GIG REPORTS 2009
Rogers personal view of the gigs he has
|Monday 28th December
A long drive to The Pokey Hole Club at
Moira, near Ashby de la Zouch, for The
Nashville Teens playing their last gig of 2009. It was quite
a long drive and the weather promised to be bad (although it wasn't, so
we were lucky). We took three vehicles for the six of us and the
equipment; and were set up and sound checked by six o'clock. It is
a nice little club (old miners welfare club) and had a very professional
looking bunch of sound engineers. Unfortunately their equipment wasn't
the absolutely best and their concept of stage lighting was a tad garish
- never mind - the place was packed and the punters seemed to like it.
The support band was an interesting collection called Absolute Cr*p - They were a bunch of musicians from the local village who exhibited varying degrees of talent, and who play together once a year or so. They were all reasonably competent, although clearly un-rehearsed ! Their sax player was a delightful young blonde lady named Jacy Charlton, and she was noticeably good. In fact Ray asked her to join The Teens on stage for Route 66 - and she played it like a pro! (video on You Tube is linked from The Nashville Teens website.)
The sound engineers kept the sound extremely loud, but I enjoyed it
through my earplugs - it was a concert style show, with no space for
dancing. The band were on form and everyone seemed to enjoy it all
tremendously. The show wound up at a quarter past eleven and (partly
because of the threat of snow and other nasty weather) we had struck the
stage and packed the vehicles by midnight. As it turned out the
bad weather didn't catch us and we were safely back home by half past
two in the morning. A nice end to a great years of gigs.
The Teens at The Pokey Hole
The Lynton Band on Sunday
|Sunday 20th December
A long drive to The Three Lions (Scratchers) at
Godalming to see The Jacky
Lynton Band playing their last gig of 2009. I was there early
because I was carrying Spud and his drum kit.
The Three Lions was unusually packed and with a very appreciative audience. Both Mike Windus and Chris Bryant were on top form with their guitar solos, although Chris was feeling a little under the weather. Jack was sparkling - he has been steadily improving over the last few weeks and is really enjoying his gigs now. Colin Pattenden played well and Spud Metcalf is getting hotter and hotter as a rock steady Rock'n'Roll drummer.
A great last gig for this band for 2009 - everyone parted with
Christmas cards and looking forward to Jan 16th when we'll all be
together again at The Royal Oak in Bracknell.
|Sunday 13th December
Not a gig - but a fascinating and very privileged Jam Session chez
It was Dave and Jane's Christmas open house event - lots of wine and nibbles, plus - inevitably - a lot of musicians. They had all brought along something to play with so we witnessed a Jam Session which was a fascinating blend of acoustic guitar and mandolin work with added harmonica and some excellent singing from several people. And all performed by a group of excellent professionals whom you wouldn't normally see in the same room unless you happened to be at a major music festival.
We were delighted that Fran McGilllivray and Mike Burke were there, as were most of The Spikedrivers, Corinna Poore and several other faces who looked and sounded familiar, but who's names I didn't know. Of course, Dave himself joined in as well.
Those of us watching were extremely privileged to witness such an array of talent all playing together, and obviously loving every moment of it.
Fran & Mike in Dave's front room
I drove up to Stevenage, to The Red Lion in Stevenage Old Town,
to see Colin Earl & Dave Peabody
playing. Finding the pub was a strange sensation - I used to frequent
The Red Lion as a teenager, and I hadn't stepped inside since
about 1967. It had changed - the back room has been knocked through to
become part of the bar - but it still felt familiar.
Colin was already setting
up when I arrived, and Dave
arrived a few minutes later.
The duo played a lot of stuff from their new CD, which is called Frets & Keys; including When The Sun Goes Down; Red Cross Store and Let Me Play With Your Yoyo. They also played some more familiar music including This Little Light Of Mine (with lyrics - I've only heard them do it as an instrumental before) and Who Do You Love. Dave started the second set with Drifter Blues - which he knows is my my favourite, and which he often dedicates to me if I'm in the audience.
A strange little gig with quite a nice sound quality and an
interesting - but small - audience. Apparently
Fran & Mike played there
last weekend - I must ask them what they thought of it.
|Saturday 21st November
I collected Spud, Trish and
Ken Osborn and drove them round the M25
to Burnt Mill Snooker Club for a performance by
THE NASHVILLE TEENS.
Simon Spratley and
Colin Pattenden arrived shortly
after we did and between us we set up on the tight little stage in the
club. Ray Phillips brought Mel
and Jackie, and we were also joined by Alan and Sarah.
There wasn't time to do a soundcheck and by 8pm the club was full. The first set kicked off at 9pm and the audience doggedly stayed in their seats through the first couple of numbers; then a few came to the floor - and before too long the dance floor was buzzing. The sound quality was good, despite the weird boxy shape of the hall, and the only person who complained that it was too loud was Tony the barman; and I got the impression he might be a very hard to please gentleman.
There was a decent interval while the local raffle was called and the
band got a few more beers, and then they were off and into the second
set. It was a good show and given the long gap since their last
outing, was a good rehearsal for The Pigsnose gig next
week. Sadly I wont be able to attend that one.
Burnt Mill - Harlow
|Friday 20th November
we visited The New Victoria Theatre at Woking to see the
new Matthew Bourne ballet,
Dorian Gray .
The plot line was just as esoteric as Bourne's previous works - paying lip service to Oscar Wilde's original story, but setting it into a modern context - and with an overall twist which divorces it quite happily from the original work. Although this story has very recently been issued as a film, I am not aware that it has ever been successfully interpreted as a dance before.
The choreography was stunning and the cast danced brilliantly - this production has to be classed as a classic of the genre. As well as being vibrant and energetic, it was also extremely sensual, and at times downright erotic. The music was "interesting" (i.e. I didn't like it much, but it was appropriate and although often boring and repetitive, it was sometimes interesting.)
Set in a photography studio - "White Box Media" - with all the trappings of the self-importance and snobbery of "image" in the world of models, Dorian is the bi-sexual servant-made-good who becomes the boy icon of the media world - advertising "Immortal pour homme". the setting is ripe for dance opportunity by pretty young things posing for the cameraman. Although this version doesn't include an overt pact with the devil, there are analogous complex relationships built between Dorian and his male photographer and between Dorian and his stunningly beautiful lady employer (see picture), who dances most of the first set in impossibly high heels. It is essentially the story of the destructive power of beauty by the blind pursuit of pleasure and corruption, climaxing when Dorian tears up a photograph of himself. At that point another dancer, a Dorian look-a-like, appears, haunting Dorian and goading him to further acts of self destruction leading to an inevitable ending in death of his friends and eventual suicide.
Somehow I think that Oscar Wilde would not only have approved - but
would be extremely pleased with the result.
Swinging Blue Jeans with guests
|Saturday 7th November
we visited Hare Hill Social Club to see
THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS.
It was great to see Ray Ennis and
Alan Lovell (New Vaudeville Band)
again. The last time I saw The
SBJ's was nine years ago when I was working on the sound
stage at The Brighton Centre. In fact I worked the sound
stage there two years running and the previous year had seen one of the
last gigs performed by Alan's
predecessor - the great Colin Manley.
Like The Nashville Teens, the SBJ's are a working Rock'n'Roll Band - and as well as a lot of their sixties hits, they played some great standards. Ray Ennis as second lead guitar and vocals is the only original member, supported by Alan Lovell on lead guitar and Pete Oakman (The Bruvvers) on bass guitar. I'm sorry that I don't know who the drummer was, but he was good and steady.
