Tuesday, 1 December 2009

DECEMBER - The Queens Peach

Ho Ho Ho - Ar Kid,

Sadly, the annual BRUMBEAT Christmas party has had to be cancelled this year as John is in the process of moving house,
he'll do anything to avoid buying me a drink. Perhaps he's related to Danny King, Dave Morgan or Johnny Neal - great artists in the conservation of their wallets! While all us plebs will be freezing our assets off in the UK over the Christmas period, Mr Neal will be sunning himself on the shores of the Cape of South Africa, he says that the cost of sherry there is much cheaper?

Last month I was doing a bit of web surfing and thought I would trawl through the music sites that interested me to see if any updating had been done. I headed first for Mick Adkins website only to find the page unavailable, now my computer isn't the most modern in the world and often 'hiccups' with speed faults etc so I moved on, meaning to return a little later. In conversation with John he tried to find it too. It came as a real shock for John and I to find out, through a Health and Safety document, published on the web, that Mick had died from asbestosis in 2007. It's such a shame that no-one had contacted us about Micks passing. We both wish to say how sad we are at the news and send our thoughts to Judy Adkins and the members of Micks family and friends.

Of the many contributors to the BRUMBEAT website Mick was one of the best. His e mails to us were witty and informative and indeed, his own website was a great read about his 60's days as lead guitarist of The Sundowners, The Chads and his time as one of Robbie Hoods Merry Men!! Self deprecating, as is the case for most Brummies, and full of humour it made a great read. Micks musical history is a long one, spending many years after the sixties, playing the clubs with the brilliant Brenda Bosworth through the 70's and 80's. Micks wife Judy informed me that his funeral was attended well and included a couple of the Idle Race guys, Roger Spencer and Greg Masters. I'm sure Mick would have appreciated the company some of his muso mates, we all appreciated his company back then.

ALEX WHARTON - THE MOODY BLUES. Visit the Pie Stand page to read the exclusive interview with the great Alex Wharton

Both John and I would like to wish a very Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year to you all and thank you for visiting the site and keeping people's memories alive. This little community of the Survivors of Brumbeat are getting thinner each year and its brilliant that we can share our passion for the music with those who were not fortunate enough to have been around to have experienced it first hand - from the days before you could buy a solid body electric guitar to the psychedelic summer of love when even The Applejacks wore kaftans!! (I think they wore them to conceal their woggles!!). It maybe hackneyed to say this but there will never be another time like the BRUMBEAT days, when there were hundreds of venues or bars featuring 'live' music, two or three times a week....... even in Tipton. You could walk down Broad Street without being kicked to the ground. Best of all, us happy band of muso's meeting at Alex's, The Cedar Club, Elbow Room and The Rum Runner after gigging somewhere, were lucky to have had each others company and to have shared loads of good times together. I think of you all with great affection (well not ALL of you)......have a good one.

It's days away from the festive holiday and so being a pal I thought it best to remind you all, especially the tight fisted ones amongst you, that its a nice gesture to give someone you love a little token of your affection whether you 'Do Christmas" or not. We're not here forever.

Thats for you Oggie..

copyright BullsHeadBob. Contact: Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Sunday, 1 November 2009

NOVEMBER - Autumn Leaves.........

Hello Chums, Pals, Boys and Gals,

Just two months till Christmas!! Now I absolutely love the Christmas festivities, in fact I probably enjoy the lead-up to Christmas rather than the event itself, although these days I don't get the obligatory 'knee trembler in the cupboard' during the works party or, in fact, the Works Party either.
As I missed that sort of thing, last year Lucy and I decided to have an 'adult' Christmas role-playing game, we spent the afternoon getting absolutely ratted on cheap champagne, scoffing vol au vents and mince pies. I had suggested we dress appropriately for the occasion but unfortunately Lucy, lacking a little imagination, dressed as the office cleaner, not the eager little strumpet that one normally finds at Christmas parties. For added authenticity she had smeared herself with Johnsons Lavender Wax Polish to give that ambience of bonking in a dark space. A laddered and wrinkled stocking was fetchingly draped around one of her ankles like a flacid brown eel, a half smoked ciggie accentuating her diseased left ear took your eye to her hair tucked teasingly under a headscarf covering a couple of rollers that peeped out from the sides of her head like torpedo tubes on a Motor Launch. She suddenly leered at me.... and said the magic words "See you in the cupboard Tiger". I was off...to the cupboard under the stairs.

There's one consequence of getting older that never entered my head when planning the event and that is the problem of memory loss. From the living room to the hall cupboard is less than 10 seconds away but more than enough time for me to have forgotten what I was going there for in the first place. On entering the door I spent the next three hours happily sorting out a jar of nails and screws into sizes. Likewise, back in the living room, Lucy had checked her appearance in the mirror, saw that she was dressed as a cleaner and started washing down the paintwork...


