Thursday, 1 February 2018


Hi Brummies,

Well its been a long cold winter, Mrs Bob and I have both been suffering with flu, so "miserable" has been a word well used in our vocabulary this past month I even sounded miserable cheering on the Villa.   We are both now recovered and hope you guys too are making sure you're OK in this cold snap.  
Above all my friends, steer clear of kids....they're walking, time bombs loaded up to the gills with every germ known to man and I've found as I get older that they like nothing more than to cough directly into your face as you talk to them, its like a bazooka blast of bacteria and viral thingies propelled at lightning speed right into your mouth!! the little shits.    Mrs Bob and I have declared this house a Nuclear and Germ Free zone and put a sign on the front garden gate threatening prosecution to anyone who coughs as they pass, or is contemplating having a baby.

Mrs Bob is being a role model to those in the neighbourhood who think we're being a little "over the top" in our stance and with her normal Do it Yourself ingenuity and a quick visit to the Scrap Yard she proudly promenades around the area with our grandson showing that you can still love your grandchild, look attractive, fashionable and be health aware at the same time.  She is developing a utility belt too.  

She's expecting to get a lot of orders from other interested parties.  I'll keep you updated.

Now, when I was around 14 years of age and a young would-be musician,
going out to watch bands, I positioned myself in front of the lead guitarist to watch what he did, then practise it when I got home.  It was pretty much the norm in the days without pop music on the radio, except for Luxembourg.   So I stood in front of quite a few in my day at youth clubs, coffee houses as well as the dance halls.   When I had learnt my fill I would still go and still watch for anything new or different BUT I now began taking notice of the band as a whole.    

These were the days of a Singer plus group ie Cliff and The Shads.  It was the norm, with very few exceptions.  It was also the days of Bands in suits and Shadows steps, uniformity was the key, same guitars, same amps etc this rule however, did not apply to the lead singer who would adorn himself in all sorts of strutting about stuff.  Wielding a Reslo Mic plugged into a Watkins Dominator or something similar, given bags of echo, he would cavort about and sing songs
directly to the the girls.   Us lesser beings in the band would be relegated to mere "back row peons" whilst the girl swooning episodes were going on at the front.    Even great bands Like Denny Laine and The Diplomats were augmented by Lead vocalist Nicky James.  I saw hundreds of bands, hundreds, and the format was the same.

If you wanted to be different or stand out from the crowd you had to be inventive or "have a gimmick".    Some bands like The  Solitairs dyed their hair blonde and stuff like that.  Or some put on a comedy show.   Some went to extremes like Swedish group The Spotniks with their space suits
but they were foreigners which meant they were already out of the ordinary.
For us Brummies, with our accent, it was a tad difficult to be exotic. 

There was one guy who managed to do that and not lose the 'cool' aspect though and that was Ray Thomas who sadly passed away recently.   Ray labelled himself as "El Riot" with his backing band The Rebels.  Hell's teeth, El Riot....that was Mexican Spanish, just how much more exotic could you be?
The word riot doesn't exist in the Spanish language but 'El' did so that was enough for us teenagers so with El Riot and The was promoting anti-social behaviour fronted by a mock Mexican but who cared about the mock bit?  They were great with their Mex stage suits and a good on stage performance.   I learnt a lot about stage craft from Ray Thomas and the whole band put on a great show, loads of R&B. 
Ray with his snarling mouth organ, and stage presence....just great stuff at the right time and one of my big influences on how to do it right.  How to put yourself across on stage and not feel awkward.  So thanks Ray. John Lodge was a member of The Rebels and although he also gained fame with The MBs I bet you he still remembers those early days when it was new, exciting and fun as the best time.

It came as no surprise that Ray would be in a band like The Moody Blues who I loved from their earliest gigs, pre-fame.   There was such a lot of excitement generated on stage by bands like the Moodies with all their collective talent and stage experience behind them. 

Of course Ray went on to have massive and continued success with The revamped Moody Blues but I always picture him as El Riot, back in the days when there was loads of gigs and there was real competition between bands and the strongest and best came to the surface and you didn't get to that stage in Britain's second city without being one of the best around. There were no short cuts then, just raw talent.

Please take a moment to visit John Woodhouse's piece on the Pie Stand page where John gives a great potted history of Rays musical journey.

My condolences to his Family, friends and to all his fans.  One of the original greats in Brumbeat history.

Last month I reported on the Moodies up-coming induction in the Hall of Fame which did not include the original "Go Now" line up of the band. 
Since then I have been informed that it seems that I was not the only one who was angered by this.  Indeed a wave of disagreement flooded the Hall of Fame judges and they reconsidered and rightly included the original line up, well Certainly Denny Laine and I would hope posthumously Clint Warwick too!

Thank you to you guys who complained about this.  Good one.

Its a shame that Ray didn't get to collect this award but will making his passing all the more memorable.

Well though I'd put up another rarity for you to goggle at:

If you want to collect some old fashioned stylistic guitars you could do a lot worse than invest in a couple of 50's Hoyers.  That is not to say they are fabulous in every aspect, fabricated in Germany from the 50's but they do excel in their looks and sense of style.

Its lovely gibsoneque headstock is complemented by squashed frog tuners.

A warm looking, honey coloured, maple archtop with fabulous multi layer bindings, beautiful
F Holes and this one sporting a Bigsby and chicken head controls on the equally stylish scratchplate and with great inlays in the neck
which, by the way, does not have a truss rod.

I know what this would sound like with some flat would strings.  Nice eh?  There are quite a few different models about, all equally as stylish if not better, that can be bought for a reasonable price.   Affordable antique?  I think Mrs Bob might like one of these for next Christmas? 

Actually, a friend of mine had a Hoyer that was covered in chrome but I've never seen another one, so if anyone out there knows this model I'd like to see it too!!

Take Care of each other,

copyright:  Bullsheadbob

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