Summer is gone, rain and miserable cold on the way for us all but what a glorious summer we had. The world is in turmoil again and it saddens me to think about it all so I've put on some music to listen to whilst I retreat here to the bloggery where I feel safe in my past memories. Seeking solace from the thoughts of pounds shillings and pence, Wimpy Burgers, walking through Birmingham when there were proper shops not just high priced coffee franchises. You know, things like that and now its Autumn I can get absorbed by things to get for Christmas, that will cheer me up.
So this month I shall be giving you lovers of all things Brummie a couple of suggestions for gifts and here is the first, it's Brummie and it's the CD I am listening to right now!
THE ROGER HILL BAND
In 2011 we sadly said goodbye to Roger Hill, one of the very first guitar players on the Birmingham Group scene from The Grasshoppers, The Brumbeats, Uglys and Exception. I knew Roger throughout the sixties in his various guises and bands, he was a great guitarist who played with more of a jazz feel than all out rock, his style was quite individual on the scene and he was much respected for his musicality by all guitarists. In the early days when there were no guitar books available, he was the guy to show me how to play a ninth chord, which up until that time had been a mystery of the universe in my three or four chord head. The outstanding thing about Roger though was his humility and also his humanity when helping younger guitarists including me. Such a nice guy.
After his Brumbeat days Roger spent a fair number of years as the guitarist for Chris Barber where he indulged himself in his love for playing jazz before once again getting a 3 piece band together and playing small venues in the city.
He loved to perform live and I saw one of his last gigs at The Roadhouse and it was a brilliant show, in fact he recorded the show live and I got a copy of the recording he made that night plus a couple more CDs of other live shows he had done, including one with Charlie Gracie which I play occasionally.
So I was very pleased to get an e mail a few months ago from John Benbow of SAM RECORDS UK, saying that he had
So now, the hot news is that his work is complete and a new CD by THE ROGER HILL BAND. "SORCERY - LIVE" is now available to buy from the SAM Records website. John kindly sent me a promo of the CD to hear.
Now it isn't an easy chore to clean up a live performance for a CD release and still retain some the live atmosphere but a great job has been done with this CD, its crisp and light and will take some volume.
The CD is an 11 track selection from those CDs of his live performances
I had given to me all those years ago and the choice of tracks is great, almost like a chronology of rock. Rogers playing style and his liking of music with a jazz tinge is to the fore, intermingled with some classic blues lines.
A nice selection of standards here that I and probably every other guitarist on the scene in the early to mid sixties would have learnt or played as part of the set and that's what I like about this from a Brumbeat point of view, familiar tracks that you would have heard back in the day at any local gig. Its nice too that Roger still played the old instrumental 3.30 Blues, not challenging at all but obviously stuck in his heart as one of those instrumentals he loved. As an aside, it was this Instrumental that Ringo used to request The Beatles to play in Hamburg shortly before he joined the band. The inclusion of "Brand New Cadillac" and "Evenin" please me muchly, on any night Roger would play them all slightly different. Good track to finish with too, "Hey Joe", a a real crowd pleaser and perfect for a finale, not only to close a live performance but also this excellent CD. He is ably supported by some great drummers and bassists of notoriety.
I'd like to say how grateful I am to John Benbow for taking this task on because, if not, you wouldn't have had the chance to hear Roger Hill doing his bit of live Sorcery....its there for history now and its available for yourself or to buy for a loved one at Christmas. For more info or to make a purchase you can contact John at this link : SAM RECORDS UK . The CD is only available to purchase at the website for now.
Brilliant xmas present.
I have to say how pleased I am that we can now buy 'teeny weeny' amplifiers for home use that dont make you fall out with the neighbours and dont cost a fortune like those boutique type amps that techno freaks seem drawn to. Mini Amp Ranges are now available at a differing price range so I thought I'd just show a couple of the cheaper models. Cheaper doesn't always mean worse particularly with the first mini amp I turn to,These are fun.
LANEY MINI LION HEART
Nice binding and colour.
I like this, it has a really nice look to it and I particularly like the covering and white piping. It has two 3 inch speakers handling 3 watts, it can be battery operated or you can purchase a transfomer. The great thing is that it has a smartphone input so you can download backing track apps and tones and play along with an aux input too.
Around 60 pounds for this little beauty, I love it when a firm makes the effort to make something well. Love it. There are other models in the Laney range so shop around guys.
FENDER MINI 57 TWIN
This is a little cheaper, around 50 quids, not as well equipped as the Laney, no telephone input, but what a cracker! I love this. 2 x 2 inch speakers delivering an earth shattering ONE WATT.
These are perfect for when you buy a starter their first electric guitar or for keeping in your gig bag or if you are travelling on the road. Perfect for the dressing room. A perfect gift for your guitar playing needs.
Chas Hodges left the planet the other day after having been on the scene for nearly a MILLION YEARS, well thats about how long it felt. I guess the majority of folk will think of him with Chas and Dave doing all the cockney rock sort of thing but he started for me when he was with The Outlaws and would go out on the road with people like Gene Vincent or any other artist who came through Joe Meeks way. The Outlaws were the resident band at Joe Meeks Studio during those bizarre years, Ritchie Blackmore had been an Outlaw too! You could see Chas Hodges every week backing someone else. Multi talented,multi instrumentalist and songwriter.
HE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST and Im glad I heard him right from the beginning of my love of music and musicians, well not all musicians!. He wrote one of the finest songs ever in "There Aint no Pleasing You" and he left his mark and his music on the planet and I will remember him fondly, thanks Mr Boogie Woogie.
Take Care you people!!