Friday, 1 June 2018


Hello Brummies, Brummie Muso's, Knackered Old Sods from the 60's and fresh faced youths from around the globe hungry for snippets of how it was in olde Birminghame when you could pay cash for a bus ticket or go to the heart of the Irish community in Sparkhill.

Well not a great month for Villa supporters like me and now I will have to put myself through yet another year of torment.   Is it all worth it I ask myself?
probably not is the answer.   So lets get onto my:-
Some folk might accuse me of using this months title as nothing more than
sensationalist innuendo, appealing to the dark, crude people of the night, lusting after various and sundry delights.   In fact I can hear one certain person right now tutting at my use of "Carry On" style gutter smut as an enticement to read this monthly delivery of assorted fiddle-faddle.  

It all started way back in the 90's when a bloke who lived around the corner called me in and asked me what I thought about his small red knob, followed by an invitation to pay him 120 quid for it!  It didn't look very much to me but after I'd played with it I knew I wanted to play with it again.
I was a bit broke at the time and thought I could offer him a hundred.  Although it was tiny, I soon found out that, after some manipulation, it grew and filled quite a large space.  When I got home I went straight into my room and played with it on my own at every opportunity.  Others I knew had sneered at it and my band actually laughed when I pulled it out at the practise room.   

However, a couple of years later, in 1995, Radiohead recorded The Bends, surely one of the finest pieces of music ever, haunting quirky lyrics from Thom Yorke and vicious, snarling guitars from Johnny Greenwood. Nobody knew at the time but Johnny had a small red knob too!! 
Once it became common knowledge that me and Johnny had little ones life suddenly changed and I found myself being hailed as Mr Joe Cool with my previous detractors now filled with jealousy at my little red knob.

Johnny Greenwood had recorded The Bends using a little Fender Red Knob Studio 85,
just the same as mine seen here in the picture underneath his VOX AC30.

All the Fender amp purists will be gagging and spluttering as they battle to get their heads around it being a solid state amp, that is, transistorised!
There is just so much elitist bullshit that I can take about it being necessary to have an amp full of valves.   I have a valve amp thank you very much, a Laney VC30, nice little number that cranks out a good volume and has some bite to it that I bought on a whim as it was a Brummie amp.
It is the amp I use least though.

So, I too have a Red Knob Studio 85 which I love and have used for gigs in smaller venues and principally, recording.  Here it is:

I love this amp and thought about looking for another that I could link together so I could use it for bigger venues.   It is equipped with one 12 incher and is really around 65 than 85 watts. 

It is fortunate then, that whilst perusing the web I came across a bigger solid state red knob amp that would fit the bill perfectly.  

The model is the Fender Power Chorus with 2 x 12 inch speakers and 130 watt output. It can be a real risk buying a second hand amp off the net without trying it out first, something I don't really recommend under normal circumstances.    However, the amp was advertised as having the same owner from new and had been used in the house only.   Normally a statement like that has to be taken with a large pinch of salt but upon examining the photos that were available I could see that there was not a single blemish on it.  It came with the user manual, and still had the Fender check tag attached to the mains cable.   

Here we have it, apart from a tiny snag on the speaker grille, it is in mint condition.

I had previously investigated several sources about this amp and found that it is built with 2 separate amplifiers, both the same as the one in the Little Red Knob!!  One clean channel which can be used for electro acoustic and one with overdrive.  It was built to challenge the Roland Chorus amp which was a great favourite of the time.   It was the last range of amps designed and manufactured in the USA at Lake Oswego, Oregon, in 1998, thereafter fabrication was moved to China.  The best of all it was 160 pounds!!

It is a true stereo amp with a clean and driven channel that can be mixed together to give you a massive range of tones and is equipped with a Chorus application too if you have a fancy for some wobble to your music!.  
The USA models have LO before the serial number.

It is very LOUD and easily usable for gigging.  It came with the original four-way foot switch which is a most sought after piece of kit in its own right and, if you can find one, you will have to pay around 50 or 60 pounds for one in a shabby state.  

Furthermore being solid state makes it a whole lot lighter than the standard Fender Twin which weighs in at 100 pounds.

My old friend Roger Hill had a Red Knob and he knew a thing or two.

I can't tell you the amount of times I have come off stage and received comments about the sound I get.  I never mention valves but I do smile a lot.  

I am extremely delighted with this amplifier and know how lucky I was to find one in such a beautiful condition, there isn't even a scratch on the foot switch!!
Now all I need to do, apart from enjoying playing through this, is to wait for some other well known guitarist to record some classic piece of music with his Big Red Knob and I'll be quids in. 

So "Stop being a snob, Be like Bob and get yer hands on a little red knob"

Sorry for the Smut.  Now for some guitar Porn!