Over the past couple of years I have to admit to being less than friendly towards the Moody Blues. However that wasn't always the case. I loved the first line up of that band, as an R&B group, with Denny Laine and Clint Warwick. They really were BRUMBEAT in every sense.
So as a form of Christmas present to our faithful readers and especially to my fellow lovers of The (R&B) Moody Blues, we are really excited to bring you yet another BRUMBEAT EXCLUSIVE and let you know that, after some gentle persuasion, I have recently interviewed the great Alex Wharton, Manager and Record Producer of the Moodies. He popped into 'the snug' for a pint of loosening juice and then we talked at length about the recording session that produced one of Birminghams best records of all time, the epic "Go Now". Alex sheds light on his particular difficulties of the recording process and touches on a couple of other subjects too. You read it here first...... The interview will be appearing on the main site in December - this is too good to miss!!

For those of you who didn't know, the (after R&B) Moodies have a 'Ride' named after them at an American theme park, how grandiose!

Although I haven't been on the ride myself, I imagine that you enter the ride, then they strap you tightly into a chair and play Nights in White Satin at you until you fall asleep. I suppose they could get through 10,000 people an hour...........the upside is you come out feeling refreshed but not remembering the ride at all. What a trip!!

Last months mention of the reunion of J Neal Esq and Norm Crandles, has brought another BRUMBEAT muso out of the woodwork, in the shape of Paul Brunt who played lead guitar with both of the aforementioned Brummie vocalists and also played with Ace Kefford, Nicky James, Jimmy Powell and others. Nice to hear from you Paul - he's still playing if anyone wondered.

Were you a member of one of the following bands?
If so, Chris Smith would really like to hear from you in his quest to complete his book Brumbeat and Beyond. Some of the names of the group members are included where known. Chris would be very happy to have any information about any of these acts even if you weren't a member of the band itself. Chris can be contacted at http://www.smithc711@aol.com





























COMING SOON. Look out for forthcoming 'In the Snug' interviews with some past stars of BRUMBEAT. We only bring you the best.

Till Next time,


Copyright BullsHeadBob. Contact: www.Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Thursday, 1 October 2009

October - Home Sweet Home

Hello Brummies, Friends, Brummies Abroad, Muso's, Afficionados


Well here I am back at the old house, tucked up in bed after my summer long hospital stay. I'm still convalescing, so once again I'm afraid that this will be quite a short blog. I thought that I could lie in bed and shout down the stairs to Lucy "I'd love a cup of tea" or other reasonable requests, given my delicate state, but she seems to have developed a bad case of deafness and a sharp increase in the usage of the word Bollocks!! A quick word of thanks to all those lovely NHS people who nursed me through my month long ordeal and also my thanks go out to some of you kind folk who sent me e mails wishing me a speedy recovery. Alex, my special on-line metaphysical physiotherapist, assigned to improving my positive mental attitiude, has sent me a leaflet outlining a few simple Yoga exercises to make me supple again so, being a sharing type of person I thought I would pass them onto you in case you wanted to try them out for yourselves:

I'm sure we've all been well practised in some of those positions in the past!!


Farewell to DJ Simon Dee who recently passed on. OK, so he wasn't a Brummie or had no connection with Brumbeat but he was a certainly a great influence on the British pop scene through his Radio Caroline days, when all we had was Radio Luxembourg which famously faded in and out on the airwaves. He rose to meteoric stardom hosting his own Saturday Night TV show 'Dee Time' which attracted an audience of 22 million!! An 'E type' driving DJ surrounded by hordes of young women and living the high life of London during the sixties. He was unfortunately a victim of his own popularity and over- inflated ego so the British, as usual, turned on him and his career plummeted alarmingly overnight and within months he was bankrupt, drawing dole money of 6 pounds a week. He also did some jail time for assaulting a bailiff. Some say that he was the model for Austin Powers

It's great when you can reunite some BRUMBEAT muso mates. Norm Crandles, formerley Lee Stevens (and The Satellites), pictured on the left, flew across the pond from Canada for a reunion with old buddie Johnny Neal, co-incidentally, their respective wives are both called Maggie! No doubt there were some 'War stories' flying about, broken down vans, crap agents, "I was always much better than people said" etc etc... Johnny is an avid Birmingham City supporter and Norm a Villa fanatic so Johnny must have been gutted when the Mighty Villa trounced the Blues the day this picture was taken, Norm's smile says it all really!! I hear that another get together is planned for the future. Good on you guys, its nice to know that the ties that bind us are still strong.
copyright BullsHeadBob, Contact Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

September - Carry On Bob

Hi Brummies,

I greet you from the confines of my hospital bed where I have been for the past couple of weeks, what's that you say? Bob in bed? Ill? Yes folks, I have succumbed to some form of hideous illness brought on by too much Brown and Mild, Pork Scratchings and too few Villa victories at the beginning of the season!! No doubt you Bluenose gits out there will be laughing your socks off at AV's poor start but no doubt it is a part of Martin O'Neils greater plan. So here I am, Ward 7, suffering, but as we say at the luxury BRUMBEAT Towers 'The Blog Must Go On', thats dedication folks. I am surrounded by a pleasant enough bunch of fellow patients and the nurses and Doctors are all very nice folk too and are looking after me with loving care. I'd like to offer my apologies to those of you have written to me and are awaiting an answer but now you know why!

So, with a large tear in either eye we bid a farewell to the luminescent Les Paul at the great age of 94. Many folk have spoken about his demise so I don't have much more to say than they. It is, however worth saying that the sound of the rock guitar today is a result of the work he did to produce an instrument of such distinction and it is is fitting that that guitar is commonly known as a 'Les Paul' and not a Gibson. That being a fact, his name will live forever more. As a lighthearted aside, when my daughter was a teenager and was trying to impress one of her guitar playing boyfreinds she said "My Dad has a very nice 'John Paul' at home" - he must have thought that I had the Pope round for dinner!!!

