SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Bubblerock Is Here To Stay! The British Pop Explosion 1970-73, Various Artists 3CD

BUBBLEROCK IS HERE TO STAY – The British Pop Explosion 1970-73   Various Artists 3CD Set

Well i guess the clue is in the title. Grapefruit Records latest 3CD set delves into the mostly pop candyfloss, i.e. consume and forget, pop records that were ubiquitous in the early 70’s. Pop & Rock had by now gone their separate ways, with serious bands getting…well serious, whilst a legion of pop bands old & new released a slew of what the Americans dubbed ‘Bubblegum’ on their side of the pond. They had The Archies, Cuff Links, Crazy Elephant etc. We hit back with our own home made ‘Bubblerock’. So what earned an entry into this genre? Simple 3 minute melodic lightweight hooky radio friendly songs in the main. Certain labels like RCA, Bell, & Mickie Most’s RAK label specialised in having teams of writers hammering out numbers chiefly aimed at the pocket money generation of 11-14 year olds. Early champions were the nascent Sweet & Mud. This new compilation however digs deeper into the rubble and unearth’s some long forgotten nuggets alongside the more familiar. Disc1 cracks off with the oft compiled ‘Groovin With Mr Bloe’ and serves up more well known names with Pickettywitch, Blue Mink, Marmalade, Lieutenant Pigeon & Hotlegs (10cc) but it’s the unfamiliar and the forgotten that provides the fun, like ‘I Fought The Law’ by Posse, ‘Alexandra Park’ by Fumble & the notorious at the time St. Cecelia ‘Leap Up & Down (Wave Your Knickers in The Air) a record actually loved and championed by the late great DJ Jimmy Young who played it regularly on his Radio 2 show. But when it comes to ‘novelty’ pop the undisputed champion is without doubt Jonathan King and his UK Records label. Whatever we may now think of King on a personal level, he was/is a genius for coming up with ‘studio bands’ with (usually) daft names and scoring massive hits. Amongst the more well known here are The Piglets ‘Johnny Reggae’ kicking off Disc2. A record that surprisingly didn’t get banned (if you study the lyrics), i’ll return to King in a moment, Disc2 also sports big names Sweet, Tremeloes, Mungo Jerry & White Plains. and again a host of also rans in Jungle Jim, Peter Cowap, Tina Harvey with a take on The Stones ‘Have You Seen Your Mother Baby’ and Kim’s younger brother Ricky Wilde. But let’s return to White Plains with their entry of ‘When You Are A King’ a record that is vastly superior to some of those i’ve mentioned. It’s a superbly crafted and indeed complex song, what’s it doing here? Then i had a thought David Wells who is the label boss and compiles these releases could be having an ‘in’ joke with this one. As previously mentioned you will find tracks by Jonathan King scattered throughout under different names and guises. Is David asking us to guess which tracks they are by asking ‘When You Are A King’?! Or is that just a random idea of my own? Well either way i’m not going to name all the tracks in question, that way everybody can play along! Disc3 starts with a rather wonderful version of Elvis’s ‘Suspicion’ by the loony ex Bonzo member Vivian Stanshall and again features name acts in David Essex, Bay City Rollers, Middle Of The Road, Peter Skellern & Kenny. There are some strong runners up in Butterscotch with ‘Don’t You Know’, B J Arnau ‘I Want To Go Back There Again’ (she appeared in the Bond film Live & Let Die as a nightclub singer) & Fickle Pickle ‘California Calling’. I was disappointed with the last choice as Fickle Pickle did an amazing version of McCartneys ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ which would have been good to have on here. As ever the packaging and accompanying booklet are first class and in the case of the booklet very informative and will give you the answers to all those ‘fictitious” bands i mentioned earlier. For those that collect the, lost, obscure, novelty and downright wacky side of 70’s pop this will go down a treat, for others it may be a case of too much candyfloss. Enjoy.

