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!

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SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Hot Chocolate: The RAK Singles, 4CD Box Set

THE RAK SINGLES     Hot Chocolate   (4CD Box Set)
Here is the latest in Cherry Red’s 7T’s label series ‘Singles’ collections and what a treat it is. Featuring every single A & B side the boys recorded for Mickie Most’s RAK label this is a 5 star release. The statistics around the band are quite amazing, especially nowadays when ‘sales’ are entirely differently counted. For a decade and a half Hot Chocolate had an unbroken run of chart singles, 29 Top 40 hits, 12 Top Tens and the No 1 ‘So You Win Again’. Looking back and listening to this fine collection i am constantly surprised they only ever made the top spot once. The sheer consistency and quality of their writing and musicianship is quite extraordinary.  Altogether if you add it up the band spent 5 years in the charts making them one of the most successful pop acts of all time. It’s easy to forget just how many great songs they produced, as i’m sitting here listening i keep nodding my head and saying to myself ‘what a great record, forgotten about that one’. You may consider 4 CD’s and 72 tracks a lot to digest but trust me its not. Disc’s 1 & 2 are absolutely essential listening and for me personally contain my favourite tracks right from the opener ‘Love Is Life’ which i so clearly remember getting a promo single of back in 1970 through ‘You Could Have Been A Lady’, ‘I Believe In Love’ You’ll Always Be A Friend’ the memories flood back. However it’s 2 tracks in particular that stand out for their experimentation and boldness ‘Brother Louie’ with its biting social comment on interracial relationships, sadly still relevant in some quarters today. Followed by the epic ‘Rumours’ with its stabbing ‘Shaft’ style guitar riff. Both these songs run for between 4 and 5 minutes which defied the perceived wisdom that anything longer than 2m30s would lose listener interest, well Errol & Co certainly blew that argument out of the water.  And for music trivia fans both Brother Louie & Rumours contained one Cozy Powell on drums. This doesn’t surprise me as Cozy was signed to Mickie Most (owner of RAK Records) at the time and he (Mickie) wouldn’t have missed a chance to employ Cozy on the tracks, no doubt for free….The other highlight of Disc 1 for me is definitely ‘Emma’ another beautifully crafted ‘story’ song penned by Brown & Wilson and featuring my old friend and RAK labelmate on backing vocals Suzi Quatro. Disc2 kicks off with the uptempo ‘Cheri Babe’ which is one of those aforementioned tracks i had forgotten about as is the second single ‘Blue Night’ however the ‘B’ side of the latter song was to become more famous, or should that be infamous? it was ‘You Sexy Thing’. More hits follow with ‘Disco Queen’ ‘A Childs Prayer’ before RAK realised the potential of ‘You Sexy Thing’ and released a newly tweaked version as an ‘A’ side. I don’t know about you but YST is probably my least favourite HC song, nothing wrong with it, but i have listener ‘fatigue’ it remains the most played HC track on radio due to the (mostly) unimaginative minds of station programmers, and sadly will probably be the track the band will always be remembered for, when as already demonstrated they had so much more to give. Disc3 contains another bold move with the 6 minute opener ‘Put Your Love In Me’, classics follow rapidly with ‘Every 1’s A Winner’ ‘I’ll Put You Together Again’ (another personal favourite), ‘Mindless Boogie’ ‘Going Through The Motions’ and as the 80’s dawned a song i’m very attached to ‘No Doubt About It’. In the late 70’s i lived in Finchley where coming home in the early hours of the morning one day i swore i saw an UFO in the sky towards Hampstead Heath (i did honestly!) Remarkably i only learnt years later that the writers of ‘No Doubt About It’ which dealt with an alien encounter were inspired by seeing the same ‘UFO’ i did in the same time and place! Yea, vindicated! Right moving on, other tracks on Disc3 include ‘Are You Getting Enough’ ‘Love Me To Sleep’ & ‘Losing You’. The final Disc4 starts to run a little out of steam, but not by much, biggies still abound with the likes of ‘Girl Crazy’ ‘It Started With A Kiss’ ‘What Kinda Boy You Lookin For’ & ‘I Gave You My Heart Didn’t I’. I’m a big fan of these compilations that run chronologically as they give you the chance to hear whoever the band are progressing and evolving and refining their material. In Hot Chocolate you had a band who never dropped their quality level and achieved massive success in countries all over the world. This new compilation housed in a sturdy clamshell box with an excellent and informative booklet is the best compilation of HC’s work i’ve seen, there are other ‘Best Of’s’ etc but many miss off the early tracks. This is THE only collection you will ever need. Enjoy.
for more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time……..stay safe…….Colin

Mick O’Dowd… What a cracker this release is Colin! Always loved them from when they first appeared as The Hot Chocolate Band on Apple Records with “Give Peace a Chance” (Yes that one). I believe there were 2 versions of Could Have Been A Lady. The original was tweaked to make it more funky sounding. So many hits. So many memories. Always remember Centre Page performing Everyone’s A Winner. Like you, Colin, Emma & No Doubt About It were my faves although it’s so hard picking faves from a track list like this.

