Monday, 1 December 2008


Hi Brummies,


It is with an extremely sad heart that I pass on to you the news of the demise of Phil Myatt. For those of you who possibly have NOT heard of him?? he was the promoter who was really responsible for the rise of MOTHERS (formerly The Carlton at Erdington). Under his great management, Birmingham was lucky enough to have every major group of the late sixties play there on several occassions from Traffic (making their first public appearance), Led Zeppelin, Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Who (performing Tommy), Elton John, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Deep Purple......the list is endless but suffice to say that during its existence every band with anything to say played there. It was also a home from home for early Black Sabbath who were practically the Wednesday night resident group. Pink Floyd recorded most of Ummagumma 'live' there....Also of course, John Peel did a lot of the DJ-ing.
Phil was 'one of the guys' and if you were in his company you would be roaring with laughter listening to some of his stories. He took The Carlton Club and gradually changed its whole perspective (and name) as music and fashion changed from a twice a week Dance Hall where girls danced around their handbags to become the most popular music club outside of London. Prior to the name change he had already started to book acts like John Mayalls Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, Zoot Money, Graham Bond, The Artwoods etc etc and later as 'Mothers' it eclipsed the London scene with acts pleading to play there. Furthermore, the club was voted by US Billboard Magazine as the Best Gig in the World during its heyday and this sentiment was shared by many of the acts that performed there and who also admired Phil's style as a promoter. I can't think of many venues that have had books written about it, there are at least two dedicated to the place that I know of. Phil was a partner in Carlton Johns Entertainment Agency along with John Singer and Gary Surman (who were also my agents and Managers). I was fortunate to have played at both The Carlton and Mothers several times and feel the more richer for having known Phil like a freind.

Phil's funeral was held at Redditch Crematorium on 25 November and was attended by many of his freinds. It was a service full of laughter, which he would have loved and the eulogy seemed to centre on Phils love of "the purest Green" and his 'hip' attitude. The vicars comments at the end were something along the lines of "Well I hope there are no Police here!!!"

John Singer, now living in Spain, could not attend but I spoke with him recently about Phil and he passed on this story:

"Phil and I spent many hours in the offices on Wake Green road Moseley. This was the main hub of Carlton Johns agency. We booked many famous and infamous bands and dealt with all the major London agents. One occasion I will always remember was the day we had a visit from a very ominous looking Don Arden, he was a very menacing character and I think he was visiting us over an unpaid debt for one of his groups. Needless to say Phil & I couldn't escape through the only window as we were three stories up. Don received his dough and we spent the rest of the day with nervous laughter and sighs of relief!!! Phil was my partner for more years than I can remember and he is sadly missed". John Singer.

Now I dont know if you have watched the film The Langoliers? It's a bit like seeing Time being eaten away around you as all the memories and loved personalities disappear in front of your eyes. God Bless you Phil....roll a fattie for me........ Bob.

PS. Happy Christmas everyone, wishing you a year of peace, good health and prosperity.

Copyright: BullsHeadBob

Comments/Contributions to:

Saturday, 1 November 2008


Awlright Our Kid,

Enough about me!! There's always an interesting story out there to be shared amongst us who remember the Brumbeat days. This month I thought I'd pass on someone else's mailbag memory of what could have been a life changing event for them. In a new thread that I shall be calling:
For those of us lucky enough to have attained teenager status and lived through the early to mid sixties as an aspiring musician, your heads will be full of memories when there were live bands playing every night in pubs, clubs, casinos etc..... constantly changing their names, with members who would be enrolled into another band before changing their minds and re-joining their previous group. I can't remember who, but one group featured on the site states that Tony Iommi was in their band (but only for one gig - somehow I dont think that constitutes full membership status?). We would all rub shoulders with each other either at the Pie Stand, one of the nightclubs or more likely, inside one of the several music shops that were spread around the City Centre. Ken Reeves from Solihull was no exception:

"As a 15 year old, a school pal, John Parish dragged me along to see a singer who sounded just like Elvis and who was playing at Solihull Civic Hall on the coming Monday. The Elvis sound-a-like in question was the late Nicky James and he was then the featured vocalist with Denny Laine and The Diplomats.
I had never seen the Diplomats before either and I was very impressed on both counts. During their performance that night Denny Laine broke a string and had no spares (not really uncommon in those days), I dashed off to another locals house and acquired him a replacement. After the gig we struck up a conversation mostly about guitars/music of course and then for next couple of years John and I would go and see the Diplomats regularly which promoted a casual freindship".

"My normal Saturday daytime activity (like many aspiring musicians)was to go into the city centre and do the round of music shops, Jones and Crossland, Yardleys, Kay Westworths, Ringway Music etc... trying out different guitars and generally chatting and playing with other musicians who regularly came in, including Denny and the gang often they would give me a lift back home to Solihull in their Transit on occasion. During this time I had played with a number of groups including a line up of The Victors with Dez Anthony who had been formed essentially as a backing band for Nicky. As was the norm we did the normal round of pubs/clubs including some gigs backing Tanya Day - she was really something! I think at one time, she was dressed in a towel or something very similar? Hot stuff for a young muso.

One day whilst walking down the street at the back of New Street Station a Ford Cortina, driven by Denny with Mike Pinder in the passenger seat pulled up, Denny called me over and said "We're looking for a bass player, do you fancy joining up with us? I was stunned that he should ask me but was then put firmly on my back foot when he said that they were thinking of playing Gospel and Soul influenced music. No decision was made and he called me at home a few nights later, here he set out their plans to go down to London. A combination of things including a tour that had gone pear shaped soured my enthusiasm. The genre of music sounded a bit wierd particularly as The Beatles and The Stones were the acts that were directing the musical trends and it sounded like a really bad proposition to me. I'm not sure whether I directly said No or that I'd think about it but the upshot was that I didn't acccept the offer.

