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.

Roger Daltrey The Who I Can’t Explain …I Can Explain! Hastings Rock Radio 1995.

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supplied by Colin Bell

Colin Bell… I was working on a piece for the SMART website on The Who, then on Friday at the last get together the subject of The Who, Roger Daltrey and Hastings Rock came uu, So ive combined several threads together, to answer some questions, provide some info, have a few laughs and appeal for some help from the wonderful SMART community.

‘I Can’t Explain’ a pivitol record by anyones standards introducing The Who to the world. Recorded at Pye Studios in November ’64,
the session didn’t go smoothly….Shel Talmy the American producer drafted in some session players..As Roger was later to say to me ‘ producers paranoia, he didn’t think we were any bloody good to play’…! Hence the presence of Jimmy Page and Clem Cattini(legendary drummer with the Tornados, and a man who has played on more Hit records than you can shake a (drum) stick at. The upshot was Jimmy Page did play on the record, underneath Pete. Moony’s reaction…’get that F*****g bloke out the studio before I F*****g kill him!….Ah God bless Moony!
I first saw The Who live on Hastings Pier in 1967 (im sure lots of SMARTIES did). From that day on I was a die hard fan of the greatest live rock band in the world. I never imagined then that some years later I would be privileged to work at Track Records in Old Compton Street in Soho, home label to The Who, Hendrix, Arthur Brown, Marc Bolan, Marsha Hunt etc etc. Great days and many fond memories. Fast forwarding now to 1995 and Hastings Rock FM. 1995 was a crucial year for the station that its founder Nick Thomas had and has worked so hard to bring to air, great guy. This was the last RSL broadcast before the Radio Authority granted a local licence, I suggested to Nick that it might help to get some more publicity for the station in the pursuit of a permanent licence if I got a few ‘names’ to come on my show and do some interviews. Roger being local was top of my hit list. The studio at that time in December 1995 was in the Old Dairy in Silverhill (since demolished).
It was bloody freezing that year with thick snow. With no real conviction he’d agree to come on I rang him at home
and explained the situation and very generously he said ‘Ok mate for old times sake i’ll come in and do it’. We arranged to meet in The Clarence for a pint first…whilst in there a punter said,,nervously..’your Roger Daltrey!’…the reply deadpan from Roger ‘nah im a fish farmer’….So we crossed over the road to the studio and went live with the interview, he was great and gave over an hour and a half of chat to the people of Hastings an extroadinary amount of his time. It was great fun and he insisted on having the monitors in the studio at full blast..no change there! Very sadly as we all know the licence didn’t go Hastings Rock way, but Hastings Rock has of course lived on to great effect by Nick and his team, and long may it continue!
Now to the appeal for help bit…the only recordings made of this interview and others (i’ll list later} were on a vhs tape machine running off the desk.
I think ive located a copy in my archives and Sarah Harvey has kindly offered to get this transferred to CD.
Copies can then be made available to any one who would like them (free of charge). If you happened to make any recordings and still have them please get in touch via SMART. And we can preserve a bit of Hastings musical history. Thank You.
For Info the other guests who gave of their time and have played/or had connections to Hastings and appeared on my shows were:

Live in Studio:
Denny Laine (Moody Blues/Wings
Peter Sarstedt {who performed Where Do You Go To My Lovely..and dropped Hastings into the lyrics)
Annie Haslam (Renaissance)
Steve Hyams (British Lions/Mott)
The Dharmas (later to become Steadman)

LIVE ON PHONE:
Chris Farlowe
Kenney Jones (Small Faces)
Pat (PP) Arnold
Linda Lewis
Andy Scott {Sweet}
Dave Hill (Slade)
Steve Hogarth (Marillion)
Mick Abrahams (Jethro Tull/Blodwyn Pig
Suzi Quatro
John Steel (The Animals)
Thunder.

Bruce Dickinson (recorded, but not broadcast.

Look forward to seeing everyone at next meeting and as ever kudos to Alan for all his hard work!

