Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Watcha ar kid,

Plenty of Brumbeat groups news this month:

It was a packed night at The Asylum for a recent benefit gig
for Brums finest sax player Mike Burney from Great Barr.  Mike has played with the greatest of the greats including Steve Winwood,Memphis Slim, Chaka Khan, Sammy Davis Jnr but I think we Brummies tend to think of him with Birminghams own WIZZARD
(Wizzard with Mike second from the right)
You would have to be a really great musician to attract the likes of the Roy Wood Band and The Steve Gibbons Band along with King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys to come and play for you!!

Brilliant night....  Mike Burney's name even managed to get Johnny Neal out of the house
and support the gig, now that is no mean achievement, good one Johnny!!
Johnny and Steve were spotted having a chat, and it was very nice to see these two great vocalists together again.
Steve Gibbons and Johnny Neal

On the previous Saturday it was glad tidings all round as Mike Burney married his childhood sweetheart Sue Jeffs.  Mike's illustrious musical history is well known in Brums music circles and some of the good and the notorious
were present for the couples day and later on for a Jam at The Wheatsheaf.

Steve's 'Joe Cool' persona is what it is, and always has been.  He is a REAL Brummie hero and is regaled with much affection by those who know what good music is.  I can't think of a time when Steve hasn't stuck to his guns regarding his musical tastes, plain and honest good music, no frills.  You really have to admire that resilience and determination.  He has been exactly the same since I first met him in 1964.  

With class like that, it's no wonder that he is still performing practically every night whether with The Steve Gibbons Band or The Dylan Project or just Steve and his guitar doing solo spots.  I am one of the people who have worked with Steve in the past and we had some great fun along the way.  He is the most professional of musicians and knows what he wants from those around him and likewise, those around him want to deliver.  It was always fantastic to play with him and I learnt a lot about stagecraft from him too.

I have to say that Steve is always the first person to put his name forward for these benefit gigs if he's available, which merits a special thank you from me and probably from all the music fraternity of the Brumbeat generation in which Steve played such a massive part in that story.  It's about time he was truly recognised for his generosity and I think "Sir Gibbo of Harborne" has a nice ring to it.

Steve's recent collection of songs is probably one of his absolute best and is a real must to buy.  For more information on Brums greatest vocalist ever
visit Steves Facebook page to get all the new info about gigs, Downloads, CD's etc or even better, catch the Maestro live.

Well it's been a long time coming and even then there was continuing information about just when the blue plaque for MOTHERS,
Erdington would be unveiled.  Unfortunately I only got to know about it after the event had happened.   MOTHERS was voted the best gig in the world by Rolling Stone magazine following a survey of musicians during it's life 68-71.

It was already a well known gig as The Carlton before it's name change and was a brilliant venue to play at. Many great bands also played there like John Mayalls Bluesbreakers, John Lee Hooker and more plus a host of great Brummie bands.

The plaque was unveiled during Erdington Village Fete
by John Singer and Gary Surman.  The unveiling was followed by a gig featuring The Travelling Pilbury's
who played their varied musical set of 60's classics.

Some of the old musical faces were there including
Keith Smart who had left the confines of his golf club secretary's office and bought himself some new jeans to show how trendy he is.   Along with Keith were Danny King, Dave Scott-Morgan and a few more.
I don't believe that any of those 3 played there when it was Mothers but certainly had featured there in its Carlton days.

I am a really happy guy to have received the news that another bunch of my old muso mates have got a band together.  
(l-r Bob Styler, Dave Hynds, Michelle Williams, Danny Gallagher, Cliff Ogden)

The band, Critical Mass features some great names from the Brumbeat days with Bob Styler (Yamps/Traction), Danny Gallagher (The Solitaires/Traction/Frosty Moses), Dave Hynds (Cheetahs/Fairfield Ski) and the World Famous Oggie, Cliff Ogden (Fashion/Traction). These guys have recruited songstress Michelle Williams and are playing gigs.  They played their first (pictured above) at The British Legion and will be doing a gig in Tewkesbury this coming Saturday for the Air Ambulance, a real worthy cause if ever there was.   I'm really chuffed to see these guys on stage again, like I said last month....never stop playing and never give up.  Go and see them if you're in the Tewkesbury area, they are all great Brumbeat musicians and have a wealth of music experience behind them and, judging by this dynamic photograph your'e going to hear something special.  

