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

Thursday, 1 September 2016


Hiya Brummies, Brumbeaters, 60's music fans

There are great days and no so great days.

A couple of months ago I received the news from Will Hammond (The Uglys) that one of Brumbeats finest musicians had died.  That person being the great Jimmy O'Neil.    He also told me that, later on in the year, there was going to be a get-together in Birmingham of those who knew Jim.  Well that event happened a couple of weeks ago and I was a guest at a small gathering of Jimmie's old friends and family members at the house of Dave Morgan.   

A classically trained pianist, Jimmy O'Neil was an extraordinary pianist and organist, and had also played as a bassist. He started playing with some young musicians at The English Martyrs School at Sparkhill on the Stratford Road when he was around 14 years of age.

I believe his first band was The Jon Carter Image.   Jimmy had then struck up a musical friendship with Will Hammond and Malcolm Palmer and joined their band, The Yamps with whom he experienced a bit more success, playing R&B music around the country and at all those well known Birmingham venues.   

Will H:   "Although Jimmy was one of The Yamps, he only played with us if there was a piano available on the stage, we used to stick a mic inside the lid and put it through the Selmer PA, however, on those occasions he really lifted the sound of the band.  When the VOX Continental arrived on the scene Jim wasted no time getting one and we all met at Bob Stylers house (Yamps vocalist) to see and hear it.  I think we played about four more gigs with Jims VOX and then he turned up one day at my house and said "Right I'm leaving"  "I'm joining The Walker Brothers".  I was flabbergasted, The Walker Brothers were incredibly famous at the time with The Sun ain't gonna shine Anymore and other massive hits.   He never let on that he had been for an audition and in fact I don't know how he found out about it, maybe from the ads column in the NME or something I suppose".   I was surprised that I knew nothing because we were quite close but as time went by this trait of his 'private self' would re-surface a few times.
The Walker Brothers with Jimmy O'Neil right.
When the Walker Brothers decided to have a backing band instead of playing themselves Jim was set free and returned to Birmingham  The Uglys were riding high on their success with Wake up My Mind and had their sights set on recruiting Jimmy in to their fold.   Uglys drummer Jimmy Holden said "We set up an audition to see how he would get on with the group but in fact it ended up that he auditioned US!!" 
The Ugs 66, Jim second from right.
He joined the next day.   

Jimmy was not only a staggeringly great musical talent - he also had the looks and was a firm favourite with the girls.   An article in Melody Maker had described him as "the Dishy Jimmy O'Neil", from then on he was known in the band as The Dish.

Time went by with The Uglys on the road continually.   Over the next year there were a couple of personnel changes. In came Roger Hill and Dave Pegg for a few months then they were replaced by Will Hammond and Jim switched to Bass.  The band later recruited Dave Morgan to fill out the vocal sound.  The following photo would be the last one to feature Jimmy with The Uglys.

Uglys R to L Jim, Dave Morgan, Will Hammond, Jim Holden
Will H:  The day after this photo was taken, he called round to my house and said "I'm leaving the band"..."When?"......."Now" he said and he walked out of the door and joined up with the Mindbenders.  We were in a state of shock but a little bit of re-organisation in the band and we carried on regardless.  His time with that band wasn't a long one and he returned to Brum and played with a couple of  bands before departing to New York to try his hand there.   It is from there that he did his now famous disappearing trick and lost contact with his family and friends, occasionally re-surfacing for a day somewhere or other and then disappearing again. I would hear rumours of his whereabouts, at various places in the world and tried to trace him, as did Dave Morgan but we both had little or no success at all. 

Jimmy passed away whilst in the Philippines in January but it took a long time for the news to filter back".

After I had been given the invite to the get-together, a series of small, uncanny events occurred.   On BBC4's "Arena" there was programme called "1966 The Year the Decade Exploded" a documentary of the book of the same name by Jon Savage.  9 minutes into the prog, whilst talking about the nuclear holocaust threat, The Uglys track Quiet Explosion started.  The day after I was looking through the Guardian and in the middle pages was a review of the programme and a piece specifically about The Uglys.   A friend from the North phoned me to ask if I'd seen it too?   How strange I thought, not a word about the band and then along come four instances within two days.   