My old mate Roger Weddup provided
the sound system and it sounded pretty good. The gig was a sellout
and among the audience were loads of musicians (probably inevitable for
that part of the Country). Half way through the second set
Jackie Lynton (Savoy Brown)
and Paul King (Mungo
Jerry) onto stage to do one number with them -
Jack singing and
Paul on harmonica. A great
|Sunday 1st November
I walked to The Royal Oak in Bracknell to see
THE JACKIE LYNTON BAND.
I had to walk because I had written my car off during the day - and this
seemed a good way to reduce the adrenalin flow and get life back to
normal. In fact the twenty minute walk each way probably did me
loads of good.
I arrived half way through the show and was pleased to see Trish, Keith-The-Stalker and Vanessa in the audience. I wandered round the corner to get the picture (right) and found Terri Wilder and family watching from the wings.
The band were on top form - having played the previous evening down near Brighton they had warmed up and were really buzzing along together. I was particularly impressed with how Spud had fitted in so quickly and so tightly - I think it shows what a damned good drummer he is. The audience were rockin' particularly to the Status Quo numbers - which are of course fairly basic to this band (Jackie wrote many of them together with Mr Parfitt).
Chris and Mike were on form, as was Colin - but Jackie was better than "good" - he was splendid - I cant think of another word for it. This little gig has quite reasonable acoustics, and Jack filled the room with his singing and his personality - a great show.
And - I could drink several glasses of wine and walk home! I
think we need more gigs at The Royal Oak.
Mike, Colin, Spud, Jackie and Chris
Colin, Dave, Simon and George
|Saturday 31st October
Fran and I visited The Pyrford Social Club to see
THE KING EARL BOOGIE BAND.
A difficult decision because Jackie Lynton
was playing down the road at Hassocks Golf Club - but as I
was planning to see them the following evening, I chose to catch up with
There were three problems. The first was that Ian Campbell didn't turn up - this was worrying, he has been in a lot of pain recently from the torn tendons and dislocated shoulder he suffered five or six weeks ago. The second was that John Coghlan had a prior contract as a session drummer in a recording studio on the continent - so this was fixed by Simon Price who was an excellent dep. The final problem was that Colin Earl's piano is getting old and is increasingly straying out of tune - so the performance was punctuated with a lot of re-tuning.
Despite all these issues it was an excellent gig - the launch of a new CD by Colin and Dave, called Frets & Keys. The club was packed and Graham, the club secretary, had laid on a pile of food for the break between the two sets.
Dave's guitar work was fantastic -
perhaps a subconscious effort to compensate for
Ian's absence. He did a particularly brilliant solo on
Who Do You Love - in which Simon
also did a very good drum solo. Colin
and Dave did a couple
of the numbers from their new CD - overall a very good evening.
|Sunday 25th October
was a gig almost within walking distance of home.
Greg Terry-Short's band,
Free At Last, appeared at The Royal Oak in
Bracknell. I only got to see most of the first set and sadly
had to leave at half time - but the band was really rocking.
The band were tight. Greg was giving his all on vocals, including a lot of Paul Rodgers moves - such as waving the microphone stand in the air. Peter Cowl played a amazing solo during Mr Big and both Chris Bryant and Spud Metcalf were on top form.
Colin Pattenden provided the sound system and it worked well.
This is a fairly new gig and they've got themselves quite an
impressive portfolio of live music lined up for the next couple of
months - let's hope it works for them. I was surprised that I think I
knew about fifty percent of the people in the audience (I didn't know
that I knew so many people!). This pub is in danger of become a
regular haunt for me when my other friends aren't playing.
Free At Last
On stage at Wembley Arena
|Thursday 22nd October
for the first time in ages I actually paid money to get into a gig.
This was well worth it - the penultimate performance of
Cliff Richards and The Shadows Reunited Tour which was
performing at The Wembley Arena.
The place was packed. I had only managed to acquire tickets back in January because I had spotted some cancellations ! Acoustics were good and the sound system was perfect - the show lasted three whole hours - not bad for a bunch of guys who are all pushing seventy.
The essence of the show was nostalgia of the bands old Rock'n'Roll days, with a focus between 1958 - 1962 evidenced by such classics as Move It, Living Doll, Sea Cruise. Lucky Lips and Willie and The Hand Jive. The Shad's also played some of their own hits like Apache, and Foot-Tapper. There were two halves to the show with a thirty minute break between them - and in the middle of each set The Shad's did an instrumental break while Cliff popped off stage for yet another change of clothing.
There were some of Cliff's more "syrupy" offerings, such as Summer Holiday, I could easily Fall and Bachelor Boy, and they finished on a real high with The Young Ones.
Overall an excellent polished performance, very well presented and
|Saturday 10th October
another mission as drum roadie for The Jackie Lynton Band
this time to Hare Hill Social Club. It was an all
day party for a fortieth wedding anniversary and Colin P and I had set up the drums and backline before lunch,
returning much later in the evening for the gig, which was scheduled for 9pm.
despite being a private party, almost the full complement of stalkers had managed to infiltrate - excepting Keith-The-Stalker, who for some reason wasn't allowed out to play for the evening.
The band have been playing regularly for the last few weeks and Spud is
now bedding in well. Colin Pattenden
managed a first when Spud
asked him to turn up his bass ! He has some new gear and can get
all the power he needs without having the volume at 11 !
Mike Windus was not well - but despite
his headache he played fantastically.
Chris Bryant was his usual brilliant self - particularly good
this evening on the more soulful bluesy numbers.
Jack was at his peak - singing
perfectly through a wide range of songs - and relating well to his
audience. A master at work! A terrific gig.
Lynton plays Hare Hill
The Lynton gang at Scratchers
|Sunday 4th October
yet again I was supporting the Jackie Lynton Band
in the role of drum roadie. This time at The Three Lions,
Godalming - known locally as "Scratchers".
After their paid rehearsal the previous evening the band were on absolute top form at this gig. They were tight. they were musically terrific, they were superb entertainment and the guitar solo's were absolutely brilliant. Mike Windus generated a really cracking solo which involved a really long sustained note (reminiscent of "The Supernatural") and even Chris Bryant applauded from the stage. Chris generated some brilliant solo's too - just watching his fingers fretting is mesmerising - he is so dextrous.
Spud is beginning to bed in comfortably with the band - adding a few little twists of his own, but very much in keeping with the "back to basics" direction of Jack's musical evolution - not flowery or over complex. Colin Pattenden played his heart out - and had to dive out at one point to get the emergency amplifier when his started buzzing and popping. Jack covered with Leaning On A Lamp-post , which doesn't really need a bass line.
The whole evening was terrific - time flew by and all too soon the
show came to an end with Let It Rock into which Jack
somehow wound Rockin All Over The World and about half of
his Quo Medley.
Mike, Colin, Spud, Jack and Chris
|Saturday 3rd October
I was drum roadie to take Spud to a
Jackie Lynton Band gig at a
private party at Chertsey.
It was a fantastic house, swimming pool, stables, huge covered area with bar, hot tub etc - just what you'd expect from a local guy who's done well for himself. There was a pig roast (whole pig on a spit) and - of course - live music from Jacks band. The band were in a medium sized marquee adjoined to the house which also had a fair sized dance floor.
The whole band were together. We had worried about
Spud possibly not being able to
make it because his mother had sadly passed away the previous day; and we
really didn't expect Mike Windus to make it because his return plane from a
fortnights holiday didn't land until half past four that very afternoon.
We were all really pleased when both of them did arrive. The band
performed brilliantly, Mike and
Chris both produced stunning guitar solo's;
Spud was very tight and
Colin P looked as if he was in
ecstasy during High Heeled Sneakers (they play a funk/jazz
version where the musicians do more or less their own thing) and
Jack clearly enjoyed the singing. It
was an excellent party and after the first couple of numbers the dance
floor was packed. Jack reintroduced Women and Men -
something he has been talking about for a few weeks - a great number.
|Saturday 3rd October
I drove into London (Dulwich) and eventually had to resort to using my
satnav to locate The Magnolia, which is one of the homes
of the mobile venue known as Dr
King's Jailhouse. The reason I couldn't find it is that it
now looks like a restaurant/night club and is renamed "MAG".
