Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Hiya Brummies,

Well welcome to May, twittering birds, profusions of flowers and of course, being the first of the month it's a date with The BH Bob Blog.

Those of us who remember the midlands bands of the 60's will be aware of the name of Reg Calvert.  Reg managed and 'groomed' an assortment of Midlands young popsters along the lines of Larry Parnes who managed Billy Fury, Marty Wilde, Duffy Powers etc etc and had his own 'school of pop' at Rugby.  Later on in that decade Reg was responsible for the successes of midlands bands like The Fortunes and Pinkertons Assorted Colours, Tanya Day, Johnny Neal and a host of others.  Reg was a real early entrepreneur and was also involved with Pirate Radio.  Reg died in strange circumstances and his story has been comprehensively covered by David St John along with the assistance of Sue Calvert, Reg's daughter, and others who had worked with Reg over the years.  Click here to visit:


These days it can be hard to find a gig.  These days it can be hard to find a gig where the owner doesn't expect you to pay for the privilege of playing at his/her gaff.  It would be great wouldn't it if there was a live music venue where all different types of music can be heard?  Well there is such a place.
The Tower of Song in Coleshill.  

This purpose built venue is run and owned by Tom Martin an Irish Singer/songwriter with a passion for live music and performance, indeed Tom has played most places both at home and overseas both as a solo artist and with his fellow musicians in The Tom Martin Band.  The Tower is
beautifully decorated venue with fabulous murals by local artist Mike Browning.  

With a rich programme of weekly and monthly events it seems crazy not to make a visit or two to this most impressive venue normally starting the musical week on Wednesday night with The REA RIVER ROOTS.  There is an open microphone spot  (2 songs maximum) before the booked artist commences so get in there and sign yourself up and show people what you can do.  On Thursdays its CROSSROADS BLUES with the same format as Wednesday.

The First Friday of each month is ACOUSTIC ROOTS hosted by
Vo Fletcher and Catherine Howe with invited support artists and the first Saturday is the HEARTBEAT HONKY TONK hosted by Jimmy Cox and Terry Foley playing early Rock N' Roll and country blues with support slots.  The last Saturday night of each month features the great Tom Martin Band.

If you're a bassist you will want to visit the Tower for a Sunday night,
bi-monthly workshop featuring just bassists hosted by BASS GUITAR MAGAZINE Editor and 6 string bass virtuoso Steve Lawson featuring specialist internationally acclaimed bassists.   If you're not a bassist but would like to know how to solder leads etc, this could be your opportunity to learn, just go there and get chatting!! I've never met a bassist who doesn't know how to do things like that.

Well opportunity is knocking for you to attend the other Bi-Monthly Sunday night event Lobelia's Lazy Sunday songwriter night.  To have all these events and styles under one roof is brilliant and my congratulations go to Tom for having the strength of musical passion to include all these differing styles.

Other bands and artists are booked throughout the month and there is one other fabulous bonus too CHEAP BEER!!! So get yourself down to the Tower of Song for a great night out with live music.   For a more comprehensive view of the Tower visit Toms web page, CLICK here......THE TOWER OF SONG 

I don't really write much about The Move because everything is already covered on the ELO network and it would simply be me repeating what has already been written.  We Brummies musicians saw them as mates, doing the same gigs as everyone else until they hooked up with Tony Secunda and his bunch of shady crooks and cronies, then they really took off, and deservedly so, they were excellent.  

There was always something kind of old fashioned about their thinking though.  I mean, if you have just charted with "Night of Fear", one of the new breed of drug related, psychedelic records that were released during those heady, 'far out' times and then followed it up with "I Can Hear the Grass Grow", that thunderous, bass riffed, psychedelic rocker, you would have thought that some immediate re-thinking would have taken place about the set list which included 'Zing go the Strings of my Heart'.    

Their transition from Rock Band to Cabaret act was a jaw dropping moment of shock when Charlie Wayne told me what they were going to do.  Thinking about it in hindsight, you can see how some of them had never really left  that 'gimmicky song' thing behind.  

Anyway that apart, here's a fantastic Youtube clip of Roy Wood, Bev Bevan, Sprike Hopkins and Ace Kefford doing a quickly re-learned "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" for a live performance in Birmingham 1981.  

I really like this, it shows what a great bassist Ace Kefford was and how important he was to The Move's live sound, he was so effective and solid.  It's also a great live sound here, just a back line and that's it....that's how it should be.....and that's how The Move were, energetic and loud, none of this lifeless perfect sound crap, there should always be some kind of urgency with a band and they had it for a short while.

Last month we visited some of our Brummie muso brothers abroad, one being Willie Hammond of The Uglys.  About 5 years ago Brumbeat did a series of interviews of some muso's early beginnings, 'Six of the Best', which featured Willie's hilarious first gig when he was 12. 

He sent me a Youtube link at the same time of his Nephew Olly Betts who has followed in his Uncles footsteps and is playing the guitar.  "He's 11 years old and is playing a lot better than I could at that age, he has really dedicated himself to the guitar.  Goodness knows how good he will be when he's 12!!".   It's almost like history repeating itself and there is a real facial resemblance to his Uncle in his younger days, it's only right to encourage young Brummies so good luck from us here at Brumbeat Towers Olly and keep practising!!!  Let's all try and give this young man some support.
Click here:OLLY BETTS

It's a little funny that when listening to Shakin All Over some people still think it was the great Mick Green doing his stuff and they all want a Telecaster or Gibson TV to get that sound.  It was Joe Moretti who played the lead on Shakin' and for those seeking to emulate that beautiful guitar sound you will have to get yourself the guitar he used at that time:


You would, of course need to have one with a complete set of strings as opposed to the one on this photo but for it's age its a lovely piece of work, I just love the teardop F holes and it's aged honey colour tones are gorgeous.   I'd like one of these but they're rare as hens teeth

Well yours truly is busy gigging away here and there, more there than here though, if you get my drift but it's always great to play back in Brum.

Come on Villa, just one more win please!!!!!

Take Care and have a lovely May

copyright: Bullsheadbob