Colin Bell… Mick, Hi mate, yes there were 2 versions as you say. They had such a consistently high standard its as you also say so hard to pick a fave! This is one of the most enjoyable compilations i have ever reviewed.

Stephen Singleton… One of the best bands ever ! Incredible songwriters and musicians . Also brilliant in concert . I’ll be ordering this monster

Alan Esdaile… Some really great tracks and always excellent live but never seemed to be given the credit they deserve.

Does anyone remember Battersea Fun Fair? asks Colin Bell

photo Stewart Townsend. Cover from the 2020 book. More details… https://joylandbooks.com/books_new/battersea-fun-fair.htm

Colin Bell… After recently watching the film, ‘The Day The Earth Caught Fire’ which featured lots of memories of Battersea Fun Fair, I wondered who else has memories of this fair?

Robert Carey… Worked right on Queenstown Roundabout in 60s and always over there. Great fun.

Paul Crimin… Sure do!

Steve Thorpe… Went there as a kid, I remember the high level walk through the trees and the water splash

Alan Esdaile… I remember going on The Rotor at Battersea funfair and probably about 9/10 years old. Excited to tell my mates at school and explaining it went really fast, then you got stuck to the wall when the floor disappeared. No one believed me!

Phil Little… Used to visit Battersea funfair when I first moved to London in 1972, it was one of the cheapest things to do.

Jane Hartley… I remember going as we had friends in South London, can’t be more specific though!

Colin Bell… The best thing for me was the Schweppes Grotto with its four caves ‘air’ ‘fire’ ‘earth’ and ‘water’ i’ll never forget crossing over the ‘molten lava’ in the fire cave, it was all magical for a 10 year old. The tree walk at night was amazing with its illuminated ‘dragons’ ‘pixies houses’ and animals etc. Then when you had seen all that next to it was the Guinness Clock with all its animations, a version of which came to Hastings seafront opposite the entrance to Robertson Street in the 1950’s. Different world but brings back so many happy memories in this grim time. Stay safe and well everyone x

Rick Pentecost… I went there a few times when I was very young. I loved it! Was there a Guinness Clock,- or did I imagine that?

Nicola Dobson… Yes my dad used to take me there..loved it and the roller coaster

Peter Houghton…My partner comes from Battersea And he used to ride the rides before the fun fair opened. And he used to work on some of the stalls + worked in the cafe there

Janet Horton… I had relatives in Middlesex at the time, it would be 1964 and I was 10. They took me to the fun fair, and I went in the grottos. Magic. It was funny at the time though, because I didn’t know you glowed purple and this woman came walking towards me. I thought she was a ghost, lol. Then she said, look at your own clothes and I was glowing purple. I remember it so well, we all laughed about it for ages.

G Tatton… In reply to Colin Bell, Yes I do 1969, School trip for a week in London.
Last night was spent at Battersea fun fair. My favourite was the motor boats three times on them. There was a governor on them below the accelerator, needless to say I wound mine down on one of them. We were under orders not to use the big dipper, because of our age. I’m watching , “Up The Junction” at the moment with Susan Kendal. The movie is from 1968. All about Battersea.

Dennis Torrance… Used to go there a lot late sixties with mates apart from the Big Dipper remember the gondola ride with mates there holding on tight to boat then seeing the walls go around we all cracked up lol

Charmaine Bourton… Yes I remember Battersea Funfair = a treat for good behaviour! Two of the girls who were injured in the 1972 Big Dipper accident went to my school Ravensboure School for Girls in Bromley. I remember seeing one in hospital on “News at 10” and the other was very seriously injured but survived.

Ruby Whitman… I went on a works outing to Battersea fun fair in the 50’s. I loved it. What’s in its’ place now?

David Gill… My girl friend and I when to the Battersea Fun Fare on a number of occasions, but one sticks out as being different. I was due to go into the RAF the next week and I wanted to leave my girl friend with something to remember me by. I won a teddy bear for her to cuddle only it was 5ft tall. Can you imagine trying to get on a tram with. 5ft teddy bear. We don’t have the teddy any more but more importantly we still have each other. In October we will have been married for some 62 years. But we still have a laugh at “teddies” expense. Dave and Pat Gill,

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Tintern Abbey: Beeside – The Complete Recordings, 2CD

BEESIDE : THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS  Tintern Abbey  (2CD)

