Sunday, 1 December 2013


Watcha Brummies and other Friends scattered around the world,

I'm in colour for this festive blog.

It's hard to believe that another year has flown by so quickly and I find myself hurried into writing this small Christmas offering and want to start by wishing you all a Happy Christmas and thanks for 'tuning in' during the year.   Have a nice warm and over-fed Christmas, look after each other and remind yourselves of better times and better times to come!

I know I'm going to have a better time because I'm Guitar shopping again.

I've challenged myself to find a great buy from a variety of sources.  "Lucy open the Sherry I'm feeling happy".   

I know there will be lots of live music going on in Brum over the festivities, so get out there and support it. 

I was 2 years old when this pìcture was taken but it's face never changed up until the rebuilding of the Bull Ring.  A few years later as a mere 'nipper', I was given One Pound to buy my Christmas presents and myself and my sisters would get the bus into Town and go to Woolworths and the old Victorian Market Hall, from where this photo appears to have been taken, to buy our gifts.  It's  such a massive difference from today and I really dislike what they did with the church surrounds.   I just loved the atmosphere  of the old Bull Ring.   Here's a photo to give you a reminder of what we had in 'nicer times'




Black Sabbath were given a plethora of awards at the recent Classic Rock, Roll of Honour awards ceremony including one for being alive!!.   'Fresh faced' Ozzy once again appeared to be causing controversy at the ceremony when, it was rumoured, he had suggested he had been 'singled out for embarrassment' by the organisers,
 saying that he should have been given a "left-handed award like the others"..:   
"Look at this B*****d".   Ozzy with offending Right Handed Award 
They'll be glad to know that the Winners of these awards automatically qualify for inclusion in the world famous BBBCGLM SHED OF FAME 'Golden Dibber' awards, so it will be interesting to see how the voting goes for the Sabs after the Christmas holidays, there'll be some stiff opposition.  They'll not put up with any of your publicity seeking shenanigans
Ozzy!! Happy Christmas Black Sabbath. 

Bill, it appears has been 'Hospitalised'......."Get better soon Bill" and Have a Happy Christmas!

Just like we did in the old days during the festive season, the left hander had himself booked for a 'double gig' and jumped into his Ford Transit, racing off from the Classic Rock ceremony to receive yet another award, this time an honorary doctorate from Coventry University.  Tony's links with Coventry go way back to when he passed through the city one day in 1967, so it's easy to see why they selected him to receive this prestigious title.  Well done Tony
"How does that Riff go again Doctor Big Man?, dum dee dum"

As can be seen from the picture,he also appears to have been given an early Christmas gift from the university of a Luxury Colour by Numbers Colouring Book and A Boxed set of crayons so he'll have something to do whilst flying over to America for the Sabs tour. Happy Christmas Tony..

Last year I bent over backwards to please my group of feminist 'pals' and in place of the traditional Oggies Card, which had mainly comprised of groups of naked women wearing scanty Christmas outfits or other naked girls with some beer.  I showed a picture of just didn't work!

I don't want to give in to pressure so I've come at from a different angle. There are definitely NO sexy Christmas outfits to exploit. How about the Australian Lady Caravan Owners Christmas Prize Giving, that should be fine and dandy, funny? I can't see any Christmas Baubles anywhere!!

so Happy Christmas Oggie!!!

If you are planning to start playing a musical instrument this Christmas then the following maybe of some help to you when considering just how much you should need to practice......naturally this chart does not apply to those wishing to playlike 'The Edge' from U2 or those thinking of playing the Bass.   

So there you go, short and sweet, that's it for another Christmas.


Copyright Bullsheadbob

Friday, 1 November 2013


Howdoo Earthlings,

I'm sat here with sore fingers after playing too many gigs, too close together
and on top of that I've been recording and teaching, I don't know why I just don't have my guitar surgically grafted onto my body!  

A quick word of thanks to John Garghan for getting in touch with me and pointing out that the picture I showed of The Diskery 
in last months blog
is the current store and not the original that was on Hurst Street, just around the corner.  