Well here's a stonker for you, as you know I lurve Italian style and this time its style in a box.

Currently on sale on EBay for a couple of thousand pounds is this gorgeous 1963 Meazzi Continental offered in "Collectors Condition" and not only is it a great looking thing but it comes in a guitar case with built-in Meazzi Metropolitan amplifier (not working).   

I imagine that it would sound pretty poor but back in the day this would have been a great thing to own.  I love it to death but not Two grands worth of love but someone out there might want it that much.   Lucky shopping!!

I reported last month a sterling effort to raise money for a couple of charities by Rob Oliver and a couple of his pals.  They undertook a gruelling bike ride from Lands end to John O groats and have, so far, raised over 12000 pounds.  

This is not a one-off, Rob and his mates have done a yearly challenge to raise money for and increase awareness of those who maybe suffering from some disadvantage.   Great result you guys and I know just how proud Pete Oliver would have been with Robs dedication, a lesson to us all.    I'm sure that you could probably donate a little more if you wanted to through the Deadlegz web site.   

"Didn't it rain Hallelujah, didn't it rain".   By the cringe, Birmingham has never seen rain like that before.  I could have gone swimming in the River Cole and it was over 60 years since I'd been able to do that.  It was good for my enormous Hollyhocks though!!   Oops matron!!! 

Take Care of each other you people,


Copyright:  Bulls Head Bob

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Bulls Head Bob May 2018 - Rising up the Gig Ladder.

 Howdoo you Brummies and Mates across the world.

I promised you the Brummies Abroad this month, unfortunately, due to excessive demand for me to play gigs and things, it all went South.    Nonetheless I will be bringing you that annual event a little later on in the calendar but for now.

The Gig Ladder
The first time I played for anyone was at school, probably like everyone else
who fancied themselves as a budding rock star, my mate and I played "I'm a Hog For You Baby" by Screamin Lord Sutch, during music class.   The teacher provided us with the classroom type amplifier that all education establishments had in those days, around 3 watts I think.  As I recall my guitar unplugged, was louder than the amplified signal!    Naturally we got the applause of our classmates which I think gave us some confidence for future events.  I think we even did an encore!!

Confidence is key and, in Birmingham in the early sixties, there were youth clubs and coffee bars that you could "cut your teeth"on as a group then.  It started as a mix of Shadows stuff with a few Everly Brothers songs.  I can't even begin to remember all the different places I played at as a 14 year old, but for sure I did a lot with our band, often for nothing as auditions.   Sometimes we would go down really well and get ourselves a return, paid gig.  Then it was up to you how you approached the next time, sharpened up a couple of songs during practise and the inclusion of the current number 1 song in your act was sure to get the crowd to like you.  Once you had proved yourself at a bigger youth club you found yourself getting a lot of other Youth Club work all around the west midlands.   It was good steady bookings but by now, with your confidence on the rise and comparing yourself to groups who you once admired, you felt armed to get yourself a booking at a better known place where adults went!!  

So we started to turn down Youth club bookings, started playing RandB and decided to move up the ladder to Pubs and Clubs.  There were hundreds if not thousands of pubs in those days and on a Friday and Saturday Night they would each have a band in them and we got our first proper pub gigs under our belts, we learnt a lot about stage craft and had a fantastic time, our lipstick smeared van would announce us to all we passed.   OK we had done the pubs but there were Dance Halls to conquer now, with audience capacity of a thousand at some venues.
There was always a good route to getting proper bookings at Dance Halls and that was via The Reagans, an Irish family who booked a couple of the top venues in the city.  Probably every good band that came out of the 60's would have played at one of those venues The Ritz and The Plaza, Handsworth.   They would hold competitions for bands where you would have your "ordeal by fire" by playing to an audience for 15 minutes, at some of these there would be judges, or at others it was based on the audience reaction.  If you won, you got a couple of gigs.   My Reagan experience was through this medium and as I recall there were four or five groups, maybe more.    We all played our slot, we all played "Heart full of Soul" by the Yardbirds and we thought we had it in the bag, note perfect, bags of energy and the latest song.    We didn't win, ironically, losing it to a current Youth Club band who had bussed in their supporters for lung power and when they announced their name, Shitty Little Band ( I think that was their name?) they got the most prolonged cheer and we got our coats.... we did however pick up a manager that night.  

From then on, with this group and others, I played at all the Seaside Piers, Town Halls, City Halls and Assembly Rooms you could think of and including RAF bases and Universities.  Really large crowds, screaming girls at some.

