Friday, 1 February 2019

Bulls Head Bob - FEB 2019. ROBERT PLANTS NEW BAND. DONT GET FOOLED BY FAKES! THE UGLYS, "I've Seen the Light",

Hello Brummies and Musos, 

Hope you are all well and hunkering down in the current cold snap.

ROBERT PLANTS NEW BAND
SAVING GRACE
Planty and his new band Saving Grace did a surprise unannounced gig at the SpArc Theatre, Bishops Castle, last week.   It was a venue that he had used before to "air" a new line up.   Seems like this could be an extension of the music vibe he had with Alison Kraus, so nice one and I hope you get to catch
a performance soon.
The line up is, Robert Plant, all round good guy Tony Kelsey, Matt Worsley, Suzi Dian and Oli Jefferson.   Folksy and Bluesy in an intimate setting sounds brilliant to me.
FAKE 45. 
The UGLYS "I've Seen the Light".
These days with the masses of technology available its possible for anyone to record a song at home in your bedroom and put it on Youtube for example to get some airtime or even get it on Spotify.   Back in the days of the 60's it was impossible to do and it was every musicians dream to make a record.

To get to that point of being signed to a record label and actually see your
record for sale in a record shop was thrilling but didn't come easy unless your Dad knew someone in the record business and then maybe you could creep in through the back door.    It only came after years of playing and practising and then getting picked up by a record company or by joining a bigger band who had recorded already.  I was so excited to be making a record and being in a band publicised as "recording artistes", it was a real big deal then.   Going to London and entering the huge recording studio was scary as anything but I was actually recording a song for a Label, how great was that for a 17 year old?  

There was no thought at all of any money that the record might have generated, it didn't seem to be anywhere near as important as having a recording contract itself and that my friends was the downfall of many bands.  Royalties were a joke then anyway with the band earning something like a penny for every single sold and the record and publishing company kept the rest.    Loads of famous groups got nothing materially, in the financial sense, from recordings but you did get an increase in the amount of gigs you did and a real rise in appearance money and that's what bands lived off, by playing 7 nights a week.  All the money the Spencer Davis Group got for their record sales was ploughed back into Island Records by Chris Blackwell.    The Small Faces, Them  and The Yardbirds to name but 3 got nothing either, courtesy of of Don Arden and
Georgio Gomelsky. Then of course we get to The Moody Blues and Tony Secunda, despite having had the brilliant Go Now in the charts were perpetually broke, so much so that bassist Clint Warwick walked out of the band and went back to being a carpenter at the height of their fame and Denny Laine just quit to form The Denny Laine String Band.

   It was only 2 years ago, shortly before Ray Thomas' death that the band won their legal fight to get their royalties for the single which was a world wide success.  Many, many groups fell to pieces, penniless despite having had lots of chart success because of being naive about finances and as Don Arden famously said "If someone wants to have their money taken off them, I'm the man".  

During the mid 80's I lived in Wiltshire for a while and had arranged for my house to be painted, I was amazed to see that the painter was Tich, the bass player from Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mitch and Tich another 60's band deprived of their dosh.  Anyway those days have gone and many of those past artists have passed away.  However, the vinyl records have remained in the public eye and have become sought after recordings, one of those is Birmingham's own "The Uglys" whose records, with the exception of End of the Season have all been a favourite collectible with record collectors.   
(The Uglys 1968)
The most valuable of all their records was the unreleased MGM recording of "I've Seen the Light",  there were only 7 copies of the Promotional single pressed, one each for the band and two for the producer.  Within a month of the recording the band had finished for good.


Its value had reached and even surpassed 2000 pounds!   In 2004 The Ugs released a CD of their past recordings along with some BBC recordings and a few studio outtakes. The CD sold out and now has become another sought after article in its own right because the Sanctuary Record label collapsed shortly after its release.

I was very surprised then, a couple of weeks back to see this for sale on EBay:
Here we have what purports to be The Uglys ultra-rare single with a price of just 16 pounds!!   BUT......this is not an MGM single even though in the description of the record it says MGM re-issue and rates its condition as VG++.
The 7 copies of the single were only printed on a pink background with a large A covering the label.  THIS IS A FAKE and the recording is copied from the CD which in turn was copied from one of the bands original copies because the master tapes are no longer available.

