Saturday, 1 April 2017

BULLS HEAD BOB APR 2017. Hang the guilty bastard. The Gibson Les Paul Special doublecut 2015. BRUM BANDS UNITE STEVE GIBBONS GIG.


Well, here we are again 1st of the month and as usual people will be logging onto the blog to see what wonders await them.  It is April 1st but I'm not going to try and pull the wool over your eyes although you could forgive yourself for thinking so last month. 
There's always a way to see if your blog is being read and that is to make an error and think you can get away with it, you soon find out from emails that you definitely can't pull the wool etc. 
In the old days of membership of The Old Kit Observers club, " TOKO" an error could be punished by having an aubergine forcibly inserted in yer back passage. I am a member of TOKO and last week, to my surprise discovered that this rule hadn't been superseded.

I can tell you now that, it was painful at first, but the vegetable softened up over a week or so and life got a bit more bearable.  Luckily for me the TOKO Enforcer "Eric the Inserter" turned out to be an Uncle so it was "thin end first" with a light coating of Brylcreme.   He sung "Love me Tender" during the Insertion which I have to say did have a soothing effect............. I thought to myself, he would sound so much better with a Binson Echorec.

In my Italian flavoured blog, last month, I included a picture of an Echo unit saying it was a Binson but in fact it was a Klemt clone.   I did know that but, as usual I was stuck for time and hoped I'd get away with it??

So to all of those who adore Binson Echorec here's a picture to warm your hearts.  It is a thing of beauty that I have never owned but I did know several people of note who used them to good effect and others who used the effects to make them appear better.  The superior and Italian Binson Echorec 1 and 2 are the ones to get if you can, great for small venue vocals too. It looks so groovy and as a result of it's looks and sound this machine became a well known as a style statement so it was not suprising that other look alikes would follow.  The Klempt I showed was a clone Ecolette and was tape operated as opposed to a hard drive Binson.

I apologise to, nay I applaud you eagle eyed guys for pointing this out so now and in an SAS like operation in the dead of night, when even Plooki, my Japanese Loft Boy fan, will be asleep I shall do a quick replacement. 

Oh yes, as a token of my gratitude you are cordially invited to a slap up aubergine meal at Brumbeat Towers.

In 1963/4 as a young sproglet and armed with my Wilson Rapier and my RSC 8 watt amp I ruled the world of The Shadows, there was not one tune I couldn't play.   I had so impressed my lovely Mum that she said that I deserved a better guitar now that I was playing with a group at youth club level and albeit very amateurishly.    I naturally wanted a Fender Stratocaster like Hank and started looking about for a quality item knowing that the Strat was way out of my economic zone, the natural progression from a Wilson would have been to get a Hofner V3 like my mate Oggie but I decided to take 'one step beyond' and go for something really good.

I was in Ringway Music one day, in the early days when it was small shop, and a Gibson Les Paul Junior was un-packed and hung on the wall.  No tremelo, one pick-up but there was something brutally basic about it that really appealed to me, plus the fact I had seen Mick Walker of The Redcaps playing his Gibson bass and I loved the body shape and it's blood red colour.   On taking it down and feeling it in my hands I knew she was the girl for me 

I spoke to Pete Oliver about it and he recommended a different guitar, something that could be more of an all-rounder but I was hooked on getting this guitar and my Mum got it on the newly available Hire Purchase, the price was 48 guineas or thereabouts plus a bit more for a case.   I loved that guitar and having already bought a second hand Selmer 30 watt Bluey Twin we blasted our way through You Really Got Me and all those rasping classics of the early to mid 60's. 
It was a great instrument to play. 

As the years progressed I purchased other Gibsons including SG Standards and finishing with a 1956 Gibson TV.   I traded in my original Les Paul Junior back to Ringway Music in 1968 for an electric piano to enable a pianist who had no money to join the band I was in.  I like to think he just forgot to give me the money for it but he did quite well as a result.

Anyway, in the last blog I suggested that it would be a good idea to invest in an early Italian guitar if only for the sake of style I thought that a budget of 500 pounds should get me something good, if I looked hard enough.   I started looking but on the way tripped over an advert for another stripped down guitar, one volume, one tone, one pick-up selector switch and my Italian dreams bade me "Ciao" and I once more fell in love with this Gibson guitar and after doing my homework bought it straight away.  Didn't even try it out at the shop so sure was I.

The Les Paul Special Double Cut 2015.   This guitar was around 700 quid when released but I managed to get this one brand new for 518 pounds, including hard case and postal charges.   It comes equipped with the G Force tuning system and its hot!!   