Six months later - The Moody Blues were No 1 in the charts with 'Go Now' and I was still playing the pubs in the City. If that didn't make me feel bad enough, some time after I went to spend a holiday with a pal in the USA and in one of the major stores came face to face with a whole wall decked out with the Moodies declaring them as the new British sensation. They had made it in America.

"I guess it is just one of those consequences of being in the right place at the right time and having the choice of whether to go in one direction or another. Sometimes you choose the wrong route or did I? I met up again with Denny about 8 years ago, when he was gigging at The Red Lion, Kings Heath and some months after when he played The Green Room, London. My girlfreind and went to see him with his new group, although he was good he had lost that 'sparkle' though. We kept in touch for a short while again and then I think he disappeared to the States"

GIZ A JOB........These days Ken still keeps his Bass hand 'in' and is interested in playing folk rock so, if you are in the market for a bass player just give me a nod and I'll pass on your e mail address to him...... By the look of Ken's photo he appears to have grown two extra arms ........ he must be up and down that neck like a greasy weasel. Are you reading this Denny?????

Thanks Ken........I'm sure there are many more stories out there waiting to be told. Bob.

I once played on the same bill as The Four Tops when they had "Reach Out I'll be There" at No 1 in the British charts and although I was always never that keen about soul music I couldn't help but be mightily impressed at their slick performance, brilliant harmonies and their dance moves on stage.
The towering vocal strength of lead singer Levi Stubbs was quite stunning. He filled the stage with his presence and they brought the house down, deservedly. It is sad therefore to report his recent death at the age of 72. He had been suffering from illness for some time. (Levi Stubbs far left)

BOBBY ASH. The Ex Brumbeats vocalist who currently resides in California has just had his new self-penned recording "Hula in the Sky" broadcast across the Hawaian Islands this weekend.

Bobby sent me a copy and I can tell you now that it is a very warm recording and his voice is as good as it ever was. We here at Brumbeat hope it goes well for you mate.

JIMMY POWELL INTERVIEW. If you haven't looked already, check out John's recently published interview with the great vocal powerhouse, Jimmy Powell on the Features page.

Another Brumbeat exclusive. Another Brumbeat Great!

Until next time, Take Care


Copyright: BullsHeadBob. Contributions/comments to


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

October....Winter misery is upon us.

Hello Folks,

Over the past few weeks there have been many deaths of 60's musicians whose contributions went a long way to influence the advancement and aspirations of those who followed. From a Brumbeat aspect, none more so than that of Terry Wallace of The Vikings. When I was learning to play the guitar I used to take a note book with me to dance halls to copy down chords that proper guitarists used, Terry was amongst those whose skill contributed to my learning. See the Pie Stand page for John's tribute to the great man.

The announcement of Jerry Reed's death on 4 September heralds a real loss to the music world. Next to the incredible Chet Atkins he was the best country picker ever - allegedly he taught Atkins how to pick 'Yakety Axe' fingerstyle. Elvis Presley recorded three of Reeds' songs, most notably the fabulous "Guitar Man" with Jerry Reed himself supplying those brilliant guitar breaks and solo. For all you Rock n' Roll fans, he also wrote Gene Vincents's 'Crazy Legs' and a further hit for Brenda Lee in 1960.

''Thats all very well'' you say but does he have a Brumbeat relevance? - "Yes Siree Bob" is the answer.......after scoring a hit with Chuck Berry's 'Tulane',
The Steve Gibbons Band released the Jerry Reed composition 'Tupelo Mississippi Flash', a song dedicated to Elvis which, unfortunately for Steve didn't chart but nonetheless was a good choice of cover. As well as Reed's musical deeds, he appeared in several films including the three 'Smokey and the Bandit' films alongside Burt Reynolds. Above all, this guy was a true guitar genius, much overlooked in the great scope of things. A quick visit to You Tube will show the quality of his musicianship.


Rick Wright sadly passed away on 16 Sep. Not a Brummie, nor Brumbeat but the groundbreaking music of Pink Floyd was the backdrop to the psychedelic years of the late sixties with the songs 'Arnold Layne' and 'See Emily Play' that spawned a host of Brummie groups. Floyd brought a whole new concept to music and stage performance. Rick Wright wrote 'Us and Them' and 'Great gig in the Sky' for Dark Side of the Moon, his beautiful chord changes remain to remind us of what a loss to music he truly is.

EARL PALMER. Died in Sep aged 84. Drummer for the great Little Richard, he also gave the beat to Ike and Tina Turners, River Deep Mountain High and the Righteous Brothers - You've Lost that Lovin Feelin. He further worked with Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Sinatra and a host of others.

ANOTHER 'ESSENTIAL' SURVEY (Who Pays for these things?)
A survey conducted by some Scottish professor or other has concluded that peoples musical tastes are an indicator of their personality and that those who, for example, like the Blues are: "Gentle and at ease, creative, have high self-esteem and are outgoing". Has he/she ever been to a Blues club or festival? The professor obviously didn't survey anyone like my mate Nobber. Nobber sells novelty slippers from a stall and lists as his pastimes: The Blues, sweating, drinking, belching, tackle adjustment, pizza, comics, intimidating 'folkies', Oh and did I mention Drinking. He is a real life Gimli of Gloin with a grudge, who lounges about in his distressed? Calvin Klein pants and claims to have 'had' Penelope Cruze.

