laws. From there, under the guidance of managers David Jones and Colin Deacon, who also ran the club, she began to venture out to other venues. By 1966, Marian had begun performing in the folk clubs in and around London and the wilds of Surrey, an area that lay just outside of the main conurbation. In addition to her weekly residency at The Nag’s Head, one of her first major appearances was at Battersea Town Hall – now the Battersea Arts Centre – where she sang with Sandy Denny associate, Alex Campbell. On the same bill was blues boom outfit Chicken Shack who included a pre-Fleetwood Mac Christine McVie.

Excerpts from: ‘No Sense of Time’ by Richard Allen June 2017

The Nag's Head


In the mid -1960s the Nag’s Head was a small, run-down pub, on the corner of Plough Road Battersea, run by Bob and Eileen Catton and their cat, Toby; surrounding the area was the heady aroma of ‘Price’s Candle Factory’. Above the pub was a small rehearsal room which on Sunday nights housed a folk club, run by Colin Deacon and myself. Colin and I were not performers – we had two main regulars on stage; a Scottish group called ‘The Bracken’ and Don Sheppard.

The club always had a policy of allowing people who turned up, to do ‘a turn’ (a floor spot) and this practice brought Marian and her original accompanist, Malcolm Laws, to the folk club in 1965. This was Marian and Malcolm’s first ever performance in a club, with an audience. Their  performance was so impressive that the booked artist, Wizz Jones, gave up part of his spot, to allow Marian and Malcolm to perform longer.

Colin and I managed Marian from this point onwards, also giving her a residency at the Nag’s Head folk club. We arranged other folk club bookings and some spots on variety programmes at Battersea Town Hall (now Battersea Arts Centre) and Wandsworth Town Hall, culminating into a charity Folk Concert with Chicken Shack and Alex Campbell.

During one of her folk club bookings at ‘The Anglers’ in Teddington, Dave Waite was in the audience. This is the moment-in-time, when the idea for the duo began. It soon became obvious that our attempts to forward Marian’s career and with David now on board, would be a liability rather than an asset; so Colin and I swapped our impresario hats for the more rewarding one called friendship (a friendship which has stood the test of time, making me one of Marian’s original fans).

Although my tastes in music these days is varied, Marian is still rated in my list of ‘best female vocalists’ along with Joni Mitchell and Sandy Denny. When you hear this album, I think you’ll agree.

David Jones

(The Nag’s Head was demolished in 1992.)