Climax Blues Band – can you help with new book?

photos supplied by Robert Forsyth

Robert Forsyth… I wonder if any of your readers might be able to help? It was while I was presenting the blues shows on Hastings Rock back in 2016, that I realised that my long-time favourite band, the Climax Blues Band, would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of their debut album in 2019. For me that was a very good reason to look at the possibilities of writing a ‘biography’ of the band.

The band was formed in 1968 in Stafford as the Climax Chicago Blues Band and comprised Colin Cooper (vocals, sax, hamonica and clarinet), Pete Haycock (guitars), Richard Jones (bass), Derek Holt (rhythm guitar & organ), Arthur Wood (keyboards) and George Newsome (drums) Best known in the public eye for their 1976 hit ‘Couldn’t Get it Right’ and 1981’s ‘I Love You’, the band went through some subtle name changes as well as line-ups, but still play today.

Sadly, two of the band’s founding members, Colin Cooper and Pete Haycock, are no longer with us, but I am delighted to say that the book is now at an advanced stage and many members of the band have supported the project as well as family members, former management, road crew, sleeve designers and other associates. The reason for writing, however, concerns a gig Climax played at the Ballroom on Hastings Pier on 9 May 1998. (see https://ninebattles.com/tag/climax-blues-band/ ) Phil Little wrote a marvellous review of the performance in print, but I was writing in the hope that perhaps some of your readers have recollections of that gig (or any others!). At the time, the line-up comprised Colin Cooper, George Glover (keyboards), Lester Hunt (guitars), Roger Inniss (bass) and Roy Adams (drums).

Many Thanks. Robert Forsyth.

Alan Esdaile… As always, happy to pass on any messages.

Colin Fox… In 2009, Johnny Pugh, (now known as Johnny Sax), and lives about ten minutes from me in Spain, joined Climax Blues Band as vocalist, sax and harmonica player and brought a tremendous amount of quality to the band, leading very much from the front. This is him in the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTzRooW7HX8

This is a photo of the band with Johnny Pugh on saxaphone. He lives close to me and plays local pubs and clubs, as well as going back to his home town in Essex to play sometimes. He now goes under the name Johnny Sax.

Robert Forsyth… Much obliged Colin. Yes, I plan to contact Johnny shortly, as I work through things chronologically. Many thanks again.

Robert Forsyth… Dear all, I am sending this as a (fourth) periodic bulletin/update to everyone who has kindly helped with the Climax Blues Band book project over the past three years. I am conscious that some of you may well have been wondering what’s been happening; well, the good news is that the draft is now finished and runs out to 309,000 words! On top of that is the enormous collection of illustrated material that has been so kindly contributed by many people, detailing various aspects of the band’s history. It really is incredible. As I worked on the closing chapters of the book, simultaneously I was very fortunate to make contact with a small number of people who have been kind enough to offer some amazing photos from their private collections: for example, these include rare and stunning sets of images, most of them previously unseen, showing Climax playing in Switzerland in 1970, in Belgium in 1975, recording in Montserrat in 1979 and at gigs in the US Midwest and West Coast in the mid to late 1970s. I can assure you, that thanks to the generosity and goodwill of certain individuals, it really will be worth the wait. So right now, I have the difficult task of deciding what will not go in the book! But I also have a cunning plan that may, longer term and depending on how the book is received, go some way to solving that problem. Suffice to say that the way things stand, it looks like the book is going to take the form of a large format (poss 303 x 226 mm), coffee table-style and probably quite heavy(!) hardback volume of ca 480-500 pages, with between 600-650 illustrations including black & white and colour photos, plus images of posters, badges, promotional material, stage passes, advertisements and other items of ephemera covering the history of the Climax Chicago Blues Band / Climax Chicago / Climax Blues Band from 1968-2019. I regret the delay, but if I had rushed it, I would have missed some historically important and fascinating interviews, as well as much of the above illustrated material. My hope is that design and layout will commence within the next 5-6 weeks; this can only take place once I have gone through my draft again and worked on the photos and captions.The book will be a limited edition collectors’ volume, with high quality production values and colour throughout and will only be available through the website which I will shortly be setting up for the book. I will also soon be setting up a Facebook page. I’ll let you know when these are up and running so you can stay up to date as we go into the production process and head towards print. Thanks for your patience. Hopefully not long now! For those of us in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the spring! OK – I’m back to it… With best wishes, Robert Forsyth