From 17 I was playing with a bigger band and gigged at all the entertainment venues I had read about in the NME.  It was an achievement.  There was only one "Festival" and that was Reading Jazz Festival.  Not even Glastonbury yet.
I had reached the peak.  There was no more to strive for.    The Beatles played Shey Stadium to 56,000 and from then on things went mega huge

Festivals really arrived with the advent of flower power.  Woodstock, Isle of Wight and Glastonbury and they were getting bigger and bigger.   

To be booked to play a Festival is a sign that you are on the up.  
Groups sell their souls to get on a proper Festival stage these days.   Being booked to play a Festival gives you enormous bragging rights in the music community when you say "We're doing Glasto" or some other known musical event.    You see yourself being watched by a crowd of cider soaked hippies and students all "Giving it some" at the front of the stage "This is what I've strived for all my life, now is MY moment" adrenalin is pumping round your veins and you find yourself not eating   

Such was that feeling and state of mind of a mate of mine who I've known for a long time when he said they were doing a known festival with The Prodigy.  On the main stage, fantastic sound rig, lasers and lights up the ying-yang.   He's a drummer, he practised day and night leading up to this, he lost pounds in weight, there was no way he was NOT going to enjoy every minute of it, this his virgin BIG festival.

He prepared his phone to take a picture of the audience as he got on and off the stage.    

He didn't bother with the going off photo as there was no visible change.  He now had to face those who would inevitably ask how they went down at the festival!  

I bet they would have got a better audience in a youth club.   Its guaranteed as a musician that you will always get the stuffing knocked out of you at every step of the way, it's how you take the knocks that counts.   

So here we are, at the top of the gig ladder, major festival.  For most of the emerging groups of the 60's none of them got to stage 3, the Dance Hall.  

Nonetheless they probably had just as much fun as most of the others but maybe got a serious girlfriend or steady job which became more of a priority leaving those who had more drive to be a musician to continue up through the upper echelons of venues of the 60's.  Dance Halls are now really popular again because of Strictly Come Dancing.    

There are thousands of Festivals but Youth clubs are largely a thing of the past.  I feel sorry for Groups these days who are hard pushed to get on the roundabout of gigs, pubs are thin on the ground and the "Pay to Play" practises of unscrupulous promoters and fake agents deprive them of their ambitions.
I'm glad I played when I did, it was the most glorious of times.

First gig on the moon will be next.  It would be the only time I would want to go on first!!

I wish you all a joyous Bank Holiday and may the sunshine on you and yours eternally.   

Take Care

copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Bulls Head Bob April 2018 - BOBS BACK!! NME bows out. STOP PRESS CHARITY UPDATE!!

Watcha Brummies,

I have been late with the blog before but never so late that I have had to arise and start doing it on the morning of publishing day. 
Bob and his Back
 I had sat down to start it last week but as I was standing up to make a cup of tea my back went out!!  Stuff my old boots, only days before I had been grafting away outside watching Mrs Bobs progress on the new garden pergola and I never felt a twinge.

That being said, this will be a short blog as I can only sit in one position for a short time before I have to lie down again.   However, the Pony Express always gets through.

Everyone involved in the music biz in the 60's and beyond in Brum knew and loved the wonderful Pete Oliver.   I have, in the past, highlighted some great charitable work that has been undertaken by Rob Oliver, Pete's son.    I'm really pleased to announce another one of his fund raising efforts.    I have to say now that he doesn't do things by half, last year he tackled the Three Peaks Challenge and raised a considerable amount of money.  

This year he has taken on a most daunting task and that is to cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats....1000 miles over a period of 10 days, and that is some distance on a bike.   The ride commences on 28 April 2018 and Rob will be accompanied by his Deadlegz mates Matt Wheeler and John Dicks.   I would have joined in of course if it weren't for my back!!

Maybe you have a bad back too or a dodgy knee or wobbly ankle that stops you from participating in this great personal challenge but one thing is for can donate a little of your hard earned dosh to help those with Motor Neurone Disease AND Parkinsons disease too. 

HOW CAN I HELP BOB?  Well first thing you need to do is visit the DEADLEGZ website and then simply consider how much you think you could help.  Although times are tough, one pound goes a long way when handled by a responsible Charity.  So please click on the link below to visit the site and give a little eh??


When I was young and dreaming of a rocking future I, like everyone else, was deprived of information about music.  Two radio programmes only a week that covered new music.  Easy Beat which became Saturday Club and the chart show on Sunday afternoon.    In Brum we had our own music paper Midland Beat which gave us local group information but  the New Musical Express was the music paper of choice.  There were a few others who were the NME's competitors but there were, in my opinion, second rate compared to this paper that had been published since 1952. 