I have been looking forward to this for weeks ever since Grapefruit Records announced its forthcoming release. My lifelong love of Psychedelia is undiminished since i was first exposed to it at its height in 1967. Ask most people to give an example of psychedelic music and 9 out of 10 will answer ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, particularly if they are of my age group. Nothing wrong with that answer, the landmark Sgt Pepper album is often cited as the epitome of psychedelia, i would only agree in part. After all i don’t think ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ ‘With A Little Help From Mt Friends’ or ‘Fixing A Hole’ really qualify. Different and experimental maybe, psychedelic not. The whole psychedelia movement had its roots in mid 60’s San Francisco, mind expanding drugs like LSD and Mescalin and the musical blending of many genres from rock to folk, with a large dose of ethnic music from India and Arabia. The American psychedelic scene became more orientated towards psychedelic rock with prime bands like The Doors & particularly Love whose ‘Forever Changes’ album released in November 1967 was to my mind the American equivalent of our Sgt Pepper. The British psychedelic scene was a softer more whimsical (in the main) scene. There were bands that jumped on the ‘psychedelic bandwagon’ The Move with ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ or Traffic with ‘Hole In My Shoe’  songs i truly love, but both were rock bands flirting with psychedelia. For true exponents of the art you have to look elsewhere. When psychedelic compilation albums started to get released years later many of the 100’s of bands that pursued the genre and sank without trace at the time began to be featured and be re-appraised. One of the most tantalising of these bands were Tintern Abbey whose track ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ was often to be found on these compilations, usually wrongly credited as the ‘A’ side of the bands 1967 Deram single. The ‘A’ side was infact ‘Beeside’ a band injoke. In over 40 years its only these 2 tracks that have been available to listen to, i certainly have never heard any of their other work. Its taken decades to finally produce this 2CD that gathers together all the bands work for the first time. It has taken much research, restoration and sound engineering to bring this collection to light. At last the curtain can be drawn back on over 2 hours of sublime music recorded between 1967 and 1968. Tintern Abbey were originally 4 guys, David MacTavish, Stuart Mackay, John Dalton & Don Smith. After they had spent a month in Cornwall in 1967 ‘getting it together’ writing songs and causing some concern amongst the locals (hippies in Bodmin!) they would return to their London base with a 5th member named ‘Thor’, a honey buzzard that Dave MacTavish had rescued that would perch on his shoulder at their gigs. Those gigs were the stuff of legend. Typically they would begin with David sitting cross legged on the stage surrounded by burning incense sticks to the sound of clashing cymbals as the other band members would appear one by one before launching into opener the aforementioned ‘Vacuum Cleaner’. Over the short lifespan of the band, the line-up would change, fallings out and all the usual band scenarios would occur. The brilliantly written booklet by David Wells tells the story in great and fascinating detail. Who knew they would turn down a replacement guitarist who didn’t fit in with the bands vibe….some bloke called David Gilmour, wonder what happened to him…..The printed story is wonderful but we’re here for the music and it doesn’t disappoint, Disc1 kicks off with the compilations title track the 1967 single ‘Beeside’ where we are immediately transported into the other realm that Tintern conjure up, its whimsical with a hint of flanging and phasing whilst the vocals float on top giving rise to an ethereal vibe drawing you in to a more surreal world. Prominent drums lead us into Track 2 and the much compiled and most familiar track ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ which contains a memorable snarling guitar solo about 1m30sec in which is reminiscent of something The Electric Prunes might come up with and its heaven for this reviewer. So i’ve now already exhausted the only 2 tracks i’ve ever heard of the band, is it now going to all be downhill? NO. Track3 is called ‘Snowman’ and is a tour-de-force that’s surreal and almost sinister in feel and weaves complex vocal and musical patterns that build into a crescendo complete with some backward tape looping. ‘Tanya’ track 4 follows on with a foot clearly rooted in the folk camp before the heavy bass line leads it in a more mind bending direction. I knew in my bones this was going to be a treat! By Track 5 ‘Black Jack’ i find myself wondering why the hell these guys didn’t make it into the big league with the likes of The Nice, Floyd etc. I am in danger of reviewing every track and space doesn’t allow, but if by the glorious guitar work that drenches Track 6 ‘Bodmin Blow’ (i think we all get the reference!) you are not fully sucked in and smitten then Tintern Abbey and psychedelia is not for you. Disc1 contains another 12 tracks that features acetate mixes of ‘Beeside’ ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ & ‘Snowman’  that i found fascinating and if you’re into mystic blends of multi ethnic music Track 7 ‘My Prayer’ is going to delight you. Disc2 contains a further 18 tracks that beginning with the opener ‘Nightfall’ show the band, dare i say, becoming a bit ‘poppier’ and although the tracks are still satisfying i can’t help feeling the band is seeking a more commercial direction. John Peel was a fan of the guys and he also mused that maybe they were being cajoled towards the more mainstream.  However there is still enough to satisfy the psyche aficionados amongst us. Its not often after 50 years in this business that i still get surprised and delighted by listening to a band that had just a fleeting lifespan and have been represented by just 2 tracks in all that time but Tintern Abbey are just as magical today as they were then. About 15 years back i was driving up to the Forest Of Dean and suddenly the ruins of Tintern Abbey were before me. I stopped, it was the crack of dawn and i had the place to myself as the sun rose and although the band named themselves after the poem written by Wordsworth not the ruins of the abbey, ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ started playing in my head. It was a morning to remember. Enjoy.

for more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time….stay safe…..Colin

Tony Davis… Nice review Colin. I agree with your assessment of Sgt Pepper. I think it’s major influence was to encourage bands to experiment. One of my favourite psych era bands are Moby Grape, much appreciated in the USA but barely known here

Colin Bell… Cheers Tony, yes it’s strange about Moby Grape who were right at the centre of the whole movement, The only track that seems to turn up on the endless psyche compilations is usually ‘Hey Grandma’, especially the UK releases.