Uli Twelker…Hello Robert Forsyth! Fortunately, the first volume of your Climax book has come out in 2020. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock everywhere. Do you know when it will be available again? Thanks very much in advance! Uli Twelker, Bielefeld, Germany.

Robert Forsyth… The first volume of my history of the Climax Blues Band – ‘Using the Power 1968-1977’ was published in August 2020. I had no idea how things would turn out as I set off down the path of attempting to writing a book on the band (and didn’t expect much to be honest!), but after nearly five years of research and interviews, I was amazed at how generous, kind, warm and open the former members of the band, their families, friends and associates were. Indeed, so deluged was I with material that in the end I took the decision that in order to get as much information in as possible, rightly or wrongly, I would split the work into separate volumes. So ‘Using the Power’ covers the period leading up to the band’s formation in Stafford in 1968, through the early ‘blues years’ up to the release of the (unexpected) hit single ‘Couldn’t Get it Right’. The book is an A4 hardback and crammed with text and hundreds of rare photos, posters, ephemera etc. I self-published it as a limited edition book and full details can be found at https://www.moonshineeditions.com You can read reviews from ‘Blues in Britain’ and ‘Blues Matters’ magazines on the website. I’m afraid Volume One is sold out, but I have a very small number of very slightly less than perfect copies. I would be happy to sell these at a discounted price while they last, so if you are interested, contact me through the website. I hope to release Volume Two next year. My sincere thanks to Alan for kindly lending me the oxygen of interest and support!

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Once Upon A Time In The West Midlands – The Bostin’ Sounds Of Brumrock 1966-1974, 3CD Box Set Various Artists

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST MIDLANDS  – THE BOSTIN’ SOUNDS OF BRUM ROCK 1966-1974   (3CD SET)  Various Artists
I’ve been looking forward to this release for some time. Whenever we start talking about the 60’s and the leading bands and artists its inevitable we will start talking about Liverpool, Merseybeat and The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Cilla etc, followed by Manchester with The Hollies, The Dakotas, Georgie Fame, Hermans Hermits, Barclay James Harvest etc and of course London at the very heart of things which spawned 100’s if not 1000’s of bands. But as Merseybeat began to wane in the mid 60’s and the ‘beat’ scene in general, another city was on the way up bursting with talent and boasting some musicians destined to be at the forefront of the music scene, some to this present day. That city was Birmingham and this new 3CD box set is devoted as the title says to ‘Brum Rock’.  When you start to list just some of the main acts you can hear on this new compilation you begin to appreciate just how much influence these artists have had on the world. So who do we have in the main league? The 2 most obvious ones are a pair of guys who couldn’t work together eventually, but between them created some of the greatest and much loved music of all time. I speak of course of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. Roy as any rock fan knows came to prominence with his band The Move in 1966 which Jeff was to join briefly before the pair of them started the Electric Light Orchestra and then due to musical differences went their separate ways with Roy forming Wizzard and Jeff developing ELO into the monster success it became. When i think of Birmingham its Roy and Jeff that first enter my mind swiftly followed by a man who fronted another huge band from the city. The Moody Blues, with original lead singer (and old friend) of many years Denny Laine. Everybody is familiar with Denny’s lead vocal on ‘Go Now’ (not included here) but when he went solo he made a record that became the inspiration for a 15 year old schoolboy to get in the music business. That 15 year old was me and the record was ‘Say You Don’t Mind’ which is included on this compilation which i am so pleased to see, as the original version has been incredibly hard to find over the years since it was initially released in 1967. It became a bigger hit when Colin Blunstone recorded it a few years later and he did a great job, but Denny’s original is sublime. I could write pages on just Roy, Jeff & Denny but with space limited let’s have a peek disc by disc at some of the great music and artistes to be found. Disc1 contains tracks from the previously mentioned heavy hitter’s such as The Move ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ alongside Jeffy Lynne’s band The Idle Race with the catchy psyche pop ‘Imposters Of Life Magazine’. ‘Life’s Not Life’ from The Moody Blues and Denny’s ‘Say You Don’t Mind’. Other big names abound with The Spencer Davis Group ‘Moonshine’ their spin off band Traffic with one of my all time favourite numbers of theirs ‘No Face, No Name, No Number’. The Rockin Berries follow with the seldom heard ‘Yellow Rainbow’ and Chicken Shack weigh in with ‘When The Train Comes Back’. Notable mentions go to 2 more less familiar bands in the shape of Locomotive with the excellent ‘Mr Armageddon’ and The Uglys with ‘I’ve Seen The Light’. It’s also great to see tracks from The Move’s guitarist Ace Kefford after he left to go solo. Disc2 headliners include The Climax Chicago Blues Band, Medicine Head, Trapeze & Big Bertha who collectively may not have shifted records in the quantities that the main artists on Disc1 did but they all have loyal fans and followers. Scattered throughout the disc are also some previously unissued gems including the delightful ‘Dance In The Smoke’ from Kansas Hook, a band that arose from the ashes of The World of Oz, another favourite band of mine who released the psyche/pop near hit ‘The Muffin Man’, i recently wrote about elsewhere. The World of Oz also feature in their own right on the compilation with ‘Like A Tear’. Other tracks that stand out come from acts Tea And Symphony, The Californians, Bakerloo & Cathedral with the previously unreleased ‘Its A Hard Way’. Disc3 gives us the debut hit from Roy and Jeffs baby, ELO, with what would become the bands signature set closer, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, nestling alongside this is Roy’s undoubted homage to all things Phil Spector/Wall Of Sound with ‘Ball Park Incident’ which is nice to see, rather than the usually compiled ‘See My Baby Jive’.  Roy also features solo with his wistful rendition ‘Dear Elaine’. Slade crop up with a track i confess i’ve never heard before in ‘One Way Hotel’ which catches them in 1970 on the cusp of breaking through. The ever satisfying Steve Gibbons features with ‘Brown Girl’ & another favourite appears with Jim Capaldi and ‘Eve’. Proto metal rockers Judas Priest join the party with ‘Rocka Rolla’ a quite restrained rocker given their usual fare. The compilation climaxes with the aptly titled ‘Bye Bye Birmingham’ a rocker from Blackfoot Sue, best known for their hit ‘Standing In The Road’ but proving here they were a more than competent good time rock band. All told this 3CD set runs to over 4 hours, containing 69 tracks and i have only featured just some of my personal highlights. As ever, this release from the excellent Grapefruit Records, comes housed in a sturdy clamshell box complete with a 48 page booklet with a wealth of information and artwork. I’m sure the good folk from Birmingham and the West Midlands particularly will love this new package and look back lovingly on their local bands, but those local bands grew in many instances to be known all over the world and are right up there with anything Liverpool, Manchester & London produced. I’ll leave you with the record that started it all for me. Here’s Denny. Enjoy.

For more information contact… https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time……stay safe…..Colin

Leigh Mitchell… as always, very interesting…..xx

Alan Esdaile… Look what I found! Colin and Denny Laine.

Rock Museum – Parkstone Road Hastings 1969 & Pier gig 29th Nov 1969

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supplied by Laurie Cooksey

Laurie Cooksey… Rock Museum Autumn 1969, posing alongside someone else’s mini in Parkstone Road, Hastings. Left to right: Tony Carr(lead vocals), Terry Corder(bass guitar/vocals), Dave Gurr(lead guitar/vocals), Laurie Cooksey(drums/vocals). Rock Museum had formed in early 1969 as a 3 piece heavy rock group, Tony Carr joining on lead vocals in the summer of 1969. The group split up at the end of 1969.

