IF THE DEVIL
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GIG REPORTS 2008

Rogers personal view of the gigs he has attended
Not all are Rock'n'Roll - Roger likes all live entertainment

Disclaimer: All the views expressed herein (unless otherwise ascribed) are those of the author and may
be unsuitable for overly sensitive persons of low esteem, or irrational religious beliefs. Any attempt
to sue me over the contents will constitute an irritating social faux pas.

                       


2008

 
Sunday 21st December involved travelling all the way to Godalming, to Scratchers (The Three Lions) to see The Jackie Lynton Band playing their last gig before Christmas. 

This was their third gig in three days - and it showed. They were tight, rockin' along and enjoying every minute of the show (and they were loud - but that was more predictable.)  Mike Windus and Chris Bryant did some blindingly brilliant solo's - and Chris especially excelled with some fantastically fast fretting.  Colin Pattenden strutted his stuff well - sporting his new bass guitar for some of the show, although he did revert to the old five string Alembic after a few numbers.  Greg Terry-Short was in excellent form on drums - and was clearly out to impress his son - who is an ace drummer himself - and who was in the audience.   Jackie was in fine voice - demonstrating an enormous range and as well as his usual banter of jokes, he particularly picked on a poor German gentleman named Thomas in the audience.  Thomas is an avid fan (we met at a Nashville teens gig in Norfolk ages ago - he collects autographs on records sleeves.)  A great evening with lots of friends and acquaintances in the audience. 
 

 

Mike, Gordon, Jack, Greg and Chris

Saturday 13th December We spent the evening at Ripley Village Hall where we watched The Jackie Lynton Band playing their hearts out in support of Surrey Horsewatch - one of Vanessa Lynton's favourite charities.

We arrived at seven with our Chinese finger buffet and champagne - but the show didn't start until almost nine so we'd almost run out of booze by the time the band came on.  Colin Pattenden was indisposed, so Gordon Sellar played bass guitar.  Greg Terry Short and Mike Windus were both on top form,  as was Chris Bryant - although he was suffering from a severe stomach ache. Despite this he sang a Chuck Berry number.   Jack was in a Rock'n'Roll mood so the evening buzzed along with loads of people on the dance floor.  At half time the compere - Ian Harding - called the raffle followed by Jackie Lynton himself hosting a version of Play Your Cards Right - unfortunately it ended up more like Family Fortunes because every name drawn from the hat was someone closely related to Jack ! The band  got up to do a second set until half past eleven, with a couple of guest spots - one by Chris Bryant mentioned above, the other by Ronnie (Englebert Humperdink's personal dresser) who sang Fly Me To The Moon while being very much the worst for drink ! At the end of the evening Ian Harding led a Christmas Sing Song which made it all jolly seasonal and festive.  A fun evening with lots of good music.
 

 
Friday 12th December saw the first ever performance of The War Bimbos.  An unlikely grouping of some of Fran's work colleagues.  The event was her office party and was held at Bracknell Rugby Club.   The band comprised three guitars - bass, lead and rhythm - plus a vocalist. They were fully supported by a drum machine and the whole performance was tongue-in-cheek.   The name War Bimbo's is derived from an anagram of the initials of the four musicians plus the company name - they made up for polished musicianship by an incredible amount of energy and drive - and wit.  One number they did featured a long drum solo, from their drum machine !

The sound was quite good - but they did have the help of a professional there.  Colin Pattenden (ex Manfred Mann's Earth Band) provided the PA, the bass backline and the sound engineering. 

The band were better than I am - having rehearsed for several weeks - but I don't think they should give up their day jobs yet.  They were not only extremely brave playing in front of their friends and colleagues - but doing it in front of a professional musician like Colin must have been very stressful.  He was immensely pleased with them, recalling how he had been nearly that talented when he had started out forty five years ago.
 

War Bimbos
More anagram than band

 

Sunday 30th November I paid a quick visit to The Wheelwrights Arms at Winnersh to catch a short part of the first set of  The Ian Campbell Band playing what allegedly is the last ever gig at this pub. Apparently the brewery have decided not to fund any more music nights. 

There was a fair sized audience and although I only watched four or five numbers the band appeared to be really tight.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay for the second set - but it promised to be great

Picture: Keith Allen & Ian Campbell foreground; George Calvert & Simon Spratley background;  Simon Baker invisible on drums, but playing excellently.

 
Friday 28th November we drove almost forty miles to The Half Moon at Northchapel to see  The Bluesblasters playing.  We gave a lift to Mel & Ray Phillips and at the pub we joined Paul King with Pat and Jacky, all there to see The Bluesblasters.   It was also good to Keith-The-Stalker and his posse and Alison who lost control and indulged in a bit of table dancing toward the end of the gig.

This is only the second gig that this intrepid bunch of pro's has performed together under this brand name, and they still haven't actually managed to rehearse !  They are Chris Bryant - first lead guitar and vocals; Gordon Sellar - second lead guitar and vocals; Greg Terry-Short - drums and vocals-when-his-mike-was-working; and Colin Pattenden - bass guitar and backing vocals.

The Bluesblasters : Gordon, Colin, Greg and Chris

Paul King and Ray Phillips with The Bluesblasters

Because these talented musicians are all are consummate professionals, the show was excellent and the occasional unrehearsed endings, and Chris's adventurous spirit of tackling songs he didn't actually know all the words to,  just added to the overall pleasure of the production. 

For a couple of numbers the band were joined by Paul King to add his guitar and a couple of his own songs. Later he got his harmonica out and played some awesome harp blues with the band - and was eventually joined on stage by Ray Phillips who sang Hoochie Coochie Man and Route 66.    Greg T-S got to sing some of his favourite Paul Rodgers numbers and the audience - well. Alison anyway - went wild with delight whenever Chris went into raptures (usually during Chuck Berry style guitar solos); he is evidently a local hero.  The whole evening was an amazing success and everyone enjoyed it immensely.

Chris has promised me that they wont spoil it all by rehearsing before their next gig!
 

 

KEBB at Fat Lil's

Saturday 22nd November found us visiting Fat Lil's at Witney to see our friends in The King Earl Boogie Band playing.  This is one of John Coghlan's local venues and is a nice little club in what feels like a converted billiard hall. It has a very 1950's feel to the layout - sort of "speakeasy" layout with tables and chairs behind the stage area as well as in front (although the rear area was curtained off on this occasion).  Although we didn't visit them this time, I recall that it also has the cleanest loveliest dressing rooms of any other gig in the area - we did a gig with The Nashville Teens here a couple of years ago.

The band were on the top of their form - amazing guitar solos from Dave Peabody and Ian Campbell - especially his middle eight in Drifter Blues . He also shone when they performed Campbell's Condensed Soup - an instrumental twelve bar blues which I haven't heard him play for probably ten years.  Colin Earl excelled on keyboard - especially in the gospel instrumental This Little Light Of MineJohn Coghlan got a standing ovation for his drum solo in Who Do You Love;  and George Lesley Calvert's vocal on Slow Down was brilliant.   The band were joined for a couple of guest numbers by Keith Allen - who gave a haunting performance of  Hoochie Coochie Man.  What an amazing show !

Late update:  Sadly the "management" at Fat Lil's reneged on the payment for the show so I don't think any of our bands will be recommending their friends to play there in the future !
 

 

Greg T-S being Paul Rodgers

Friday 21st November I visited The Wheatsheaf pub at Bramley, South of Guildford.  Unfortunately not many other people did, so there was a very select audience to see Free At Last performing.  The band did well despite the small turnout - they just treated it as a paid rehearsal.  Greg Terry-Short is getting more and more assured in his portrayal of Paul Rodgers, while Adrian (Spud) Metcalf and Chris Bryant were like a couple of little boys smiling and goading each other on. The other side of the stage Pete Cowl provided a steady baseline to keep them all together.

Although the "WAGs" outnumbered the general public, it was an enjoyable gig and the band performed really well.
 

Free At Last

 

Skeleton Crew

 

 

Liam and Vanessa

 

Saturday 8th November was a private gig at Hare Hill Social Club to jointly celebrate a significant birthday milestone for both Jacky and Mel. 

The party itself was great, and when we arrived we thought that it would probably be fairly predictable because there was a stage with a backline and PA - and the audience included musicians who have been successful with such bands as Hermans Hermits, The Nashville Teens, Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Mungo Jerry. However - this turned out to be a very special night and not just for Jacky and Mel.  The several memorable performances are worth reporting as if it was a public gig.

The main musical theme was Paul Kings Skeleton Crew,  comprising Paul King, Colin Pattenden and Chris Bryant.  The sound quality was perfect (well, Colin had built the system and done the sound check, so that almost goes without saying) and they played and sang for an hour or so. Paul actually did some of Plastic Jesus during the soundcheck, which is the second time in as many weeks that I've heard Paul do this, so I suspect (and hope) that we'll be hearing it in their repertoire again soon.  They performed the current standard set until Ray Phillips came up from the audience to join in several blues numbers. On the final number Simon Spratley (Keyboards, Nashville Teens) also joined them on stage.   It was becoming clear that this group of musicians had been doing some rehearsing especially for this party !