As I arrived at the house, on the night, there was one car parked in the street and I was shocked to see its number plate..... talk about good omens.

The get together was a small affair for those who specifically knew Jimmy.  The Uglys were there though, including Will and Keith Smart who had flown in from Spain for the occasion.   Dave Morgan and his band played a few songs including one written for Jimmy called "The Queen, The Prince and The Dish".   

Following Dave's set, Will Hammond got up with the band to play a couple of tunes to be followed by Steve Gibbons, Steve asked Will to stay on and, unrehearsed and quite frankly unexpected, they cracked into Chuck Berrys "No Money Down".  The call then went out for Jimmy Holden to join the other 3 Uglys and although he had only the Cajon to play instead of a drum kit, for the first time since 1967 The Uglys line-up that Jim had left were up playing Summertime Blues together....  There were a couple of kit problems but it was nothing short of a miracle and a joy to behold.  A fitting finale to their old band mate.

THE UGLYS - 2016
The Uglys 2016 L to R.  Steve Gibbons, Dave Scott-Morgan, Jimmy Holden, Will Hammond

There were loads of Jimmy stories and a lot of affection in the air as we all said goodbye to him...God Bless you Jimmy.



John Fox emailed 2 days ago to say that there is going to be a reunion of Brummie muso's from the 60's  (and others?) on 10 September.  Unfortunately I don't know the venue or who's going but am informed that some bands will be playing.  Sorry to be a bit vague but its the first I've heard of it.  However, if you are interested in going you can call Big Al Johnson on 0121 360 7051 for further details.

Take Care and keep your memories warm.

Copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Monday, 1 August 2016

BULLS HEAD BOB AUG 2016. Reg Calvert's Stable Reunions. New Age Oldsters - Tom Lane. Death of a Prince.

Hello you Brummies, Brummettes, Rockers, Rollers, Shufflers and Strollers.

We've all kind of settled back and accepted our Brexit fate or fortune, Dave the Rave has exited No 10, George Osborne has been sent to the Pointless Forest to sulk and Jeremy Corbyn is hated by the Labour Party for being a gutless wonder, he still purports to be the leader.  Crazy as it may be, these British events, apart from Corbyn the Insignificant, have been totally eclipsed by Pokemadness. Now when I was young I was always one for a good poke and I was mostly mad for it but now it is the "must have" fodder for semi-intelligent techno tossers running around the streets with their smart phones in the hunt for something that only exists VIRTUALLY! least in my day things actually existed and you got something physical out of it, even if it was a dose of crabs.
 YES THEY ARE ADULTS!!     copyright ExpressandStar

This insanity has really ramped up my grumpy level one hundred fold and I am now declaring my bit of Brum independent and free of NOTHING VIRTUAL or is that ANYTHING VIRTUAL? or VIRTUALLY NOTHING?

Enter the zone at your peril, I've got a loaded zimmer.

Reg Calvert's name is well known in Birmingham and the West Midlands by those of us who were around in the 60's.  An entrepreneur who signed and managed his own 'stable' of acts.  He did things his own way, promoted his own concerts and made himself someone to be reckoned with.   ´The Fortunes, Pinkertons Assorted Colours, Tanya Day, Danny Storm, Johnny Neal, Robbie Hood, Jon Washington were all part of his gang and he did an excellent job in promoting them all with varying degrees of success.

For some of you, those names will be just names without faces but I'm glad to report that Susan Moore, the daughter of Reg Calvert has, for the past 5 years at least, been organising re-unions of some of these great musicians at her home, including live performances and, no doubt sharing a plethora of war stories.

Susan has a website dedicated to her Father and the stable of artists that went through Clifton Hall under Reg's tutelage called Reg Calvert Plays.   There are some great photos of the re-unions where you may be able to spot some of your old friends and group members.  Click on the link below,

If you were one of Reg's gang then why not get in touch with Susan through the website. Get to see your old colleagues before its all too late.

Susan Moore has also written two books, the first being 

Popcorn to Rock
n' Roll and the second
Clifton Hall School of Rock n' Roll.

I'm sure they will be good reading of how things were then and how the business operated.