This guitar is not without it's detractors who lament the
tuning system and the "Les Paul 100" logo, one even complained that it has a holographic sticker on the back of the headstock depicting Les Paul, what difference does that make to the sound of the guitar??? what a dork. Honestly lets get real!

What some others mention though is that, this is a brilliant guitar but does take some mastering to get all the tones.  I can see why some people have had a difficulty getting around this guitar.  It takes a while to get accustomed to the much wider neck profile but I found after a day or two its just fine, you have to persevere to get the best results.  It was stated by Gibson that it was to help with bending, personally it doesn't make any difference to me but may aid others.  I like the neck though, great if you play slide too.   More controversy is about:  
The G Force tuning system has come in for a fair amount of criticism and I will say here and now that when I first tried it I was disappointed that it didn't appear to do what it said.   I was all over the place trying to make the soddin thing work properly, however, if you disregard the pretty-near useless instruction sheet supplied by Gibson which is pitiful and go immediately to You Tube where some folks have uploaded it's functions you will save yourself  a considerable amount of heartache and will learn to embrace this great tool in a guitarists armoury and once you've mastered the basic operations of tuning and restringing, you're away.  A push of a button plus a couple or three strums of the guitar and its back in tune.  It can be as easy as that and for me a treasure for on-stage work. 

I will leave those bemoaning these features sat staring at their Les Paul in its protective case thinking to themselves how lucky they are to have a Gibson with the right amount of screws on the scratchplate.  I on the other hand, will be thrashing the shit out of this thing getting it to scream like its basic predecessors.  In fact I would like to thank the detractors profusely for giving this guitar and its add-on's a bad name allowing me to buy a GREAT brand new guitar that I predict will become of those guitars you wished you had bought yourself.

It's no longer in production and is not available at most guitar stores.


To let you guys know that there will a concert this month at Birmingham Town Hall in support of the Justice for the 21 who sadly lost their lives in the city bombings.  The gig will feature the great Steve Gibbons, Quill and Dave Morgans Morganisation along with others and should be a treat for the ears as well as supporting a worthy cause.

OK, here comes Spring so get your motors running.  I'm off for some Gibson finger blistering.

Hope you get an Easter Egg.


Wednesday, 1 March 2017


Hello Maties, Muso's, blueso's, boozers and cruisers, Brummies, Brumettes and my overseas mates in Japan and Australia.

Its been some time since I featured a range of early guitars from the 60's so without further ado lets talk Italian.

During my plukey youth I would glue myself to guitar shop windows and be amazed at the bizarre shaped solid body guitars hanging on the wall, not only were they generally ugly as shit or looked as though they had been built from spare radio parts, even those ugly ducklings were few and far between. That would soon all change.   

However, twixt and between those weird guitars there were some guitars fabricated in Italy which at least had some nice style to them, as only the Italians could do and one of those incredibly rare brands was MARINUCCI.   Marinucci had been a music factory producing accordians since the 1920's but changed to making guitars during the 1950's and the upcoming guitar boom of Rock n Roll and Skiffle.

I remember seeing this guitar and saying to my pal that it looked like someone had taken a bite out of the body.  The model was the Gemelli 224 and came with either 2 or four pickups the four pick-up job being named the 224-4.

Italian styling made this different and especially the rather attractive scratch plate with more than a nod at art deco design. The stripey part resembling piano keys or of course accordions from where the instruments originated.

The controls were inset into the upper part giving pick-up selection and a couple of volume controls.

Gorgeous scratch plate, the badge was the the crest of the town where these were built.   This is a beautiful guitar I don't even care what it sounds like to be honest 

During the early 60's MARINUCCI sold the factory to EKO so if you are lucky enough to have a MARINUCCI badged model it is very collectible.


Another Italian designed guitar and also manufactured by another company that had previously made accordions.

This guitar is reported as being the best sounding guitar of its day and was quite potent.  It didn't have lumps chomped out of it either.   Like most of the Italian guitars it had a tremolo arm centred on the tailpiece.  It's looks are more "Atomic Age".  Quite a nice headstock, a bit Fender Jaguar-ish

Like Marinucci they were soon swallowed up by EKO who then fabricated all guitars with different badges for UK traders or for Department store "own brand".
This guitars neck gave access to the uppermost fret.

It has a kind of styling that today one might associate with heavy metal Jackson type guitars but the Albert Lee HH guitar has practically the same body style.

EKO were amongst the big names of guitar production in the early days and they bought out smaller Italian guitar makers by the handful whose styles and designs were incorporated into the Eko brand and one of those carrying on the "Bite mark" is one I haven't featured before on the blog and that was this very pretty EKO Melody triplecut.   