Next up were Vanessa Phillips and Liam (don't know his surname - her partner). We already knew that Vanessa is a fine songstress, having seen her fronting her band, Peach.  However, this is the first time we'd seen Liam perform; he is an excellent guitarist and has a great voice which beautifully complements Vanessa's.  They performed four or five songs. Another first was seeing Vanessa in a dress!  I've known her since she was 12 and never seen her legs before!

Then came the tear jerking bits - Vanessa singing a duet with her Dad, Ray.   They sang All I need to Know - the old Bette Middler standard.  When they hit the chorus lines "I don't know much, but I know I love you" virtually the entire audience dissolved into tears.  Frank and Nancy Sinatra were never this good !    Their voices complement each other beautifully.  I wish I had used my video camera instead of the old Nikon. The audience were in tears and Ray was so proud of his daughter that you could see his eyes full of tears as well.
 

 


Daughter and Father duet

Ray then sang a couple of solos, accompanied by Colin and Simon. He started with another love song - this time directed at Mel - but he had all the other girls in tears too.  A fantastic performance by an accomplished vocalist.  His fans tend to pigeonhole him as an Old School R&B singer - he thinks of himself as a Blues Singer - but really he is a great all rounder. 

Then - accompanied by Simon he went on to sing This Little Bird,  a magic song with which reached number 1 in many of the Worlds charts in the sixties, but perversely not in the UK - which may be why he rarely sings it today.  This is a favourite of the families and friends gang - and among many in Eastern Europe, for whom it was a freedom anthem in the late sixties and early seventies - as they rebelled against occupying Russian forces in Hungary and Poland.

A great party with a lovely bunch of people - and some very special performances.

  

       Everyone was in tears by this bit !                              Ray singing his solo love song


 
Wednesday November 5th we fought our way through dreadful evening rush hour traffic to get to The Cleve School in Weybridge for a stunning firework display. As a precursor to the display The King Earl Boogie Band were playing.  John Coghlan couldn't make it, so Simon Baker stood in on drums.   Colin Earl was larger than life - well he is a local hero, and his wife does work at the school !   Ian Campbell, George Leslie Calvert and Dave Peabody were all on top form - although Ian's guitar amp was a bit quieter than usual.

They were playing in the open air but their PA system was not of the best quality and was far too underpowered for the job - so the performance was Ok within thirty feet of the stage, but almost inaudible anywhere else in the field - so unfortunately the majority of the 4,000 plus audience didn't get to appreciate the band.   The fireworks were good though.
 

 

Jinny & Graham on zob sticks with
Skeleton Crew : Mike, Paul, Colin and Chris

Saturday November 1st we visited The Pyrford Social Club to see Paul King's Skeleton Crew perform. The event was Graham P's birthday (he is the club secretary) and in addition to the regular line up of Paul King, Colin Pattenden and Chris Bryant, they were joined by Mike Piggott, who played electric violin - a whole new dimension of sound for the band. 

The addition of violin allowed Paul to delve into the more Djangoesque corners of his repertoire - with some Hot Club flavours, a little bit of Country and certainly a lot more folk/roots than we have been used to seeing him perform in recent years.  Songs like The Gypsy Davy;   No One to Phone and Hey Hey rolled out with every bit of the quality his recordings have.  Paul also did his interpretation of Dylan's Hard Rains Gonna Fall - one of my favourite songs.  Paul has a very good singing voice and the performance was enhanced because both Colin and Chris took vocal parts. 

Another song which went down very well was The Mighty Quinn. In all the years I've known Colin this is the first time I've heard him perform this one live - remembering that it was an iconic part of Manfred Mann's Earth Band's repertoire when Colin was a member of that august ensemble. 

The addition of Mike Piggott to the line up was inspirational - his presentation of the violin in a pleasing mix of Hot Club de France and Country & Western styles brought a bright sparkle to the performance; while his solo interpretations during blues numbers were amazing.  Apart from a little crackling problem on Chris's guitar in the first set (we removed a loose washer at half time which fixed the problem); it was acoustically and professionally a wonderful performance.

How can you have a loose washer floating around in something as well engineered as a Gibson Les Paul Special ?
 

 

Fans singing along with The Teens

Friday 24th October saw an interesting gig for The Nashville Teens, who had spent the afternoon trekking to the far reaches of Norfolk to play at Seacroft Holiday Village at Hemsby.  The holiday camp was pretty faded and looked as if it had once been a hospital, but now had lots of trailer homes parked in its gardens - but the dance hall was bright and well decorated (Christmas decorations already ! ) and the guy doing the sound - Russell - was a nice jolly chap who did a good job.

The event itself was an interesting mix of Seroc dance club, classic sixties weekend and the iron curtain concerts The Teens used to give in Hungary in the seventies !   The "Management" and a load of "bouncers" were all dressed in dinner suits and stood round the edge of the hall looking very stern - not unlike the Stasi during the seventies tours of Hungary.  The gig went well and because of the presence of dance club members the floor was almost always full.  Although for some reason nobody in the audience wanted to dance to Slow Down !

The event was planned to run on until Sunday - but with tribute bands until Sunday night when The Merseybeats were due to be on stage.  Cant wait to talk to Roger Weddup (their roadie) afterwards and find out what he thought of the place.
 

 
Sunday 12th October was Jacky's birthday and after a lovely relaxed lunch out at Shad Thames we made our way to The Royal Albert Hall to see a performance of Baroque Music.  It is absolutely ages since we saw anything really classical live and this performance was brilliant

The players were all in baroque costumes,  breeches with tights and buckle shoes,  colourful long tailcoats and wigs.  The music was fantastic, the first half had all of Eine Klein Nacht Musick and Pachelbel's Canon in D as well as some amazing Mozart stuff sung by a soprano with a long dress and a huge voice accompanied by a man with a very loud trumpet.  The second half was Vivaldi's Four Seasons which featured some amazing violin work.  Very impressive and well deserving of the ovation it got.
 

 

Cryin' Out Jack with Mark !

Saturday 11th October we went to Pyrford to see Jackie Lynton with an unusual line up. Because all except Mike Windus of his regular band were otherwise disposed, he had most of Cryin' Out Loud backing him.   The line up behind Jackie was Mike on first lead guitar,  Matt Wheatley on drums and his dad, Tim Wheatley, (aka Al Fresco) on bass guitar.  They were joined by Mark Leopard on second lead guitar.  We haven't seen Mark for years, but he used to be lead guitar with Jack's band until he went of to America to seek his fortune about eight or nine years ago. It was good to see him back with his faintly country style guitar playing.

The band hadn't rehearsed which led to a much less fussy delivery than we are used to, which was refreshing and although Jack was as generous as ever to spotlight his guitarists solo talents, the sweet and simple delivery really showcased Jack's voice as the high point of the performance.   The evening was almost entirely classic Rock'n'Roll and blues numbers - mainly because the musicians hadn't rehearsed any of Jack's own compositions.  Despite this they did make a very credible attempt at Rock'n'Roll Whisky Blues which always goes down well because of the guitar solos.
 

 
I drove down to Scratchers at Godalming again on Sunday 5th October to see The Jackie Lynton Band playing.  They were all in good spirits - Colin had recovered a bit from his flu symptoms of the night before.   The gig was well attended - not much room to move and an attentive audience keen to sing along whenever commanded.

Jack was on very top form, with loads of jokes between numbers and a very vibrant presentation when singing.  Greg was busy on drums as usual with Colin Pattenden obviously enjoying himself despite the volume being several degrees below the previous evenings performance. (He was still too loud, but nobody can tell him, so just slip in the plugs and enjoy ! )   Chris Bryant was on form with his dextrous guitar work , but he was potentially outshone this evening by Mike Windus, who played amazingly.   It was his home turf (Scratchers is his local) but even so his guitar playing was very hot tonight.  They performed Women and Men for the first time for ages, and almost got the transition from solo's back into vocals correct - but not quite. Never mind, most of the audience didn't notice - and even if they had the recovery was excellent - almost worth applause in its own right !  A brilliant gig and well worth the forty mile round trip to listen.
 

Lynton Band at Scratchers

 

Ken, Spud, Ray and Colin

Saturday 4th October was a Nashville Teens gig at The Mill Club, which is part of the Roydon Mill Leisure Park complex near Harlow.   This is a compact little leisure park set on the River Lee and a canal right on the border of Hertfordshire and Essex and managed by a nice bunch of people, Chris, Dave and Paula.  The event was a basic "Essex Saturday Night" of dinner and a disco with a live band between 10 and midnight.  It was also Marilyn and Sue's birthdays (twins) so there were a lot of balloons and drunkenness.

Simon couldn't make it so the band was a foursome - which always makes them a bit tighter because they compensate for Simon's absence.  The first set started a bit thin - but after a couple of numbers they warmed up and presented really well.  Friends Heather and Sue were in the audience and they quickly joined forces with Trisha to take command of the dance floor.  The second set was extremely good ending as ever with Tobacco Road and Born To Be Wild.  A nice little club, easy access, friendly staff and audience - overall an excellent night.
 