Probably the people he surveyed are all members of knitting circles or Country Dancing Societies in places like Fife or the Shetlands. For those who wish to check out your own personality rating click on the link below:
< >


Well, flabbergasted is a long word but not as long as the Spice Girls phone bills will be after them scooping the Award for 'Best Live Return'. "It means something special when its the public who phone in for you" is the normal acceptance phrase that's bandied about at these bashes but -"Thank goodness for speed dial" is probably more appropriate.

Not much current good news on the 'survivors of Brumbeat' front this month (or perhaps you know something I don't?) but keep tuned in for more ground breaking, earth shattering news from yer man on the street........I'll just leave you with this......My Grandad said to me "Bob, now I know you like a beer or two but if you ever find yourself enjoying a pint of Ansell's bitter - you know you're an alcoholic........"


Contact/Contributions: . Copyright BullsHeadBob.

Monday, 1 September 2008

SEPTEMBER - Spotlight on The Redcaps

Hello Muso's, Boozo's, Brummies and Chummies,

Why is it that I allow myself to be such a thick git!? Last year I took advantage of the Autumn sales to buy myself a 'top of the range' Barbecue that wouldn't look out of place strapped beneath the wing of a bomber. It had been reduced in price but still cost more than a good night out. This 'Summer?' I have just watched the rain fall on top of it from the safety of my dining room. When there's a break in the clouds, I run out and empty a gallon or two of rusty water from the thing. Why isn't it in the shed you ask? - because I also bought three soddin' huge sacks of charcoal, at the same time, that now occupy my shed space and they are stacked on top of my 'Life Bicycle' (another Best Buy from the year before) where now, a happy band of very fit spiders live suspended from the handlebars. Did I really go to all that trouble and expense just for a burnt sausage? I gotta think about retiring to the sun............I'm coming back Willie, get the wine out!!

If there was one midlands group who defined 'Brumbeat' for me, it would have been The Redcaps. It is with some regret that there is no biography on the website for this incredible band of the early sixties but even if there was, words alone would not do them any justice because you HAD to see them live to know just how great they were. The group featured brothers Dave and Mickey Walker on vocals and bass respectively.
Overall, The Redcaps had the musical drive and gut wrenching sound of a tank with a turbocharger, great high-energy guitar work and rasping saxophone with Dave Walkers soulful and bluesy vocals complementing the bands tight sound perfectly. Mickey Walker, playing his Gibson EBO bass, worn, characteristically high on his chest, worked beautifully with drummer Allan Morley to form the 'Heart of the Beat' that thundered through their set.

The Redcaps were amongst that first batch of groups calling themselves as a collective name instead of having a singled out frontman, i.e. Ego Maniac and the Shitheaps. They were also one of the first bands I ever saw 'live' that has had a lasting impression on me. This fact may make me a little prejudiced towards them in my memory bank but I can say, in honesty, that I never saw ANY other Brummie band who really came close to them. They were one of Ma Regans groups and in 1963 she secured them a Decca recording deal that saw the release of a cover of the 1959 Isley Brothers classic "Shout" - predating the Lulu hit by a year. Unfortunately for them it didn't click with the record buying public but was a brilliant live performance number. I have just listened to that very single whilst bashing this article out and although the primitive recording equipment (four track probably) used in those days did little justice to their raw sound, Dave Walker had real gravel in his voice. The Redcaps released two further singles: 'Talkin' Bout You' (1963) which was more in the vein of their R&B stage act and their final offering in 1964 'Mighty Fine Girl'. The latter single had more of a commercial 'Billy J Kramer' sound to it which wasn't really to my liking but the music scene was undergoing a massive change of direction and was becoming more melodic in its output. For my money, had they or Decca concentrated on their R&B image. I don't think they would have been out of place in the company of the Rolling Stones or the early Yardbirds.

I mentioned a while ago, that Kex Gorin, me and the two 'brothers Walker' jammed together at the Rum Runner one night. It really was special to play with those guys who had been my early inspiration. If you never saw this group, you missed something special!!!! A group like them only came along once in a blue moon and I'm glad that I was there at the time, in smokey venues -moonbathing. This was not a group for lovers of mediocre bands that played at working mens clubs. This was a seriously good group. We do have a photo of the band on their bio page but only as a four piece oufit. If you were a member of The Redcaps PLEASE, PLEASE CONTACT ME.


1. Decca F11716 Shout/Little Things you do 2. Decca F11789 Talkin' Bout You/Come on Girl 3. Decca F11903 Mighty Fine Girl/Funny Things

FARE THEE WELLS...... ISAAC HAYES. It was a sad day indeed when the announcement of Issac Hayes death was issued, not so much for his Simpsons character or for 'Shaft' but because of his songwriting credits - 'Hold on I'm Coming' or "You dont know like I know' that he wrote for Sam and Dave along with a host of other compositions. In the sixties you either heard those two songs in every club or naturally, a lot of bands played them live.
JERRY WEXLER. For some reason the death of Isaac Hayes overshadowed the passing and importance of the incredible Jerry Wexler who died at the age of 91. Wexler was the person who actually coined the phrase 'Rythmn and Blues' when a journalist. He later went into record production and was responsible for literally hundreds of landmark recordings including Bob Dylans' 'Slow Train Coming', Dusty Springfields' 'Dusty in Memphis' (A must for any serious collector of good music), Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and he signed Led Zeppelin to Atlantic (on the recommendation of Dusty Springfield). He stated that on his gravestone he wanted just two words - MORE BASS! - May his memory deservedly live on.

and finally.................