Janine Anne Hemsley… This is great.

Andy Qunta… Saw Rock Museum rehearsing in a Church hall in late ’69, shortly after moving to the Hastings area. Very impressed, especially with Laurie Cooksey! Remember thinking it would be great to play with him in a band one day!

Geoff Peckham… You never know, Andy. It may still happen!

Sarah Harvey… These photos are absolute gems

Colin Fox… I have to say that I have never heard of this band, but they certainly look the part. Great photo.

Mick O’Dowd… It’s amazing how many bands are coming out of the woodwork now thanks to Lol. Can’t say I remember these either so it is great to see them and just goes to show how lucky we were/are in Hastings to have such a rich musicak heritage.

Mark Asseenontv Scutchings-Stevens… I remember Dave Gurr in 1976 when he was living in Crawley ! He was riding a Honda CB500T . What’s become of him now ?

Ian McGilvray… Is Laurie still playing? I saw him behind His kit on many occasions in Bexhill.

Alan Esdaile… He’s still playing Ian, with the 6T’s (next gig The Comet 30th Aug 2014) and with a reformed Factory.

Janine Anne Hemsley… Terry Corder too .

Jan Warren… Oh, great to see this photo – I remember these guys and did some of them go on to form “Die Laughing” and “Factory”??!!

Andy Qunta… Laurie was (& is!) in Factory, and he & Terry were in Die Laughing, and are now also part of the 6Ts!

Sheila Maile… Are this band currently called the 6Ts

Richard J Porter… Two of them make up part of the 6Ts!

Terry Corder… Yes we are and still playing regularly. Find us on facebook, just search for thefab6ts

Sheila Maile… You used to play in the angling club not so long ago, shame you don’t any more. What they have there now are not a patch on you, yes I will look on fb.thanks

Terry Corder… We were at the little angling club on pirate day. It was a great day!

Tim Moose Bruce… Dave Gurr lived opposite us in Little Common. About that time he bought a little Gilera motorbike. He then got the nickname “Flying Jesus”!

Rumples – Queens Road Hastings 1981

Dave Nattress… Funny I don’t really remember Rumples – living in Bexhill albeit I was still a very frequent visitor to Hastings for various reasons – band practice and gigs and shopping – well Bexhill didn’t do a lot of any of these things, and weekends usually along George Street in pursuit of the club-life, females and alcohol. But, years before there was a restaurant called “Leadbelly” in Brighton just about opposite the Theatre Royal round from the Dome, which was a American themed hamburger restaurant doing fabulous burgers. First time I ever had coleslaw, Strawberry Cheesecake and Mississipi Mud Pie deserts also. Then another called Rumbleberry (I think) in seaside Road, Eastbourne, same sort of menu but no alcohol license originally. This would be early 1970’s. All these places put a new dimension on burgers and then perhpas started the demise of The Wimpey Bars and then I learned about McD’s and Burger King and Wendy’s. Still eating burgers but the addiction to McD’s is under control – rehab at The Priory has helped!

 

My 1:12 Scale Miniature Record Shop by Dan Large

© Dan Large

Dan Large… My 1:12 Scale Miniature Record Shop is now finished. A very enjoyable project and took about a year to do.

Mark Rodrigues… Very cool Dan.

Mike Guy… Love It Dan. superb work. Looking forward to your mini nuclear power station & the hotel from The Shining.

Bookham Ally… Send a pic to Danny Baker. He’s on Twitter

Alan Esdaile… Love that you got the Stallion sleeve on display

Tony Davis… That looks awesome!

Carole Prescott… Absolutely amazing. Love it.x

John Mcewen… That’s pretty amazing!!

Elaine Stock… Amazing.

Perri Ann Haste… That is fantastic!

Phil Gill… That’s fabulous Dan. Thank you so much for including our Stallion album in your shop, we’re honoured.