 
The following evening, Sunday 28th September, we were at Godalming, which is "down the road apiece" from Pyrford, to see So Long Angel performing at Scratchers.  We hadn't seen this band before, but it features Mike Burke and Fran McGillivray, of whom we have both become firm fans.  As well as Fran with her sultry honey and chocolate voice and her bass guitar and Mike with his dextrous guitar work - the band also includes Roger Nunn on percussion and Roland Kemp on keyboards. They are a delight - very reminiscent of Affinity back in the sixties - at the blues end of the jazz/blues fusion spectrum. Mike's guitar was ringing out clear - he had obviously beaten the buzz problems we heard last week.  The more I see and hear of Mikes playing the more dextrous he seems to get ! The acoustics in Scratchers aren't the best in the World, but this band rose above them and somehow filled the place with sound without resorting to high volumes. A key component of this is Frans voice which is strong and clear and fills the space she is singing in beautifully, all the while her bass guitar is lazily stitching together the theme and the beat of each piece of music. Roger Nunn plays a fine set of drums with a nice crisp clear snare sound and a surprising amount of light work on the crash cymbals. He also got to demonstrate that he could play "heavy" on an awesome song called Freedom.  It made my hair stand on end - a beautifully arranged anthemic song delivered in Fran's deep mellow voice, with haunting guitar work from Mike and a rolling beat on both Rogers toms.  I asked afterwards, and apparently they wrote this piece themselves. I had to buy the CD and played it all the way home.  Roland is a handy keyboard player, his opening chords in the evening reminded me of Jimmy Smith back in the early sixties. He also provided vocal backing - and was vocal lead on two songs - one of which was a nice arrangement of Walking The Dog. The whole evening was great; the addition of drums adds extra depth and dimension to Fran and Mike's brilliant playing; and Roland's interventions on keyboards added flavour in all the right places.  They performed some of the songs which we have heard Mike & Fran deliver as a duo, and they sound equally as good with a band - especially I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water and Sleep Out in a Hollow Log and Spoonful.  One number I hadn't heard before, Freedom, was beautifully and very movingly delivered - it made the hairs on the back of neck stand up. I had to buy the CD!  A very professional show to an extremely appreciative audience. We will certainly want to see this band again.
 

So Long Angel

 

Colin, Dave, John, George and Ian

Saturday 27th September took us to The Pyrford Social Club where The King Earl Boogie Band were playing. 

One of the great things about this band is the way they change and develop their material - and tonight was no exception.  The afternoon had been spent rehearsing two new numbers - but without John Coghlan, who spend four hours of Saturday afternoon sitting in a traffic jam on the M25.   One of the new numbers was a gospel shuffle Glory Hallelujah - very good but I'm sure they will develop longer guitar solo's and hopefully move it from a shuffle to a more rocky base.  The other was Mess of The Blues - the old Elvis number, but played in the Status Quo arrangement because they though that the motorway marooned John would be able to just swing into it.   He did swing into it and delivered it extremely well - but pointed out that Quo had recorded it the year after he left, so while he recognised it, he didn't actually "know" it !    My favourite - Drifter Blues - was also in the mix - and Ian played a blinding guitar solo.   Colin Earl did a classic input to Down The Road Apiece - karate chopping the keyboard and playing it with his elbow - just like the old Mungo Jerry days.  Only this time he managed to break one of the keys on his Roland keyboard.  He'll have to glue that back together before tomorrow afternoons performance. Overall an excellent evening which both the audience and the band thoroughly enjoyed.

 
Sunday 21st September I made my way to Staines to see The Jackie Lynton Band at The Dog and Partridge pub. It was an early gig, 6pm till 9pm.  A new venue for us, a nice pub set back from the road with loads of car park and quite a distance from the nearest human habitation (i.e. the nearest human noise complaint !).   The place wasn't particularly busy - perhaps fifty in the audience at the peak,  but still a nice atmosphere.

The band were in good form, especially Mike Windus who seemed to be having a really good day - but Jack was only 120% of his normal 150% self.  Good and professional, playing the audience well, but not enjoying it himself as much as usual.  The second half was much louder - the lead guitars always turn up, but I didn't notice Colin turn his bass up (he says he didn't) or notice that Greg might be belting the drums harder - however the volume was appreciably up. I even nipped out to the car to collect my earplugs, which I normally only use for The Nashville Teens.

An interesting gig, but a bit early and although the audience were lively and some of them danced with abandon, there weren't quite enough of them to absorb the high frequencies.  Glad I went and better than no gig at all - but not the best I've attended.
 

Jackie Lynton sings

 

Fran flauting and Mike guitaring

Thursday 18th September We drove over to Reading, to the South Street Music Venue, where Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke were playing.  We had a nice chat with them before the gig hearing about their holiday/tour in France; and then watched them play two full sets.  They were great despite a nasty intermittent buzz from Mikes amplifier.  Fran played her bass in her own laid back bluesy/jazzy way, and played flute for one of the numbers.  Mike was extremely dextrous and looked surprisingly cool about his amplifier buzz (some musicians I know would have stopped the gig!).  Mike has a nice rolling style even when he's picking - and he plays a mean bottleneck.  Frans deep voice is just made for Jazz/Blues and filled the small venue beautifully.  I only took my pocket camera so the shots weren't too good in the dark - but I shall try to get better ones when they play - with their band, So Long Angel, at Scratchers later this month.

They were supporting an artist named Dave Arcari, but he wasn't going to start until 10pm and unfortunately I had a board meeting early on Friday, so we bade Fran & Mike farewell as they packed up after their second set and left for home before Dave Arcari started.  Mike sent me an email the next day describing Arcari's set as a fantastic contrast to us he has such amazing energy!!  Next time Mr Arcari gigs near here I shall have to go and experience him.
 

 
Friday 12th September  was along trek to find The Half Moon pub in Northchapel, but was well worth it to see a "scratch" band calling itself The Bluesblasters.  It was a band pulled together by Chris Bryant, who played lead guitar and shared vocals with Gordon Sellar - who played second lead guitar.  Colin Pattenden played bass and Greg Terry-Short drummed and sang a couple of numbers. 

It was a great evening.  Although the band knew each other, and had all played with The Jackie Lynton Band at some time in their long careers, this was a totally unrehearsed evening - and the average listener couldn't possibly have guessed that - the lads were so good. 

Although I had heard Chris sing before, I had forgotten what a deep voice he has, which was great for the heavy rock and "Chuck Berryish" music styles which he loves.   Greg was excellent too. Since he started up his Paul Rogers tribute band, Free At Last, his voice has blossomed.   Gordon Sellar was an absolute surprise to me. I don't know Gordon very well and every time I have seen him before he has been deputising bass guitar - usually for Colin Pattenden. This was my first experience of him as a lead guitarist - and he is brilliant; very much in the same top class as Chris Bryant and at times it felt as if the two were duelling rather than dueting - each excelling the other and then stepping up yet another gear !  Gordon also has a great voice - and his performance of Mess Of The Blues was one of the best vocal renditions of it I have ever heard - like Elvis with a soft Scottish lilt - I could listen to it for ever.  A brilliant show and well worth the forty mile drive to see.
 

The debut of The Bluesblasters

 

Lynton Band at Weyfest '08

Sunday 7th September  and the big weekend event was The Weyfest at The Rural Life Centre, near Farnham.  I went specifically to get Colin Pattenden's gear on and off stage (he is recovering from a hernia) and it enabled me to see The Jackie Lynton Band give an absolutely blinding performance.

They were on early - twenty to two in the afternoon - which isn't ideal because Jack uses bad language when he gets excited and the audience was full of kids.  Never mind they all know the "F" word now.  The whole band were on top form - there is something about a big stage and a huge audience which brings out the best in them.  Mike and Chris played amazing guitar solos and even Colin and Greg were allowed solo's in Rock'n'Roll Whisky Blues.   In that same number Jack invited a harmonica player named Adam Russel up to do a guest solo - he was very good - and was undaunted by Jackie's wind-ups.

 
Saturday 6th September  and a week later The Nashville Teens were playing again - this time at The Effra Club in deepest darkest Brixton.   Colin Pattenden and I started out at 2pm and by 6pm we had build the stage set and were ready for the others to do a sound check.  The hall had a neat little stage and reasonably good acoustics - but access was painful involving both going up and coming down stairs.  After the soundcheck we retired to the pub next door - The Brixton Hootenanny.  This was quite lively and noisy and served very good Thai food - but the beer was "proper" prices, so we soon returned to the club where beer was half the price.

The band played one set and the audience loved them. The manager wished he had ordered two sets instead of one, so we engineered a break so that a raffle could be called and the band slipped in a few extra numbers to take it to nearer the two forty minute set timings.  At the end the applause was so tumultuous that Ray Phillips actually did a second encore. The band did the usual false tab (Tobacco Road) after which they did their usual encore with Born To Be Wild.   However, after a lot more shouting and cheering they came back a second time and did Route 66. That is only twice I've seen him respond to a double encore in fifteen years I've been working with the band !

An excellent gig, we thoroughly enjoyed it; even though all those steps meant that Colin and I didn't actually get back home until after 3am.

The Teens at Effra Road

 

Jailhouse Rock - The Teens

Saturday 30th August We had a much more local gig - in fact only walking distance from home. We went to see The Nashville Teens who were playing at The Silver Birch pub in Birch Hill, Bracknell.