I did know that, but didn't include an original picture of it in the blog because I thought that if you wished to visit the current location of The Diskery,those of the Brumbeat generation may suffer from some herbal 'short term memory loss effect' and I didn't want you wandering off into heavy traffic, forgetting what you've just gone out for, 'Man'?? ..."just lookin' for some grooves"

From a vinyl perspective, you may be interested to know that
it has been reported that this year has been the best for sales of vinyl LP's, for many years......the reality, however, is the volume of sales was 0.07% of the market, so it's popularity is not at eye watering levels just yet. 

But I just love Vinyl.........those downloads and CD's of original recordings, pale into insignificance when heard as original recordings on vinyl, there's just no comparison, no expectation, no reward.  On vinyl you can hear Little Richard sweat....!!

I've seen recently, a campaign of sorts encouraging Brummies to vote for a star to be awarded to Steve Winwood on the Broad Street walk of fame.
Well let me tell you all this simple fact......I'm not voting for him because:
Class doesn't need crap publicity

The people whose names are already included on Broad street are all third rate in comparison to Steve Winwood's talent, musically speaking.  It's like comparing U2 with The Beatles, or U2 with well, anyone really.   All of those stars on the pavement are there to ATTRACT PEOPLE TO THE BARS, nobody gives a shark's fart about who should be there on merit and there's no scoring moral victories by mounting campaigns for a star, because at the end of the day, who cares?  

Is that just me being grumpy? I don't think so.
 I would say that all of those who have their names on the pavement of the 'Walk of Cut Price Drinks' respect Steve Winwood as the finest Brummie musician right from his very early days.   The rest of the world knows it even today.    

I would hope that Steve doesn't give a shit about it and steers well clear of being some shop keepers or council wanker's afterthought!! 

For my part, I am amazed that he wasn't the first person to be offered this useless piece of tat but moreover, am mystified about why the heck would anyone CARE if they didn't feature there?

Steve has some good friends,

is currently on TWO tours in the States and Canada, one with Rod Stewart and the other on his own so he's not short of work and I doubt very much whether he loses any sleep over a soddin' paving stone? 

Keep it real Steve and tell em' to stick their star up their khasi's. I think you might have to modify the language somewhat but if you find that task a little too onerous you could just be 'permanently busy'!!

Given what has been said in the above passage I think that us Brummies
should think of something a little more imaginative and 'high status' for the Lord Master of Brummy Twanging and luckily, I have the answer and it's so simple.....

We'll all write to The Mayor and demand to change the street name of Broad Street and call it: 

How fitting, poetic and rhythmic it sounds, it kind of rolls off the tongue doesn't it?  I can see myself cruising down Winwood Boulevard
in some classic car or other with 'Gimme Some Lovin' whangin' out with it's gurgling, over-driven Hammond organ and Steve's amazing vocal sound that makes us muso's pull weird faces in sheer admiration? In doing that, we will surely be placing Steve Winwoods importance where it should be, as The Overlord of The Barely Significant and their Lowly Paving Stones.

"So anyway Steve, there you have it.  Why settle for a paving stone when I can get you the whole road??
I could be your campaign manager....let's get the wheels in motion.

Get one of your people to talk to one of mine (me), I've talked to other people before so I have experience in that field too". If you decide that 'Winwood Boulevard" is a great title and inspires you use it for a song then I'll say no more about it, it's your's for free. 

Us lesser mortals will get busy lobbying the mayor.

As reported in the last couple of blogs, Critical Mass have formed, played a couple of gigs and guitarist Oggie, who was pissed off....pissed off!! apparently back to the safety of the boozer.

FREEDOM FIELD (L to R) Bob Styler, Dave Hynds, Michelle Williams, Danny Gallagher
They have now discarded that original name (and Oggie) and have been re-born again as FREEDOM FIELD with Bob Styler taking over sole guitarist duties for the band.   I wish them well for the future and know they are working hard on Michelle's original material which is quite political in nature, so for you socio-anarchistic music lovers, this band could be just the ticket.