Being in a band you set yourself targets and my little band was no exception.
I was really proud the first time our band name appeared on the back pages of the Evening Mail ad's, then the next step was to see your name in Big Letters and naturally the next was you topping the bill with the name of some other band as openers.  From then I was over the moon when we appeared in the Midland Beat and I had the final accolade of seeing my name in the NME itself!!
It didn't get better than that in music press terms as far as I was concerned.

It was informative, light hearted and full of pictures of the bands and singers of the day with some great reports like Keith Altham and Ian McDougal.

In 1967 Tony Secunda, The manager of The Move got the NME cartoonist, Ray Lowry I believe, to draw a postcard depicting Harold Wilson in a compromising situation with his secretary as publicity for their forthcoming record Flowers in the Rain.  He didn't inform the band of his actions but knew it would bring a shed full of publicity, and it did!!

He posted one through the front door of No 10 Downing Street and Wilson in his furore took the band to court the band got much TV coverage of them arriving at court, this propelled them into the depths of parental hate, which in itself was enough to make them stars in the eyes of the youth. 
The Move and Secunda
 The Prime Minister naturally won the case with The Move or more singularly Roy Wood, being found guilty and it was decreed that the royalties for the upcoming release would henceforth be paid to a children's charity in perpetuity.

I went off the paper during the Prog Rock days with twits like Charles Shaar Murray pontificating about how important social statements were related to ponderous, noodling guitar solos from bands like Yes....

Sadly the paper has now closed, no-one reads papers in these days of electronic, cyber press and that's a shame.  With the likes of Facebook and Youtube everyone can pretend to be a rock star and post their own videos too.
So thanks NME it was the Best of the Best during its high days.

My question is, what happens when the lights go out and you are left staring at your lifeless plastic screen?

OK folks that's all the pain I can take.   Back next month with the annual trip across the seas to Our Brummies Abroad.

Oooh, aargh, ouch!!

Take Care

Copyright Bullsheadebob

Thursday, 1 March 2018


Hello Brummies,

Well here we are the beginning of March and its soddin snowing!  The only thing that's keeping my spirits up are the Mighty Villa and Mrs Bob, always fun to be with.    Ok off we go!!


Well for my younger American friends out there in cyber land there has never been anyone who has come out of Brum who is better than the mighty Steve Winwood, not a vocalist, organist, or guitarist, in his field.  He is the Master of All He surveys and is currently touring the USA and selling out rapidly.
I first met him at Ringway Music in 1963 and we chatted for a while about guitars and things then I saw him play with the Spencer Davis Group at the Silver Beat Club, an old dark cellar under what is known today as "The Ramp". on Stephenson Place, in the heart of the City.  I was 14 years and 6 months old, and he had just reached the dizzy heights of 15, fifteen was a real step up on the teenage mental plane. That aside we were both too young to be allowed into the club under normal circumstances and even though we were both of a tender age he seemed to be from another place where they kept the best of everything, just like a Stephen King book you know?, he walks into a mist and comes out the other side with all those amazing gifts.  I felt knocked back on my heels, not just by the power of his amazing voice but the amount of soul and maturity within it.   His confidence and 
musicianship was astounding too and I felt shattered by comparison, I resolved to improve and changed my approach to music from that day forward, upping my practise rate to at least three hours a night.  

I was clever but never was I going to be a scholarly type, my evening practise sessions soon became full day and evening sessions I got absorbed by all the subleties and tones and ways of injecting feeling into my playing.  I was the champion of wagging off from school for months at a time, sometimes I would relent and go for a day or so but since seeing Steve play and contracting "Winwooditis" it seemed a lot more important to learn something by Muddy Waters than put myself through boring classes.   In those days there was no future for Comprehensive school students other than leaving school at 15 and working on a production line at a factory for the rest of your life.  There had to be something better.

We had a visiting Careers Officer come to the school and a mate in my class, who was equally sure of no great future, wrote on his "What Job do you want to Do" Form as his First Choice "Making Swarf" and as a secondary choice
"cuckoo clock shit shoveller".    

I got a massive 2 percent on my final French school exam and straight D's for everything else apart from art and music.  The only thing they could say about me on my school leaving certificate was that "having been a milk monitor might help me secure future employment".   So there I was out of school 15 years of age with but my guitar playing had advanced in leaps and bounds and I was playing in a great little band 3 or 4 nights a week sometimes making much more money than by working, although you couldn't guarantee on 3 nights a week or getting paid either!

Steve had already recorded "Dimples" and within the same year was in the Charts with "Keep on Running".  I was playing at The Silver Beat and other Brummie venues at night and for a while, because of the early finishing time, I was a milkman!! Those teachers were uncannily correct.

