Samantha’s Club – New Burlington Street. What clubs and venues do you remember in London? Tiffanys Club and Gullivers People chat.

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All images supplied by Colin Bell

Colin Bell… I was looking for something in my archives (I must organise them one day!) and came across this. I was struck by the artwork and how creative it was then. Samantha’s was in a basement off Regent Street and I was introduced to it on a night out with Clem (from the Foundations) and Jimmy James, from memory  it was around late 1969 early 1970. A great place with soul bands appearing and the D.J. ‘booth’ was the body of an E Type Jag (very swinging sixties). Drinks 2/6d! You could get well pissed for a coupla quid! I was lucky enough at that time to have the use of a mate’s flat in Berwick Street Soho, ideally placed to go to all the great clubs. Many hours spent at the Marquee, Whisky-a-go-go, the Flamingo, Middle Earth and Hatchetts in Piccadilly, a great club over 3 floors with a chill out bar level, a restaurant with a glass wall overlooking the ‘disco’ floor. I’d be interested to hear any memories of this period from other Smart members? Great times and great memories…………..

Alan Esdaile… Happy days in Wardour Street at The Marquee. Also the Speakeasy. Also remember auditioning bands at Tiffanys nightclub in Shaftesbury Avenue and a club in Piccadilly with the disco on the top floor, mirrored lift and the club had records stuck to the wall. 100 club, Roxy, Ronnie Scotts etc.

Peter Fairless… Went to some dodgy, some good clubs in London. Some were very dodgy but very good! Can’t remember all the names but most of those listed above.

Steve Gage… My mate Ray was a bouncer at Samanthas where are you now mate??? 🙂

Mick O’Dowd… Went to The Q Club in Paddington after seeing James Brown at The Rainbow in the 70’s I think. JB turned up after we got there and jammed with the band. Awesome!

Read moreSamantha’s Club – New Burlington Street. What clubs and venues do you remember in London? Tiffanys Club and Gullivers People chat.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Try A Little Sunshine -The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1969 Various Artists 3cd set

TRY A LITTLE SUNSHINE-The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1969    Various Artists
This is the latest instalment in the excellent Grapefruit Records series of late 60’s compilations, see other Smart Sounds earlier reviews for the others. As ever the presentation is superb 3 CD’s in cardboard sleeves housed in a strong clamshell box with a 44 page booklet. All the booklets in this series have been informative but I have to say this made me aware of musicians I knew of, but not all the permutations of bands they had moved through, a really interesting read. So to the music, all 72 tracks of it! I think calling this set ‘psychedelic’ is a tad of a misnomer, although psyche sounds do abound, experimental may be a better description but no matter.
Kicking off with the song that gives the collection its title by The Factory (not to be confused with our very own local Factory) ‘Try A Little Sunshine’ is certainly a definite ‘psyche’ number with its snarling guitar which sounds like it could have been recorded by the Electric Prunes in 1967 at the height of psychedelia, a great start. Followed by obscure band SHY LIMBS with a Hammond drenched mid tempo number owing a lot to Procol Harum but very good in its own right. Indeed Procol Harum crop up at track 16 with the epic ‘Salty Dog’ which as I aforementioned is not considered psyche but was certainly  experimental and led the way along with other bands into the transition that became rock music as opposed to pop music. Throughout this collection there is a smattering of big ‘names’ albeit with lesser known tracks ‘The Move’, ‘Spencer Davis Group’ ‘Status Quo’ and ‘Barclay James Harvest’ to name a few. However its the obscure and long forgotten that make this a treasure trove of delights to listen to Wild Silk ‘Vision in a Plaster Sky’ and Consortium’s ‘The Day the Train Never Came’ are two brilliant examples on Disc 1, Consortium did manage to have a minor hit (top thirty) with a personal favourite ‘All the Love in the World’ (not contained here). Disc 2 is also full of delights from the excellent Fleur De Lys ‘Liar’ (the musicians that also played on Ruperts People’s Reflections of Charles Brown) to Dave Davies ‘Creeping Jean’, Ralph McTells ‘Summer Came Along’, the ever excellent Grapefruit with ‘Deep Water’ and personal favourites Nirvana ‘It Happened Two Sundays Ago’ ( a duo I have written extensively about in previous reviews), are just some of the highlights. Disc 3 opens with some personal vivid memories for this reviewer as I supported this band 3 or 4 times, the last being at Staplecross if memory serves, its the wonderful Jason Crest (from Tonbridge) with the occult laden ‘Black Mass’ ( a song that their record company Philips thought ‘distasteful’! immediately making it interesting to us (then) young guns! Certainly brought the era back in all its glory. Following this and by coincidence another band i’d worked with in the shape of Orange Bicycle and  ‘Last Cloud Home’, a band that made some of the best harmony pop songs ever with a distinctive feel. And speaking of harmony pop also on this disc is Tony Rivers in the shape of Harmony Grass ‘What A Groovy Day’ another class act. The Spectrum. The Deviants, The Onyx all deliver some great tracks. And then there’s Status Quo with their ‘pop psyche’ take on the old Everly Brothers ‘The Price of Love’ the single that bridged the gap between their hippy period and their next incarnation with ‘Down The Dustpipe’. So overall a broad ranging compliation, beautifully remastered and full of hidden gems to savour and enjoy. Well done again Grapefruit Records! Enjoy.
For more information go to… https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time……….. Colin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRv-jAMh5Wg