The sound was managed by Karl Green (Hermans Hermits) and we spent most of the afternoon setting the stage up and sound checking.  The pub gradually filled and before we knew it the clock had ticked round to 9pm and time to start the performance. 

It was a smaller version of The Teens because Simon (keyboards) couldn't make it.  This usually makes the rest of the band even tighter as they strive to compensate for his absence.  The first half was good, but Ray's vocals were a bit thin despite all Karl's manipulations at the mixing desk.  At the half way break we changed Ray's mike and the second half was much better.  The crowd were appreciative and band all had fun as well.   A nice little gig.

 
Thursday 28th August We had travelled all the way to Portscatho in Cornwall (a 550 mile round trip) to see The King Earl Boogie Band playing a benefit gig for Thirza's favourite charities.  Thirza is Dave Peabody's step-daughter, who lived in Portscatho and died tragically earlier this year.  They were playing in The Harbour Club at this tiny Cornish village, and the hall was packed - mainly with locals. 

We found the band rehearsing with their temporary drummer for the evening (I don't recall his name, but he used to play with Mud and Suzie Quattro) and he was a natural - a brilliant percussionist.  It was an extremely warm night and the packed hall only had a couple of windows, so it wasn't long before the humidity and heat in the place was almost 100%.  There was a balcony behind the huge (non-opening) picture windows behind the band - with a wonderful view over the sea by day and with a wonderful view of all the smokers packed outside by night.

The Band were excellent - despite being soaked to the skin with sweat within a couple of numbers of opening.  They included some local musicians. A piano accordion player named Charlie Hart (Kilburn & The High Roads) gave the first half a distinctly "Zydeco" feeling,  while a blues saxophone player named Ralph Retallack (Hot House Playboys and Chris Jagger's Atcha) put a strong jazz/soul feel across the second half.       The gig was tremendously successful with - as far as we could tell - virtually the whole population of Portscatho and Gerrans attending - including loads of kids in the first half.  We think we raised around a thousand pounds for charities, so it was a successful evening.

Sweaty KEBB - with guest Ralph Retallack

 

Ray Phillips with the Jackie Lynton Band

Sunday 24th August We went to Hare Hill Social Club to see The Jackie Lynton Band.  It was an early gig celebrating "Chris The Carpet"s birthday and the band went on at about half past six and finished just after eight.  (They were followed by a heavy metal band called Cry Wolf, but we weren't able to stay to see them.)

Jack was on reasonably good form although the band haven't played for some time and there were a few mistakes.  I don't suppose the audience noticed though - they were too busy dancing and having a good time.  Greg played his drums stoically despite a dreadful groin injury - he had managed to sustain first degree burns during a "hot soup accident" while on holiday.  Colin was on form despite his recent hernia operation and both the lead guitarists managed their sugar levels OK so they didn't crash out during the gig.   Jack - now without prostrate - sang beautifully but was constrained by the audience which contained quite a lot of kids - so he had to be conscious not to crack his usual blue jokes.

Jack is a generous performer - always giving credit to his musicians and during this gig he invited Ray Phillips (Nashville Teens) onto stage to sing a couple of numbers.   It was a very enjoyable evening because all the bands families were at the party and that always makes it more fun.

 
Friday 8th August We went to the local cinema to see Mamma Mia - The Movie.   I was fairly convinced that this was going to be - like the stage version - "a bit naff, but OK".  

I was surprised. The casting was great, the acting and choreography both professionally excellent and extremely tongue in cheek.   The experience totally compensates for the fact that Piers Brosnan cannot sing to save his life - it doesn't matter because he acts brilliantly and it makes the scene more real.  Meryl Streep plays her part really well -and she can sing.  The story line is fairly banal, but you get swept along with it and overall there is a fantastically strong feel-good factor.   In fact when we came out we actually saw people skipping on their way out of the cinema ! 

Our neighbour, Anne-Marie has seen this three times and told us she'd see it again.  I didn't understand that when she told me - but I do understand it now.  I almost feel as if even I wouldn't mind seeing it again (and I rarely watch films).  Once this is out on DVD I can see it becoming a Christmas favourite on TV.  A really nice little film.

Streep & Brosnan

 

Paul and Keith duel on harmonicas,
Jack and Chris look on

Sunday 27th July  We drove over to The Three Lions  (Scratchers) at Godalming to see The Jackie Lynton Band performing.  Jack opened by describing themselves as being renamed; "The NHS Survivors" -  Mike is a diabetic and has also recently spent time in hospital for an operation on his arm ; Jack has just had a prostrate removal; Chris is a diabetic and recently broke his wrist in a motorbike accident ; Greg has incredibly high blood pressure and Colin is about to go into hospital for a hernia repair !  Despite this they all played and sang brilliantly.

As well as being on top form and incredibly tight, they had two guest performers who were also brilliant,  Paul King played harmonica on three of the numbers and for the final one was joined by Keith whose surname I don't know ! 

A fantastic summer evenings music with a great range of styles from Delbert McLinton to Ray Charles and from Jacks own Status Quo style to Chuck Berry - a brilliant mix.
 

 
Sunday 20th July  Fran and I spent some of the afternoon at Godalming Bandstand, where there are free entertainments every Sunday.

Today there were two acts.  The first was Sounds Like Brass, the Chobham brass band.  Three tubas (or were they tenor horns?) , two trumpets and a guy in a white bow tie conducting them.  The reason they sounded like brass was because their instruments were indeed made of that substance.   They were quite good although they seemed to take a long time between each number deciding what they might do next. 

The other act was The Chobham Morris Men who pranced into the centre of the little park as the brass band wound to a halt.  T hey were also fairly good, although I suspect that Arlene Phillips would have cringed at their choreography. There were lots of crashings of Morris sticks and fluttering of hankies while the men skipped and pranced about more-or-less in consistent patterns.  All quintessentially English and a lot of harmless fun.   A good afternoon and the weather wasn't too bad either.

The whole concept of Sunday afternoon entertainment is to raise money to put a roof over the bandstand - and money is raised by a lady carrying around a bucket and asking people to throw coins in.   The entertainment is different each week - we had been to see Cryin' out Loud at the end of June.  Today's event was much more subdued with a much smaller audience - but there was a nice Country Village feel to the day with a bowls championship taking place in the background and little children playing around among the crowd.  very old fashioned.
 


The Chobham Morris
 


Sounds Like Brass

 

The Teens - Saturday night

Saturday 5th July  I had that awful quandary of having to choose between which of my friends I would support.  I decided that as I had seen The King Earl Boogie Band just the day before, I would give their gig at Fat Lil's in Wilton a miss, and instead I found my way to The Hare Hill Social Club at Addlestone to see The Nashville Teens.  Tonight they were performing as a foursome - this was because Simon already had a prior commitment and this gig had been slipped in at the last minute to cover for The Jackie Lynton Band (Jackie has had to spend some time in hospital this week - he's on the mend now).

The gig was great, not only were the band tight (they always seem tighter when Simon is away - perhaps they feel they need to compensate ?) but they also had some able help from Paul King who provided blues harmonica backing to some of the numbers.  The audience was small, I'd guess about one hundred and twenty , but because this was a "local" gig (Addlestone is the Teens home town) most of the audience were either friends or relatives !

Ray was in good form - helped no doubt by the warm up at The Cleve School gig the previous evening;  and the sound quality was terrific.  Colin later confessed that he had spent four and a half hours building the stage and checking the sound with his white noise generator and analyser.   I have to concede that the wiring was very neat and it took less time than usual to strike the stage and pack away - I was home by 2am which is something of a record for a Teens gig.

 

 
Friday 4th July  I went alone to The Cleve School at Weybridge. This is a regular King Earl Boogie Band  performance in the open air to support the school.  The event is also a showcase for young talent - and children from the school perform alongside the professionals.  There are usually a load of "extra" professionals to share the load as well - this year the guests were Ray Phillips (Nashville Teens) and Paul King (Mungo Jerry).  It was also the first year that John Coghlan (Status Quo) had worked this gig with The KEBB - He was quite impressed with the young musicians, but less impressed that there was no handy pub nearby and he hadn't been told to bring a picnic !

The sound system this year was much improved on previous years, Colin Pattenden (Manfred Mann's Earth Band) had set up a proper sound stage with mixer desk and a sixteen port DI box on stage. Sadly this also meant that the more complex system was more sensitive - not always a good thing to try outdoors where wind and rain add to the variables.  Luckily it didn't rain!  I got there early enough to help with the cabling, but too late to help lug all the heavy equipment about (clever timing, eh!)

The gig was - as usual - excellent.  The evening started with the kids, who are aged between ten and twelve - they fielded two really professional sounding electric guitar groups ; a young lady who played flute;  four young ladies who sang along with a very modern backing track; and an able saxophonist with her friend who played piano beautifully.  It was really strange to see such a tiny person getting such wonderful sounds out of Colin Earl's electric piano - which is more used to being hit and karate chopped for boogie rhythms.

The band then performed their fist set, although we did have some small technical problems towards the end of the set (buzzing and clicking - turned out to be from a wrong setting on the sound desk which was picking up noise from a spare DI box which we had put on stage ready for Paul King to plug his electric banjo into, )

The second set is where the guest artists get a go - Ray Phillips sang Hoochie Coochie Man and Paul King provided harmonica backing to a couple of blues numbers (his banjo plans having been abandoned when the DI box misbehaved).