I was thinking the other day about how difficult it was to learn new songs way back when, after all there were no portable recording devices, cassettes, CDs etc?
I recall walking four miles just to listen to Karl Perkins "Matchbox" on someones Dansette. I also got to know someone who, in turn, knew someone else who had some LP's from America and we would trog on over to his house to listen to Willie Dixon or Howlin Wolf then it would be a case of writing the words down and trying to copy the melody line on the guitar and then on the long walk home would repeatedly sing the song so as not to forget it, or if I had the bus fare I would go upstairs and play the melody line on my guitar as well. It occurred to me that there must have been hordes of tennagers all doing the same thing at the same time, in the early hours of the morning people would be woken from their beds by the passing by of a grotty, spotty youth singing Smokestack Lightnin'. Later, at dance halls I would hear other groups do those songs as well but everybodys lyrics seemed to be different I guessed that one person probably knew a bit of the guitar part and they would just make up their lyrics and melody to go with the part they actually knew. In the end I dont think anybody really cared because it was all creative fun and got the girls dancing.

Nice to hear that Lee Stevens is making the long journey across 'The Pond' to meet up with Johnny Neal and others from the golden age. Have a fab night you guys.

OK, I'm back to my moaning and groaning to get the attention of that crackin brunette "Nurse, nurse - I think I need another bed bath?"

Cheers and Take Care


Copyright: BullsheadBob Contact: Bobsbullocks@Gmail.com

Saturday, 1 August 2009

August - Riders of the Storm

Hello Music Lovers,

Some things in life look how they should look and you just know they mean business, for instance, the Supermarine Spitfire is simply the most sublime looking fighter aircraft ever produced, the iconic Jaguar E Type with its sensuous lines and sleek shape informed you, with one glance, that it was a thing of speed and beauty. A girl called Shirley, who could make the zipper on your trousers undo itself in the anticipation of the greatest shag of your life and lastly, in 1954 one mans vision produced the most iconic of guitars ever made and found a true partnership with:


There is one thing for certain, in the early Rock days I, and probably all other guitarists in Brum would gather and stare longingly through the windows of George Clays or Jones and Crosslands at the first Stratocasters on sale in the City, a row of greasy nose prints adorned the shop windows in front of the display, freindships and groups formed at those very spots. Hours of conversation about the finish of the paintwork, which was just the dogs bollocks on those very early Strats. I remember, in particular, a natural sunburst model in a locked glass cabinet at Woodruffe's, it's futuristic shape and its great cutaway cowhorns were a thing of wonderment and you just knew that, if it was yours you would be as good as Hank B Marvin. Every guitarists hero of the day.

1956 Stratocaster.

Cliff Richard asked Hank what kind of guitar he would like to play and as history shows, his choice was the Strat. Cliff purchased one from America and gave it to Hank to use, reportedly the first Fender in the country. The guitar was not available commercially, in the UK, at the time due to an embargo on imports and us poor plebs had to settle for cumbersome semi acoustic things with an excuse for a pick up or some cheap Italian thing. To make matters worse it was almost impossible to buy an amplifier! Hank led us all in the art of the instrumental, the Strat combined with a Meazzi echo chamber and a VOX AC15 produced the 'Shadows Sound'. Hank was also responsible for giving us the AC30 when he asked VOX if they could make him a bigger model with two speakers. Another important factor to The Shadows sound being the marvellous rhythm guitar style of Bruce Welch, the master of chords and lightness of touch. It is easy these days, to forget what an impact The Shadows had on the music scene, yours truly was a member of their Fan Club and possessed all their LP's and EP's. As a matter of fact, every young guitarist who was about during their reign owes something to all those guys and their contribution should never be dismissed. These also include the greats - Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Mark Knoppfler etc

One glance at this wonderfully styled guitar clearly shows it is designed with the player in mind. Beautifully contoured body that fits neatly into your waist, tremelo arm that was just the right length to enable you to use it comfortably, Hank used this to great effect and developed a playing style whereby he held onto the arm continously. It's three pick ups with a neat, well positioned, selector switch meant you could effortlessly, select different sound combinations. The bottom cutaway also gave comfortable access to the top frets which beforehand were simply unplayable. Even the positioning of the strap button on the uppermost cow horn meant that the guitar was perfectly balanced.

I was reminded about the virtues of this guitar again by BRUMBEAT veteran and fellow 'Stratocaster Window Watcher' Tony Russell who, like a lot of us served his dues around the clubs and pubs of Brum, including The Bulls Head, Carlton, The Station at Selly Oak etc from 1962 onwards, with The Stormriders, The Exchequers, The Couriers and Shingles. Tony then retired from the game and led a sensible life but, the longing to play again was just too much to resist and Tony now has an aptly named 60's revival group "Shindig"(although at present the group is 'resting' due to illness). As Tony says "When I was young I used to dream about owning a nice guitar and now I find I can afford more than one and some nice amplification to boot". (Tony top right, Brother Chris kneeling).