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

Til next time………………stay safe….Colin

 

Louis Wiggett… I have the Kincade album, not bad in places.

Mick O’Dowd… Agghh… Leap Up & Down…. What a classic?

Paul Gray… I’ve ordered this and really looking forward to hearing stuff I haven’t heard for 50 years! Grapefruit Records do some fantastic compilations very lovingly put together.

Colin Bell… Excellent Paul, enjoy!

Mick O’Dowd… I am coming out (We know a song about that don’t we children?) No not what you think. I am publically admitting to liking this sort of music. Novelty songs, Bubblegum (Kassenetz Katz where are you? Crazy Elephant). Have to try and get hold of a copy.

Colin Bell… We’ll share the ridicule of our peers together mate

 

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 A Place In The Sun The Complete Jason Crest – 2CD

A PLACE IN THE SUN -The Complete  Jason Crest       JASON CREST
I’ve been looking forward to this for some time. Back in the late 60’s i supported Jason Crest on several occasions all around Sussex & Kent. I remember a particularly good gig at Staplehurst Village Hall, which in hindsight was a very low level venue for such an accomplished band. Unfortunately this is part of the overall lack of support the band received. Formed In Tonbridge by drummer Terry Clark he recruited another Terry (Dobson) from a venue i also played at Tonbridge Teen & Twenty Club. Terry No 2 played guitar, they were joined by Ron Fowler on bass & Dave Tiffin on rhythm guitar. The band christened themselves The Spurlyweeves and set about gigging and making a name for themselves. They entered a band competition where they spotted another young gifted guitarist called Derek Smallcombe who shortly replaced Dave Tiffin. Terry Dobson swapped guitar for Hammond Organ duties and then in one more poaching act in came on drums Roger Siggery whilst leader Terry Clark switched to concentrating on lead vocals. By 1966 the five piece knew they needed to make changes to distinguish them from all the other ‘beat bands’ mainly playing covers. So embracing the new wave of budding psychedelia the band changed their name to The Good Thing Brigade (not a memorable name!) However local papers ran articles on this local ‘flower power’ pop band and got them some attention. By 1967 EMI offered them a deal but the band chose to go with rival Philips Records (a fateful decision). Now writing their own material and firmly embracing psychedelic rock they released their first single the glorious ‘Turquoise Tandem Cycle’ a full on psyche mini epic with a distinctive Hammond played through a wah-wah. This track kicks off this newly released 2CD set. Newly launched Radio 1 loved it and got behind it, but to be fair it wasn’t a ‘commercially sounding’ record. And this was really the start of the bands problems. Philips were used to promoting 3 minute ‘pop’ songs The Walker Brothers, Dusty etc. they kept looking to the band for ‘pop’ commercial songs whilst the band were cutting new ground with some of the best psychedelic records released in the 60’s. ‘Teagarden Lane’ a dreamy swirly acid dripped trip,  ‘My House Is Burning’ the epic ‘Black Mass’ a tour-de-force all complete with backward loops & phases. ‘The Charge Of The Light Brigade’ a radio friendly opus sounding rather ‘Move’ Like. Indeed with several other bands of the time the guys covered The Moves ‘Here We Go Round The Lemon Tree’ and actually produced an almost better version than the original and i say that as a great Move fan. This was fine with Philips whose lack of imagination ran to, well lets release a cover of a successful song, that always works…..but it didn’t. although it did lead to the band straying from their original material and covering ‘Paint It Black’, Spirit’s ‘Fresh Garbage’ and even ‘California Dreaming’ which to be fair did show off the bands great harmonies. But the strangest moment came for me when they covered ‘Hold On’ the ‘b’ side of ‘Reflections Of Charles Brown’ by Ruperts People who i was closely linked to and made for an interesting backstage chat at one gig! Its Disc2 of this collection is where you will find the majority of these covers, along with those already mentioned you will also find Paul Simon, Beatles & Spooky Tooth being given a work over. It’s interesting and frustrating comparing the two CD’s inasmuch as i want to travel back in time and grab the A & R guy at Philips and tell him to nurture this fresh, innovative, excellent psyche band and support and encourage the original material and basically leave the ‘covers’ as maybe live gig material. Well obviously that can’t happen and anyway eventually Philips ever dwindling interest in the band saw them call it a day. By 1970 they had changed their name to High Broom (a suburb of Tunbridge Wells) and founder member Terry Clark had departed frustrated. High Broom had a turntable hit with ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ but within a year they also imploded. In 1971 Clark, Siggery & Smallcombe settled their differences and formed a new band which would eventually become prog rock outfit Holy Mackerel. As i said at the start of this review i worked with Jason Crest several times and they have a special place in my heart as a lover of psyche rock they represented one of the best UK acts in that field and comparable to anything in similar vein emanating from the West Coast. For anyone who has a similar interest in this genre i warmly recommend this package to you to savour. Of interest to local readers is the booklet accompanying this release where you can find references to our beloved Hastings Pier, The Cobweb and a montage of gig posters featuring local venues like Battle Memorial Hall. I thank as ever David Wells & Grapefruit Records for this excellent complete collection and for bringing back some very warm memories for yours truly. enjoy.
For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time, please stay safe and well…….Colin

