Back in 2010 I had been speaking to
Dave Ball, former Brummie guitarist who had featured in Big Bertha, The Ace Kefford Stand and most famously Procol Harum and although Dave's tenure with the latter band was no more than a year he had toured the States many times and moreover, got himself on the list of great guitar solos, one that has stood the test of time in the annals of musos brains. That solo was on Procol Harums "Conquistador" recorded live with the Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra. Dave quit the band during the recording of Grand Hotel as he didn't see a way forward for himself immersed in all that grandiose scoring.
The following years saw him have a short career in the Army followed by a long one as a business whizz.
He was living in Switzerland at the time and said during our chat he was thinking about getting back to playing again. He moved back to the UK in the same year and indeed formed a couple of groups with an association to Procol. The Palers being one of them. At the same time he started on his autobiography Half Hippie Half Man, now finished and available as an E book. During the writing he discovered he had bowel cancer and after some lengthy and painful treatment he was declared cancer free in 2014. Energised by this he moved to Australia where he recorded his solo album "Don't Forget Your Alligator".
Going well, I thought.
Only about a week ago did I find out that, sadly, Dave had died in 2015 from recurring cancer that he thought he'd beaten. You fight and fight and think you won and then its back which must have been a double blow, not only for Dave but all his family too.
I can't understand how I didn't know sooner.
You couldn't miss Dave, he was really tall, a good head and shoulders above everyone else in stature. Like the guitarists of the 60's he had immersed himself in the blues and was one of the best. He was a really nice guy too.
He had worked at Yardley's Guitar Shop in Birmingham and was well known amongst the music community. He related an amusing short story about working there which I now republish below. Sad thing, great guy. If you are not familiar with the recording of Conquistador you should give it a hearing.
You don't get tonal qualities like that with an effects pedal young man.
God Bless You Dave.
"I was working at Yardleys at Snow Hill in 1965 - actually in the drum department with Barry Clements and later Johnny Haynes when the guy from Kay Westworths tried to get me to leave and work at his shop for the sum of Three pounds four shillings and sixpence a week but I said no because I was already getting Four Pounds and Ten Shillings working for that annoying bugger Charlie Hewitt at Yardleys. Should have taken it really because Charlie sacked me soon afterwards because I wouldn't go home and change into a suit 'I'm not having you here looking like an imitation cowboy, go home and change or pick up your cards" which I did, pick up my cards that is..............."
BOB DYLANS ROLLING THUNDER REVIEW.
Martin Scorcese is the best music film director ever and now the netflix film of Bob Dylans 1975 Rolling Thunder Review Tour is added to those previous and precious triumphs. The biggest surprise for me was Dylan himself and the way he threw himself into a theatrical manner with such enthusiasm he adopted for this tour. His musicianship is superb and his knowledge of music outstanding. The quality of his band wasn't too shabby either as it had Mick Ronson (Spiders from Mars) Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) and even Joni Mitchell as part of the line up too. It didn't appear that Mick Ronson was "at home" with this style of music and seemed, to me, to be a bit of a one trick pony playing wise. It maybe explains one short clip where someway through the tour, Ronson says in answer to a question about Bobs thoughts on something, "Mmm I dont know, Bob hasn't spoken to me".
Scorceses docu-filming style is excellent and the editing fantastic. It is interspersed with clips from the 1978 Dylan film Renaldo and Clara. As a typical Dylan mystery teaser there are some celebrity interviews included and some of them are fictional and it leaves you to guess which is real and not which is nicely inventive. The music is the real star and Dylans aggressive handling of his past songs was fantastic to watch. I found it a tad slow to get into but its well worth the watch, highly recommended. I shall be watching it again. It would make a great Christmas gift for the Dylan lover in your life.
MRS BOB FOR PM. A VOTE FOR SANITY.
Mrs Bob has announced on local radio that to solve the country's woeful problem with its spineless politicians that she would be willing to take on the role of Temporary Prime Minister. She's rushed upstairs to her "Lady Room" to get ready for the Press to make contact. The thing is, it was a cookery show she was on when she announced it, she told me "I meant to say "and then add a stick of cinammon" but the lure of high level politics loomed out of nowhere and the PM thing came blurting out". I don't hold out that any Press will be calling her but I set up a couple of spotlights and mic'd her up and positioned her laptop so it shows her best side. I've asked some mates from the boozer to give her a few phone calls pretending to be the Press, asking about her manifesto, that'll keep her in a good mood and should give me plenty of time to watch replays of the mighty Villa against Everton and Crewe.
Maybe it would be a good idea to elect her though.
Keep Hall Green, Green!
TAKE CARE OUT THERE