He and his bass playing brother Chris, are both avid admirers of The Shadows and they attend 'get togethers' with like minded Shads freinds for an occasional session. Tony owns a fine brace of Stratocasters, that is a Fiesta Red Hank Marvin Signature with gold fittings, a standard Strat again in fiesta red and a natural 'Classic Player' sunburst model fitted with 57/62 pick ups. He refers to his sunburst as his Buddy Holly Guitar, for obvious reasons

Tony, like Hank, has an awful memory for names hence the initials.

Tony really admires the talents of Bruce Welch and says "I still regard Bruce's part in The Savage and FBI as a real test of skill" and, of his Brother Chris, "He puts on a classy performance with his rendition of Jet Harris' solo part in 'Nivram'.

Its great to know that there are people who are still passionate for this style of playing with its precise notation and lush sound and I wish to thank Tony, Chris and all you Shadows fans and players out there for keeping that sound and those precious memories alive. Long may you Shadoogie!!

STRAT SNOBBERY. It makes me weep when people start to get 'Nerdy' about guitars, things like "thats a 1962 switch not a 58" like it REALLY makes a difference - "Its a shaggin' guitar so play it and stop gobbin' on". However, its incredible these days to see a 70's Strat described as something collectible. The only true Fender models stopped being made in 1965. To acquire a Strat of comparible quality you have to lash out thousands on a Custom Shop built model and is it a joke that people are forking out 850 pounds to buy a 'Road worn model"? That is, a perfectly ordinary Strat that has been pre-battered and scratched for you - it looks as though they've let some mexican peon loose on it with a soddin' angle grinder - if some people are stupid enough to buy it, they're definitely stupid enough to be conned out of their dough, just sheer lunacy. It is sad, in a way that todays budding guitarists will never experience that 'first sighting feeling' of a good guitar because there's just so many makes available.

If you want an authentic sound but can't afford a Custom Shop or original model Tony says his 'Classic Player' Mexican produced, Sunburst Strat " gives that vintage sound for under 400 quid", that's sound advice from someone who obviously knows his guitar. Thanks Tony.

THE BLACK PIG SAILED INTO THE SUNSET. Well another adios, to the writer of Captain Pugwash who died in July. No more Seaman Stains or Master Bates for us to giggle at!!

NEW STORE OPENING. Dudley, sorry Dudlae' has announced that a new toy megastore is being built there called "TOYS AM WAE"?

UPCOMING. I'm so-ooooo excited because I am currently talking to several Brilliant people from the BRUMBEAT days and can assure you of some exclusive, crackin' articles coming in the next few months, it's just too good to be true....somebody pinch me, Ooh, that reminds me of Shirley again - get down boy!!

Tara for now


copyright BullsHeadBob. Contact Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

JULY - Our Geoff's Always Arsing About...

Well I'll go to the foot of our Stairs,

Thats us back from Skeggy. Wind, rain, warm beer, cafe tables littered with piles of someone else's dirty plates and great pools of congealed milk shake in the hollow of your plastic seat.... Ah, the British really know how to run a holiday resort don't they? Back in the boozer with the gang, the hot topic for discussion was Yoko Ono being given a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the recent MOJO awards which even 'tops' the laughable 'Lifetime Achievement' award given to the Spice Girls or 'Band of the Year' to Hearsay. What made it more incredible were comments from musicians who actually gave credence for what she had seemingly done in the past. Call me conventional but I don't believe that sitting in a sack and screaming for three hours has ANY musical merit whatsoever, in fact, my teenage daughter used to sit in her bedroom and scream for longer but at least had the creativity to throw in the occasional expletive about not understanding her!! Crazy Malc said some people should look up the word 'sychophant' in the dictionary. Nobber agreed and added that he was sick of ants too...? (Groan)

Recently, John Woodhouse gave me the excellent DVD "Standing in the Shadow of Motown', a film documentary about the session musicians at Motown, collectively known as 'The Funk Brothers'. It's a film worth watching for any music fan and particularly lovers of soul music. It got me thinking of some other musical movie gems that cover the BRUMBEAT days. You guys might just want to watch these whilst lying on the settee swigging a beer or two. I have excluded the obvious Elvis/Beatles/Stones films, Anthology etc...


This film from the early Rock and Roll days (1956) was a real ground breaker, I think the first Rock film made in colour. It features a host of RandR greats including Gene Vincent, Little Richard and the incredible Eddy Cochran performing the much recorded '20 Flight Rock'. In 68' The Beatles watched this film on TV and retired to Abbey Road to record 'Birthday', it's influence immediately recognisable with its 'Lucille' type riff. Jayne Mansfield looks pretty good too..... I think you could call it a 'Light Hearted romp".

THE LAST WALTZ. Great footage of The Band's last concert with appearances from a galaxy of big names plus some quite funny interviews with members of The Band that covered their life from the early days of Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks through their period of collaboration with Bob Dylan and the subsequent release of the great, Big Pink and The Band Albums etc... Directed by Martin Scorcese this is a real must for serious music fans.