They recently appeared at The Old Moseley Arms, in Moseley, where they went down very well.  Oggie, me and Steve Gibbons were also in the audience.

It's kind of like history repeating itself, this same group of people who I knew as a teenager way back in the very early 60's (excepting Michelle), forming another band and going through those band disagreements that caused ructions like they did when we was all sprogs.  I can't help thinking that this is just like the way it was, way back then.   Nothing changes, These are all musicians with a good heritage and they have all featured in great groups of those heady days of Brumbeat.   Great stuff!!, a good band will always be a good band, so long may they reign!!  Go and see them.

With the last days of October came the news of the death of Lou Reed
(71).  I'm sure we were all fans of 'Walk on the Wild Side' and 'Perfect Day',
the latter being covered by the whole of the music business for a charity single in 1997.

On the flip side of the serious music coin we also saw the passing of Manolo Escobar on the same day, whose 'Viva Espana' drove me round the soddin' bend for more years than I care to think about but was destined to be the fuel for some Black Country bands set lists     Bilstons own 'Ammonia Workers Social Club' would have been throbbing to this classic on a Sunday afternoon, singing along and all remembering their Spanish 'All Day Breakfast', skin-peeling experience from the year before.  "We went to a classier hotel and it really paid off.  Our Gareth said it was the first time he'd come back without the clap...........""""Oh Viva Espana"""

On that note....


Copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Hello Brummies and other assorted Friends.

Let's get on with it.......   


I bought my first Long Playing Record (LP) from the Stratford Road, Sparkhill. Co-incidentally it was from Bev Bevan's Mum's shop and it was The Best of The Beach Boys Vol2.

The records were cheaper there than other shops I knew because they appeared to be 'seconds', that is, with some minor defect to the vinyl or cover.  I seem to remember that it played OK though, or perhaps not because I don't recall buying any other records from there?   I was prompted to buy this particular LP after playing in the support band spot for Tony Rivers and The Castaways, certainly the best harmony band in the UK at the time, at Hall Green Technical College. (Funnily enough Bev Bevan was at the same gig, in the audience I seem to remember?)  
I was simply knocked out by the strength and richness of their harmonies, I'd never experienced anything like that before and even now can remember most of their act.  

Hall Green, Technical College was a really good Brumbeat gig and I played there a few times as one of the support bands to the likes of The Zombies, and The Sorrows and various others whose names don't immediately spring to mind. I also went there to see Birmingham bands like The Hellions and The Yamps.

Anyway, back to the Vinyl.  The days of the record shops in the sixties was huge, unlike today, with the greatest of names and labels closing down and the recording business nose diving into the abyss of uncertainty.

On Bromsgrove Street, in the City Centre of Birmingham there was one shop that we all went to and that was The Diskery, opened by the legendary Morris Hunting in the fifties and it was from there that you could buy Jazz, R&B, Blues and Ska records that were unavailable anywhere else.
Amazingly, and luckily for us devotees of the black stuff, The Diskery has survived the rigours of time and is still in business.
I bought my first Blues LP from here.  It was Sonny Boy Williamson, 'Down and Out Blues' and I was well and truly hooked by the blues sound, as were many other Brummie groups, all inspired by this raw and earthy style of playing that contributed to so much to those fantastic and energetic 'group performance' days of Brumbeat and there were some fine bands about in the City whom I'm sure I've mentioned a hundred times.

For years, it's always been worth a look inside The Diskery to find the obscure from the international market, or those rare LP's that would be nice to have back in our collections.  I've bought some cracking LP's from there including, in 1971, the 'then' newly released, Brumbeat hero Steve Gibbons, 'Short Stories' LP which I still have. It has some personal memories for me too.  I really do encourage you to visit the Diskery and enjoy one of the best customer experiences around these days.  

