Paul Simon & Sting together at Rogers Arena ~ Thurs Feb 20th @ 8pm

March 1, 2014

When you go to see Paul Simon & Sting on tour together you are actually going to see 4 artists, Paul Simon, Sting, The Police and Simon & Garfunkel, this is  the wealth of recorded material that these two artists can draw on  for this show.

No Art Garfunkel on stage tonight but Sting is here to fill that space and what a good job he will do, also no Police boys tonight guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland are missing in action, but 14 musicians fill the stage and Sting’s band fill the Police void with the brilliant master class Vinnie Golaiuta on drums and the tasteful classically trained Dominic Miller on guitar add to these on keyboards David Sancious and Jo Lawry who is featured on the film ‘ 20 feet from Stardom” on backing vocals with young new kid Peter Tickell on electric violin who is an outstanding talent.

The first thing I notice is Sting is still in strong voice hitting all the notes and still has his vocal power and is first and foremost  a great musician with the chance to play bass with some stellar musicians tonight which he seems to relish and to sing some of Paul Simon’s songs as they merge their material and verses and voices together being very gracious to each other between songs.

Starting in with “Brand New Day” all of Sting’s solo songs and Police goodies are on display here tonight and the crowd are right there for the sing~a~long Roxanne and  Walking on the Moon including yours truly supporting a fellow English boy in Vancouver!

Paul Simon acknowledges the Canadian Woman’s Hockey team win over the USA and gets a big cheer in our home town hockey  stadium.

Next thing I notice is Paul Simon’s band ~ Wow!  every one of them are up to brilliant and deserve a special mention ~ Mick Rossi on Hammond keyboards, Bruce ‘Sunpie’ Barnes on Accordion and Harmonica, Bakithi  Kumalo on bass, Vincent Nguini on guitar, C.J. Carmerierion trumpet and French Horn and Andy Snitzer on Saxophone and Flutes who are a brass section to end all brass sections and  the three who really sparked my  interest, Mark Stewart who would join the brass section on Saxophone and played a mean guitar as well, also Jamey Haddad on percussion who nearly stole the show with his solo and last but not least young drummer extraordinaire Jim Oblon  who I think will be much in demand in the future and is also a fine guitarist.

The songs of Paul Simon carry him through the night, surly one of the best songwriters in the last 50 odd years, he has adapted his voice to suit the all time classics ~ Slip Slidin Away, Stll Crazy, My and Julio, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Mother & Child Reunion  and the beautiful drum intro into 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover and the crowd are on there feet and in seventh heaven at this point.

Then next up  you have the Graceland songs to wow  the crowd and again they are up on their feet again for every note and word ~ Boy in the Bubble, Diamonds on the Soles Of Her Shoes and You Can Call Me Al with bass player Kulamo showing the audience that he can play just a bit and kissing his bass guitar after a standing ovation at the end of the song. Follow that!

Great show boys ~ Paul Simon at 73 & Sting at 63 ~ Good Friends and happily Still Crazy After All these Years and with smiles on their faces

Frankie Neilson


A Young Person’s Guide to What’s Important in Life

September 5, 2013

REBELLIOUS MUSIC

Music is for young people and it plays an important part in our growing up and youth. There is nothing better than seeing an exciting live concert with your mates and enjoying yourself. The music you love in your teens will stay with you for the rest of your life. The teenager has played a strong role in changing attitudes in fashion and our parents throughout the decades. Looking back it started with the young girl teenager audiences call bobby soxers that swooned over the first teen idol Frank Sinatra in the 1940′s and wore the poodle skirts and rolled their socks down to their ankles.

Then came Elvis Presley and rock n roll in the mid 50′s and he changed everything drawing from his country roots as well as black Rhythm & Blues which really upset the establishment and when he first appeared on the Ed Sullivan TV show he could only be seen from the waist up as his wiggle of the hips was thought to be too sexual and might cause a riot! which is what the teenagers really wanted. Great to see the old black & white footage of Elvis doin’ this thing! and driving the young girls crazy! Sad he let them cut his hair and joined the army.                     

Then the Beatles hit the world in the early 60′s and made everything that came before them look out~of~date overnight and the world has not been the same since and rightly so, but it seems that all generations including today’s youngsters love the mop tops and we certainly sell more Beatles stuff in the store than anybody else. Finally for the first time since the second world war the economy was getter better all the time (it couldn’t get much worse) and the British teenagers had some money in their pocket and spending power for records and clothes and anything their parents didn’t like the youngsters loved. ha ha

Enter the punk scene in the mid 70′s as a reaction to the pomp of stage shows by Led Zeppelin and Sex_PistolsPink Floyd, you didn’t need to know how to play the guitar or drums just get up there and make a noise! With the Sex Pistols and the Clash leading the charge out of the UK with a rebellious sneer on their faces and a brand new fashion look which is still around today and still looks brilliant! Joe Strummer who never made a bad record leading the Clash to America and beyond and Johnny Rotten who was the perfect front man as the band imploded behind him just like it always would somewhere in the States and it’s a shame Sid Vicious took it all too serious as Malcolm McLaren made off with the money.

Now it’s your turn young people.


Record store becomes hub for music lovers

May 11, 2013

 

It’s only rock n roll but I like it !

The year was 1969. I was 16 and had just landed a job as trainee recording engineer in London, England’s hot music industry

This was the land of the British Invasion, and I was wide-eyed at its bright lights, big city nerve centre.

Zoom forward 10 years and it’s 1979.                                         

I was with Polydor Records, finding and developing new artists, working with musicians such as Paul Weller and The Jam, Ian Dury, Billy Fury and my proudest signing of the time, the Comsat Angels, who have attained cult status over the years.

Those were heady times. In the midst of it, I decided to take a holiday to visit my uncle in Canada. He was living in Edmonton, which was . well. ‘nuf said.

But we took a side trip to Banff and Jasper and there I lost my heart – to those rocky mountains!

I returned to England and jumped back into that intoxicating world of the music business, but a little piece of me remained behind in Canada.

Some years later, I was at a crossroads in my career and wondered about rekindling that old romance – this time with commitment.

My uncle agreed to sponsor me and I immigrated to Canada in 1994. Trouble was, my uncle had since moved to Toronto and my mountain love was nowhere to be seen.

“If you want mountains, you have to go to the west coast,” he told me.

So, I packed my car and drove through the states until I was on the other side of the continent.

I was staying with a friend in Vancouver (loving the mountains, but still unsettled) who talked me into a fish ‘n’ chip supper in Steveston.

I didn’t want to go, but he insisted. Not only did I fall in love with what reminded me of an English seaside village (only surrounded by some awesome mountain), I saw a place where I could join that sense of home with the kind of work that makes me sing out loud – music.

I opened the Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston in October 2005.

As the name implies, it’s all about music, but it’s not just about commerce. It’s a place to talk music, honour artists of the past and present, and have a face-to-face experience with music lovers.

Recently, a couple of kids came in asking about Jimi Hendrix – I love that.

So while HMV and other big record stores close and the world moves to digital and downloading, I’ll continue to stock vinyl albums of the Beatles to Billie Holliday, posters from Jimi Hendrix concerts – along side Carly Rae Jepsen and Josh Groban CDs.                   

It might sound corny, but I see myself as a keeper of rock and roll history.

That said, anything worth keeping is also worth sharing with others, which is why I’m excited about the opportunity to write this column, “Talking Tunes,” for the Richmond News.

It will be a blend of . comedy, drama, history and humour! And maybe one or two horror stories.

Frankie Neilson owns Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston and is responsible for starting the summer music series, Music At The Cannery,

Richmond News ~ May 2013

 
 
 

Read more: http://www.richmond-news.com/entertainment/Record+store+becomes+music+lovers/8369766/story.html#ixzz2T0VshCcJ



Genuine CD sound quality drawing music lovers back

December 14, 2012

Genuine CD sound quality drawing music lovers back

to the Beatmerchant.

amywinehousesteveston.jpg

Frankie Neilson of The Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston, which offers CDs and vinyls, such as this Amy Winehouse album.

Martin van den Hemel photos
By Martin van den Hemel – Richmond Review
Published: January 13, 2012 11:00 AM
Updated: January 13, 2012 11:47 AM
 
History has a way of repeating itself, and so it appears with the predicted demise of CDs since downloading music from the Internet became a multi-billion dollar industry.

 Big box music store HMV recently closed its store at Richmond Centre mall after gradually placing less and less emphasis on its music CD collection. And HMV tried to fill a void left by the closing of A&B Sound in Vancouver.

 But business has never been better for Frankie Neilson, owner of The Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston, a specialty music store in the heart of the fishing village.

 “I think the big box stores…haven’t survived because they haven’t been giving people what they want. They stock all the same stuff,” said Neilson.

 Much like when CDs came on the scene in the 1980s, many pundits wondered how long it would take for vinyl albums to become extinct. And although vinyl albums aren’t being mass produced anymore, there’s no shortage of demand from audiophiles seeking the authentic sound quality they offer.

 Similarly, downloads from iTunes for play on iPods and other MP3 players doesn’t have the same quality and range of sound offered by music CDs or vinyl records.

 Neilson said one customer walked in after spending thousands of dollars on iTunes downloads, but had nothing to show for it and is now buying vinyl.

 Aside from better sound quality, having something you can hold, along with the signature artwork on CD jackets, along with additional content such as lyrics, that can’t be replicated by online downloads.

 Beyond that, people miss going to a store and chatting about music with people who are knowledgeable about it, he said.

 Over the past five years, Neilson said it’s a shame that the technology is becoming more important than the music itself.

 “The music is what’s important, not the technology,” he said.

 

Vancouver Province Newpaper Beatmerchant Article

December 2, 2012

 

Aura of British invasion at Beatmerchant

 
 
 
By Tom Harrison, The Province July 2012
 
 
Don’t tell Beatmerchant the CD is dead.

Besides CDs, the tiny shop in Steveston has racks of vinyl, DVDs, books, posters and – for some reason – a selection of tea and coffee mugs. There are other stores in the Lower Mainland such as Zulu, Red Cat, Scratch and Neptoon. Each seems to specialize, so it’s no surprise that there is a British Invasion aura about Beatmerchant, that carries over to its selection of CDs. There are a lot of English imports in stock.

This implies a knowledge of music – British at least – and a sympathy for the record buyer/collector. Want that rare Pretty Things single? Beatmerchant has (or had) it.

This is especially warming for the long-time record consumer who’d heard nasty rumblings that the CD is dead. Stuck with their CD habit, averse to downloading, the inveterate collector has been forced to order CDs online and will for as long as CDs are made. Right now, Vancouver hasn’t a single chain where new CDs can be bought. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. If CDs sales are plummeting, it’s because nobody can buy a CD. They have no choice but to shop online . . . providing they know for which they’re shopping. Which is another attraction of Beatmerchant et al.: Browsing.

One of the pleasures of record shop-ping used to be discovering, while browsing, records in the racks you didn’t know about or never thought you’d find. As well, some of my greatest guilty pleasures are records I bought because they were in the delete bin and cheap. Beat-merchant has a relatively small selection of CDs and vinyl at reduced prices.

The store is located in the corner of a mall at 12240 2nd Ave.

Read more of my posts about local music at blogs.theprovince.com.

© Copyright (c) The Province

Ralph Mace ~ How I Became A Spider From Mars

November 15, 2012

It has been over 40 years since the release of David Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY single in the UK, a record which was to launch the career of probably the most innovative, charismatic and talented English rock star.

At the time of its release, 1969, I had recently joined the staff of the pop music department at Philips Records in London where they were riding high in the charts with a string of number one hits with such artists as Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield and Manfred Mann. Philips were also ever alert for new talent to help compete against the other major UK companies, EMI, Decca, Polydor and Pye Records. One of Philips new signings was David Bowie, who had been previously signed to Decca Records without any outstanding success. 

At the beginning of the swinging sixties, London was exploding with live music, mini skirts, trendy fashions and young people making their mark everywhere, there was a confidence and vitality in the air which is hard to imagine today. All over the country there were music venues presenting, Pop, Folk, Jazz, R&B Soul  and  Blues and it seemed that every pub in most cities had some live act performing most nights.

Part of my job at Philips was to arrange promotion and concert appearances in Europe for their artists and this meant I needed to know and understand what all these new artists were about. David Bowie was, and still is for that matter, a sort of music chameleon. In 1969 his music and performances had mainly been folk orientated with various stabs at the pop market. He was writing a lot of songs and was trying to form a group and find a musical image and sound that would suit him best. An important part of David’s set up at this point was his American girlfriend Angie who was full of ideas as to what was needed for success and would all the time be hassling managers, promoters and record companies to do more to promote Bowie. They were not making much money then and in the midst of all this, David and Angie decided to get married having their wedding breakfast with cans of beer and coke in my office.                                                                                           

Fortunes were to change  with the record SPACE ODDITY which, like all new releases at Philips was put on the plug list for radio plays and to gauge its success ~ in air play and record sales ~ and was reviewed at our weekly marketing meeting. The only effective way of promoting any new record in those days was for it to be heard on the radio and that was mainly the old stuffy BBC which had woken up a bit after the pirate radio stations ruled the waves for a couple of years, but now airplay was even more difficult to get in a country now exploding with pop music and scores of new releases and artists every week. Unlike today, there was no iTunes or YouTube to help promote, no computers and music was enjoyed either on a 45 rpm vinyl record or 33 rpm vinyl record or at a live concert.

After several weeks SPACE ODDITY had received no airplay and had virtually no sales and there was calls to stop promoting it to the radio stations at our weekly marketing meetings, but for one promotion man Dick Leahy a young man who would later run his own company GTO Records and be the mentor for the up and coming George Michael. Dick refused to drop the Bowie single saying that it was too good a record to drop. His persistence finally paid off with a few plays at  BBC Radio One which stated the bandwagon rolling and which became stratospheric when the BBC used SPACE ODDITY as the background music to the TV news reports of the first landing on the moon by Apollo 11 in July 1969 and the record took off like a rocket ~ sorry! I suppose the idea that an astronaut might just float away into space fired up the public’s imagination.                            

By 1971, David’s star was well set in the firmament and he began preparing tracks for a new album to be recorded at the now famous Trident Studios in St. Anne’s Court, just off Wardour Street in the heart of Soho’s Red Light District, just down the street from the Marquee Club. By then I had moved to my new job at Famous Music, which was part of Paramount Pictures across the road from Trident. David and his producer, Tony Visconti, regularly called in to see me and they invited me to attend any of the recording sessions if I wished. One evening, after work, I did just that. David and all the group were in the control room trying to overdub a new keyboard part which Visconti had written to be played on the moog synthesizer, a new revolutionary instrument at the time and one which had recently been made famous by the Moody Blues and Walter Carlos on his Switched On Bach album. The moog part for “Memory of a Free Festival” which appeared on the self ~ titled album David Bowie was a little tricky, it needed pianistic fingers and none of the group made a very good job of it. After several of them had tried their fingers at it, I suggested to David that if they wanted to get home before breakfast it might be a good idea for me to take a stab at it. David smiled and nodded and I sat down before the new moog keyboard for the first time. My fingers were in pretty good shape in those days and after a couple of trail runs we had the moog part in the can. Then the parts for several further songs appeared and I put these tracks down too.

When the album, The Man Who Sold The World, was released the credits on the back of the album cover listed : DAVID BOWIE: guitar, vocals; TONY VISCONTI: Electric bass, piano, guitar; MICK RONSON: guitar,; MICK WOODMANSEY: drums; and RALPH MACE: Moog Synthesizer.           

And that’s how I became a SPIDER FROM MARS

Ralph Mace ~ November 2012


Flip the Script ~ A Photographer’s Musical Diary

September 29, 2012

Flip the Script ~ A Photographers Musical Diary by Kingsley Davis, London, UK.