Anyway, the upstairs room was just like an old sixties folk venue - very
comfortable and decorated with posters. I entered with trepidation
- the place looked deserted - but behind the door were
Mike Burke and
Fran McGillivray with the guy who is "Dr
King" - sadly I didn't catch his real name, but I'm sure one
of my avid readers will know and email me. I had gone specifically
Fan & Mike because they
were launching their new CD.
First up was Dr King himself, who is a mean guitarist playing in the style of Burt Jansch (although I think if we was electric instead of acoustic, he may have been a real Stevie ray Vaughan soundalike. He was very good anyway. He was followed by a young lad who's name I don't recall. he looked very young - about sixteen - and shouted some fairly pretentious lyrics while strummed his guitar occasionally and not particularly in time with the song. By now the club was filling up and one of my neighbours advised me that this style was "very Dulwich". He reminded me of Barry McGuire back in the sixties - overly complex lyrics, not very good with the guitar and with much of the music apparently inside his own head, so not very entertaining for the audience.
He was followed by a young lady named Siobhan Parr who was stunningly good. She played her guitar in an assured and musical strumming fashion, and her voice was uncannily like Joni Mitchell - including the whole range control and ability to hold and flex notes - very accomplished.
Finally Fran and Mike got up - accompanied by Roger Nunn, who was playing a Djembe (African drum). After the gig he showed me how to tune it - fascinating instrument, and not one I would have associated with The Blues. The object of the evening was to promote their new CD - so most of the work was from that. It is much more folk/blues than I have heard them play before - with some numbers actually being old English folk songs. Mike produced some exquisite guitar work - especially on The Road that You Believe In - which is the title track of their new publication. I suspect that this music harks back to where they entered the folk/blues scene, and that the rhythm and blues works that I have got used to associating with them are recent inventions.
An altogether fantastic night - I think I may have been "born again" to British Folk Clubs.
Coghlan and Bryant - Friday night
25th September was Shelley's
birthday party. Michelle is the landlady of The Seacourt Bridge
Inn at Botley, near Oxford, and to celebrate her birthday we got
a special band together. They were billed as
Diesel #2 and
featured Jackie Lynton on vocals and
John Coghlan (ex
Status Quo) on drums. Bass Guitar was
provided by Colin Pattenden (ex
Manfred Mann's Earth Band) and the lead guitar was
Chris Bryant (ex
Robert Plant Band). Originally billed, but sadly unable to
make it at the last minute, was pianist Colin
Earl (ex Mungo Jerry). This was
particularly unfortunate as Colin E is Shelley's Dad !
The pub was packed - a fantastic party. We had visitors all the way from Birmingham and Liverpool (the Liverpool lads had driven down all afternoon, and were driving home afterwards !) It was great to meet the Botley Witch, who dropped in on her way back from Abingdon, where she had been appearing in a production of Lady Windermere's Fan.
There were some pre-performance concerns because
Jack usually plays with a quintet -
liking to have two good lead guitarists to abuse. He had been looking
forward to having a "lead piano" for a change - but in
Colin Earl's absence we just hadn't
been able to find a suitable replacement. The band played two sets and
the party went with a real swing. For a group of musicians who have just
come together and who haven't rehearsed, it was a real accolade to their
professionalism that the performance was virtually seamless. With
characters like Jack and
John involved there was inevitably a
lot of head banging type rock (John
drummed for Status Quo for over
twenty years and Jack co-wrote many
songs with Rick Parfitt.)
A great evening - we all enjoyed it.
Earl, Bown, Peabody and Calvert
19th September I visited Hare
Hill Social Club to see
The King Earl Boogie Band. Unfortunately neither John
Coghlan nor Ian Campbell could make it to the gig, John because he was
overseas, and Ian because he is still suffering after his horrible
accident at The Eel Pie Club two weeks ago (he slipped and
fell off the stage, dislocating his shoulder and badly damaging his leg
- not broken, but very severely twisted and bruised.)
Tonight Julian Bown stood in on drums (son of Alan Bown, trumpeter - originally with The John Barry Seven, and then leader of The Alan Bown Set. ) Julian is an excellent drummer - he is steady and not too loud, caught on really quickly to every number (there had been no rehearsals) and he played an excellent drum solo in Who Do You Love. Dave Peabody covered all guitar stations, so there was no need to find a dep for Ian.
We had to wait for Celebrity Come Dancing to finish
before anyone dragged themselves away from the TV in bar and actually
came into the dance hall - but the band hadn't planned to start before
9pm anyway - and it was a nice surprise when the place suddenly filled
up to present quite a decent sized audience. A nice homely enjoyable
evening with great music from a good band.
Barrett and Otway
The Lynton band prepare to start their show
6th September I did a fair
amount of driving up and down to Farnham to
The Weyfest, which was held at
Reeds Road Rural Life Centre. I was drum roadie for
Spud who had two gigs, the first at 2:30pm and the second a 6:15pm - and
I needed to go to Windsor in between.
My first trip was in the morning to leave Spud and his drum kit positioned for his gig with Free 4 All ( a new name for Free At Last) We took Trisha with us and I hung around while we offloaded the equipment and had a beer because that is sort of mandatory at a festival. I quickly ran into Greg and Ann Terry-Short with Aled the dog and Adam Russell (who had played harmonica with Jack at last weeks Bognor Regis gig.) Chris Bryant appeared and the two of us did a quick circuit of the festival, pausing to see a Star Wars exhibit (Chris is a fan). Colin Pattenden arrived and we all gathered to position the equipment beside the stage. When the preceding band came off the stage roadies started lifting the gear - seeing that I wasn't needed any more I jumped into the car and returned to Windsor to visit Fran, who was temporarily in hospital. I got back to Farnham about half past five - in time to see the second half of the John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett gig - which was quite entertaining.
I found Vanessa Lynton, Claire Windus and Trish in the crowd - and also ran into Debbie and Russell. After Otway the stage was prepared for The Jackie Lynton Band - who played a terrific set which seemed to go too fast. Jack was on great form and full of jokes. Chris Bryant - with the help of a lot of wine - staggered about and almost fell off the stage , but still managed to play like an angel! Mike Windus was very hot, and produced some brilliant solos. Spud was magic on drums and Colin Pattenden had a permanent grin stuck to his face - they all loved every minute of the gig.
|Saturday 22nd August I trekked all the way down to
the South coast, to The Family
Tree pub, which is on a housing estate on the outskirts of
Bognor Regis, to see The Jackie Lynton Band again.
I took Spud, Trish and a drum kit. The pub is run by an ex-muso (sound engineer I think) and
had a huge stage at one end of the bar, with a proper "green room"
behind it with external access for "the acts". The stage was
fronted with lots of Marshall amplifier adverts and had a vast array of
disco and stage effect lights strung above it. I suspect that if they
were all turned on at once the power drain would blackout the whole
estate. The bar had a lot of guitars and other musical instruments
hanging over and behind it - definitively a muso's idea of a heavenly
pub. Unfortunately the sound equipment was all a bit old and there
was an intermittent very high pitched hum on the PA whenever a fridge -
or some similar device - cut in. The PA speakers were also mysteriously
placed behind fabric flats at either side of the stage - which
effectively broke up the high frequencies to make the vocals sound a bit
"muddy" to the audience (apparently they were OK in the foldback on
It was a hot and sultry August evening. There were only about forty people in the audience, and we had brought almost half of them with us! The whole event was coordinated by the lovely Ian Harding - a friend of Jacks, who bought along a group of friends, including a "celeb" in the shape of Cynthia Payne - who famously was accused of running a brothel in the 1970's - she is a lovely bubbly lady.
The lads were extremely tight and played a single long set with some brilliant guitar solos. It was extremely hot though and they were all glad when it was over and they could retire to the pub beer garden to radiate in the night air. An interesting gig, but a long way to go for a relatively small audience.
Mr Harding jiving to music by his old mate Jack
Let It Rock
vid by Neil Hill
|Sunday 9th August
I drove over to Godalming to Scratchers (The Three Lions)
to see The Jackie Lynton Band again.
This time the drummer was Smiley Steve, who usually plays
in backing bands for people like
Robbie Williams - but
tonight he had moved up market to perform with Jack.
The little pub was packed, the audience included
Greg Terry-Short - recently retired
drummer from the JLB, and Mal Dann -
ex drummer from the King Earl Boogie
Band. Steve was under pressure ! No worries -
Smiley Steve used to play with
Skeleton Crew so he had a good
rapport with Colin, and Chris also prompted him when he thought it may
be needed. The set was fast and furious -
Jack led in with Rock'n'Roll and kept
the tempo up. Smiley picked up the
introduction to Rip It Up without blinking, and he played
along to Delbert McLinton numbers as
if he'd been brought up on them - excellent drumming.
Mike Windus and
Chris Bryant were both fantastic
tonight - especially Mike's solo on Rock'n'Roll Whisky Blues.
Colin Pattenden played a good
session too and evidently really enjoyed himself on High Heeled
Sneakers - a jazz-funk sort of treatment which he really loves.
Jack was hot - alive for all the
numbers and buzzing with jokes between numbers - a great evening.
|Saturday 1st August
I visited The Pyrford Social Club near Woking, to see
The Jackie Lynton Band. performing.
Jack has had a change in line-up. Greg
Terry-Short has decided to move on to focus on his own band -
Free At Last - and
Adrian Metcalfe ("Spud")
was standing in as "deputy" drummer with Jack's band at this gig.
The band were extremely tight with some excellent solos from Mike Windus and Chris Bryant. Jack was on the top of his mischievous form - both as a singer and as an entertainer - probably because many of his family were in the audience. Spud acquitted himself very well; you would never know that there had been no rehearsals. However, perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised because that is what should really be expected from a professional of his experience. Colin Pattenden was also on top form, playing his heart out - especially on High Heeled Sneakers, (which they perform in a sort of "funk-rock" style) when both he and his playing seemed to be on a higher plane
Overall a very good performance, the club was full and they loved it.
The Nashville Teens
Saturday 25th July was a
long overdue visit to The Harehill Social Club at
Addlestone, to see The Nashville Teens
performing. It had been a warm day and this was a hot sultry
evening - the place was packed and most of the audience were keen to get
onto the dance floor. Among the audience in the packed hall was
Jack Lynton, who had taken the rare
opportunity to come along to enjoy the evening from the other side of
The band played two sets - and were in terrific form - really tight. Spuds (Adrian Metcalfe's) drumming on the Who Medley at the end of the first set was particularly impressive, and Ken Osborn performed blinding solos in both Red House and Born To Be Wild. Colin Pattenden had a huge grin stuck to his face all evening - and played brilliantly. Simon Spratley's solos in Red House and Put A Spell on You were great; while Ray Phillips was fantastic throughout - although I particularly liked his delivery of I Put A Spell on You - he really is one of the best R&B singers I've heard.
The audience were ecstatic. By the time that Tobacco Road
came up at the end of the second set almost everybody was on the dance
floor, which on this warm evening was a very hot and sweaty - but very
happy - place! At the very end - after the tab number
Born To Be Wild, the band looked very pleased with themselves. A
feeling they richly deserved.
Saturday 4th July I
visited Addlestone to help Colin Pattenden
to provide the sound system at St Paul's Secondary School - who were
holding a school fete.
The event featured an array of local school talent.
Colin and I arrived about 12:30 and set up the Public Address and a
distant mixing desk at the end of a long multicore. The fete
opened about 4pm and the music started, there were five or six
local bands - mainly school bands (primarily punk with a lot of
attitude) or church bands (hundreds of songs, but all with the same
theme). Very strange hearing one band singing "He Will Redeem Me"
and the next band singing "My sex is hot for you" !
Eventually the "professionals"
got on stage and showed them all how it should be done! As well as
bass guitar from Colin Pattenden (Manfred Mann's Earth Band) and vocals
by Paul Williams (Juicy Lucy), together with
Clive Edwards on
drums (UFO, Men Behaving Sadly and Screaming Lord Sutch) there was also an exceedingly good
lead guitarist named Lawrence, a second lead/second vocal whose name I
didn't get (but it was his band - so I'll post his name when I get it), and a lady named Sharon who played acoustic guitar and sang
beautifully. Paul's vocals were fantastic, he made brilliant
renditions of both Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone and
The gig finished at 9pm and we had struck stage and I'd got home by
10:30pm - a miracle.
The "Professional Band"
Clive Edwards, Paul Williams and
Colin Pattenden in the middle
King Earl Boogie Band @ Cleve School
|Friday 3rd July Fran and I made it to the Cleve School of Weybridge, having arrived at Heathrow
at 2:30 pm from America. The event was the annual PTA picnic,
The King Earl Boogie Band and
is an annual institution.
The band were all in great shape although they were all complaining about the traffic, and how long it had taken them to get to the gig. We pointed out it had taken us 22 hours and 4700 miles so they shouldn't complain!
One of the most satisfying parts of this annual gig is that loads of school kids get a chance to perform in front of their classmates and parents before the Boogie band takes the stage. Some of them are remarkably good.
Colin Pattenden was doing the sound as usual and Ray Phillips turned up for the picnic - so they both guested for a couple of numbers during the second set - singing Slow Down and Hoochie Coochie Man. Everybody shone, especially John Coghlan, who performed his excellent drum solo during Who Do You Love.
A great evening and a wonderful way to stave off jet lag !
Thursday 17th June we drove to Richmond (braving the Ascot Week traffic) to see Turandot at The Victoria Theatre. This was the last of my Christmas present tickets which Fran had presented me with almost six months ago.
The improbably named Calaf falls for Turandot big time and takes up her deadly challenge. Three non p-c caricatures called Ping, Pang and Pong try to talk him out of it - as does her father the Emperor of China and his father and Liu the slave girl - but Calaf is smitten. Luckily he is easily as clever as an eighteenth century Italian librettist, so he guesses the riddles without much trouble. Everyone in the Kingdom is really pleased - except Turandot, who really doesn't like men at all and throws a strop. Instead of bedding the silly bitch then and there, Calaf tells her that if she can guess his name by morning she can have her way and chop off his head. Nobody sleeps that night (Nessum Dorma) while the bitch tries to find out Calaf's name. She gets hold of Liu the slave girl - who is secretly madly in love with Calaf - and tortures her - but Liu grabs a knife and tops herself rather than drop her employers son in the mire. The whole town of Peking is upset because soprano's aren't two a penny - and they all wander off leaving Calaph and Turandot alone. He jumps on her and she enjoys it (actually it's much more subtle than that, but that's the essence of the plot).
Once she's discovered that men do have their uses she softens and Calaf tells her his name. Morning rises and Turandot announces that she knows his name - it is "Love" - big happy ending and no more bloodshed.
