Thursday, 1 May 2014


Howdoo Brummies,

Well here we are, back again.  It's May already and flowers are flowering
bees are a buzzin' and occasionally so am I, in a non-audio way that is.
I'm full of the joys of music and feeling pleased to have some nice friends,
all I need now is to have all of them in one place, with a BBQ, give them loads of ale and when the time's right later on, toss in the line "Thank heavens for that lovely George Osborne" and leave em' all to it, there'll be blood before midnight.

Once upon a time there was a group of teenagers from the Worcester area who formed a group called The Hellions
oft appearing in Brum's usual round of 60's gigs.   In the line up of that band was one Gordon Jackson who along with his band mates hammered their way through the usual type of 60's set
during the 'Beat Group' days.  Like most groups they had their ups and downs and despite recording three singles without a sniff of real success, they realised that the rapidly changing music scene required a name change so the Hellions became 'Deep Feeling', which was a musically adjusted version of The Hellions minus Dave Mason but now included Luther Grosvenor and Poli Palmer.

I was in the support band when Deep Feeling played at Hall Green Technical College during the 60's and they were ace, tremendous!!. We thought we were a good band, we were confident and always put on a good act, but after seeing and hearing them we had a serious re-think, I think we felt a bit intimidated. 

It was a great performance and they were appropriately named because they had a killer sound.  It was a bit like getting a lesson from the bigger boys. I thought they were going to be a real big band, but history is history.  Click here for the DEEP FEELING Bio by Brumbeats Editor, John Woodhouse. 
Look at that line up of dream guitars, Selmer PA cabinet at the side too for you kit freaks.
Anyway, belatedly, I'd like to say thanks to the band for the lesson!!
You did me the world of good, that was one of the experiences that made me want to be a musician even more than before.   So here I am, admittedly with a break in between but, all these years later, eternally broke, striving away still, my fingers are corrugated from all these years of practice but luckily for me I'm still playing.  

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE? In the 60's, life in a professional, hard working group wasn't all that rosy really.  I had been through thousands of band arguments, fights, disappointments, rejections, treachery, more disappointments, savage criticism's, chinese whispers, tears, heartache and more arguments however, after the second day I found myself getting into the swing of things....!   
Years later, my life in the field of music made walking through a jungle of snipers with a target tattooed on my bald head, a piece of piss.

I have an old mate who phones me out of the blue, now and again, we'll call him Crazy Malc, because that's his name - Crazy Malc, it was a mix up on his Birth Certificate.   Anyway, he phones me every time he feels a tinge of guilt, just to salve his conscience of anyone whose life he may have shagged up during his time on this planet.   I love him.  
You did get to play to large audiences across the country though and also in sweaty, smelly bars thick with smoke, where the heat and enthusiasm would always generate the best nights.  The 200 mile drive back to Brum wasn't always a drag because it was great for drying your sweaty clothes as you all huddled together in your Transit afterwards, smoking, absorbing the smell of the meat pie's and take-away's and dripping oil from the chips on your trousers.  We had it all didn't we? the time you got to the Elbow Room and met up with the other musicians there, you miraculously seemed to smell great again?  good enough anyway to put the same clothes straight back on the next day.


The band recorded an Lp that was never released and then they broke up, well when I say broke up it was more like a transfer and transmogrification of Jim Capaldi and ex Hellions Dave Mason into the best band ever to have come out of Birmingham and that band was of course TRAFFIC.   

Sadly there are always some casualties left on the battlefield of pop music and Gordon was one of those, as he saw all of his ex band members soaring up the charts with various successful groups.

Gordon, undaunted however, continued as a songwriter and made some recordings in his own right, aided and abetted by all the members of TRAFFIC with the LP itself being produced by Dave Mason.   There is a time and a place for everything in the world of music though, an immediacy, and that immediacy had slipped by leaving Jackson's really good recording practically ignored.
Thinking Back.  Great CD!!!
I call it the 'wounded soldier' effect.  I have never been able to understand it, there is something in the mental psyche that makes people think of some artists as a 'second' or as someone who cannot 'cut the mustard' because of not being included in a new project, such a strange phenomenon of us frail humans.  We have lost a load of great musicians to this effect.

Make some time to listen to Gordons CD, THINKING BACK
better still, buy it, but first click HERE to read John Woodhouse's review of this great CD.

All of the above aside, Gordon Jackson was a force and featured heavily in the 60's music scene, playing with the one of best bands around and competition was very tight then!!.   

Latterly he had turned his talented hands to the world of gardening, there is such creativity there with the blessed addition of more peace but less 'fringe benefits' of the music world.   Nonetheless, he has remained close friends with all his music mates and has recently pulled off a great coup in staging a small charity event which featured the three greatest and definitely the three coolest Brummie singers of all time whose vocal identities are recognised from the moment they open their mouths, no pictures or videos required, on one stage.


Robert Plant, Steve Winwood and Steve Gibbons were those three brilliant Brummie vocalists. 

Interestingly but glaringly incorrect was a piece by the Birmingham's own Evening Mail which described Winwood and Plant as vocalists and Steve Gibbons as a guitarist?, come on now??... got their finger on the pulse there, at the Evening Mail offices?  Stone me!!

However, these three amazing vocal legends, along with a panoply of Brummie muso's
and family members as a backing band, played three songs each at a small gathering at a Church in the Cotswolds where their efforts raised 5000 pounds for The Children's Society.  I just loved the fact that Steve Winwood chose to play bass, so cool and understated.  

The entrance charge was

There was something special about that line up too.......
not a Broad Street paving stone in sight, Hooray!!!!! that says something about the class of these guys.

All this however, would never have occurred if not for the great Gordon Jackson so, thanks mate. (round of applause sounding here in the bloggery).  
There is a snippet of a phone clip on Youtube somewhere.