My encounter with Steve had indeed ruined my education prospects
but had greatly increased my passion for music despite all the crap that came along with it and, as a bonus, had also perfected my milk delivery techniques, three bottles each hand or four each hand if it was sterilised milk.  I was like the Tom Cruise of Fox Hollies Road and its environs, my rapid delivery style was almost legendary.  The long haired, Gold Top Kid however, like most things, my milk delivery stardom only blazed bright for a short while before I luckily got to turn Pro.    Steve was a star by then whisking up and down the British charts.

So anyway, fast forward 54 years.......Ringway Music and The Silver Beat has gone, along with all the other beautiful architecture in the city centre, and bizarrely so have milkmen!!  I am still a few months younger than Steve Winwood, still playing but not in need of a job and so is Steve but he is on a Tour around the world playing His Greatest hits, a kind of Winwood Candy Reserve, all the best bits in one box, and that's gotta be good for everyone.  

Any Brummie band would have been a success with young Steve Winwood in it as any band, anywhere, would have been.  Any band in the world today would love to have Steve Winwood in it, such is his status.

He simply is a "must see" and if it wasn't enough for him to have all those amazing attributes, he is the coolest of the cool.  A true one-off... you have the opportunity get yourself a ticket now!! on the Link below for more ticket and date info.......Gimme Some Lovin.

My first proper' guitar was a Gibson Les Paul Junior 1964 which I loved. The last guitar I bought was a Gibson 2015 Double Cut, kind of completed the circle if you will.   At the back end of January came the dreadful news that Gibson, the guitar giant could be facing closure in the very near term with staggering debts of half a billion dollars.  They had sold their factories already and were leasing the premises back, it would appear that massive loans they acquired and bond re-financing are coming up for payment and the well is dry.

In the early years you could guarantee that every instrument with that brand name was going to be a quality item worth paying for. There were only a few models available.   Sadly that is no longer the case unless you aimed at the higher end custom shop models.

Corporate greed in all music companies has flooded the market with cheap end instruments or the incredible quantity of "Signature" models from people I've never heard of.  Gibson also manufactures all Epiphone, Kramer, Steinberger, Dobro and Baldwin and included in those makes are their ubiquitous signature models too.   I remember back when Epiphone was a great guitar, I played one of the first "Casinos" and it was beautiful. 
They were hard to come by and anyone who was anyone bought one. Not so today with the brand regarded as a beginners cheapy.

I looked on Ebay yesterday and on the site alone there were 13,482 electric guitars for sale.  Staggering.  To add to Gibson woes are the Chinese copies which people buy because they cant afford the 4000 thousand pounds for a good Les Paul but can look like they've got one.   The Chinese copies are shit and I strongly advise anyone thinking of getting one to save your money, they are not cheap for no good reason and they don't give refunds if you're not happy and then no-one wants to buy them off you after you are pissed with it falling to bits.

It's a sad day to hear the news but in today's corporate, money grabbing businesses Pride and Quality are brushed aside for the easy buck and bollocks to the Trade Mark.  It was all so predictable.

If you have a nice early Gibson don't sell it. If the firm goes under you will at least have a quality item that will only attract increasing value.  The guitars that are available for sale now will decrease in price as mega stores try and dump them.

What a shame.

SHORT AND CURLIES Right I'd best get outside and do some path clearing.  We are being visited by the Ladies of Sparkhill Curling Team, we're such slaves to fashion and Mrs Bob has been out the back with the hosepipe spraying it constantly onto next doors large patio area, they're currently away on a cruise so they'll never know. They very thoughtfully installed some outdoor lighting too which we will be taking advantage of if we fancy a Night Slide. 

  It took a while for the water to freeze because it kept seeping in under their conservatory door but we soon found a way round that by drilling holes in their front door to allow the water straight through the house, they'll thank us for our quick thinking when they get back!  The ice will soon be frozen enough for us to have a "Slide or two" Don't you love being "On trend"?  Wrap up warm and keep yourself well during this cold snap my friends.

I hope I don't get banned for doping?

Take Care

copyright Bullsheadbob

Thursday, 1 February 2018


Hi Brummies,

Well its been a long cold winter, Mrs Bob and I have both been suffering with flu, so "miserable" has been a word well used in our vocabulary this past month I even sounded miserable cheering on the Villa.   We are both now recovered and hope you guys too are making sure you're OK in this cold snap.  
Above all my friends, steer clear of kids....they're walking, time bombs loaded up to the gills with every germ known to man and I've found as I get older that they like nothing more than to cough directly into your face as you talk to them, its like a bazooka blast of bacteria and viral thingies propelled at lightning speed right into your mouth!! the little shits.    Mrs Bob and I have declared this house a Nuclear and Germ Free zone and put a sign on the front garden gate threatening prosecution to anyone who coughs as they pass, or is contemplating having a baby.