The only person getting anything for this is the person who has faked it.  So even now the band still get nothing and the public get stiffed as well!!

If you wish to buy a collectible piece of vinyl do your homework, there are plenty of reputable books on the subject or websites like Cat45 which go into detail about valuable 45's.  Don't get hoodwinked, do lots of research and avoid
the traps of the unscrupulous robbing bastards.

DAVE PEACE RIP
Sad to announce that Dave Peace ex Crawdaddies passed away on 23 Jan aged 70.  A funeral will take place at Oak Chapel, Crownhill Crematorium, MK8 0AH at 1.15pm.  Family flowers only please and if you plan to attend can you contact Mary Peace.

FINALLY
I've just had a coal delivery so once Mrs Bob has finished storing it in the shed properly and raked out the ashes she'll soon be getting a nice fire going so you can bring on the cold, I can take it.!!

Yours in much Warmth

Bob

Copyright:  Bullsheadbob
contact:  Bobsbullocks@GMail.com



Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Bulls Head Bob Jan 2019. HAPPY NEW YEAR. LANEY MINI LIONHEART. BRUMMIES ABROAD , THE BRUMBEATS, THE UGLYS

Hi You Brummies, Friends around the World, Groups for Groupies,
et al...


Here we are again, another New Year to get your Dentures into and what a year its going to be. Brexit is upon us, what a great adventure and whether your an "inner" or an "outer" there is going to be blood on the tracks for some.  Kind of scary but in a good way, I have my stiff upper lip at the ready as we take on the rest of europe.    I have already learned to dislike the Belgians so just another 26 countries to go and being a Grumpy Old Shit already, it should be a piece of cake, nice British Cake though not that crap they give you in Spain that dries your mouth out! or that sticky shit in Italy.  

It does have a large negative affect on travelling musicians though, with all the customs checks on movement of equipment etc so that is not too good and you just know that the French are going to pounce on anything British aren't they?  For me I'd like to see in place at Dover a total ban on the import of French music of any sort!! and their soddin' accordians.

The Christmas season went well in the Bob
household and we were all in that nice family spirit of joy and togetherness, albeit by Facetime in some cases.

I was lucky to recieve from one of the Bobettes a nice Mini Amp, a Laney Lionheart, which is really fab, and one that I recommended in the Blog a month or so ago so that was welcome and is perfect for indoor use.
It has gain and amazingly, adjustable Delay.  Such a lot of fun.  I highly recommend this. I tried all my guitars through it with single coil giving the best response.  Get one if you can.

CHRISTMAS BRUMMIES ABROAD
GRAHAM ASHFORD- USA
One from Europe and one from America.  Firstly lets jet off to the USA to the beautiful Washington State home of former BRUMBEATS vocalist Graham Ashford and his wife Caroline.  Where they are in the throes of the Seasons Festivities
nestling beautifully in the woods, its the perfect setting for one of those American Christmas movies.  It obviously that the Christmas spirit has been upon him as he has been playing Santa to a a Jazzersize group locally.  

Fantastic outfit I have to say, its a bit of a step up from the Santa that used to be in Lewis Department Store in Birmingham back when we were lads

"I have had to take some time off from  singing whilst recovering from some surgery".   I anticipate that when he flies off to his other home in Hawaii for the summer he'll be raring to go again. 

"I wish everyone I know a Happy New Year"·
Happy New Year from everyone in the UK Graham.

The BRUMBEATS were one of the best of the Birmingham Bands and now I shall proceed to another.

WILL HAMMOND - SPAIN
Now lets venture forth unto the European BREXIT trenches where Willie Hammond, Ex lead guitarist for the Birmingham bench-mark band 
THE UGLYS is keeping his head well down in the heart of the Spanish countryside in his converted Farmhouse where he hides away with his wife Linda.  
"Christmas in Spain, that is the giving of gifts, does not happen till Jan 5th but we maintain our Christmas Day traditions and gorge ourselves for Christmas and Boxing Day.  It is a little odd to be in the sunshine so from our selfish perspective it would be great to have some snow to make it complete".   

The Spanish ramp-up the Fiesta spirit here and from New Years Eve till the end of February its party after party".   