When us young brumbeaters got the urge to go electric back in the early 60's we all thought that we would be playing for a few years, until we died young and became legends, there was no way we would get old, that was only for our parents.   Being 30 years old was an embarrassment and 40 was unimaginable as we swaggered around in our skin tight jeans and winkle pickers.   George Harrison famously said of the Beatles "We can see ourselves being popular for about 4 years and then I'll probably open a shop or something".   Well that generation seems to have gone on forever.  Some of the folk who were never going to get old and play till they die have got very old and a lot of them have died, sadly having stopped playing music before that final event but luckily some haven't succumbed to Doctor Death and are still playing gigs.

One of those older youngsters, or Oldsters if you will, has featured here occasionally and he is Tom Lane, drummer for several bands throughout his life, notably the Tuxedo Junction Blues Band and Luddy Sammes Soul Band pictured below, minus Luddy Sammes, who'd have thought that a singer would miss an opportunity to be photographed?  Checks, tweeds and stripes were all the fashion then.

Tom recently emailed to let me know that even now, at 69 years young, he is still getting offers to play with younger bands.   He is not the only one either..............there is a message here and that is we oldsters paid our dues playing nearly every night at pubs, clubs, dives, cellars, births and marriages for years.    One gig is worth twenty practise sessions and this experience or apprenticeship, equipped us all with a depth of experience that you don't forget and certainly will not be matched in today's climate of very little live music.
Sticks covered in blood! Tom Lane
Tom tells me that his band The Acemen have recently reformed and are now playing gigs again.  Their next will be at the Bird in Hand, Measham on 12 August.  Why not take a cyber stroll to the Facebook page courtesy of the Acemen link below, where you can find out about forthcoming gigs and other stuff.


I for one am not surprised that Tom continues to receive offers....class tells!!

Well Prince, the Artist formerly known as "The Artist formerly Known as Prince" has put on his Raspberry Beret, climbed into his Little Red Corvette and has disappeared into the firmament, well in his case the lift.  Pretty sad given what a prodigious writer of good songs he was, allied to his killer shows and musicianship.   There's certainly one thing we can depend on following a famous persons demise though and that is the grasping insanity of the Americans with a host of people coming forward to claim their share of his fortune, so far six alleged Fathers have been disregarded along with another 24 so called family members.   

Hope you have a lovely summer the weather report is on the up!  Best stay home though as the pound is not worth as much as before in hotter climes.

Cheers for Now

copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Friday, 1 July 2016


Hello you Brummies, Brummie musos, Brummies Abroad.  Non Brummies
and my new eurochum Gota Speenvast the current Swedish Ice Dance champion-ess.    

The Morning after the Vote.....

"Morning Mr Bob" said Lucy as she gave me a kiss as I was reading the morning mail delivery.  "Ooooo!" she said looking concerned "Got something on your mind?"

"Yes" I said putting down the letter I was reading, "I am amazed at the current 'rum do' but I'm not going to venture an opinion of any kind whatsoever of us not being in the Union anymore or the in's or outs of it's policies . 

 On a social level, I get sniffs of some craziness verging on the edge of "Princess Diana madness"  and personally, I have an extremely sad feeling of the loss of kindness and tolerance that once was our very reason for being Brits and especially Brummies.   Having grown up in Brum through the years that first saw the influx of people from outside of the City, the arrival of the Irish, the West Indians and Jamaicans then the glorious years of the 60's when there was a richness of cultures that educated us all and took some of us down the road of enlightenment,  learning and growing together as friends and equals.  Didn't that generation start the fight for racial equality?"   I said as we were having Breakfast.

"Yes" said Mrs Bob quizzically.   "So we're out of the European Union then?.... "Yes" I replied.   
"Well I'll go and get out the Insurance Policy box and cancel our standing order, we've never claimed a penny on it".......?????    

The world goes on and my toast still gets cold if I don't eat it whilst it's warm.

It was Sunday afternoon.  I'd been down the boozer had
couple of beers and a moan, swore that I wouldn't be supporting The Villa anymore until they become a football team and not a selection of lilly livered Bentley Drivers.  Walked off my anger, had a great Mrs Bob dinner and sat down to watch the Glastonbury Legend set which featured Brums own Jeff Lynne and his ELO. I'm not a great Jeff fan but thought I should watch it out of a sense of Brummie solidarity.  It started to rain as Jeff sauntered on, the only other original ELO member and wise-old-owl looking Richard Tandy had floated over to his perch already. 