Pete Prescott… Fascinating.

Ralph Winser… I don’t think I’d even heard of Tintern Abbey before this review.  Colin please May I credit you with once again holding my interest right through this review. And your reviews, musings and writing has always done so where others have lost me after the first couple of sentences. I am always disappointed when a piece you have written comes to an end. As I have to then wait for the next one. My musical knowledge has expanded because of you sir. If and when I get rich I will definitely finance a book for your writings. Love you dude. R

Mick O’Dowd… Fascinating! I know the name Tintern Abbey but not their music. I Agree with Ralph wholeheartedly about the reviews you do.

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing The Pioneers: Greetings From The Pioneers 2CD

GREETINGS FROM THE PIONEERS       The Pioneers  (2CD Expanded Edition)

This new 2CD set released by Doctor Bird Records is an important and long awaited one. I was anxious to include it in my reviews as i know there are many lifelong ska/reggae/bluebeat fans out there that absolutely love the music and are very knowledgeable about the whole Jamaican scene. Whilst after 50 odd years in the business i am comfortable in reviewing most music genres there are 2 i am not. Jazz & Reggae. If i’m reading a review of, say a rock band i know well, and the reviewer clearly has no real knowledge of the band or music he’s writing about and is just ‘blagging it’ i will spot it straightaway and most likely be at best a trifle annoyed. So today i am not going to attempt a ‘review’ of a section of music i have no real background in or knowledge of, lets call this piece an alert for the fans & lovers of this musical genre. In the late 60’s early 70’s i was fortunate to work with some of the stars of the day like Dandy Livingstone, Nicky Thomas & Desmond Dekker and i enjoyed their acts, however i now understand they were delivering a more sanitised ‘poppier’ version of real ska/bluebeat/reggae aimed at European audiences. A track that had its roots in Jamaica and was real ‘roots’ ska/reggae/bluebeat would be taken by record companies in the UK & have (usually) strings added and be arranged by somebody like Johnny Arthey into a ‘pop reggae’ format aimed at a wider audience. Think ‘Young Gifted & Black’ or ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ etc, nothing wrong with them but they were far removed from the music on this compilation. So here are the main points about this release. The set comprises 2 cd’s. CD1 has 26 tracks. The first 12 tracks are the original (in order) recordings from when the ‘Greetings’ album was initially released in 1968. These 12 tracks are then followed by 13 bonus tracks from The Pioneers which were recorded for the Amalgamated and Blue Cat labels in the same 1967-68 period. The final track on CD1 comes from Ansell Collins. The link between CD1 and CD2 is the producer of the material Joe Gibbs. CD2 contains 28 tracks, some new to cd and a lot of obscure and rare cuts. Some of the artists featured include Errol Dunkley, The Mellotones, Jackie Robinson, The Royals & The Cannon Ball Trio. So in total across the 2 cd’s there is a total of 54 tracks. The often complex story of The Pioneers and indeed the Jamaican music industry is covered in the excellent essay that accompanies the compilation in the glossy booklet written by Tony Rounce, a man who clearly knows his stuff. So those are the facts and for more information you can visit the link given at the end of this piece. As i said i feel i would be doing a disservice to attempt to critique the work on display here from my meagre scraps of knowledge, or indeed lack of it. I didn’t know for example that The Pioneers had a hit (in Jamaica) with ‘Long Shot’ in 1967. I was familiar with the sequel ‘Long Shot Kick The Bucket’ issued by the UK’s Trojan Records which just demonstrates how little i really know about the genre overall. So i trust you will accept that on this occasion i have communicated the details of what i think is an important release to the many loyal and longstanding fans of The Pioneers & the other artists involved. But i will not attempt to ‘blag’ my way through a review of the music. The quality of the recordings is very good overall given the age, I’m not sure how much re-mastering may have gone on, again afficionados will know straightaway on listening. I am sure of one thing, for fans of the genre & The Pioneers this release is going to be very welcome indeed. Enjoy.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…..stay safe….Colin

Mick O’Dowd… Thanks for an honest post Colin. I get annoyed when people, or DJ’s/Presenters rant on about something they clearly don’t know anything about. This looks very interesting. Thanks for posting

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Taking Some Time On – Underground Sounds Of 1970: 4CD Clamshell Box Set Various Artists