Graham Matthews… Fantastic band, they played Staplecross Village Hall many times and at 12 years old I got to know them fairly well. In front of the stage there was a triangular section down from the apex of the roof which Nobby Clarke (the singer and main writer of their own songs) told me acted as a sound baffle and what you heard on stage while playing was not what the paying public heard. He went to the far end of the hall when setting up and got the sound balance right and I have seen so many bands play that venue including a lot that went on to great success, Nobby was the only one I saw do this and they always sounded great. IN THE 80’s several of us would book bands to raise money for the village as we still lived there and one guy booked a band called Cats Eyes, I arrived as they were setting up and walked in to see a guy with his back to me just inside the door singing and getting the band balanced. I said You have to be Nobby ! and sure enough it was 20 yrs later, remembering the hall from the 60’s.

Colin Bell… That’s brought back a few memories Graham, it’s highly likely we would have met, as i said in my review i supported them with a disco several times & did Staplecross Village Hall as a disco gig several times, cheers! Colin

 

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Shape Of The Rain: Riley Riley Wood & Waggett, 3CD Digipak

RILEY RILEY WOOD & WAGGETT    Shape Of The Rain
Who? I hear you cry, well  in this instance I would echo that myself. I like to think after 50 + years in this business that even if I don’t know their work I will at least have heard of them, but I must confess not this time. So let’s investigate, come with me back to the end of the 60’s/start of the 70’s. Many bands had dropped their previous incarnation’s and gone ‘psych’ ‘prog’ ‘freakbeat’ ‘experimental’ etc etc. To cater for these ‘underground’ bands, the major Record Labels all created offshoot labels, EMI had Harvest, Pye Had Dawn, Philips had Vertigo, Decca had Deram and bringing up the rear was RCA with Neon. Now I have this particular quirk that remembers Record Labels (I used to file my mobile disco records by label) so I DO remember Neon but for another long forgotten band in Dando Shaft. In operation for just over a year from 1971 -2 the label only had 11 releases of which SOTR was number 7. Hailing from an area of the country bounded by Sheffield and Chesterfield the band came together originally as a Everly Bros style duo of cousins Keith Riley (lead vocals/guitar),and Brian Wood (guitar vocals before being joined by Keith’s brother Len Riley (bass) and Iain ‘Tag’ Waggett (drums).  The band’s name changed constantly, The Gear (inspired by their covers of Liverpudlian bands and Beatlesque sound) The Reaction was another and it was at this point they recorded a brace of demo’s and a local record shop owner David McPhie took an interest (he also represented Sheffield’s own Joe Cocker) and duly became their manager. With a name change to the more contemporary Shape Of The Rain all was set. This 3CD package covers their 1971 album RRW&W, a host of demo’s, outtakes, alternative versions, the demo’s for the aborted second album, a 50 minute live show from May 1970 and more. Disc 1 contains the original album kicking off with ‘Woman’ which, as noted in the sleevenotes, is a riff heavy pop/rock number sounding in structure very similar to Atomic Rooster’s ‘Devil’s Answer’ (co-incidentally issued on the same day!), this was issued as a single but didn’t trouble the charts at all, But this didn’t bother Neon, singles ‘weren’t cool man’ this was the dawn of the album…much cooler…er..man. After all the man in charge at Neon was Olav Wyper who in his previous life had been at CBS where he had dreamed up the much lauded sampler ‘The Rock Machine