Will is still playing various festivals and gigs with his band and enjoying a great following in his adopted home.

 "Happy Christmas to everyone in Birmingham, at Brumbeat.Net and Bob the Blogger,  Feliz Navidad"

Happy New Year to you Willie.

FINALLY.

I'd like to add my own New Years felicitations to those of the above Brummies abroad and wish you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year.  Thanks for reading the Blog and many thanks to those who sent me warm Christmas Greetings.  

Cheers

Bob

Copyright: Bullsheadbob
Contact:  Bobsbullocks@GMail.com





Saturday, 1 December 2018

Bulls Head Bob Dec2018. Happy Christmas

Hello Brummies

Christmas is upon us and the shopping is getting serious.  I've got all my gifts sorted out for those I love, Christmas cards written for those
I know and as a present to myself, I have decided to completely disregard those from my past that I used to know, from this day forward, you know, those who come to you for help when they need it but deaf you out when they don't.    So that's my early resolution and one that I am loving already.

Is that mean spirited given that we are in  the season of goodwill to men and all that stuff?, no of course not, you only have to please yourself and not throw yourself under the self inflated egos of others.   I shall be 70 years old tomorrow so think I deserve a little peace, tranquillity and happiness.   I am happy, playing music with a great band, doing lots of song writing and recording and I have genuine mates and the blessing of having Mrs Bob by my side so have no need of the devious ones in my life any longer.   That being said I wish them no harm so Happy Christmas to them too.

50 YEARS AGO The White Album
Lots of things happened 50 years ago in 1968 it was the hippy revolution, peace and love and stuff. It was also the year of the release of the Beatles White Album.   I heard this for the first time at John Pantneys, or Pank and he was known and like all things Beatles around that time I was in love with it from the first hearing and would play it over and over again. I was quite amazed at its rawness given the lushness and recording marvel that had been its predecessor, Sgt Pepper.   I play it a lot still.   The world had no knowledge of the inner turmoil of the Beatles at that time so just saw it as another Beatles marvel.  

It has been re-released as a 50th anniversary deluxe package.  Once again
George Martins son Giles has remixed it into a 5.1 surround sound package, goodness knows why?   I was horrified at his production of the "Beatles 1"
I threw it in the bin after the first hearing. 
Anyway this set comes with 3 Cd's, one of which is out-takes....done to death with the anthology releases already.  It costs between 22 and 25 pounds or you can get the even more deluxe version on vinyl for 165 quid!!!!

Just because you might be the son of someone who was instrumental in forging and encouraging the greatest band in living history doesn't mean that you have the Midas touch too.  For me the only way to listen to this fantastic collection of music is by buying it in its original mix so please, by all means buy Beatles music for gifts for those who may have never heard of them, who thought that day would come?   I wont be buying this.

BRUMBEAT.Net
Id like to wish John Woodhouse, Editor of Brumbeat a merry christmas, he will be under three feet of snow in Canada as we speak.   John has done an outstanding job of continuing the Brumbeat story of west midlands bands of the 60's for many years now.   With the massive rise in social media sites of Facebook and the like, everyone has the chance to open their own page on whatever they wish but John started when none of that was available and put in many hours of his time writing biographies of bands and also writing many interesting and varied articles on the times of the 60's.   Please take the time to support the site.
SALVATION ARMY
Every year I mention the Sally Anne.   This organisation is fantastic and does more than you know to help the homeless or any part of society that suffers whilst we, at home, get stuck into the luxuries of good food and presents for Christmas.  It is especially warming to hear Christmas carols played by a great SA brass band during the season and fills me with joy.   Please donate a little something, 50p would be a good starter so when you are sat down with your loved ones in the warmth and safety of your surroundings you can do so in the knowledge that at least someone will be benefitting from your act of generosity at the same time, in some kind of way.  The smallest donation can help.

FINALLY
I would like to wish a merry christmas to those readers who have helped or contributed in some way to the continued success of the blog.   There were so many bands about in the 60's that formed and broke up without ever playing a gig, there were many that played a few youth clubs and pubs and there were those who had greater successes nationally and internationally.   Every single person who was in a band at every level is a part of the story of Brumbeat and it is to you that I raise my glass to say "A Happy Christmas to you All", thanks for being in the story.

Take Care and be nice to each other.