"Hello Glastonbury" Jeff ventured, knowing of course that you don't get to say that very many times in your life.  He cleverly made it a cliche.  Thats class.   
So off they went, into the catalogue of hits and they sounded exactly as I knew they would, huge orchestra, great band of high class session musicians, everything just as it should be, Jeffs highly compressed sounding voice laid back in the mix, the cameras swept across across the stage as all the girl violinists sexily swayed and played.    From a technical standpoint, it was quite funny because when Jeff spoke his voice was still heavily compressed.

Then came the highlight of the whole show.   The cameras swooped out from the stage to the multi-coloured, cagoule-enshrouded faces of the sodden audience which made them look like a field of wet jelly babies with open mouths as they sung along to their favourite songs, and then...... a man in a rubber dinghy actually rowed across the heads of the jelly babies!   I think Jeff missed it?   This was just like watching Pink Floyd and their floating sheep...during Animals.
You can see him by clicking here below.


I mention the above boat  thing that entertained me only to say that, as this was a "Legends" slot and people had waited a long time to see ELO, ergo Jeff Lynne, on stage again.  The boat was much more interesting from an entertainment standpoint.  They might just have well watched a DVD for all the audience contact that he made with his loyal fans.   

At festivals there's always a buzz going on between songs as the excitement level rises and the crowd start shouting out things.   There was noticeable silence during the breaks between songs that could have been filled with a word or two and changed the whole outcome of this quietly acceptable, made to measure performance.  No human touch.  I was actually entertaining myself watching Jeffs guitar tech, my goodness me he walked some miles..

I'm sure that had they played later on, in the dark, their light show would have been much more effective it would have been more of an experience.     

Later on that night during Coldplays headlining set they were joined by Barry Gibb who seemingly was the original artist they wanted for the Legends set that had been then filled by Jeff Lynne's ELO?  BG had previously cried off with illness, strange then that he should be there playing "Staying Alive"?

It's a funny old world.

Probably the first guitarist you would have heard play a solo would have been the great Scotty Moore who sadly departed the scene a couple of days ago.

Just that slide-off he does in Jail House rock was some of the first tricks we used
to make ourselves more rock and roll.    

Scotty had his own signature guitar
a beautiful Gibson Memphis.

He was one of the first innovators of the electric guitar sound and he deservedly merits to be treated with massive respect and not just being fortunate enough to have played with the great Elvis during his best times either.   I raise my hat to you Scotty.

BONO has a signature guitar too?
It's funny old world ain't it??

Did you know that more people get kicked to death each year by donkeys than by air crashes.   

Take Care

copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


Watcha Brummies,

First of June means it's the start of summer in the Bob household, over the Whitsun Bank Holiday we watched Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday whilst browsing through holiday brochures, scattered across the table for far-off destinations that I doubt we will ever be able to afford to visit.  It was great to
see Cliff and The Shads' again and I was mentally whisked back to my youth, being totally absorbed by that group and their effect on the British music world of those days, just a stunningly good group.  It pains me to hear young guitarists these days mocking Hank as a guitar force.  Everything has it's time though and personally I'm pleased to see the back of that Prog Rock noodling shit, as least Hank had some soul to his playing. 

Mrs Bob has been to the Bank holiday sales in town and returned home grinning from ear to ear full of pride with her thrifty shopping bargain of a new bikini that was two sizes too small but only cost 8 quid.  "I beat off three other women for this, the ticket price was originally 35 quid" she said, showing me the old label.   She then signed up for a 3 month Gymnasium 'Bikini Special' membership that cost 90 pounds!!   "Thats cheap" she said.   Stuck for words.

Anyway it's given me a bit of peace because in preparation for going to the Gym she has taken to wearing her leotard and going for daily jogs, she uses the MP3 player I gave her for Christmas that I'd pre-filled with Cheryl Cole tracks, she says they make her run faster.   I keep saying "Lucy you can't run away from her, you have to turn it off! 
Most important thing first.   I am very pleased to say that ex Cheetahs and Fairfield Ski drummer Dave Hynds is back on the scene playing drums and writing songs again after being away for a long time through illness. 