Turns You On’. Why am I banging on about labels? because that’s where the problem with the success or rather lack of it for Shape Of The Rain lies. They were a good sounding band, they wrote their own material, and where they didn’t ,had excellent taste performing material by The Byrd’s and Love. Now as any reader of my reviews, column’s etc will know Love is a band really close to my heart. Shape Of The Rain were clearly heavily influenced by the prevailing West Coast Sound, track 7 ‘Dusty Road’ is a prime example as is the following track  ‘Willowing Tree’s. And this is my point about success, had SOTR been on RCA’s main label there would have been more emphasis on promotion and put frankly money spent. To be fair even the band admit they were ‘musically confused’ but being hidden away, on a albeit ‘cool’ underground label served them badly. Their music is hook laden, delicate and contains some stunning arrangement’s, the Press of the time were impressed comparing them favourably to the like’s of Traffic and Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman took them to his heart as a big fan. So you had a commercially adept band hidden away on an obscure label, it was a no win situation as the fans of the ‘underground labels’ were looking for something more esoteric than SOTR and the main label fans of RCA were being treated to Bowie, Sweet etc i.e. the commercially successful acts of which SOTR could have been one. They have also been compared to Badfinger which I think is a fair comment, good hooky melodic songs and credibility to boot. The songs written for the second unreleased album show a growing confidence ‘The Very First Clown’ and ‘Listen To Your Heart’ being two examples.

The 3rd disc in the set is the previously mentioned ‘live recording’ taped at Manchester University (supporting Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) and given the recording restraints of the time is remarkably good, it captures the band in fine form (love the ‘Hendrix’ licks) mostly made up of new material at the time it did include a great version of ‘Willowing Tree’s from the Riley, Riley, Wood & Waggett album. And what about that album title? hardly jumps off the sleeve does it? I have a horrible suspicion somebody said something along the lines of ‘Crosby, Stills & Nash’ that’s cool man lets do that with this album. enough said! Eventually the band transferred to the main label and carried on til the mid 70’s before going their separate ways. Its a fact that there is more 60’s & 70’s music available to listen too today than there was then, incredible but true, so many albums never saw the light of day for so many reasons and some rightly so but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Shape Of The Rain and plugging a gap in my musical knowledge. Grapefruit Records have done their usual sterling job on the presentation of the set and the 24 page booklet contains many evocative photo’s and pictures of vintage poster’s and sound quality is excellent. Enjoy.

Til next time….please all stay safe and well……Colin

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

Tag Waggett… thanks for your kind words and thanks for an excellent review. Tag Waggett ( drummer) SOTR

Colin Bell… Hi Tag, good to hear from you, i hope i did your album justice, stay safe & well

Bill Griffiths… the first eight live tracks were recorded at Alfreton Hall on 2nd May 1970 on a Tandberg 1541 mono recorder and a Shure microphone . I was fortunately able to find a position at the back of the hall in an elevated position above the audience. the hall itself is not large being the remains of a former stately home of the Morewoods family, now a wedding venue. A couple of tracks were not included on the cd, possibly to leave room for the Manchester set.