Being Italian though they had to move the bite to another part of the guitar? anyway, 4 pick ups, a shed load of Atomic Age rocker switches and two rotary controls.   Inlaid neck and black headstock, it's all very attractive in comparison to the Czech built rivals that were about.  

EKO 400-2/4

This was probably their finest moment, design wise.  This is a thing of spartan beauty and was available as a two and four pick up variant.  Style was certainly more of a consideration than practical use by the Italians with their habitual placing of the controls in front of the strings was not really well thought out in terms of practicability running the risk of changing your settings every time you started strumming.

The internet is full of sites where you can get a good look at the whole range of EKO guitars, the best probably being Vintage Guitars so look them up and drool over some lovely old examples of early guitars.

Emotion and guitar snobbery aside there is something to be said about collecting Italian guitars.  They are readily available and you stand a good chance of being able to pick a great condition, genuine 60's guitar, for less than the price of a new brand name guitar but now with a good potential for a profit a couple of years down the line whilst still being able to enjoy owning something so nice.    Whereas, the brand new guitar you may have just bought has already lost a third of its value as you walked out of the guitar shop door.

It isn't comparable to a Gibson or Fender for in terms of tonal quality, although with top end names being fabricated in Korea and China their quality is an issue these days.  It is worth a thought.  It's fun tracking guitars down on the internet, certainly mare fun than tracing your ancestry!!

If you have one of the above guitars it would for sure sound remarkable through a Binson echo for that old rock sound.  Made in Milan from 1961 onwards, Binson was THE echo chamber to have and was Hank Marvins choice and later David Gilmour.  Meazzi also featured as another Italian echo chamber of note.

I recently came across this though which is probably the creme de la creme of Italian amplification:

This fantastic bit of kit is an Ecolette four input amplifier with an ecolette echo chamber built in, its so nice I can imagine a real nice surf sound through this baby.

The Americans and Japanese didn't have it all their own way.  I love Italian kit and am considering an investment myself in the not too distant future.  Get looking and grab yourself a piece of history for a few pounds.

Take Care

Copyright Bullsheadbob
Contact:  Bobsbullocks

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Hello you Musos, Brummies and chummies,

Well here we are in February, freezing our nuts off and all feeling depressed after the Winter celebrations.   Towards the end of last year we saw a cluster of deaths in the music field, it was almost like a flurry of grief that blew in but found itself eclipsed by other events.   I thought all that was behind me for a while but it came as a real shock then to hear of the passing of Spooky Tooth drummer Mike Kellie in January.

Mike Kellie Left (standing). Luther Grosvenor Right.
Mike was a lovely man, and I really mean that, a lovely guy.  I can almost picture myself meeting up with him at The Elbow Room back in the day as the bands would cruise back into town after gigging somewhere to have a beer and talk about music.

Mike's music pedigree is fantastic and the coolest of the cool dudes would search him out to give their music some nice rythmns.  

I know for sure that there will be many Brummie tears shed for this guy.

Why not visit the Mike Kellie website by clicking below.

We also said goodbye to:
A couple of days after I heard about Mike another musicians death was reported.  Bassist for Mott the Hoople, Pete Overend Watts died of cancer. Although regarded as a London band, Watts was born in Yardley then moved out into the Herefordshire area before moving to 'the smoke' and making it after David Bowie gave 'All the young Dudes' to them to record.

Overend Watts second from right.
The rest was history as they say.  Shortly after this Guitarist Mick Ralphs left Hoople to form Bad Company with Paul Rogers.  Luther Grosvenor, guitarist for Spooky Tooth, pictured on the Spooky Two LP cover with Mike Kellie joined Mott so I guess there was some old connectivity there.

I'm sure that, like me you have tuned into Radio 2's Sounds of the Sixties with legendary presenter Brian Mathews.   Brian has presented this show for the past 26 years and I have enjoyed hearing some old rarities on the show from time to time, even my own!  The great thing about the programme is that it answers the call to the many listeners who requested significant tracks from the 60's alongside those rarer recordings that had been made by regional British bands.   
Brian had been the host on  ATV's Thank Your Lucky Stars which was one of the first TV shows dedicated to youth music and was the voice of Saturday Morning Saturday Club on the Radio which was the radio show that ALL teenagers of the day listened to and where we were treated to bands playing live sessions in the studio, it was the best show on the Radio.

Well Brian has decided at 88 years old he has had enough of this malarkey and is stepping down from broadcasting, although a little bit of ill health has been the prime mover I'm sure.   

He has done a stirling job for British music of the 60's and I would like to thank him for his dedication.