When the actors came on to take a bow Liu had evidently made a miracle recovery and was alive again. Hooray.
|Friday 12th June we
travelled all the way to Letchworth, to The Plinston Hall
(which used to be Letchworth Grammar Schools school hall when I was a
kid) to see our friend John Coghlan playing in his band
John Coghlan's Quo.
Before the gig we met up with John and Gilly in the bar at the hotel we
were staying and had dinner with them and their assorted cousins and
offspring. Small World moment when I discovered that I had been at
school with one of Gilly's cousins.
Plinston is a nice gig, owned and run by the local Council - with a very good sound system provided by a couple of guys from Milton Keynes (Mike Crawte PA Hire). The audience was quite small, I counted just over a hundred, but apparently at least fifteen had "their names on the door". We had actually bought tickets - a rare move for us.
John and his band were excellent - camping it up enough to be an obvious Quo tribute band - but not enough to get over pretentious about it. Their performance was polished, and the strutting and bouncing was obvious parody of Ricky Rocket and Rossi. although the two vocalists didn't have quite the same vocal projection that we're used to from the likes of Jackie Lynton or Ray Phillips. They played two sets, one 45 minute act followed by a one hour stint.
A small audience (less than 100) but mainly comprising dedicated
Quo fans who swung their
hair, bopped and generally had a really good time. Good
entertainment, I'd like to see them again.
|We drove to The Three Lions ("Scratchers") at
Godalming on Sunday 7th June to see
So Long Angel playing.
This is the first time we've seen them all since my birthday party.
We met up with Greg Terry-Short as we entered the pub - he had brought his youngest son to see and hear a dose of real live music, but sadly couldn't stay for the whole gig.It was good to catch up with Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke again, they appear to be very well and excited by their recent trips to California and to Ireland. they also seem to be reasonably well booked for the summer as a duo. It was also good to talk with Roland Kemp and Roger Nunn again. Roger and Roland were on great form - and Roland sang lead vocal on a couple of songs.
The audience at Scratchers were small, but appreciative, and got two encores for their cheering. As well as the set that we're getting used to as we follow this band, they also played a string of fifties Rock'n'Roll numbers, including the lovely version of I Aint Nothing But A Hound Dog which they had performed at my birthday party.
The sound quality was good - Fran had a new microphone and bass amp,
and I'm not sure that I'd seen before the neat little mixer which Mike
was playing with. Mike was strongly on form with his guitar work -
he really is very versatile, playing many styles, and all extremely
Campbell ; Pattenden ; Coghlan ; Lynton ; Windus
|Saturday May 30th
we visited The Seacourt Bridge Inn at Botley near Oxford.
It is run by Shelley Earl - daughter
of the infamous Colin Earl
(lightning Keyboards and a dashing smile).
We were there to see a reunion of John Coghlan (Status Quo, Diesel) and Jackie Lynton (Savoy Brown Blues Band, Diesel) as Diesel #2 - a band they formed and performed together in many years ago. Lead guitars were Ian Campbell (Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Nashville Teens, Thin Lizzy dep) and Mike Windus (Ace session guitarist) with Colin Pattenden (Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Mungo Jerry, Nashville Teens, Englebert Humperdink, Leapy Lea) on bass guitar. Colin was a late stand in for Nigel Taylor who was with the first tentative iteration of Diesel #2 when we were trying to get it together in June last year; unfortunately tonight Nigel had a horrible abscess and raging toothache.
The pub was packed for the gig - John is a local and Jack has historically had a good following in Oxford - besides, Shelley had done lots of publicity. The band had not rehearsed - although as we sat in the garden before the gig, Jack had run through a couple of possible medley mixes which required key changes, but in the end he got so stuck into the Rock'n'Roll feel from the audience that he didn't do the melodic stuff he had intended - sticking to fairly catholic Rockin R&B.
Colin and John are both rock steady power houses - which gave a great solid foundation to the music. Mike's preferred guitar style is very "Chuck Berry-esque" which is always good when they band are rocking; while Ian's fantastic dexterity (he does incredibly rapid fretting - more like mandolin playing than guitar playing - but extremely effective) drew some spontaneous rounds of applause - all coupled with Jack's powerful voice and excellent timing made this a night to remember.
Among the audience were some other ageing rock names - and Jack invited Keith Allen (Marty Wilde's Wildcats) and George Calvert (Alexis Korner Band, Jonah Louis, Mungo Jerry, Mike Kooper's Machine Gun Co, Edwin Starr Band and just about every other band except Gerry and The Pacemakers!) (private joke -sorry) to stand in for himself and Colin P to perform Slow Down.
It was an excellent evening ending with Jack's Status Quo
medley - which always blows the audience away - even more so
when John Coghlan is on the drums.
After the gig the band agreed that "Diesel
#2" had worked well and that we should now settle down and
develop it as a real "go to market concept" !
|Tuesday 26th May I
had a surprise (and very welcome) invitation from an old friend to join
him at The Royal Albert Hall - where he produced front row
stalls tickets to see Eric Clapton in
What a lovely friend! Thank you Rick. An amazing concert - Eric Clapton is clearly a consummate professional guitarist. I last saw Clapton in the sixties, performing live with Cream - and before that I saw him several times with The Yardbirds. Tonight he had collected a brilliant band with an awesome heritage. On second lead guitar was Andy Fairweather Low - originally of Amen Corner. Willie Weeks on bass guitar is a session musician who has played with just about everybody from The Stones to Bowie. Chris Stainton of Joe Cockers Grease Band was on piano - his solo's displayed a deep loving of jazz. The organ and synthesizer were played by Tim Carmon - who is another well known session musician; a big guy who plays with his soul as well as his fingers. On drums was Steve Gadd - who as a child star sat in (aged eleven) with Dizzie Gillespie! Steve's heritage includes drumming for Paul Simon, Joe Cocker and many others. There were two great backing vocalists named Sharon White and Michelle John - both brilliant performers in their own rights.
Towards the end of the set Eric invited a guest guitarist,
Doyle Bramhall, onto stage. An excellent guitarist
who Steve-The-Stalker informs me used to play regularly with The Clapton
Fairweather Low; Clapton and
Teens as themselves
|On Saturday May 23rd
we were at The Knaphill Working Men's Club, behind
The Crown Pub in Knaphill - an outlier of Woking. We were there
to see the cabaret - and The Nashville
Teens were top of the bill.
First on was a lady named Mandy Reilly - she was performing under the stage name of Klassic Kylie. Mandy had a tremendous voice - far too good to be wasted on a little one-girl cabaret show like this - but she did OK. The audience were wooden (and very sober) and were also all pretty old - after all they'd come to see The Teens. She did a great job despite having a fairly uncommunicative audience.
Then came Ian Richards, a comedian. Very entertaining, but we didn't spot many original jokes - and while his patter was exceedingly well honed and professional, you couldn't help spotting that his heart wasn't really in it. His little PA system was manned by his daughter, who had just left school. She's going to do media studies at college - I hope that having to watch her Dad's performance doesn't put her off !
On the whole I think that the evening would have been significantly better if the comic had gone on first to get the crowd into the mood. I'd also like to see Amanda Reilly perform as herself. She has a great voice - the samples on her website are great - go try them at http://www.amandareilly.co.uk
Finally The Teens made it onto stage. It was one of the most reactive audiences we've seen for years - they were on the dance floor from two bars into the first number - and they clearly really enjoyed the show. Everyone was on form and lapping up the audience vibes - Ray's voice was fantastic. He's been worrying about a sore throat all week, but on Saturday night there was no sign of it. The show went on till midnight, culminating in Tobacco Road and Born To Be Wild. A terrific evening
It took until half past one to strike the stage (and to find all the
bits and pieces left by other performers, the return of which will be a
little project for the coming week.). A very enjoyable evening -
and we got paid for it !
|Saturday 16th May
found us in Ealing at a pub called The Princess Royal -
right next to Brentford Football Ground. We were there to see
The Jackie Lynton Band
playing. Unfortunately it was to a very small audience, although
some were avid fans who had come because they remembered Jack from
twenty years ago when this was a regular haunt - and "The Hedgehog
Song" was in vogue.