Cassette tape recorders started becoming much more economically available, around the time I bought this particular LP, and the whole world began copying everything from radio shows or from each other rather than buying Vinyl.  Along with that, technology was marching on and miniaturisation loomed large on the horizon with cassettes replacing the space consuming Record collections.   Naturally with such cheap options, record shops began to suffer from declining sales.   Some LP's however were those that demanded owning, like "Dark Side of the Moon" for example or the whole of The Beatles catalogue but the final death knell for vinyl though, came in the form of CD's. The whole world seemed to start selling all their LP's at car boot sales or even worse, dumping them in skips!! 
(Cannon Street shop)

You couldn't buy vinyl in the big stores any longer so, conversely, it then became apparent that there was still a market, for the more discerning listeners, or for those wishing to re-visit their past, with shops specialising in old LP's beginning to surface.   The shop that every Brummie vinyl addict would flock to was Reddingtons Rare Records and we all went there looking for those treasured old LP's and singles.   At the same time, people began to realise that some of their vinyl was collectible and had the potential to be of value..... well some LP's are and a lot are not. However, if you think you have something worth 'a bob or two', always seek good advice if you want to sell your collection.  Both Reddingtons and The Diskery are the experts in this field or, of course, there is much information available on the internet.

Reddingtons was hugely popular and its premises grew and grew in size.  My favourite store was the one on Cannon Street that had once been Kay Westworths Music Shop, so it kind of formed some sort of continuity in my life and I could practically feel the ghosts of the people who had worked at that music shop and the musicians who I had met and played with in that small place. 

Reddingtons Rare Records last record store was at Digbeth, near the coach station which closed six or seven years ago, Dan Reddington is however, still trading on-line and has a massive stock of LP's.  So should you be looking for something special don't venture further afield than Brums own, you can contact Dan on his great website at

I keep reading about Vinyl being on the come back, I think it's a faddish kind of style thing that appears with some kind of clockwork regularity. In truth however, it is THE best listening experience by far.  It's rich and warm recordings are a delight to hear particularly, in my case, for the music that was recorded during the fifties and sixties, on heavyweight vinyl if you're lucky enough.  I have some real treasures that came mainly from shops like these two legendary traders of music.  Long may they live and as long as they do, it is us punters who prosper spiritually.  So, many congratulations and many thanks for keeping 'at it' in the name of music.  Two greats of Birminghams Music history.

It appears that Oggies stint with recently formed Critical Mass went into
primary meltdown on the first night........."come on now Oggie" none of these moodies.   

Tara' for this month


Copyright Bullsheadbob
Contact at:

Sunday, 1 September 2013



All's quiet on the Brumbeat front at the mo, it must be the heat of this Indian summer we've recently experienced.  According to Nobber, the world has tilted and "although we think we're in Brum drinking brown and mild in the boozer, we are in fact in Southern France and France is now in Spain"  He says it's put a real dent in his fluffy novelty slipper sales but is thinking of including "Free Garlic" with every pair, to attract the more Mediterranean types, who occasionally get cold and want some big bee's on their feet.
For us who use the buses during rush hour on a regular basis that line is all
too familiar.   I never thought that line would apply to one of the most important venue's of Brumbeat which I thought was lost forever in the mists of time.

For some years I had been on the lookout for a picture of the Bulls Head, Coventry Road and was forced to use a picture from an old postcard I came across which had been burned and I had to employ the trickery of Photoshop to make half decent full scale shot of the place then along came the very amiable Lee Tonks who sent me the picture of the Bulls Head that I currently use on the blog heading.

Well, "you could do something to me with something or other" as my lovely Mother would say because he's only gone and found yet another picture of The Bulls Head, obtaining the owners permission to publish it, and although it's not great from the point of view of photographic crispness, it is almost right on the button in age terms for the Brumbeat days. It really stirs some memories for us Brummies.
(Pans People.. minis and boots)

 I never played there to anything other than a full house, as did all the great Brummie bands, not only Brummie bands either!!    After we'd done a sound check we would sit in the snug bar at the bottom of the stairs and watch all the girls coming skirts, kinky boots. Every young mans 60's reality, yummee!!