I wish there was a bit more riveting news to throw your way but there's not a lot of anything going on, to go on about.   However it is the month for lovers so give her indoors a nice present, you might actually get one back yourself, although in my case that's never been the case.  Am I disappointed? am I bollocks!  Why should I expect something..."You're so difficult to buy for" is the excuse that us blokes have heard a million times, or perhaps it's just me? 

My mate bought his wife a really nice gift for Christmas, I remember him going on about it in the pub and "How chuffed and surprised she'll be when she opens the box".
That isn't always the case my friend.   This advert appeared two weeks after Christmas.


This is lulu, she is an 8 week old labrador

I bought Lulu as a surprise for my wife but it turns out she doesn't like dogs and is allergic to them.

We are now looking to find her a new home.

She is 64 years old, an attractive and caring woman who drives, is a great cook and keeps a clean house.

That's it from me maties, see you next month and hopefully with some news that is a little more 'warming'.

Love the one your with.


Copyright Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Bulls Head Bob. Jan 2017. The BULLS HEAD BOB 10th Year Limited Edition Anniversary Special.

Hello Brummies, Muso's, Brummies Abroad, The Brummettes Foundation for the Preservation of the Bigger Girl and all aquaintances. including you Plooki!

Well I'm flippin' flabbergasted at the amount of people who died during December, some real icons that had been a part of all our lives musically or artistically and in particularl, I was choked to hear the news that Henry Heimlich had died. (exit stage left).

There's a line in the media and politics about certain times "Being a good day to bury things", normally in relation to bad announcements, tax rises, pension cuts and the like.   I'm sure that some of that bad news was quietly slipped in behind the various masks of tragedy and we will, no doubt, be paying for it sooner or later. 

Mrs Bob and I, without any of the Bobettes had a lovely warm and cosy Christmas and it was sublime and I thank you for your Christmas messages too so, on with the motley!!

At this juncture I should say that for reasons beyond my control certain passages of this blog have decided to appear in differing colours! 

I don't believe that even Old Moores Almanac could have predicted that I would still be doing this blog after 10 years but its a fact...I'm now officially an anniversarial statistic.  Ten years of talking bollocks, bringing the news about anything to do with that time frame of the musical innards of Birmingham and it's environs during the most active and exciting music times of the century, the 60's.   The greatest days of art, fashion, literature and live music ever!!  

When I turned up for my first day at Brumbeat Towers, John Woodhouse allocated me a small cupboard space in the far corner of his palacial office and said "Bob, say what you like but don't upset anyone" followed by "There'll be no 'goings-on', going on or off, not on or off my watch!".   I forgave him his poor 
grammar and got stuck in.

Now it may not have gone un-noticed that I don't say much about Carl Wayne and The Vikings, The Move or ELO and thats because every fibre of their story is well covered by the ELO fraternity.    It did however, give me a chance to highlight some of the lesser known but still great bands that careered around the West Midlands in their vans night after night and doing that has been a real pleasure.  Many of those bands deserved greater fame than they got and if not for a twist of fate here or a touch of bad luck there, they would have 'made it' plus of course, if you were'nt in London your chances were slim.  Music is a tough business to be in no matter what era.  

Anyway in the time honoured tradition of anniversarial bodies I thought it appropriate to reminisce a little and re-visit a couple or three of my favourite blogs in no particular order, because they were just fun to write.  Click on the title links:





I had the great pleasure of interviewing two icons of British Rock history, namely Alex Wharton and Brian Gregg about the recording of two of the best British recordings of the early days which, even now, stand the test of time, both of them raw and soulful in their own way.  Alex for his tenacious production of one of the best Brummie R&B Bands of the day, the awesome Moody Blues with their massive hit 'Go Now' and Brian for his part in the writing and recording of Shakin All Over.  Both of these  'In the Snug'interviews are available to read by clicking below:
In the Snug Interviews.
It is pertinent to note that both of these brilliant guys were among the first founding fathers of the British Rock scene and both emanated from the legendary 2i's coffee bar in Soho London.

Alex along with Mickie Most were known as The Most Brothers and Brian Gregg with Les Hobeaux and later the first power trio band Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. 

Guys like this were my inspiration at the birth of rock and roll.  It all started there and I was a goggle eyed disciple. It may have been musically simplistic but any kid with a cheap guitar could stand in front of a mirror and become their 6.5 Special heroes, or at least try.   

Les Hobeaux with Brian rear left.

I thank them both from the bottom of my heart for being so accommodating.