As always - a cracking good gig.  The audience were delighted.  There is a carnival atmosphere with bouncy castles and inflatable slides for the kids and picnics for their parents - I guess there must have been about 400 adults and easily as many kids in the audience.
 

Talented youngsters stole the show

The sound desk - Stephanie, Liz, Jacky, Mel, Paul (King), Ray (Phillips)

 

Monday 30th June  I was at work - at a corporate event held at The  Menzies Golf Club and Hotel just North of Cambridge.  The event demanded a band, so I had managed to secure the gig for  The Ian Campbell Band.    It was a long way for them to travel, but the money was good and they are probably the most versatile band whom I know - able to read audiences and play the appropriate music in almost every circumstance.

It was staged after dinner - about seventy people on a dozen circular dining tables in a large room with a dance floor at one end and the band in a corner.  Like all corporate gigs I have ever experienced, the place emptied as soon as the band struck up.  This is partly a function of there being a free bar in the next room - partly a function of the loud music preventing the inevitable talking shop activities - and partly a factor of it being a very warm evening, and people wanting to be out on the patio in the cool evening air.    However, as the alcohol seeped into the persona of those still standing at about 10pm, the hardcore party animals crept back into the big room to boogie !   So after 90 minutes of playing to a virtually empty room, the band got to play their last hour to a load of very drunk dancers;  and entertained us by letting a well known local lawyer sing backing vocals, and letting our own lovely Lee-Anne bang a tambourine.  Lee-Anne is one of those litmus tests which every party has. She drinks everything and anything and when she eventually falls over then everyone else knows that the party has ended.  (The band finished at 11pm; I gave up and went to my room just after 2am - but Lee-Anne was allegedly still standing at 4am !)

A good gig despite having an audience for only part of the time.

The Campbell Band - Ian soloing

 

Nigel; Mike ; Jack : John and Chris

Saturday 28th June found us at Botley on the far side of Oxford at Shelly's pub - The Seacourt Bridge Inn.   The event was an extra special performance by  The Jackie Lynton Band.      The "special" was because the band had a guest drummer (it is the holiday season, and Greg was away on holiday) - in this case it was John Coghlan.  Now Jack and John go back a long way.  Initially they worked together when Jack was writing songs with Rick Parfitt - John having been drummer of Status Quo for twenty plus years.   When John eventually parted company with The Quo, he set up a band called Diesel - and Jackie Lynton was the vocalist for that band.   The place was crowded with both Lynton fans and Quo fans looking to see this wonderful reunion.

Greg wasn't the only one on holiday;  Colin Pattenden was away as well so we had an able dep named Nigel Taylor.  Considering there were two new members and there had been no rehearsals this was an absolutely amazing night. The band played tightly, John's drumming was metronome perfect and Nigel's bass lines were so good you wouldn't know that he had never met most of the band members before this evening.  The pub was packed with locals, backed up by Quo fans including Neil Hill (has to be one of the most avid that I've ever come across!). The band ended the night with a medley of Status Quo numbers - all of which John had drummed on the originals of and many of which Jack had written. The whole pub was dancing - a great night.

The ultimate question was left in the balance.  Now that these two veterans of Rock'n'Roll have performed together again - the first time in over twenty years - will they be tempted to re-form Diesel ?

 
Monday 23rd June we paid an early visit to Richmond Theatre to see Grumpy Old Women - one of two special performances to capture this three handed comedy for posterity on TV.   We went in company with Colin and Liz earl - I was grateful for the assurance that I wasn't going to be the only male in the audience.

The three woman show starred comediennes Dilly Keane, Jenny Eclair and Linda Robson.  It was entertaining and well staged, with only a few gaffes where the ladies had to re-run for the cameras.  They were doing two shows, 5pm and 8pm,  so I guess that the TV programme will be spliced from the best bits of each. 

I have never thought of Linda Robson as a comedienne before, my experience being limited to "Birds of a Feather" on TV.  She was extremely good - a very good actress who can carry comedy well.   Jenny Eclair is another actress I have only seen on TV - and she is every bit as fiery and fun on stage as she is on the small screen.  Dilly Keane was the real draw for me. I have seen her several times as a member of Fascinating Aida, and listened avidly to her shows on Radio 4.  She is one of my favourite comedy acts, statuesque and brassy with a classical education which gives nice "posh" edge to her humour and presentation.  As Colin reminded me, she also has magnificent breasts, which made up for the male bashing in the script.
 

Keane, Eclair, Robson
Grumpy Old Women

 
Sunday 22ndJune we visited Godalming Band Stand to see Cryin Out Loud playing to a large audience, most of whom were armed with picnics.   The event was a Godalming Sunday Concert - apparently there is one a week between May and September, though not always Rock'n'Roll.  There was a collection to pay for a roof for the bandstand - which seems like a good cause.    The weather on Sunday was, however, excellent;  shirtsleeves and sunshine.

"Billy Hill" (aka Mike Windus) was in his element - especially in the Chuck Berry numbers where he really gets carried away. Tim Wheatley (secretly = "Al Fresco") provided a good performance of 6 Days On The Road.   Most of the vocals are provided by "Ferric Eric" who has a nice range of vocal styles - I especially liked his gravelly blues style.   Also memorable was a nice clear rendition of Delbert McClinton's "Livin' It Down". 

There were about a thousand people sitting around the park or arrayed across the church graveyard (like tiered seats above the park) - all basking in the sun and enjoying a perfect English Summer Day.  A good gig and a great picnic.

Cryin' Out Loud

 

REME Band at Wellington College

Saturday 7th June we attended an open air concert at Wellington College to be entertained by  The Band of The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to an evening of popular classics.  The weather was great, there were (I guess) about two thousand people picnicking and the band were very very good.

However, to my mind, the popular classics were mainly not popular - in that they were little known pieces presumably picked to showcase certain talents of key performers;   and while interspersed with some old favourites, they were for the most part unknown (and unmemorable).

Towards the end of the second half the favourites started to come thick and fast with Henry Woods Fantasia on British Sea Songs - which has us all stamping to the hornpipe and singing along with Rule Britannia.   This was followed by Jerusalem and Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No1  (Land of Hope and Glory) which always makes me tearful in memory of my Dad, who used to revere it because it was used instead of the banned National Anthem in the prisoner of war camp where he helped the Japanese build a railway.   Finally the band presented Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, accompanied by a spectacular firework display.

 
Wednesday 4th June we converged on The Half Moon at Putney to meet up with John Hawken and hear the current Strawbs UK tour.  John arrived in the UK from his home in the USA early in May and the band spent a couple of weeks recording a new CD before embarking on the UK leg of their World Tour.  Next week they move over to the USA and then back to Norway. 

The band were on great form, despite Dave Cousins having high blood pressure and John Hawken having suffered a minor stroke just ten weeks before!  The only disappointment was a lot of feedback during the first two numbers - for which the house sound engineer got a lot of withering looks !     The band played a lot of old favourites, including Autumn - which is a great reminder of the late Jim Carswell.    We saw John Hawken briefly during the break - he had been having problems with his foldback, but we assured him that apart from the early feedback the sound had been good out in the audience.

The second half was great too.  The band played three pieces from their new CD, which is likely to be called The Broken Hearted Bride, probably not available until September.  Dave Lambert was on great form , especially on Heartbreaker, which I think is a brilliant piece of music, although when I read the Strawbs website I realise that it isn't a universal favourite among their more purist fans.  A brilliant evening ended with a chat with John and a quick catch-up with Paul (cant recall his surname) who used to drum for John in Third World War.; and a brief chat with Pete Shannon, who used to play with The teens.   Sadly John isn't going to have time to "come out to play" with The Nashville Teens on this years visit, but he hopes to be back soon.

Hawken, Cronk and Cousins.   Sorry - it's an old picture - I didn't have my camera with me

 


picture : Jane Peabody 2008

 

Michael Frank ; Dave Peabody
Mike Messer  ; Honeyboy Edwards : Paul Jones
at BBC Maida Vale Studios

Wednesday 28th May I joined my pal Dave McD at The 100 Club in London's Oxford Street. While we stood in the queue I was greeted by Dave Peabody, with his lovely wife Jane in tow.  Dave is of course the three times holder of Acoustic Blues Guitarist of the Year - but tonight he was just the support act and backing guitarist for someone far more venerable.  Dave "HoneyBoy" Edwards - at age 92 one of the last remaining links with the real Delta Blues scene.  A man who not only knew and worked with greats like Robert Johnson - but even at his current age commands exceedingly high calibre backing musicians; at a recent USA tour he used Keith Richards as a support guitarist !   

The club was sold out and packed - with a huge variety of fans. There were a surprisingly large number of young people present as well as the older "dyed in the wool" blues fans. Dave McD and I found ourselves standing next to Paul Jones (Manfred Mann, and BBC Blues presenter).   The first half was opened by Dave Peabody doing a few numbers on his own before being joined by Michael Frank, who not only played a mean harmonica, but was HoneyBoy's manager. For the last couple of numbers they were joined by Mike Messer.   A short break to procure incredibly expensive beer, and then Dave was back together with The Legend himself.   An excellent show of the blues.  Totally unusual timings and sometimes incomprehensible words - but all so loaded with angst that they had the same effect which an opera sung in a foreign language can have - absolute beauty and raw emotion - without being encumbered by specific meaning.   Overall a fascinating show, well worth the time out mid-week and we left feeling that this sort of moment will never happen again for us - this is the last of the living legends, and at 92 years old I suppose it's unlikely that he will pass this way again.
 