Tony Davis… Really interesting piece Colin. As you say many lost bands of the late 60s and early 70s are now coming to light and bringing hidden gems to life.

Colin Bell… Thanks Tony, the review i posted yesterday of the 3CD set of bands covering The Beatles has some great stuff on it, which may well interest you, Cheers.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Looking Through A Glass Onion – The Beatles Psychedelic Songbook 1966-72, Various Artists, 3CD

LOOKING THROUGH A GLASS ONION (The Beatles Psychedelic Songbook 1966-72)   Various Artists

What a great concept this 3CD set is, congratulations all at Grapefruit Records. Right from the first Beatles album issued other bands rushed to make cover versions of their songs and make a quick buck. Remember ‘Girl’ St Louis Union’ & ‘Michelle’ The Overlanders for instance, But as The Beatles became ever more experimental with ‘Rubber Soul’, ‘Revolver’ & of course ‘St. Pepper an increasing number of bands also experimenting with their own sounds started making all sorts of covers in a myriad of styles. This new collection focuses on the psyche/rock/baroque/ efforts of the established and newcomers alike. Kicking the whole proceedings off on Disc1 is Camel turning ‘Mystery Tour’ into a prog rock 6 minute opus, a great start. But it’s track2 Deep Purple’s version of ‘Help’ that makes cpmplete sense of the compilations title. Deep Purple deliver ‘Help’ very much in Vanilla Fudge style all heavy and ponderous and equally wonderful. So not only do you peel back the layers (like an onion) of a bands take on The Beatles original you are also peeling back the Vanilla Fudge approach by Deep Purple! That makes it sound complicated but its not, its very playful and a source of delight throughout the whole 3CD set. You not only get to hear all the different takes of the original songs, there being some 68 tracks there are some songs covered by more than one artist. Thus you can also have the fun and enjoyment of comparing for instance ‘I Am The Walrus’ by Affinity, Spooky Tooth, Lol Coxhill & Octopus. This all makes for a huge amount of listening pleasure and in a lot of cases a voyage of discovery unearthing bands i’ve never heard of amongst the more familiar names to be found. But never fear you will not be left in the dark about a band that’s completely unfamiliar to you, Accompanying is a superb 40 page booklet with mini-biogs on each track, as someone who writes in a similar fashion i stand in awe of the author’s (David Wells) knowledge and research. I’d love to have the space to write and indeed the time to guide you through every track, but that not being possible here are some personal highlights. Disc1 the aforementioned Deep Purple ‘Hush’ Affinity ‘I Am The Walrus’ Kippington Lodge ‘In My Life’ ‘Sounds Nice ‘Flying’ & Orange Bicycle (a band i’ve worked with several times) ‘You Never Give Me Your Money/Carry That Weight. Alongside these you will find more well known tracks by The Tremeloes, The Hollies & Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers. Disc2 Spooky Tooth ‘I Am The Walrus’ The Frugal Sound ‘Norwegian Wood’ The Majority ‘A Hard Days Night’ Bo Street Runners ‘Drive My Car’ familiar names on this disc include Plastic Penny, Big Jim Sullivan, Don Fardon, Stone The Crows & The Shadows. Disc3 Jason Crest (again a localish band i’ve worked with) ‘Come Together’ Affinity ‘A Day In The Life’ The Eyes ‘Good Day Sunshine’ The Ice ‘Day Tripper’, again more familiar names include Circus, The Sorrows, Hardin & York, Tomorrow & finishing the whole collection off the one and only Dame Vera Lynn! Could the list get more eclectic! Running to nearly 4 hours its incredibly good value for your money too. With things being the way they are at present we are missing out on ‘live’ events and locally we have of course had our treasured Beatles Day in the past, a shared event we all miss. This package gives you the opportunity to have your very own ‘Beatles Day’ in the comfort of your own home savouring all these different bands playing your favourite fab four songs. When i was writing my syndicated newspaper column i used to grade new releases 1 – 5 stars, a practice i eventually dropped. Was i still grading i would, with no hesitation whatsoever give this the full 5 stars. Seldom have i had as much fun stepping through the looking glass and discovering so many gems as i have done here. Stay safe everyone. Enjoy.

