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

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


Hello Brummies and Musos,

Another gripping episode of Bulls Head Bob here Autumn hanging around our shoulders.  Misty damp nights, Bonfire Night, and the start of the "looking forward to Christmas" season.  You know me I love a good stocking. Here's a bit of news of someone featured in the last Brummies Abroad Blog  

Brilliant Brummie Bassist John has recently been in hospital for a quadruple heart by-pass (no doing things by halves with him) and is currently recovering at his home in California under the care of the lovely Debee.  We here at Bloggery Hall wish you a speedy recovery and hope you'll be up and "at it" in time for Christmas young man.    You'll have to be ready for when I get there, hungry for some R&B so keep sharp.
John and Debee
Redditch council have authorised the placement of a statue of the great John Bonham in the town centre showing him 'giving it some' at a set of drums.

The Led Zep legend died at the tender age of 32, no age at all really.

John would have been flabbergasted at this, never one for self enhancement, he'd rather have been at the bar with a pint talking music and football and its also funny that, at one time he couldn't get into any bands because he was too loud.  He would have laughed about this statue business a lot but I for one am really happy that this has happened.  Great stuff, great Brummies.

The history of popular music has some milestone dates, a lot of which were condensed into the 10 years of the 60's particularly with the rise of The Beatles and Rolling Stones etc.  1967 in particular was, for me, the high point of the decade when all of those new approaches to music seemed to have peaked during the notorious "Summer of Love" with its beads and bells and love and peace.   The Americans had re-surfaced as a music force having been pegged back by the British Invasion bands that had taken America and the world by storm.   George Harrison had introduced everyone to Indian music, The Byrds, Spirit, Love, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead were all now common names in the music press.  Canadians too had made a huge impression Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen were huge rock names and The Band were rehearsing with Bob Dylan at the Big Pink at Woodstock, that is a wondrous scenario

Psychedelia and psychobabble had been a huge force on song-writing and The Beatles released their double A side Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields with Penny Lane being a literary and music perspective of Liverpool memories by Paul McCartney with his descriptive scene setting of daily life on Penny Lane.  Heavily orchestrated, this is one of my least favourites of his.  I find it quite sterile.  
Lennons Strawberry Fields, a take on the grounds of a local orphanage where he played at a kid was something other than that 'clean' musical approach of McCartneys.   With its swoops and diving cellos, time changes and gobbledygook lyrics people wondered at the hidden meaning, for me it was just a random, risky composition, which was a feature of Lennons writing.  Today we talk about Strawberry Fields as being such an iconic track that you would not have believed that it would be kept from reaching Number one by Engleburt Humperdinck and his "Release Me".  Immediately there was Press talk that The Beatles were finished and washed up, how fickle these press arseholes were, and still are.  
The fact is, it was not only young folk who bought records and once in a while there is some trinket that comes along and scores a massive hit, Release Me was selling 85,000 copies a day!!

Birmingham featured heavily in the 67 charts too with
The Move scoring successes with Night of Fear, I can Hear the Grass Grow, and of course Flowers in the Rain. 

Steve Winwood had left the Spencer Davis Group and formed the brilliant Traffic who had their first chart entry with Paper Sun and the equally successful follow up, Hole in my Shoe which I didn't like, a bit gimmick laden.  That aside, 1967 was a turning point and from this time on, music would start to be more on the more progressive side.  A time and place for everything if it were a wine  1967 would be one of the best reserves.

I had already been lucky enough to have had the Rock and Roll and Skiffle period, Elvis, Chuck Berry Beat group phase, The birth of The Beatles and all their wonders, the Blues phase which would influence all other music from that point on and now we were entering the more educated and whimsical period So, here is the chart as at 1 Nov 1967.  Given that the Bee Gees were British by birth, the only non-uk band on the chart were the Boxtops at No 10.

ZABADAK - Dave Dee etc
THE LAST WALTZ - E Humperdinck
HOMBURG - Procol Harum
THE LETTER - The Boxtops

1967 was a fab year and one that I shall remember till my dying day.  Had some great mates and the world at my feet, too young to understand how cruel people could be, I blasted my way through life enjoying every moment.  Birmingham was a tremendous City to be in and I loved life.   I think, in general terms the whole population were enjoying life at little more at that time and it was infectious in a very positive way.

There has been some movement on the scene of some ex brumbeat players so maybe I can give you some more informed news next month.  Until then keep warm, love each other, keep music live and keep your memories alive too, just thinking about those fantastic times is the best tonic you can take.

Have a Hug

Copyright Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Bulls Head Bob Oct 2017 - Hi Pop-pickers and Avids. I LOVE TONY BLACKBURN!! FLOWERS IN THE RAIN.