HELLO HELLO I'M BACK AGAIN. Gary Glitter has returned to the UK after a 3 year residency in a private Vietnamese hotel, reportedly he's thinking about releasing a new CD. Just a thought here - perhaps he could form a trio with Jonathan King and Michael Jackson, that should sell well???
Take Care You'se Guys and remember a bird in a bush was always worth more than two in the hand!


All Contents/Cartoons: Copyright BullsHeadBob.

Friday, 1 August 2008


Hi Brummies,Brummie Girls,Brummie Kids,Brummies Abroad.

It appears that I ignited several memory threads with the report on the friendly Music Exchange at Stirchley with some of our readers and here are some of their missives from the electronic post bag for your delight. Let's start with one of Brums finest guitarists:

"I was working at Yardleys at Snow Hill in 1965 - actually in the drum department with Barry Clements and later Johnny Haynes when the guy from Kay Westworths tried to get me to leave and work at his shop for the sum of Three pounds four shillings and sixpence a week but I said no because I was already getting Four Pounds and Ten Shillings working for that annoying bugger Charlie Hewitt at Yardleys. Should have taken it really because Charlie sacked me soon afterwards because I wouldn't go home and change into a suit 'I'm not having you here looking like an imitation cowboy, go home and change or pick up your cards" which I did, pick up my cards that is..............."


"Y'know WASP in Hurst Street, arrogant bloke**, first time ever in a guitar shop for me - charged me 15 bob for a packet of Black Diamond strings cos' I didn't know what I needed,
literally threw them at me, like he was doing me a favour. I never went back. **( I don't think that could have been Pete Oliver?)

Pop, the old guy in Green Lane Music sold me a genuine Tele croc skin hard case for about 7 quid.
Modern Exchanges, Modern Music in Dudley etc. Those sort of shops full of old Hofners, cups of tea and freindly advice are long gone now which is a shame really. I think the last was Green Lane Music who were open near Bordesley Bridge for a bit, last time I saw it open (around 1995) I bought a fire damaged Fender 2 x 15 Bass Cab for 65 pounds and the bloke even put it in the car for me, still a good un' now................

I remember when Bo Diddley was on tour with the Everly Brothers. Amongst the guitar shops we frequented was Jones and Crossland (the old small one by the pie stand) - well we were in there chewing the fat when in came the man himself along with Phil Everly. Now until that time I'd only ever heard 'that' riff he made famous and which he sang everything to!! After a while though and introductions made, Bo starts picking up guitars and demonstrating his skills - bloody hell, could he play. I think the shop was then shut whilst we all jammed in a sort of master class. What a great guy, great shop and Great times..................

Well it's been a quiet month for me. It seems, like me, everyone is either on or just got back from their hols' where they are probably recovering financially from the lavish upgrade expenditure to their "Executive" holiday chalet at Butlins - (that means it's not quite a gardeners potting shed). That being the case, and in line with the topic of guitar shops I thought its as good a time as any to feature a couple more old and interesting guitars etc....... I could look at them all day myself


I thought you might like to see this old peculiar thing as I featured the Meazzi amplifier a couple of months back. I find it strange that it lacks the sort of styling that you would normally expect from an Italian guitar,. I have absolutely no idea if it sounded any good....any advice? Looks real shitty to me.........kind of reminiscent of those Japanese Teisco monstrosities.

FRAMUS BLACK ROSE. Now, for those of you who recall the 'pre amplifier' days, you will remember this beauty with much affection. You could also buy this model with a rudimentary pick up and scratchplate combo fitted but I think this basic early model looks a real stunner. The 'F' holes are reminiscent of the later 'slashes' used by Rickenbacker and Antoria - although, I could be slightly wrong there as Framus may have copied the idea from one of those other makers. There were several other Black Rose models later on including a three pick up semi solid. ...............I think Johnny Neal's guitarist used one of these when they first started rockin the city.........

OK folks, enjoy whats left of the summer and start saving up for your winter heating bills, it appears that the energy companies are gathering in YOUR money now to pay THEIR Christmas bonuses. What's the country coming to.......they should spare a few thoughts for the elderly pensioners who will freeze to death this Christmas. Well at least they will be happy in the knowledge that Gordon, Tony and Pie Man Prescott will be lounging in luxury - not giving a shit.

Just going down the 'cut' to drown me'self.


Copyright Bulls Head Bob. Comments/contributions to:

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

July........30 years without me Willie

Once upon a time, back in those 60's days, one of the characters on the Brumbeat scene was Uglys guitarist, Willie Hammond. I hadn't seen him for over 30 years and then, roughly four years ago, I was flabbergasted to see him on the TV show, "A Place in the Sun".
Since then two more programmes about him and his wife have been made and now they're all repeated on TV, in fact, I see him more now than I did when he was out and about in Brum!

A couple of years ago Willie had been asked to do an article for Brumbeat, not content with that, he got a load of muso's together for the popular 'Six of the Best"articles. "I would have felt too egotistic to write something just about myself and I felt happier being in the company of friends". Will has helped out the Brumbeat site with other information too. A few words with a 'well placed muso' got me his phone number and I made the call to his house in Spain. After half an hour of "Do you remember?........." I sort of suggested that it would be nice to visit and maybe have a drink or two -(I know how to get to his heart). So anyway, after flying into Seville courtesy of Mr Ryan and his airplanes, I hired a car and drove deep into the dramatic countryside for a couple of hours before pulling up at Willie's place in Arroyomolinos.