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

Til next time…………………Colin

 

Colin Bell… I forgot to mention when i wrote the review there will be a new 2CD collection of local band (Tonbridge) Jason Crest released in the next few weeks, First time ALL their recordings in one package. They played Hastings Pier and other local venues in the late 60’s early 70’s. I’ll review the comp in due course. Take care everyone.

Early photo of Colin Bell on a dog? on Hastings Pier!

supplied by Colin Bell

Angie Pilbeam… I remember that..not Colin…..the ‘dog’. I think theres one of me somewhere on if not that dog..another one. I’ll hunt through some photos in the week.the other thing was a photographer taking photos & then hoping your parents would buy the pictures.in my case it was grandparents.

supplied by Angie Pilbeam

Stephanie Blackledge… so do I! Photo opportunity? there’s definately one of me on a similar dog

Andy Qunta… Adorable!

Janet Rennie… Side saddle

Pete Brazier… That dog was originaly an elephant!

Chris Jolly… Lockdown diet!

Pete Brazier… no damage from years of kids pulling it’s trunk and ears. This is the one from the 50’s, will post the one of me on the early 60’s one that was turned into the dog when I find it lol!

supplied by Pete Brazier

Elaine Stock… So Animals lived on the pier before!

Martin Stoggell… t’s the feet a dead giveaway.

Chris Jolly… Can you make a trunk call to confirm that?

John Sydes… Much better than a gold lion, much more tasteful.

Colin Gibson… So this is where Gulzar got the idea

Maggie Geary… Very strange looking dog indeed ….. ha ha

 

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…

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…

Colin Bell… So, this was what i was doing 39 years ago on this day. I had to glue the night together with one of the strangest line ups. from lightweight pop band The Casuals (Jesamine) to ‘satanic rockers’ Black Widow, who needed a volunteer ‘virgin’ for their ‘sacrifice’ on stage, i politely told them they were asking the wrong person….

Conan Howard… was that not truly awful? what utter rubbish

 

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Belfast Gypsies: Them Belfast Gypsies CD

BELFAST GYPSIES: THEM BELFAST GYPSIES CD

Ok, let’s clear up the title and band of this release before we progress any further. At first glance of the album cover it would be taken for granted this is an early album by Belfast r’n’b band THEM and its entitled ‘Belfast Gypsies’ given their look etc. NO. The whole saga of this release is told in a superb and comprehensive essay over 16 pages by the label boss David Wells to whom i take my (metaphorical) hat off.