Mrs Bob is being a role model to those in the neighbourhood who think we're being a little "over the top" in our stance and with her normal Do it Yourself ingenuity and a quick visit to the Scrap Yard she proudly promenades around the area with our grandson showing that you can still love your grandchild, look attractive, fashionable and be health aware at the same time.  She is developing a utility belt too.  

She's expecting to get a lot of orders from other interested parties.  I'll keep you updated.

Now, when I was around 14 years of age and a young would-be musician,
going out to watch bands, I positioned myself in front of the lead guitarist to watch what he did, then practise it when I got home.  It was pretty much the norm in the days without pop music on the radio, except for Luxembourg.   So I stood in front of quite a few in my day at youth clubs, coffee houses as well as the dance halls.   When I had learnt my fill I would still go and still watch for anything new or different BUT I now began taking notice of the band as a whole.    

These were the days of a Singer plus group ie Cliff and The Shads.  It was the norm, with very few exceptions.  It was also the days of Bands in suits and Shadows steps, uniformity was the key, same guitars, same amps etc this rule however, did not apply to the lead singer who would adorn himself in all sorts of strutting about stuff.  Wielding a Reslo Mic plugged into a Watkins Dominator or something similar, given bags of echo, he would cavort about and sing songs
directly to the the girls.   Us lesser beings in the band would be relegated to mere "back row peons" whilst the girl swooning episodes were going on at the front.    Even great bands Like Denny Laine and The Diplomats were augmented by Lead vocalist Nicky James.  I saw hundreds of bands, hundreds, and the format was the same.

If you wanted to be different or stand out from the crowd you had to be inventive or "have a gimmick".    Some bands like The  Solitairs dyed their hair blonde and stuff like that.  Or some put on a comedy show.   Some went to extremes like Swedish group The Spotniks with their space suits
but they were foreigners which meant they were already out of the ordinary.
For us Brummies, with our accent, it was a tad difficult to be exotic. 

There was one guy who managed to do that and not lose the 'cool' aspect though and that was Ray Thomas who sadly passed away recently.   Ray labelled himself as "El Riot" with his backing band The Rebels.  Hell's teeth, El Riot....that was Mexican Spanish, just how much more exotic could you be?
The word riot doesn't exist in the Spanish language but 'El' did so that was enough for us teenagers so with El Riot and The was promoting anti-social behaviour fronted by a mock Mexican but who cared about the mock bit?  They were great with their Mex stage suits and a good on stage performance.   I learnt a lot about stage craft from Ray Thomas and the whole band put on a great show, loads of R&B. 
Ray with his snarling mouth organ, and stage presence....just great stuff at the right time and one of my big influences on how to do it right.  How to put yourself across on stage and not feel awkward.  So thanks Ray. John Lodge was a member of The Rebels and although he also gained fame with The MBs I bet you he still remembers those early days when it was new, exciting and fun as the best time.

It came as no surprise that Ray would be in a band like The Moody Blues who I loved from their earliest gigs, pre-fame.   There was such a lot of excitement generated on stage by bands like the Moodies with all their collective talent and stage experience behind them. 

Of course Ray went on to have massive and continued success with The revamped Moody Blues but I always picture him as El Riot, back in the days when there was loads of gigs and there was real competition between bands and the strongest and best came to the surface and you didn't get to that stage in Britain's second city without being one of the best around. There were no short cuts then, just raw talent.

Please take a moment to visit John Woodhouse's piece on the Pie Stand page where John gives a great potted history of Rays musical journey.

My condolences to his Family, friends and to all his fans.  One of the original greats in Brumbeat history.

Last month I reported on the Moodies up-coming induction in the Hall of Fame which did not include the original "Go Now" line up of the band. 
Since then I have been informed that it seems that I was not the only one who was angered by this.  Indeed a wave of disagreement flooded the Hall of Fame judges and they reconsidered and rightly included the original line up, well Certainly Denny Laine and I would hope posthumously Clint Warwick too!

Thank you to you guys who complained about this.  Good one.

Its a shame that Ray didn't get to collect this award but will making his passing all the more memorable.

Well though I'd put up another rarity for you to goggle at:

If you want to collect some old fashioned stylistic guitars you could do a lot worse than invest in a couple of 50's Hoyers.  That is not to say they are fabulous in every aspect, fabricated in Germany from the 50's but they do excel in their looks and sense of style.

Its lovely gibsoneque headstock is complemented by squashed frog tuners.

A warm looking, honey coloured, maple archtop with fabulous multi layer bindings, beautiful
F Holes and this one sporting a Bigsby and chicken head controls on the equally stylish scratchplate and with great inlays in the neck
which, by the way, does not have a truss rod.