I was greeted by the man himself and his lovely wife Linda and after much back slapping and hugs we settled down at a table under a fig tree. We hadn't seen each for well over 30 years so we had a lot to catch up on. After some food and a few bottles of wine out came the guitars and under the star filled sky, we played the usual mix of Beatles and other well known songs till long into the night.
I had arrived in the darkness so it was a nice surprise to wake up in the brilliant sunshine and find myself in a whitewashed village nestling at the foot of a mountain. Willie and I walked to Paco's Bar for a coffee. A couple of horses were clopping through the streets and tractors were heading out into the countryside with the drivers waving and shouting things in Spanish that only Willie could understand. Although I had been to Spain before, I had never experienced the Spanish interior or the culture. I was made to feel welcome by everyone we encountered although I could only mutter my couple of words I had learned in reply. After coffee we set out for the day to walk on the mountain, now accompanied by Linda and their dogs. The dogs went chasing after anything that rustled the bushes or long grass and I was instructed in the art of how to find wild asparagus and we tramped across the mountain searching through the undergrowth and soon had a bag load to take back for the freezer. A pair of eagles were floating across the sky and I have to say that I have never been a nature freak but as a tranquil setting, I dont think I have experienced anything quite like this place. It was easy to see why they had chosen to live here.

For the next couple of days they were both 'tied up' with a couple from Nottingham who had come for an advice course on house buying and living in Spain. "We have seen some people come out here as a romantic notion and then find themselves in trouble because they did no homework before laying their money on the table, there can be a lot of pitfalls for the uninformed" said Linda. I, for my part, was a tourist for a couple of days and went to interesting sites around the area. is the link to Will and Linda's very informative website should you have an interest.

Willie related a few Spanish stories to me but one in particular had me laughing out loud. "This very Spanish, tranquil village has a PA system atop of the Town Hall and periodically they make announcements to the small population - the announcements are preceded by some music to get your attention. You would have expected to hear Spanish music floating across the place so I was amazed to hear the beginning of "Hit me Baby One More Time" before they started speaking". A week or so passed and Willie was chatting to the Mayor in a bar and said that he found the choice of that piece of music surprising, "Oh! well we have another one" said the Mayor appearing somewhat disgruntled. Two days later whilst working in the garden the familiar crackling noise from the PA horns suggested an announcement was forthcoming, "Linda and I fell about laughing as the opening bars of "Like a Virgin" erupted very loudly from the PA". "The next time I saw the Mayor he looked at me very proudly as if to say - "I told you so".

During the evenings we spent a lot of time laughing, playing music, singing, recording and chatting about the old days, gigs and Birmingham bands. I asked if they missed the City. "We went back two Christmas's ago and I visited some old musician mates and popped out to the Roadhouse to watch Roger Hill where I met up with Gibbo but we have absolutely no desire to go back at all, you can't re-live those experiences or times again and the place is now just too volatile and full of Coffee Houses and lacking in character. I'm proud of being a Brummie and look back with affection at my life there but my future is definitely here in Spain. Anyway, the Brumbeat website is fabulous and it gives me a 'fix' of nostalgia when I need it"

All too soon my visit was ended. We had a great time and shared endless bottles of wine and musical 'war stories', some of which are unrepeatable but I shall try and remember a couple for future blogs. I shall definitely be going back.................

As previously reported, the Spice Girls had withdrawn from the Mandela concert but Gerry Halliwell managed to sneak through a back door to grab a bit of limelight, I think she used the phrase "I'm with the band". It was very reassuring though to see that she had no microphone in her hand when it came to singing Happy Birthday.

OK, tune in next month folks when I shall have the normal panoply of bits and bobs and this and that. Also happy to say I've just received an e mail from another of my favourite guitarists and during the coming weeks will see if I can persuade him to 'issue forth' with some kind of article.
Definitely worth waiting for................

Take Care Brummies


contributions or contact:
copyright Bulls Head Bob

Sunday, 1 June 2008

"June......I'm Home"

Alright our kid?

Well, what a result!! Only two months since I brought you the frightening report that the Spice Girls were going to "sing" for Nelson Mandela at his 90th Birthday bash, it has now been disclosed that they have cancelled those plans - Mr Mandela has since come out of hiding and can only be described as 'Beaming' at the news.

"Loopy Spice" has said that she never intends to sing again, ("Thank ****" said the crowd) now though, after gaining inspiration from the Ernie Wise Plays "what he wrote" she sees herself as a writer and wants to use this idiom to, and I quote, "to re-ignite girl power". I'm not saying that she is out of touch with reality but after giving the interview she re-boarded the little pink choo-choo train to La-La Land. Another of the Spices has immersed herself totally in silicone for preservation purposes ("Its my way of being Green") and one other sees her future in her underwear.

Interestingly and REALLY bizarrely, I have been contacted by someone who has asked if there is anyone out there who would like to swap his Spice Girls CD for a copy of 'Motor City' (that great CD featuring some of Brums finest). I don't believe in miracles personally or that there would be anybody who could be 'that' lacking in musical integrity but..........................? Drop me a line if you want to do it, I will withhold your name for fear of reprisals from sane people.

THE MOVE -REMASTERED CD's. If you're a fan of The Move you will want to check out John's terrific review of their remastered CD's on the Reviews section on the Brumbeat home page.

Geoff has just had a replacement knee cap operation, so there'll be no doing the Watusi for you me lad. Get well soon mate and I hope you've kept the knee cap to use as an ashtray, never waste anything. Rumours abound that he may be doing some gigs as the Limpin' Berries.....

I possess an open and quizzical mind, so when recently The Pope said "Sex can become a drug" I think to myself "How does he know??"

The passing of rock legend Bo Diddley at the age of 79 was announced this month. As reported over the past year, Bo had collapsed whilst on stage and was taken into hospital. He never fully recovered and suffered a series of relapses. He was truly one of the "Main Men" of the Beat groups and the backbone of Rythmn and Blues. Long may he reign...................

If like me, you are an afficionado of old equipment, this amplifier will be intriguing. Apart from Watkins with their cheap and cheerful Copycat echo chamber and Binson with their very fine and expensive Echolette model there was one other make that would occasionally surface and that was the Meazzi, made in Italy. There were the normal post war jokes about it only operating 'in reverse' but it was a well built piece of kit. I was amazed to have come across the following picture of a Meazzi Ultrasonic Amplifier with built in echo chamber.

I'd never seen one of these before, so if you have any info about what it was like drop me a line.

My thanks to Colin Heard who contacted me last month regarding the best and worst guitar shops in the midlands - even Dudley, past and present. Was it ESP or simply coincidence that his e-mail arrived just a couple of hours before I pushed the 'Publish' button on my computer for last months blog which I had already centred on the one friendly music shop I know. Now thats spooky!!

For all you Birmingham City supporters (or should that be supporter!), my condolences go out to you. Still, look on the bright side, the ticket prices should go down. That should cheer you up Noga.

I'm in the process of packing a few things to go and visit with a very dear old muso friend from the 60's. He's been known to like a drink or two so, alcohol poisoning permitting, I should be able to ferret out some stories that I might be able to pass on to you next month. If I remember anything!!
A memorial gig for the late Mel Stanton will be held at the Tower of Song on 28 June. This is only a small venue so get yerself along there and have a great night with some Brumbeat heroes taking the stage. All proceeds to the Heart Foundation.

AND FINALLY............ Following the publication, last month, of the photo of John Woodhouses band PASSPORT, I have been beseiged by correspondence asking what Father Ted is doing on the drums? Just Feckin about I imagine, or causing a fight like most drummers do. Check it out.

Oops, nearly forgot to say Happy 40th Birthday to Kylies arse.

Tara a bit


Contributions or comments to
Copyright BullsHead Bob.

Friday, 2 May 2008

May........ The Force be with you

Hello Brummies,
Well after the snow and the freezing temperatures of April, I am beginning to wonder about the truths of global warming. My 83 year old neighbour, Elsie Gussett, says that she can't remember a colder April except for the ones in 1983, 1976, 1963, 1952, 1948,1947 and all of those during the war years? She also says that under no circumstances will SHE be carrying the olympic torch, if asked, until China frees Tibbles, a cat she owned which disappeared after the opening of a nearby Chinese Take Away! Furthermore she states she has been Pink all her life and doesn't want to be Green like most people do these days and neither does her friend Betty.

To all the muso's of Birmingham's 60's and 70's, Cherry Street will be forever embedded in their memories as the location of Kay Westworths music shop. This tiny little place in the centre of the city was the friendliest of music shops. They had only a small selection of instruments for sale but the ambience was unequalled, it was the sort of place that you could hang around all day just chatting and it was practically guaranteed that whilst there one of your mates would drop in for a chinwag or to swap a few guitar phrases. "That sort of music shop only existed in the past" I said to Nobby, my "Moaning over a pint, companion"..."All the music shops in Brum nowadays are impersonal and only after your money"......."I know one thats not" he said. If you are the sort of person who loves music and want to meet other musicians, there is a tiny nook of civilised and welcoming muso heaven in Stirchley where you can even get a free coffee!!! "Thats Bollocks" came my tart reply. Time for Bob to Investigate:........

I tentatively entered The Music Exchange on the Pershore Road expecting that look you get from shop staff like your'e a prospective thief. I was immediately put off guard when someone smiled and said "Hello..........Blimey its Bob!!, hello Mate, would you like a cup of coffee" - not only was my cover blown straight away but Nobby was right, there are friendly people left in the world AND who give you free coffee. The shop is smallish, but has lots of guitars and amps, some vintage models too. "Thats nice" I said pointing to a rare old thing, "Have a play if you want to, I'll plug in an amp". Well it certainly seems to have that same vibe as Kay Westworths. I probed the staff (not in a physical sense you understand) and discovered that Steve, the shop owner has a long history of guitaristry stretching back to the 70's and his sidekick is none other than 60's Brumbeat hero Bob Styler, vocalist for groups like The Yamps, The Fashion and Traction and who, nowadays, is also a guitarist. We chatted away about old gigs, vans, girls, guitars, stroppy ego's, robbing agents, shitty managers, hair loss, no money - you know, that general chit chat that muso's lapse into immediately upon meeting. The shop has a lovely feel to it, like a comfortable old jumper.

This is one of the last independent music shops left in Brum where no-one is looked down on and where starters can rub shoulders with experienced musicians in Brum who also like the ambience of the place and pop in for picks and strings etc. The staff are great and are not short of music experience, giving advice to those that want to learn the rocky road of how to be a musician. For my money the Music Exchange deserves the 'Bulls Head Bob Seal of Approval' and I urge you all to go there and support this friendly shop. I asked Bob Styler what he liked so much about working there "I just love it when guitarists come here and play Hotel California or Stairway to Heaven repeatedly!!?????????? - Music hasn't dulled that guy's sense of humour.

P.S. (I have since, managed to get Bob Styler to send me some yet unpublished photos of The Yamps and the original line up of Traction which are now on the relevant Groups' bio pages).

PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS. We, here at the lavish suite of Brumbeat offices, like to think that we are not just the sort of people who talk about music without having had the experience.

To prove this point the above photo shows Brumbeat Editor, John Woodhouse (second from left) with his band PASSPORT during a recent promotional gig at an undisclosed location. Taking in to the streets John!! and Keeping music Live.