One last thing.
So the Duchess had her offspring and naturally, with the childs father being a firm Aston Villa fan, it was only fitting that the sproglet should recieve his first football kit as a welcome to the world gift

Cheers me Dears
copyright Bullsheadbob
contact Bobsbullocks@Gmail 

Monday, 1 July 2013


Watcha Brummies, Cobbers and other Overseas friends,

I just want to say congratulations and many thanks to one of the blog's dedicated readers who hails from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia who, last month, logged on to read their 100th blog......and have since returned another couple of times.....many thanks, whoever you are, for putting up with my inane ramblings since I started down this road of monthly drivel.   If I'm ever passing that way you must keep a couple of huge shrimps ready to throw on the barbie and we'll ramble on about things a bit more!!!!  If there's Anything or any band you would like me to focus on especially for you then please just let me know and I'll be your a sort of Brummie, article writing, cyber way that is.   Of course you might probably be another Brummie abroad, but the shrimp thing still applies!!

FACT 1.  Just to give you, the BHB bloggies, a sneaky peek into the status of my international music success, I can disclose right here that I'm actually known in Alice Springs!!  "Well blow me down!" you must be saying, "that famous eh?".  
So, if you visit Alice Springs, you could always ask around for me, I probably won't be there but I am known there, it's just a matter of physical substance that makes the difference.  You could still bathe in the ambience.

You just try asking anyone you meet there "Excuse me, have you seen Bob?", I bet you that practically all of them will either say Bob? or by the other name I'm affectionately known as, 'Boboo'.

FACT 2.  BRUMBEAT FACT.  Any mention of Brummie success in Aus has to include Birmingham's own The Ugly's  who had a
No 1 chart hit there on the Astor label, an off shoot of the British PYE record label, with 'Wake up My Mind'  and were scheduled to be on The Rolling Stones tour of Australia but were vetoed by the Australian Musicians Union at the last moment.

FACT 3.  My Uncle Bill drowned on Bondi Beach.  Sad but true.  
No worries though, he could have been eaten by sharks or crocodiles, bitten by spiders or snakes, infested with mice or any of the other hundred ways to die, only to be found in's for living right? 

FACT 4.  Not everyone who lives there is called Sheila or Bruce.....  Kylie's a thing of the past too...evolution.   

Back to the West Midlands.
A few months back, I mentioned that Fairfield Ski had announced that their previously recorded LP, which was only in existence in acetate form, was now set for release on CD.  For those who hadn't read that particular blog, let me tell you that this group exceed, chronologically, the 60's time restraints of the Brumbeat period but of course their beginnings as that very well known 60's Birmingham band, The Cheetahs deservedly place the band here in continuity.   

It was only when they were joined by Bill Bonham did they change their name to Fairfield Ski. 

They appear to have also been known as Fairfield 'Sky' but just to set the record straight, they got their 'Ski' name from their ex-managers wife Ellen, who spoke fluent Russian so they called her Ellenski and eventually simply 'ski'.  
I don't want any smart alec out there pestering me for "why Fairfield then Bob?"

So anyway, the CD release is imminent and will be released sometime in July on the European label 'Guersen', I can't actually give you precise details of the release but please let me direct all you fans of Fairfield Ski to visit their Facebook Page

...where you can find all the news about the band's CD release, see the artwork, hear a track or two and explore the gory details of how much it costs and things like that.  I sincerely wish you guys good luck! and am pleased to see that this previously planned release has at last become a reality.  Great to have a bit of good news to announce.

If you were there during the sixties, there was always that basic music question of which of the two bands you preferred?  That sounds simplistic when referring to the two biggest bands ever.   Weren't we lucky?

I'm a Beatles man, no denying it, through and through, and at the last poll, 80% of the public agreed with me.   

Like all bands though, there were off-stage friendships and on-stage rivalries at every level including these two mammoths of rock.  This competitive band rivalry was re-visited and re-ignited in the 90's by the media, in their carbon-copy hype of the 60's, re-badged as 'Britpop' during the Blur/Oasis days.  Blur declaring themselves the reincarnation of The Kinks, during their psychedelic whimsical period and Oasis dressing exactly the same as the cover of The Beatles Rubber Soul LP and imitating the Beatles guitar sound of that period......they certainly were not The Beatles but there was some good music made by both of those bands during Britpop.          

That inter-band rivalry situation was captured so perfectly in the legendary film, Spinal Tap when David St Hubbins was talking about another band's singer

"He was so crap, the crowd were still booing him, while we were playing!"