Kingley Davis is from North London, England and is an Arsenal supporter but I didn’t hold that against him when he walked into my shop to give me some copies of his book before flying back to the UK.

‘Flip the Script Book provides a unique insight into how the music scene is changing, driven by technological innovations but also by the creativity, individuality and experimentation of the artists themselves. This special collection of portraits by Kingsley Davis was produced in ‘diary’ form and is an intimate documentation of many music genres.    

With a special preface by Norman Jay MBE, the title of the book reflects this change, as the artists featured have achieved success on their own terms, with or without stylists, A&R reps or publicists.  A common feature among the artists is having access to digital media giving them the opportunity to be heard and recognized overnight.                                            

Many of the artists featured in “Flip the Script” have come through underground cultures or sub-cultures and have emerged without comprising their authentic credentials.               

This adds to their appeal among discerning audiences, and so the book is finding a market among music buyers, youth and urban culture enthusiasts as well as those with a professional interest in music, lifestyle and fashion. The book is now stocked in 5 unique stores across London and most recently in the famous Photographers Gallery, the UK’s only gallery dedicated to photography.’

Available from Kingsley Davis at www.flipthescriptbook.com or email : info@flipthescriptbook.com

Also available from the Beatmerchant Record Store, Steveston Village, Richmond, BC, Canada.


Max Bygraves ~ Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be

September 13, 2012

I Wanna Tell You A Story!

Walter Bygraves was born one of six children in the docklands of south east London and his father was a boxer, he came from a poor council estate background and his is a story of  rags to riches steeped in music hall tradition. When he joined the RAF he used to impersonate Max Miller and that is where he picked up his nickname Max. My nan & grandad once told me he started his career singing in the Beacon pub in my home town Dagenham. Wonder if that is true!

Max had been making a name for himself on the BBC radio show “Educating  Archie” with the catch phrase “Good Idea, Son!” but in 1954 the British Hit Parade came into being and that year was a stellar year for young comic Max with hits with the Tanner Sisters ” Friends & Neighbours” and on his own with “Heart Of My Heart” and the classic ” Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen By The Sea” which became a firm family favourite in our house. Also making her UK chart debut that year was Petula Clark with her song “The Little Shoemaker”.

One of my favourites as a kiddie was ” You’re A Pink Tooth Brush” which was on the radio a lot and I  met one of the writers of the song in the mid 80′s who was a fine old gentleman by the name of Bob Halfin who was working as a music publisher for a company called Campbell &  Connelly which sounded like a firm of solicitors but was one of the oldest music publishing companies in Britain.

Over the next couple of years Max appeared in the charts with “Heart” & “Meet Me On The Corner”. In May 1958 he hit No.3 big on the chart with “You Need Hands’ c/w “Tulips From Amsterdam” which became his theme tunes, both songs staying on the charts for 21 weeks that summer and selling over a million copies. At Christmas ’59 Max returned with the Christmas song “Jingle Bell Rock” .                    

In 1960 Bygraves bought the rights to an unknown song that he liked one of the songs from ~ The musical was “Oliver” written by Lionel Bart and the song was “Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be” and after that he never had to count his pennies again!

In the 70′s Max Bygraves enjoyed huge success with his Sing~Along~With Max albums on Pye Records which drew heavily from the nostalgia of music hall of the family medley sing~song! and he dented the charts again in 1973 with the Wink Martindale classic “Deck of Cards”.  Few British all round entertainers have been more loved.                     

I was lucky enough to meet Max Bygraves when one day he parked his beautiful Rolls Royce next to my wreck at ATV House in Marble Arch and he got out said hello and shook my hand.

I will never forget the number plate on the Rolls ~ it was MB 1. Years later Mercedes Benz offered Max one million pounds for that number plate and he turned them down.

When he was awarded the OBE his friend Eric Skyes rang him to asked him if he knew what the intitals OBE stood for! “No” said Max ~ “Over Blinkin’ Eighty” replied Eric.

Great little story from 2003 was that an Oxfam charity shop in Kent banned Max Bygraves records from the shop because they had too many of them already! Good Idea Son!


Joe Walsh ~ Welcome to the Club

September 8, 2012

Tues, Aug. 28th 2012: Esquimalt, Victoria, BC. ~ Fri. Sept 7th : Red Robinson Theatre, Coquitlam, BC.

The light faded fast from the sky. It was a little chilly. I sat in a field with my wonderful wife Wendy and about two thousand other wonderful people waiting for Joe Walsh to come on stage. The stage had recently been vacated by Kim Mitchell. He of Patio Lanterns and Lets Go For A Soda fame. That was fun! In the same way that looking at photos taken of yourself when you were fourteen might be! They were a good, tight band. You couldn’t help feeling a little  sorry for them though. The selection of teen rebel, love and anxiety songs sounded a little odd coming from a group of men in their fifties. At one point Mitchell jokingly chastised the audience, most of who were sitting on chairs brought from home, he explained that “you’ll never get into to it if you sit there in your chairs with your arms folded!”. True! but, well it was one of his songs “I am the Wild Party” that really said to us now, “well not so much now, but back in the day you should have seen us!”.  In fairness lots of the people there had, like an old school reunion where you say “ you haven’t changed a bit ” but you mean “that look stopped working for you in the mid Seventies ~ Move on!”                                                      

And now came the main event. Joe Walsh. Not really a“superstar” even though he is one of the Eagles, he’s always been a sort of a anti superstar. The stage was set, two full drum kits, a percussionist and three backing singers added to a rhythm guitarist,the bass player and get this, a keyboard guy playing a full size Hammond organ through a Lesley speaker no less! No digital effects or drum loops here just a rock n roll band. This is live music ~ no downloads. During the week the local radio station had been playing Joe’s latest work as a build up to the concert. One of which, in true Joe Walsh fashion, was about his own struggle with drugs and alcohol. He gave up his best friend vodka 18 years ago and looks trim and in good shape. Walsh’s music is, and has always been about how he sees the world and himself fitting into it with a sense of humour.  Everybody’s so different ~ I haven’t changed.             

From the opening chords the night changed. No one was noticing the chill any more! No one was stting in their seats any more. Joe Walsh takes what he does very seriously, no going through the motions here, his delivery is nothing short of greatness. Every fiber of his body is focused upon the delivery of his music and the resulting passion and joy is plain to see everywhere. What adds to this is that while he takes his work serious he doesn’t take himself too much that way. “Nice town” says Joe “I spent a great week here one night in the eighties.” He plays a series of guitars provided to him by his guitar tech and plays within the band and not in front of them. This is a great band. Think of any Joe Walsh song on an album you have, now go and listen to it, that’s the sound of recorded music, but there is so much more live!

When you hear parts of Voodoo Child, Cast Your Fate To the Wind and Bolero weaving through his guitar work you are reminded of the late great Jimi Hendrix. This is a master class in guitar playing. When you look on in astonishment at the man who’s sounds have no right to be on this worldly planet swirling around and over you, making the  hair on the back of your neck stand up on end and your heart  skip a beat, and suddenly, just for a moment the world is full of magic and wonders and you are, not looking at the fourteen year old in the photo anymore you feel like that fourteen year old again. Joe played his James Gang stuff and his new work off Analog Man before he played I Shall Be Released which morphed into the best, a game changing  version of his classic Turn to Stone. Both dedicated to his late friend Levon Helm.

So was Rocky Mountain Way good? Did Life In The Fast Lane live up to expectations? Was Funk#49 still happening now? And maybe, just maybe there was a sharper edge to “Life’s Been Good To Me ”? It was all good for me. Everybody sing ~ He’s Cool!

Sorry kids “if your mom and dad  have played it to death in the past”  but Joe Walsh is the great player you get!  Make no mistake about what he brings to each and every song it is himself. He is a premier guitarist, songwriter, singer and performer of epic proportions.             

If you can then see Joe Walsh and his band on the Analog Man tour before it’s gone. It is good to know that giants still walk among us.  I am already using this experience as proof that being “authentic” is the difference between being there and just being.                      

 Kieran Kelleher

 From a field, behind the Rec’ Center, Esquimalt.

 


They Paved Paradise & Put Up A Parking Lot

September 6, 2012
 
I run a Record Store in Steveston Village called the Beatmerchant and this year we have had paid parking introduced into Steveston village by the Steveton Harbour Authority and that was quickly followed by the City of Richmond jumping on the band wagon with them and introducing permit parking in the lanes and employing two Traffic Enforcement Officers to police the streets who have been aggressive & brutal for the village and it’s visitors.              
 
Steveston Village is supposed to be a Tourist Destination and Tourism Richmond recently opened a Vistor Centre in the village post office, but is this how we greet people who are visiting Steveston with this paid parking war and money grab! The City of Richmond and the Harbour Authority should be ashamed of themselves.                    
 
The big parking lot on Chatham Street is now paid parking and is always empty as most of the paid parking lots are and the merchants in the village would like to see this parking lot given back to the working employees of Steveston to be able to park for a minimum fee per month and also for visitors to be able to have somewhere in the village for FREE to park so they can walk around and enjoy Steveston instead of this constant harassment.
 
Paid parking was introduced in White Rock some years back and had a bad effect on the merchants trade there and the same is gonna happen in Steveston with cross border shopping also affecting the trade in the village. Some action needs to be taken.
 
Are we saying ~ Welcome to Steveston ~ Have a ticket!                       

 
We should be saying ~ Welcome to Steveston ~ Enjoy Yourselves.
 
Frankie Neilson
604 204 0044 

The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

August 19, 2012

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer blues duo plays Steveston

HarpoonistandTheAxeMurderer2.jpg
Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers are the Harpoonist and the Axe Murder ~also known as HAM

By Matthew Hoekstra – Richmond Review
Published: August 17, 2012 9:00 AM
Updated: August 17, 2012 9:45 AM

Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers admit their band name might scare some people off. But the duo says they’ve “made their peace with that.”

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer—or HAM as they’re otherwise known—combine blues and rock ‘n’ roll, and have a live show that’s anything but usual. They swing into Steveston Aug. 17.

 The Vancouver musicians limit their sound to whatever they can play between them—using only their mouths, hands and feet. Hall provides the vocals and blues harp, and Rogers handles the drums and guitar.

 The co-ordination between instruments—and themselves—is a show in itself, and the duo is proud to boast that it takes just minutes to get soaked with sweat.

 Music came to Hall when he was 12, living in Toronto. His grandmother gave him a harmonica and a book: Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless. At the same age, on the other side of the country, Rogers was falling in love with the guitar.

 The pair met in a studio session for a radio jingle advertising the Jamaican Pizza Jerk and decided to embark on a musical project together. A song by Kris Kristofferson referencing the blues harp inspired the “harpoonist” in the band’s name. Rogers, being the guitarist, became “the axe murderer.”

 The band, one of 20 finalists in the Peak Performance Project professional development program hosted by a Vancouver radio station, is now touring in support of their 2011 album Checkered Past. It’s the duo’s third album, addressing classic blues themes of heartbreak, addiction and layoffs.

 The band’s Steveston show is part of the Music at the Cannery summer concert series. The concert, organized by The Beatmerchant record store, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. Admission is by donation ($5 suggested); arrive early to get a seat.

 Coming up in the series: Tommy Alto on Aug. 24, and Swell & Swag and the Swagmen on Aug. 31.


Roger Hodgson ~ The Voice of Supertramp

August 6, 2012

Roger Hodgson ~ Friday 3rd August 2012 ~ River Rock Casino, Richmond, BC, Canada.

Roger Hodgson12-String Guitar, Grand Piano, Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Aaron Macdonald - sax, keybords, harmonies
Kevin AdamsonKeyboards
Bryan HeadDrums
David J CarpenterBass

The River Rock is a really nice venue with not a bad seat in the house, seating about 980 people. The staff are very friendly and cheerfully show you to your seat. The only thing that I didn’t like was that the audience is allowed to bring their drinks into the show and while the show is on there is a constant stream of people leaving and returning to the auditorium with more drinks or after a washroom break, but I suppose that is one of the ways the casino makes their money.                                                            

This evening the voice of Supertramp ~ Roger Hodgson plays solo with his new band on the Breakfast In America tour and the band takes to the stage first followed by the man himself to great applause and  there is a lot of love inside this auditorium for Roger tonight!

Straight into “Take The Long Way Home” followed quickly by “Logical Song” and the audience are standing up on their feet already with sideman Aaron MacDonald a Canadian from Ontario impressing on both Harmonica and Saxaphone. As a couple arrive late and are taking their seats Roger chips in lightheartly with ‘Your late, you have missed the best songs”                                                                                                            

Every song is a classic tonight for the audience and I watch the girl in the pink dress at the side of the stage who danced the whole night away and knew all the words to such songs as “Hide In Your Shell”. Roger talks to the audience and tells them that ‘ Music holds memories like nothing else and you have to hang onto your love especially in this world today’ This man is loved and gives out a lot of love himself and comes across as a geniune person. By “Breakfast In America” the audience are back on their feet again.

One song which I had not heard before and which appeared on his 2000 solo album release “Open The Door” a song  called ” Death and the Zoo”. has great lyrics and was one of the highlights of the show for me as the song is not so well known.

The band are really cooking now and have a great groove almost slightly jazzy in places and the audience hits a high point as they delivers the classic “It’s Raining Again” & “Dreamer” and Roger and the boys leave the stage and come back for a roaring encore version of “Give A Little Bit”.

When you listen to the words of “Give A Little Bit” you see that Roger Hodgson is a man with a gentle soul and thinks about other people , the state of the planet and is a happy man within himself and everyone who was at the show went home happy too! Rock On Roger.

ROGER HODGSON – BREAKFAST IN AMERICA U.S. DATES: 
 
Some things you might not know about Roger Hodgson.

Website : www.rogerhodgson.com

Roger went to school with Richard Branson.

Supertramp was A&M Records biggest selling artists along with The Police.                   

Born in Portsmouth, England ~ Roger now lives in California.                                         

In 1987 Roger broke both of his wrists and was told he would not  play music again.

All time favourite band : Norwegian band Secret Garden

His first recording session featured Reg Dwight (Elton John) on piano.

Thing he misses the most about England ~  the humour.

Frankie Neilson.


A Taste for Rory Gallagher

May 10, 2012

Back in 1969 I was lucky to be working at the Marquee studio which was round the back of the Marquee club in Wardour Street, London. I would sneak in the back door of the club at the end of the work day after a drink at the Ship pub to sit and catch the best of the bands appearing at the club.                                              

In those days the club used to have about six to eight rows of chairs in front of the stage and one evening I got in real early and sat in front of a Vox AC 30 amp perched on top of a chair. Plugged into that amp was a Fender Stratocaster with most of the wood vanish rubbed off the body of the guitar with a treble booster with was used during the solos. By the end of the evening my ears didn’t stop ringing for a week, but what a special evening.

Rory Gallagher was appearing with his first  group from Ireland Taste a blues/rock  trio with John Wilson on Drums and Charlie McCracken on Bass. You have to go a long way to find a rhythm section as good as these two with Rory Gallagher on guitar and vocals and sometimes saxophone and harmonica this trio took some beating.

Like a lot of the European guitarists he was drawing heavily from the American  blues players of the 40′s and 50′s, but I must say the boy from Ballyshannon, County Donegal in Ireland could certainly play it well!                       

Their first release in 1969 was the self titled album Taste’  on the Polydor label. The album features tracks which would become live crowd pleasers like the blues classic ‘Sugar Mama’ a seven minute epic and ‘Catfish’ an eight minute epic along with originals ‘Blister on the Moon’ and ‘Same Old Story’. This album has a very raw sound with few overdubs. It is slightly jazzy in places but doesn’t stray to far from the  blues with Rory playing some great slide guitar and finishing off with a version of the Hank Snow country song I’m Moving On’.