Howdoooooo! Brummies, Musos, Friends and all those across the world who visit here.

We know winters on the way once we get to October so it's always a bit of down month for me after the excitement and fun of the summer.  Nonetheless I have been cheered up lately by two things.  Firstly, the Mighty Aston Villa are on the rise and secondly I have become a fan of someone who, hitherto didn't really figure in my musical life and that is Tony Blackburn, "Come off it Bob, are you off yer rocker?" you're all thinking.

I'll explain, once again for two reasons the first of these being

In the June blog I gabbled on about the great, late, Brian Mathews the doyen of 60's music DJ's.  His last gig was presenting Sounds of the 60's which was on Radio 2 on a Saturday morning at 0900.  He was treated horrendously and sacked by the BBC and announced as dead when he wasn't!  Well since then the BBC sacked Tony Blackburn in an equally appalling manner over evidence he supplied to the Saville enquiry, in fact the story of it all raised the hackles of the British Public so much that a petition was formed to re-instate him.  He also decided to take on the corporation legally, a stance I truly admire from someone I wouldn't have expected it from.  

So it's good news, Sounds of the 60's is back and up and running but the bad news is that the programme is now on at 0600 on Saturday Morning.   Now that time really doesn't bother me because I'm an early riser but no doubt it's a chore for others, perhaps the BBC are secretly trying to slowly bury the show along with it's listeners, or Avids, as they were known during Brian's time.  

Brian Mathews was a great host and presented the 60's show in his usual familiar, friendly manner and now Tony Blackburn has come into the seat and I have to say, has brought a breath of fresh air to the programme along with his usual amount of groan jokes, which we all secretly like I think? 
He has been at the "toppermost of the poppermost" heights during the 60's and in the 90's when he was a faded memory, re-invented himself as the top crowd pleaser on the University circuits where he did his Northern Soul shows.  Gold Lame suit and all!   We need to remember and acknowledge that he has been through every evolving stage of rock radio and even played some records of my band when
he was on Radio London as a pirate DJ along with Simon Dee.

The joys of technology means that we can re-listen to the radio programme later on during the day via the computer so we are not trapped to get up for early eggs and bacon whilst listening to your favourite show but I really think it's being unkind to say the least.

The second reason I like Tony Blackburn was that he played the first record on Radio 1 and it was Brums own, The Move and the record was  "Flowers in the Rain".  It had come hot on the heels of Night of Fear and The Move were the flag bearers of the country on the eventide of psychedelia.   When I first heard it played on Radio 1 I thought that The Moves manager,
that slimy leech, Tony Secunda had slipped someone a brown envelope but Blackburn say it was simply the record on top of the pile so there you have it.  Something to be proud of though and it was a great time in British Rock music, there was a real vibe in the air and creativity was flowing through the world of art and fashion and we were all revelling in it.

It brings a tear to Roy Woods eye every time he hears it though as he never saw one penny of royalties following the law suit between The Move and the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson which was also instigated by the slimy leech man when he posted through the door of No 10 Downing Street a damning cartoon postcard of the Prime Minister and his secretary naked on a bed.

Last month, or Yesterday to be precise was the 50th anniversary of Radio 1
and they replayed the music of the original show with all the jingles and dog barks etc etc.  It wasn't an earth shattering moment in time but it marked a real milestone from what the BBC had dished out to us before.  So anyway Tony Blackburn, I wish you great success, the show is great.   I hope that you get enough backing to move the show back to a more realistic and listener friendly time slot.  Sounds of the 60's, tea and toast, a boiled egg or two is the real Saturday morning treat.

Been a busy month of gigging and digging for me, rock and roll and roses which was blissful. The downside is that once again, I find myself writing this blog whilst listening to the re-aired first Radio 1 show, that is the day before the publishing date.    I really don't know where the time goes to and my " I'll do it tomorrow" philosophy sometimes falls foul of being responsible.  Gladly the latter is something I never been guilty of.

Take care my friends.  See you next month.


Copyright:  Bulls Head Bob

Friday, 1 September 2017


Hello Brummies,

Well, Mrs Bob and I returned home a couple of days ago
from our hols in the sun of Spain, we are now tanned and healthy looking which, on the one hand is great but the downside is that she now has to buy an outfit to go with her skin tone? 

However, I agreed with her and even volunteered to go to town to help select something suitable for our visit to the boozer at the weekend where she plans to breeze into the bar and await all the "Ooooh aren't you brown" comments.   Now some men might lose their tempers about what could be perceived as reckless spending given that we spent tons of dosh enjoying ourselves eating Paella and other Spanish treats for a couple of weeks but bear this in mind.......when you feel the need to purchase another instrument or set of drums you can do it brazenly, without hiding it in the shed for a few months.