In the shabby world of Southern Jessies, it doesn't take long for some twat to say "Birmingham!, who the fuck's from Birmingham??.......Enough said I think.  There's grit up here mate!!

1954 - 2014
I remember quite distinctly seeing my first Stratocaster and being blown away by its looks, it was like something from outer space, something futuristic about its design and there was one sure thing.....we all wanted one and those of us with parents who had a bit of dosh managed to get one, sadly that didn't include me.  History has shown that this guitar as a real icon, up there with all of the greatest designs of all time. 

If you wanted to buy one of those early Strats in 2014 you would have to fork out an incredible amount of money.   Today with all the acclaimed leaps forward in technology and electronics why it is impossible to buy a consistently well made Stratocaster like we could in the 60's?? I say the 60's because Fenders were not available in the British shops until 1962 because of post war import embargo's.   However once all that stuff was sorted out, if you were lucky you went to the music shop of your choice and bought a Fender Stratocaster and the one you bought was just the same as any other, great quality, beautiful paint job and was an instrument purchased for a lifetime of playing.  You didn't have to be a guitar nerd then, the only decision you had to make, if a Fender person was Stratocaster or Telecaster.

Japanese...a thing of beauty
Thanks goodness for that, I think to myself. Today we are faced with a mind boggling complexity of trying to buy a Strat model that you could be happy with.   'Made in Mexico' China or Korea Stratocasters are sneered upon by the owners of those Made in Japan or the USA and quite rightly so, because the difference between the reliability of the electrics, on their own, is poles apart and even if you get a 'Made in the USA Strat' does that mean you are getting the top of the range instrument?   I'm sure Fender would say "of course you are".   A lot of folk I know would say that the Japanese one is superior.
My question is, should there be a difference between those made in differing countries?  the answer of course is "No", this simply shows Fenders marketing strategies and about generating corporate income.

There is no doubt that they could make a seriously great guitar as standard
but then who would want to buy another??

This year of course, Fender have released their
60TH ANNIVERSARY 1954 Special with a RRP price tag of 2,278 pounds but that is not the only 60th anniversary model they are selling, there is also the 'classic player' 60th anniversary model which retails at 998 pounds and even Squier have released one selling at 350 quid, they also did a 50th too. Just one glance at this 50th Squier shows it being assembled from offcuts with the tell tale striping down the length of the body.  This was advertised on Ebay for 90 pounds and didn't sell. 

You might think that you are buying a piece of history and even if you don't bother playing it, which in my opinion is a criminal act, you may think that it might be a great purchase for investment purposes but would you benefit?
I think it's a real gamble on the part of the purchaser but a win-win, clever marketing ploy by Fender releasing so many 'high end' anniversary variants of this guitar along with the Custom Shop models which are even more expensive than these.

There have already been the 40th and 50th Anniversary models and there has been a difference between the two with regard to investment.
Beautiful 60th Anniversary Stratocaster
The 50th has seen more of a consistent improvement in value whilst the 40th, which was not too well liked by nerdy Strat fans is not quite so highly valued and you could buy one off ebay for about 700 quid on a good day or I have recently seen a 'Made in Mexico' 40th anniversary go for as little as 450 pounds. The 40th has fallen in value from it's purchase price, although there are those who think it's worth a punt to advertise theirs for a couple of thousand.

All these re-issues are based on the 1954 model.    

The 40th has serial numbers on the rear of the headstock from 0001 to 1954.  You can buy a 1954 re-issue Strat at any time you like though, you don't have to wait for anniversary models to be introduced.   I read that the only difference between the two models was that the 40th came with TWO cases......WTF!!! it's just crazy stuff. 

I have watched, on EBay, a lovely looking 'Made in Japan' 1954 re-issue this week with a Buy it Now price of 530 pounds along with a multitude of 40th,50th and 60th anniversary models to see how the market forces are.   One 50th anniversary model (unplayed) sold for less than it's purchase price.  All the rest were either unsold or re-listed, but this Japanese guitar still has 4 days left so you could pick up a great bargain..

With price tags in the thousands it is no surprise that these models are being copied and there are plenty of great looking Chinese copies floating about that are being sold as the genuine article so you should exercise good judgement if you are thinking of getting one, especially second hand or even new on-line, take care especially if you are buying from a private source.  

These copies are convincing but valueless in real terms.  

Here is an immediate guide what to look for when buying an advertised 50th De luxe Anniversary model.  Should you wish to read some more detailed information about what to look for when buying this guitar, then just drop me a line at and I'll send you
a more comprehensive sheet of 'what to look for' details, although of course this is advice only.

1.  The guitar was only produced in sunburst, no other colour variants.
2.  The wood is Maple, showing a rich pattern of grain under the cellulose.
3.  Etched 50th anniversary neck plate.
4.  Produced in 2004 only.  However, ALL 'USA made' Stratocasters during 2004 had the 50th anniversary neck plate as standard, so some people who own a Strat might be deluded into believing they have the 50th anniversary special for sale but that is not the case!  They simply have the neck plate.

It's minefield out there, a minefield!!!

You have been warned.    

I'd love one of these guitars I have to say,
brings back so many beautiful memories.
Mmmm Pie and chips tonight then.

If one of these is for you then good hunting, never buy in haste, be smart and help yourself not to get ripped off.

Two Blues supporters went fishing, when they had got settled down one of them took out a Thermos flask, the first one said. 
"What's that?"
"A Thermos, it keep hot things hot and cold things cold"
"What you got in it then?"
"Coffee and two choc ices"

Anyway you lovely people, tune in next Month......June will be busting out all over!!!

Take Care

copyright: BullsHeadBob