Great to see you back and 'at it' again Dave.  I know I won't be the only one who is gladdened by this news.   Onward and upward big man.

Paul Brunt
Not too long ago I did a piece about a Gibson J200 King of Rock, owned by Paul Brunt.  My advice at that time was if you wanted to buy a guitar which will grow in value then you should always go for 'one off' run of limited editions of below 200. I think the King of Rock is valued around 4000 pounds for the low serial numbers.  Now if you've a bit a cash lying around and are worried about the UK and what could happen to the value of the pound should Brexit happen.  You could think about buying something like this guitar, an L-5 in an extremely low edition run of ONE and is currently available on EBay.  

I shall just paraphrase some of the details from the advert for this stunning, one of a kind, stained glass style Gibson L5.

Made by top luthier Bruce Kunkel of the Gibson Custom is the only one of it's kind.  It is in mint condition and comes with all original paperwork.   

Visit EBay for all the mouthwatering details of this fabulous thing.   

It's sporting the King of Rock pearl inlays as used on the J200 but the headstock is a different shape.

The downside of owning such a beautiful instrument as this does mean you would be worried about getting an accidental 'ding' in it SO you could, at the same time buy a guitar to play whilst looking at the Stained Glass beauty in a glass case. 

I think I could look at this piece of art for a long, long time, I wish it were mine.   One thing if you're thinking of doing one yourself is that Bruce Kunkel is brilliant, massively respected and works for Gibson.   You probably don't.

This Bruce Kunkel Gibson L5 is on offer at
27,345 pounds 71 pence.  The auction finishes at the end of the June or thereabouts.

A while back I wrote a piece saying that the first proper worldwide music video made was by Alex Wharton, ex manager and producer of The original Moody Blues.    
An iconic piece of black and white film for the 1964 song Go Now.  Two months ago I was contacted by someone from the British Film Institute who are currently compiling some data to produce the definitive list of who and what came first and I was pleased to pass them on to Alex.

This caused me to re-investigate the claim on hearing that there had been a reference to a Czech film promoting a 'review' in 1958 as the first music video. The song is called DAM SI BO BYTU.    There is something here though that we need to clarify though, is that a Pop Music Video? or simply advertising for a show?   In 1958, in Soviet controlled Czechoslovakia, you would have had to be one of the chosen few from the communist party to actually own a TV so hardly anyone would have seen it for a start. Based on that premise we could say that any piece of music recorded on film, whether viewed or not, was a music video, and that is clearly not the case.

In 1927 the first "talkie" film The Jazz Singer was released with 6 music tracks sung by Al Jolson, it was the first recorded piece of singing on film so one would presume that preview clips of the film would have been shown in cinemas advertising the does that mean that it is the first music video and not the Czech one?  It's confusing to say the least.  

I looked around the net and other places investigating further and although not relevant to the claim as being the first, I came across a remarkable 1968 music video, also from Czechoslovakia. Now it may not come as a surprise to learn that I don't speak Czech but some clips explain themselves through visuals and I have one here that you should definitely watch.  The song is called TRA LA LA but I believe that it translates to:

Synopsis:   Pretty girl is loved by a Czech chimney sweep but she discovers whilst on the roof with him that he only has 'small tackle' and whilst she loves his cheeky smile, she fancies his older and fatter, brother who makes his living as an Oliver Hardy look-alike and is endowed with an appendage that has to be carried around in a wheelbarrow.  The presenter of this 1968 clip appears to be under the influence of some halucenogenic, mescaline based drug.  
Click on the link below, you won't regret it.



I once read an interview with Cliff and he said "I used to wake up and feel Elvis inside of me"? Uh Huh.  

OK folks, be kind to each other and enjoy your holiday planning.

Take Care

copyright: Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 May 2016


Watcha Brummies, Brumettes, Brumbeat Muso's, Bikers, Hikers, My Feminist Sweety Pies and a special hello to the "Lozells looks Better from the Air Association". 

