I was thinking about a blog I did a few months back about great Brumbeat gigs, and in particular Walsall. At that time I was yakkin' on about Walsall Town Hall but of course there were other gigs there that may have been smaller but were no less important.
This is one of them:
|copyright (B Bonham)|
If you were a very young aspiring musician it would have been the perfect place to grow up in and learn from the 'bigger boys'. Therefore, it was not surprising that the young man who actually lived at this pub from the age of 10, and had the opportunity to absorb all that melting pot of music, became one of the midlands premier musicians. I talk about Bill Bonham, organist and pianist. Bill had received classical musical training from the age of 6 and by his teenage years was '"the hot kid on the block", his playing being influenced by the jazz greats, the classics and acts like Graham Bond with his growling R&B.
"My Father always had different types of bands and combos at the pub and I could always talk to them about music and they would be very generous towards me. I used to hang around whilst the various bands were setting up and I walked in one day when the Redcaps just started a soundcheck ........I was mesmerised and I think I closed my open mouth about twenty seconds after they had stopped playing, "I wanna do that" flashed through my head!!
"A jazz combo pointed me in the direction of Charlie Parker and I remember when I first heard him play I thought he was God"
|Bill Bonham (right)|
The great sound of Reid's 3 piece band, his amazing voice apart, was built on the same structure as The Doors, that is with dominant keyboards and no bass player, "I used a Fender Rhodes Bass piano or the Hammond organ foot pedals to provide the bass lines".
The Terry Reid band were signed to Mickie Most and when Reid became ill,
Most wasted no time in utilising Bill's great musicianship in the recording studio with the likes of The Hollies and Donovan. "I did a tour of GB with Donovan which was a nightmare, we had rehearsed his set for a couple of weeks before going out on the tour and on the opening night at the Hammersmith Odeon we played the first song and then he started playing songs I'd never heard before for the rest of the set!!, luckily I have a good ear and was able to follow him but really had no idea what was coming next. Mickie Most was horrified"
Following his time with Terry Reid, Bill returned to Birmingham and played with a resident band in the Rum Runner and some others, eventually going to RADA to complete his musical training before moving to the USA where he still lives today.
There is one final thing that I should make clear. It is not unreasonable to think that he is related to John Bonham given that they are both Brummies but in fact they are not related at all, it was simply a bit of fun on both their parts to tell people they were cousins. John Woodhouse has already done a more detailed feature on Bill Click Here and unfortunately succumbed to the Bonham dynasty in-joke, never mind John, you had to be there to know it!!
On the face of it, it appears that Bill made some cool and groovy decisions during his playing days but we all make the occasional mistake and he is no exception:
|(Bill Bonham top right with Fairfield Ski - copyright B Bonham)|
DON'T BE AN APRIL FOOL
AND THROW YOUR HISTORY AWAY.
Brumbeat.Net and the Bulls Head Bob blog are committed to preserving YOUR history with NO gain for us as two individuals. We aim to preserve YOUR history by giving the copyright to you, in particular I refer specifically to the many photos and posters that are sent to us via e-mail for publishing.
There are however, a couple of Brummie music "History" sites that make you sign away your copyright to anything that you give them, which you may have not understood when making contact. PLEASE BEWARE OF ANY SITE THAT MAKES YOU TICK A BOX AGREEING TO THEIR PUBLISHING RULES REGARDING YOUR PAST.
BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE DONE THAT ALREADY.....THAT PART OF YOUR PAST DOESN'T BELONG TO YOU NOW!!! You have been warned.
Till next month
Contact at: Bobsbullocks@GMail.com