After listening to the album you knew you had been listening to something special and live this was even more of a powerful experience seeing the band in action.

Night after night Rory and the boys would deliver on the live circuit with Gallagher acting very humble and thankful for the enthusiastic response from the audience. No superstar trip here this was a great live band delivering the goods. Rory would dress in his denim jeans and lumberjack shirt with his long hair hanging down in front of his face as he played and John & Charlie would not miss a beat whether they were appearing in a small club or at an open air festival across the countries of Europe.

In 1970 Taste released their second album on Polydor called ‘On The Boards’ which made the British charts. The album starts off where the previous one finishes off and the lead track What’s Going On’ shows a progressive maturity with all three players on top form.                                                          

The title track and ‘It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again’ sees Rory playing a jazzy Alto Sax and the other two guys stretching out and showing their own capabilities on each track. Eat My Words ‘ allows Rory to attack his guitar with some vicious bottleneck playing then on other tracks you have the beauty of his acoustic guitar playing.

Both albums are worth seeking out.

I wonder what direction this band would have gone if they had stayed together….. maybe in a Van Morrison jazzier direction…. unfortunately Rory was to break up the band to head off into the world of  a solo performer while McCracken and Wilson were to form a new group called Stud with Jim Cregan (later guitarist of the Rod Stewart band). Rumour has it that dodgy management didn’t want Rory to spilt the earnings three ways with the other two and in future would keep his backing musicians on wages, anyway sad to say Rory Gallagher passed away in 1995 at the age of 47 but he did have a long and successful solo career.              

If you like your guitar players with a blues edge then add these albums to your collection and raise a pint of Guinness and remember Rory, John, Charlie and Taste the boys from Ireland.


Paul Kossoff ~ Well my maker must have been a heartbreaker

March 29, 2012

When Chris Blackwell signed Free to Island Records in 1968 he wanted to call them the Heavy Metal Kids but in stepped blueman Alexis Korner with the perfect name for the band FREE. This band had it all and delivered one of the best all time party records in ‘ All Right Now’ and left behind a fine body of musical work.                      

On Drums ~ Mr. Simon Kirke who could lay down a back beat like the Stax legend Al Jackson of Booker T & The MGs fame. Simon Kirke was rock steady, never too flash and never missed  a beat. On Bass ~ Mr. Andy Fraser who was playing with John Mayall at the age of 15 and is an astonishing bass player and co~writer of all the classic Free songs. On Guitar ~ Mr. Paul Kossoff, son of actor David Kossoff who was classically trained on guitar before plugging in his trusty Les Paul guitar and becoming one of England’s finest and also my favourite guitar player. On Vocals ~ The one and only Mr. Paul Rodgers, one of the greatest voices England has ever produced and also an excellent songwriter.

While I was working at the Marquee Club in London in 1969 the DJ used to play two 45s by Free, one wasBroad Daylight’ and the other was ‘I’ll Be Creepin’ which I loved. I had never seen this band play and one Friday night my mates and I made it out to Loughton in Essex to see Free play live. We got a beer and managed to get right down the front of the stage. Free strolled on and in the next hour proceeded to deliver one of the greatest soulful performances from a rock band I have ever seen! ~ very powerful. The band was on tour to support their first album ‘Tons of Sobs’ which has a real blues feel about it with songs like ‘Going Down Slow’ and the Albert King classic The Hunter’, but for me  it was the songwriting talent of Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers which pointed the way forward for the band with songs like ‘Worry ~ ‘Walking My Shadow’ and the brilliant ‘I’m A Mover’ with a blistering solo from Paul Kossoff.             

Their self titled second album Free was the stepping stone to later success with outstanding songs and playing from the band. ‘I’ll Be Creepin’ ~ ‘Songs of Yesterday’ ~ ‘Lying in the Sunshine’ and Woman’ moulded the classic Free sound.

With this band what they didn’t play was as important as what they did play ~ Leave some space for the music to breathe!

Next up was their biggest selling album ‘ Fire and Water’  which featured the big hit single All Right Now’ which hit the top of the charts in that hot summer of 1970. This is a monster record even today receiving lots of radio play all over the world. ‘Fire and Water’ is an album where every track is a standout with Simon Kirke driving the band along from behind the Drum set and Andy Fraser delivering the Bass solo to end all Bass solos on ‘Mr. Big’ and gut wrenching guitar solos with understated control from Paul Kossoff and the great Paul Rodgers showing us that he is Britain’s answer to Otis Redding. A must have in any record collection.         

By this point Free mania had arrived and breaks and disagreements started to appear in the band who didn’t handle success too well due to their young years and the pressure was on to follow~up on the hit album and 45. The next album was not received well but I think that judgment was unfair then or even now, maybe it was the dull sleeve after great pieces of artwork on the three previous albums, but the album Highway’ has some high points and is still a gem in it’s own right.

The swaggering ‘The Highway Song’ kicks off the album and is followed by the song chosen as the next 45 follow~up to ‘All Right Now’The Stealer’ which couldn’t get arrested on the radio and did a belly flop on the singles chart as did the album, but with tracks like ‘Be My Friend’‘Ride on Pony’ and the rest of the album it shows all this band needed was more time for recording and probably a good holiday away from each other as they had been touring endlessly at the point.

The band spilt up for the first time and not the last with Kossoff saying that the songwriters Fraser & Rodgers were too restrictive in the studio almost telling Koss what to play note for note instead of the creative input coming from all the members of the band. Meanwhile Island Records released the album ‘Free Live’ which shows how good the band was at the time. The band did reform a couple of times and soldiered on releasing two fine albums ‘Free At Last’ and Heartbreaker’ both on Island with Kossoff playing some amazing guitar from deep within on ‘Free At Last’ and sadly only appearing a few tracks on ‘Heartbreaker’ because of drug problems but both albums spored hit 45′s in ‘Little Bit of Love’ and ‘Wishing Well’.Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke must be thanked for keeping the band together with Fraser leaving and Kossoff going awol at this point .       

The real tragedy here was the rapid demise of guitarist Paul Kossoff  who never got over a serious drug problem when the band initially broke up in the early 70′s, passing away in March 1976 at the tender age of 25 while promoting his new band Back Street Crawler in the USA. A sad loss of a huge talent who is still much  loved today.

Andy Fraser formed the excellent band Sharks with Chris Spedding but that didn’t last to long, still he kept his hand in writing songs for Frankie Miller, Rod Stewart and Chaka Khan as well as releasing some good solo albums.

Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke went on to form Bad Company and signed to the Led Zeppelin label Swansong and were to conquer America with their brand of stadium rock. However Paul Rodgers who has played with some of the best guitarist in the world has said that he never found a guitar player to replace Paul Kossoff, not even Jimmy Page or Brian May. Sail on My Brother Jake.                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Move over for Terry Reid

February 15, 2012

Terry Reid is the man who turned down the chance to be lead singer with Led Zeppelin. A friend of Jimmy Page he was asked by Page to join his new group The New Yardbirds, instead he recommended another singer he knew Robert Plant from a midlands group called Band of Joy and he also recommended drummer John Bonham. Jimmy Page hired them both and Led Zeppelin was born.

But what is the story of Terry Reid.      

Terry started in music early at the age of 15 as the singer for Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers before going solo.

In 1968 Terry was a guitarist and singer of his own three~piece power band  and was signed to record producer Mickie Most who had worked with The Animals, Donovan, Jeff Beck amongst others and had a contract with EMI Records to release his records. At this stage Terry was more well~known in the US than in England having had his debut album ‘Bang Bang Your Terry Reid’ released over there. At the time of being asked to join Zeppelin he was about to have his new album ‘Superlungs’ released in both England and the US plus a support slot on the up and coming Cream tour of the States so the future looked bright for this 20~year~old kid! and one listen to the album ‘Superlungs’ and you know why Jimmy Page wanted him in his new band.

I saw Terry play in London in 1969 on the release of this album and he was one of the best live acts I have ever seen and still remains one of my all time favourites. Great Great voice ! His range and power can be heard on tracks ‘Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace’ and ‘Rich Kid Blues’ and the album ‘Superlungs’ is a lost gem! There are some clips of Terry on YouTube for you to see.  

Terry also toured with the Rolling Stones on the 1969 US tour and appeared at the Isle of Wight festival in England in 1970.                                                                                                                 

Both of these albums failed to sell in any quantities and frustrated with the Mickie Most contract situation the producer wouldn’t let him out of his contract for three years, so Terry decided to move to Los Angeles USA and finally released his next record on Atlantic Records in 1973 called ‘River’ which received little fanfare on either shores. This album has a very west coast laid back acoustic performance and is beautiful.

I saw Terry again in the early 70′s at the Marquee Club in London and the crowd wouldn’t let him off the stage and he was happy to play well past midnight that night.

Little was heard of him until 1976 with the release of ‘Seed of Memory’ my favourite Terry Reid album which was produced by ex~ Hollie Graham Nash and features David Lindley on guitar and is great from start to finish and has Terry in fine voice. The album did chart briefly in the USA  and was released on yet another label ABC Records, but unfortunately the label went out of business just after release of the album, so no tour or promotional. Shame ~  because  this should have been the album for him with a mixture of rock and blue ~ eyed soul.

Fast forward to 1979 and another new album ‘Rogue Waves’  on yet another record label Capitol Records but everything seemed right this time with Terry looking like a rock god on the cover but enter punk and disco and some over the top production on the record and it very quickly ended up in the record store delete bins, but the record does hold some magic moments like the opening track  ‘Ain’t No Shadow’ which shines brightly! No more was heard of Terry Reid during the 80′s.                           

I did try and track Terry down in the early 80′s while I was working at Polydor Records in London but ending up speaking to his Dad a couple of times and that was as far as I got.                                             

In the early 90′s he showed up on the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise film ‘Days of Thunder’ with a scorching version of the Spencer Davis classic ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ and this was followed by a new album on Warners called ‘The Driver’ which is a bit hit and miss but does have a great version of the Waterboys gem ‘The Whole of the Moon’.

If you like your singers in the Paul Rodgers, Stevie Winwood, Stevie Marriott range then Terry Reid will be a real treat for you and he still can be found playing live around the world today. 

  Who Knows ! Maybe Jimmy Page will link up with him one day or pay him a  finders fee for Robert Plant or maybe Jack White will record him~ he is also a big Terry Reid fan.


Jet Harris ~ Me and my Shadows

February 7, 2012

In 1958  two Geordie boys came down to London not to visit the queen but to appear in a talent contest their names were Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch and the name of their skiffle band was The Railroaders, sadly they didn’t win the talent contest and as the rest of the band unhappily returned north Hank & Bruce decided to stick it out and with guitars in hand went for coffee in the 2 i’s coffee bar in London’s Soho district. Later the Geordie boys then met Cliff Richard’s manager John Foster who was putting together a backing band called the Drifters to back Cliff on a UK tour, so in early 1959 with Hank on lead guitar and Bruce on rhythm guitar along with blonde and moody and magnificent Jet Harris on bass and the very young Tony Meehan on drums they set off on the road. The classic Shads line up was born!

This line up had all the girls screaming for the good looking  blonde haired Jet Harris and the boyish smile ofTony Meehan.

EMI records producer Norrie Paramor who also produced Cliff Richard on seeing the boys on tour signed them to their own recording contract. They released two singles as the Drifters both with vocals before changing their name to the Shadows because of the American soul band also called the Drifters.

Their second release as the Shadows was an instrumental song called  ‘Apache’ written by Jerry Lordan and it made it all the way to No. 1 on the charts replacing Cliff ‘s ‘Please Don’t Tease’ at the top. An instrumental classic then and now! more hits were to follow with ‘Man of Mystery’ and  ‘FBI’. 1961 saw the release of their first album which stayed on the charts for a year! 1962 saw the Shadows  appear in the Cliff film ‘The Young Ones’ in which they looked brilliant and they hit the top of the charts again with another brilliant Jerry Lordan composition ‘Wonderful Land’.

Who remembers the Shadows dance steps!.

Music shops at this point saw an upswing in the sale of guitars as everyone wanted to play like Hank Marvin from the Shadows.    

The Shadows personnel was to change during this period with Tony Meehan being replaced on drums because of his constant lateness on by the great Brian Bennett and the blonde Jet Harris being replaced by Brian ‘Licorice’ Locking on bass. Jet Harris has said that he left the band because Cliff was having an affair with his wife and unfortunately Jet has hit the bottle for the rest of his life but Jet & Tony both had great success in the UK charts with ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ and ‘Diamonds’ which are great 45s in their own right and just as good as the Shadows. Sad that both players have now passed away. Brian ‘ Licorice’ Locking would later  be replaced on bass by John Rostill and it is was said that Locking was getting a religious hold over Cliff and the band as Cliff found religion and Hank became a Jehovah’s Witness as Locking was himself. The Shads was to lose their permanent bass player and a good songwriter in 1973 when John Rostill  died  from electrocution in his home recording studio. Very sad. All the way through the Shadows long career Bruce Welch and Hank ruled the band with an iron fist making all the decisions and the direction the band would go in.

The Beatles changed everything in the world in 1963 with the beat boom from Merseyside but the Shadows held on with my Shads favourite song ‘Foot Tapper’ and also ‘Shindig’  topping the charts and once again they appeared in the blockbuster Cliff film ‘Summer Holiday’ which is still a great film today.

This was a great period for the much~loved  British instrumental group of all time and all the great British guitar players as youngsters all took their cue from Hank Marvin and to see Cliff and the Shads on the final reunion tour was a fitting reminder of how great these lads are!

Plenty of Twang!


Unplug those iPods and Plug in your Record Players

December 28, 2011

Vinyl Experience ~ What a difference!

The long-playing record or LP as we know it began its life in the late 40′s as a replacement for the more brittle 78 rpm shellac discs and it clearly worked as the LP is still alive and well today!

The main benefit to the introduction of the vinyl LP was it helped improve durability and the capacity to play up to thirty minutes on each side of the record. However it wasn’t until the birth of Rock n Roll and Elvis that the sales of LPs started to escalate and the first stereo LPs started to appear.

Many albums from the 60′s were issued  in both Mono and Stereo versions, opinions are divided about which versions is the best, with both recordings offering a different listening experience. Early Mono versions do demand a higher price on the collector’s market and UK pressings from this period are highly prized.

With the release of the Beatles ‘Sgt. Peppers’ LP the sales of vinyl exploded in the world-wide market place with huge amounts of vinyl being sold right though  the mid 70′s and early 80′s, with acts like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton and Michael Jackson selling big amounts, but in the 60′s we also began to see the LP artwork developed into its own art form. The album covers became  as important as the music itself taking on it’s own life  as the artists gained more artist control from the major record labels.

LPs became big business and the packaging became more elaborate often including printed inner sleeves with lyric inserts, posters and the beautiful gate~fold  sleeve design becoming great works of art and with the superior vinyl sound that is something the Compact Disc and the iPod with its more transistor-radio like sound has yet to match!

If you came through your teenage years listening to vinyl , then it is a hard act to follow, but the CD and iPod do have storage and mobility on their side.

During the 80′s the record companies kept finding new ways and gimmicks to help sell their latest releases and the collectable picture disc and the coloured vinyl became very popular also picture sleeves on the 45 rpm records and the great sounding 12″ records and remixes which had its big time in the new wave and disco era.

By the mid 80′s the record companies were ready to introduce the compact disc and push the new format into the market and almost overnight vinyl disappeared from the record shops as the record companies started not to release any big artist on vinyl let alone the smaller ones forcing CDs on the general public!

But the vinyl market would not go away and the record fairs became the place to buy and exchange vinyl during this period.   