Dan Large… Many thanks Phil and no worries at all… my pleasure. Thank you for all your lovely comments everyone

Paul Cullen… Brilliant, well done

Alan Pepper… That’s impressive. Love the details especially the Seeburg . Wonder what’s A1 on that jukebox ! Just need a box of 45s in the corner.

Dave Nattress… That is a fabulous piece of art. Deserves national coverage!!

Kev Towner… OMG – that is SO cool!!

Andy Ives… Brilliant

 

Star Wars – Orion Cinema Hastings 1st July and Saturday Night Fever 2nd July 1978

 

Martin Richter… when this came out in america (a few months earlier), i was youth hostelling in wales with the school. one of the teachers (all long hair and john lennon glasses) was reading Rolling Stone and showed me a full page advert for Star Wars and said – watch out for this – it’s going to be huge! i think he was right!

Paul Crimin… What was Saturday Night Fever ‘X’? An adult version? Interesting…

Colin Bell… There’s two version’s Paul, one sanitized for TV, cinema release contained sex and very strong language

Paul Crimin… I remember seeing it at my local cinema the week it was released, I’m that old, and I don’t remember being shocked in any way. Thanks Colin, I didn’t know that there was a sanitised version.

Colin Bell… wasn’t shocked either, but it being the 70’s i’d already seen Clockwork Orange, Straw Dogs, Soldier Blue etc i think i’d become unshockable!

Paul Crimin… A fine list of films, I saw them all back then. I still can’t listen to ‘I’m Singing in the Rain’ without thinking of ‘Clockwork Orange’.

Nick Prince… the heavily edited A certificate version came out during the autumn of 1978.

Edward Adams… the flea pit

Gerry Fortsch… I remember the dirty raincoats brigade in there when we were teenager watching Chesty Morgan, what a bloody awful film that was?

Colin Bell… Bloody hell i’d forgotten that! I’ve just had a terrible flashback

Gerry Fortsch… It’s those varicose veins in those enormous boobs.

Andy Ives… I saw Star Wars the week of release but I thought it was at Classic Cinema. Maybe it wasn’t

Alan Esdaile… Yes your right Andy, as it came out in 1977.

Fred Marsh… my partner said he went to an allnight viewing of Clint Eastwood films there, well that’s his story anyway

Judith Monk… The Flea Pit…played some horrible art house type films and lots for the dirty mac brigade…

Mick O’Dowd… Star Wars was the last film shown I believe. Anybody confirm?

Nick Prince… Yes it was Mick….

Philip Mansbridge… I saw it at the cinema opposite Debenhams, where WHSmith was, there was a cardboard cutout of Darth Vader in the foyer

Mick O’Dowd… Philip, That’s where The Orion was.

Heavy Metal Kids – Hastings Pier 29th Nov 1975 & Saturdays 6 nights a week

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heavy-metal-kids

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cuttings supplied by Sarah Harvey

Dave Nattress… As a lifelong Free fan I read I’m sure that one of their early managers or associates suggested the name “The Heavy Metal Kids” but they rejected it and went for “Free”. However, the name did then then get used eventually!!  Also, am I right did Gary Holton turn up in Al Weidersein?

Alan Esdaile… Yes Dave spot on, he was in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Peter Fairless…  They were a very different band (photo in 1977), mind! Yes, Gary Holton was as much an actor as a singer. He went on to play Wayne in Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Here is one of my all time favourite video clips, from The Tube, filmed in Newcastle in 1984. …and, yes, that’s Leslie Ash!

Jim Breeds… I remember the excitement of going to Saturday’s the first time. Probably that week of opening. We’d not seen anything like it outside of London. And at last we were not going to have to make any more trips to Sundowners in Eastbourne.  Gary Holton, later to be cast as Wayne in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. RIP.

Martin Richter… Keith Hardy – there`s a name I haven`t heard for years!

Clifford Rose… Excellent concert.

Dave Weeks… Frupp! Remember them too. Proper prog.