SMILE. This double DVD is absolutely brilliant. Whilst the live concert disc itself is great with a host of beautifully constructed songs that you simply cannot get out of your head, the accompanying "Story of Smile' is an eye opener, showing Brian Wilson's naked torment at re-visiting the music that brought him to his knees all those years ago and then remained in the vaults for 40 years. It is all the more remarkable that he was only 23 years of age when he composed this masterpiece. For my money he is one of the greatest musicians of all time. This DVD is a must have!!


THE GHOST GOES GEAR. This 60's film surrounding the music of the Spencer Davis Group is absolutely dreadful. I loved this band and how Steve Winwood must cringe at the thought of how 'uncool' it was to be singing the Bessie Smith classic 'Nobody loves you when you're down and Out' dressed in his pyjamas!! Click here for an eyefull: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQEZQDKGLh4

JUST FOR YOU. This film was really just a line up of pop songs of the day but featured The Applejacks. The band was also in two other short movies, SWINGING UK and the sequel UK SWINGS AGAIN. This format must have been popular with the record companies because both of these 'shorts' reappeared as the film GO GO BIG BEAT
a sort of "Buy One get two Free' movie.

POP GEAR. The Rockin Berries appeared in the 1965 film 'Pop Gear' alongside a host of other Brit acts of the day. This film too re-appeared as sister of Go Go Big Beat, aptly titled GO GO MANIA. Berries clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTojTyX_Hb0

The lovely Geoff Turton has also made a solo short film singing his favourite song
Click Here for an eye opener, Definitely Recommended: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH0AbjEsSBU

FOND FAREWELL. Well all you instrumental 'geeks' out there will, I know, be saddened to learn of the recent passing of Bob Bogle, Lead Guitarist with The Ventures. A great group of their day who scored many a hit, particularly 'Walk Don't Run".....end of an era.

Isn't it strange that 'hip' American groups of the early sixties always appeared to be in their Forties?

OK Brothers back to the bar........"Ethel, four Brown and Milds if you please....."


copyright BullsHeadBob. Comments/contacts at Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Monday, 1 June 2009

JUNE - "We're all going on a dum de dum de dum..."

Ow yer Gooin' ar kid.............

GREAT NEWS. I've heard today that 60 is the new 30! So that phrase "If only I was a few years younger" seems to have come true - now then, where's Penelope Cruz's phone number?, damn it, If only I could remember where I'd left the phone book... or the car, my glasses, the cat. What was that girls name again??

Thanks to all you folk for your correspondence regarding the eligibility criteria for inclusion on the 'Hallowed List" of BRUMBEAT bands.........well John and I have shared our thoughts but have reached no final decision so, the argument goes on.

BEWARE!! This Man is after you!!

Were you in a group or a solo act between 1960 and 1975? - Did you record any material at all? (that is for a record company, not your Aunt Gladys or one of those Make Your Own recording booths that were around for a while), Did you live within a bus journey ride of Brum?
Do you know how to use a computer for anything other than games or porn?

If your answer is yes to the above then avid Brumbeat expert Chris Smith, who is a regular at all Brumbeat concerts is interested in hearing from you. For the past 18 months he has been studiously working on a book which he jokingly refers to as War and Peace Vols 1 and 2 - but has the tentative title of 'BRUMBEAT and BEYOND 1960-75' which catalogues (or catalogs for our American friends) all recorded and released music by Midlands bands during that period of time.

Chris informs me he has just got his hands on The Rockin' Modernairs 7" single, "The Woodchoppers Ball" released in 1960 that he is extremely proud to have found, as it was a private pressing ......... I'm sure, like Chris is, that there are some of you guys hiding your murky past inside a shoebox in the attic, including a 7"single that you recorded but nobody has heard of or, like the above, was made as a private pressing - well now your moment to get some recognition has arrived. Chris can be contacted at: smithc711@aol.com .

The true BRUMBEAT period itself had disappeared by 1970 so this is the chance for all you late comers and those who reside outside of the confines of the City Limits to get in on the act. Keep at it Chris.........now I think I've got a Bulls Head Bob single somewhere "You Give me the Horn" b/w ''Your ego becomes you, now you have no Hair" - definite masterpiece! I also see from the picture that Chris is interested in herb gardening, no wonder he's smiling!!

CHUCK BOTFIELD. Well, fresh faced youngster Chuck Botfield has reached a remarkable landmark. The Rockin' Berries guitarist (and his beer crate) have just celebrated 50 years in the biz without a break. Not a single line on his face either, just how does he do it?.........great news mate and many congratulations from us here at BRUMBEAT Towers.


Brummie band PENNY SHORT, "Kinda Country if yer get ma drift" but with some BRUMBEAT connections via Bob Styler, raise much money for charity and have on sale right now a CD with all profits going to sponsor 17 year old Jordanne Whilley from Halesowen, a wheelchair tennis Paralympian for the upcoming 2012 Olympics. Not only that, they are also donating all of their booking fees up until that time!! Well, its time to look after your own, you guys out there, so dip your hands in your pocket and buy a copy now if you like C&W or just give her some sponsorship dough, or if you're a promoter give the guys a gig or two.........visit Penny Short's website for more details and keep your eyes peeled for upcoming gigs, then go along to help raise some much needed cash. http://www.pennyshort.co.uk/ . Their photo shows that already they may have sponsorship interest from a hat shop?

Good Luck from BRUMBEAT Jordanne.