Dave Nattress… Nice article. Was getting well into Psychedelica by then, but never seen these albums. “All the love in the World” by Consortium, a personal old pop favourite of mine too. Used to have the single but it’s long lost. I saw them play the De La Warr in Bexhill once at a “Beat Rave” – would have been 1969. Th track can be found on the www – you tube etc.

Georgie Fame & Alan Price & compere Colin Bell – White Rock Pavilion 28th October 1973

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fame-price

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Alan Esdaile… Can you remember who the support was Colin?

Matt Thomas… Probably played one of my favourite tunes ‘Rosetta’ 

Mick O’Dowd… Remember working on this one. I think it may have been Martin-Casson only gig at White Rock.

Colin Bell… I can’t be absolutely certain but I think they were called ‘Highway’, I remember the actual night very well as they were a heavyish rock band and the audience hated them! I should add that it wasn’t because Highway were bad far from it, it was just not what the audience were expecting as a support act, I liked them! The late Paul Casson and I hid in the bar til the second half when F & P did their set. Fortunately the night then ended well! Not the best night to be compere, especially in my home town..lol..Also backstage it was clear F & P didn’t get on, they arrived separately didn’t speak a word to each other and left separately without a word. On stage together chemistry, offstage………Ah the memories!..

Geordie plus Bitch and Colin Bell – Hastings Pier 26th October 1973

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geordie-album

poster supplied by Mick Mepham

Pete Prescott….after Brian Johnston left the reformed Geordie to join ac/dc i was briefly in the band that struggled to continue (with a different name – the DUDES ) they tried terry slesser from crawler.i replaced him.i recorded three tracks with them at Luxembourg studios.they wanted me to re locate to newcastle.i couldn’t do that.nice guys.

Yvonne Cleland….Great band, Geordie! Saw them on the pier! it was a good gig!

Pete Fairless….The best Slade record Slade never made!

Pete Prescott….i sang love if you want it another night in the city and the last one escapes me.i think i have the versions of terry slesser singing them as well as mine.brian sang nutbush city limit at the ac/dc audition and got the job instantly.i was told he is a nice guy.

Andy Qunta…..singer of Geordie was Brian Johnson, who later joined AC/DC, and still with them now! After Factory’s gig with them in Torquay, I met him in the motorway services Gent’s (accidentally, not pre-arranged, before your minds start working overtime!). He was very flustered! He had been driving their truck, it was one of those where the cab tipped forward to get to the engine. After checking the oil or something, apparently the cab wasn’t locked properly, so when he got to some traffic lights, the whole cab tipped forward, and he was properly freaked out! Geordie almost lost his liggy!

Pop All Niter – Black Widow, Casuals, Voodoo Chile, Martyn James Expression and Colin Bell Disco Show. Hastings Pier 20th August 1971

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This was always a popular track…

Pete Fisher… went to this one, still have the ticket, which just has KIng’s Club Carshalton, Surrey printed on it…also saw Black Widow at Plumpton the previous year…

Mick ODowd… Was that the same Casuals that hit with Jesamine? If so they are a strange addition to a “heavy” bill.

Jan Warren… yes, I remember this track and included on a compilation double album called “Fill your head with Rock” which I used to have!!

Den Bray… Oh dear…

Pete Fisher… still have the ticket…no idea why it has another club’s name…

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Cilla Black Original Album Series CD’s