"My word you do look queer" said Mrs Bob quoting old comedian and king of the monologue,  Stanley Holloway. "Have you been drinking that
Morning Glory tea again?" referring to the outcome of a bit of a mistake I made with some granules in the bottom of a mug.  The 'granules' were in fact some Morning Glory seeds given to her by her Mother, which I added hot water to.  I swear to this day that I thought I was making a Cuppa Soup and it ended up with me apparently conducting some bizarre naked ritual with a visiting double glazing salesman?....for me it was childish fun and free spirited, halucenogenic buffoonery.  I shan't go into details but I doubt if we will EVER have another cold caller at the door.    

Well I was feeling poorly-like and so I took to my bed, my temperature soaring.  I think I must have been halucinating again because at one point I even imagined Mrs Bob coming into the darkened bedroom and shouting "The Villa have been relegated".....she looked like the devil and cackled like a bearded witch.  
"Bad trip man", I thought and anyway we always scrape through?   When I came round a few days later Nobber phoned me up with the official news and was weeping like a baby.

Look on the bright side'll give us another chance to thrash the other team. 

For the first time ever I didn't get the blog out last month so sorry for that you guys and especially for you Plooki, alone in your Tokyo loft.   I'm up and fully recovered from my recent ailments so would firstly like to say many thanks to you people who dropped me a line of the 'Get Well Soon' variety, very much appreciated and all those who visited the blog numerous times throughout the month, waiting for my drivel to come along.   

Clearly I'm not dead and I have little more to say about the recent spate of deaths of some of those we loved and knew, many others were our role models for life ....we're all in the queue, best celebrate now!!  

Writing the piece on Barry Reeves a couple of month's ago had me contacting people in the search for Johnny Whitehouse and The Congressmen, a previous group he had been a member of.  

One of those I made contact with is someone well known in the Brumbeat legacy and who now lives in variety city, Las Vegas and that person is the great:
Jon Washington has been known by a variety of Johns, Johny's and Jons so for the interests of my own frail memory I shall try and use the right spelling variant chronologically with a pause for a George along the way?

Johny Washington was the front man for Johny Washington and The Congressmen who hailed from the Coventry area who had a great career with some great midlands bands and association with some of the noteable characters who were prevalent in the midlands in the glory days.   We 'crazy cats'  who formed bands were Arty, out there on the cutting edge of design we embraced the atomic age in our stride and produced amazing artwork to publicise ourselves. 

In 1962 Johny Washington and The Congressmen were no exception
(Copyright Jon Washington)

You've just got to love that haven't you?  It's got it all as a time capsule, just as The Beatles were arriving.  Undecided Elvis or Beatles? moody greaser with a slim dickie-bow, Crazy swinging capitalised lettering, one 'N' in Johny.  The other members of the band  floating around in the background. I would make a guess that the guy with the  'Hank' glasses was the guitarist and I might be hazarding another guess here but I think that Johny himself might have had something to do with the construction of this poster? 
Just fabulous though, it was the way young bands were and for me those were genuinely the happiest days I spent playing.  So for anyone who didn't get beyond that, you didn't miss too much.    

It struck a spark in Johny though who had got the taste for performing and wasted no time time getting himself deeper into the music world because the very same year that the above photo was taken he met up at a gig, at the Nuneaton Co-op, with the great Reg Calvert who invited him to become one of his Clifton Hall 'stable' or budding artistes.

Reg had his own way of doing things and after a meeting between Reg and Johnys parents Johny was taken on and re-launched as a solo artist....Johnny Washington, now with an added N and he must have fancied himself for the big-time.

Johnny recorded on the Oriole label and played all of Reg's venues as well as the package show tour around the country along with other stablemates including Robby Hood and his Merry Men who was fronted by another stablemate Mike West, but now known as Robby Hood.  Johnny Washington was also co-opted into the Merry Men to augment the guitar sound and vocals.  The Merry Men including Johnny as a band were taken on by Decca, the band name flew out of the window along with those hideous costumes (no surprise there!)and after a while as The Cliftones the name The Fortunes arrived in their laps.  