See you next month guys n' gals.

copyright: BullsheadBob. Contributions or comments to

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Apr 08 Spring is Sprung

Hi Brummies,


Sad news indeed that old acquaintance Melvin Stanton (The Chucks/Way of Life) recently passed away. Melvin was a stalwart of the Brumbeat scene. Goodbye old friend. My condolences also go out to his family and to all those that knew him.

Not a Brummie, but certainly for my money, one of the people who were on the 'A' list of "most important" in the formation of British recorded music from the sixties onwards. An employee of EMI, Norman (called 'Normal Norman" by John Lennon) was the Beatles Recording Engineer and as such was responsible for developing all those incredible recorded sounds. He worked with the Fabs up to and including Rubber Soul which according to George Harrison was one of the best two LP's they ever made (the other being Revolver). I can't imagine the pressure that he was put under to produce the goods but practically every Brummie muso was brought up listening to the results of his efforts for indeed there haven't been many since who could reproduce those beautiful recordings on a 4 track machine. He was later responsible for the signing to EMI of Pink Floyd.

He later had a couple of hits on his own as "Hurricane Smith", the most well known of the two being "Dont Let it Die".


Erstwhile school friend,roadie, companion, close friend, confidant of the Beatles and later becoming the manager of Apple. He was also the man who got the band to do their Anthology which is another reason for us all to be grateful for his existence. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr now seem to be isolated from those that were genuinely close to them and moreover, a person that could be trusted. I am sure they are both in real grief over his passing.


Rumours abound that Oh-No! (once referred to by Ringo as Widow Twanky) is about to take Heather Mills to court for stealing her crown as the country's most hated woman. "What does vilified mean, ya nah" said the Geordie bank robber who has stated that she will be giving a lot of her recently acquired money to charity, the main beneficiary being The Heather Mills Gold Prospecting Co Ltd"

See Ya


copyright: Bullsheadbob

Saturday, 1 March 2008

March 08 - From the Ridiculous to the Sublime......

Hiya Brummies and Brumettes!


There are various street parties being held in my particular neighbourhood on receiving the fabulous news that The Spice Girls have played their last gig on their shortened world tour and have decided not to perform anymore. Whoops and Hollers are being heard everywhere...............but BAD NEWS for Nelson Mandela, great icon and world leader.........the fatuous fivesome have said that they might make an exception and sing for him at his Birthday......."What!!" he said "I thought the world loved me, I'm back off to Robin Island".

Gobby, Talentless, Stroppy, Pointless and Pretty Vacant were unavailable for comment.


Whilst it appears that everyone else in the UK is planning on leaving the place for foreign shores, Johnny Neal has bucked the trend and 'upped sticks' from South Africa and is in the process of re-settling back in Brum. "I'm hoping to get a residency at The Mermaid on the Stratford Road" says Noga "I was always popular with the crowd there" - house sales in the area have rocketed.

Welcome home Johnny......he'll probably take up permanent residence at St Andrews Football ground along with the other three Blues season ticket holders all complaining about the price of Bovril and Pies.

Which gives us this months competion

'Spot Noga"

The winner will receive sod all.


Well, it seems that some people will do anything to play a gig these days. Bob Styler, ex-vocalist of The Yamps is in the running for the most distance travelled to do a 'one nighter'. Recently Bob hopped on a plane to Brazil to perform with a Beatles tribute band that he likes the sound of. Now thats dedication folks!


On a world political note, I was overwhelmed by the performance of Dvorak's 9 Symphony as played by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Pyong Yang, N Korea. OK so it's not Rock and Roll but it was played with such passion and had a lot of people in that auditorium in tears. Let's hope that it brings a new beginning to some peoples lives.

On a relative note, this piece of music produced two hit singles in the pop world in the sixties: 1. Skyline Pigeon - 'Smokey Blues Away' and 2. A piece of this symphony was incorporated in the Leonard Bernstein classic "America" by The Nice, which saw them banned from the Albert Hall for burning the American flag at the end of their performance.

Music is not just a bunch of notes.

Take Care


Contributions and comments to

Copyright Bulls Head Bob

Friday, 1 February 2008

February 08 - Spotlight on The Uglys


Well, try as I might I can't believe that I have had such a miserable start to a year than this one. The experience of having such a chain of bad news, with the deaths of many of the people that surrounded my life for some years, Nicky James, Bugsy Eastwood, Rod Allen and the lovely Kex Gorin has been hard to take. Not all my experiences with those that have passed recently were nice ones.....but nonetheless they filled a part of my life and 'mind picture' and I can see them all now as I type this .......thanks for your company guys and many kisses to their families and friends


Why The Uglys? well, its the Feb Blog and St Valentines Day features in their story - because it was also the date of recording of one of the most collectable records in the UK by Brumbeat heroes The Uglys.

This most talked about of groups, that danced on the edge of really making it for so many years, visited Advision Studios at 1030 pm on St Valentines night to record "I See the light" and "Mary Colinto". A one-single deal with MGM, the producer was Tony Cox who had been a member of some 'duo type' group and had just finished producing the debut album for Caravan. He had been up to Birmingham prior to that session to see the band live at The Adelphi, West Bromwich and another live gig at Rhodes Hall, just outside of London where The Ugs were supported by Amen Corner (how different things were just a few weeks later with Amen Corner riding high in the charts) -"The Uglys were a very, very tight band and both of the songs to be recorded were delivered with some real force on stage" said Cox.