It is a tale, typical in many respects of the 60’s, of dodgy managers, greedy Record Companies and a whole host of ‘shifty’ characters that swim around the shark infested waters of the music industry. It is a very interesting story particularly for those of us on the inside, however to keep things relatively simple….think of this album as a Them album minus Van Morrison containing members of the original band. The use of the ‘THEM’ lettering is a cynical Record Company ploy (then, not now!) to appeal and catch the eye of fans of the original Van Morrison led band. So to sum up the release is called Them Belfast Gypsies all in one sentence. The album was recorded in May & June 1966 in London and Copenhagen after the departure of Van for America. Lead vocals were taken by Pat (aka) John McAuley, a quick snatch of which could be mistaken for Van the Man, but not for long, Pat/John has a more nasally/raucous/frenzied delivery than his ex bandmate. The album kicks off with Gloria’s Dream which is basically a re-tread of hit single ‘Gloria’ but nevertheless a good rollicking slice of r’n’b. Followed by a rather good mid-tempo bluesy track ‘The Crazy World Inside Me’ which leads on to the harmonica driven rocker ‘Midnight Train’. Things then take a peculiar turn with a neo classical piece ‘Aria Of The Fallen Angels’ before returning to familiar territory with a cover of the Dylan standard ‘Its All Over Now Baby Blue’. Then we are off once again into strange realms with the freakbeat/Bo Diddley influenced ‘People Let’s Freak Out’ before once again returning to solid ground with a  good version of the much covered John Lee Hooker classic ‘Boom Boom’. More bluesy organ drenched sounds follow on the lyrically strange ‘The Last Will And Testament’ before we are hit with a cover of Donovan’s ‘Hey Gyp’. If you have read this far you are probably, like me, thinking along the lines of this sounds totally schizophrenic as an album. Well, yes and no, after repeated listenings it does seem to strangely hang together in a curious way. In my opinion the mix of discordant tracks can be laid at the feet of Kim Fowley, whenever i hear that name my hackles rise. Fowley was an American Record Producer/singer/songwriter who was active in America and London (amongst other locations) from 1960 through to the 21st century. According to your point of view he was either a maverick genius or a meddling hustler in many a bands career. I met him once at a party in Bayswater given by Dave a sound engineer friend of mine. Fowley was responsible for this album. By the time it was issued in Sweden & The Netherlands only, in 1967, the band had already broken up, disillusioned and broke and indeed ignorant of its release at all! This new release put together by Grapefruit Records has the original 12 tracks plus a bonus 9 all newly remastered and sounding excellent and is without doubt the definitive edition and restores some integrity to the shabby treatment of the band and its place in music history. If earthy early r’n’b & blues is your thing there is much here to enjoy.

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

Til next time, stay safe and well everyone………

Colin

Freeway – and the pier zooquarium triodome talk 1970

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photos supplied by Andy Knight, cuttings supplied by Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection

John Kingdon (Voc), Dave Shaw (Voc), Jime Beadle (Bass), Colin Pierce (Gtr), Joe Milligan (Tenor Sax), Ron Milligan (Baritone Sax), Clive Pearson (Trumpet), Andy Knight (Drums).

some great pictures of Freeway. Taken around 1970 on Hastings Pier.

Yvonne Cleland…..Bonitas! That was the name I forgot.

Philip Meston….. I remember Bonita’s, but not the Freeway Show Band

Andy Qunta….Great band! Freeway were great, and very ambitious with the brass section! 

Ralph Towns… I remember the zoo that was in there .I think a copy of the Bayeux tapestry was in there for a while and I remember seeing a Dalek in there but what the hell that was doing there,I don,t know.

Len Smith… Freeway with Dave Shaw singing. Bonitas gig was 1971.

Ian Plater… Is that the same john kingdom, that had J K’s burger world in Eastbourne.

Tony May… Aside from the musical history side of things this picture is a rare shot of the old Hastings Pier and an attraction I was too small at the time to remember? If anyone knows more about it I would be interested to hear more. Any chance the photo owner would allow me to use it for an article in ‘Hastings Town’ perhaps?

Mick O’Dowd… This was the old Triodome that graced the Pier for a while. It was used for various events including the Zooquarium and a skating rink (can’t recall if it was ice or roller). I believe it was moved to Warrior Square Gardens after The Pier.

Jim Breeds… The Triodome was originally built to house the Hastings Tapestry to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1966. It features on several postcards that I have too.

Natasha Kaschevsky… Later used for Amusements around ’76 – ’78, I used to work in there in the summer holidays

Alan Esdaile… I’m sure at one stage it was suggested that The Triodome be rehoused on the Ladies Parlour West Hill with The Tapestry.

Andy Knight… Tony, you are welcome to use it.

Tony May… Thanks for the info Jim and for the use of the photo Andy. If any of the band have any memories of playing the Pier or can give me more info please e mail it to unseated.tony@gmail.com. Thanks!

Flanko Fin Barr… The Good times

 

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.