BLACK SABBATH. There's 'trouble at mill' in the Sabbath fraternity with Ozzy suing the Left Hander over copyright issues. Times must be getting hard??

AND FINALLY...... The Gang of Four at the pub raised our glasses to a great hero of our time, Doctor Robert Furchgott - who's that you say? well he was the co-inventor of Viagra and at the great age of 92 the said Doctor passed away in May. Brings a different meaning to "Everyday I have the Blues"

Myself, Mrs Bob and the Boblettes have packed our bags for the summer hols. So adieu until my return from the sunny shores of Skeggy - Ahh, its so bracing. Are we there yet?

Tara abit

copyright Bullsheadbob: Comments to: Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Friday, 1 May 2009

MAY - All Yer' Sons be Bishops

Wotcha Brummies, Muso's in Surrounding Areas and Far Off Lands,

Well here we are again. No news from the 'gang of four' at the pub to pass on so you'll have to put up with my rambling nonsense as usual. I'm pleased to say that no one connected with Brum Beat has passed away in the last couple of weeks, as far as I know, so that makes a pleasant change. .

Whilst on that particular subject I started thinking about what I'd like to have engraved on my headstone when the great moment arrives for me to wind up this mortal coil. I was thinking of something meaningful, witty and endearing. My offspring however, have already made several suggestions and 'Stroppy Old Wanker' seems to be their favourite choice of the moment.

GETTING DOWN TO IT......I've been 'at it' digging in the garden during April which is something I thoroughly enjoy. There is a certain degree of peace and feeling of harmony when I am working with the soil, caring for plants that I have lovingly raised from seeds. You may think "Well thats an old man's game Bob, not very Rock n Roll" but on the contrary, Rock and Roll was my inspiration - I shall explain: Whilst travelling home after a gig we did at The Yowmsaft Arms in Sedgeley, as a mere strip of a lad, we found ourselves taking a couple of girls 'home' through the smog and, although I never saw it myself, we must have passed a Garden Centre on the way because, from the darkness of the van's back seats, I heard one of the band members say

"Wow - Now thats what I call a Bush".

I took it from there..................

BURNS GUITARS. A few months back I referred to the Burns guitar history, not in a geeky or nurdy way, simply as a memory jogger really for those of us who remember buying musical equipment and paying in Guineas (for our younger readers One Guinea was One Pound and a Shilling). Just recently I read on the BBC internet page about a 'treasure trove' of unseen Burns Supersound guitars discovered in Cheltenham. Click on the following link to read more: < http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/gloucestershire/7999615.stm >

It's a bit like one those daydreams we all have from time to time of opening a shed door or looking in the attic and finding something incredible, in my particular case it would be to open a bank statement and find that it isn't in the red!!
Two things about Cheltenham whilst I'm on the subject, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones was born there and Cheltenham Ladies College was a great gig!!!!!


Why is it that musicians are always broke?
What was Captain Hooks name before he lost his hand?
Just how on earth did U2 get to be a big band?
How did 'Muff' Winwood get that name???
Is it true that the self styled King of Magic, David Blaine learned how to pull a lit cigarette out of his coat pocket from Danny King?

HOT POOP. Our spies on the street have it on good authority that the early DECCA recordings of the Applejacks will be available soon on a new CD. So if your'e a fan keep on looking here for further news of release dates etc..........maybe John will do one of his nice reviews?



"I've opened a can of worms says Bulls Head Bob" screamed the headlines of The Birmingham Press. This controversial headline was relating to the March Blog on the subject of who should be allowed on the list of Brumbeat bands. "There are worms everywhere" the article continued "Bob has lit the blue touch paper and he's not going to be allowed to Stand Back and wait" states ace reporter, Winston Anka. "Worms from Wolverhampton, Leamington, Coventry, Tamworth, Burton on Trent, The Potteries - all wriggling away demanding entry onto the 'Hallowed List".

A spokesman for the Anti Outside Brum Band Association (AOBBA) remarked that this could be the start of a 'turf war'. The 'We Hate Poncey Cabaret Groups Group' (WHPCGG) said "Its our intention to round up anyone who performed at a Working Mens Club or who sung any of Hermans Hermits hits and send them to Coventry so they will be struck off the list". The Federation of Brumbeat Muso's Currently Residing Overseas (TFBMCRO) said 'What was that? Oh we're all too busy getting pissed to give a ****".

The 'Worms Have Feelings Too" group thanked me for liberating some of their Sisters.

Jim Capaldi - Hellions/Traffic (Evesham), Cozy Powell - Several Brum bands (Cirencester), Tony Iommi - Black Sabbath and others (From a place where Iommi is a normal surname), Charlie Grima - Wizzard and others (Malta) ....................... Oh Bollocks!!!

copyright: Bullsheadbob. Contact at: Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

APRIL - There's No Fool Like.....

Hello Brummies,
Here we are then, April and the onset of the British Springtime. Lambs cavorting in the meadows, young folk having it away in bus shelters and sparrows and larks coughing up their lungs whilst flying over the Aston expressway. Ah..... the beauty of Brum.