 
Tuesday 27th May I drove over to Bramley, South of Guildford to The Jolly Farmer pub to see Malfunction.  I was there at the invitation of Mike Windus and Clare Austen because for ages I've been going on about wanting to see Clare's talented family.  Their band - Malfunction - were excellent - and I can confirm that they are not only all extremely talented, but also extremely together.  They're all in the age range (I guess) 20 to 23 and I'm sure Mike will update me with all the proper names which will enable me to re-write this bit.  The lead singer was Charlotte ("Charlie") - Claire's daughter who has a great voice and an engaging stage presence.  The apparent leader of the band was the drummer, who also sang some of the more "metal" songs;  Mike assured me that he also plays a mean guitar.     There are two lead guitars (one is hidden behind Charlie in the picture to the right) - both excellent players with clarity and variability of style.  I particularly liked the bass guitarist, who played his instrument articulately and contributed to the vocals in places.

A great evening. I would really like to see this band again.

 

Paul, Colin and Chris

Saturday17th May and Paul Kings Skeleton Crew appeared at The Seacourt Bridge Pub.  The pub wasn't as crowded as Shelley (the landlady0 would have liked - two of her regulars were having parties away from the pub, dragging away a lot of regulars - although we were invaded at about 10pm by a bunch of lads in brightly coloured shirts who may well have been one of those parties!  

Paul was bright and bouncy, but worried because his voice was going; at one stage he asked Chris to sing a number to give himself a rest. He sounded fine though - I guess that's just professionalism.

Colin Pattenden and Chris Bryant were on great form too - and the performance was really appreciated by the audience who whistled and clapped.  As the evening moved on (we didn't finish until midnight) the music got more and more exciting and some of the audience began to dance. When Paul started issuing zob sticks and tambourines virtually the whole pub was on its feet dancing.  An excellent evening.

 

Monday 28th April we visited Windsor to The Theatre Royal to see a set of three half hour plays written for radio broadcast by Agatha Christie.  The set was a 1930/1940 BBC studio with Shure ribbon microphones in a row and chairs in a row, plus a sound effects table.  The cast were all in evening dress - as was de rigueur for the BBC in those days.  There were seven in the cast including lead roles played by Susan George and Simon Shepherd.  The plays were running for a week with the basic cast of five working with different actors playing the lead roles each night.
The first play was called Personal Call, originally broadcast in May 1954, and about the entrapment of a serial killer by a police subterfuge which may just have had a little ghostly help. This gave lots of opportunities for steam train, telephone and party scene sound effects. 
This was followed by a November 1937 offering called The Yellow Iris - an Hercule Poirot story set in a nightclub. One of the cast, Elizabeth Price, sang nightclub songs - an excellent voice.  This story was about a murder prevented by the deductive capabilities of our Belgian hero.
The final play was an outright horrific murder story called Butter In A Lordly Dish which was originally broadcast in January 1948. In this story a philandering barrister gets his come-uppance at the hands of the pretty widow of someone he has sent to the gallows. The sound effects here culminated in a nail being hammered into the victims head - emulated by the sound effects man hammering a nail into a cabbage ! 

 
Sunday 27th April 2008 The Jackie Lynton Band appeared at Scratchers, Godalming.  The place was crowded as usual, but Vanessa Lynton had saved me a seat so I was OK.

I had missed the bands Saturday night gig - a private party in Staines - which according to the band hadn't been very good.  So it was nice that tonight's gig was extremely good.  Jack was on form both in his tuneful voice and his wit and ability to entertain the audience between songs.

Although it was an excellent gig, Chris looked a bit unhappy throughout. He told me afterwards that he has given up alcohol and is suffering with mouth ulcers. During one of his interludes of talking (rather than singing) to the audience Jack pointed out the band is generally very unhealthy and it's a bit of a miracle they were there at all.  Jack has prostrate problems, Colin has a hernia, Mike and Chris are both diabetic and Greg needs a haircut - what hope have they got?

Mike and Colin in heaven - while Jack sings

 

Top Left :  Julian Carter; Mike Windus; and Ray Phillips
Bottom Left : Mike Windus; Jack Lynton; Paul King; and Chris Bryant.  Jules Carter and Colin Pattenden in the background.

Monday 7th April  Not a formal gig - but the funeral wake for the late great Grahame White - guitarist extraordinaire.  More than three hundred people had turned up to Grahame's funeral - where Jamie Marshall played a tear jerking folksy rendition of Stand By Me.   The evening at Hare Hill Social Club was much more of a celebration of Grahame's life.   There were so many bands wanting to pay tribute, that each had to be limited to three or four numbers.  The evening opened with The Jackie Lynton Band, with Spud Metcalf (Nashville Teens) on drums because Greg was away on holiday.  Grahame was Jack's lead guitarist for over twenty years and Jack made an emotive speech before he started singing.   The Lynton Band were augmented by Jules Carter (Blind Drunk Jules, and Grahame's Brother-in-Law) and Paul King (Mungo Jerry) on harmonica.  After a few numbers Jack stood down and Ray Phillips (Nashville Teens) took over to perform a couple of numbers. 

This was followed by Jamie Marshall, who in turn was followed by Julian Carters own band,  Blind Drunk Jules - which for the first time ever on stage featured Grahame's twelve year old nephew on bass guitar.  This version of the band also included Paul White - Grahame's son - as guest drummer.  The next band up was The Retros' - Grahame's own band - who performed half a dozen sixties classics. They were brilliant.   The evening continued, but unfortunately we had to leave after the Retro's because it was getting late and Tuesday was a working day.

It was great send off for Grahame - after the grief of the afternoon, we all went home with memories of the good times with him.  

 

Nutcracker

Friday 4th April  Fran and I went to The New Victoria Theatre, at Woking to see another Matthew Bourne ballet production.  This time it was The Nutcracker.  This was actually my Christmas present to Fran - I had secured a box for four, so she could take whoever she liked - luckily she invited me as well as Jacky & Colin!

The ballet was fantastic - full of Matthew Bourne's verve and fantastic ability to twist the classic story into a modern choreography for the famous ballet music.  The story was not so different from the original dream setting around Christmas, but was set in an orphanage and had a clearly humerous twist.  The dancing was energetic, fluid, fantastic, mesmerising and occasionally erotic.    Matthew Bourne is the Russell T Davies of the ballet - everything he touches seems to be blessed with a bright new feel, although I'm sure that in reality his success is the product of extremely hard work.

Another great ballet - I would really like to see it again.

 
Sunday 30th March Deja Vu - I found myself back at The Seacourt Bridge Inn, at Botley.  This time to see The King Earl Boogie Band.  I got there about 4pm and watched some of the Liverpool/Everton football match until Dave Peabody and Les Calvert arrived.  None of us much care for football so we took our drinks out into the sunshine of the forecourt, where we were soon joined by John Coghlan and Ian Campbell with Julia.   Shelley brought us out some sandwiches, cakes and a huge plate of scones with clotted cream and jam !  I've never had a cream tea with beer before.  Eventually Colin Earl appeared and we set up the instruments. 

The event was a christening, which had reserved half the pub space; hence the early start of about 6:30pm.   The band played two sets and were in "Boogie" mood rather than "Blues" mood.  George looked very ill and had a sore throat, but managed to sing quite well despite that. The second half was very lively with a lot of dancers on the floor - quite a challenge in such a small pub. They ended just after 9pm with In The Summertime, because this weekend the clocks had indeed gone forward to mark the beginning of British Summertime.

Colin Earl - In the Summertime

 

Chris playing a solo

Saturday 29th March I felt much better and we went to Oxford, to The Seacourt Bridge Inn, at Botley.  This is Michelle Earl's gig and tonight she had booked The Jackie Lynton Band, so we were there in force to see both her and the band.

Jack used to appear regularly at a pub called The Corn Dolly in Oxford - about thirty years ago! But they remembered him and the Seacourt Bridge was packed with "Jack Fans".  The gig was a roaring success playing to a packed house.  Jack was in a real Rock'n'Roll mood so neither Delbert McLinton or Ray Charles got a look in and the whole bar rocked to Chuck Berry,  Elvis and Tommy Tucker numbers.  Greg and Chris raised their game even higher to impress Greg's sister and Chris's brother, who were in the audience.   At the end of the first set Jack dedicated a number to Grahame White (who died the previous Friday) which really cut up those of us who loved him.  Both Colin and Chris looked tearful during the number.

The bands version of Chuck Berry's Let It Rock was tremendous - it's almost becoming the bands Anthem - and Jack left the crowd baying for more as he finished with a medley of some of the songs he'd written for Status Quo.

 
Friday 28th March I didn't go to a gig because I had a bad streaming cold associated with regular evil coughing fits !  But I did take Spud and his drum kit to The Wheatsheaf at Bramley and helped set the rig up.  Greg Terry-Short and Chris Bryant were there, both with bad colds. Pete Cowl was the only healthy specimen there !    I didn't stop for the Free At Last gig, but having actually gone to the place at all sort of counts for a mention in this part of web site.