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH CILLA/IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD (2CD) & CILLA MIXED UP/BEGINNINGS REVISITED (2CD)   Cilla Black
In a few days time (August 1st) it will be the third anniversary of the premature passing of ‘our Cilla’. These two new 2CD packages kick off a programme of releases lovingly curated and produced by Cilla’s son (and manager) Robert Willis. All remastered (and sounding brilliant) there is a wealth of new to CD, Remixes, Alternate Takes material that will keep any Cilla fan more than happy. Personally the first CD ‘Surround Yourself With Cilla’ still remains my favourite. Originally issued in 1969 it of course scored a huge hit with the lead track SYWS, an irresistible catchy pop single with the ‘morse code’ intro, one of Martin/Coulters best compositions. As was the way at the time ‘covers’ made up most of the bulk of the album ‘Aquarius’ from Cilla’s favourite musical ‘Hair’, ‘Words’ (Bee Gees), ‘You’ll Never Get To Heaven’ (Dionne Warwick) and ‘Without Him’ (Nilsson) to name a few. It also contains a much loved and performed fan favourite in ‘Liverpool Lullaby’. Added to the original 12 tracks there is a bonus 10. Skipping to the the 2nd CD ‘It Makes Me Feel Good’ released in 1976 and recorded in LA, the first and only time for Cilla. The publicity for it dubbed it Cilla’s soft rock phase, im not sure i’d categorise it that way, but the LA session musicians certainly give it a different feel. a little country/rock vibe. Kicking off with a spirited rendition of Holland/Dozier/Hollands ‘Something About You (Baby I Like) and followed by the US only single ‘ I’ll Take A Tango’, a Billboard hit. Other highlights are Albert Hammonds ‘Lay The Music Down’, Norman Petty’s ‘Heartbeat’ and Phil Spectors old Teddy Bears hit ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’ Again other than the 12 original tracks there are a further 7 bonus tracks to enjoy. Its certainly a different take/style from Cilla and bears repeated listenings.

The second release ‘Cilla Mixed Up’ was originally a 2009 digital only release to celebrate Cilla’s 45th anniversary. ‘Mixed Up’ takes Cilla classics and does what it says on the tin and gives up dance/club remixes from top club DJ’s and doesn’t use any new vocal overdubs or recordings. Cilla was delighted to find herself played on the dancefloor ‘Im in the clubs! ‘Step Inside Love’ and ‘Something Tells Me’ come off remarkably well and certainly give these old tracks a completely new lease of life and who would imagine you could make a thumping club mix out of ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’! well here’s the proof! ‘Kiss You All Over’ and ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’, especially the latter really get you moving. Its a testament to the young guns love for Cilla on these productions as they weren’t born when the originals appeared!

Finally, ‘Beginnings : Revisited, was Cilla’s final album release in 2009 and combined new recordings with classics from her back catalogue again all remixed and given new treatments ‘Imagine’ (with old friend Cliff Richard), ‘Photograph’ ‘If You Could Read My Mind’, ‘Step Inside Love’, are just some of the tracks featured, my personal favourite has to go to ‘This Kiss’ (Faith Hill) always loved the lyrics to that. A lot of these tracks make it on to CD for the first time here. Both sets contain lavish 32 page booklets with a mine of information and some glorious photo’s (ladies you’ll love the Mary Quant clothes!). All in all 2 sets of CD’s celebrating a national treasure. As Cilla would say ‘good on you chuck’.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time, stay cool!…………………Colin

 

Andy Qunta… Great review, Colin!

Neil Partrick… Great review, and appreciated by someone who’s always had a soft spot for “our Cill’ “. One tiny gripe: no mention (even in passing) of Alfie? Surely it’s one of her most emotional and powerful performances (and a wonderful song)….. and no competition from Dionne on this one!

Colin Bell… Hi Neil…thanks for your comments, I didn’t mention ‘Alfie’ as its not on either of these releases, but agree its one of her best, cheers Colin

Neil Partrick… Whoops! Sorry Colin. I should check my facts first! Sad omission though – probably due to legal/copyright/ issues?

David Edwards… Not an enthusiast of Cilla Black I’m definitely in the Dionne Warwick camp and for me the difference between Man City and Hastings Utd. and here comes the but, Cilla’s Alfie was wonderful.

The Ballroom All Stars DJ’s – Hastings Pier 21st May 2016

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photo by Allyson Breeds

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                  photos by Kevin Burchett                            quotes photo Jim Breeds

Chris Gentry, Johnny Mason, Colin Bell and Mick O’Dowd.

Allyson Breeds… I don’t know why Mick looks like he is wearing a yellow wig?

Leigh Wieland Boys… DJs were excellent!

Chris Giles… Brilliant photo Allyson

Andre Martin… It was always Johnny M who had the Goldern Wig!! Great time with the “old hands” almost 200 years experience between us over the years!

Kevin Burchett… The Golden Oldies at Hastings Pier second session.

Archie Lauchlan… Poptastic

Sarah Harvey… I just think they all look so cute 🙂 xx

Jim Breeds… Old Skool Still Rules

Andre Martin… Brill – that sums up the Ballroom All Stars !!

Andy Qunta… Ha ha – love it! Those are some rock-star, legendary DJs!

Andy Gunton… I’m still wondering who that rogue hand, under the desk, belongs to?

Caz Simpson… The rogue hand definitely belongs to a female.

Andy Gunton… Where’s her other hand?!!!!