Alan Wood… Great article ,thanks

Andy Qunta… Excellent! I love The Who, especially Roger, who was very good to Factory! I went to the record shop after I first heard Can’t Explain, not knowing what it was called or “who” it was by. I sang the chorus to the guy behind the counter, & he somehow recognized it! Who fan ever since! Thanks, Colin, & SMART for posting this!

Valerie Morris… I worked for Track Records … I PA’d for David Thornton-Pickering … Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.  Vernon was a great friend and I did the promo at the BBC for Arthur Brown … Fire … many many memories of The Who, Dave Rafael, Marsha Hunt…… Valerie

Colin Bell at Bonitas Discotheque and promotion photo – 1970’s

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supplied by Colin Bell

Caz Simpson… Daniel still thinks cauliflower is colinsflower! I love these Alan, hoping to see him soon for lunch and your invited! x

James Turner… I was a doorman there in the 70’s

Yvonne Cleland… I  remember you knocking around with him in the 70s, Alan!

Alan Esdaile.. Yes I worked for him and remember buying my first disco gear from Colin. As well as introducing me to some great records and contacts, he also let me take over his record review column in the Hastings Observer. So blame him!

Mick O’Dowd… You kept the seat warm for me Colin! Nice to meet up with you again at The Meet Colin. These pics take me back to the chicken & cockroaches sorry chips in a basket! The hours we must have spent shut in that booth on our various stints. Good times though!

Jane Hartley… That’s how I remember him, when I first started going to Bonitas! Not forgetting the chicken in the basket!

 

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

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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!..

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Roy Wood: Mustard, Remastered and Expanded CD Edition

MUSTARD  (Remastered & Expanded)    Roy Wood
Straightaway I have to say I have a deep soft spot for Roy, he was the first bona fide ‘pop star’ I met when I started backstage on Hastings Pier in 1967, indeed elsewhere on the SMART site is the autographs of Roy and the rest of The Move obtained at the time. I’ve always ranked him in the top ten British songwriters. From The Move to ELO (briefly), Wizzard and solo his work has always trod its own very quirky path verging from pastiche to genius but always so original. ‘Mustard’ was originally released in December 1975 and was Roy’s second solo album following on from the successful ‘Boulders’ that had spawned quirky melodic songs such as the single hit ‘Dear Elaine’. ‘Mustard’ was commercially unsuccessful but arguably his ‘magnum opus’ showcasing his immense talent and creativity at its peak. All eight songs (+ 7 bonus on this release) were all written, sung, engineered and produced by Roy who also played EVERY instrument and even provided the artwork for the cover! His influences, in his own words, ranged from the 1940’s swing/doo wop of the Andrews sisters thru The Beach Boys, the Ronettes/Phil Spector to Led Zeppelin! Now that sounds like a complete mess of a recipe for an album, and in other hands it would be but Roy pulls it off.
The opening title track is a clever concoction that sounds just like a 40’s radio jingle by the aforementioned Andrew’s sisters but the ‘sisters’ is in fact Roy’s sped up vocal over sound effects, following on is classic Wood pop with ‘Any Old Time Will Do’. It’s on the next track ‘The Rain Came Down On Everything’ that shows what Roy’s vision of ELO might have been given the chance with its opening vocal (by Annie Haslam of Renaissance) a sweeping ballad that turns operatic before dissolving at the end into a thunderstorm (sound familiar Jeff Lynne!) Next up is a slice of boogie-woo blues/swing in ‘You Sure Got It Now’. For me the highlight of the album comes with the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys heavily inspired ‘Why Does Such A Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs’ (some say written for Lynsey De Paul, Roy’s girlfriend at the time) whatever its almost a pastiche of God Only Knows meets Sloop John B/Good Vibrations its just wackily brilliant. And speaking of wackily brilliant track 8 and originally the closing track is Roy’s homage to Led Zeppelin in the shape of the rocker ‘Get On Down Home’ complete with a 2 minute drum solo in the mould of John Bonham, again as aforementioned with all the instruments being played by the man himself, in fact drums were the first and only instrument that Roy had any formal lessons in, remarkable, who teaches themselves bagpipes! With this new Esoteric release the album doesn’t end there but adds an extra 7 tracks (some released as singles like ‘Oh What A Shame’) with a couple attributed to ‘Wizzard’.
As I said ‘Mustard’ did not sell well on release mainly due to the record company (Jet Records) run by the infamous Don Arden concentrating on ELO which was an injustice but happily here in 2019 after years of being unavailable we can catch a musical prodigy at his best. Enjoy.
For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…………………………… Colin