I know what this would sound like with some flat would strings.  Nice eh?  There are quite a few different models about, all equally as stylish if not better, that can be bought for a reasonable price.   Affordable antique?  I think Mrs Bob might like one of these for next Christmas? 

Actually, a friend of mine had a Hoyer that was covered in chrome but I've never seen another one, so if anyone out there knows this model I'd like to see it too!!

Take Care of each other,

copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Monday, 1 January 2018

Bulls Head Bob Jan 2018 - ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME. HAROLD PENDLETON. Another Year Older and deeper in debt.

Watcha Brummies and associated mates and friends across the world,

Just like to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year.

Mrs Bob and I enjoyed our festivities enormously and showered each other with gifts.    She bought me a new Playstation!, that was unexpected I have to say, and as if that wasn't generous enough
Fat Bob "at it".
she also bought me a Steering wheel and foot pedals so I could fully enjoy the rally and racing games which I adore but have had to play them with a hand controller on my old XBox 360, "You lucky bastard" I hear some of you say and it's true I have been very lucky this year.

One slight flaw though, she didn't buy me any Playstation games to go with it.  I think its a clever ploy on her part to get me to go with her to the January Sales, the thought of it fills me with dread but I admire her feminine cunning to get me to the shops and the lure of cheap games will be too much.   Happy New Year to you Mrs Bob.

About a month ago I was perusing through the pages of Facebook and also the local Brummie sites and noticed what could only be called begging letters for people to cast votes to induct The Moody Blues into the R and R Hall of Fame.  A bit juvenile I thought, harking back to the early 60's to see who won the Midland Beat "Band of the year" when a group I had never heard of came top, naturally they had either canvassed a load of people to vote for them or they had done it themselves.  Well once again the begging seems to have worked and the MB's are indeed being "inducted" at some time in the Future.   In a way I thought, that's quite good news until it came to pass that they are not including Denny Laine and Clint Warwick as members of the band, you know Denny Laine and Clint who formed the Moody Blues and who scored a massive hit with Go Now,
who were mates of the Beatles and toured with them.  It would appear that this induction is only for lovers of shit poetry and some "out of towner" called Justin with his See Saw.    Anyway, my personal dislikes aside I have it on good authority that they will be featured in a room of their own with a warning notice outside of the door which reads
"DANGER listening to this music could result in drowsiness".  Take a pillow with you would be my advice.  Perhaps they were sponsored by Benylin?

This whole shabby, lust for eternal recognition is rather reminiscent of ELO's induction which turned out to be just Jeff Lynnes' ego trip, you know, the guy who wormed his way into The Move.  In his inductee room there is only space for one person at a time.

It really is just a bit of a joke anyway because all great bands will be remembered by their fans and will always remain as a part of their lives.  They wouldn't make it into Bobs Shed of Fame....enough said.

Who is Harold Pendleton?  would be a good question, not a famous Brummie at all so what is doing on these hallowed pages. 
 Well the reason why is because he died back in November but I didn't want to mention it in the Christmas blog as it would be a bit of a downer, however, some of us got to play in his club in London, the world famous MARQUEE CLUB on Wardour Street.    He did a lot for Rock and Roll and was one of the first to start outdoor festivals in the UK at Reading so deserves a big thank you from me and all those who got to play there.   RIP.  The club no longer exists, just a blue plaque, the proper Moody Blues played there so did The Move.  Steve Gibbons got his big break after playing there too so there is real relevance.

I can tell you that there will be a book coming out this year about him and The 
Marquee in which I have had the honour of assisting the author Robert Sellers.  

I shall be celebrating along with the other 12 revellers who live
in my village and raising a glass or two to those old friends dead or alive who were playing rock music in the 60's.  I shall never forget them, good or bad, they were part of my life and I have a spittoon handy for when certain names enter my head.  

I shall also be raising a glass to all of you who "tune in" at the beginning of the month to read this nonsense.   Thanks for your continuing support.


If you are thinking of being charitable at all this year please make the Salvation Army your first port of call.   This fabulous organisation does so much more than you could imagine for those who are in need of a break, or a roof over their head for a night or for one hot meal.   The best charity around.  

I wish you all peace and happiness for the coming year, goodness knows there is enough misery on this planet fuelled by corporate egotists and Presidents.

Copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Friday, 1 December 2017


Christmas  Christmas  Christmas

Hello Brummies

Doesn't it come around quick?   It's just as well too because as you know...
I put my decorations up last week, so it was pre-December and I've never done that before so I must be super excited this year.    I have been generous of spirit and generously full of spirits too, I'm a Brandy man these days, must be something to do with maturity and elegance, two words that certainly didn't apply during my youthful Vodka years?    