Jack was on good form for singing, but is still in a lot of pain recovering from his recent accident (he fell down stairs and buggered both knees). One fascinating point in the performance was when Jack suddenly introduced a new song into an established medley, much to the amusement of the band who tried valiantly to keep up and finish together in approximately the right place. .
The acoustics in the pub weren't great, but they weren't the worst
I've heard and the band were tight - with both Mike Windus and Chris
Bryant sparkling with some amazingly dextrous guitar work.
The band performed two great sets and evidently enjoyed the whole
Lynton Band - 16th May 2009
||On the evening of
Saturday 9th May we stopped by The Flowing Spring
to see Les Hombres - a
combination of Keith Allen on
vocals, harmonica and rhythm guitar; Ian
Campbell on lead guitar and George
Leslie Calvert on bass guitar.
We didn't see any adverts for this gig, we were just lucky that we'd seen George and Ian at a gig a few days before, and they mentioned it in passing. Great to see Keith Allen again - I hadn't had a chance before to thank him for his really great performance at my birthday gig.
And, although they didn't know it, they were also accompanied for much of the second half by Simon Baker (sometimes their drummer in other combinations) who was playing a exotic percussion mechanism consisting of a wine glass and knife. As a special treat - which they did know about - they were also accompanied on La Bamba by a friend of Keith's named (I think) Alison - who knew the words !
All in all a fun evening although the acoustics were pretty dire in the pub as you will be able to tell from the strange film on the left.
|Thursday 7th May
found us at a convention of Blues & Boogie in The Cellar Bar
- a weekly extravaganza with our mate Monica
Boogaloo convenes in The Maltings at Farnham.
This particular event was a performance by
The King Earl Boogie Band.
It was great to catch up with each of the band members and then to enjoy a brilliant performance. I'm sure they get better every time I see them. Having failed to video their performance at my birthday celebration, I managed to video nearly all of this event, and have since loaded it onto You Tube (Look for the account of WickedUncleRoger). The audience were extremely appreciative and the band were extremely tight. Ian played his usual excellent solo on Drifter Blues - but then eclipsed it with a really stunning piece of work in Who Do You Love. The band have previously used this number to showcase John Coghlan's incredible drumming skills - but tonight it also worked to show the brilliant guitar work of both Ian Campbell and Dave Peabody as well as some decent piano thumping from Colin Earl. I also managed to video This Little Light of Mine - an instrumental featuring Colin's pianoforte skills, and one of my favourite numbers in their current set.
As well as the musical entertainment, I also enjoyed plotting with the band -
making arrangements with Colin for the British R&B Festival in August
and sorting the next Diesel
gig with John.
KEBB at The Maltings
Gordon, Colin, Greg and Chris
|Friday 1st May we
drove all the way to Northchapel to visit The Half Moon Pub,
where The BluesBlasters
were playing. We arrived to find the band plus Neil Hill in the
pub, and nobody else! Where was the audience?
Eventually the pub started to fill up and it was averagely crowded by
9:30 with people enjoying the music.
The band is led by Chris Bryant - very excited because he'd just received a pile of money for allowing his shop (Bryant's Guitars, junction of Charing Cross Road and Denmark Street in London) to be used for filming a Harry Potter movie - let's hope his shop name gets a bit of "placement". It was great to see Gordon Sellar (second lead guitar) and Greg Terry-Short (drums) again and to watch Colin Pattenden (bass guitar) eating his tea on a nearby table ! He did eventually join us.
They were great - not only are they exceedingly good musicians, but they have a great laugh with each other and with the audience, making their performance (I hesitate to call it "an act", because that might imply rehearsal - which they clearly don't do!) absolutely fabulous. I managed to video quite a lot of the first set, but the drunken dancing of some of the locals - entertaining though it was - made the second half unfilmable.
Towards the end there were some exciting moments with wrong keys and forgotten words, and the end descended into a great laugh when Greg managed to tear the skin on his bass drum and simultaneously his drum rig gave way and tilted his large Tom to an almost unplayable angle. Despite all this, they sailed through on a wave of entertainment and the audience loved every moment !
The band are still looking for a new name - I think after tonight's performance they might consider something like The Excellent Shambles ? Great entertainment though - certainly an excellent evening.
|Saturday 28th March was heavy day for gigs - after The Tempest we drove over to the Pyrford Social Club to see an evening performance by The Jackie Lynton Band. It was good to see them again after their appearance at my birthday party the week before. Jack tried out a new song in his repertoire (actually an old song, It Hurts me Too) which was quite tasty. The gig was a private party and was scheduled to go on till after midnight, so Fran and I left at the interval around half past ten and made for home.|
|Saturday 28th March we
attended an afternoon performance of
The Tempest at the Richmond Theatre.
This was another part of the package of theatre tickets Fran bought me
for Christmas - a great present, it spreads right across the year.
This was a special production by The Baxter Theatre Centre,
a South African group who are touring in association with The
Royal Shakespeare Company. The show was amazing - with some awesome
acting from John Kani as
Caliban; Antony Sher as
Prospero; Tinarie Van Wyk Loots
as Miranda; and a fantastic rendering of Ariel
by Atandwa Kani. The show was
fresh, with actors using original script - but with western clothing
from the nineteenth century and the spirits dressed in almost voodoo
looking outfits - with a great display of African masks and ethnic
looking puppets - all delivered with a huge amount of enjoyment.
Tinarie portrayed Miranda
as almost feral - with a lot of scratching and some ape-like movements ;
Caliban was almost a hero - looking a lot like an abused Nelson
was brilliantly portrayed and you could almost believe that he really
was invisible. I think that this is one of Shakespeare's most
amazing plays working so many messages on so many levels. The
great final question is whether the story is taking place in reality? or
in Prospero's head? or in our heads?
Caliban, Prospero and Miranda
|After the show we found a small Persian restaurant in Richmond and were fortunate enough to sit on the table next to the musical director (Neo Muyanga) and two of his friends. It would have been rude to interrupt or try to join in, but we couldn't help overhearing their conversation which was fascinating. While I think of the story as a classic planned revenge that suddenly turns to the power of forgiveness - the group we were overhearing clearly saw the main thrust of the story was that Caliban got his island back. Clearly both those messages are in the play, but their relative importance depends on the life experiences of the observer.|
Nashville Teens - Tobacco Road
|Saturday 21st March 2009 was the
date of a private party at The Hare Hill Social Club to
celebrate my 60th birthday. The
RogFest ! The line up reflected my personal
taste in music and many good friends - and was inflicted on 160 guests
whether they like 60's Old School R&B or not.
Sadly the video cameras overheated and crashed and although most of the
footage was saved - none remains of
The King Earl Boogie Band - so they are unfortunately not
represented on the left of this page.
As Ray Phillips announced - this was "Rogers Indulgence; his five favourite bands" and I was proud and pleased that so many good musicians who are my friends agreed to play for a pittance - and that so many of my other friends - one hundred and sixty of them - turned up to help me celebrate. I tried to calculate how many records had been sold by bands which the musicians present performed on. With The Nashville Teens, Manfred Mann's Earth band, Hermans Hermits and Mungo Jerry alone the sales exceed one hundred million records. The input of other musicians must add at least another two hundred and fifty thousand, if not significantly more. A special night with special entertainment.