Bob

Copyright: Bullsheadbob
Contact:    Bobsbullocks@GMail.com 










Thursday, 1 November 2018

Bulls Head Bob Nov 2018. WHERE HAS THE MUSIC GONE. RECORD YOUR OWN MUSIC FOR A SNIP.

Watcha Brummies. assorted Mates, dedicated readers and of course Plooky, my Japanese "Loft Boy" friend.

DEATH OF THE CD
It is mind boggling to read about some stores no longer stocking CD players and therefore, CD's and you can't buy a car with one installed nowadays. I am still firmly in that generation of enjoying having some "music in your hands".  Remembering the demise of the early thick and brittle shellac 78's played on a wind-up record player.  Hisses, crackles, clicks then.... Little Richard!! or Bill Haley or Elvis coming through some kind of speaker.  


youtube image.
If you dropped one on the floor it would shatter and wouldn't take too many plays before it was useless.  These were heavy things and oh how we cheered when Vinyl became available, 78's were being dumped en masse because we had the smaller 45 rpm single.  I recall watching Blue Peter as a child and seeing how to make an ashtray or fruit bowl from a 78 rpm record and for a period of time, every kids house would have one. When you would stub out your cigarette in your trendy 78 it would sometimes burn the shellac and smelled awful.

Of course that led to the 33 rpm Long Playing Record which anyone reading this would be familiar with and always made a good present for someone at Christmas time.  There was really nothing better than having a nice picture cover and then reading, on the reverse, the track list with "sleeve notes", whilst listening to the LP itself.    I had around 4000 lp's before I succumbed to the Cassette then CD convenience.  I still have around half that amount and enjoy a Vinyl day often.  What I discovered though is that making ashtrays and fruit bowls out of Vinyl is still happening all these years later.  It isn't anything I would recommend but here's a link if you're interested?   ASHTRAYS FROM VINYL

The real reason I liked digital technology was that it enabled musicians to record at home with good quality on a Portastudio machine that would sit on a
small table instead of a mixing desk that would have to fill a room along with a couple of tape machines being operated by someone you didn't know, it put the power of production at the fingertips of the songwriters and musicians.  You could be the master of everything you do, Independent Record labels sprung up at a massive rate, no longer did you have to be signed up, you could do it yourself and sell copies of the CD at gigs.   It was a liberating thing and I loved it.    You could now have as many tracks as you liked and work out multi instrumental, complicated arrangements.  Sheer bliss.  I recorded some nice memories when friends visited and we'd play something and record it together in an instant. 

MUSIC AS A GIFT shop-PING!
Although now a lot smaller, you could still give someone a Cassette or CD for Christmas and they could still read the information whilst listening, so you got a lot for your money both as a visual treat and the pleasure of reading.   I was talking to one of the Bobettes the other day about buying gifts and I said "What about a CD for Christmas" she just burst out laughing "No-one buys CDs anymore Dad!" and gave me that kind of look that I am now "of an age".
It was my plan to buy one for her boyfriend who is a muso for a Christmas present so I said "So do we leave a space under the tree where his CD gift might have been then? a tangible object that he could have unwrapped excitedly, anticipating what may lie under the festive paper?  No, we wait for a Ping on his phone announcing the arrival of nothing! and we all know that the only person who wants nothing at Christmas would be the Dali Llama.

The whole personal element has gone out of gifting music any longer and that's a sad day folks. That being said I imagine that there will be music web pages and sites where you might be lucky enough to buy a piece of physical music and also at gigs, good hunting.  There is one benefit to the Ping generation and that is you cant make an ashtray out of nothing.

MICRO STUDIO
The portastudio as a stand alone entity was replaced with computer tech and Aerosmith actually recorded one of their albums on a lap top.  You can spend as much money as you like buying expensive recording software but If you wanted something a little less ambitious as a home guitarist though, here's a little bit of kit from VOX that can have you recording in a blink and its TINY.  Its called the Amplug I/O and is a small interface direct from your guitar jack plug socket to the computer or phone.  It has its own software and is a snip of a gift of music for around 35 to 40 pounds.  It is also a guitar tuner.