I just love the selection of these cars parked in front of the shrine which has me yearning for the days when cars were still made in Brum... 

and the seats smelled of leather and! having white wall tyres was still in fashion. There's just something very curvaceous about these motor cars. There's a Hillman there (I think?) the same as I had except I had the estate version that could accelerate from '0 to 60, eventually!' and there's a
more modern sloped back Anglia.

This photo was taken in 1961which shows perfectly the American influence of chrome overload so, Brum was still embedded in those great rock and roll days when the fashions were somewhat different.   Dusty Springfield had yet to make a real impact as the white girl with the black soulful voice and her journey there wasn't helped by her disastrous choice of stage outfits, who could forget the Trapped Fart Dress??

Are the cars relevant to the Brumbeat days?, of course they are, and the bikes, most of which were made in Brum, it was days of rising prosperity and optimism, the youth were making a strong impact on the scene and this place was a real draw for them, good bands brought the girls in and of course the guys were not far behind!!. From then on and including the Summer of Love this place throbbed to the brilliant live music played there and all the girls in their psychedelic, coloured clothing made it nice to play then, groovy and fashionable 'hip chicks' swirling about on the dance floor was a joy to see..

The world of music then went insane and Prog Rock reared it's ugly head, the audience began to sit down on the dance floor and that was the end of the Dance Hall days, most of the girls had gone.   They all moved to the discos    
whilst the floors of places like Mothers filled up with cider drinking, sixth form vegetarians in duffle coats.

It's somewhat pleasing to see that these days they have taken the prog rockers and put them all on a ship in the middle of the ocean.  Now if only we can find a very small boat for Cheryl Cole that would be fine.

Thanks a lot Lee, now if you could manage to find yet another picture with a Ford Transit parked outside the door, covered in lipstick, that would be the ultimate find.

(copyright. Nigel Kennedy)
Nigel Kennedy's dreams will be realised today if he discovers he's made it to Bulls Head Bob blog with a mention....

For many many years I have or had watched The Proms from the Albert Hall
but always felt detached from it all by the social barriers imposed by the old brigade of Promenaders and, ergo, the programme itself.   This year I was mesmerised by the collaborations forged between street musicians and the BBC Symphony Orchestra which was just amazing and if you didn't watch it, try and get a gander at some of the finest music ever on the BBC.   

Nigel Kennedy is a Villa supporter but more importantly than that, he is just amazing, in fact I would say 'Heroic' from my standpoint. 

Long has he vexed the establishment with his contrary take on things, that is contrary from their point of view.    His concert at the Proms 2013 was incredible, bringing a freedom from the total adherence to the written music notation.  Along with a cast of phenomenal young and passionate musicians he showed just what is possible by breaking down barriers in the classical music field in such a positive manner.  Please take the time to get and see this if you can.  More importantly get someone young to watch it.  It's all about moving forward with art.

I have recently published some photos of The Salopian Dudes who were
formed around two ex members of iconic Brumbeat band The Redcaps.  Well 
they've increased the bands size by recruiting yet another original member of that great band, none other than guitarist Mick Blythe.  Here's a snap of them playing at The Hen and Chickens, Bridgnorth recently with new Redcap recruit, at the mic with Mick Walker.
Mick Walker and Mick  Blythe

Does my heart good......keep it up you guys!!

Whilst your here why not pop over to the Brumbeat main site and check out John's new article about THE RENEGADES.     

Well enjoy the rest of the good weather and your Hol's..

Till next Month


Copyright: Bullsheadbob

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

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Hiya Brummies

Well I've been busier than a nest full of ants for the past couple of weeks and so, in advance I apologise for the shortness of this months blog but for us die hard Brumbeat fans the topic of this months blog should be enough.