Here's something though.  If you want to hear John Lennon's opinion on Mick Jagger and the Stones? click on the link below and listen to a very short, but very interesting, interview with John Lennon.  His biting assessment of Jagger is so harsh and although, in truth, I agree with everything he says, he seemed to me to have some kind of preoccupation about Jagger.  
Lennon also wrote "And Your Bird Can Sing" about Mick Jagger with the 'Bird' in the title referring to Marianne Faithful..........."but you don't get me!".
Worth a visit:
Click Here :


Given this blog's Australian theme, I have had the pleasure to recently have this just drop into my lap, a previously unpublished, photo of The Ugly's, taken by the bands manager, John Singer, well that is Steve Gibbons, Willie Hammond and Dave Morgan sat having a beer.  One of the best vocal front-line's of all the Brummie 60's bands, brilliant  harmonies from these three.  Some of you, along with me will recognise the Brumbeat Gig location too, it's The Kings Head at Bearwood, situated at the end of the Hagley Road that had a dance Club named The Morgue where groups like The Uglys, The Moody Blues and The Spencer Davis Group among many others played in the cellars of this large boozer which had been painted black and had skeletons hanging on the wall and things.  This pictured seating area was above The Morgue and was a great venue to play at particularly during the summer months, the venue was promoted by John Singer.  I was last there in 2005 and they were still having bands then. it's probably a franchise joint by now. 

(L-R The Uglys,  Gibbo, Willie and Dave.  copyright: The Uglys)

Fantastically, all of these three guys are still playing live, great eh?? Never stop playing is the message here.

Talking about never stopping playing.   As notified in the last blog, ex-Redcaps Mickey Walker and Alan Morley with new guitarist Steve Field aka The Salopian Dudes are pictured here in action at their first gig at Worfield Cricket Club back in May.  
I'm always tempted to crack a joke about falling off the back of a lorry but I imagine that Mickey would have used that line already!!  Great to see you two guys back in action.  I notice that Mick had borrowed Popeye's right forearm to get a bit more bottom out of his bass. "Go on mate".  Seriously great voice and bassist....really one of the very best and along with Alan these pair were a serious part of the Brummie early 60's music scene, one of the most musically respected bands, so do try and get to see them or if you're a promoter book them for some gigs.

If you should fancy a couple of days away by the sea then you should zoom off to Pontins, Lowestoft between 4 - 8 July and go and cop an eyeful of some of the pioneers of Rock and Roll when they get together to perform including the blog's own favourite Brian Gregg, who will be reuniting with Clem Catini
to reform their original line up of The Pirates....  I'd be there myself but am gigging elsewhere at the same time.
This might not be true in the Antipodes but it appears, from a recently researched report on the BBC website, that men are apparently to blame for the female menopause??  

Just when you thought you'd reached the top of the 'Men are to Blame' heap!! 

Well with the new football season on the horizon and despite their best efforts, Birmingham City remained in the Championship. The Baggies did remarkably well and the mighty Villa showed their strength and determination
in the latter third of the season and battled through to stay up in the Premiership.  I'm pretty sure that we will, as Brummies and most certainly if you're a Villa supporter, enjoy the fortunes of our teams this year.

'Her indoors' is coming back from a family visit this weekend so I'm eradicating the smell of fish and chips, curries, Pizzas, you know anything you don't have to cook for yourself when you've been busy all week slaying aliens on 'Halo' 1, 2 and 3, having a Beer and Beatles Day which entailed getting up, allowing myself a civilised cup of tea then it was the whole of the Beatles LP's in chronological order at a staggering volume, accompanied by copious amounts of beer.....pure art.  No matter how many times I listen to it, their catalogue of songs is monumental, their instinctive insight as to what was innovative and quality is simply breathtaking.  The recordings themselves are vibrant with energy and enthusiasm right from their first LP.  It really pisses me off when I hear them referred to as the first 'Boy Band'?? 

If you've watched 'Searchin for Sugarman' and enjoyed it
then you should really watch 'The Story of Anvil', both great DVD's.   They both go well with a large bowl of hot Chili con Carne,Rice, Fajitas and naturally, copious amounts of beer!!.  
If you eat your Chili whilst watching 'Sugarman', sufficient internal wind capacity will be fully charged and one can then indulge in streams of 'cheek lifting' activity during the Anvil story. Now thats rock and roll. 

Copyright: BullsHeadBob