Happily the classic albums from the 50′s and 60′s onwards are once again available today on vinyl along with the new releases.                                                                                                                                                           

Let’s see if the iPod is around in five years let alone fifty like vinyl.                                      

The great thing about the newer acts releasing vinyl is that some of them are including free downloads of the album as well so you can have the best of both worlds.

Many people come into my shop and tell me they still have their records and turntables and I urge you all to make room on your stereo units and plug-in your record players and enjoy again the unique experience of listening to vinyl through your hi~fi or headphones.

We will see what the future brings.

 

 

 


The One and Only Billy Fury

November 4, 2011

In the 50′s the arrival of American Rock n Roll had a huge impact on the youth of Britain.

Ronald Wycherley was born in Liverpool on April 17th 1941 and he was one of those teenagers that loved the American rock n rollers! Records by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent stirred the blood of the young teenage Wycherley as their records raced up the British charts week after week! When it came to British rock n roll there wasn’t much out there and the British imitators were sometimes on the feeble side, but Marty Wilde, Cliff Richard and Johnny Kidd & the Pirates did try and give it a good go!                                                                                              

A lot has been written about how Billy Fury was discovered which was a good bit of PR orchestrated by his manager Larry Parnes, the Brian Epstein of the 1950′s who had an eye for quasi ~ talented, good~looking boys and Billy Fury became the jewel in his pop crown. Billy was the boy pop star with the smoldering good looks and little boy lost look, slicked back hair cut, a cross between Elvis and Eddie Cochran. What teenage girl could resist him with his heavy~lidded vaseline eyes, singing the atmospheric ‘ Wondrous Place ‘. The girls went mad!

Billy’s first three top twenty hits were all written by him which is a remarkable achievement at a time when every singer did cover versions of the big USA hits,long before Lennon & McCartney era came along and made it commonplace for artists to record their own songs!

Billy Fury released the wonderfully authentic sounding 10″ album ” The Sound of Fury. ” A true British rock n roll statement, featuring tracks like ‘ That’s Love ‘ and ‘ Turn My Back On You ‘ which features the storming rockabilly twanulations of that cheeky cockney chappie Joe Brown on guitar.                               

What might have been if Billy Fury had stuck to his rock n roll path.

By the early 60′s in a Presley attempt to make him appeal to a wider audience, his management and Decca record company transformed him with huge success into a clean~cut ballad singer. Billy is best remembered for the song ‘ Halfway To Paradise ‘ with reached No. 4 in the UK chart and was quickly followed by the big melodramatic ‘ Jealousy ‘ and ‘ I’d Never Find Another You ‘. Whatever chance of continuing to write his own rock n roll songs has disappeared and fans of Billy’s brand of rock n roll were left to wonder ~ What if ~ as he was now on the conveyor belt of producing hit records ending up with 26 Top 50 hit singles in the 60′s which is pretty impressive.

At the peak of his career whirlwind tours, radio and TV appearances and his films like ‘ Play It Cool ‘ and  ‘ I’ve Gotta Horse ‘ kept him busy and a couple of his many backing bands were the Beatles who Billy thought would be trouble and the Tornadoes who went on to have an enormous worldwide hit with ‘ Telstar ‘ which was produced by the legendary British producer Joe Meek.

By 1964 with the onslaught of Beatlemania and the Merseybeat, solo singers were all struggling but Billy managed to keep the hits coming and by the end of the 60′s only Elvis, The Beatles and Cliff Richard could claim more UK hits than Billy Fury, but the time they were a changing and the hits started to dry up as Fury was starting to sound as old as his records.                                                                                                           

Lots of personal problems existed at this point but in 1973 Billy was offered a cameo role in the classic British rock n roll film ‘ That’ll Be The Day ‘ starring David Essex and Ringo Starr. Fury played Stormy Tempest a rock singer leading the Butlin’s style holiday camp band in the late 50′s which included Keith Moon and Dave Edmunds. Well worth seeing if you haven’t. With his voice and good looks still intact, Billy steals one particular scene by cradling the microphone in one hand close to his mouth while the other hand steadies the mike stand across his thigh all the time looking and performing to the pretty girls in the audience one by one.

Ronco released an LP for the soundtrack and also a 5 track EP of the songs Billy performs in the film and this EP has become very collectable. Rumour has it that during the filming the entire film crew was banned from every hotel on the Isle of Wight because of Ringo’s and Keith Moon’s high booze intake and the resulting mayhem that followed with everyone involved after the days hard shoot.

In 1981 while I was working for Polydor Records in London I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sign Billy Fury to a new recording contract and reach the lower reaches of the UK chart with the 45′s ‘Devil or Angel ‘ and ‘ Love or Money ‘ and we was recording an album with producer Stuart Coleman ( Shakin’ Stevens) and a great studio band which featured  Terry Williams (Rockpile and Dire Straits) on drums, Pete Wingfield on keyboards, Billy Bremner (Rockpile) on guitar, and Mick Green (Johnny Kidd & The Pirates) on guitar. The album was only released after Billy’s untimely death at the age of 42 in 1983.                                                                             

Two things I personally remember about Billy is one time being in the studio with him to record a vocal track and we had to turn down the lights in the studio very low because of his shyness but when he started singing out came this perfect voice which even after twenty years he had not lost! and also a Buddy Holly night at the Lyceum Ballroom in London which was put on by Paul McCartney which I attended with Billy’s manager Tony Read. When Billy Fury was introduced to the crowd he nearly brought the house down with his many fans that were there that evening. Fury also showed great respect to his excited  fans by taking the time to talk to them and to sign every last autograph for then. A true star!

I got really close to Billy Fury in his last years of his life and we became good friends. I remember him as a shy guy almost unsure of himself and his talent. A singer who had been totally ripped off and mismanaged in his career, but his time spent on his farm in Wales in his later years was where he was most contented, there he bred horses and spent a great deal of time bird watching of the feathered kind ~ two of the great loves of his life, far removed from the Fury and bright lights of the music business.                          

I still miss him ~ like many others.

If you visit Liverpool then don’t forget to see the beautiful bronze statue of Billy in the city.


First Encounters of the Vinyl Kind

October 31, 2011

My first encounter with vinyl records was in England when I was 5 years old, the year was 1957 and rock n roll was everywhere. My Auntie Gwen had the 78 rpm record versions of ‘All Shook Up’ and ‘Hound Dog’ by Elvis Presley. I knew all the words to those songs as she played them so much and I loved Elvis’s voice, but it was the guitar solo and the machine gun snare drum fills on ‘Hound Dog’ that really caught my ear!

Christmas 1962 and my Mum (God bless her) & Dad bought me my first record player. It was a blue & cream Dansette player which was real hi~fi in those days! Along with the record player came five 45 rpm records that Christmas day and what a present they were!. I remember I stacked them up on the Dansette and watched in awe as they dropped down and played one after the other, down the record would drop and across the arm would come and gently drop down on the record. The pleasure I got from this player and the five records will always hold a special place in my heart.

Here are the records I received Christmas 1962

Elvis Presley was still dominating the British charts back in 1962 and this Christmas week he was at No. 1 with ‘Return To Sender’ on the RCA Victor label. At nine years of age I didn’t really know what ‘Return To Sender’ meant by I loved the record anyway!

 Britain’s answer to Elvis, Cliff Richard was at No. 4 with two songs from his film ‘Summer Holiday’ the A~side was ‘The Next Time’ but it was the B~side that I really loved and played to death, the classic ‘Bachelor Boy’ with Hank Marvin and the Shadows playing behind Cliff. Great words!

At No. 6 this week was Let’s Dance by Chris Montez with the spoken count~in 1 2 3 4 , then that driving back beat Indian drum sound and that memorable organ solo which still sounds great today!.

The big Christmas record that year was at No.9 ~ was by Brenda Lee called  ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ with that raw Boots Randolph sax solo ~ brilliant and it’s still my favourite Xmas record.

At No.10 in the charts was the futuristic ‘ Telstar ‘ by the Tornadoes with the equally brilliant ‘Jungle Fever’ on the B ~ side. Produced by the one and only Joe Meek, this record was the first British instrumental to top both the British and American charts and started my love of instrumental groups.

The dawn of a new era was just around the corner ~ very soon the Beatles would arrive on the charts and take over the world and almost overnight any act that came before them was all washed up and out of date.

The very first record I went out and bought with my pocket-money was by the Kinks and called ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ for the huge sum of  money six shilling and 8 pence from the big department store in Gray, Essex.                               

Great days ~ Long ago and worlds apart                                                                                                                 

How I loved those records ~ still do!

  


45 rpm ~ A Single Pop Revolution

October 4, 2011

I love the 7 ” inch records that play at 45 rpm (which means ~ revolutions per minute). I have 4000 or so of the blighter’s and in the days before Sgt. Peppers and the then huge sales of LPs ( Long Players) these were the iPods of their day!         

Very simple, they are just an A side and a B side on a 7 ” vinyl record called singles and came  in a record company paper bag.   The big companies in the UK in the 60′s were Decca, Pye, EMI, RCA and  Philips

These records were played on pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and at the Beeb, sold at local  record stores and their sales made up the music charts of the day in  the UK .

 Teenagers loved them!

On  Thursday evenings the whole family would sit down in front of the telly and watch “ Top of the Pops ” the weekly chart show with DJs (Disc Jockeys) like Jimmy Saville with his long white hair from out of a bottle and a cigar in one hand and a 45 in the other telling us what group or singer had moved up the chart that week. Other DJs on the show were Pete Murray, Stuart Henry and the one and only Tony Blackburn, also let’s not forget Pan’s People dancing up a storm.      

On Friday evening we would watch the stylish Cathy McGowan and the irritating Keith Fordyce present ” Ready Steady Go” with the slogan ” The Weekend Starts Here” and boy it did in one way or another! Cue theme music “54321 “by Manfred Mann and away we go! Essential viewing for any mod teenager who was a dedicated follower of  fashion in swinging London in the 60′s.

On Saturday evening we had the pleasure of  Brian Matthews and ” Thank Your Lucky Stars”  and the unforgettable teenager Janice Nichols of ‘ Oi’ ll give it Foive ‘ fame. and would it be a Hit or a Miss on ‘ Juke Box Jury ” with David Jacobs and how lucky we were to have all these TV shows showing us the best sparkle of the British beat groups and ballad singers. One night in December 63 the Beatles appeared on the “Juke Box Jury” show as the panel of judges and voted the latest Elvis Presley 45 a hit!

Sunday evening we finished it all off with Alan (not ‘alf) Freeman’s  Pick of the Pops ” radio show. After that it was all downhill as the depression set in that evening because Monday morning you would be back at school.                           

Some of the great artists that appeared on these shows were: Dusty Springfield, PJ Proby, The Searchers, Billy Fury, Stones, Sonny & Cher, Beatles, The Seekers, John Barry, Phil Spector and Marianne Faithfull and many more!

The first 45 that I bought was by the Kinks All Day And All Of The Night” c/w “I Gotta Move ”  on Pye Records. This was their second single after ” You Really Got Me’ but more about the Kinks soon pop pickers!


The Fog On The Tyne Is All Mine

September 24, 2011

Newcastle United soccer fans are one of most loyal football fans in the world, week in week out the Toon Army turn up to support their team no matter what division they are in and the people of Newcastle feel the same way about their home town group called Lindisfarne. This British rock group from the 70′s took their name from the little tidal island off the north~eastern coast of England known as Holy Island.                                                                

Signing to the great Charisma record label in 1970 run by the legendary Tony Stratton Smith, their label mates included Genesis, Peter Gabriel and The Nice featuring Keith Emerson.

1970 saw the release of their debut album ‘ Nicely Out Of Tune ‘ a classic folk / rock album which features the song ‘ Lady Eleanor ‘ which became a hit nine months after its initial release date. The album is great , full of great songs and harmonies and has a football sing ~ along atmosphere on some tracks. There is not a bad track on the entire album.

Next album for the band was ‘ Fog on the Tyne ‘ and sometimes the second album can be a let down after the success of the first one as the band is usually on the road touring and have less time to write new songs. Produced by Bob Dylan producer Bob Johnston this is another classic folk rock album from the band and features the top ten single ‘ Meet Me On The Corner ‘  and with the title track both songs became highlights of their live shows.                     

A heavily reworked version of the title track with vocals by footballer  Paul Gascoigne another Newcastle legend was released under the title ‘ Fog On The Tyne ( Revisited ) credited to Gazza and Lindisfarne. It reached No. 2 in the UK charts in 1990.

Lindisfarne were blessed with great singers in Alan Hull, Rod Clements and Ray Jackson. In fact Ray Jackson played mandolin on Rod Stewart’s mega hit ” Maggie May ‘ but Rod forgot his name on the credit on the album. John Peel was used miming on the TV show Top of the Pops playing mandolin, so Ray missed out twice !

Alan Hull was the main songwriter and was a huge talent. On the release of their 3rd album the excellent ‘ Dingly Dell ‘ which was sightly savaged in the UK music press, Hull decided to leave to leave the group and pursue a solo career. In 1973 Alan Hull released ‘ Pipedream ‘ which was like a new Lindisfarne album as three of the band are playing and singing on it! This album is worth finding and features a brilliant distinctive artwork sleeve on the cover as is the album, also ‘ Back To Basics ‘ where Alan Hull plays acoustic  versions of his songs from 1970 onwards is worth finding.                                           

After a brief hiatus, Lindisfarne decided to reform again with the same line up. They hit the charts again in 1978 with the catchy ‘ Run From Home ‘ , but the momentum had been lost and the spirit was not the same.

While working on a new album in 1995, Alan Hull died suddenly from a heart thrombosis. A sad loss, but at least Lindisfarne and Alan Hull left behind a great selection of songs for us to listen too.

We Can All Swing Together !


The Faces ~ Had Me A Real Good Time !

September 8, 2011

After the demise of the Small Faces in 1969 with Stevie Marriott leaving to form Humble Pie, the three surviving members Kenny Jones ( Drums ) Ian McLagan ( keyboards ) and Ronnie Lane ( Bass ) hooked up with Ron Wood and Rod Stewart fresh evacuees from the Jeff Beck Group, and named their new band The Faces.                      

Jeff Beck is quoted as saying that “Wood and Stewart were like a couple of little schoolgirls always giggling and laughing together” and that he was pleased to get rid of them.

The initial Faces albumFirst Step ‘ was released in 1970 and had the name the Small Faces on the front cover. The album features lots of  great charm but is slightly untogether with songs such as ‘ Three Button Hand Me Down ‘  and Dylan’sWicked Messenger ‘ pointing the direction the band would take in the future, but it was really the folky Ronnie Lane song ‘ Stone’ that captured my ear!

I saw the Faces play on the release of their second album ‘ Long Player ‘ at London’s Chalk Farm Roundhouse and what a show it was with Rod and the boys kicking soccer balls out into the audience and all of them drinking wine and brandy on stage. It was a real party atmosphere with the audience joining in for a sing~a~long at every opportunity.                

The second LP ‘ Long Player ‘ once again is a bit messy but with the Faces becoming a great rock n roll live act at this time. Two tracks on the album are live ‘ I Feel So Good ‘ and a brilliant cover of Paul McCartney’sMaybe I’m Amazed ‘ and the party theme of ‘ Had Me A Real Good Time ‘ is great, but once again it is the folk songs supplied by Ronnie Lane that also stand out!

Album No. 3 ‘ A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse ‘ with it’s great sleeve artwork would be the break~through album for the band . Outstanding songs on this album include ‘ Miss Judy’s Farm ‘ and the funny ‘ Your So Rude ‘ and ‘ Stay With Me ‘ .Every song is a winner and  the band really gel and the songwriting had reached a high point.