Whilst doing things I was thinking which of the Brummie bands would I like to see again?  Well there were a few so I thought more about local music influences on me and the first name that always comes to me is The Redcaps.

During my early youth I, like most of my generation, was deep into Cliff and The Shadows, mostly the latter on my part.  Apart from listening to the Radio on Sunday afternoons for the Pop Charts there were no other modern music shows so I do remember waiting for the charts, guitar poised on my lap ready to try and learn some instrumental as it was being played, you only got to hear it once a week if you couldn't afford the record so you had to be bloody sharp!!.  If it was a song I wanted to learn, my Mum would be taking the lyrics down in shorthand for me, I would then rush upstairs and play it to death for hours whilst it was fresh in mind, my Sisters would be shouting "Mum, make him stop", she never did.

It wasn't long before I got the real music 'bug' and in the next couple of years I had improved to the point whereby I thought I was getting to sound good, then one night my older brother, for some unknown reason of generosity, said he would take me to see a good group he knew of.  I can't remember which dance hall we went to but the band was The Redcaps.    I wouldn't have been the first person to think to themselves "These are a seriously good group" they had some real 'dynamic edge' to them and they would have been the biggest band in the UK had they got the right breaks.  The familial voices of and harmonies of Mickey and Dave Walker were as close as you'd hear and my belief that I was now a better guitarist took a real knock that night.  I learned a lot about stage projection from them too, they really had it all, great voices, great musicians and they could really put it over well, incredibly good Beat music.  I mean just look at the kit on that picture, a row of Gibsons and Vox AC30's and VOX PA, Binson Echo and I'm not sure if that piece of kit next to the Binson is a Meazzi??.  The sound combinations would have been seriously driven and Mickey Walker and Alan Morley were a good engine room for the band

I went home feeling excited by what I'd just seen and heard and realised that I had a lot to learn and woke the next day with a degree more of ambition to improve.  There have been several of my muso compatriots, recently, Bill Bonham from the same period, who too were influenced by this amazingly good band.  Another of those muso's is the very nice Brian Nicholls who recently interviewed Mickey Walker and Alan Morley, bassist and drummer respectively of The Redcaps so we should be on the lookout for an update to their Bio on the BRUMBEAT.Net page soon, click here THE REDCAPS BIO

So would I like to see The Redcaps again?, well all the circumstances have changed so much in that respect it just wouldn't be the same as back then,
it wouldn't have the same impact as then, luckily though not all the members of those great bands have stopped playing.  

The hot poop from Brian is that Mickey and Alan have recruited Telford guitarist, Steve Field and are going gigging again, this time under the guise of 'The Salopian Dudes' don't ask me where they got the name from
but I'd almost bet that it was born from a Sunday lunchtime session with a carry-out back to the garage to knock out some 'good ol toons'.

Well here we have a video clip of the SALOPIAN DUDES in a garage and, seen lurking in the background is the aforementioned Brian Nicholls, the Gandalf of Black Country music.   They have already done their first gig at Worfield Cricket Club in May and I'm sure I'll be getting some updates to pass on to you all of when and where they might be gigging at. 

I love the written comment on the Youtube clip, "recorded in the 'actual garage'"  I just thought, this could be the very garage, where they thought up the name too, makes you think doesn't it?.....

Gotta say that your'e looking good Mickey and both you and Alan are playing  well, and incidentally Mickey, if the name was your idea then, "brilliant mate! what a corker of a name, couldn't have done better myself".  You should have got yourself a Gibson EBO though to give us some of that Redcaps bass end sound.  

So anyway, bless THE SALOPIAN DUDES and all who go to see them.  They recently played at Worsfield Cricket Club so keep your eyes and ears open and get ready to see part of the greatest band in the West Midlands history back on the stage.   

I'm sure you won't forget their name.  A lot of us remember The Redcaps influence on our past, so God Bless guys give it some "stuff".

Right you guys, I'm packing my little suitcase and heading North where the women are women.


copyright:  Bullsheadbob