First up was The Ian Campbell Band comprising Ian Campbell himself - one of my favourite guitarists. Ian has played with Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Levee Camp Moan and The Nashville Teens, he has depped with such great bands as Thin Lizzy. If they liked him he must be good! Fronting the band with vocals, harmonica and rhythm guitar was Keith Allen. (Keith started his musical career as drummer with Marty Wilde's Wild Cats) ; Simon Spratley of The Nashville Teens and Cheques in the Post played keyboards ; George Lesley Calvert, bass guitar (Alexis Korner, Mike Coopers Machine Gun Co, Jona Louis, Mungo Jerry, and King Earl Boogie Band); while Simon Baker (Pred8tür) played the drums. They were brilliant - starting a few minutes late and playing to a hall which was initially quite empty, but over one hundred by the time they were half way through.
They were followed by So Long Angel. This is a fantastic band which I only encountered a couple of years ago - but which I think is brilliant. It is fronted with vocals from bass guitarist (and sometimes flautist) Fran McGillivray. Her partner Mike Burke plays lead Guitar and second vocals; James Britton played the drums - I had not met James before this evening, so I am extremely grateful for him turning out - he is a tidy drummer and was so tight you wouldn't know he was a dep. Roland Kemp played the keyboards - a lovely sound, reminiscent of Brian Auger. Their music is a fusion of blues and jazz - very beautifully presented and with a lot of their own compositions as well as some refreshing interpretations of really classic standards. I was with Jackie Lynton while Angel were playing a song called Freedom - one of Fran & Mikes own compositions and one of my favourites. "I don't know this one" he said, "Who wrote this?" When I told him he gave her the highest accolade he ever could. "It's F**king good" he said.
We had a longer break at 9pm - for birthday cake - after the watershed
The Jackie Lynton Band
unleashed their talent on the audience.
Jack started his career as a
solo singer in the sixties (Teddy Bears Picnic,
Over the Rainbow), then became vocalist with
The Savoy Brown Blues Band (Jack
The Toad). A prolific song writer, Jack teemed up with
Rick Parfitt to pen some of
Status Quo's best known numbers. He
worked with Quo's ex-drummer,
John Coghlan, in
Diesel before forming his own band.
Backing Jack tonight are two lead guitars, both of them exceedingly good
musicians: Chris Bryant (owner of
Bryant's Guitar Emporium, Denmark Street, London) and
Mike Windus (fabulous session
musician and Cryin' Out Loud).
Jack's power house comprises Greg Terry-Short
on percussion and Colin Pattenden
(Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Leapy Lee,
Englebert Humperdink, The Tekneeks) on bass. Jack is a
consummate entertainer - with a no-holds barred affinity for the "F"
word. He also gratuitously slags off his band (and me) - but we
all love it.
We were running a full hour behind schedule by now and at midnight The Nashville Teens took to the stage and - after a brief interlude where half the women in the audience formed a choir - backed by The Teens - to sing a geriatric version of My Favourite Things - they rocked me and the remaining guests into the early hours of my seventh decade, Not a tribute band – this is the real thing – a genuine surviving hard driving R&B band Tobacco Road, Google Eye, This Little Bird. The original vocalist, Ray Phillips, is one of the best R&B vocalists in the Country and still leads the band. Colin Pattenden bass guitar (his heritage already described above in The Jackie Lynton Band) ; Adrian Metcalf (drums) ; Ken Osborne (lead guitar) ; and Simon Spratley (keyboards). The band were terrific - and had most of the audience dancing for a whole hour till they finished at 1am - an hour later than scheduled - but with an audience of still over a hundred who had stayed through to the finale - Tobacco Road.
The overall sound system was provided by Colin Pattenden and built by him and me in the seven hours preceding the party - and disassembled by us in the three hours following the party - a long day. While Colin was on stage with Jackie Lynton the sound desk was manned by George Leslie Calvert ; while he was on stage with The Nashville Teens the desk was manned by Karl Green (Hermans Hermits)
A final thought - most of the musicians in the room were painfully aware that this day - March 21st 2009 - was the first anniversary of the death of Grahame White - a great friend of many of us there and a World class guitarist (he was on American Pie with Don McLean). I think we all knew that he was there in spirit. I did pay a small amount to cover expenses to all the musicians who performed, and several of them refused payment, asking me instead to contribute the money to my favourite charity - which is The Thames Valley Hospice. TVH is £115 richer because of these big hearted musicians.
It was the best party I could have wished for. Most of the video of it is now loaded to You Tube with some of the links to the left of this report. Thanks to all my friends for sending me happily into my seventh decade on this planet.
|Saturday 15th March took us to
Whitstable in Kent to see The
Nashville Teens playing at Whitstable Rugby Football
Club. It was a private party for Alan Williams who was
celebrating a "big0" birthday (an even bigger "big 0" than I
celebrate next week!)
We weren't able to access the premises until a couple of hours before the party because it was full of very large rugby players drinking jugs of beer and cheering at a rugby match on the huge TV screen; so we were all surprised at how smoothly the operation went when we eventually did access the place. We were also awed by the wonderful sound quality Colin P coaxed out of his equipment. It was as near perfect as any of us could remember.
The band did two sets with a forty five minute break in the middle and they were really tight. The sound quality, both out front and in the foldback, was terrific, and I'm sure that helped spur them into further excellence. It was a small venue with about ninety people in the audience who all thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We folded at midnight, but it took Colin and I a couple of hours to strike the stage and stow the equipment, it was gone 2am when we got back to our hotel.
Ken, Ray, Spud, Colin, Simon
Fran and Mike
8th March we trekked all the way to North Hertfordshire to
see Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke
playing at the Hitchin Folk Club. This was a happy
occasion for several reasons. Back in the sixties I was a regular
member at the Hitchin Folk Club so there was an element of
nostalgia; Fran and I first saw Fran
and Mike playing in Hitchin (In St Mary's church as it
happens) ; and several old friends from the area turned up to support
Fran and Mike were great - they performed for about 45 minutes doing some traditional stuff and some of their own music. I was particularly impressed by a song I'd not heard before about children leaving home which probably struck a poignant note with many of the people in the audience - who all looked fairly mature.
They were supporting Johnny Dickinson who is a fantastic guitar player (like Davy Graham but clean) and also has a sweet voice.
It was also good to catch up with Keiron Jones again - whose wife, Maureen, still runs the club forty odd years after I used to be a regular there.
|Saturday 28th February
An auspicious occasion. The Bluesblasters
playing at The Half Moon pub in Northchapel. This
wonderful bands, legends in their own pub, is a motley arrangement of
talent which somehow plays fantastic music. The most striking things
about the band (apart from the sheer volume) are the way they are
perpetually laughing at each other and yet at the same time playing
amazingly good music.
There is no doubt that they are great talents having either been members of, or having played session roles with, many famous bands. The common denominator is that all of them have played - or still do play - with the great Jackie Lynton. They are Gordon Sellar (lead2) ; Colin Pattenden (bass) ; Greg Terry-Short (percussion); and Chris Bryant (lead1). They all perform vocals, sometimes very harmoniously.
The pub is Chris's local, so there is no standing on ceremony and the guys don't mind laughing about in a way that may not be pc in Carnegie Hall. The excuse for the event was the landlords birthday, but there was also a raffle in aid of the local village school swimming pool. I think we raised about £150. An extremely enjoyable night in good company with good music.
The Bluesblasters have
appeared two or three times before and the relationship is obviously
getting serious because this time they had actually rehearsed some of
it! Before the gig there was a lot of discussion about whether
they should choose a "better name". Among the ideas were
The Leg Ends ; FourCandles ,
(or is it Fork Handles?) and The Four
Skins. In the end common sense almost prevailed and
they retained The Bluesblasters.
|Sunday 15th February
- We drove to The Richmond Theatre to see
Fascinating Aida making a welcome comeback.