As reported in Jan, the re-formed Tuxedo Junction Blues Band played their first gig at The Irish Centre, Leamington Spa with the proceeds going to charity. The night was a great success with all 400 tickets pre sold before the gig. There was an enthusiastic crowd and the band raised over 1500 Pounds. Brilliant guys - I dont think there were that many people at The Move's first re-formed performance, perhaps TJ were playing more gritty licks. A couple of piccies below of the band in action. They have several gigs upcoming in the Leamington and Warwick area so if you get a chance go along and support live music.

THE GREAT DEBATE, JUST WHO'S ENTITLED? Tom Lane, skin thumper for Tuxedo has also raised the discussion point I alluded to in last months blog when talking about The Sorrows being a band from outside of Brum that deserve to be included within the Brumbeat community. He said to remind those purist diehards that although he and TJ come from the Leamington area he has also played with many Brum bands too. It is a part of the controversy about who should be included on the site, for instance should cabaret groups be included? I mean, were they Brumbeat? - I dont really think so. What about groups who are included who didn't come along till after the Brumbeat period? Shouldn't they be on a separate site of those Brumbeat wannabees who WISHED they had been about then - its a quandary for sure.

PHIL MYATT. Nice to hear from Lee Stevens (ex Lee Stevens and the Satellites) who has some fond memories of Phil and like many of us, was upset to hear of his passing. Lee now lives in Canada but informs me that before emigrating in 68 he and his band performed regularly at The Carlton. Phil Myatt threw a surprise champagne party for him which was attended by many groups of the day as a way of saying farewell. Can you really imagine any of the other promoters doing that sort of thing........either then or today, no chance!! He was one of a kind.

Its short and sweet this month guys, take care and keep music live.............Oops, Happy Easter for those of you with a religious outlook.


copyright: Bullsheadbob Comments to: Bobsbullocks@gmail.com

Sunday, 1 March 2009

MARCH - Left, Right, Left, Right........

Hiya Brummies and assorted Muso's, Brits Overseas, etc etc......

Well thank goodness that soddin' snow has gone. Takes me back to 1963, digging our way out of the house. Lucy said it was good thing because it has kept me from going to the Bulls Head to sort out the worlds problems with the Gang of Four, that is me, Nobber, Mick the Plumber and Crazy Malcolm. It was great to return to my drinking haunt however and after catching up on each others business, outside of drinking, we got down to the serious business of talking about music and specifically about bands that had a lasting impact on each of us.....I remembered these guys:

NOT REALLY BRUMBEAT BUT........... I want to ramble on about a 60's band from Coventry that some of you may not have come across but I had the pleasure of seeing, when we were on the same bill a couple of times, once at Yardley Technical College and the other occasion at The Rainbow Suite, in the city centre. You may say, "Come off it Bob, Coventry isn't Brumbeat", well I could extend that argument about bands from Walsall and Stafford etc that feature on the site already and this band definitely deserves to be mentioned several times on any site that is about good music. I am talking about The Sorrows.

I am not going to go into depth about them but they were a group that I have always been impressed by and was surprised when they failed to make it as big as they should have.

The Sorrows, for me, were like the midlands equivalent of The Yardbirds. Hard, resonating Rythmn and Blues delivered brilliantly. They had a few 'single' releases during the mid-sixties with the most memorable being 'Take a Heart' which was also the name of their subsequent LP released in 66.
Fronted by vocalist Don Maughn (who went on to have a solo hit with "Indian Reservation" as 'Don Fardon' in 67 following the inevitable band fracture) the band blasted through their high energy set with some very nice guitar breaks from Pip Whitcher, a guitarist whose style I embraced alongside my own. They played several times in Brum so I can't be the only one who remembers them. Following Fardons departure, the band moved, for some inexplicable reason to Italy where they had a couple more releases but effectively took themselves out of the UK music market which was the most important at the time? Their album is highly recommended to everyone and although you may have to fork out a considerable amount for the vynil original. It has been re-released on CD.
For lovers of actual Brumbeat (that is Beat Groups) this is a must for your collection and receives the Bulls Head Bob Seal of Approval.

If you are a Brumbeat fan and were wise enough to purchase The Uglys CD you have done yourself a favour. Everything that this band recorded has since become a collectable item and their 2004 CD is now changing hands on Amazon.com for 75 pounds a throw. I know I should have bought two!!!

On that note of potential investment profit I shall bid you a fond farewell for this month. Don't forget to buy your Easter Eggs......

See Ya Next Time


Copyright BullsheadBob. Contributions or contact at Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Well Hello There......

There's not much of interest going on around the city that has any relevance to Brumbeat for this month so I thought I would take a trip down "Guitar Memory Lane" and look at Burns Guitars. (I have not included all models and I am not a guitar 'Nerd' so please don't pick me up on small points like the amount of screw heads on the scratchplate etc).
So many of the early bands were equipped with this make of instrument so, let's start with: THE VIBRASONIC, a budget guitar of great quality though it was as ugly as sin!! I could never comprehend what the designers were thinking of when they started work on this guitar, its awful appearance however, was more than made up for by its technical specs and its range of sounds.

(Selmer Amps,Watkins Copycat, Framus Star Bass and (centre) Burns Vibrasonic) - Johny Shane and the Cadillacs.
This guitar had a sister in the shape of THE VIBRA-ARTIST that was equipped with fewer knobs to twiddle about with. It was a popular choice for those starting out on the rocky road to constant misery. It had a kind of Telecaster headstock but the rest of the guitar seems to have been designed by a committee. The small body looks incongruous fitted with a Bigsby type Tremelo with its arm covering the whole length of its podgy body.