I bring these things to the notice of you lovely readers who maybe were in a group way back and not as advertising.   There will be those who may have thought that their ambition of making their own record was never achieved back in the day because of circumstances.  Those thoughts of "if we could have recorded that song, it would have been a hit for sure" can now be realised, you can now record it and satisfy that "if only" regret.

The whole beauty of making music is it's moment of creation by your own hand.  Those pipe dreams are only a step away these days, who cares if no one else hears it?, you can fulfil that ambition and catch YOUR moment for the price of a trip to a burger bar.  You may get the recording bug and want to go further, its a great hobby if nothing else.

Hoping to bring you some International Christmas fayre from the Brummies Abroad next month.   

Take Care Brothers and Sisters

Bob

Copyright Bullsheadbob
Contact:  Bobsbullocks@GMail.com












Monday, 1 October 2018

Bulls Head Bob Oct 2018. ROGER HILL CD - SORCERY LIVE! MINI Amplifiers. Chas Hodges RIP.

Watcha Brummies,

Summer is gone, rain and miserable cold on the way for us all but what a glorious summer we had.  The world is in turmoil again and it saddens me to think about it all so I've put on some music to listen to whilst I retreat here to the bloggery where I feel safe in my past memories.   Seeking solace from the thoughts of pounds shillings and pence, Wimpy Burgers, walking through Birmingham when there were proper shops not just high priced coffee franchises.  You know, things like that and now its Autumn I can get absorbed by things to get for Christmas, that will cheer me up.   

So this month I shall be giving you lovers of all things Brummie a couple of suggestions for gifts and here is the first, it's Brummie and it's the CD I am listening to right now!

THE ROGER HILL BAND 
SORCERY LIVE!

In 2011 we sadly said goodbye to Roger Hill, one of the very first guitar players on the Birmingham Group scene from The Grasshoppers, The Brumbeats, Uglys and Exception.    I knew Roger throughout the sixties in his various guises and bands, he was a great guitarist who played with more of a jazz feel than all out rock, his style was quite individual on the scene and he was much respected for his musicality by all guitarists.  In the early days when there were no guitar books available, he was the guy to show me how to play a ninth chord, which up until that time had been a mystery of the universe in my three or four chord head.   The outstanding thing about Roger though was his humility and also his humanity when helping younger guitarists including me.   Such a nice guy.

After his Brumbeat days Roger spent a fair number of years as the guitarist for Chris Barber where he indulged himself in his love for playing jazz before once again getting a 3 piece band together and playing small venues in the city. 

He loved to perform live and I saw one of his last gigs at The Roadhouse and it was a brilliant show, in fact he recorded the show live and I got a copy of the recording he made that night plus a couple more CDs of other live shows he had done, including one with Charlie Gracie which I play occasionally. 

So I was very pleased to get an e mail a few months ago from John Benbow of SAM RECORDS UK, saying that he had
John Benbow.
been given copies of the same recordings from Rogers brothers son and was going to take them into a studio and clean them up a bit for release as a CD!

So now,  the hot news is that his work is complete and a new CD by THE ROGER HILL BAND. "SORCERY - LIVE"  is now available to buy from the SAM Records website.  John kindly sent me a promo of the CD to hear.

Now it isn't an easy chore to clean up a live performance for a CD release and still retain some the live atmosphere but a great job has been done with this CD, its crisp and light and will take some volume.  
The CD is an 11 track selection from those CDs of his live performances
I had given to me all those years ago and the choice of tracks is great, almost like a chronology of rock.   Rogers playing style and his liking of music with a jazz tinge is to the fore, intermingled with some classic blues lines.



A nice selection of standards here that I and probably every other guitarist on the scene in the early to mid sixties would have learnt or played as part of the set and that's what I like about this from a Brumbeat point of view, familiar tracks that you would have heard back in the day at any local gig.   Its nice too that Roger still played the old instrumental 3.30 Blues, not challenging at all but obviously stuck in his heart as one of those instrumentals he loved.  As an aside, it was this Instrumental that Ringo used to request The Beatles to play in Hamburg shortly before he joined the band.  The inclusion of "Brand New Cadillac" and "Evenin" please me muchly, on any night Roger would play them all slightly different.  Good track to finish with too, "Hey Joe", a a real crowd pleaser and perfect for a finale, not only to close a live performance but also this excellent CD.  He is ably supported by some great drummers and bassists of notoriety.