This amazing female trio is led by Dillie Keane,
a comedienne of some repute from Grumpy Old Women.
The other members of the trio are Adele Anderson
and Liza Pullman. who
really do have amazing operatic voices and when they sing it is so
beautiful. The comedy is in the lyrics and the delivery - which plays on
the juxtaposition of lovely ladies with melodic voices singing such
lines as "our vaginas have been tightened so they grip like hell, and
we've the benefit of hymens up our arses as well". They write
and perform their own contemporary, entertaining and mostly downright
rude songs - although there are some bittersweet tear jerking songs as
did a farewell tour a couple of years ago, but they clearly didn't
really mean it and despite this being their twenty sixth year, tonight's performance was billed as their
twenty-fifth anniversary tour.
While a few of their songs were old favourites, we were pleased to find that the majority were new and contemporary - with targets including bankers (with the inevitable rhyme) and the quasi-religious nature of all encompassing stores like Tesco's - which includes the line "Jesus saves, but Tesco saves you more". Brilliant - can't wait for their next comeback tour.
|Saturday 7th February - What an awful dilemma !
We had The Nashville Teens, The
Jackie Lynton Band and
Dave's Not Here (alias Karl
Green's Hermans Hermits) all playing within half a dozen
miles of each other - but all at the same time.
We chose to see
The Nashville Teens who were playing at Peter Barnard's
sixtieth birthday party. The party was great, about eighty guests
sitting down to dinner, with a disco run by Steve Kemp.
Peter's party was great and Steve's
disco caught the imagination of the guests - who kept the dance floor
full. While hanging in the bar
(rather than the party) we also had a laugh with
The England Ladies Rugby Team
- who were staying at the hotel. Surprisingly they didn't seem to be
very excited by having won their first six Nations Match that very
afternoon (they beat Italy 69-13 with 11 tries!) - and they all went off
to bed early! I suppose they are in serious training. As
soon as they had gone it was easy to herd the band onto stage and we had
an hour of great rock - still with a crowded dance floor. A great
The Teens at Peter's gig
Ray doesn't often grin like this
|Wednesday 28th January
I drove Ray Phillips,
vocalist and founder member of The
Nashville Teens over to BBC Three Counties Radio
studio at Guildford for a live interview with
Roger "Twiggy" Day, who was actually broadcasting from a long
way away in Kent. We met a few of the staff, who were all about to
leave, and we were grateful that John and Jan and John's guide dog,
stayed behind to make sure we were OK. Wesley, Ray's son, was with
us and we all settled down with lots of notes and some blank paper and a
pen to write prompts on - none of which we needed in the end.
Eventually Phil Harrison - Twiggy's producer came through on the headphones, cued us in and the interview went ahead surprisingly easily. The only vaguely negative bit was the playing of Put A Spell On You by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. which Twiggy announced as one of Ray's favourites. Unfortunately he played SJH's original version - which is not the one which Ray particularly likes; but the thought was there.
Overall it was a great experience, a lot of fun, and a good excuse for a beer afterwards.
|Wednesday 21st January
I took my Mother to London for a day at the art galleries and to
the theatre. As a Christmas present I had bought her tickets to
see Minkus's ballet La Bayadère
at The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. I had
never seen this ballet before, and although the music was totally
un-memorable - that didn't matter because the spectacle and the ballet
itself were the most amazing that I have ever seen. Three hours of
brilliance from the Royal Ballet company.
Having very recently been disparaging about the thinness of plot of some ballets (see Copellia below) - I conclude that this one is actually more complex than it needs to be, but that doesn't matter because the dancing is great. Nikiya is the Bayadère (temple dancer) in an 1890s image of what India might be like. She falls in love with a soldier named Solor, who in turn is wooed by Gamzatti, the Rajah's daughter. The whole thing complicated because The high priest at the temple also has the hots for Nikiya. At the end of the first set Gamzatti changes the odds in their love triangle by murdering Nikiya with a bite from a handily placed snake; leaving poor Nikiya to dance through the following two sets as a ghost ! Act two sees Solor getting high on opium (surely no longer politically correct !) and dancing with Nikiya in his "vision". In scenes very reminiscent of Swan Lake, the stage is filled with twenty four or more dancers in tutu's doing everything a good ballet dancer should do; and in unison ! A magnificent spectacle. The third act is set inside the temple - and features a very vigorous and athletic dance by a solid gold idol. The wedding of Solor and Gamzatti ensues - interrupted by ghostly Nikiya - and in the end Solor spurns Gamzatti and follows Nikiya to Nirvana, where they presumably live (or not) happily ever after.
This is a ballet I shall definitely want to see again. It was spectacular.
La Bayadère dances for the High Priest
Skeleton Crew (video still)
|Saturday 17th January 2009
there was a private party at The White Hart pub in
Addlestone. It was a gig to celebrate a very significant birthday of
Ray Phillips - founder member and
vocalist with The Nashville Teens.
Sadly I had to arrive late and leave fairly early because Fran
wasn't well. Paradoxically Ray didn't have The Teens playing at his party
! Instead he started with Paul Kings
Skeleton Crew which featured Paul
King, Colin Pattenden and Chris
Bryant. I got a couple of video's of this band and they
are now on You Tube (look for WickedUncleRoger).
I missed the high points of the evening though. Apparently not only
did Ray perform another duet with his daughter
Vanessa - but with a line up including
Pete Agate (one time lead guitar of
The Teens) and
Adrian - Spud - Metcalf
drummer) - Ray sang Tobacco Road as a duet with his son
Wesley ! I really regret missing
this, I have heard Wes singing bits and pieces of songs at sound checks,
but never seen him perform publicly before - he has a great voice.
|Saturday 17th January 2009
I took Liz Earl to see The Russian Classical Ballet Theatre
matinee performance of Delibes'
Coppelia at the
Richmond Theatre. Liz came at the last minute because Fran
was struck down with flu - and she was a good choice because she is an
ex dancer and is head of dance in the local County school structure - so
she could tell me which bits were great and which bits were merely good.
It was a magnificent production of a classical ballet. Not many ballet's have particularly deep plots, but this one is shallower than most and seems to consists mainly of:
Set one : Oh look, a village square - let's do some dancing
Set two ; inside the toymakers house - lets do some dancing with the toys and the nasty toymaker
Set three: Oh my, back in the village square - lets do some more dancing
However - the dancing is very very good with lots of point work and
some amazing moves from the male lead dancer. The costumes were
also striking, and the men-in-tights very well packaged - if you know
what I mean. The whole thing was very enjoyable and the professional
dancers earned lots of well deserved applause.
Swanilda and Frantz
McGillivray and Burke - with Nunn in the background
|Sunday 4th January 2009
I visited Scratchers again, this time by myself, to see
So Long Angel playing. It
was good to catch up with Mike Burke
and Fran McGillivray again - and to
chat with Roger Nunn and
Roland Kemp. The pub was fairly quiet, but the audience
was very appreciative.
Mike has cured the hum on his amplifier and his guitar playing was great - but he was drinking lemsip because he was suffering a cold. Luckily it didn't affect this playing or make any noticeable difference to his singing. Fran's deep honey voice was mesmerising and had the audience entranced. Although she sounds quite different, when I close my eyes her approach to songs makes me think of the blues/jazz combo of Linda Hoyle and Karl Jenkins. Roger was obviously having a good time on drums because he couldn't stop smiling, and Roland's keyboards continued to evoke images of Jimmy Smith and John Mayall.
Sadly I could only stay for the first set because I had errands to run before the night set in - but what I saw was brilliant, and I'm already looking forward to the next gigs in Eastbourne and Devon.
START OF 2009