Derek Clemans… A friend of mine who I havn’t seen for many years and can’t remember his name I think played base for the Move then played Sax with Wizzard and I get to see him every Christmas on old Top of the Pops Christmas specials. He lived on the Tilekiln estate and when he got married he had his reception at the Tile Kiln community club and Roy Wood turned up to jam with him.

Neil Partrick… Great review Colin. Made me want to check it out

Colin Bell… Cheers Neil, I do my best! Do check it out you won’t be disappointed.

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

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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!

Peter Howard… I know one of Bitch

King Rod and Co every Thursday & Tony Stark & Colin Bell – Regent Discotheque & Bonitas 1970

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supplied by Colin Bell

October 1969

Mick O’Dowd… Ah The Regent. Grand memories!

Peter Gladwish… FAB……and so cheap!

Andy Qunta… Yes, I remember seeing King Rod & Co at the Regent! Inspiring.

Rober Searle… Played there with Easy Street,remember seeing Shaft there with Dave Shaw on vocals.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Billy Ocean: Remixes and Rarities 2CD

REMIXES & RARITIES  Billy Ocean
The latest in Cherry Pop’s excellent series ‘Remixes & Rarities’ (I’ve previously reviewed Flock of Seagulls and Amii Stewart) is this entry by Billy Ocean. If anyone was ripe for the remix treatment Billy is a dead cert. There has been unofficial remixes floating about but now this new 2CD set brings together 23 tracks, a number of which appearing for the first time here, all mastered superbly.Its been over 40 years since I remember getting the first promo single ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ back in 1976. I remember reviewing that and praising Billy for his voice and the extremely catchy chorus.  The following year he had a further hit with my own personal favourite ‘ Red Light (Spells Danger)’ and I was lucky enough to work with him on two occasions and can certainly attest to what a lovely. modest guy he is. In the years that have followed he’s had UK/USA No.1’s, and been awarded a Grammy, Ivor Novello and MOBO lifetime achievement award. Kicking off this set is the irresistable ‘When the Going Gets Tough (extended version) one of four versions (extended, instrumental, club, and 7th Heaven Club Mix).
If ever a song was going to get you on your feet this is it! This is followed by another biggie in Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run) interestedly it’s titled ‘African Queen’ here and  another version also appears titled ‘European Queen’ I didn’t know it had different titles in different territories, I live and learn! Yet again the suggestion was made by the mogul Clive Davis who seems to crop up in every other review I write! ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ gets two mixes a 1986 Dance Mix and a Dub Mix. Maybe lesser known (here in the UK) are fine versions of ‘American Hearts’, ‘Licence To Chill’ and ‘Loverboy’. Then its definitely all back on the dance floor for a Extended 8.59 min mix of ‘Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car’ another classic floorfiller. Great title, and lets not forget that Billy wrote/co wrote all his major hits, a fact I think often overlooked. This is a great collection if you’re having a summer party/barbeque on a summers evening, though invite the neighbours as this should be enjoyed LOUD to really feel those beats. Billy is currently finishing his eleventh studio album and touring throughout the UK, US and Australia alongside the equally great Beverley Knight and Jess Glynne (who seems to duet with everyone!) Along with the already mentioned excellent mastering the set contains a very informative 16 page colour booklet and is released this coming Friday (23rd). I’ll leave you with the original WTGGT until someone posts the remix (I do rather enjoy the ‘backing vocalists…). Enjoy.
For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…………………………….Colin