One of the best things about writing the blog has been that I have managed to reconnect some people with each other who started off as young lads playing together in groups that emerged from the introduction of the electric guitar, which started the age later to be called Brumbeat.  They were the happiest days of my young life and of many others too.  I'm equally pleased to say that I am still in contact with those who I forged my early musical alliances with and played all those fantastic gig's during our heady Group days.  Driving from Birmingham through thick smog and driving snow to get to some Black country gig was all part of that journey we went through, in all manner of vans and buses, no heaters, probably no windscreen wipers, doors that fell off, engines dropping out, dodgy managers.

I'm happy to say I'm still playing and enjoying the fruits of my musical labours over the many years

I don't know how much longer I can carry on trawling through stuff to write on a monthly basis but am glad I started it.

Many thanks to John Woodhouse and all you guys who have contacted me over the past 10 years.

Have a brilliant 2017 and don't make resolutions you can't keep.


Copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Thursday, 1 December 2016


Ho Ho Ho! you Brummies, Brumettes, brumeteenies, Musos and a special "Merii Kurisumasu" to Plooki my Japanese loft boy follower and another for those Brummies Abroad.  I love Christmas which means I love you all and now I'm officially EXCITED!! So let the snow fall and the merriment commence.

Seasonal greetings to all from the bloggery and its "all go" at the Bob household. This Christmas me and Mrs Bob are going solo, that is to say, we are having Christmas without any of the Bobettes and their offspring.   We have a list of traditional things that are obligatory to do over the festive season and we have already been able to cross off "Have family argument" as being surplus to requirement!  

Mrs Bob has been my right hand man this year, even through the Villa's bad times.   Unlike me she didn't sit around moping like a kid, she went ahead and finished the garage extension despite the shocking weather.   A bout of pneumonia slowed her up a bit until I came up with the idea of her putting on an extra cagoule which would make her sweat a bit more she obviously had to increase her work pace to get the full effect.   She loves it though you know? the challenge of hard construction, which for a 65 year old with a bad back and a knee that keeps dislocating itself, certainly keeps her on her toes and no need for costly Gym Membership there, I'm proud of myself for making that saving, whilst improving her health.   I chuckle away to myself sometimes watching her through the window, manhandling those sacks of cement, if only she concentrated on improving her stance a bit more, she wouldn't fall over quite so much.   Women eh?  

Happy Christmas to my Feminists pals The Tattooed Sisters of Revenge Feminist League Biker Gang.  I love you cuties to pieces.

Happy Christmas to the Skiffle King and his cohorts, hearty eating, warm log fires and affection.
The City council cancelled the Christmas parade again through lack of funds but when I was a little sproglet I would be taken, at night, to the city centre where I would stand on the pavement in New Street or Corporation Street to watch Father Christmas come by on his sleigh, heading for the John Lewis department store where he would be in residence.   It was nothing spectacular and was over in flash but it was one of the most exciting times, it was put on for next to nothing and I seem to remember that it was funded by the British Lions Club so wouldn't have cost much but it meant a lot to all us tiny tykes in post war GB because Father Christmas was here, in person!  Of course you get what you pay for and times were tight back then so sometimes Father Christmas would be more like Nosferatu.....No wonder I couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve

Look at those creepy fingers
Now if you have youngsters or music fans in the family, a
nice little stocking-filler gift idea might be to give them the Beatles DVD Eight Days a Week, The Touring Years. 
 had heard that there was much fresh footage of them being Beatles and was really looking forward to seeing it and after having watched it, I have to say, I felt a little disappointed but that is probably because I have watched everything there is available to watch on the band more than once or twice as well as having lived through the whole age of The Beatles.   However for the uninitiated the phenomenon of The Beatles impact on the world is always worth a visit and for those who are fresh to The Beatles this would be a nice taster DVD if you haven't watched the Anthology before.  

Kind of like reading the Hobbit in preparation for Lord of the Rings.

This is a fact, there are 619,000 multi millionaires living in GB today, probably a few more have been added to the list since this figure published in Aug 2016. So for those here's something that might be on their Christmas list.

PRICE  52,500.00 Dollars
This guitar has to be one of the most beautiful things I've seen.  It is One of a kind and will not be produced again thereby protecting it's value as a collectible.   

This paint job is reminiscent of the 20's Art Deco movement with its angular sun ray lines
emerging from the back of the tail piece and each one of those orange segments is painstakingly painted giving it the look of a quilted headboard, you could just sink into it.

The beauty doesn't stop there though.  When you turn the guitar over you find it has been meticulously inlaid with many different woods to continue the art theme and has lines that remind me of a Kandinski painting.

Do you want to buy it?   Too late, it has been sold and I guess is now locked away in some bank vault.   A treat for the eyes though.  A cat can look at a King.