I just love the warmth that is created by the Christmas lights in the City but am not a great fan of the German Market.
I really can't see the British culture in any of that stuff,  I mean since when was Bratwurst a traditional Christmas meal?
If you have tiny tots as children or have Grandchildren the best place to take them to this Christmas is to the Botanical Gardens where the lighting is spectacular definitely Santa's wonderland where the imagination can run free and you can invent all sorts of stories for the kids in that environment.

Very magical and old world just like the buildings used to be in the City Centre before the rise of the concrete monsters.


All my Christmas shopping has been done and I have excelled myself with my depth of wondrous imagination. 
Mrs Bob will be surprised I'm sure, gone are the macho days of giving her wheelbarrows and spades, soldering irons (with assorted tips), roofing felt and other luxury items like that, because frankly, they were really difficult to wrap and I sometimes got the impression that she wasn't too keen on some of them.

I made a real effort to think on why she might not have liked one or two of them (though she definitely loved the roofing felt) and came to the realisation that I might have deprived her of her femininity?  You know, Women like to be loved, Women like to shop, Women like to make an informed choice on styles and appearance and they even like to read!!  I never knew that last bit.  

So one afternoon, after an away win by the Mighty Villa which had heightened my emotions, I popped into the snug at The Rat and Dodgeball for a frenzied hour of brain storming.   I had memorised every facet of her wants and feminine desires...  Love, Shopping, Making choices on style and appearance AND even included my new piece of knowledge about her....reading.   I knew at that moment just what to buy her and popped into one of my favourite stores that always has the perfect range of gifts and bought her a "500 pound GIFT VOUCHER" so she can shop and make her own informed choices and they gave me a book for her to read absolutely Free! Its made of actual paper and is really thick.   

How lucky was that? got home, snuck it upstairs and put it under the bed, to be wrapped later.    I can picture her now after dinner, feet up on the pouf, a small Port, box of chocolates, Gift Voucher and a good book to read.

There's such a lot in it.  So there you go, I don't mind sharing a good idea when it comes along.   I was going to read the end of the book myself but I would have been tempted to tell her how it finishes


I remember buying the Midland Beat magazine every month to see who was playing with who etc....

As this is no longer in existence, like the majority of the groups who featured in it in the day, one has to rely on word of mouth for any news of the Brumbeat survivors club.  One good source for all this gabbling is the contact in the guitar shop at Stirchley namely, Bob Styler.   These days he's talking about himself as he hops into yet another band in the search for more gigs and glory.   

Bob is an avid aficionado of 60's music and will go to great lengths to play gigs like any of us muso's and has recently spread his wings to embrace the more raucous side of life by joining with a band from Kidderminster who play all out Rock music, you know, covers of Free and Lynrd Skinhead and his band too.  He answered an ad in some paper or other for "Guitarist/Singer wanted for cover band" as he filled all the requirements.    It came as a surprise to Bob to find he was enquiring to join a band whose founder member was John Tricketts, a drummer whom Bob had played with in a group called The Fashion back in 66!!   
So Ladies and Gents I present:

Bob far right and John Tricketts second left.   Along with some comparitive young un's they will be gracing the stages of well known boozers starting now, they have already got some gigs under their belts so keep your eyes open and catch them "at it" if you can.   They have a Facebook page too where you can make contact.   In fact get the band for your Christmas "do" and then  you'll be "Alright Now".   
Many, many Christmas congratulations to the great Dave Hynds, ex Cheetahs and Fairfield Ski drummer and songwriter on becoming a great grandfather, I can't think of anything nicer, the whole family together, Christmas dinner and that fabulous smell of new born babies.  The best Christmas gift of all.....well apart from an original 1956 Les Paul..

It's been a crap year in many respects on the world stage as The Russians and Americans find even more hideous ways to kill people.   Donald Trump is an abomination and a disgrace.  The Americans definitely got what they wished for thanks to the Russians.   Happy Christmas America.  Hope you wake up soon.

Thanks to all you lovely readers and commentators on the blog.    Thanks to the gang at the boozer for their continued piss-taking and a special thought for those Brummies Abroad who are missing out on all this Brummie fun.  Lastly a Happy Christmas to my old friend The Skiffle King and his Gang of creative offspring and super talented lady.    Wouldn't it be magical if we all woke up on Christmas Morning to find that Father Christmas had bought us all a present as well as the little un's.    Best get to bed early on Christmas Eve then..... I don't count sheep these days, I go straight into my hippy mantra.....Lespaulgoldtop, Lespaulgoldtop, Lespaulgoldtop.

Lots of love and affection for you guys, lets hope we get a bit of peace next year


Copywrite:  Bullsheadbob