 

Sunday 16th March was a big nostalgia day for me. The Jackie Lynton Band were playing at The Blueharts Hockey Club in Hitchin. I was at school nearby in the sixties and played hockey at this club back in the Autumn of 1965.  It took me a long time to regain my bearings, but soon all the old familiarity flooded back.     Colin Pattenden and I arrived at 4pm to set up the PA and check the sound - which enabled me to get quite a lot of reminiscing done !The event was orchestrated by Ron - landlord of The Sir John Barleycorn pub in Hitchin - assisted, supported and abetted by the great Tony Phillips.  A whole load of my "local" friends came along to support, I counted twelve paying guests there because of us, in addition to the WAGs.

First act up was Mickey Flynn, a great looking character who had a set of racks, pedals and amps which looked quite surreal.  They turned out to contain a lot of pre-recorded backing, to which he applied a handy lead guitar overlay in a variety of styles.   He looked the piece, had all the movements, and could handle his guitar well - all the ingredients of a good evenings entertainment.  His sound quality was a little fuzzy and distorted when he turned it up too much - probably a function of the strange mix of equipment - but very acceptable for a pub environment, which -judging by his giglist - is where he plays most of his gigs.  I liked his act and will add some of his gigs to my giglist - and go to see him if I get a chance.  The only complaint was that he was supposed to be on for an hour and stayed almost two.

The main attraction for us and our friends was The Jackie Lynton Band.  Chris Bryant and Mike Windus were joint lead guitars, Colin Pattenden was on bass, and Greg Terry-Short had injured his arm and therefore brought his son along to dep on drums for a few numbers.  Sadly they only had time for two short sets, but they played them brilliantly.  At the end almost the whole audience was up dancing to Jack's Status Quo Medley.   Although he was on good form with jokes and audience wind-ups, Jack was in one of his rare ballad modes, and sang several Delbert McLinton songs - perhaps because Vanessa was in the audience.

During Jack's act he wound up his old friend Tony Phillips, and eventually went and sat out two numbers which he let Tony sing.   Tony was in one of the original skiffle/rock groups which merged to form The Nashville Teens, adding yet more evidence that it really is a very small World we live in.
 

                 

Jackie Giving it everything                                       Tony Phillips - Teddy Boy Rock lives on                         Mickey Flynn - One man band

 

 

Greg Terry-Short = Paul Rogers tribute

Saturday 15th March we visited The Silver Birch pub in Bracknell to see Free At Last, the Paul Rogers tribute band which Greg-Terry Short has formed with Adrian (Spud) Metcalf, Chris Bryant and Peter Cowl.   It was great to see Jacky & Colin Pattenden there too, Colin was providing the sound system.

This was the second major appearance of this new band and their rehearsals are paying off - the band were really tight and the few mistakes that there were could probably be blamed on the fact that this was their first venture through a proper big sound system and because Colin P isn't particularly a Paul Rogers fan he missed some cues to turn Chris Bryant's microphone on.  I don't think the audience noticed too many (if any) of these minor glitches.  The band were extremely good and extremely loud.

It's really difficult being critical of friends, especially when I know that I cannot play or sing anywhere near the standard they achieve - however I want to record that this band is improving noticeably.  Peter played a mean bass solo during the first half and throughout the show he worked well with Spud to provide a driving and very "Free-like" powerhouse for Greg and Chris to play into.  Greg was excellent - looking the part and since the last time I saw him perform he has begun to master the art of using his microphone as an instrument, and not merely as a device for amplifying himself.  His voice was occasionally stressed with the huge range and the volume, but he acquitted himself well and is improving every time I hear him. Chris kept the show together with his awesome lead guitar work.  Just to make a break from the Paul Rogers theme, the bands tab number (encore) is the old Spencer Davis standard, Gimme Some More Lovin' - and in my humble opinion Chris played better than I've ever seen Spencer playing - he was great.     If I had a real complaint it was simply that the rig they were using was far too loud for the environment they were playing in.

 
Saturday 8th March saw The Nashville Teens at The Reading Conservative Club in Kings Road.   This was a "free" gig - no charge to get in, but I guess the Club took quite a lot of money at the bar because the place was heaving.

Colin and I had been there since 3pm setting up and sound checking - for a 9:30pm start !  The sound quality was great though and the band well supported not only by club members, but by friends and family.  The club was soon very crowded and when the gig started at about half past nine the dance floor came alive. 

Ray had been quite concerned about his voice, which has suffered colds and coughs over the Winter, but he sounded great - especially on the long slow bluesy numbers like Red House and Put A Spell On You.     There was a fairly long break between sets (the Club had a raffle to draw) and then the band were on again.  Sound quality was great and the dance floor was full most of the time.

After Tobacco Road they encored with Born To Be Wild before making tracks to the bar !  The band were mostly gone by half past midnight, but Colin and I soldiered on till 2am to strike the stage and pack the vehicles. 

The Nashville Teens - Salisbury Club

 

Saturday 1st March we went to The Silver Birch pub in Birch Hill, Bracknell; to see The Jackie Lynton Band.  This pub isn't the best gig in the World, but it has its moments.  This time there were at least some people in the audience, which was encouraging.  The band were good in the first set and great in the second. 
Mike Windus had a "new" guitar, which was supposed to be a hybrid of some good pieces of equipment, but Chris assessed it and declared that it wasn't what Mike had been told it was - watching Chris work on it was just like watching an expert on TV's The Antiques Road Show - he was observing how the under body colour was slightly wrong where the paint had worn off... it was fascinating.  The guitar sounded good though - which may be a feature of Mike being an excellent guitarist.  It was good to catch up with the rest of the band, particularly Colin and Jack whom we haven't seen for ages.    The audience were appreciative and the band were clearly enjoying themselves.
 

 
Saturday 9th February we visited The Stables at Wavendon, a lovely theatre in the grounds of Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine's home.  We were there to see The King Earl Boogie Band playing.

When we arrived we immediately ran into Colin Earl, Ian Campbell and George Leslie Calvert in the bar (surprise!) and eventually Dave Peabody and John Coghlan also emerged so we all had a good chat and catch up of news before the show.   I had lots of problems with the theatres fairly intransigent "no photo" policy. This was annoying as I had phoned several times and been told there was no problem if the band agreed - but eventually the management gave me a photo pass and I was able to take pictures in the second half even though they stipulated "no flash".  Most of the pictures were poor quality without a flash, but I turned it on for the finale bow and the tab number - and the manager didn't get to me to tell me off until I'd taken a fair quantity of pictures.   The performance was great - the sound quality and presentation in a civilized theatre setting really add a polish to the act.   They were all on form - Ian did some blinding solos, including Drifter Blues - which Dave kindly dedicated to "Roger in the audience". Dave P himself was also on terrific form, his guitar was ringing clear in the theatre quality environment and it showcased very clearly why he is held out as one of Britain's greatest Blues guitarists.

After the gig the band sat at a table while people queued to get their autographs.  They'll be wanting stars on their dressing room doors next !

 

New fans - like dressing up

The Teens on Saturday night

It was midnight on Saturday 2nd February 2008 when Ken Osborne struck those brilliant first chords to The Nashville Teens version of Chuck Berry's Workin' On The Railroad.  I was standing ten feet away in the wings of Red Stage at Butlins Minehead - wearing my earplugs.    It had been an interesting day. The bands adrenalin was up because Simon couldn't make the gig, and they would have to work harder to compensate for lack of keyboards - but they were also quite surprised to find that of the two live stages at the event, they were top of the bill on the "Red" stage.  The other bands on during the day had been "tribute bands" of various sorts, and we were the Real Thing for the days climax.  As usual at Butlins gigs the main attraction for the bands is meeting their mates backstage.  We all managed a brief chat with Chip Hawks and Colin went out of his way to find  Mike D'Abo because they have both played - at different times - with Manfred MannChip and Mike were jointly topping the bill on the other stage.  We also ran into loads of other old friends backstage including Cliff Bennett and Jess Conrad , who is looking even younger than ever!

Adrenalin was also high because there had been a fairly major cock-up between the agents.  We have been booked since the middle of last year for this gig, but at about ten o'clock The Dakota's  turned up all the way from Manchester, saying that they'd been signed in just two days ago because we had cancelled !  Clearly we hadn't cancelled because we were all lying about in the dressing room drinking beer and the programme clearly had us listed;  so they had to go home again, presumably to have strong words with their agent.

These Butlins sixties events are always good fun, and over the years the audience is perceptibly changing. There is still a core of genuine sixties fans,  most of them now in their own sixties;  but there is a growing proportion of younger "thirty-somethings" who are there for the buzz of the party and the excuse to dress up in sixties style clothes.  They weren't disappointed, The Teens gave a really brilliant show and the audience loved it.    Sadly at 1am the compere shut them down without an encore after Tobacco Road  - so Ray didn't get a chance to announce that we were selling CDs and consequently the gig wasn't as financially good as it might have been - never mind we all had good fun.