 

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Singles Collection (3CD) by Bay City Rollers

THE SINGLES COLLECTION  (3CD)   Bay City Rollers
In my experience seldom have a band been so loved or so reviled. This new 3CD collection brings together 47 tracks to make it the definitive set. A few facts first, the band had its origins as early as 1964 when Alan Longmuir (died 2018) and his younger brother Derek together with a friend formed a trio in their native Edinburgh, this eventually led to a group called the Saxons. Invited to join as lead singer was Gordon ‘Nobby’ Clark, deciding to change their name to the ‘Rollers’ they decided that wasn’t quite beefy enough so they threw a dart in a map of the U.S.A. which landed near Bay City Michigan, thus was born the Bay City Rollers. More line-up changes followed including David Paton and Billy Lyall (who were later to form Pilot). The band was managed by Edinburgh businessman Tam Paton, who the least said about the better ( a whole other story). Signed to Bell Records their debut single ‘Keep On Dancing’ was a No. 9 hit in 1971, a instantly catchy cover of the American group The Gentry’s 1965 hit. It was at this point I got to know the band, having some connections with the record label and Jonathan King who produced ‘Keep On Dancing’. I mention this because I can vouch for the fact they COULD play their instruments and their live gigs were fine. After KOD it was to be another 2 years of unsuccessful releases before their next hit ‘Remember (Sha La la)’ made it to number 6 in late 73. Unfortunately it was at this point having recorded ‘Remember’ disillusioned with the band Nobby quit just before the record shot up the charts. Thus by early 1974 new lead singer Les McKeown completed what would become the ‘classic’ line up of McKeown, Alan Longmuir, Derek Longmuir, Eric Faulkner and Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood. The rest as they say is history with a re-recorded lead vocal ‘Remember’ was the start of a string of UK hits, by 1975 ‘Rollermania’ swept the country and eventually the world. ‘Shang A Lang’ ‘Summerlove Sensation’ ‘All of Me Loves All of You’  and a cover of the Four Seasons ‘Bye Bye Baby were just some of their huge hits, the latter staying at No.1 for 6 weeks. By 1976 they had also conquered the US guided by the Arista label guru Clive Davis. Tartan trousers, scarves, merchandise the BCR were truly the first mega ‘boyband’. Now as I said at the start they were loved by (in the main) their core audience of young teen girls and hated by ‘serious’ musicians. The venerable Nick Lowe even wrote a micky taking song to get him out of his contract with his label UA, which backfired as when it was released under the name Tartan Horde became a hit!…and he was forced to write a follow up. Personally I think there is a lot of musical snobbery and always has been, did the BCR deserve to be pilloried any more than their labelmates, the Glitter Band, Showaddywaddy, Dawn, etc etc I don’t think so, or was there a hint of jealousy? Lets not forget that the BCR sold over 120 million records. This 3CD set spans their heyday and covers releases from all over the world. A word on the unlucky ‘Nobby’ who missed out on all the success, on CD1 the first 10 tracks from ‘Keep On Dancing’ to ‘Remember’ contain Nobby’s vocals, so you can compare. Personally I think he was the better vocalist, his voice not unlike the great Brian Connely’s at times. However in real terms the whole band missed out on success financially, with legal issues over royalties which as far as I know continue to this day. So overall to sum up what the BCR did in their genre and marketplace they did well. They provided happiness in a series of throwaway pop releases in a decade that saw all sorts of excess in the world of pop. This 7T’s record release comes in a clamshell box with 3 card disc sleeves and a 26 page booklet. Now to quote a line….’If you hate me after what I say’…………….
For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time………….,

Colin

Pete Fisher… I won’t be rushing out and buying this, but the band certainly marked the era ’74-’76…my younger sister (who was 15/16/17 at the time) was a huge fan, and had all their records, all the tartan gear, and went to loads of their concerts…must admit they had some catchy tunes, but it was all too teeny candy floss for me…