Over the years I have searched hither and thither for anything remotely concerned with this temple of Brumbeat music that was The Bulls Head on the Coventry Road and I can tell you there is not much around because, at the end of the day, it was just a pub to those who went there for a drink, for muso's in the 60's however it was the place you wanted to play at.   Along with Mothers and the Plaza, it was a John Singer promotion and loads of famous bands played there.

I played there a lot as did other well known Brummie acts.  It's only after some years that you crave for the resurrection of those times but alas it ain't gonna happen, the times have gone and the pub too which makes finding anything to do with it a little more special.   The great Lee Tonks has, over the past few years, found little snippets about the Bulls Head, including the blog side-bar picture, of this great beat venue for which I thank him from the bottom of my heart. Lee does have a personal interest though, he lives practically next door to where the pub stood.

This year, and as a Christmas gift to all you Musos and dancers who frequented the place Lee has excelled himself and found, from a photographer friend some new shots of the pubs interior, in colour.   The shots were taken in 1983, just before the pub was demolished.   If you were in a band who gigged there these views will be a heart warming memory
Copyright B Mathews
The stairs to the dance floor, humping kit up those was no joke.  The door to the right of the stairs was the snug to have a half time beer or three

copyright B mathews
In the snug all red velvet and murals.  

copyright B Mathews
This was your perspective if you were in a band playing at the Bulls Head, mine was normally a little more to the right.  The dance floor was always crowded from the stage, right back to the bar from the Rock and Roll days of the 1950's through the 'summer of love' girls in their swirls of colour and beyond and I just know that some old Brumbeat survivors will be looking at this with fond memories like I am so, on behalf of all those who loved this place , thank you LEE TONKS. I know we are all grateful for your help in restoring this memory. Happy Christmas to you and to all those who wielded some kind of musical instrument on the stage of this great place.  This place used to throb at times, I can almost hear the music and feel the heat.  If only I could get into those ball hugging velvet flares I could step back it time like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Very nostalgic Christmas gift for us Brummies.


If you pass a Salvation Army brass band playing carols or if you see someone collecting for the Salvation Army, please donate something if you have a few coppers.  This fantastic organisation has no barriers in their continuing support of less fortunate folk, of which there are too many.  
It doesn't matter if it's only a few pence...Every penny counts and this organisation can do a lot with a little but can do more with more.   Happy Christmas to them and their great work.  Thank you for what you do.

OK It's Christmas and Oggie will be preparing to be a miserable git as usual by boycotting Christmas Day and spending it at the pub.   Nonetheless, we grew up together and I have always given him a card so nothing changes. 

Last year I gave him a hand warmer and it seems that it has started a viral thingy with everyone wanting one, even Prince Charles, of course he gets his supplied by the Government!.. Happy Christmas Oggie.
Happy Christmas to John Woodhouse for doing such a great job with Brumbeat.Net.  

Happy Christmas to Steve Bruce who has taken a bunch of shambling wankers and returned them to a great team again. UTV
Happy Christmas to you all, thanks for reading or visiting the blog.  I shall now be hibernating until the New Year.....ZZzzzzzzzzz

Copyright Bullsheadbob

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

BULLS HEAD BOB NOV 2016. Bob Dylan, Chuck Berrys New CD. Echolette PA System. Spinal Tap

Did I ever mention to you guys that Steve and Bruce are two of my favourite names?  No? 
Mrs Bob has said that I am a changed man all of a sudden, can't understand why?  
Well what a 'to-do', if one of my mates had said to me "Bob guess who's releasing a new album?" I never would have said CHUCK BERRY!!, my goodness me, he's 90 who would have guessed that?  but it's the truth!!  It has been 38 years since his last LP release so a lot of today's youth wont have even heard of him.   It is true to say that without Chuck Berry there would have been no brumbeat sound or merseybeat and we all owe him a great debt of gratitude.

Not only did we all play that Chuck Berry riff, that he allegedly stole from his
pianist Johnny Johnson, but we all copied his intros, outros, the duck walk and for the more energetic of us, the splits.  Brumbeat-wise there is the story of George Harrison being taught the intro to Johnny B Goode by Chuck Botfield of Brums Rockin Berries, it is a great intro indeed, in fact Chuck Berry himself stole the intro from Louis Jordans 1948 track  "Ain't that Just Like a Woman" note for note.  Funny then that such a prolific music thief should have successfully taken the Beatles to court for using the opening line of "You cant Catch Me" for "Come Together".  Chuck won that one!!