Finally the band made the UK chart with the 45 ‘ Stay With Me ‘ which exploded out of the radio helping to propel the album and 45 into the Top Ten. However this was followed closely by the solo success of Rod Stewart with the 45 ‘ Maggie May ‘ and the LP  ‘ Every Picture Tells A Story ‘ with the rest of the Faces feeling like they where his backing band. That wasn’t what the Faces was about with their motto being ‘ All For One and One For All ‘ but the damage had been done within the group, most critically with Ronnie Lane who was very unhappy with the situation as some shows were billed as Rod Stewart & The Faces.                                             

By the time the final album ‘ Ooh La La’ hit the streets it was clearly all over but this LP had some high points with ‘ Cindy Incidentally’ making the pop charts and the title track becoming a fitting finale to a great group and with Ronnie Lane leaving the Faces to join the circus with his new ‘ The Passing Show ‘ band of musicians, big top, clowns and all!

Ronnie Lane was the heart of the band and things were never the same after he left and today Ronnie is sadly no longer with us. Kenny Jones joined the Who for a short while as replacement for Keith Moon. Ian McLagan would tour with Bob Dylan and the Stones and fronts his own Bump band,while Ronnie Wood joined the Stones as Mick Taylor’s replacement.

Rod Stewart would do his Atlantic Crossing to the USA and his many blondes girlfriends, but never had another band to match the Faces. Blessed with a great voice maybe he sometimes reflects on the time when he had major solo and group success all in the space of one year with ‘ Maggie May and ‘ Stay With Me ‘ in the singles chart and ‘ Every Picture Tells A Story ‘ and ‘ A Nod’s As Good As A Wink ‘ in the album charts.                        

So far Rod has resisted calls from Ronnie to sing with the band again ~ so the three remaining Faces ~ Ron, Kenny and Ian have played some live shows with Glen Matlock on bass and Mick Hucknell on vocals. Very good indeed !

Last Orders Please !


Lay Down Your Weary Tune ~ A Forgotten Dylan Classic!

September 6, 2011

In 1969 guitarist Tom McGuinness was at a bit of a loose end after the Manfred Mann band had disbanded after a run of fine hit singles throughout the 60′s. Luckily next door neighbour and drummer Hughie Flint who played in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers playing on the Beano cover album with Eric Clapton was also at a loose end, so after a few drinks down the pub McGuinness Flint was born.

Next they found the excellent northeast singer Dennis Coulson who had a bit of the strong voice Eric Burdon’s about him and the band was beginning to really take shape, then enter two great songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle and everything was in place. 

A record deal with Capitol Records shortly followed and their first album was recorded with Stones producer Glyn Johns at Olympic studios in London. the self ~ titled album McGuinness Flint with the classic coffin cover was issued and the brilliant single chosen was ‘ When I’m Dead and Gone’ climbed all the way to No. 2 on the UK charts and was only kept off the top slot by the unlikely 45 hit ‘ Grandad ‘ by actor Clive Dunn.

Everything was rosy in the McGuinness Flint garden with the album soaring up the charts and the follow~up single ‘Malt & Barley Blues ‘ also making the UK chart, but after some disappointing live shows writers  Benny and Graham decided to leave the band to pursue their own careers as Gallagher & Lyle and were to have their own hits with ‘Heart On My Sleeve ‘ and ‘I Wanna Stay With You’. Both of  them also appeared on early Ronnie Lane / Slim Chance albums. Graham Lyle also had worldwide success for writing Tina Turner’s hit song ‘ What’s Love Got To Do With It ‘.                    

Left twiddling their thumbs, the other three members soldiered on and they brought in their old friend Dixie Dean on bass and saxophone to complete a new line up and because of the loss of the two main songwriters they came up with the idea of recording an album of covers of the more obscure Bob Dylan songs like from the Basement Tapes album which wasn’t released until three years later 1975 but had been widely bootlegged and featured the Band on backing.     

Manfred Mann had always been an admirer of Dylan songs having hits with ‘ If You Gotta Go ‘ ‘ Just Like A Woman ‘ and ‘ The Mighty Quinn ‘ so he was brought in to oversee the sessions as producer.

Lo & Behold was issued in 1972 as Coulson, Dean, McGuinness & Flint and recieved some excellent reviews but died a death with few copies selling but what an extraordinary gem of a record it is, with totally different arrangements and interpretations of these Dylan songs and has picked up a lot of fans over the years and have a great groove to it.

Released in the UK on DJM Records. Dick James was the publisher that set up the Beatles publishing company Northern Songs and in 1972 Coulson, Dean, McGuinness Flint would have been  UK label mates of Elton John.

The title song ‘ Lo & Behold ‘ sounds like the Rolling Stones in full flight and ‘ Get Your Rocks Off ‘ is given a blues rock treatment. The versions of ‘ Eternal Circle ‘ and ‘ Sign of the Cross ‘ are the best versions I have heard.

Full track listing is : Eternal Circle, Lo & Behold, Let Me Die In Your Footsteps, Open Your Door Homer, Lay Down Your Weary Tune, Don’t You Tell Henry,  Get Your Rocks Off, The Death of Emmett Till, Odd & Ends, Tiny Montgomery, I Wanna Be Your Lover and Sign of the Cross.   DJM Records UK 1972.

Lay Down Your Weary Tune c/w Tiny Mongomery was released on DJM as a 45 in the UK.                                                                         

The group disbanded in 1975 but not without leaving their mark and sadly vocalist Dennis Coulson passed away in 2006.


Beatlemania ~ November ’63

August 28, 2011

The Beatles kicked off November 1963 with their Royal Variety performance in the presence of the Queen Mother and  Princess Margaret. This night John Lennon was to announced to the crowd “For those of you in the cheap seats clap your hands to this one:  the rest of you can rattle your jewelry” and then launched into ‘ Twist & Shout ‘ and Beatlemania had arrived in Britain!                           

The Beatles went off on a tour of England and was met by large crowds of female girls screaming and fainting at the very glimpse of the mop tops and most of these shows on this tour were held in cinemas as the boys criss crossed the country for the month getting 300 pounds a night and not being able to hear a thing they were playing!

The single ‘ She Loves You ‘ had been No 1 in the UK charts and would be followed by ‘ I Wanna Hold Your Hand ‘ in late November ’63 selling a million copies before release.

On November 22nd the Beatles second album ‘ With the Beatles ‘ was released with its distinctive black and white half shadow cover and haircuts and I remember the girl who lived across the road Linda coming over to my house with the record and hearing it for the first time. It sounds so fresh and tight,  full of atmosphere and the band deliver a masterpiece with Ringo supplying the back beat for the boys to supply their chunky rhythm and sing their hearts out!. No songs were released as singles in England off this LP but all of the songs are well crafted and are super good !

With the Beatles ‘ was the follow~up to the ‘ Please Please Me ‘ LP which was recorded in one day and this LP had more time spent on it and is well recorded by George Martin and the Beatles sparkle and rock with great playing and harmonies from beginning to end with a few covers, lots of original Lennon and McCartney songs and the first George Harrison composition.      

It Won’t Be Long ‘ starts things off with John on lead vocal and plenty of harmonies then slows with ‘ All I’ve Got To Do ‘ followed by Paul singing ‘ All My Loving ‘ brilliantly. Next up is George with his own song  singing ‘ Don’t Bother Me’ . Then we have the rocker ‘ Little Child ‘  with Paul on piano and Lennon with a great vocal performance. Paul takes the lead on the sweet  ballad ‘ Till There Was You ‘ . ‘Please Mr Postman ‘ ends the side with John delivering again a great vocal performance on this Motown classic by the Marvelettes.

George takes the mike on Side Two with a steamrolling version of  Chuck Berry’s ‘ Roll Over Beethoven ‘ and ‘ Hold Me Tight ‘ rocks along with Paul’s vocal and the boys full of energy. Smokey Robinson’s ‘ You Really Got A Hold On Me ‘ is my personal fave and features George Martin on piano. Next along is ‘ I Wanna Be Your Man ‘ with Ringo taking vocals and this song would give the Rolling Stones their first big hit in the UK! Next is a great song  ‘ Devil In Her Heart ‘ which is a Beatle cover of a group called The Donays which would have probably been forgotten if not recorded by the Beatles. the last Lennon and McCartney song on the album is ‘ Not A Second Time’ with John on vocal and to finish the album another Motown hit ‘ Money ‘ which gave John a chance to show us his raw vocal power one more time.                                    

The world would soon change as the Beatles went on to conquer the globe and like the two world wars the Yanks were late to the party!  Will we ever see the likes again!


This Was ~ Jethro Tull

June 2, 2011

The name Jethro Tull  comes from an 18th century gardener/inventor and this new group that adopted his name had their roots in the progressive British Folk /Jazz /Blues boom of the late 60′s and the two main members who really spilt this band in two at this point were Scottish flutist and vocalist Ian Anderson and guitarist and singer Mick Abrahams who were joined on bass by the very capable Glenn Cornick and the very very capable Clive Bunker on drums to form the band in 1967.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

With both Anderson and Abrahams having strong ideas on the right direction for the group to go, by the time the groups first album release  ‘This Was’ appeared, Abrahams had departed their ranks to follow in a more blues direction with his new group Blodwyn Pig who released two great albums called ‘Ahead Ring Out ‘ and ‘ Getting To This  with Abrahams playing his cherry red Gibson SG and singing to great effect. I was lucky to see Blodwyn Pig at the Marquee Club in London and they played a great show with Andy Pyle’s bass going right through your chest if you were standing in the first ten rows which I was.

While Ian Anderson won the battle to move the band in a more folk rock direction with his on stage performance in a ragged beggar’s overcoat and ballet tights playing the flute on one leg while looking like he had just escaped from a local mental institution this image would propel Jethro Tull to being one of the biggest outfits in the 70′s rock world. New guitarist Martin Barre joined the ranks playing a Les Paul and this settled line~up never looked back making albums like ‘Aqualung ‘ and ‘ Thick As A Brick ‘               

 But for the moment let’s concentrate on this overlooked gem of an album ‘ This Was ” from 1968.

 Side One kicks off with the jazzy My Sunday Feeling written by Ian Anderson with him on lead vocals and flute and features a great solo from Mick Abrahams with the rest of the band right on the money! 2) Some Day the The Sun Won’t Shine a slow twelve bar blues with vocals by Abrahams and Anderson who also plays mouth organ. 3) Beggar’s Farm ~ like the Jethro Tull we all got to know with the jazzy flute to the fore and another great solo from Abrahams. 4) Move on Alone ~ a Mick Abrahams song with him on vocals and a brass section featured on this track. 5) Serenade for a Cuckoo ~ Instrumental ~ a Roland Kirk song which shows where Ian Anderson got his jazz influences on flute from. Nice playing all round.

Side Two starts off with Dharma For One another instrumental with a Clive Bunker drum solo. 2) It’s Breaking Me Up ~  another great twelve bar blues with great playing for Abrahams ~ very bluesy. 3) Cat Squirrel ~ This is the track that I think spilt the band in two. An instrument with features all the best points of Mick Abrahams playing. 4) A Song for Jeffrey ~ This was the single from the album and the start of the direction Anderson would lead the band in and a precursor to Living In The Past . 5) Round ~ A short jazz Brubeck idea.

 

On the Deluxe 2 CD Collector’s Edition  reissue of  ‘ This Was ‘ you will find excellent BBC sessions from Top Gear, John Peel Show plus Stereo and Mono mixes of the album with extra tracks like ‘ Love Story ‘ which  was the last song recorded by Mick Abrahams with the band and it’s my favourite, released as a 45 it featured Christmas Song on the B side which are both worth hearing for the mandolin playing alone as is ‘ Sunshine Day which was their first single released on MGM and credited to Jethro Toe, also ‘ One For John Gee’ who was the manager of the Marquee Club and was responsible for getting the band a residency at the club early on in their career.

Look out for Jethro Tull on the 40th Anniversary 2011 tour playing ‘ Aqualung ‘ in it’s entirety


Music from Hyde Park to Barking Essex

June 2, 2011

On Saturday June 7 th 1969  three of my friends Kevin, Arthur and Kieran and me caught the train up to London to see Blind Faith perform free in Hyde Park to about 200,000 people. It was a real beautiful summer’s day as we sat down on our little patch of grass to watch the afternoon’s entertainment. First on that afternoon was the droning Third Ear Band followed by the Edgar Broughton Band who did manage to liven up the crowd with their open air anthem ‘Out Demons Out’.

Next on stage was Woodstock favourite Ritchie Havens who was great to see and then followed a quiet set from Donovan, and boy was it hot that afternoon! but it was better temperature wise when Blind Faith hit the stage at about 5pm. Billed in the music press as a supergroup this band consisted of Eric Clapton on Guitar and Ginger Baker on Drums from the legendary group Cream also Stevie Winwood on Keyboards from Traffic  and the little known Ric Grech on Bass from Family. Straight away you could tell that this group would not be following in the footsteps of Cream but as the first self titled album would show this was a half~decent band which were not given much of a chance to progress and fell apart during the following US tour as Clapton quickly lost interest in playing long solos and decided to hit the road with Delaney & Bonnie as a back up guitar player and was more influenced by the Band album ‘Music From Big Pink’ than anything that he and Mr Winwood could come up with at this point! Unfortunately Stevie Winwood being the great musician he is, does not have the greatest stage present, but it was great to be there to see them.

As we trundled back on the underground to our home town in Essex we decided that such a big debut concert was not the best idea for Blind Faith this new under~rehearsed band but all was not lost as that evening we were going to see Jethro Tull at the Roundhouse in Barking Essex. A full day of music!  I had loved Jethro Tull’s  first album ‘ This Was’ with Mick Abrahams on guitar and was sad to see that he had left the band due to a difference of opinion with Ian Anderson about which direction to take the band in, but the new album ‘Stand Up’ had just been released and tonight we would be seeing their new guitar player Martin Barre play live. Mick Abrahams would go on to have a solo career and form the band Blodwyn Pig who I also saw live at the Marquee Club.

When we finally got in the place was packed and it was a hot night inside the building and outside and there was little room to move we were like sardines but the band came on stage and straight away delivered a stunning performance with Ian Anderson in his Aqualung tramp stage outfit standing on one leg like a demented ballet dancer all hair and beard with flute in hand and his eyes popping out of his head delivering his outrageous words. Brilliant! you could see that their was only room for one star in this band as they went on to be one of the world’s best bands. On guitar new man Martin Barre with his Gibson Les Paul turned up to 11 let us all know that he could play with beautiful guitar solos and rhythm on  each song. On drums Clive Bunker was as solid as ever along with bassist Glen Cornick they supplied the back~bone to the Jethro Tull sound for many years to come.                                 

It was so hot and packed  inside the hall that by half~way through their performance people down the front of the audience were fainting and had to be lifted above the crowd and passed back over the top of the audience and out to the St. John’s ambulance people in a tent out the back of the  building.                                                                                                                                                                                  

So ended the lesson. One of the greatest day of music from Blind Faith in the open air in Hyde Park to Jethro Tull in an old bingo hall in Barking Essex. Amen.


Music At The Cannery ~ Summer Series 2013 ~ Steveston, Richmond BC

June 1, 2011

                                                                                                                                         

 

                  HERE COMES  SUMMER ! 2014

                      MUSIC AT THE CANNERY

                           STEVESTON VILLAGE

                 Rain or Shine the show goes on !

2013 Summer Open Air Series at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery ~ 4th Ave, Steveston Village. 604 664 9009

Dates are Every Friday evenings in July & August @ 6:30 pm. Admission by Donation. If the weather isn’t good then the show will go ahead inside the Cannery.

 ~ Don’t Miss ! See you next year !

 

 

 Admission by Donation at the Door.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery ~ 12138 4th Ave, Richmond, (Steveston Village) 604 664 9009

 
Rain or Shine – The Show goes on!  See you there !
Open Air Shows  ~ Bring a sweater because it can get chilly.
    
