Hello Gang!!!!, pause for reply - (muffled sound) -"hello bob".
Time to take stock of one of our Brummies Abroad....
I, on the Black Country side of the Atlantic, have been revisiting some of my old West Midland courting places, Bilston Glue Factory, The Ammonia Plant at Sedgetree where me and Mavis the 'Manipulator' experiened some real chemistry and my favourite of all time.....da-da-dada ......... downwind of the Golden Wonder Crisp factory at Tyseley, Mmmmm it was an olfactory delight on Salt and Vinegar day. We move in the same circles, Graham and I. To me, of course, he's simply 'G'. BHB and G - it's the dream ticket.
We'll be makin' music together soon, I can feel it in me waters. All I need is the air fare and a grass skirt..
THE VICTORS, THE FUGITIVES AND A LASTING FRIENDSHIP
You may recall me publishing a photo of The Victors sent in by bassist Ken Reeves which I really liked and still do, in fact here it is again:
Unbeknown to me at the time, both John and Ken had been lifelong mates and had started out down the rocky, but grand music road together when they were sproglets.
John sent me a couple more photos including one of his earliest groups, which featured both he and best mate Ken who, during the next few years, would be bassist for The Victors, The Yamps and probably a couple more bands along the way.
Selmer, Bird and Watkins Dominator amps, Hofner guitars and a very early appearance of a Stratocaster. No microphones are evident, so a Shadows type outfit I guess. I really think this is quite an amusing photo because generally, in those days, a mark of a successful band (from another groups perspective) was based on their equipment, as it gave the appearance that they were earning a lot of dough.
I just love the way they have lined up their gear, in front of them!! I just fall about at that, in a nice way that is...very naive and pure, just the best fun ever. The smallest bands had some of the best times, having a musical adventure combined with energy and the love of playing music. They were'nt spoiled by the work-like 'professionalism' of bigger groups. The further you move away from purity, the less the enjoyment is. I really miss those particular days. BRUMBEAT was not just about big name groups. It was that energy and enthusiasm on a massive scale for a while and ALL these guys were a real part of its foundation.
Now then, when is it my turn to have the jeans for a whole night Dave?
In the June blog, Hollick and Taylor studios were featured but they certainly were'nt the only studios about in Brum that were popular with bands. Let's talk about another very well known studio, Zella. Zella studios had been known as Ladbrokes studios for many a year and the same amount of people who recorded at HandT recorded at this studio as well, which was situated on Essex Street. just around the corner from Jones and Crossland. Spencer Davis, The Move, The Uglys, Idle Race, Band of Joy and Black Sabbath who made their very first studio recording there, "When I Came Down" (available on some bootleg recordings), were all regular customers along with a host of others. It was a smallish studio but had some ambience to it. Tiny control room I remember. Johnny Haines had been the sound engineer under the Ladbrokes regime but now he was the main man there and did a good job. When the studio name change occurred it also spawned Zel-La records of which there were many releases, and differerent coloured labels over the coming years. Heavy Brum band Magnum who had used Zella extensively, ended up buying the studio from Haines in the 80's.
MILLIONARES - LIFETIME TO FORGET (COX-CONNELL) / LIKE A BUTTERFLY (COX-CONNELL)
organ led pop/prog around 1970?
SECOND TIME AROUND - IF THIS IS LOVE / ISN'T IT SO SAD (I.M. STONE)
Early 70's pop ?
SELMER TWIN SELECTORTONE
THE BEST 60'S 30 WATT AMP?
John and I were discussing the merits of early 30 watt amps. There were only two real good 30 watt amps available in the early 60's, the VOX AC30 and the Selmer Twin Selectortone. I had the latter. I had gone the normal route of a small 8 watt RSC practice amp, Linear Conchord cage amp and then onto the Selmer. I can't tell you what a 'step up' this was. It was like growing up.
Why buy a Selmer over a Vox AC30? The Vox was the amp of the moment, it was attractive with gold lettering and was used by the Shadows and later The Beatles too. I bought mine during The Shadows phase. I guess it was probably a choice based on my available funds though and I bought a second hand blue/grey model. The joy of this amp over and above the Vox was it's built-in tremelo effect which was really good AND also sported a spring reverb. The Selmer had a great row of push button switches which would enable you to switch between preset tones, from a gentle bass sound right through to ear splitting treble. I didn't venture much towards the gentler end of the sound spectrum however. My Selmer had a bit of a dirtier sound to it than the Vox, which may have been the overall virtue of this amp or, quite probably had just got that way through years of me 'givin it some welly'. It certainly loved playing the likes of 'You Really Got Me' right through to, and including, the Blues phase. It is worth mentioning that VOX added their treble boost control as standard in 1963 which could well have been their reply to the sound that was already available from a Selmer Twin.
This amplifier was incredibly heavy and built to last. I recall dropping it down a flight of stairs and would invariably come crashing down off its stand (chair) when we was 'rockin', with the reverb making a hell of a noise as it landed on the floor. Like all other muso's I carried a couple of spare valves but generally speaking I couldn't fault this lovely old thing. The Bluey was superceded by the Croc Skin covered model during 64, (although it had been initially launched during the Autumn of 63 at the Music Fair in London) became a favourite of The Beatles and was used extensively during the recording of Revolver.