Now Chuck is a cantankerous old son of a gun and could well change his mind so, just to help keep his mind open I thought it might be a good idea and a tad "de-riguer", as they say at the Sparkbrook Club for Gifted Swearers, to suggest that he does a Covers album of songs that have been big hits in the past for some huge names and some Brummies too?  This would be perfect for Christmas, us old knackers, stomachs bulging, top button of your trousers opened, slippers on, in front of the fire picking nuts out of your dentures with an old pipe cleaner and your new Chuck Berry CD..."geein it sum" on your Phillips mini stack.   

Here's a few for him to choose from.







Chuck has said it will be all new material and definitely be his last CD.  He said it was dedicated to to his wife..... frankly I don't care whats on the recording, or who its for......I'm going to buy it.


Well that's something ain't it?  Bob Dylan getting a Nobel prize for literature, amazing.  The world held their breath while Bob kept his mouth shut and didn't acknowledge the prize until a couple of days ago.  He said he was shocked and speechless at the news and couldn't think of an appropriate answer but feels highly honoured and plans to go the award ceremony to collect it in person.   He must have been shocked if he was speechless for all that time until the day before yesterday? 

I tried to think about my favourite set of lyrics of his and I ended up arguing with myself and came to no resolve as to which was best because they all have their various merits, he is a special person without doubt.  "Girl from the North Country" certainly is in my top 5 even just for the line "where the air hangs heavy on the borderline" and Positively 4th Street with its bitter and scathing lines is easy to associate with some bad relationships of mine and probably everyone elses too in the past.   "You got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend, when I was down you just stood there grinning".

I couldn't be happier that this has happened to someone so deserving and I'm thoroughly pleased that Bob has accepted it with the correct amount of awe. 

If you have never listened to Bob Dylans radio shows I really recommend that you try and get your hands on them they are a library of fantastic songs that are not common hearing.

Spinal Tap the "art imitating life" mock rockumentary film that exposed all the actual frailties of being in a band in such a comic but truthful manner has been delighting us musos for years now and various bands claim that some of the stories portrayed in the film relate to them, Black Sabbaths claim about the Stonehenge set being uppermost in my mind.   On top of the huge success of the film there were concerts, record sales and T shirts and things.  It was a big deal and volume controls started to be marked up to "11"

It showed a bands decline from headlining arenas to playing at a children's puppet theatre for a few dollars, it now appears that like all real rock band histories, the actors portraying the band Spinal Tap have only been paid 88 dollars between them for their merchandising royalties and are in the process of trying to claw their money back through the court process.

As you get a bit older in life you tend to create patterns in your week.  A mate of mine, lets call him Oggie, used to get the bus to Bilston every Wednesday to buy some sausages and, as he said, he "made as day of it" you know, Bus to Bilston , get off bus walk to Butchers...."Hello Oggie, come for your sausages then?" "Yes thanks Eric" buy sausages walk to pub, have a couple of smooth ones while chatting to the locals.  Get the bus back cook and eat sausages while watching Countdown.

I've just read in the local rag that it appears that us Brummies have run out of sufficient quantities of the "white stuff" and the famous Birmingham Sperm Bank is officially closing its doors.  Now that might not really concern many people but I can tell you that like Oggie, my weekly pattern for Tuesday consisted of brisk walk through the park, stop at the bookies to put a tenner on the Villa to win on the Saturday then pop over the road to my regular afternoon wanking session or "donation exercise" as they like to call it.  It was great all the blokes knew each other, they had a great selection of magazines and you got 35 quid a shot!!  

Now here's something to get you drooling, you lovers of old kit.  During a recent trawl of EBay I came across this Echolette combination amp and echo with some interesting PA speakers.  I'd never seen this before but it looks gorgeous even if only from an aesthetic point of view.   Its currently on sale so hurry if you're interested.


OK take care you guys.  I'm off to do the first of the Christmas shopping.


copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Saturday, 1 October 2016


Autumn is upon us Brummies no matter where we live and ain't it glorious?
It's my favourite time of the year when I can sit back in my rather nice outdoor chair and watch the blackbirds hopping across the lawn, searching under bushes for tasty little morsels to take back to the little ones in the nest.  

Sometimes when I was a small kid and my sisters used to shout at me to stop playing the same thing over and over again on my, and this has to be said, shitty little guitar.   I would go out of the french windows into the garden if it wasn't too cold and annoy the neighbours instead!  I could hear them slamming their windows in time to the music, I would consider it as a token of support to console myself from the harsh reality that I was an outcast from suburbian life.
However listening to various instrumentals spurred me onto greater challenges and here's some that I liked/loved.
I remember distinctly that it was on one of those misty days that I got inspired to learn "Ghost Riders in the Sky" a song which had been around for a long time and had been a recent hit by The Ramrods in 1961.
From my french windows in Aston!