It's 1964 and during all this hubub of musical activity Reg Calvert had arranged
another solo record deal for Johnny with the Fontana label and the great Les Reed as producer.   Johnny was going to have a Reed/Mason song to record who were the top hitmakers of the day and would also go on to write "Tell me When" for The Applejacks and "Here it comes Again" for the Fortunes. 

They didn't like Johnny's name though so they changed it to George E. Washington and he got the band back this time as The Congress.   George E. who used to be Johnny with two N's recorded "Spare a thought For Me" and   Glen Dale filled his slot with The Fortunes.

The record is so full of the sounds of 64 and naturally got lots of air play, doing moderately well in the UK and a great success in other parts of Europe but more put George E. on the musical map.   He continued to tour the country as George E. until another opportunity came knocking for him at the end of 65 when he was offered the job as vocalist for The Applejacks who were a great band, successful and had an extremely polished act and George E. would now be known as John Washington. 
John Washington white polo neck.
He was a good choice to replace Al Jackson not solely because he was a great vocalist but because he looked right with the band and similar to Al himself in some ways.

John served his time with The Applejacks and their
busy schedule of playing the cruise liners across to New York and back until 1970 when the band dissolved.  John took the bull by the horns and moved to America in 1971 and, having secured a recording contract with Columbia they built a group around him and he toured across the whole of the USA for most of the 70's.  His time with The Applejacks had honed his performance techniques and he was going down well with the American audiences.   

He was now Jon Washington, without the H.  Thank goodness for that because he has been Jon since then.

One would think that, had that been the end of a fruitful career, any right thinking guy would have been happy and retired and opened a book shop or something.   Not for Jon, no sir!

ENTER THE 80's, 90's and the O's
In the 80's Jon signed to Mega International Records and in 1988 had two Billboard Top 100 hits on the country charts with "Once Dance Love Affair" and "Two Hearts".   This renewed success bought some very welcome TV shows and National tours that boosted Jon's profile to yet another another huge audience and he has continued to tour, write and record songs right through to today. 

As if that wasn't enough his CD, "I can Feel a Love Coming On" was nominated for a Grammy in 2003! 

Jon was now a big act and had been doing a lot of shows at various Casinos in Las Vegas and he decided that this would probably be the place to relocate to rather than to keep travelling to, so he moved to Las Vegas permanently in 1995 and was the resident House act at the acclaimed  
Stardust Casino till 2005.  

Jon continues to tour at Festivals, Fairs and Theatre venues and released his last CD "The Heartbreak Chronicles" in 2015

From Moody greaser to sophisticated  and elegant charm
Oh yeah! and this amazing guy has also written 3 non fiction books on music and has his first Novel due for publication later this year.   So if ever there was living proof of determination with a willingness to diversify, Jon has it in spadefulls.  It's a genuine pleasure to welcome to the hallowed halls of the Brummies Abroad the great Jon Washington.
Ex Uglys guitarist Will continues enjoying his life writing, recording and playing gigs in Spain whilst rebuilding his old village farmhouse.  

"I've just taken posession of my new customised stripey Stratocaster and I've called it Pete after the great Pete Oliver and his WASP shop.  I've had a pair of humbuckers fitted and it sings beautifully, can't wait to get out gigging with it"


Ex Brumbeats vocalist Graham Ashford and wife Caroline have been tripping too, not in the Morning Glory manner, but have just returned from cruising down to New Zealand for six weeks.   

Graham lives in Hawaii during the winter and at his new house in the woodlands of Seattle for the rest of the year but this year he will be in New York for the whole of September. 

He has the good fortune to have a beautiful bald eagle resident at the back of the property of his new abode which has a stage area out back with a seating area for about 100 so he's planning some summer shows there.

Graham with Pono Kane.
That should make him popular with the neighbours.  His Hawaian band Pono Kane are also on the agenda for a gig there, so that should be a great Hawaian Night for sure.

Graham has also just been approached to join a '60's band in the Seattle area which would be just tremendous. He sang right through the heydays of British Rock in some of the best Brummie groups so he'll be in his element for sure.

If he does I don't think he will be adopting his old 'stage moves' anymore though.  Here he is in his more flexible days with The Plazents. 

copyright G Ashford

Toodle Ooooooooooooooo