1970. A new decade and era had dawned. It was farewell to Peace & Love and all the Hippy Drippy trappings and hello to the emergence of ‘progressive’ & ‘heavy’ rock and the so called ‘underground scene’. Now it was the album that was the pre-eminent focus with bands putting their creative juices into creating ‘concepts’ & ‘progressive’ pieces with a new harder sound and an attitude to match. No more giving out flowers and burning joss sticks. Record Companies created subsidiary labels to cater for the new ‘experimental’ bands they fell over themselves to sign. Decca, that most established bastion set up Deram whilst EMI gave birth to the Harvest label & not to be outdone Philips joined the party with their Vertigo imprint. Now Esoteric Records have gathered together the cream of the offerings from 1970 on this new 4CD package showcasing bands many of us being of a certain age grew to love. Championing many of the artists featured on this compilation was my good friend John Peel whose Radio 1 Top Gear Show was essential listening & certainly the conduit that most connected with myself and my contemporaries. Many of the bands featured here became the darlings of the ‘University Circuit’ and i have fond memories of working with quite a few of them at Uni’s & Colleges all over the South Of England. It also changed my DJ work and i would play some ‘underground’ clubs where rather than putting on records to get people on a dancefloor, i would be putting on 20 minute album tracks to an audience sprawled on a College floor (usually with dilated pupils) getting ‘into’ the music. So who does this compilation feature to tantalise us and send us scurrying back down the time tunnel to those far off days. Disc 1 opens with everyone’s darlings of the scene ‘Barclay James Harvest’ with the title song to the compilation ‘Taking Some Time On’ before we move straight on to one of my all time favourite rock bands with Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac with the excellent ‘Green Manalishi’ & we are just getting warmed up. A band i worked with often when i did a regular gig in Canterbury feature next in Caravan with the wonderfully titled ‘If I Could Do It All Again, I’d Do It All Over You’, yes we are now definitely getting into the spirit of 1970! and now here comes Ian Gillan belting out ‘Black Night’ and i’m so back there i can smell it. We’re now cooling down a little with Newcastle’s finest Lindisfarne’s ‘Lady Eleanor’ by way of tracks from Van Der Graaf Generator, Gentle Giant & Al Stewart. Who’s this with the manic smile, balanced on one leg, well of course its Mr Anderson with his Folk/Pagan/Rock masterpiece ‘The Witches Promise’ (another great personal favourite). One of the most underrated bands of all time, in my opinion, are up next with Blodwyn Pig’s ‘See My Way’, Mick Abrahams is such a great guitarist (and a hilarious radio guest) & taking us towards the close of Disc 1 is one of the aforementioned college’s favourite bands the Edgar Broughton Band with ‘Apache Dropout’, so much better than the oft compiled ‘Out Demons Out!’. OK i’m now fully in the mood as we move on to Disc2 where you can find Kevin Ayres, Traffic, Rare Bird, Wishbone Ash & Yes. The perennial ‘party piece’ that Quo used to play at all their gigs is here with ‘Gerdundula’ sitting next to one of my favourite ‘lost’ bands Locomotive with ‘Rain’. Gentle Giant have their ‘Funny Ways’ & the glorious tones of Roger Chapman & Family have ‘A Song For Me’. Only half way through the set! and on to Disc3, 2 tracks from Dave Edmunds Love Sculpture, a hit from East Of Eden with Jig-A-Jig (i had a hand in promoting) and a move into more esoteric territory with tracks from Quatermass, Cressida & Affinity, a wonderful outing from Pete Brown & Piblokto! with ‘Things May Come And Things May Go, But The Art School Dance Goes On Forever’ (was there ever a better song title?). Emerson, Lake & Palmer & Hawkwind provide the heavy hitters. Disc4 and 4 hours in now, a couple of obscurities from bands High Tide & Stray before the more familiar sound of Curved Air with ‘Situations’ and praise be another of my favourite bands from back in the day Gracious ‘& ‘Heaven’ and that my friends is what its been, 5 hours of re-visiting prog heaven and some very vivid memories. There has not been space to detail every last track but i hope i have given you a taste of what to expect when parting with your hard earned…The whole lovingly compiled set comes in a sturdy clamshell box complete with an excellent booklet as is the norm from the ever excellent Esoteric Records. My head is fed and i am now lying down in a dark room. Enjoy.

for more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time……stay safe……Colin

Paul Huggett… Cherry Red records do dig out good stuff

Colin Bell… P.s. I forgot to mention in my review for the benefit of my old friend Mick O’Dowd this compilation also contains one of his ‘favourite’s’ Ten Years After..’Love Like A Man’…..

Mick O’Dowd… Colin, that’s got to make it a must have. A really terrific floor-clearer is I remember!

Alan Esdaile… Edgar Broughton Band always put on a great show and I don’t know if you know Colin but Steve Broughton lives in Hastings.

Colin Bell… Yes i do, i believe its either his wife or Edgar’s ex? who has a shop in George Street who i got into conversation with some years back. Yes always a great show.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Merseybeats / The Merseys: I stand Accused – The Complete Merseybeats and Merseys Sixties Recordings 2CD Set

I STAND ACCUSED   The Complete Merseybeats/The Merseys 60’s Recordings 2CD Set)