Chris Giles… I didn’t notice until Andy pointed it out..Ha ha

Alan Esdaile…Thanks Jim. I see what you mean about the hand Andy, it looks like its far too low to be Andre’s and It looks like its on my knee!

Jim Breeds… Done with the greatest of respect and affection 🙂

Mick O’Dowd… That’s awesome  Jim. Actually the yellow on my head was not a result of me rubbing on Colin’s T-shirt but is in fact my halo slipping after I mentioned a certain gentleman that appeared on the Pier in silver suits who I was not allowed to mention!  Nice to see you there on Saturday. Great to see you back.

Jim Breeds… One year ago today.

Chris Giles… What a fantastic time we all had x

Mick O’Dowd… A year ago! How time flies! Had a great time.

Alan Esdaile… They let us out on day release, as long as we had our name tags on.

Jeanette Jones… Nice photo, guys 🙂 We’ve all come a long way !

Ez Allen with Colin Bell DJ’s – Vacuum Generators 14th May 1971

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Ez Allen with Colin Bell at the back. Vacuum Generators 14th May 1971 supporting Alamo.

Samuel Freeman…. It was a good night

Colin Bell… Bloody hell! Haven’t seen this before! Where did the years go….

Andy Knight… I just love that pic, where are they now?

SMART SOUNDS By Colin Bell reviewing Black Flower by Nirvana (UK) CD

BLACK FLOWER     Nirvana (UK) CD

Having brought you reviews of Nirvana’s other albums, its with great personal pleasure I bring you this review of their third ‘lost’ album. Their debut album ‘The Story of Simopath’ is now considered the first ‘rock opera’ and the follow up (and most commercially successful album) ‘All of Us’ contained the sublime single hit ‘Rainbow Chaser’, another first with its use of ‘phasing’. The third album release should have been Black Flower. On completion Chris Blackwell boss of their label Island Records rejected it as not right for his label. In a, however, generous gesture gave them the master tapes and released the duo from their contract and bade them good luck to find a home for it.

Eventually a deal was done with Metromedia in the U.S. and Pye International in the U.K. Unfortunately Metromedia was caught up in a huge payola scandal and folded having just pressed up 500 promo copies (now worth £1000!) if you could find one. So Black Flower vanished into obscurity, it didn’t help that the title was also printed wrongly on the copies that were pressed, it became ‘Dedicated to Markos 111’ which was in fact exactly what it read a cover note dedication to a family member who had helped out the duo with financial assistance for re-mixing the masters. Now 50 years on Esoteric Records have got all the elements right and issued the album remastered with bonus tracks. one might say ‘Black Flower’ has finally bloomed. Patrick and Alex’s style of Baroque pop/psyche, odd time signatures and ethereal melodies and lyrics is most likely a ‘marmite’ one, you either get it and love it or not. Their songs are whimsical, sometimes dark but always interesting. Black Flower is a departure in some ways from the aforementioned 1st and 2nd albums, its more orchestral, more diverse, more cinematic. The opening track ‘The World Is Cold Without You’ could have easily been a Bee Gee’s number, with a twist, and I think a beautiful arrangement. The 2nd track ‘Excerpt from the Blind and the Beautiful’ is pure Nirvana at its best psyche/baroque style. Track 3 ‘I Talk To My Room’ is probably one of the best expressed ‘break up’ songs ever committed to vinyl/cd. ‘Christopher Lucifer’ moves more upbeat and poppy. Title track ‘ Black Flower’ is a tour-de-force with a snarling guitar part (Spooky Tooth members I believe). Female vocals were courtesy of Lesley Duncan, arrangements by Mike Vickers (Manfred Mann) and production by Mike Hurst (Cat Stevens, PP Arnold) and Tony Visconti ( T.Rex, Bowie etc). An awful lot of premier talent was involved. As I write this with the rain lashing against the windows Nirvana are able to transport you to sunny days and able to take you to a better place and live up to the definition of nirvana being ‘ A place or state characterized by freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry and the external world’. Can’t better that. Enjoy……….

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time (with some excellent reggae)………Colin

Ruperts People with Santos Morados – Hastings Pier 14th April 1968

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ruperts autographs

poster Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection.  autographs supplied by Colin Bell

Mick O’Dowd….Best known for “Whiter Shade of Pale”-like tune Reflections of Charles Brown. Have their CD which is pretty good to.

Wendy Wells… I remember this gig as an almost 16 year old. Had a crush on Steve from Santos Morados. If I remember rightly we exchanged addresses and wrote a couple of times, but never saw each other again. I’m sure I have the bands autographs somewhere and those of Rupert’s People. Happy Days.

Alan Esdaile… Can’t find much about Santos Morados but they did have a single on Island Records.