 TThere were probably a million other spotty toads who were all sat out in their gardens too?   I never had The Ramrods records so I would hear it played on the chart show on Sunday afternoon and then annoy everyone in hearing distance with my continued practising until I had it right, then would play it another twenty times to iron out the curves and then a hundred times just to enjoy it. 

I played it again, out of the blue, the other day whilst doing my daily finger exercises and really enjoyed reliving that moment for a short while which brought me to this blog subject.    This is no definitive statement, merely some of the instrumentals that I enjoyed learning as a kid but have merit.

Naturally we British had The Shadows, the cream of instrumental groups and were spoiled by the amount of Shadows music to learn.  I for one, learned every track.  Little did we know what great training this would be for the future.  I am discounting The Shadows from this though because I consider all their work equally as good.  If pressed though I think I would choose The Savage, Perfidia and naturally Apache to be in the list oh! and NIVRAM and.....oops thats enough!

Ghost Riders sounded an awful lot like the Duane Eddy twangy guitar with tremelo.   I never liked Duane Eddy but someone rightly said about his playing of Peter Gunn was that you could go out buy a guitar and if, by the end of an hour or so you can't play the incredibly easy riff then you had no future and it was a great rock n roll riff. On the other hand it could have spurred you on to learn something more.

It was played by loads of groups at dance halls and especially if they had a sax player.

It had an amazing vibe when you played it, kind of insistent.  I'm going to include this as one of the greats for that reason and also because I saw Duane Eddy and his band at The Cedar Club in the 60's and whilst I was unimpressed with his guitar playing, his sax player was phenomenal

This is a 'no brainer' to put it in the American parlance.   The sound of this
record being played through a juke box was just so good to hear and So American as we sipped our froffy coffee in huge cups with tindy handles.  
It was a bit of a step up in playing style, trying to emulate the sound of a double pedal steel guitar on a Hofner Colorama or something similar but I heard some killer versions of this from various groups.  

The Shadows did an extremely similar instrumental calling it Midnight.

The'd buy a used car from one of these
Once again on an Autumn evening, I can picture myself walking towards Moseley village with this tune in my head where a bass player lived who had the record.  We were going to learn it together and I was very excited at the prospect, it had that tremelo rich, high speed picking run-down on the damped E string as an opener to quite a haunting melody I was very impressed by this and as this band was riding on the wave of Surfing songs, I mentally visualised the group as being 'cool dudes' but the American bands always had a look of being 'quite old' in those days which was a tad disappointing but this instrumental is not only a great track but is very well recorded and still holds its own I think. 

You hadn't 'made it' if you hadn't been on 'Ready Steady Go', live bands in the BBC studios giving it some hammer at 6 oclock on Friday night was the most iconic music TV show of the 60's with the best bands of the moment and some incredible live performances.  There were some lip synched clips as well.

"The Weekend Starts Here" was the shows opening line and it wasn't wrong.
The music chosen to open the show was another surf inspired instrumental called Wipe Out by The Surfaris, an incredibly simple repetitive melody line and a catchy drum roll 'riff'.  Incredibly popular.

Yet another surf inspired instrumental hit by The Ventures were considered by some, to be better than The Shadows...none of those were in my group of friends thank you very much.   However this is a truly great instrumental with its run down during the first few bars setting the tone.  It was first recorded by Chet Atkins.

Biggest selling instrumental hit ever, this Joe Meek inspiration was played on a clavioline with his resident group of session group who melded into The Tornadoes and had a massive success for many a years in cabaret and playing at the various seaside resorts.
The phase of instrumentals had their day, probably with the advent of The Beatles but we all learned a lot about phrasing and developing skill sets in the art of getting sounds from your guitar without the aid of pedals.  It was more simplistic than the music of today for sure but was an enjoyable part of being in a group then and the above songs added to the rich mix of the face of changing music but have become classics.   Long may they survive.

Sad news that Jimmy Powell has passed away.  He was a dynamic and forceful personality on the scene in Birmingham and always put on a staggeringly good show.  I recommend a quick visit to the main Brumbeat.Net site by clicking the link below for more information and access to an interview carried out by John 
Woodhouse with this old Brumbeat hero.

So anyway you cool cats, although it's been a bit short and sweet this month I hope this has given you a little bit of yearning to get your guitar out and relive your early learning days by getting back to some of those beautiful instrumental melodies.  Give em' a go, I bet you'll enjoy it.

Hug your other half at least once a day.

Keep warm

Copyright:  Bullshead bob