I'd like to say how grateful I am to John Benbow for taking this task on because, if not, you wouldn't have had the chance to hear Roger Hill doing his bit of live Sorcery....its there for history now and its available for yourself or to buy for a loved one at Christmas.   For more info or to make a purchase you can contact John at this link : SAM RECORDS UK .  The CD is only available to purchase at the website for now.

MINI AMPLIFIERS
Brilliant  xmas present.

I have to say how pleased I am that we can now buy 'teeny weeny' amplifiers for home use that dont make you fall out with the neighbours and dont cost a fortune like those boutique type amps that techno freaks seem drawn to.  Mini Amp Ranges are now available at a differing price range so I thought I'd just show a couple of the cheaper models.  Cheaper doesn't always mean worse  particularly with the first mini amp I turn to,These are fun.

LANEY MINI LION HEART 
Nice binding and colour.
I like this, it has a really nice look to it and I particularly like the covering and white piping.  It has two 3 inch speakers handling 3 watts, it can be battery operated or you can purchase a transfomer.   The great thing is that it has a smartphone input so you can download backing track apps and tones and play along with an aux input too.
Around 60 pounds for this little beauty, I love it when a firm makes the effort to make something well.  Love it.  There are other models in the Laney range so shop around guys.

FENDER MINI 57 TWIN
This is a little cheaper, around 50 quids, not as well equipped as the Laney, no telephone input, but what a cracker!  I love this.  2 x 2 inch speakers delivering an earth shattering ONE WATT.

These are perfect for when you buy a starter their first electric guitar or for keeping in your gig bag or if you are travelling on the road.  Perfect for the dressing room.  A perfect gift for your guitar playing needs.

CHAS HODGES.
Chas Hodges left the planet the other day after having been on the scene for nearly a MILLION YEARS, well thats about how long it felt.   I guess the majority of folk will think of him with Chas and Dave doing all the cockney rock sort of thing but he started for me when he was with The Outlaws and would go out on the road with people like Gene Vincent or any other artist who came through Joe Meeks way.  The Outlaws were the resident band at Joe Meeks Studio during those bizarre years, Ritchie Blackmore had been an Outlaw too!    You could see Chas Hodges every week backing someone else.   Multi talented,multi instrumentalist and songwriter.

HE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST and Im glad I heard him right from the beginning of my love of music and musicians, well not all musicians!.   He wrote one of the finest songs ever in "There Aint no Pleasing You" and he left his mark and his music on the planet and I will remember him fondly, thanks Mr Boogie Woogie.

Take Care you people!!

Bob

copyright Bullsheadbob
contact:  Bobsbullocks@Gmail.com 







Saturday, 1 September 2018

Bulls Head Bob Sep 2018. Bobs Hols..Going for a Song under the Matala Moon. Jug O punch Campbells. UB40. Jimmy Cliff.


Hello Brummies, my worldwide family of Mates, Muso's and lovers of 60's Beat Music.

and.....I'm Back from me Hols.  


I went to Greece, Crete to be exact and spent so much money that on the day I left they country said they had now emerged from their world debt to Angela Merkel.    It wasn't the Ouzo, Greek food, smashing plates, Mikis Theodorakis, bouzoukis and sunshine that drew us there, it was to fulfil a distant fantasy borne of love for a wispy and willowy Canadian songstress that made me go there with Mrs Bob.  We went there to visit Matala, the location referred to in Joni Mitchells song "Carey".  Carey being Joni's nickname for the wonderful James Taylor and the song just a part of her most beautiful album "Blue".   "Carey get out your Cane, I'll put on some silver" she sang, not referring to walking sticks and jewellery but Cocaine and a silver spoon.   Matala was an old hippy playground where you could drink wine under the Matala Moon and sleep it off in the cave complex by the sea for free.


Waves Restaurant..The Bobs and wine.
We were hoping to go to The Mermaid Cafe where "I can buy you a bottle of wine" but the place has long since gone so we visited The Waves cafe where The Mermaid once stood and drunk sufficient wine till we thought we were at The Mermaid.

The place still has a lovely vibe and I could well imagine James and Joni being there, playing music in those halcyon days of longing for world peace and love, as hackneyed as it may seem these days, it was for a while, a time of change and a strong feeling of hope for the world.   

