For the past couple of years, London based singer-songwriter Vaughan H King has been writing a story titled ’Darkness At Dawn’, which is an east end tragedy, broken into four acts. The story follows Vaughan’s grandparents Violet and Reginald Compton during the early to mid 1950’s when England, and London in particular, was still recovering from the devastating effects of the second world war. Whilst the public were living amongst the rubble after the terror of the blitz, the couple were beginning a love affair in Forest Gate, East London, which would ultimately end in tragedy.
After a whirlwind start to their relationship, Violet and Reggie welcomed a baby girl into the world, naming her Lorraine (Vaughan’s mother). Whilst home life was bliss, a feud was brewing between a gang of teddy boys calling themselves ‘The Vultures’ and Violet’s brother; Freddie. The gang had broken into the Compton’s family home and stolen five extremely rare exotic birds that demanded a high price on the London blackmarket. Reggie, who was also the singer in the local music group ‘The Forest Gate Society Band’, took on the responsibility of protecting Freddie from The Vultures and agreed to meet the gang at the local saloon bar, ‘The Earl of Derby’. A heavily pregnant Violet begged and pleaded for Reggie to stay but being a man of honour, felt he should go to protect the family name and make reason with ‘The Vultures’.
What unfolded on the 1st April 1955 would make headlines in the national newspapers and change the lives of the Compton family forever. Reggie and his brother arrived at the bar on Stacey Road to meet the gang who wanted to settle matters ‘outside’, with no compromise being on the table, the two groups headed toward Stacey Road.
Vaughan has researched the events of that night by investigating the case files at The National Archives and the news reports archived at The British Library. Reggie was tragically killed by knife wounds and in a remarkable twist of fate, Violet gave birth to a baby boy on the same night, eventually naming him, ‘Reginald Donald Compton’, the given name of his father.
Vaughan has broken the tragedy into four acts; Love, Murder, Forgiveness and Afterlife, and released three demos on streaming platforms in 2020 to begin telling the story. He recorded Act One in Portugal with long term collaborators Luis Correia (Earl Slick) and Tiago Rosado (Dirt Diggers), which will be released in the early stages of 2023. On the 24th November 2022 Vaughan and his live band performed Act One at the 900 year old West Ham All Saints Church to a sold out crowd, it was also the site Vaughan's grandparents were married.
Vaughan has been releasing music regularly over the past ten years and has garnered acclaim from numerous publications;
“...as beautiful, deep and dangerous as a frosty river on a moonlit winters’ night” - NME
“Finely crafted songs pulsing around a black velvet heart” - Kerrang.
He was the lead singer/songwriter in the band ‘Dirt Diggers’, (4/5 from Rock Sound Magazine for the album ‘FIASCO’), who recorded with White Stripes engineer Liam Watson at his analogue only studio ‘Toe Rag’, whilst simultaneously in the band NED. Both released albums in 2013 and sold exclusively at live shows.