OK, so Burns had grown up a bit and produced a really good guitar for the time. The Vista Sonic was produced as a 6 string and Bass guitar and had remarkably good pick ups and less twiddly knobs.

The headstock of this guitar looked as though a giant had taken a bite out of it with its serated edge. Someone must have said something about the body of the earlier models being small because all of a sudden the bodies became massive. One large bodied model that caught my eye and which I tried out for a week was the Burns TR2, a semi solid with controls cleverly hidden beneath its scratch plate and a smaller Tremelo arm.

The Black Bison was a monster of a guitar (here shown in the expert hands of Leigh Higginson, The Yamps). The sheer size of this thing was incredible and though it produced a good sound it soon lost its popularity with guitarists developing weak shoulders because of its unwieldly weight.

The model range was augmented by the Baby Bison, a smaller and more manageable variant for those who didn't need as much Horn!!


A big piccie of this model. This was a very, very nice guitar to play. For once Burns got it right with the right size, right amount of controls and a fast neck. This was really the Spitfire of the range, it looked like a good guitar should and played just as well. If you own one of these beauties look after it. This model was also available as a Bass.

Burns guitars must have thought they had cracked it when The Shadows changed from Fender Stratocasters to the Burns Marvin.

The company should have seen what was on the musical horizon though with the emergence of The Beatles. Guitars that had been designed to play instumentals were becoming a thing of the past. Far too clean in its sound and far too prissy to be cool,(that awful looking headstock) the model sold in small numbers only. The model was reintroduced in the Nineties for those who wished to reminisce but I can't really think that it was a good idea. This is the sort of guitar for groups who played working mens clubs whilst doing the Shadow Stroll but outside of that not much use to anyone.

For lovers of this instrument, you probably think I'm talking out of my arse but at the end of the day its only my point of view.

Anyway Brummies thats it for now, except to say its Valentines Day this month so remember the one you love.

See Yer Ar Kid


copyright: BullsHeadBob

Comments: BobsBullocks@GMail.com

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Hiya Brummies and a Happy New Year to you All,

Well Christmas has gone, the New Year is here and it's now been two years since I first started doing this blog, so Happy Birthday to me! Owing to this world economic crisis and my own economic crisis, I won't be inviting any guests to the surprise party I'm holding for myself at a secret location. I would like however, to thank all of those kind folks who have spared their time to contact me, your efforts keep sites like this and the memories of those great Brumbeat days alive. I hope you continue to add more chapters to that story throughout this year too, along with my inane ramblings.

Its been a strange 12 months, seeing some of my old mates disappear off the face of the earth but inevitability comes knocking relentlessly and will continue to do so. If there's someone you have always wanted to aplogise to for being an asshole but your ego never let you get around to it...do it now before you peg out, I'm sure you'll feel all the better for it and so will the recipient.

Thought I'd highlight a couple of the Brumbeat faces that are still around 'doing their thing'.

Multi-instrumentalist, Malcolm Palmer has a great past. One of the founder members of The Yamps,Traction,The Fashion and 14 years with The Garage Band - where he was also accompanied on vocals by his son. He famously turned down an offer from Chicken Shack who were in the process of forming (he went to art school with Christine Perfect) because he preferred to stay playing with his freinds. Malcolm has seen more than his fair share of gigs and has also worked in New Orleans looking for his musical roots. I could have probably saved him a journey (they're in a bag under the stairs next to your 'How to Keep Calm" book?).

These days he can be found 'Blowin' his sax, tickling the ivories and playing occasional guitar with his band 'Bourbon St' - a good little 'all round' outfit. The band is playing at The Red Lion, Shirley on 11 Jan 09. So "A splendid time is guaranteed for all" and you boppers can go and boogie the night away.

As well as being a dedicated musician, Malcolm's stage craft, and motivation, particularly during his high energy days with The Yamps was outstanding and his output was something to be seen. Bourbon St have a web site you may like to check out. If so, Click below:



The Tuxedo Junction blues band have recently re-formed and are performing a charity gig at The Leamington Irish Club, Leamington Spa on 30 January 09. So, if like me, you are into the Blues and are in the Leamington area, get yourselves along there, have a rockin' good night and help raise a few quid for a good cause. Good luck guys, - I imagine there was a lot more hair about during their earlier incarnation.

GERMAN SENSE OF HUMOUR?? - Those of us who believe that the Germans have no sense of humour will, no doubt, be impressed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's attempts to cheer up her fellow countrymen during these grey days, politically speaking. She has recently taken up a semi-pro position in Music Hall and is doing the round of German Working Mens Clubs, you know - sauerkraut mit bockwurst in a basket. Her latest publicity photos show her during her act, performing her much loved 'Nose Balancing Routine' which has her fellow countrymen rolling about with laughter. Now, if only we could get Gordon Brown to team up with David Blaine and do the famous disappearing trick? - in fact, why not both of them together? it would save the world from boredom.

Happy New Year to everyone out there and please take care of each other.

comments/contact: Bobsbullocks@GMail.com

Copyright: Bullsheadbob