This wasn't the first time I had booked a holiday based upon a favourite song.  A few years back we went to Morocco and stayed in Essaouira, a favourite haunt for Joni, Graham Nash and Jimi Hendrix to name but a few.  "Marrakesh Express" was written there by Nash during his Hollies days but that band didn't think the song was good enough so Nash upped sticks, left The Hollies and the rest is history. 
 Anyway, we had a great time and reminisced about our youthful days.    I shall be looking for another Songoliday soon, try it for yourself if you have an urge to live in a song setting for a short while. One more thing,  If you don't own Joni Mitchells "Blue, buy it now and listen to how she sold her soul for that collection of songs, every part of it biographical and a true masterpiece of song writing.   Joni came to Birmingham in the early 60's.



JUG O' PUNCH
THE CAMPBELL CLAN 'MAN'
Joni Mitchell once played at The Jug O' Punch folk club which was situated at Digbeth Institute which was then known as Digbeth Civic Hall, in Birmingham for the princely sum of 10 pounds.  Paul Simon also played there around the same time (1964) for the same amount and during that visitation to the UK wrote the classic Homeward Bound.

The venue was run then by the Ian Campbell Folk Group, Ian Campbell was a massive influence in the folk world and attracted quality musicians into his ranks including violin wizard Dave Swarbrick and bassist Dave Pegg.   Folk music was not in vogue and oft thought of as bearded men in cable knit sweaters, smoking pipes and singing about the cold North winds but with the arrival in 65 of Bob Dylan and Donovan in the UK the genre became much more popular and folkies became famous, as did poetry and soft stuff like that.  James Taylor referred to this period as "The Great Folk Scare".

Ian Campbells legacy to Birmingham didn't end with folk music because he was the father of Ali and Robin Campbell who were founder members of reggae outfit UB40 and carried forward the Campbell name into the modern era.

Nice old Black and White shot above of the Campbell folk group, Ian second right.   This line up recorded "Private Airman Harris" a song written by then Uglys member Dave Morgan.  Guaranteed novelty song flop.

 
Robin 2nd left back and Ali 2nd right front.

Ali Campbell left UB40 after 29 successful years and was replaced by the 3rd Campbell brother Duncan in 2008 or thereabouts.   There are now 2 versions of UB40, as is the way these days.

It was good to see this Brummie group was one of the first multi cultural bands and moreover, singing Reggae music which suited Ali's voice so much that you could have been forgiven for thinking that he was Jamaican.




JIMMY CLIFF
The members of UB40 would have been on the small side during the late 60's but we had one of the most talented reggae stars ever living in the City and that person was the amazing Jimmy Cliff. 
 For those who didn't get the chance to see this man on stage, you missed one of the greatest performers of the era.
I did a gig at The Belfry supporting him and was blown away by his powerful vocal range and his energy on the stage, not what I was expecting from a reggae artist but he was much more than that.   When he sang you felt the vibe of his music and he wrote some amazing songs.  He was a nice, kind guy but  desperately sad at living in a large, impersonal, cold city away from Jamaica and his friends.

This sadness was beautifully encapsulated by his song "Many Rivers to Cross" written about his UK stay.   He didn't do well in the UK because Island Records had tried to book him out to Rock audiences and it was never going to work, no matter how good he was.  He returned to Jamaica and became more famous for his film appearances until many years later.

UB 40 recorded Many Rivers to Cross in 1983, bringing the song back home where it was created.

BIRMINGHAM ..greatest little city on earth.  I'm so proud to come from this fantastic place.

Take Care you guys and be nice to each other.

FINALLY
Next month full review of a new CD from the late, great Roger Hill.

Bob

Copyright:  Bulls Head Bob
Contact:     Bobsbullocks@GMail.com







Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Bulls Head Bob Aug 2018. Bobs Holiday

What Ho you guys.

As you read this I will be jetting across the blue yonder to dip my feet in the sea on the odd occasion whilst over indulging myself with booze and food...in that order.

I shall be back in 2 weeks refreshed and will have the August blog published on my return.....



See you soon, wish you were here!


Bob, Mrs Bob, 3 Bobettes and their Bobbolinos.