Probably one of the best of the bands that emerged from Liverpool in the early 60’s giving rise to the term Merseybeat. This handsome new digipack 2CD collection contains absolutely everything a fan of the band could wish for. It features every known recording by both incarnations of the band, including demo’s, outtakes, alternate versions and even home recordings. It also includes side projects recorded in the same time frame and rare sides that collectors highly prize.  In a city swamped with bands as Liverpool was with The Beatles & Gerry & The Pacemakers leading the field it must have been hard to stand out in a morass of quite frankly similar sounding bands, The Merseybeats originally started life as The Mavericks in 1960 the founders were two 15 year olds Tony Crane and Bill Kinsley. In 1962 the famous MC and Booker of The Cavern Club Bob Wooler had taken an interest in the band  re-dubbed them The Pacifics which only lasted a week before that changed yet again to The Merseybeats, a name the band initially thought a bit corny but they stuck with it. Like everyone in the local scene they knew Brian Epstein and were hoping he would take them on and guide them as he had done with his other famous acts. He promised them this would be the case but the guys got tired of waiting and then, in what they admit now as a rather silly fit of pique, they went their own way when Epstein refused to buy them suits! ‘He’d bought The Beatles suits but not us’ admitted Bill & it hacked us off. They had made a couple of home demos by now ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’ &’So How Come’. For the full and fascinating story of these early days the accompanying 24 page booklet to this new set is an excellent and comprehensive read. But in short by 1963 the band had made the pilgrimage to London and signed with Fontana Records. They scored their first hit with ‘It’s Love That Really Counts’ the track that opens CD1 a Burt Bacharach number written originally for The Shirelles it gave the band their first taste of success hitting No 24. However it was their second hit that really defined the bands image. ‘I Think Of You’ was a beautifully crafted ballad written by Peter Lee Stirling, later to have his own success as a singer under the alias Daniel Boone with ‘Beautiful Sunday’. It wasn’t really the direction the band saw themselves going in as basically balladeers, they were more beat orientated but you can’t argue with that sort of success. ‘I Think Of You’ went Top 5 and i think still stands as one of the classiest records to stem from the Liverpool scene. But even as they were riding high founder member Bill quit the band unhappy with their management. He was replaced temporarily by Bob Garner (later of The Creation) & then permanently by Johnny Gustafson of The Big 3.  With Johnny on board the band had 2 more hits with another excellent ballad in ‘Don’t Turn Around’ & ‘Wishin & Hopin’ also a hit for Dusty Springfield. In 1964 Bill returned to the fold but although they continued to issue a steady stream of good records further chart success eluded them. By 1965 the ‘beat boom’ was over and Merseybeat had become passe. It was at this point that into Tony & Bills lives stepped 2 people very well known to myself (as my future bosses) Kit Lambert & Chris Stamp of Track Records & most famous as being behind The Who. Kit had seen the guys playing in a London club and was interested. However Kit & Chris were expending their energies on The Who and it wasn’t until after ‘Anyway Anyhow Anywhere; had provided the band with their second hit that Kit signed The Merseybeats and started producing them. He produced 3 singles ‘Soldier Of Love’ a cover of James Browns ‘I Love You’ Yes I Do’ and ‘I Stand Accused’ all good records but commercial failures. In January 1966 the news came that The Merseybeats had split up. Again the full story behind that makes for some fascinating reading in the booklet referred to earlier. Bill & Tony emerged as a duo with their name shortened to The Merseys. They went on tour supporting The Who and then cut what would become to my mind one of the greatest singles of the 60’s in ‘Sorrow’. Originally a ‘b’ side to The McCoys single ‘Fever’ which flopped, it was taken up by Kit and as well as Bill & Tony the original studio version recorded also featured Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Jack Bruce & Tornados drummer Clem Cattini. Strangely their label Fontana rejected this first version and it was re-recorded after they had got shot of Page! (that couldn’t have happened too often). ‘Sorrow’ was a Top 5 hit and has become an iconic 60’s record, loved by millions including Bowie who recorded his own cover version for his Pin Ups album. Sadly in terms of commercial success ‘Sorrow’ would prove to be the bands last hit despite some fine follow ups, including ‘So Sad About Us’ Pete Townshend’s composition later to appear on The Who’s ‘A Quick One’ album.  By 1968 and their final single ‘Lovely Loretta’ the band had become unhappy with the way things were and their management. They returned to being The Merseybeats and played the ‘cabaret’ and nostalgia circuits. This didn’t suit Bill who left to work as Liverpool Express in the 70’s. Things came full circle in 1993 when Bill & Tony re-united once again as The Merseybeat’s and continue to play regularly across the UK & Europe. This retrospective is an often fascinating and rewarding look at a band that has now spanned 60 years. As previously mentioned i believe as both The Merseybeats & The Merseys they made some of the classiest records of the 60’s and you will find plenty to enjoy in this 63 track compilation. It’s all housed handsomely in a digipack with a wealth of photo’s and as already mentioned the package contains a well written and absorbing history. Enjoy.

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

Till next time… stay safe… Colin

 

Alan Esdaile… Colin, I agree on ‘I Think Of You’ and love your description ‘classiest record to stem from the Liverpool scene’.

Chicken Shack, Ardon & Colin Bell – Hastings Pier Friday 25th May 1973

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chicken shack

25th may 1973 - chicken shack

supplied by Mick Mepham

Phil Gill… Remember this one well. Had a talk with Stan Webb afterwards. He was a right miserable bugger.