It's quite strange that after all these years that Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley is STILL credited as the first Rock and Roll release and not ROCKET 88
which had been recorded a full five years before by Jackie Brenton and his Delta Cats (Jackie Brenton was in fact Ike Turner).  Much of the dialogue about this record being Rock n Roll is based on the guitar sound which was dirty as a result of the bands guitarist dropping and damaging his amplifier a short time before the session.  Ike Turner said he didn't think it was the first Rock and Roll record but more of an R&B song BUT believed it did influence a lot of other folk into that direction, on listening afresh I can see why he said that, it does have much more of a 'shuffle' feel to it than a straight four-four time bopper.   Rocket 88 had been licensed by Sam Phillips and he was quoted as saying "If I could get a white boy to sing like that I'll be rich", the rest is history.

Fast forward a few years and, after the storm of musical change in the mid sixties, we need to ask the question
Black Sabbath back in the days when hair was plentiful.
 Now most people would say that Heavy Metal was invented in Birmingham and many people say that the first exponents of this music were Brums own Black Sabbath.  Why not? great band right from the start, had all the right ingredients, great name, plenty of drive, almost orchestrated in a simple but effective way, Tony Iommi had learned a good lesson during his short stint with Jethro Tull and put it to good use when he got back to his roots.  Now I probably agree that the term "Heavy Metal" may have come about at this time but for me there was one incredibly powerful recording that predated Sabbaths rise by three years and blew everything else out of the water. The term Metal didn't exist but this recording had all the necessary Oomph, volume and drama to fill the term a thousand fold.   The song was a well known Motown song that, in 1966, had girls dancing around their handbags at the many dance halls littering Birmingham and had been a hit for The Supremes.   

It's re-emergence one year later was staggering and it had been transformed into a punchy, VERY HEAVY recording, it was akin to knowing a likable, giggly child that had grown up into The Hulk with a meaner streak.   The recording itself was a real step up from the normal sterile, poppy efforts of much of the British and American record producers of the day.

Vanilla Fudge
The song was "You Keep me Hangin On" and the band Vanilla Fudge, sadly not from Birmingham but from the other side of the pond.   The recording was now played at half the speed of The Supremes, was rich and dirty like The Moody Blues "Go Now" had been recorded and was right in your face.  Heavy sounding dirge like Hammond organ pervaded the whole of the song intro which in turn was followed by bars and bars of hard hitting staccato drum beats and descending bass lines leading to the first vocal line "Set me free why don't you babe" which seemed to take on a darker, agonised tone, than it's predecessor with the vocal highlight of the shouted line, "And there ain't nothing I can do about it". The arrangement for the ending of the song was formidable too with the band in full flow and the staccato beats raining down but this time with the bass notes rising and rising until it came to an abrupt stop.  I first heard it whilst setting up for a gig at Dudley Zoo, and I seem to recall some guy bringing the '45' along for me to listen to courtesy of the DJ.   "Shit! that was good" I thought and got him to play it a couple of times more, fabulous voices, great heavy crescendo, it was a definite change of style.  The release got to No 6 in the UK chart.

John Lennon had claimed that "Daytripper" was the first
heavy song but then again he would have wouldn't he? It had a riff yes but no way was it in the Heavyweight class.  Some others says that The Beatles "Birthday" or "Helter Skelter" are the first heavy songs too but they were all recorded in 68.  McCartney said he did Helter Skelter because he'd heard that The Who were in the studio recording what would be the loudest song ever "I can See for Miles" and so, as usual The Beatles went into the studio to outdo them by layering lots of guitar tracks till they got to "11". There is little doubt in my mind though that Vanilla Fudges treatment of the original, quite insipid, Supremes recording was a major influence on the musicians of the day including The Beatles whether consciously or not.   

In the final analysis we are all influenced or affected by things that go on around us and quite clearly The Beatles did influence others after them but if the question is "What came First" in the Heavy category well, for me it was Vanilla Fudge.  So I recommend that, if you haven't heard it already give it a play.   One of my faves and frankly knocks Paranoid into a comfy cushion.   Play it loud!!  

Someone had to do it first but this time it wasn't someone from Brum.

OK you folks, I know it's a short blog but with a touch of controversy?

Take Care in this violent world we live in today.  It pisses me off beyond belief.
In the sixties, did we really work hard to re-educate and eradicate racism and hate only for it to be laughingly abandoned by successive generations and races as nothing more than a Hippy ideal? 

Take Care you Freaks!!


Copyright: Bullsheadbob