Wednesday, 1 July 2015


Hiya Brummies, Brummettes and World wide mates,

Whew, what a scorcher. 
summer attire
We've certainly been enjoying some great weather so, with economy in mind, we have decided not to go to Portugal this year for our hol's but instead, have ordered three tons of sand for the back garden to create our very own beach.    Mrs Bob is all excited about the prospect and has been trying on her summer balaclava, it might not be the most fashionable thing to wear at the beach but it does hide most of her excessive facial hair and also comes in handy to 'blend in' when doing some shopping with the sisters from the Sparkhill Feminist League.   

If you're a jazz fan you might want to toddle off into the city and cop an earful of some Jazz and Blues at various venues throughout the city during the 31st Jazz Festival between the 3rd and 12th of July.

The organisers contacted me to ask if I would do a 'little something' on the blog about the Festival, "Sure" I said, "Why don't you email me a poster of the event" working on the basis of a picture paints a thousand words.   I heard nothing in reply but did receive another email a couple of weeks after, from a different admin person from the same office asking me the same question, I sent back the same answer. Nothing came back- twice!   You might think I would have given up but, undeterred, I trawled the web and found the stuff for myself. 

It would
be too much for me to include here everyone who is playing during the festival but, take it from me there are a shed load of brilliant and passionate musicians appearing.  I would definitely go and see Andy Fairweather-Low, a little pricey, but the man is a mass of talent in a small package, not just Clapton's side man for so many years.   Do support the event, it's spread across many locations in Brum and it's essential to keep music live.   Go out, have a few beers and listen to some great musicians, I guarantee you won't regret it.  I'm on my hol's 
I'm afraid and will be busy making my beach, swigging parsnip wine cocktails, applying goose fat to Mrs Bob's back, and "twangin' on me ukulele".

Click on the link below to view the Jazz Festival programme



Sad to say that we have recently lost another of our Brumbeat survivors and great drummer, Mac Poole.   Mac was from Oldbury but was practically resident in Brum and would be around in the hubbub of Brum's nightclubs during the 60's when all us muso's would meet up after gigs.   I first met him at The Hen and Chickens, Langley when I was playing there.  He was very enthusiastic.

Marsha Hunt
Mac played with several Brummie bands but would find fame as the stickman for Marsha Hunt and then 'Warhorse', a band put together by ex Deep Purple Bassist Nick Simper.   Mac then played with a host of other well known bands.   
Mac - Far Right

I played with Mac for a short while in a band that we quickly knocked together to do some gigs for an agent we knew, who needed to fill some dates, we were a pretty 'heavy' band. We did some good gigs down in Devon, Barnstable Town Hall was one of them I remember.  We then headed up North to do a weeks worth of shows expecting the same sort of gigs there but on arrival we found we were booked into some working men's clubs! When they heard us doing a sound check they suggested that, should we go on stage, we would be lynched by the 'Scampi in a Basket' brigade.  We made a tactical withdrawal back to Brum.   Around that time he had been approached by Planty to ask him if he wanted to join Led Zeppelin, he opted out.
The Honeycombs

I bumped into Mac a few times since then at parties and such.  In the recent past he was the drummer for The Honeycombs which came as a bit of a musical surprise to me but "You gotta earn a buck where you can".  

Well God Bless you Mac, I enjoyed your company for a few years and you never ran out of conversation.  

Here's a link below to click on for some Youtube footage of Mac with Warhorse, worth a watch.


Back in the day, Bob Styler was the vocalist for The Yamps, and a fine band they were too.    I thought of him as a kind of Brummie Eric Burdon, with his energetic performances and strong stage personality.  

Bob quit the group scene in the late 60's but later on started playing as part of a duo doing the clubs, so kept himself involved in the music.

Today, Bob is the guitarist with The Shady Banda group born out of a Country band he was playing with that have retained a touch of that country rock but have gone back to the music they love to play, that is the music
of the sixties, with a smattering of some later music that we all know and love.     

The Shady Band are all experienced musicians, and the Shady Lady herself, lead vocalist Jeni Hatton, has a wealth of diverse musical experience including stage musicals. They are extremely well respected and have been doing lots of gigs recently.

The line up comprises of Jeni Hatton (lead vocal), Bob Styler- Guitar /vocals, Danny Walker -Drums/vocals
Phil Clayton- Bass/vocals.  

With all those voices you can be sure of some nice harmonies and there is always a brilliant party atmosphere when they take to the stage.  So get on your dancin' shoes and "loosen up yer larynx".

The band are already getting gigs for December so if you are promoter or club secretary get in touch with them now to avoid getting a cheap substitute.

You can get the latest July gig news and other info from their website at

Alternatively you could chat with Bob himself if you call into the Stirchley Music Exchange, probably the last independent guitar shop in Brum with lots of good second hand guitar bargains and always a friendly face behind the counter, 
you know? just like the old days when people were civil to each other and you would be made to feel welcome when you went into a music shop.      

Brian May is a fine guitarist and his effect-laden, home made guitar is now manufactured by Burns.  Some people believe this was the first of it's kind - not so my friends.

In 1967 VOX marketed the V286 Grand Prix, not a VOX built guitar but one manufactured by EKO for them, that came with built in effects.  This is not to be confused with the VOX guitar organ that had been issued in 66.
I think that this was probably the first of its kind, albeit that Les Paul had his own recording guitar that did the same things but was not available to buy commercially.

I'm not a real fan of VOX guitars but I do like this model apart from the bulbous headstock.  Looks the business.

This has all the looks and attributes of a 60's guitar with it's harsh and cutting treble but you can also sound like Duane Eddy with lush, deep tones.
You can switch in the on-board distortion effect and play some screaming solos with it. There is also Wah, Delay and Tremelo effect.   It is a bit of a knob twiddling delight but if that's your thing then great.  

You should be able to find a good one for about 2000 pounds or more but a word of warning, if you are thinking about getting one, make sure you try it out well and if there is even a hint of a problem with any of the effects don't buy it. There are no spares available and it's one printed circuit

Great guitar for a serious collector.

Just as a top and tail piece to this article. Brian Mays much celebrated use of a sixpence as a plectrum was neither a 'first'.  It was quite common practice, I certainly used one, way back when.

My mate 'Skiffle King' sent me a picture that, if you are planning a career in music, says it all......

At times life can be crap and for sure, everyone will let you down but we can rise above it if we really want to.  Be true to yourself and remember that no good deed goes unpunished.

OK, take care of yourselves and those you love.


copyright:  Bullsheadbob