 Frankie Neilson The Beatmerchant 604 204 0044
 
 
 
 
Brought to you by The Gulf of Georgia Cannery & The Beatmerchant Record Store .
Admission by Donation.
 
 

 

 

 

 


Dedicated Follower of the Kinks

May 10, 2011

“The taxman’s taken all my dough and left me in my stately home lazing on a sunny afternoon ~ and I can’t sail my yacht he’s taken  everything I’ve got ~ all I’ve got is this sunny afternoon”. words written by Ray Davies of the Kinks.

We have two things in common with the lyrics above ! The taxman has recently taken all our dough and with summer fast approaching at least hopefully we will get some sunny afternoons!             

The Kinks record “All Day and All of the Night” was the first 45 that I bought and recently on TV they were showing an early episode of “Heartbeat” starring Nick Berry which played most of the Kinks first two records ‘You Really Got Me” and”All Day and All of the Night” and they sounded so good!  Like a runaway express train coming at you.

The original Kinks line up was : Ray Davies guitar & vocals and main songwriter, Brother Dave Davies supplying the  fierce guitar work, Mick Avory laying down the back beat and Peter Quaife on bass who sadly recently passed away.

The next Kinks record that I bought was the LP “Sunny Afternoon” in 1967 on the Marble Arch label which was the budget arm of Pye Records and features four hit singles and some brilliant Kinks B~sides and EP tracks, this record was jammed full of gems from the mid~sixties and complete with the greatest LP cover!   

Named after their current UK No. 1 hit 45 the album kicks off with “Sunny Afternoon”  which has the trade~ mark Ray Davies lyrics and is followed next  by I Need You” which is so good it would have been a hit in it’s own right ~ pure garage metal  rock.

 Next up was “See My Friends” which has a repeat hypnotic Indian feel to it and reached No. 10 in the UK charts followed by “Big Black Smoke” the B~side of  “Dead End Street” and really sums up the Fagin feeling of being poor in dirty of London which a lot of us can relate too!

The end song  of Side One is the classic “Louie Louie” written by Richard Berry and was a big hit for the Kingsmen in the USA in 1963 but this Kinks version would have made the charts as well. Pure rock n roll!

Side Two kicks off with “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” which is the Kinks at their best taking a swipe at the Carnaby fashion scene in London and drawing heavily from British music hall traditions in it’s mocking scornful lyrics! and reaching No. 5 in the UK.

They seek him here they seek him there his clothes are loud but never square!  Oh Yes he is!  

Next track is  Sittin’ On My Sofa  : B~ side of “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”  and  a great up beat song with great bass playing from Pete Quaife.  

Next up is  Such A Shame : Appears on the B~side of the US 45 “Well Respected Man’ and again  has great RayDavies lyric and melody.

Track 4 is one of my Kinks favourites “I’m Not Like Everybody Else”  B side of  “Sunny Afternoon” which features brother Dave Davies on vocals and what a great job he does as well!

Also Dave Davies had a number of hits in his own right including “Lincoln County” “Susannah’s Still Alive” and probably the most famous “Death of a Clown“. Great to hear if you haven’t already!

Last song on the album is “Dead End Street” which reached No. 5 on the UK chart and is very popular with people who live in a Cul~De~ Sac’s but the rest of us like it because like so many Ray Davies songs it speaks of the Englishness of the upper and working classes.                                                                                                                                         

I like my football on Saturdays ~ Roast beef on Sundays ~ It’s all right!  

I go to Blackpool for my holidays ~ sit in the open sunlight      


Gerry Rafferty~Clowns to the Left Jokers to the Right!

April 20, 2011

Scottish singer Gerry Rafferty and comedian Billy Connolly were an unlikely pairing in their group the Humblebums but for a while it worked really well with Gerry supplying the songs and Billy the comedy between the music. Gerry Rafferty’s strong songwriting talents were already in evidence at this early stage of his career with songs like the turntable hit ‘ Shoeshine Boy ‘ and the Humblebums became well~known on the live folk club circuit of Glasgow.

However as Billy’s jokes became longer and longer, Gerry’s songs had to get shorter and shorter and Gerry soon spilt from Billy and headed to where the bright lights of London were calling in 1969 and as for Billy Connolly the rest as they say is history!

Our little Scottish singer songwriter signed a solo deal in London with Transatlantic Records and in 1971 released ‘Can I Have My Money Back’ which received excellent reviews and featured the vocal talents of his ol’ school chum Joe Egan on some tracks and from these sessions the group Stealer’s Wheel was born.                                                                      

‘Can I Have My Money Back’ was produced by Hugh Murphy who would work with Rafferty again on his solo work in 1978.

Stealers Wheel first self titled album released in 1973 was a big success produced by legendary 50′s producers and writers Leiber & Stoller. With Egan and Rafferty on vocals and  harmonies they sounded a little Beatle~ish and with a great back up band  the chosen single ‘Stuck In The Middle’ zoomed up the charts in the UK and the States and was later used in the Quentin Taratino film ‘Reservoir Dogs’ in 1991.

Stealers Wheel were to last for three albums, the self titled Stealers Wheel, Ferguslie Park and Right or Wrong and each one is really really good in their own right! In this time Gerry Rafferty left the band and then came back on the success of the single before the whole thing fell apart again, but this period of his career is well worth searching out!                   

It took him three years of legal hassle before he could get himself free and release another solo record and what a record it was!

The great British pop record of 1978 was ‘ Baker Street’ right in the middle of the Disco period the instantly recognizable sax riff from Raphael Ravencroft helped make the record a world~wide hit from his first solo album ‘City To City’ which went Platinum (back when Platinum sales really meant something!) selling over five million copies. Every radio station around the universe had the song on heavy rotation, but our reluctant star Gerry refused to tour the USA and continued to do things in his own relaxed way!

That was the one thing about Gerry Rafferty he was a songwriter talent of the highest order and didn’t suffer clowns or jokers gladly!                  

He will always be remembered down on the corner of Baker Street. 

Once again Gerry’s solo albums are all of the highest quality and look out for the songs : Can I Have My Money Back ~ Mary Skeffington ~ Shoeshine Boy ~ Steamboat Row ~ Everything Will Turn Out Fine ~ Star ~ Right Down The Line ~ Night Owl ` Get It Right Next Time ~ Whatever’s Written In Your Heart ~ Days Gone By and North & South ~ to name but a few!


Information Emily 45 ~ A Bubbleglam Classic!

March 16, 2011

I was staggered to see and hear the rare pop~psych single 45  ‘Information Emily’ which I made in 1972 with the group Midas Mould on the internet at the site called purepop1uk.blogspot.com which is run by Robin Wills guitarist from the Barracudas and on eBay recently selling for 15 UK pounds.    

Released on March 10th 1972 on Columbia Records UK cat. No. DB 8868

This stirred lots of memories !

While I was working as  a tape operator at the Marquee Studio in 1970 I struck up a friendship with a session  guitarist called Andy Goble from Croydon and I was singing at the time so after a few meetings, beers and rehearsals we decided to form a 4 piece group called Midas Mould. Terrible name, I think it was someone who was from Oliver Cromwell’s new model army ? But I remember his mother used to make the best Sunday dinners.

The bass player was Martin Yates and his father was responsible for the design of the Esso advertising for their ‘ Put A Tiger in the Tank ‘ campaign, so he financed the band until we signed to EMI.

The song our EMI producer chose to record as the A~Side was ‘Information Emily’ which was a rip off of the Jeff Beck hit ‘ Hi Ho Silver Lining’ and was written by our guitarist Andy Goble who was a great player himself and said he was taught by Beck and was also friends with Jim McCartey who sat in on drums with us one time as we were more of a rock group live than a bubbleglam pop group.

Not sure who the drummer was on the record as we always had problems in the drum department but the lead guitar solo was double ~ tracked with a classical violin session player and we used a Hammond organ Leslie speaker to get the unique effect on the guitar. I was the not so great a singer singing those bubbleglam lyrics, the backing singer was brought into the band, a lad from Fulham by the name of Tony Carpenter who also played guitar and has been Beaky in the classic 60′s band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich for the last 20 odd years, but we meddled by and had a great pop group adventure at EMI Abbey Road studios ! 

The highlights for me was that we recorded the single at the Beatles studio at Abbey Road, quite an experience for us and we were signed to the same label at EMI as the Yardbirds and the Jeff Beck Columbia Records.  Also I remember at one gig Jim McCarty from the Yardbirds showed up and played drums for us on our rocked up version of ‘Shapes of Things’. 

The B~Side Love Sweet Love was co~written by Glo Marcari, whose father owned Marcari’s Music Shop in Charing Cross Road in London and our EMI producer Roger Ferris who I didn’t get on with very well because of the choice of songs they wanted us to record (you need a hit record).

 The arranger and conductor on the 45 was Andrew Pryce Jackman (I think there is a small string section on the record as well) who was super good and came up with the ideas for the dual violin solo and sound of the guitar solo, he later worked with Peter Skellern, Chris Squire and Yes.

Sadly our little 45 was only played once on BBC Radio One on the Gary Taylor show and we only sold about 26 copies of the record mostly to family and friends and so the group quickly desolved and we went our separate ways, not even a photo of the band remained, but the record is now apparently a bubbleglam pop psych classic appearing on the Pop Cycles Vol. 12 download compilation and is now available as a ringtone for your cellphone. Wow! Go figure.

Flies are in your pea soup baby!


Ian Dury and the Blockheads

March 3, 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

One of Britain’s most loved characters from the 70′s punk scene was the likable rogue Ian Dury. Despite being handicapped at an early age with polio, he would go on to give us a string of clever music hall/punk/disco hits which would become part of our everyday language. He coined the now familiar phrases “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” and “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” and was writing great songs right up until his death in 2000 and never complained.

A warm-hearted witty geezer, this guy was the real deal, no pop star make~up needed here! Ian was a barrow boy straight out of Romford market!

Signing to the brilliant London label Stiff Records and releasing New Boots & Panties in 1977, Ian with his Dickens street~urchin image along with the best jazz/funk band in London the Blockheads was to become one of the hottest acts on the live circuit during the early punk years.

Although Ian looked like he had just escaped from a local mental home the night before, he had a lovable if demonic warped sense of humour and was in his mid ~thirties when he hit the big time unexpectedly!

In his teens he attended the Royal College of Art in London before forming the band Kilburn & The High Roads who released their one and only album on Dawn Records in 1975 called ‘Handsome’. The album is well worth finding, but it was in Chas Jankel that Ian was to find a songwriter that would lead him in the right direction to forming the Blockheads.

Hello! I’m from Essex

Every song from  their first album New Boots & Panties is a classic! and listening to some of the lyrics you know that Ian was one of the boys who put the sex in Essex! even though he was originally born in Middlesex, still tracks like ‘Billiericay Dickie’ and  ‘Plastow Patricia’ conjure up life in the urban sprawl of the Essex towns east of  Mile End station on the London underground’s District  line.

Maybe Ian is one of the most important poets that England has produced in the last 40 years with lines like I could be the ticket collector at Fulham Broadway station” and “In the deserts of Sudan and the gardens of Japan from Milan to Yucatan every woman every man“. Now stick that on your ringtones!

Ian had a string of hits singles with ‘Rhythn Stick’  ‘What A Waste’ , ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’  and ‘I Wanna Be Straight’ but it was the spirited song ‘Spasticus Autisticus‘ released from the Polydor album ‘ Lord Upminster’ which should have been his biggest hit!. Written by Ian for the Year of the Disabled this was a war cry from Ian to all the disabled people in the world but the single was misunderstood and was banned by the BBC and received very little publicity or air~play and is an absolute gem with Sly & Robbie supplying the bass and drums on the record.

Ian’s last album ‘Mr. Love Pants’ released in 1998 and was a real return to form with the Blockheads providing the backing after some indifferent Dury releases but overall all of Ian’s seven albums are worth exploring and if you don’t explore Ian Dury’s work you will never know what a rhythm stick is!

Mind the Gap!


Sandy Denny ~ We All Play Solo!

February 24, 2011

Some of you may not have heard of the singer Sandy Denny before, but a 19 CD lavish Box Set of her entire work was released late in 2010 and I am sure some of you have heard her before but never knew it! because she performed on the track ‘Battle of Evermore’ with Robert Plant on the Led Zeppelin IV four symbols album.

Sandy Denny wasn’t sure if she wanted to be a big solo star or be just a singer in a rock n roll band but what she did during her career had class act written all over it, playing with great musicians with her haunting tender voice and writing a body of beautiful songs.

Let’s start in 1969 with her joining the folk rock band Fairport Convention which included in their line up the brilliant guitarist Richard Thompson, singer Ian Matthews and bassist Ashley Hutchings on their  2nd album ‘What We Did On Our Holidays ‘  which features Denny’s song ‘Fotheringay‘ and the now classic Fairport song ‘Meet on the Ledge’ .

This album was followed shortly by ‘Unhalfbricking‘ (showing a photo of Denny’s parents on the front cover) with Ian Matthews leaving the band at this point but being replaced with violin player ex~ordinaire Dave Swarbrick who always had a ciggie in his mouth and a fiddle in his hands. This album features the beautiful Denny song “Who Knows Where The Time Goes’ which Judy Collins covered and the epic ‘A Sailors Life’ which started to lead the band in a new unique direction which would produce one of the greatest folk rock albums of the 70′s ‘Liege and Lief ‘. Before that album was recorded the band suffered a terrible tour bus crash which claimed the lives of Fairport drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompson’s girlfriend  girl Jeannie Franklyn while Sandy had travelled by car with her new Aussie boyfriend and future husband Trevor Lucas.         

Adding new drummer the fabulous Dave Mattacks to their ranks and with Dave Swarbrick now as a fully paid up member of the band the classic album Liege and Lief was produced with dazzling solos from Thompson and Swarbrick but no Sandy Denny songs  were featured only her vocals as she was about to leave the band and form her own band Fotheringay.

Fotheringay had a stellar line up of Gerry Conway on drums , Pat Donaldson on bass (and both later with Cat Stevens) and the excellent Jerry Donahue on guitar along with Trevor on acoustic guitar and Sandy on vocals and piano. They only released one album called Fotheringay which features plenty of the best of Denny’s songs before Sandy decided to go solo while recording tracks for the second Fotheringay album which was finally released in 2008 and is excellent!

Sandy recorded four solo albums all together (The North Star Grassman & the Ravens Sandy ~ Like An Old Fashioned Waltz and Rendezvous) during the 70′s before re~joining Fairport one more time for the album ‘Rising of the Moon’ but the spark had gone after years of smoking and drinking and after the release of her final solo effort ‘ Rendezvous ‘  in 1977 she suffered injuries from falling down a flight of stairs and died the following year 1978.

All of her albums with Fairport, Fotheringay and solo Sandy Denny are wonderful !                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

A tragic loss but her songs live on including :It’ll Take A Long Time, The Pond And The Stream, Late November, Solo and Stranger to Himself


Beatles ~ Wow! It’s only the B side

February 18, 2011

Hey Beatles ~ Thanks for changing the world and to George Martin for arranging it!

One of the great things about the Beatles UK 45 rpm single releases  was the classic B sides that would appear on the flip side of their big hits, always different from the previous one and always brilliant songs and some would have been hits in their own write!

Like some of their hits some of the B sides didn’t appear on their LPs and here we will take a look at some of them. 

Let’s get back to 1963 for the fantastic ‘THANK YOU GIRL’ the B side of their third UK single ‘From Me To You’ with that signature John Lennon harmonica and vocal snarl. This track would have been a hit in its own right!