Terry Huggins… I remember going to this one too. Can’t recall much about it as I met a young lady. Didn’t they make the support band play in front of the stage instead of on it, or am I thinking of someone else?

Alan Esdaile… Can’t remember Terry and can’t recall the band ‘Ardon’. I will see if Colin remembers.

Pete Prescott… The second gig I played was supporting chicken shack in Jan 73.i was in a band called village. It was at kemsley town hall. I was 16 and terrified ! Helen tap was there.

Joe Knight… great sound!!!

Eric Cawthraw… Yep, I was at this one. By then it was the ‘Stan Webb show’, the rest of the band didn’t really get much of a look in. Proper old showman guitaring and still a very enjoyable evening.

Pete Fisher… pretty sure I was there…Stan Webb had a specially long guitar lead back then, and used to make a feature of going walkabout into the audience…before the days of wireless systems (pioneered by Angus)…years later (1990) I saw Buddy Guy at the Albert Hall, and when Clapton annonced him, you heard his guitar but he was nowhere to be seen on stage…minutes later he stood up in the middle of the audience, where he’d been hiding, and walked up to the stage, playing via his wireless system…cool trick!

Nigel Ford… I remember seeing Ardon some time on the Pier (didn’t keep a diary until late ’73) and after playing a couple of numbers the frontman said “we’re ARDON….do you get it ?”

Jan Warren… Oh yeah, Chicken Shack.didn’t they do “I’d rather go blind”?! – love that song!! xx

Gerry Fortsch… Stan Webb, brilliant saw him gig with Canned heat great.

Colin Bell… I don’t remember myself ‘freaking out’ doing this gig, but then these days what i had for breakfast escapes me……

Pete Prescott… My 2nd gig was in January 1973 supporting Chicken Shack at Kemsley town hall (near Sittingbourne).I was 16. I had to be pushed on stage.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Glitter Band: The Complete Singles Collection, 3CD Digipak

THE COMPLETE SINGLES COLLECTION  The Glitter Band

Memories  of 1973 come flooding back, For a good part of that year yours truly was on tour with these guys and their erstwhile ‘leader’.  Here for the first time in this new 3CD set are all the chart singles, some rare 45’s, the 1989 re-worked ‘Angel Face’ (not available on CD before) and a live performance recorded at The Marquee in 1985. For those who like a bit of history. When ‘Rock & Roll Parts 1 & 2’ was a surprise hit in 1972 for G.G. the records producer Mike Leander needed a touring band for live gigs. He parachuted in an already established bunch of guys who were then working as The Boston Showband. After a few shuffles and being known initially as The Glittermen they settled down to a stable line-up as The Glitter Band. The line-up was John Rossall (trombone & the bands musical director), Gerry Shephard (lead guitar & vocals), John Springate (bass & vocals), Harvey Ellison (saxophone), & keeping thumping tight time at the back the twin drummers Tony Leonard & Pete Phipps. It was the twin drum’s combined with Gerry’s glitter ‘Star’ guitar with its unorthodox multi-octave tuning that became the signature sound of the band. I think most people assumed the band played on the GG hits but they didn’t (other than John & Harvey sometimes contributing to the brass section), they were recorded by Mike Leander (&GG) in the studio doing all the parts. By 1973 the band wanted to write & record their own records. They approached Leander who agreed & signed them to a separate deal with Bell Records, (GG’s) label. They hit the ground running with their first single ‘Angel Face’ a number 4 hit (outselling GG’s latest offering). Over the next 2 years the band stacked up another half a dozen hits ‘Just For You’, ‘Lets Get Together Again’, ‘Goodbye My Love’, ‘The Tears I Cried’, ‘Love In The Sun’ & finally ‘People Like You & People Like Me’. Then in came Punk sweeping away the Glam acts. The band left Bell in 1976 for CBS where their debut single ‘Lay Your Love On Me’ dropped their signature sound & opted for a more pop/harmony approach, A clutch of singles followed but none troubled the charts. From then on the band would shift to smaller labels and the members would split into 2 ‘GlitterBand’s, one led by Gerry & Pete, and the other by John Rossall. The usual split ups, re-unions and legal wrangling over the right to use the Glitter Band name all ensued as the years ticked by. However the loyal fanbase remained and the various incarnations were welcomed with enthusiasm across Europe, Germany as ever being a faithful audience. And it’s that ‘live’ experience that for my money is the real winner in this new release. The 3rd CD in the set catches the band on fine form at The Marquee. Inevitably kicking off with the trademark ‘heys’ & beats of ‘Rock & Roll Part 2’ followed by the bands re-working of The Exciters ‘Tell Him’ (once proposed as a single). However rather than choosing to make it a ‘greatest hits’ set the band opt amongst other numbers to instead cover (& well) 2 Who tracks ‘The Kids Are Alright’ with some blistering guitar work before segueing neatly into ‘Substitute’ with some good solid drums by Pete. There follows a rather strange choice with the old soul classic ‘Stay With Me’ which whilst it could never match the original the band make a pretty fair fist of it with a neat guitar solo. Closing the set with their biggest hit ‘Angel Face’ & the natural final number ‘Goodbye My Love’ there’s no doubt the guys were clearly still greatly enjoying themselves. Sadly Gerry & Harvey are no longer with us. Gerry passed away aged just 51 in 2003 & Harvey in 2017, As i said at the start i have some very fond memories of the guys back at the height of Glitter mania & listening to this new compilation a lot have flooded back. As ever the packaging & accompanying booklet from 7T’s Records is great quality and a worthy addition to their ‘Complete’ series. Enjoy.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…..stay safe….Colin

Mick O’Dowd… Memories of playing footie on the lawn at Alexander Park when the Glitter Over England tour stopped here for the Hastings Carnival night gig. Nice bunch of guys!