(The Uglys 69 - with Mary Colinto at the Adelphi)

In 1969 amazingly there were only two, eight track recording desks in the whole of the UK . The Beatles had one to themselves at EMI and the other one was at Advision. The Uglys were constantly 'on the road' like some other bands at that time and had no problem in laying down a good take quickly, probably the 'take' after the engineers balance run through, which is noticeable by the energetic 'live' feel to the recording. The only extra track that was used after that first take was to record a second guitar line - one single note - to harmonise with the opening riff. Because of the luxury of having more recordable tracks to play with than ever before, more use was actually taken in the recording of Mary Colinto and was used to good effect vocally with heavy, punchy harmonies delivered agressively over a guitar rich background and insistent drumming. This was a band on top of their game. Strange then that within two months they had ceased to exist and the recording consigned to the MGM vaults somewhere with no release.

It was many years after that, in the early nineties, that the two tracks began appearing on indie labels, and were immediately picked up by the Progressive/Pyschedelic afficionados where they attracted a cult following. This following led to Sanctuary records issuing a luxuriously packaged CD of the Ugs back catalogue in 2003 "The complete Uglys". It also meant that there was a Ugs Reunion at Dave Morgans house. Left to Right: Steve Gibbons, Jimmy Holden, Dave Morgan, Richard Tandy, Will Hammond

There were no master tapes of the recording available, the single being transferred to digital format at Will's studio and is that recording featured on the CD - the engineers at Sanctuary had to play around with it a bit and that lost some of its feel. Co-incidentally the recording arm of Sanctuary records has now ceased to exist so if you have a copy of the CD keep hold of it because once again it will become a rarity!!
There were only a few advance MGM labelled copies printed of the record. Tony Cox, the producer had already sold his copy on E Bay for around One Thousand Pounds. The only other known MGM copy of this single is in the hands of Will Hammond, the last guitarist of the band - in fact the last Ugly. "I actually didn't posess a copy of the MGM record but Keith Smart gave me his copy some years later, an action that he probably regrets these days" said Will with a wry smile? "Steve Gibbons has a white label acetate and Dave Morgan once had an MGM labelled copy but thinks he gave it away". So with that last guaranteed original record safely in the hands of the last Ugly he looks to have a valuable piece of history of the Brumbeat band that always features amongst the best of the best on the Brumbeat chart of top bands.


Watch out for another Spotlight On.........


The DALLAS TUXEDO was the first solid body guitar available in Great Britain.
I can't remember ever seeing one in the flesh, as it were, despite being as old as Methusula. I guess it wasn't too great sounding but nonetheless it deserves to be recognised as a guitar of importance. For lovers of simplicity this has it all?

Its the month of love so - look after each other, tomorrow one of you might not be here.


Copyright: Bulls Head Bob.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008


Hello Brummies,

Happy New Year

So 2008 is upon us. Its coming doesn't mean anything significant to me personally, another year nearer getting my pension and the loss of a few million more brain cells. On the other hand I had a nice Christmas and received a host of lovely gifts from the people I love. A few words of thanks to those who have given me some of their time and memories to pass on over the last 12 months. To those who promised something but just couldn't be bothered or perhaps felt themselves too important - we haven't missed anything so Happy New Year to you too.


Had a two week visit from my old cohort Oggie, who had made his way here via California, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand - I told him he should have just stayed on the A38 (but taken the back road through Lozells), he w0uld have saved himself 13,800 miles.

He and I (at an early age) made our first faltering steps towards learning the guitar, so we had a boozy fortnight full of reminiscences and playing. He played in a couple of bands around the Shirley area ( The Spotlights - mainly a Shadows type group and The Trekkers - a good little R and B outfit). He was also a member of the short lived group The Fashion before falling in bed with a certain girl and falling out with agent Arthur Smith. Oggie bought his ukelele with him and we went through a catalogue of really bizarre numbers that had us in peals of laughter. Nice to see you buddy, come back soon and bring a fiddle player with you next time.


December saw the departure of yet another of my old friends from the 60's, Kex Gorin. I knew Kex as a great mate in those days and he was always a laugh and brilliant company. We would always meet up at the Cedar club or the Rum Runner, in fact, latterly, he was the drummer for Paradox who had become the Rum Runners resident band for a while.

Like other clubs at the time, various musicians would get up occasionally and play a couple of tunes and probably the last time I remember anything specific about him was one of those sessions when myself and ex Redcaps brothers Dave and Mickey Walker got up on stage with Kex and played for fifteen minutes or so. It was a great 'blow' and Kex was great too, with his solid, effective drumming that made a band. About a week after that session, Mickey asked me if I would consider forming a permanent group with that line up. I declined but at times have thought that it would have been a good move......anyway......... Bye Kex, it was a pleasure to have known you and to have played with you too.


Just when you thought there were no more awards that could be bestowed on the Band of Joy, Zep man, along comes another.

He has just been voted best beard wearer by The Beard Liberation Front - what rubbish!! (do you think the BLF let beards go from uncaring owners during the night ? - watch out Woody!!). Whatever next for Plantman? - best greasy hair, heaviest downpour of dandruff in one shake of his hairy head.

It's so pathetic. No doubt I will be receiving letters of complaint from the Dandruff Protection League for giving away their intentions to honour him as well! Personally, I think he has fabulous earlobes - don't go changing Plantman.


Remember this? The first attempt at a synthesizer guitar. VOX had the brill idea of combining the Continental organ into its lozenge shaped guitar (which I hated as a design concept). It was a real button pushers and knob twiddlers delight though!

I've got a mate who spends about two hours just tuning his guitar to his satisfaction only to find that after playing one number he has to start again - goodness knows what he would do with this, it would probably drive him out his mind trying to find a particular sound he wanted me to hear.

"So there you have it..........too many knobs"


Still up for sale if anyone's interested? Just drop me an e mail for more info.

OK everyone, take care, look after each other and see you soon.


copyright Bullsheadbob. Contact: Bobsbullocks@GMail