From the same year on the back of their million seller ‘ From Me To You’  we find ‘ I’ll GET YOU’  with the Oh Yeahs instead of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the boys songwriting talents start to shine through.

October 1963 sees the release of the fifth Beatle single ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and Beatlemania is changing the world as we know it! and tucked on the B side is ‘THIS BOY’ with a superb three-part harmony from the boys and showing the softer side of the Lennon & McCartney partnership.

Christmas 1964 and ‘I Feel Fine’ hits the top of the charts and the Beatles are experimenting with the guitar feedback at the start of the song but equally as good is ‘SHE’S A WOMAN’  on the flip side with McCartney delivering a fine vocal performance and the whole band in rocking  form.

Next up issued on the B side of ‘Ticket To Ride’ on April 9th 1965 with another fine three-part harmony is ‘YES IT IS’ which was followed up in July ’65 with Paul McCartney’s blistering vocal tribute to Little Richard on ‘I’M DOWN’  which became a crowd pleaser on their live shows with John Lennon hamming it up on the keyboard in the solo at Shea stadium. Great stuff!  B side of ‘Help’.

Released the same day as the ‘Rubber Soul’ LP in December ’65 the classic ‘Day Tripper’ delivered a heavier sound from the Beatles as their music started to change, their hair is getting longer and they are spending more time in the EMI toilets! As a (joint) double A side release the other song to hit the ears of the world that month was ‘WE CAN WORK IT OUT’  which features a great vocal from Paul in the verses and together with John in the choruses.

My favourite Beatles 45 single is ‘Paperback Writer’ with ‘RAIN’ on the  B side the first Beatles song to feature a backward guitar effect , this record was released on June 10th 1966 one year before the Sgt. Peppers album. ‘RAIN’ is probably the Beatles at their best, the song has great interactive playing by the band and great words and vocal from John.

February ’67 and the start of the psychedelic period has arrived  and there is no going back now for the Mop Tops as they introduce us to ‘STRAWBERRY FIELDS’ a very delicate layered song with an amazing arrangement from George Martin. The start of the Pepper sessions. On the other side of the record ‘Penny Lane’.

‘BABY, YOUR A RICH MAN ‘ is full of eastern promise but you hardly ever hear this record today and it’s so good. Released in July 67 the B side of ‘All You Need Is Love’ which became the anthem for the summer of love and maybe should have been the world’s anthem as well!

Classic Lennon lyrics and vocals appear on ‘I AM THE WALRUS’  the Beatles at their best and didn’t they take us on a trip! I wonder if this one would have made number one, sure it would have been banned by the BBC. B side to ‘Hello Goodbye’ from November ’67.    

Step into the limelight Mr George Harrison with his first composition to appear on a Beatle 45 ‘THE INNER LIGHT’ was recorded at EMI studio in Bombay, India with Indian musicians under George’s guidance while the Beatles were there studying Transcendental Meditation . Issued March 15th 1968 with ‘Lady Madonna’ on the top side. A great  version appears on the DVD ‘Tribute to George’  which came out after his death and with Jeff Lynne doing the honours . Well worth seeing all the performances on this emotional night which are superb.

Swiftly released after ‘Get Back’ on May 30th 1969 ‘THE BALLAD OF JOHN & YOKO’ only featured two of the Beatles on this record, John on acoustic guitar, lead guitar and vocals and Paul on bass, drums, piano and backing vocals and it has a great live feel about it! This is John in his godly white period with  full beard, grannie glasses and madly in love with Yoko. 

Another George song ‘OLD BROWN SHOE’  appears on the B side with a great guitar solo from Mr Harrison not unlike his playing and sound on the Cream single ‘Badge’.

‘YOU KNOW MY NAME (LOOK UP THE NUMBER) was issued on March 6th 1970 as the B side to the glorious ‘Let It Be’ . Lasting more than four minutes this comedy number shows how much the Beatles were influenced by the Goons who were also produced by George Martin at EMI.

And in the end

The love you take

Is equal to the love

You make!

 

 

 


From Spivs to Jive Bomber Bad Boys

February 18, 2011

I recently sat down to watch a DVD of a British film called Spivs which means (a slick dressed man offering illegal goods at bargain prices) which was made in 2005 and stars Ken Booth who is probably more well~known for his recent TV series ‘Rebus‘. In this stylish comedy/drama Scott plays an upscale con~man who ends up looking after two Albanian children in London when one of his little scams going horribly wrong!                                          

In the film which I really enjoyed our hero arrives home after a particular bad rainy night of dodgy dealing in the underworld and pours himself a large brandy, but before sitting down to put his feet up he puts a 45 record on his turntable and boy what a record it is! An R&B classic that I had never heard before! WHO WAS IT I WONDERED!

When the credits rolled at the end of the film I froze the screen on the songs featured but as the songs where in the smallest of lettering it was hard to read what  the song title was and there was no performer listed, but the Beatmerchant was on the case!

The following day I searched for the song through Google on the internet and started with the many reviews of the movie, but not one of them mentioned any of the songs or the music from the film SPIVS and there was never a CD soundtrack released as there was only four songs featured in the film!

Finally after over 3 hours on the net I found the title of the song and it was called ‘Bad Boy’ and I checked the song on the allMusic site and there were over 800 versions of that song title listed including the Beatles, John Lee Hooker and Larry Williams to name but a few, but they weren’t the right versions. I narrowed it down to a good Mink DeVille version which was the right song but not the version from the film, but we were gettin’ on the right track baby! Next I turned to YouTube and put in the title ‘Bad Boy’ and there it was half way down the listings by a group called the Jive  Bombers a four piece vocal group from New Jersey on the Savoy label.          

I played it once and then over a dozen times and I was in 2 minutes and 53 seconds of Doo~Wop  Heaven!

Life is just a bowl of cherries!

Why did this superior version stand out so much even though it was not the version from the film, well the lead vocal by Clarence Palmer is outstanding as he uses his voice like an echo on this outstanding track ~ it’s sounds a bit like when a CD gets stuck on the same vocal part or a wah wah pedal which is used with a guitar but this reverb vocal effect is very distinctive and became their trademark sound on this record which scraped into the charts in 1957 as did their follow~up 45 ‘ Cherry‘. There is not much if anything available on CD by the Jive Bombers but I did discover that the song was used in the soundtrack to the John Waters film ‘Cry Baby’.

So check out the British filmSpivsDVD or the Jive Bombers on YouTube or the John Walters soundtrack CD and listen to the great Desert Island  Disc ‘BAD BOY’   

Footnote: The song ‘Bad Boy was written by Lil Armstrong wife of trumpet player Louis so that is my next little adventure! Stay Tuned!

Does anyone know who the version in the film is by!


The Story of Cap’n ‘P’ And The Attos

February 5, 2011

Whatever you do don’t make it sound like Sergio Mendes!                                      

I was lucky enough to see Patto play in the early 70′s on a double~bill with Argent. It was Argent who were the headlining act because of their current hit single ‘ Hold Your Head Up ‘ but it was Patto who stole the show for me even though they were plagued with a bad sound system on the night. The reason that they stole the show was because all members of the band were outstanding players with plenty of backbeat and they seemed to not take themselves too seriously on stage laughing and joking all the way through their performance. Their humour was to also come across on the vinyl releases.

The band put out three great albums which were ‘ Patto ‘ (1970) and ‘ Hold Your Fire ‘ (1971)  on the new Vertigo label and the classic ‘ Roll ‘em Smoke ‘em Put Another Line Out ‘ which was released on Island Records in 1972.                                              

Their producer on all three albums and a big supporter of the band was Muff Winwood, the brother of Stevie Winwood and the original bass player in the Spencer Davis Group who went on to be the head of A&R at Island Records and the producer of the first Dire Straits album. An all round music man.

In the late 60′s the band started out as a 5 piece named Timebox and dented the charts slightly with their single “Beggin” before dropping down to a 4 piece and changing their name to Patto after the singer’s name.

Their first self~titled album Patto starts off with the song “The Man” and straight away on the first track you know you are going to be in for something good as the song builds and then leads into a vibraphone solo from guitarist Ollie Halsall. This band can rock with a slightly jazzy feel and all four parts are equally brilliant! but in Ollie they had an outstanding guitar slinger who would be in my top ten all time favourites for sure ~ just listen to the solo on ” Red Glow ” and “Hold Me Back ‘ with the rest of the band pushing him along and also the great overlooked Mike Patto on vocals.

Sales were poor on the first album but they were back in the studio and on tour with Ten Years After so things looked rosy!. ” Hold Your Fire ” starts off with the eight minute epic title track with the band in great form but once again the sales were not there and as Muff Winwood became head of A&R at Island the boys moved to the label with him.

Roll ‘em Smoke ‘em was released in 72 and what an album it is with every track being great ~ slightly different from the previous two with Ollie playing more piano and keyboards on this one but this band had come of age and if you know any guitar players that are into metal or rock playing then I think they should have a listen to ” Loud Green Song ” on this album and then think again about what they are playing!  ROCK ON OLLIE!   

Sadly this was it for the band as their sound fell on deaf ears and the band turned turtle but they have left behind them three beauties and all of them are a valuable addition to any collection.

Members of the band were :

Mike Patto on Vocals : Mike went off to join Spooky Tooth after trying to hold Patto together for so long, then got back together with Ollie Halsall in Boxer before being diagnosed with Leukemia and this fighter passed away on the 4th of March 1979, and he is still singing the blues on red. A great loss!                                                        

Ollie Halsall on Guitar : Ollie played with Allan Holdsworth and Jon Hiseman in Tempest for a while before becoming  Kevin Ayers sidekick touring and playing some great guitar on his albums before moving to Spain where he passed away in 1992 from a heroin overdose. What a waste!

Clive Griffiths on Bass : I met Clive one evening at Kings Cross station in the mid 70′s and he was driving a taxi to make ends meet and was playing in Joe Brown’s band but tragedy was to strike the Patto’s again! Both Clive and drummer John were on their way home from a gig with Joe’s band~ one minute they were driving the next they were in intensive care. The driver of an on coming car had slipped into sleep and hit them head on with Clive now being paralysed and suffers from memory loss and can’t even remember the Patto’s.

John “Admiral” Halsey on Drums: After Patto John joined Neil Innes in Grimm’s before becoming a member of the highly successful Rutles project. John also along with Clive suffered bad injuries from the car accident but has recovered with his sense of humour intact

For flat footed women everywhere!


The Small Faces ~ So I’ll Just Groove Along Quite Naturally

February 4, 2011

Are you sitty comfy bold two square on your botty? Then I’ll begin………

Long before Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood got together to form the Faces in the early 70′s there was a pop group in England called The Small Faces who  formed in the early 60′s and had hits glore in the UK.

Original members included singer Stevie Marriott who had a spit~in~your~eye attitude leading on three other renegades ~ Ronnie “Plonk” Lane on bass, Kenney Jones on drums, and Ian McLagen on keyboards. The latter three were to join Rod the Mod and Ronnie Wood in the Faces after the Small Faces broke up and Stevie Marriott went on to form Humble Pie. The Faces first album First Step was released in the USA as the Small Faces.

They were called The Small Faces because they were all no taller than 5′ 6″ and they performed some of the most raucous R&B and soulful music this side of the Wapping Wharf with influences such as Booker T & the MGs, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke. They also looked good with a great image, and were the Mod kings of swinging London,  the boys had clothing accounts at all the best shops in Carnaby Street while the rest of us Mods & Rockers fought it out in Brighton.   

The Small Faces early hits are classic slices of Mod Pop, ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’, ‘ Sha La La La Lee’, and ‘All or Nothing’ all released on Decca Records. By 1967 the groups songwriting had began to mature and a change of record label from Decca to ex Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s new Immediate Records allowed them to not play live so much and have more studio time and artistic freedom just like the Beatles with Sgt. Pepper as the flower power era dawned.

Starting with ‘ Here Comes The Nice ‘ The Small Faces blazed a spectacular coloured soundscape across the sky. The truly remarkable Itcycoo Park (their only US hit) was followed next into the charts by Tin Soldier. This is my all time favourite song, full of passion it still today explodes out of the speakers with former Ikette  P.P Arnold on backing vocals spurring on Stevie Marriott to one of the greatest UK soul performances ~ ever!

Everyone nowadays talks about Pete Townsend and Ray Davies being the great spokespersons and class observers of the British 60′s generation  but I think we should take our hats off to Stevie and Ronnie as great songwriters as well!

I remember buying ‘Lazy Sunday’ with Stevie’s cockney voice and the great sound effects on the record while staying at my Aunt Alice’s in Bournemouth on the south coast of England and I must have driven her crazy playing that song and the B side ‘ Rollin’ Over ‘ maybe over a thousand times that Easter weekend.

Their last single to just make it into the Top 30 was ‘ The Universal ‘ and what a truly unique record it is! Partly recorded in Stevie’s back garden with dogs barking in time it features a crazy clarinet part and a Chet Atkins style guitar solo and it’s totally uncommercial but they still made it on to Top of the Pops for a memorable performance.

Like most of the British bands from the 60′s the Small Faces 45 rpm records have great B ~ sides like ‘ Talk to You’ with a powerful passionate Marriott vocal and ‘ I’m Only Dreaming ‘ a beautiful love song with a light arrangement and once again sang with great soul by Mr. Marriott.

B~side ‘ I Feel Much Better ‘ starts with Ronnie Lane’s bass ~ the baddest sound this side of the Watford Gap with P.P. Arnold once again supplying the backing vocals and a great fade at the end of the record. ‘ Rollin’ Over ‘ comes on like a steamroller coming at ya with a killer brass section and Kenney Jones really showing what a great drummer he is and Ian McLagen as melodically inventive on the keyboards as ever and on top of all that another epic vocal from Stevie Marriott.                                         

Donkey Rides A Penny A Glass ‘ always reminds me of my school holidays at my Dad’s caravan on the Essex coast on those hot summer days! grooving along quite naturally. Brilliant!

Then to top it all off and to light the candles on their cake the boys produced the classic  ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake ‘ album released on May 31st 1968. I remember that day was full of sunshine as I travelled to Barking in Essex by bus to buy this extraordinary record with its round artwork sleeve ( a first ) and  the fairy~tale story of Happiness Stan on Side Two of the record narrated by Stanley Unwin in his own strange but unique Unwinese language taking us all off to another world!. This album sounds fantastic in mono.

A brilliant album full of great songs and east end music hall humour that was overlooked in North America but which is full of the a deep joy and thorkus, a great laugh ‘n’ tittery for the heart as Stanley would say.

God bless em all!       Long ago and worlds apart


The Who Sell Out ~ Not Likely !

February 3, 2011

I have always been a big Who fan from the first time I heard them in my cousin’s bedroom in Dagenham, Essex at the age of 12. He had just bought a copy of the Who 45 ‘ My Generation ‘ which became one of the defining songs of  the 60s.                                                                                                                       

I love the power and the violence bursting out of that song and the stuttered voice only added to the tension. It shot up to the top of the charts in England and around the world and became an anthem for the young.

Earlier that year 1965 the Who had released two other singles ‘ I Can’t Explain ‘ and ‘ Anyway Anyhow Anywhere ‘ both explosive songs with memorable Townsend guitar parts. The classic My Generation album was to follow with brilliant cover versions and Townsend originals like ‘ A Legal Matter ‘ and ‘ The Kids Are Alright ‘ This was the first of a long line of important rock albums from the band.

The group in England always had a big mod following and were always a great live band with members Keith Moon on drums who was in a class of his own and totally irreplaceable just like Zeppelin’s John Bonham. On guitar Pete Townsend was to turn into a great songwriter but not the greatest lead guitarist in the world like Hendrix or Clapton but was completely locked into Keith Moon on each Who song and was exciting to watch. They would both smash~up their guitars, speakers  and drums at the end of each live performance and would both leave the stage in chaos and destruction.