Mick Turner… That was when Gary Glitter was the Leader of the band, did it not rain that evening and he kept playing. I know he was prat but his music was good.

Colin Bell… Yes it did rain, i was compering the gig and we were all concerned as we’d built the stage of scaffolding we and him would get electrocuted or struck by the lightning that evening. In the light of later events (none of which any of us were aware of at the time) it might have been a good thing….

Mick O’Dowd… True Colin, me & Chris Gentry slept in an old caravan backstage the night before as security and it had the mother of all storms and kept us awake. It did rain on the day as well and I watched from under the stage!

Daryl Perkins… I loved this band!!!

Pete Prescott… I played one gig with Pete Phipps years ago. Nice guy. I was warned too not mention his old boss. I didn’t.

Tim Phillips… Thanks for posting Alan . Very informative. Many many years ago 1973 some of us from Ryes Boys Club dressed up as the glitter band on the back of a lorry . Always liked there tunes . It’s such a shame cover Bands do not play any GG or glitter bands tunes due to GG unforgivable behaviour.

Derek Johnson… Pete did an album of his own a couple of years ago. Not sure how it did. Really nice guy, always has time to talk, I last saw him in the sports centre a couple of years ago.

Willie Wicking..

.

Tony Ham… John Rossall’s Glitter Band played The Con Club in Lewes last year.

Stuart Moir… We the old (Centre Page) supported them on Hastings Pier, I remember Revie Stockdale walked into their dressing room after they came off stage and the Glitter man was sat down on a sofa and looked about ninety.

Factory & Effigy – Clive Vale Annexe. Fri 7th May 1971 & YMCA review 13th August 1971

Supplied by Jon McCallion

Andy Qunta… Ah! Good times!

Phil Gill… I was there, probably with young Carey, Meachen and Shirley, as they labelled us at school. Sarah Harvey might have enjoyed the evening too.

Sarah Harvey…. I did indeed Phil and I had. completely forgotten about Effigy and to be honest cannot remember seeing them at all other than a vague memory that I didn’t think much of them. Factory as ever were THE band of Hastings at the time.

Chris Baker… Hah! Flight of the Rat was one of my “Flashy” solos! Those were the days! We only did a few gigs.

Phil Gill… As I recall Chris, you showed me how to play the pedal note riff from Flight of the Rat, one night at an Effigy rehearsal that Roger Carey and I attended. Was it School Road in Ore? Roger was buying Iain Cobby’s speaker cabinet and we came along to look at it.

Brigitte Lee… Where was Clive Vale Annex?

Chris Baker… Ha! Phil! My arthritic old fingers can’t play it so fast these days! Fun to so though. Still got that analog Park Fuzzbox too and the old Hofner!

Geoff Peckham… I remember we (Factory) were really impressed with Effigy. Didn’t they do a couple of other Deep Purple covers? Speed King, and Child in Time? According to Andy’s diary we played with them twice in 1971. May 7th at Priory Road School. Andy said that school gigs have been “…really great. This was no exception. Bit of trouble from old ladies and police about the noise but never mind. Effigy supported (or did we support them?) – not bad for their first gig.” The second was at the YMCA on August 13th. Andy mentions the awful acoustics and that “Effigy (with Tom) supported.” Could that have been the legendary Tom Jones? (The one from Stoke, not S. Wales!)

Phil Gill… And Steve’s drumming was *never* too loud. End of.

John Wilde…. Tom Jones, any info on his history or where he is now?

Geoff Peckham…. I got to know Tom in ’69 when his dad had an electrical shop in Western Rd, Bexhill. He told me stories about being in a pre-Black Sabbath band called Horny Moon (!) and other tales. He was a great character and raconteur. Like you, he had great stage presence – a great blues singer and harpist. He moved back to Stoke, and around 73-74 turned up at a Factory gig in NE Staffs University. I think he put us up for the night. Haven’t seen him since. Anyone else know anything? Be good to see you again sometime.

Alan Esdaile…yes it was School Road Ore where the rehearsals took place, in the old church hall which was full of antiques and clobber and the band squeezed somehow in the middle. I think their was a giant stuff bear but maybe wrong? Geoff Peckham date is correct as Friday 7th May 1971. Clive Vale Annex was part of Priory Road School and the gig took place at Clive Vale. Jon McCallion sung with Effigy at this gig and glad you remembered Tom Jones. I got a review somewhere which I will post on the YMCA gig shortly.

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