 
Sunday 27th January we were at The Wheelwrights Arms near Reading to see  The Ian Campbell Blues Band.  It was great to see the lads again;  Keith Allen on vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica ;  George Leslie Calvert on bass guitar ;  Simon Baker on drums; Simon Spratley on keyboards and, of course, Ian Campbell on lead guitar.

Earlier in the day I had watched the fire brigade extinguishing a blaze in the old outbuildings of Peacock Farm near Bracknell.  Ian used to live at Peacock Farm in the sixties, when it was much more remote from the town than it is now and it was a fairly well known hippy commune.  In fact his most valuable recordings, with a band called Levee Camp Moan, were made at Peacock Farm

The band played very tightly and mesmerised the audience - despite the heat !   This is an old country pub and they had the fire burning all day to warm the place up.  Sadly the drum kit is positioned immediately in front of the fireplace, so poor Simon was sweating away from the start. The band played a brilliant couple of sets - they were really tight, not too loud, but clearly all enjoying the gig and playing from the heart.   A wonderful end to the week.

Ian Campbell Blues Band

 

Mike and Fran

Fran on bass

 

Friday 25h January we drove into Covent Garden to visit The Poetry Cafe in Betterton Street to spend an evening with the London Poets Society.  Not our usual cup of tea, and in retrospect we were both surprised at how much we enjoyed it, and how much it reminded us of our misspent youth in the sixties at the Hitchin Talisman and Soho's Les Cousins folk clubs.  

There were nine "floor poets", who each stood up and read one poem each. All were good, some were very good.  The "headline performers" for the poetically minded audience were  Charles Bennett and Rosemary Norman.   Charles was a very entertaining presenter and Fran really liked his poetry;  Rosemary blew me away with her quite dark poetry, and her fascinating delivery - she looks like a skinny meek little librarian but with absolutely barking mad hair and eyes ; she gave a brilliant delivery straight from the heart.  I shall certainly buy some of her books.

The main attraction for Fran and I were two performances by Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke who were playing in between poets.   We saw - and briefly met  - Mike and Fran in St Mary's Church in Hitchin during last summers Rhythms of the World weekend.  We were both really impressed by their performance and discovered that we have a common friend in Dave Peabody.  Since last summer we have bought some CDs and been in touch by e-mail, but this is the first of their gigs we have been able to get to since then.   We weren't disappointed.

They played two spots and were every bit as fantastic as we remembered.  Mike plays a mean guitar and sings well to accompany Fran.  Fran sings with a rich and tuneful voice while playing her Fender jazz bass.  Her fingering on I'd rather drink muddy water and sleep in a hollow log was mesmerizing.  She's obviously a clever girl musically and also played the flute in the closing bars of Reynardine.  My favourite number of the evening was their great rendition of Willie Dixon's Spoonful - The song has been recorded in many styles ranging from Dixon's original blues through Creams ear splitting rock/blues to Bob Dylan's recent version which I think verges on a boogie production.   Fran and Mike managed to combine the best of all these and somehow put just an edge of jazz into the mix - I hope they record it soon. 

Fran and Mike (link to their website) are also part of a band called So Long Angel, and our next mission must be to get to see them perform. 

The Poetry Cafe is at 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden. It has a bar licence and a reasonable looking vegetarian menu. The event is called Fourth Friday (website) and they run this club on the fourth Friday of each month.
 

 
Saturday 19th January we went to the Windsor Theatre Royal to see a performance of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  This excellent story is set in the 1930's in an isolated art deco mansion on an island off the coast of Devon.  While clearly based on the real life hotel on Burgh Island where Christie herself stayed in the thirties,  the island in the play was called "Soldier Island".    This is all terribly politically correct - when I first read this particular story in the late nineteen fifties the book was called "Ten Little Niggers", after the nursery rhyme of the same name - which has now been changed to be politically correct in our current day and age.

The story was good, the actors excellent, and the casting brilliant.  Gerald Harper led the cast and was supported by ten others, among whom was Mark Wynter - whom had once been the pop star responsible for such brilliant hits as "Venus In Blue Jeans".    A very entertaining show.

The story - briefly - is about ten strangers isolated on an island and each being accused of getting away with murder.  Then each of them gets murdered in turn - clearly one of their number is the murderer;  but who ?   A good, gripping, Christie thriller.

 
Saturday 12th January I found myself driving to Bramley, near Guildford, for the debut performance of a new band called Free At Last.  I took Trish and Spud (Adrian Metcalf, Nashville Teens) to The Wheatsheaf Inn, which was to be the new bands first public performance.  The other band members were already there when we arrived.  In addition to Spud on drums, Chris Bryant played lead guitar,  Peter Cowl played bass guitar and Greg terry-Short fronted the band as vocalist.   Peter usually plays with Men Behaving Sadly - a local covers band, while Greg and Chris usually feature with The Jackie Lynton Band.     The group were specifically a tribute to Paul Rogers, and although Greg is an accomplished drummer, this was his career debut as a lead vocalist.  The band have been rehearsing for about three months and - quite understandably - were fairly nervous before the gig.

The rehearsals and the nervous adrenalin paid off - they were great.   They played two sets and were thoroughly entertaining, very loud, and completely passionate about their music.  They played twenty nine numbers in all. The first set being from Free and the second set being from Bad Company and other Paul Rogers projects.  While I very much like Paul Rogers' voice, I'm not generally a fan of his music, and my motive for attending was primarily to support my mates.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the whole gig and how similar Greg was to Paul.  The only variation from "Rogersmania" was the encore, which the lads didn't really seem to have planned for and so briefly they became a Spencer Davies tribute band.

The quote of the evening has to be "They aren't really loud. They just look loud."
 

 
Wednesday January 9th We saw The Jackie Lynton Band again at The Eel Pie Club, which meets at The Cabbage Patch Pub in Twickenham.  We arrived early to help carry the kit in and set up the stage, and when the doors opened at half past eight the club quickly filled with people, including several familiar faces from the history of British sixties Rhythm and Blues !  The Eel Pie Clubs is a well known haunt of muso's and this was the first gig of 2008. Jack has always been a favourite among his fellow musicians, and his band were the headline of a fairly interesting programme set out for the new year.

Everybody was in up beat mood and the quality of the audience spurred Jack to deliver an excellent performance. He delivered a very well balanced set - drawing on (and announcing) examples of many different musical styles , all interspersed with jokes and anecdotes from his colourful past.  To be honest, the band were a bit ragged in places, but they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, laughing at each others mistakes - and judging by the applause the audience were impressed with the overall presentation, which was undeniably excellent entertainment.   The gig overran by about ten minutes, and even after that Jack was still called for an encore.  His motto is "Leave them wanting", but tonight he did return for a rare encore, and got an enormous ovation. 

The Lynton Band having a great time

 

 

The Lynton Band with Tim Wheatley

Saturday 5th January 2008  I went to The Pyrford Sports and Social Club to see The Jackie Lynton Band.  When I arrived the place was quiet, the largest group of people was the band and their friends.  Jack, Chris Greg and Mike were all there, plus Tim Wheatley who was depping on bass for Colin Pattenden who had a previously engagement taking his grandchildren to a different pantomime from the one we saw this afternoon. (see below).

It was an interesting mix. Tim uses far less volume on the bass than Colin which meant that the whole performance was at a quieter level. Some of the audience were even talking to each other through some of the numbers, which could never happen with the normal volume level of this band.  

The place soon filled up and there were a fair few couples on the dance floor.  Chris Bryant and Greg Terry-Short were very tight (they had spent all day rehearsing for their first gig next weekend as Free At Last); Mike Windus was on great form - I love his solos, especially on the Chuck Berry numbers ;  and Tim Wheatley was steady and tuneful, and performed a neat solo in the last number.  Overall a very good show.  I had arrived fairly tired and feeling a bit jaded after the excesses of Christmas, but left feeling much more buzzy and singing Let It Rock to the inside of my car all the way home.  Thanks for the wake up.

 
Saturday 5th January 2008  Fran and I took our grandson James (age 4 next Friday) to Windsor Theatre Royal to see the matinee performance of Cinderella. The old people we recognised were Ed "Stewpot" Stewart (Baron Stoneybroke) ; Wayne Sleep (Buttons) and Jan Leeming (Fairy Godmother).  I'm told that Prince Charming and Dandini (Chris Crosby and Johndeep More) had both been runners up in the recent "Joseph" show on TV and the rest of the cast were extremely talented kids who danced and sang their way through the two hour event to the delight of the kids.

Stewpot and Wayne Sleep both looked very tired; Ed showing his age by regularly shouting "Crackerjack" and Wayne being every bit as camp as he is in real life.  At the end he had four kids up on stage to sing The Wheels On the Bus, and one tall ten year old was actually taller than he is !  He can still crack a very good tap dance though - a good show.   It was apparently Jan Leeming's birthday, so we all sang Happy Birthday to You.

James' favourites were the Ugly Sisters, (Christopher Beeny and Martin Sharvell-Martin) who stole the show with their outrageous costumes and by winding up the kids with "look out behind you" gags and by getting booed every time they bullied poor Cinders.   Never mind she had a friend - Rupert The Bear - who kept giving her motherhood advice. 

Surprisingly the poster doesn't have a picture of Cinderella on it.    She was quite fit !

START OF 2008