John Entwistle on bass also known as ‘ The Ox ‘ was the glue which kept this group in time a very talented bass player who played his instrument like a lead guitar and was very loud with the treble control full on! On vocals ace ~ face Roger Daltrey was full of aggression and attitude having many famous fallouts with Townsend along the way but as a singer he just got better and better as the years when on especially live.

The Who would become one of the best live bands around in the late 60′s early 70′s and I love their performance on the Stones Rock & Roll Circus ‘ where their stole the show with their mini opera ‘ A Quick One While He’s Away ‘ and let’s not forget the stunning Woodstock performance.

 Back to the singles and next up in the British charts was ‘ Substitute ‘ which I think is a  brilliant bit op pop with the lyrics.

 I’m a substitute for another guy, I look pretty tall but my heels are high,  the simple things you see are all complicated, I look pretty young but I’m  just backdated “

My favourite Who album is their third ‘ The Who Sell~Out ‘ from 1967 featuring the top ten hit ‘ I Can See For Miles ‘ and pirate radio jingles in between the tracks.                                                                   

The biggest album that the band ever had ‘ Who‘s Next ‘  from 1971 which doesn’t have a bad track on it! but well worth a listen is the 1967 release ‘A Quick One ‘

After the huge success of ‘ Tommy ‘ probably the most overlooked album is the double ‘ Quadrophenia ‘ from ’73 with great songs like ’5:15 ‘ ‘ The Real Me ‘ and ‘ Love Reign Over Me ‘ and don’t  miss the movie if you haven’t seen it with a young Sting in a starring role,  made in mod heaven Brighton.

The group was never the same after the album  ‘ Who Are You ‘ and  the death of Keith Moon but Kenney Jones was brought in to fill the drum spot and the group made a spirited go of things in the 80′s and the hits kept on coming.

In the later years Ringo’s son Zak has been a good substitute laying down a rock steady drum beat, you can see him on the excellent Royal Albert Hall DVD which is highly recommended.

In 1990 The Who was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and following the sad loss of bassist John Entwistle in 2002 the band is down to two original members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend who have admirably soldiered on and I am just putting this suggestion out there that maybe one day we might see Townsend on guitar and Daltrey on vocals join forces with Paul McCartney on bass and vocals and Ringo Starr on drums to record an album from a band that would be worth waiting for!                                                                                                              

Meet the new boss ~ same as the old boss


Georgie, Georgie ~ They call him the Belfast Boy!

February 1, 2011

Georgie Best was born on May 22nd 1946 with a football at his feet!

At the  teen age of 15 George Best was discovered by scout Bob Bishop in Belfast and was brought over to Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground for a trail, but it turned out that he didn’t like it too much, feeling homesick he caught the boat back to Belfast without telling anyone.

Luckily father figure Matt Busby, United’s manager knew that George was a diamond in the rough and eventually got him back to Old Trafford.

Making his debut in a United shirt in 1963 at the age of 17 he looked too skinny and fragile for the Football League like a puff of wind would knock him over, but nobody on the opposite side West Bromwich Albion could get near him that day.

Playing on the wing alongside the likes of Denis Law and Bobby Charlton this was the start of a new era at United after the tragic air crash at Munich in  1958 that claimed the lives of so many of the Busby Babes. If the club had sold one of these players in the 60′s the crowd would have torn the ground down, that’s how high in esteem these players were held.

The day United went to play Benfica in the European Cup quarter final in 1966 in Lisbon was when Best’s star exploded. After scoring two goals and playing out of his socks he was dubbed with the name’ El Beatle ‘ by the media because of his great natural talent, good~looks and Beatle hair cut, but this boy was more than a pretty face, he could play a bit as well! Following that night the woman, bright lights and media were never far behind the Belfast boy with the cheeky smile! On the field he was all business, off the field unlike David Beckham he was another story and always made the headlines, drinking just like his mother before him began to take its toll in later life but he left us some fine moments to remember!

When on international  duty for Northern Ireland he sometimes single~handedly demolished the opponents~ especially England,  Scotland, and Wales.                                                                                      

Two occasions stand out for me watching him play~ firstly against Chelsea at Old Trafford with Peter Bonetti in-goal for Chelsea. The keeper threw the ball out to full back Eddie McCreadie who couldn’t quite control it properly and George whips in and with superb balance lobs it over McCreadie’s head and runs round the side of him, collecting the ball and neatly lobbing it over Bonetti’s head and into the back of the net.

The second occasion was against poor old Northampton Town at their small ground in the FA Cup. George had been banned for six games and this is his comeback game and he scores six goals in that cup game, you had to feel sorry for the Northampton keeper but George was in blistering form that day. He graciously received the match ball signed by the Northampton team.

Also who could forget the classic days at Fulham with Rodney Marsh both having fun!
What would George be worth today! I wonder! He was European Player of the Year 1968. He could beat two defenders at once, ride their tackles wait for them to catch him up and beat them again! Eat your heart of Chopper Harris.  
 

 

Poetry in Motion.

In 1974 at the ripe old age of 27, Best quit United for the last time, his final game being on 1st January 1974 against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

As one of the first celebrity footballers , George Best led a rather wild lifestyle, unfortunately this led to progressively serious problems with alcoholism which finally led to his death in November 2005 at the age of 59.

We all still miss him!


JIMI HENDRIX in LONDON

January 15, 2011

Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27th 1942 on the third stone from the sun and passed away on September 18th 1970 in London far from home. I often think that he must have been a space ~ angel visiting us from outer space because he only released three albums in four years and then all of a sudden he was gone, not there anymore, leaving behind a legacy of three brilliant albums Are You Experienced ~ Axis : Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland all way ahead of their time!

Hendrix ~ There will never be another guitar player like him!   

Flying Jimi over to England from America was a master stroke by ex~Animals bassist Chas Chandler his new manager who promised to introduce him to Eric Clapton. I don’t think that Jimi would have made such a big impact if he had stayed in the USA, but swinging London in England in 1966 was the place to be, open to new sounds, looks and ideas which Jimi had in spades.

After many rehearsals two quirky English musicians were bought in to form The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mitch Mitchell on Drums and Noel Redding on Bass complete with new afro hair styles!

Mitch Mitchell was a powerhouse drummer similar to jazz drummer Elvin Jones and a perfect foil for Hendrix, they had a great understanding like two playful eagles soaring through the sky duelling with each other and pushing the music on and on to see how far out they could get! Meanwhile bassist Noel Redding would try to underpin the rhythm and keep it all together.

While recording their first album in London, Jimi would travel around various clubs and watering holes where England’s established musicians like Eric Clapton, Brian Jones and Eric Burdon would hang out. Jimi would get up on stage and play his new metallic feedback guitar pryrotechnics and strike fear into the hearts of the likes of Clapton, Beck, Townsend and Page.

This guy was the real blues playing deal!                      

 Jimi was a vital link back to the early blues of Robert Johnson and add to that mix his futuristic use of the whammy bar on his Fender Stratocaster and the controlled feedback to take us all on a psychedelic star~spangled roller coaster ride!                  

The debut album ‘ Are You Experienced ‘ was released in 1967 and word spread quickly about the new guitar slinger in town and all Jimi had to say was ” Move over Rover and let Jimi take over! ” and the rest is history.                                  

Check out the pure blues of ‘ Red House ‘ and the sex of ‘ Foxy Lady ‘ coming to git yer!                                                                                                                                       

Heavy stuff and tour dates took there toll as Jimi never seemed to be off the road, working at a ridiculous pace with hardly any time for recording. The second album ‘ Axis : Bold As Love ‘ wasn’t as well received as the first one but still featured some great music like ‘ Castles Made of Sand ‘ ” Little Wing ‘ and ‘If Six Were Nine ‘ which appeared on the soundtrack to ‘Easy Rider ‘. This album showed Hendrix’s lighter, gentler and more melodic side and is a beauty. 

With the release of Hendrix’s epic third album ‘ Electric Ladyland’ we heard for the first time his beautiful interpretation of Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’. A lot of people have covered Bob Dylan’s songs but Hendrix made them his own! Just listen or watch ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ which he played to a thrilled crowd at the Monterey Festival on his first visit back to the USA. 

Listen to ‘Electic Ladyland ‘ on vinyl through headphones if you get a chance, there is not a bad track on this album and this is the bar to which every other guitar player is now judged by.    

I never met Hendrix, the closest I came was while working at the Marquee Studios in 1969 at the tender age of 16 when Keith Emerson who went on to form ELP booked the studio to have a jam with Hendrix one night but Hendrix was a no~show as we all waited until 2 am. Never mind! I did have a drink with Mitch Mitchell in the early 80′s at the Fulham Greyhound and he was full of stories and was a super nice guy.                                                                                                                

While on my epic road trip across the US a few years ago I stopped off in Renton, Washington State and visited the grave where Jimi rests. As I wandered around looking for the grave one of the groundsmen approached me and said ” I know who you’re looking for!” and took me to the Hendrix plot complete with guitar inscription and next to his grandmother. One minute silence was observed.

Fly on my sweet angel, fly on through the sky!


An Overlooked British Guitarist

January 2, 2011

 Vini Reilly~The Durutti Column

One of Britain’s most underrated guitarists Vini Reilly is probably a name you have never heard of but you have probably heard his playing on various records and tv commercials.

Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante rates Vini as the best in the world and he would be in my top five.

When you listen to Vini play it is like a classical religious experience all rolled into one which leaves you trying to figure out what you have just heard and even better you want to hear it again. Very relaxing it takes you out of yourself. A very clean sound.

One of the things I love about his recordings are the vocal sampling of great vocalist like Tracy Chapman, Annie Lennox, soul singer Otis Redding and opera singer Joan Sutherland.

Bizzare but it works! and then you have Vini a virtuoso player on electric and acoustic guitars. Vini also sings in his own unique style. If you’re looking for something different and out of the box this is the boy for you! 

The Durutti Column named after the Spanish Civil War anarchist movement and has basically always been Vini and guest drummers and musicians. This guy has an impeccalbe technic which reminds me of the Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin in a funny way!

Born in Manchester in 1953, Vini is a delicate boy and has been recording since 1977 the punk years which introduced so many great musicians and signed to Factory Records in 1978 by Tony Wilson who allowed him to develop his own style.

His first band was the classic punk named Ed Banger & The Nosebleeds. Recording the debut Sandpaper sleeved album ‘The Return of the Durutti Column” in 1979 with long time collaborator Bruce Mitchell on drums who is now 70 this is probably my favourite album. With it’s sandpaper sleeve it  would rub up against the other LPs in your collection and damage their sleeves, another way for Vini to separate himself from the rest.

The group has released to this point 2010 a staggering 29 albums and each has reached cult status to a growing number of loyal fans worldwide.In 1988 Vini joined Morrissey on his solo album “Viva Hate” playing some excellent guitar, but declined being involved with Morrissey’s  follow-up album preferring to follow his own experimental path.

In America, Vini’s work was used on TV commericals for Pacific Bell TV in California. In September 2010 Vini suffered a minor stroke, please join me in wishing him a speedy recovery and all the very best fot the future.

A mighty talent. Check him out!

Beatmerchant Recommended


Ho, Ho, Ho …..Who’d be a Turkey at Christmas

December 5, 2010

Yes folks! It’s that time of year again when we dig out the snow and the Christmas music classics.

MY TOP TWENTY CHRISTMAS FAVOURITES.

1) ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE by BRENDA LEE 1962 : For me this is the sound of  Christmas and was one of the first records I owned and I still have it somewhere ~ My all~time fave. Love the Boots Randolph sax solo.

2) MERRY CHRISTMAS ( War Is Over) by JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO 1972 : John & Yoko were so in love and it shows on this record. Great words ‘ So this is Christmas and what have you done ‘ I wonder what John would have to say about the state of the world today. Nothing’s changed really!

3) MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY by SLADE 1973 : Noddy & the Boys with their great Christmas party sing~a~long record. Great loud shout of  ‘It’s Christmas’ from Noddy at the end of this record. I can still see them performing it on Top of the Pops in my mind’s eye and let’s not forget Jimmy Saville.                                                                                                                                                                                

4) DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by CHRIS REA 2002 : My Dad’s favourite Christmas song and great lyrics ‘ Can’t wait to see their faces ~ top to toe in tail lights~ I’ve got red lights all around’. Drive safely your be home soon! Also love the words to Chris’s other great song  The JOY of CHRISTMAS.

5) I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS by GREG LAKE 1975 : A magical record from the King Crimson/ELP front man. It was his only UK hit but it gets played every year.  

6) FAIRYTALE IN NEW YORK by The POGUES featuring KIRSTY McCOLL 1987 Kirsty and Shane living it up on this song which always bring a lump to my throat as Kirsty is no longer with us and Shane has had his fair share of troubles but both great talents on a classic performance.                                                                                                                                     

7) The CHRISTMAS SONG by JETHRO TULL 1968 : Tucked away on the B ~ side of  their UK single ‘LOVE STORY’ this is a beauty!. Also new version available on the Tull Christmas CD. Hey Santa ~ Pass us that bottle!

8) The WREN in the FURZE by The CHIEFTAINS 1991 : From the great CD The BELL of DUBLINthis one makes you want to dance a jig ~ a ~ jig and have a few wee drams.                        

9) CHRISTMAS IS GOING TO THE DOGS by The EELS 2000 : From the soundtrack to the Dr. Seuss movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas ‘. The songs rocks along with great words. Love it!

10) SILENT NIGHT by MAHALIA JACKSON 1959 : What a wonderful voice,  just relax, pour yourself a drink and listen! In fact, her whole Christmas CD is a must have!

11) WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR’S EVE by ELLA FITZGERALD 1960: From the Swinging Christmas album ~ Ella at her melancholy best on this Frank Loesser song. Again the whole album is just great! and a must have!  What a voice!

12) JINGLE BELL ROCK by BOBBY HELMS 1958 : Let’s face it! it’s not Christmas without this little gem ~ be sure to play it nice and loud. All together now!

13) CHRISTMAS in PRISON by JOHN PRINE 1993: Love this song and love his voice always takes you there !  like an old friend or a 12 year old bottle of whiskey.                                                                                           

14) MARY’S BOY CHILD by HARRY BELAFONTE 1957 : It’s Christmas eve and time to tuck the kids in bed….Santa’s on his way….everything is peaceful….and the lights shine bright!….sing it Harry. Also hats off to the 1978 dance class classic by Boney M.                            

15) I YUST GO NUTS AT CHRISTMAS by YOGI YOUGESSON 1947 : Christmas with the relatives who can drive you mad and they often do. Just play this, listen and smile!

16) PARADE of WOODEN SOLDIERS by The CRYSTALS 1963 : You can pick any track from the Phil Spector Christmas album A Christmas Gift To You’  in glorious Mono, they are all great!, full of goodies from the Crystals, Ronettes, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Brilliant from start to finish. A must have for any collection.

17) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY by WIZZARD 1973 : Roy Wood the mad wizard  with the crazy hair from the Move and ELO fame with his well~known Christmas standard. All very tongue in cheek!

18) MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY by CHUCK BERRY 1964 : B side of the 45 ‘Run Rudolph Run’ and Chuck wrote it! It’s getting late, set them up  Joe and listen to Chuck sing the blues. very intimate and relaxed!

19) LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! by Dean Martin 1959 : Well the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful and since there’s no place to go……. Baby it’s cold outside. SAY NO MORE!

20) HO! HO! HO! WHO’D BE A TURKEY AT CHRISTMAS by Elton John 1973 : B side of  ‘Step Into Christmas’ and Elton and Bernie at their humourous best! It rocks!

Pass us that bottle Santa will yer ! ~ Merry Christmas


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