Thursday, 1 June 2017


Hi Brummies, Chummies, Mummies with Pregnant Tummies and Baby Brummies with Dummies.

It's Flaming June!!  get out the cossie.

Well you could knock me down with a feather,  last month I ranted about  a Gibson guitar strap costing 89 pounds and even at that exorbitant price it was nowhere near the most expensive I had seen.     I was trying to point out how ridiculous prices surrounding music are and especially anything that carries a brand name.  It costs enough to equip yourself with reasonable kit let alone the travelling, accommodation, food, petrol, the weekly practice session etc and I am yet to be convinced that this outrageous cost represents any real value. What a rip off!


It's very warming to report that I had more than one offer of a vintage style strap from people within a couple of days of the Blog being published which made me smile.  The first was from my Ol' mate the Skiffle King who then wisely pondered on the issue for twenty or thirty seconds then annouced that he had completely lost his memory, wise sage that he is.  The second was from the evergreen and super friendly and ex-Brumbeat musician Bob Styler of Stirchley Music Exchange, Pershore Road, one of the last independent music shops in Birmingham who sent me an old vintage strap, which I gladly accepted and which is now firmly attached to my Gibson and looks a treat.    

The huge 89 pound price that Gibson has put on their strap can't be justified
and I urge all you guys NOT to buy anything that carries a price which is so obviously inflated.   Not unless you work for the royal mint.  

Now, I count myself fortunate to get reasonable money for my gigs but there are many who may not even get to play at a venue for their entire time as a would-be musician and just end up with a pile of misery and unnecessary expense for their efforts.  I doubt you would get a reasonable second hand return for your strap?   Anyway, us Brummies are lucky though because whilst there is still a small customer friendly music shop like Stirchley Music Exchange with helpful people like Bob Styler around you don't have to spend a fortune, if you don't want to.   

The shop really targets the "beginner to Stage 2" guitarists and bassists, economically speaking, with some good models and GREAT ADVICE always on offer.   Always a good selection of strings and accessories too.  Mention my name and you might get a coffee.

Thanks again Bob.


Of all the DJ's and presenters who have graced the airwaves of the BBC I can think of no other who was more of an influence in the early sixties than Brian Matthews.    From 1957 he was the presenter of Saturday Club on the BBC and it was a must with teenage listeners, with the latest records, interviews, fun and live bands playing in the studio it was the ONLY radio programme directed at the teenage population in the UK at that time that was any good.
Brian was perfect for the job, he possessed a great music knowledge, was loved by all the groups of the day and especially The Beatles who made frequent visits to Saturday Club and the CD "The Beatles at the BBC" is largely made up of these Saturday Club appearances with Brian.

On the Beatles Anthology there is some footage of them soeaking to him on the phone during their first tour of America, heady days indeed.  Brian also famously presented,
(Brian with The Brumbeats)
at the same time, Thank Your Lucky Stars for TV, which was recorded at the ATV studios in Aston, Birmingham and on which appeared several Brummie bands.

With the changes to music trends the name Saturday Club was replaced by Easy Beat which Brian presented until the arrival of Radio 1 in 1967.

For the next few years he was involved with other projects and I was really pleased to have him back on Radio 2 presenting "Sounds of the 60's" on Saturday morning which was very reminiscent of the old days.  He had a faithful audience of "avids", as he called them who shared their musical memories of venues and bands who had escaped the clutches of stardom but had made a single or two and these rarities would make a welcome addition to my listening now and again.

Brian presented this programme up until the age of 88 and was the oldest DJ on the box.  He was treated extremely badly by the BBC and was replaced without any discussion.  Not only that, on May 5 the BBC announced his death.....except he hadn't died.   I think one can imagine just how he might have felt not only by the shameful betrayal by the BBC but to have their false announcement too, which you would think they might have confirmed.  I imagine his family were distraught....he died 3 days later!

The Press are quick to latch on to the deaths of celebrities piling praise on them for what they did for music, pretty bad that he didn't get much of that for 67 years of broadcasting eh?   Out of time I guess?

From me, the AVIDS and all those 60's teenagers who spent their Saturday mornings listening to 60's music presented in a nice familiar sort of way, I wish you a fond farewell Brian and I thank my lucky stars that I had the pleasure of your company.  

"It was fifty years ago today, Sgt Pepper Taught the band to play"

It's simply amazing that this anniversary is here, 50 years since the release of Sgt Pepper.

I recall hearing it for the first time en route with the band for a gig at The Flamingo, Redruth 1967 (Since burned to the ground), we were all thrilled by its inventiveness for the time, great melodic content and George Harrisons eastern influences.   Once in a while I sit myself down with a drink and a bit of herbal jazz and listen to it from start to finish without interruption and I am still held in awe by the sound of it's production, it's subtle nuances and ambient harmonies and naturally the songs and no matter how many times you listen to the climax of Day in the Life it still lifts the top of your head off. 

I have the album on vinyl and CD including the
re-mastered stripped down CD

and every one sounds brilliant but with subtle differences and every song was  
recorded on a 4 track tape machine which is the most astounding achievement.   

To celebrate this Anniversary there is of course a music release and apart from the people who have never heard this before, I'm afraid I really am beginning to think it's wearing a bit thin, flogging the album to death in every conceivable form and I definitely won't be taken in by the line "At last The Beatles have authorised a Super De-Luxe Edition"....

With the Super de Luxe at roughly 100 quids it doesn't have anything that I want to hear and I can't see the benefit of listening to it in 5.1 thanks because I have the recordings I like. 

However, if you are recently into The Beatles or you're looking for a nice birthday present for someone it might be a nice gift

It comes with 6 CD's and a few buttons and bells for you or a loved one to indulge themselves in, so enjoy!   It's better to give than to receive.

It would appear callous if I don't mention the recent Manchester tragedy but I don't wish to give credence to these bastards.  Birmingham suffered it's own share of terrorist acts with the Bombings and the loss of 21 innocent lives.  I am pleased to say that finally after all this time by the campaigners and brilliant work of Brummie muso's Phil Hatton and Dave Morgan to highlight the injustice for the 21, there has been some legal movement giving them the right to legal aid to pursue some kind of resolution.

OK you guys I'm in a Cliff Richard "Summer Holiday" vibe and Mrs Bob is waiting in the garden dressed as Una Stubbs?  Anything could happen...

Next month Brummies Abroad et al.....


"Doo doo-do-doo do doo-doo"

Copyright:  BullsHeadBob

No comments: