GIG REPORTS 2011
Rogers personal view of the gigs he has attended
Not all are Rock'n'Roll - Roger likes all live entertainment
||Friday 16th December
we drove over to Sunningdale to see
THE JACKY LYNTON BAND at The Nags Head pub. It was the
Nags Heads Christmas Party and when we arrived the band was still
setting up and everyone was wandering around with huge wodges of
envelopes and handing Christmas Cards to each other.
Jack Lynton and
Mike Windus were installed;
Colin Pattenden was playing with the
sound system; Spud Metcalf was still
building his drumkit; and Chris Bryant
was testing some red wine. (it passed the test!).
Adam Russell was also there with his
best mate Chris Bryant, and its
pleasing to see that Adam is rapidly
becoming a de facto guest artist with the band - which can only be a
good thing because he is an excellent harmonica player. Nessa
Lynton and Trish Metcalf were also in the pub, as were Neil Hill with a
lot of his fellow "Quo" fans. Geoff & Corinne arrived shortly after us,
followed by Jacky Pattenden, her sister, nephew and a huge selection of
relatives-in-law. The gig started about 9pm and the band were
really on form - loving every moment.
was his usual spectacular self - not only is he a great guitarist, but
he is a very adept showman too; he looked as if he was in heaven when
Jack announced they were going to
perform Let It Rock. . Mike
Windus played a couple of stunning solo's - a much less
flamboyant personality than Chris,
but an absolutely excellent guitarist. Colin
Pattenden was beaming as he plucked his bass and combined
with Spud Metcalf's rock steady beat
to drive the pace. Spud sat
glowering at the audience (all drummers have to do this - it's somewhere
in their contracts) but he was really very happy.
Jack was in a very Rock'n'Roll mood
and punched out rock and driving blues all night. He gave
Mike Windus a break to sing Run
Run Rudolph (Mike is an avid
Chuck Berry fan) and Chris took a
solo spot to sing You Cant Always Get What You Want.
Adam was called up several times -
he is great, but particularly so on the bluesy numbers like
Rock'n'Roll Whisky Blues and Let It Rock.
Towards the end of the evening Adam
and Chris started dressing up.
Adam with a large lumpy frock, a wig
(which fell off almost immediately) and deely boppers;
Chris with an apron with inflatable
breasts (he somehow managed to keep tweaking his inflatable nipples
while playing his guitar. Perhaps he has three arms and I hadn't noticed
before?). From this they migrated to fowl -
Chris with a chicken hat tied to his head and
Adam wearing a grotesque turkey mask
through which he somehow managed to keep playing the blues harmonica!
Overall a very good Christmas party. This was
Jack's second gig at The Nags Head, and we all
hope that it will become a regular haunt.
Saturday 10th December 2011 was
the annual JACKIE LYNTON BAND
CHRISTMAS PARTY at Ripley Village Hall.
This is a fun gig where people take their own food and wine,
plays and everyone has a good time. This year we were also
entertained by THE ORDINARY GUISE.
This is a four man band who are clearly influenced by the
Lynton Band of the eighties - even playing some of Jacks own
The Jackie Lynton Band + Adam Russell
|Friday 9th December 2011 We went to Woking to the Rhoda McGraw Theatre to see an amateur production of WYRD SISTERS by The Ottershaw Players. We were alerted because an ex-colleague of mine, Alan Wakefield, is the set designer for this excellent little company of players. It was a play adapted from the Terry Pratchett book of the same name. The adaptation was excellent - and the key parts were played brilliantly - especially Granny Weatherwax (Tina Knight) and Magrat Garlick (Hannah Rose) - who were both very close to the characters I had imagined as I read my way through the thirty odd Discworld books. The scenery was very cleverly constructed (my mate Alan) and the continuity of scenery (carried around by the players) was excellent. Another impressive feature was use of a cameraman (in medieval jerkin) during several scenes, culminating with us, the real audience, being projected on the back of the stage to appear as the audience as seen from backstage in a "play within a play" scene. Overall a very enjoyable evening.|
|Wednesday 30th November 2011
I travelled into London, to The Scala at Kings
Cross to see a performance by THE
MAGIC BAND - The late Don Van
Vliet's (better known as "Captain
Beefheart") backing band, I started with a rendezvous
at the nearby Norfolk Arms, where I met up with four other likely
lads before the show. We got to know each other over Tapas and sherry
before adjourning to The Scala for the performance at about 9pm.
The place was packed with a really motley selection of people of all
ages - a tribute to the general appeal of
The music is a sort of synthesis between Modern
Jazz, Blues and a bad acid trip - very much in the style of
Frank Zappa (who was allegedly a school
friend of Van Vliet). Basically
discordant, but in a structured way, with driving but non-rhythmic
vocals. The drummers (two of them) and the harmonica player were
absolutely excellent; the two lead guitarists were on the good
side of average - although in true American fashion they both looked
terrific; and the bass player was not (in my humble opinion) very
good at all - perhaps he was having a bad night? The sound was
very well managed - loud but clear and I only recall one bit of obvious
feedback early on. After about an hour and a half I slid out
to the bar to join two of my Tapas colleagues, who had also had enough
of the structured cacophony. When the band played
Electricity - one of my favourites from the
Beefheart I liked in the sixties - I
returned to watch the show. By then it was almost a quarter
after eleven, and I was two hours from home and had to be out on the
street again by six am the next morning - so I slipped out before the
end and set off for home.
Poor picture - but it is The Magic Band
Colin Earl and Dave Peabody
|Sunday 27th November 2011
we drove to Stevenage Old Town, to The Red Lion,
to meet lots of old friends and
see DAVE PEABODY & COLIN EARL.
This is an interesting gig - normally dedicated to heavy metal type
music, but sometimes booking the likes of Dave
& Colin and Fran & Mike.
The juke box was so loud that we all waited in the car park till the
lads were ready to start the gig. It was a cold clear evening with a
million stars and the agreeable waft of skunk drifting through the crowd
was a heady complement to the house Merlot - which was very good.
The sound quality was pretty good for a pub (and much better than the
jukebox) They played some great blues - including Drifter
Blues - my favourite; in fact I think they played almost all of
their current CD. Dave was
very mellow - having spent the day drinking champagne at his Mums 89th
birthday party; and Colin revelled
in playing his original country blues version of In The Summertime;
and the audience loved every minute. A nice gig.
|Saturday 26th November 2011
I drove over to Reading and found The Chequers pub at Woodley
where THE JACKIE LYNTON BAND
were playing. I had run an errand to
George Leslie Calvert's home first, and caught a snatch of
one of his early numbers at a gig being held at The Retreat
in Reading - but parking was virtually impossible, so it was a very
brief visit, after which I drove down to Woodley to see
This was the first gig the band had played at this particular pub and although the audience wasn't huge, it was respectable and they really loved the gig. I walked in about quarter past nine and the performance was already underway. As well as getting waves and hellos from the regular band (Mike Windus, Colin Pattenden, Spud Metcalf, Jackie Lynton and Chris Bryant) it was nice to get a nod from Adam Russell who was also up front playing his harmonica. In fact I got more than a nod because when he came off stage he bought me a glass of merlot! Nice man :-)
The performance was great - and the audience loved it. Jack has
taken to encouraging Chris solo with
You can't always get what you want and
Mike to solo with Reelin' and a
Rockin' (Mike has backed Chuck Berry, who is his personal hero).
An interesting gig - I hope the landlord can make it popular enough to
pay as a regular music venue.
Mike, Colin, Spud, Jack and Chris @ The Chequers
|Monday 21st November 2011
we drove into London to The Palace
to meet with six old friends (Colin, Jacky, Colin, Liz, Geoff and
see PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE
DESERT (THE MUSICAL).
This was an amazing show - similar to the film, but more dynamic.
The story is of three old transvestites who make a living as female
impersonators miming to songs in Sydney gay bars. One of them has
been married and fathered a child before discovering his true sexuality,
and is called to Alice Springs by his ex-wife, who manages a club and
wants to put on the tranny's show. Those with a photographic memory for
things geographic will
remember that Alice is 1724 miles along the Stuart Highway from Sydney -
most of the road being through the desert via tough mining communities.
Priscilla is the name of the converted bus on which our three
heroes/heroines travel this perilous road - trying to pay their way by
putting on shows for homophobic miners.
The star of the show is undoubtedly Priscilla herself - she is a
technical marvel who rotates and gyrates on the stage - changing from a
beaten up grey second hand bus to multicoloured (lit up) psychedelic bus
- sometimes open sided so the audience can observe the inside. A
brilliant piece of stagecraft. The players dress more and more
outrageously as the plot progresses and of course it has a happy ending
with the lead heroine reconciled with his six year old son.
When we discussed it afterwards the most unsettling bit for the Colins,
Geoff and myself, was that we had to agree that some of the
transvestites were uncannily attractive when dressed as women!
A great show - overtly camp with no pretence of political correctness.
We loved it.
Roland, Fran, Roger and Mike
|Sunday 20th November 2011
we travelled to Godalming, to Scratchers, to
see SO LONG ANGEL.
This is Fran McGillivray and
Mike Burkes band - and they are one of my favourite musical
entertainments. We had seen Fran
& Mike fairly recently at
Kalpana's Library evening, and a week before that with
Roger Nunn at a Stevenage gig in early
October; but it was good to catch up with
Roland Kemp whom we hadn't seen since March when they last
played at Scratchers. We arrived quite early both to
get a good seat and to chat to the band.
They performed two sets, both excellent, culminating with my favourite Freedom - which was followed by their encore, which was a storming Taj Mahal /Albert King number called Born Under a Bad Sign. Everything they did this evening was really professional and pleasing. Fran McGillivray was at her awesome best vocally, blowing us away with Be My Chauffeur; Unlucky Girl and Heard it Through The Grapevine, and - another of my favourites - Spoonful. Mike Burke was also at the top of his game with some spectacular guitar solos, I especially enjoyed his solo on Smoking Gun. Roger Nunn played brilliantly - he is one of the few drummers I know who smiles and looks pleased with himself while he is playing, and he handles a massive complexity of rhythms and volumes on his Gretch kit with the same subtlety with which he handles them when he is playing a Djembe - a very talented drummer. Roland Kemp on keyboards always puts me in mind of Jimmy Smith, and he delivered a couple of good vocal performances too on Going To Chicago and Walkin' The Dog - as well as showing me how to adjust the ISO on my camera!
An excellent evening, well worth the twenty mile trek to
Jack at The Nags Head
|Friday 4th November 2011
Fran and I drove up the road to The Nags Head at Sunningdale to
witness a stunning performance by THE
JACKIE LYNTON BAND. When we arrived there was already a great
crowd there including loads of old friends. It was great to catch
up with Keith-The-Stalker and his posse - haven't seen them for ages.
Vanessa, Neil, Lee, Adam, Christine & her son Paul, Tony, Trisha, Jacky... the list is too
long - it was a great crowd, and the band responded by delivering a
brilliant gig. On arrival we caught up with
Spud Metcalf and
Colin Pattenden, who were still setting
up. Mike Windus was there too and
Chris Bryant was at the bar.
Jack was in the garden having a
smoke. Jack presented a great mixture of Rock'n'Roll and ballads,
and even dropped in one of his more obscure poems - Louie The Bean.
A very artistic evening.
This was the first time the band had played this particular pub, which has only just started having regular Friday night music. When the band eventually got themselves together and proceeded to deliver, it was a classic! An excellent and very tight gig; they were all clearly enjoying themselves. Adam Russell was in the audience and Jack called him up to play harmonica on four or five numbers.
The pub was crowded, it was clearly a success for the pub and the
landlord responded with an immediate re-booking - they will all be there
again on Friday December 16th.
October15th 2011 we visited a performance of
THE KING EARL BOOGIE BAND
at The Pyrford Social Club, Unusually, the
place wasn't particularly full, and we had a good opportunity to chat
with Dave Peabody, Colin Earl and
George Leslie Calvert before the show
started. We also got to know Adam Perry
a bit better; he was deputising for John
Coghlan, who had a gig with his "J
C Quo" band in France this weekend. We'd met
Adam before (Bread & Roses
gig - see below) and he is a very tidy drummer.
The band were contracted from 9pm until midnight, so they played
three sets. The first was acoustic featuring just
Dave and Colin which
achieved a style very reminiscent of the
KEBB's "Jug Band" days.
The next set was the full entourage with an emphasis on blues and
ragtime boogie. Adam did
tremendously well - especially considering that
George had forgotten to give him the demo discs and there
had been no rehearsal! After another break the final set was
unadulterated Old School rhythm & blues and Rock'n'Roll. A very
nice gig - we rolled home to bed about 1am
KEBB at Pyrford
Fran and Mike (reflected)
|Thursday October 13th 2011
was an different sort of gig. A group of us convened at The Great
Ghurkha's Restaurant in Weybridge High Street to eat a very
expensive curry. A very small proportion of this fee went to
covering the costs of a
performance by FRAN McGILLIVRAY &
MIKE BURKE and some to covering the cost of food, while the rest
went to help The Deep Foundation fund a new "Henny
Penny" children's library in rural Kashmir.
We all sat down together and enjoyed a really great starter Nepalese style. Good singers (and Fran is one of the best) cannot sing on a full stomach, so after the starter Fran & Mike got up and played while the rest of us ate our main course. There were some other parties in the restaurant, and Kalpana - the event organiser - coerced donations from these other tables, swelling our fund. In the end we made about £300, which was considerably better than the predicted position at the beginning of the week when seventeen people cancelled attendance at very short notice. Then we thought we'd be lucky to break even. The fund gets doubled because The David Tyler Trust matches this pound for pound, so the library project is £600 better for Kalpana's efforts.
Performing in a restaurant is difficult because
the audience are shared with their food and with their own conversation,
but Fran & Mike
played brilliantly and we all really appreciated their work. As meals
were finished people got up to dance, The restaurant staff had loved the
live music - dancing around while they served people - and after the
live music had eventually stopped they brought out their own music
system and played some traditional Nepalese music - which kept the
dancing going while Fran & Mike
got to eat their own dinner. A great
evening, very successful and all down to Kalpana's hard work.
|Sunday 9th October 2011
found us at The Red Lion in Old Stevenage High Street
- an pub I used to frequent in the sixties! Our visit more than forty
years later was to see FRAN
McGILLIVRAY, MIKE BURKE & ROGER NUNN who were performing
there. It was good to catch up with this trio again, not
having seen any of them since March. In the meanwhile they have -
according to Mike - completed
writing another fifteen songs and have started to collate them onto a
new CD. They hope to issue it early in the New Year. The whole
Burke/McGillivray clan is excelling. The couples daughters are
doing well too - daughter Joe is launching a new CD next weekend and
daughter Katie Brayben is
rehearsing to be in the new Mike Bartlett
play "13" which starts at the Olivier Theatre
in London on 18th October.
The show at The Red Lion
was great - Fran's deep honey voice
still thrills and Mikes guitar work
is excellent. While these two make a superb duo - the added
persuasion of Roger's drumming
really rounds their performance off, making them one of the best
blues/folk trios on the current live music scene. The only thing
better is when Roland Kemp joins
them to provide the full entourage of
So Long Angel. I detected at least two songs I
hadn't heard before, perhaps they were part of the new set which
Mike had mentioned? I shall ask when
I see them later this week.
Fran, Roger and Mike
|Friday 7th October 2011.
On Friday evening I drove over to Ealing, to The Globe
pub, to see Karl Green's band
DAVE'S NOT HERE who were
performing there. The start was delayed a bit because there was a
football match of the pub TV - England v Montenegro. While the
band were waiting for the match to end I said hallo to
Karl, Kevin Welling and
Greg Terry-Short. (I didn't get to talk to
Richard Scarfe - but he was on good
form). Both Greg and
Karl were performing their first gig
following serious operations. In Karl's
case it was his debut appearance since having serious rotator-cuff
surgery earlier this year. He has a full range of movement back,
but no real muscle strength yet - he managed to wield his bass guitar
very effectively though. Greg's
case was even more serious, he had to have emergency surgery to
replace one of his carotid arteries in his neck because it had clogged
and was causing blackouts. It was great to see him back behind the
drumkit - playing and singing his heart out, especially on Gimme
Some Lovin' (one of my favourites).
Kevin was also on top form, he has a
good singing voice and belted out Crossroads Blues for us,
while Richards guitar work was great
- and his rendition of Three o'clock in the morning blues
was really moving. Unfortunately I couldn't stay till the end, so
after the first set I gave my apologies and drove off into the night.
Dave's Not Here !
|Sunday 2nd October 2011
- On Sunday afternoon I collected Terry from her home and drove her
to Richmond where we met up with Colin & Jacky outside the
Richmond Theatre. It was a very hot afternoon, and the
theatre isn't air conditioned (and we were up in the upper circle - heat
rises!) so once together Colin and I made a beeline for the bar and
secured ourselves some glasses of cool rosé to
prepare us for the ordeal of the hot theatre. The show was another
come-back tour by Fascinating
Aida - Dillie Keane's
fantastic trio of lovely operatic - but extremely rude - ladies.
The first song set the pace with an acronym that spelled out the letters C.U.N. followed by T.S. - I wont spell it out any more clearly for you ! The show also included a performance of their now infamous song, "Cheap Flights" which has been a huge hit on You Tube. They also regaled us with their other currently popular song; "Dogging". All delivered deadpan from three glamorous girls who look as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. The performance also included some old favourites, like "Put your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye". Dillie Keane is still a brilliant song writer and wit - and had the grace to thank the audience for being indoors on a hot Sunday afternoon when they could have been barbecuing somewhere.
Sweet FA have made
several farewell tours and several come-back tours. They are
brilliant entertainers, let's hope that they keep rebounding for many
years to come.
|Saturday 1st October 2011
The hottest 1st October since records began, and I went to The Pyrford
Sports & Social Club to see
THE JACKIE LYNTON BAND.
It was great to catch up with them because it seems like several months since I'd seen a performance. Mike Windus and Chris Bryant were in good form, despite the fact that Mike had only got back from a holiday in Cyprus that very morning. Spud Metcalfe was there with his drumkit already set up and Colin Pattenden was booming "one two, one two" into a microphone at what seemed to be an unnecessarily high volume.... I must be getting old. Jack Lynton was wreathed in smiles and obviously really enjoying life. It was great to see Greg Terry-Short with Anne in the audience - he has been very ill with mini-strokes and a clogged carotid artery while we were away on holiday - but he's fixed up OK now. It was good also to see Adam Russell in the audience, and - of course - he was invited up to play his harmonica several times throughout the evening. Jack also performed a new number, which had great lyrics, but currently has a fairly repetitive setting - I suspect the lads will spice it up before too long and it will be great.
A terrific evening - with the band being on top form and apparently
loving every minute of the performance.
Jack and Chris at Pyrford on Saturday
The Nashville Teens - undoubtedly best band of the evening
The Manfreds opened for the Teens !
|24th September 2011
we were up North, in Yorkshire, with
THE NASHVILLE TEENS for The WHITBYLIVE FESTIVAL
which was held at The Whitby Pavilion over this
weekend. There were five shows between Friday night and Sunday
night - The Teens were on
the Saturday night session with THE
MANFREDS (featuring Paul Jones)
There were a couple of other bands to warm up and to run through the
midnight spot - but they were both "tributes" and not very good. We had travelled up with Mel &
Ray Phillips and Jacky &
Colin Pattenden to make a long holiday
weekend of it, staying at a "forest lodge" super-chalet some twenty five
miles from the gig. This gave us the incentive to get off stage and out
quickly after the show so that we could get back to camp to sit in the
hot tub and look at the stars!
The first entertainer was a “Shadows” lookalike/soundalike young man, who was very good, but very young. He somehow managed to play for an hour while the audience largely ignored him and queued at the two bars to stock up with alcohol. He was followed by the main act of the evening, which was The Manfreds. They were very professional and sounded reasonably good, although a little bit "cabaret" in style. Paul Jones’s voice is still great and his harmonica playing is brilliant. However, the cabaret style presentation was very twee – there was lots of “audience participation” singing with the band pausing notes while Paul held the microphone out to the audience to encourage them to sing. There were also some fairly tortuously long solos, and a lot of very contrived banter. Generally the audience seemed a little disappointed with The Manfreds, they stood around and swayed and clapped and sang, but there was very little dancing. Never mind - you need to have a big "name" on the running list to sell tickets - and despite the presentation I very much enjoyed hearing the oldies like Pretty Flamingo, You'll Be mine Once Again Tomorrow, and - of course - 5,4,3,2,1...."
Teens were next up– no soundcheck - no rehearsal - but they
were straight in there and tight and rocking. The very first three
bars of Rocking On The Railroad got the dance floor full
and rocking – and the whole performance was brilliant, with a packed
floor and huge ovations. When the false tab finale of Tobacco
Road came up the floor was packed and jumping with everyone
singing along - and the ovation was tremendous. The lads were
smiling from ear to ear as they went back onto stage for the real finale
- Born To Be Wild. It was a hard act to follow for
the next act up; I don't know what they were called, but they filled the
late spot until after one in the morning. I regret that our impressions
of the two songs we heard before we left didn't set us on fire, but
perhaps they got better. The
Teens had played from ten o’clock until eleven o’clock and it
was clear from the audience reactions and from the visits to the
dressing room by other musicians’ that
The Teens were clearly the hit
of the evening. After we had struck the stage and dealt with all the
well wishers we legged it back to our forest retreat. Just
before midnight we were back in the car racing across the moors to our
wooden chalet where we indulged in Rioja, cheese and biscuits and a two
am soak in the hot tub
|15th August 2011 we took
ourselves along to Southhill Park, Bracknell, to see
The Globe Travelling Theatre Company performing
Shakespeare's As You Like It in the open air.
his was delivered by the Globe Theatre
Travelling Company, whom we had seen in the same park setting
doing A Midsummer Nights Dream the previous year.
They had their little medieval stage - a unpainted wooden box with
ladders up the back and a very small apron. There were only eight
players, but they were excellent. Unfortunately nature was not on
our side, and as we sat down it started to rain. Not hard, but
irritating enough not to be ignored. A basic rule of open air
theatre is "no umbrellas" - so everyone had hoods or hats. The
play was excellent - brilliantly acted, danced and sung - all through
heavy drizzle, and the audience really appreciated it. A few did
creep away because they were too wet - but most of us stayed through
till the end - including sitting through a quarter of an hour interval,
for which nature decided to stop raining...... only to start again as
soon as the second half commenced!
Shakespeare in the rain
Adam (guesting) Mike, Colin, Spud, Chris and Jack
|13th August 2011 I
went to The Silver Birch pub in Bracknell to catch up with
The Jackie Lynton Band. Embarrassment
- I had hurriedly knocked up a poster for the pub one evening at work
about ten days before - using the only photo I had handy of the Band -
but unfortunately the picture had Ken Osborn
on lead guitar instead of Chris Bryant!
We ribbed Chris about how I thought he had been replaced, and he looned
about trying to get into the front of every photograph he could (more
difficult to Photoshop him out!). Colin
Pattenden, Spud and Mike Windus
were all in very good spirits - re-living their recent successful "tour"
of France. Jack was on a roll
- in exceptionally good mood and right at the top of his form.
was reasonably crowded, which made the acoustics much better than we
normally experience in this pub. I was with Neil Hill and
Adam Russell, who of course, guested a
bit on harmonica. It was a hot evening and Neil and I laughed when
we both found ourselves trying not to appear distracted by some of the
buxom young clientele in their summer frocks. We were grateful
that these young ladies contributed so efficiently to absorbing the high
frequency volumes and thus improving the acoustics of the room.
The band were very tight, and Jack
was in "Rock'n'Roll" mood. This meant no ballad type songs - and even
his rendition of "Think I'm Better Off With The Blues" had
a driving Quo type underscore.
Inevitably in "Rock mode" the band performed a few
Chuck Berry numbers, and their version of Let It Rock
was one of the best I have heard them deliver in the last year
or so. A fun gig.
|5th August 2011 we attended
The Bread and Roses - an excellent pub on the edge of Clapham
Common, to see The Boogie Brethren
- who are, of course, a large portion of The King
Earl Boogie Band disguised with the addition of
Adam Perry on drums. We rolled
up and found - to our great surprise - that we could park right outside!
The band were sitting outside sipping their drinks -
Colin Earl looking cool in a blue
check shirt, Dave Peabody smiling
from under his hat and George Leslie Calvert
bouncing about (on the phone to Stephanie). We were also
introduced to Adam Perry, whom
George had brought from the Reading area to play drums.
The reason they were outside was that the stage had not been built! It had been disassembled for re-decorating and nobody had thought to rebuild it until the band turned up! Inside was a frantic workman bolting stage sections together and re-hanging the lighting rig. Eventually it all came together and the band kicked off just before ten o'clock. Unfortunately there was hardly any audience - clearly the normal throbbing venue was suffering from a dose of "summer holidays". Never mind, the dozen of us who had come were very impressed by an excellent performance - especially from Adam who had not played with the King Earl Boogie Band before, and acquitted himself very professionally. Among the select audience were some old acquaintances including the folk singer Corinna J Poore.
Although the audience was small, the band still played a
brilliant couple of sets, including some old favourites like
Drifter Blues, In The Summertime, This Little Light of Mine and
Slow Down. ending just before midnight with Marie
Marie - a great show, thanks lads.
Boogie Brethren on the newly erected stage at
|Friday 29th July we
attended an open air performance of
Romeo and Juliet in the Italian Garden at South Hill
Park. It was an interesting production by
the Custom/Practice group,
which specialises in helping young Londoners from every class,
background and education to realise their potential to access, enjoy and
create theatre works. There was an interesting twist in that the
Capulet's were white Caucasian actors while Montague's the were
black Afro-Caribbean actors. While there was no overt racial
stereotyping, the difference in skin colour highlighted the
dramatic tension between the two families and the South London /
Caribbean accents gave a beautiful lilt to Shakespeare's old English
wordings. It is easy to forget that the Americas - including the
Caribbean - derive a lot of their modern pronunciation, accentuation
and spelling from fifteenth and sixteenth century English. The
cast were in modern dress, but used the original Shakespearian dialogue
and augmented their action with some choreographed street dance.
There was minimal scenery, but that didn't matter because the whole show
was so intimate that everybody's imagination was well fired up before we
were five minutes into the dialogue. Unfortunately the audience
was very small - only about forty of us - but the production was
exceptionally good; I hope they continue to get funding to carry out
entertainments as good as this.
|Saturday 23rd July
was the Party On The Hill at
Liddington - a tiny village near Swindon. An event to celebrate the 90th birthday of The Royal
British Legion. which featured The
Worzels and The Nashville
Teens. Colin Pattenden
and Roger Weddup had been providing the sound system for the festival,
so they had been there since Friday lunch time, but we arrived with the
rest of The Nashville Teens
around eight o'clock on Saturday evening. The crowd was
disappointing - the organisers had been a little over-optimistic -
having booked the TA to fire guns during a performance of the 1812; and
established a separate tent for secondary acts. Sadly there were
only about four hundred people at the event, so there was an enormous
amount of space and too many acts. Never mind - as we arrived
The Worzels were about to go on stage. I am rarely scathing
about anyone who puts on a live act, but I never liked this lot in the
sixties and am amazed that they are still performing. They have
little musical talent and their show is in extremely bad taste -
including a fat bloke mooning at an audience which contained small kids.
Totally unnecessary. The only part of their act which made me
smile was their rendition of Ruby Ruby Ruby - into which
they had managed to work their catch-phrase lyric, "Ooh Arr, Ooh Arr".
Their act wasn't helped by the fact that the sound system was
particularly poor (sorry Colin).
Never mind, they were soon off and next up were
The Nashville Teens.
The band were on reasonable form, but there was a pitifully small
audience and - as I mentioned - the sound system did them no favours.
Not the best gig I've seen for ages, although as I wandered back
stage it did sound OK through the foldback monitors - so perhaps the
mixer for the PA was playing up?
Ken and Ray on stage at POTH
Dave's Not Here
July found us in The Globe, a pub in Brentford,
West London to see a performance by
Dave's Not Here.
The Globe pub in the shadow of the M4 elevated section.
Inside we found old friends Karl Green
(bass guitar with Hermans Hermits)
and Gregg Terry-Short (drummer with
The Jackie Lynton Band).
They introduced us to Richard Scarfe
(lead guitar, ex Love Affair)
and Kevin Welling (not sure of his
heritage, but a good keyboards man who also doubles onto guitar).
Together they are Dave's Not Here
- a band which I've heard rehearsal recordings of - but this was the
first time I'd seen them live; and I can confirm that hey are very good
- and a bit loud.
|Sunday 10th July
After a wonderful afternoon picnic at Runnymede (at which both
Jack Lynton and
Colin Pattenden were basking in the
sun) we drove down to Scratchers at Godalming to see these
gentlemen, with their friends Chris Bryant,
Mike Windus and Spud Metcalfe
- collectively The Jackie Lynton Band
- playing us some great Rock'n'Roll music.
Among the audience it was good to see Apu, who had also been at the picnic, and Clare and Neil - who both regretted missing the picnic for very good reasons! The band was on fire though - Jack's voice was big and round and the music flowed beautifully. Jack's version of Harrison's Isn't It A Pity was a real audience pleaser. An excellent evenings entertainment - thanks Jack and band.
They are all packing up now to travel off to Morzine in the French Alps this week, where next weekend they are opening for Status Quo at the European Annual Harley Davidson Rally. I sadly won't be able to attend, but I bet it will be a storming good gig.
Saturday 17th July - I wasn't there, but I was kept in touch with a flow of pictures and reports on Text and Facebook. The Jackie Lynton Bands "tour" of Morzine went down really well - and Jack got together with his old mates Francis and Ricky.
Jack played four performances in
and around the town and everyone had a terrific time. I will be very
surprised if they don't go again next year - even if they have to buy
their own passage and perform for free!
above: post picnic Rock'n'Roll
Ray with his poster picture
|Friday 1st July and Saturday
2nd July I was lucky enough to have an "access all areas"
pass at The 2011 Gastroblues Fesztivál
at Paks in Hungary. Being effectively "the manager" of
The Nashville Teens, I had the
pleasure of accompanying Ray Phillips
to the concert. We met up at Heathrow terminal five about half
past six on Thursday 30th June and then spent a luxurious hour drinking
red wine in the First Class Lounge. We weren't flying First Class,
but Ray's lovely wife, Melanie, had organised us passes.
Eventually we slummed it back into third class and went to the gate,
where we met up with some old friends, Pete
John Steel, both from
The Animals and Leo Lyons
originally from Ten Years After.
but this weekend appearing as
Onehundredseventy Split. The flight was good with a lot
more free red wine, and the added spice of a very rocky landing. Once
through customs we soon met up with other band members, who were
Dave - the sound engineer;
Mick Gallagher & John Williamson
Joe Gooch & Damon Sawyer
and with Bogdán Gomilko,
who is the Festival Organiser. We settled ourselves down to the 90
minute drive from Budapest to Peks. Chatting on the minibus soon
revealed that one familiar looking face -
- the drummer with
- was familiar not from the world of music, but from the pubs around
Bracknell - he is a local lad who lives just down the road in Wokingham
and has a studio at Hurst. We arrived at a very posh hotel
on the Northern outskirts of Peks just after two in the morning - and
set about eating loads of food which had been left for us and drinking
even more red wine! After all, this is a "Gastro" blues festival!
The schedule for the Friday was that The Animals would play at 7:30pm on the main stage, with Ray as their guest singer. They would be followed at 9pm by HundredSeventy Split. After breakfast we (The Animals, Ray and I) retired to Pete Barton's bedroom with a bass guitar borrowed from Leo Lyons - and rehearsed the beginnings and endings of the songs which Ray would sing that night. Around noon we were bussed up to the middle of town for a sound check in the local sports hall (which is where the main stage was sited). The acoustics in the hall are bad - although after Dave got the microphones replaced it sounded much better. After rehearsal Ray and I wandered the town a bit, reminiscing about our last visit there in 2003 - we found the Gastroblues Club, which hosts this annual festival, and went in for a beer.
|Outside was a huge
poster with all the artists pictured -
Rays was the only black and white photo!
had the song "This Little Bird" in the charts three times
in Hungary. The last time was 1984, when he topped the charts with a
duet with a Hungarian girl singer called
Zalatnay Sarolta or
lovely singer who has since become a radio entrepreneur (a sort of
Hungarian Chris Evans,
but not so tall!) although it ended badly ten years ago when the poor
girl was quite unfairly imprisoned for tax evasion. Apparently the
Hungarian press for the few days previous to the gig had been rife with
speculation that Cini
would be appearing at the festival and sing with
Ray. This had caused all sorts of
political stir because the current Hungarian government does not like
her politics. (Cini
and I met on Facebook some time ago and
I had actually got her a backstage pass just in case she turned up - but
she didn't, which was probably just as well.) Still - all
publicity is good publicity - especially when it's free!
returned to the hotel for a couple of hours kip before the bus brought
us all back to the gig just after seven. When we arrived we found
"The two Andi's". a couple of girls we had first met in 2003. These two
ladies run the Hungarian "Sixties Club" and have become good friends.
(We met up when Fran and I were on holiday in Budapest about five years
ago, and Andi L ("The Little Yardbird") actually came all the way top
the UK for my sixtieth birthday party.
The Animals went on stage
about eight o'clock (the stage management was pathetic). It was
great to hear the Animals playing - first time I've heard them live for
over forty years! I had forgotten how many great songs they had.
Then they played Suzi Q - that was my cue to find
Ray and shove him onto the stage.
Animals with Ray on stage
Pete, Ray, Mick, John S and John W
|Ray opened with
Tobacco Road, followed by Google Eye.
Then Mick Gallagher played the keyboard overture to This Little
Bird and the audience went quiet. This is a very special
song in Hungary, and The Nashville
Teens are probably better known for this song than for
Tobacco Road. Then he sang Put A Spell On You -
unfortunately quite a different arrangement than he usually sings. It
worked OK from an audience point of view, but I could tell
Ray wasn't too happy with it.
Then he sang a couple of Spencer Davis
songs, Keep On Running and Somebody Help Me
before coming off stage. Then Ray
left the stage and the Animals played a few more numbers, ending with
House of The Rising Sun. The audience called for an
encore and the band returned to the stage with
Ray and played Boom Boom - which
Ray loved and performed brilliantly
even though he had only learned the words in
Pete's bedroom that very morning! We all went
back to the dressing room and congratulated ourselves on a brilliant
gig. Ray and
John Steel were in a corner chatting about "the good old
times" The rest of us just laughed and drank even more wine!
Ray was scheduled to perform with
an acoustic guitarist on the Saturday lunch time, and the guitarist
turned up - so they went off to rehearse in a spare dressing room.
Meanwhile The Animals were
setting off for Italy at 4am the next morning, so they soon had to leave
on the bus to get a relatively early night. Meanwhile, the two
Andi's blagged their way backstage and came to visit the dressing room,
but just missed the Animals.
When Ray had finished his rehearsal
the four of us got the next shuttle bus back to the hotel to see if we
could catch the Animals.
|We arrived too late -
the Animals had all (sensibly)
gone to bed, but Dave the sound engineer was there so the five of us sat
around until just after midnight destroying yet more of the hotels stock
of good red wine. Eventually the girls set off to walk back
to their rooms the other end of the town and Ray, Dave and I called it a
Sunday morning breakfast was good. Leo
Lyons, Joe Gooch & his girlfriend;
Damon Sawyer, Ray and myself were all still standing.
We also met up with a band called The
Vargas Blues Band, who were an international group of
musicians, apparently mainly of Spanish and South American origin.
After breakfast, Ray and I packed
our bags and left them at the hotel foyer for later collection before
catching the shuttle bus to a beautiful wooden church in Peks. It
was the scene of an acoustic concert and Ray
was supposed to go on at noon. However,
the Vargas Blues Band weren't
all there quite early enough, so Ray
went on first and sang Tobacco Road and Google Eye.
Then he sang This Little Bird - a standing ovation - the
acoustics in the church and his soaring voice were incredible. He
followed it up with Spell On You - his own version rather
than the one he had sung the night before - no wonder he had been so
long rehearsing in that spare dressing room! A fantastic show,
after which a whole load of fans were pressing outside for his
autograph. A great end to an excellent gig.
The Two Andi's at the front of the audience
|Saturday 11th June
I drove Ray Phillips of
The Nashville Teens over to Amersham,
to the Amersham Rock'n'Roll Club, where he appeared as a guest
vocalist with VANITY FARE.
The venue was impressive, a large theatre style room with a high stage,
a dance floor and tables and seating for about four hundred people. The
acoustics were excellent and the sound engineer (another Roger) clearly
knew what he was doing. The format of the event was very clever -
to have a virtual five bands - but only really to have two bands; both
of which were versatile enough to back "guest" artistes from different
bands. The line up was:
THE SHAKERS - the Liverpool band who have been residents at the Cavern for longer than anyone can remember, they play Beatles, Gerry Marsden and any other overtly Liverpudlian sounding hits. They also fronted NICKY CROUCH of THE MOJOS, who performed Everything's Alright and some other numbers.
VANITY FARE opened their
set as skiffle style backing band to
LONNIE DONEGAN Jnr. (real name Tony
Donegan) who sounds uncannily like his late father; after
which they became a hard driving old school R&B band to back
RAY PHILLIPS (NASHVILLE
TEENS). Finally they performed a set as themselves - which
was very impressive.
The Shakers doing Liverpool stuff
Lonnie Donegan Jnr.
Ray Phillips backed by Vanity Fare
Vanity Fare as themselves
|The hall was packed - a sell out - and to people who
really appreciated the style of music because the dance floor was almost
permanently full. We arrived in time for the sound check and
watched Tony Donegan (billed as "Lonnie
Donegan Jnr") on stage checking with
Vanity Fare backing him.
Ray and I agreed that we had hairs on
the backs of our necks standing up - Tony
sounded exactly like his father in all respects, if you shut your
eyes you could believe that the King of Skiffle was back among us.
After sound check we all retired to the green room cum dressing room to
get to know each other, gossip and eat - because the room was packed
with all sorts of food and soft drinks,. As if that wasn't enough, it
was augmented by hot pizza and shepherds pie in the half hour before the
show started! Not many venues treat the artists so well.
First up were The Shakers who did
two long sets (well over an hour and a half in total) of Liverpudlian
songs. At the beginning of their second set they were joined by guest
guitarist Nicky Crouch (The
Mojos) for a few Mojos
numbers. The audience was wildly enthusiastic and clearly having a
great time. After a break for a raffle (it is a Polish
ex-servicemen's club and their objective is to raise money)
Vanity Fare took top the stage with
Lonnie Donegan Jnr.
Ray and I both love skiffle so we
watched most of the act and I was amazed at how versatile
Vanity Fare were in supporting and
backing that style of music. Then it was
Rays turn and Vanity Fare
showed their versatility by transforming from a skiffle band into an Old
School R&B Band! They backed Ray
brilliantly, especially Steve Oakman
on keyboards who's playing is very reminiscent of
John Hawken's style. After
another short break Vanity Fare came
on as themselves - this time they were in flowery shirts and sporty an
overtly psychedelic aura. At this stage of events I had
expected Ray to want to go home - he
never watches more than one or two numbers of whatever band follows his
act; but tonight he was hooked. We stayed al the way through
Vanity Fares act and then went back to the dressing room to
congratulate them - it had been an awesome performance. They
opened with some Byrds numbers,
including Mr Tambourine Man and ending with Eight
Miles High! They are both - but particularly the latter -
very complex pieces of music and they carried it off perfectly.
Mark Ellen's guitar playing,
supplemented by Steve Oakman on
twelve string was awesome. They performed quite a few more obscure
sixties numbers, but all very strong and musically challenging. A
highlight for me was The Longest Time, (originally
Billy Joel) which they sang
à capello, demonstrating that each band member
has a very good singing voice - especially Mark.
Until tonight I have had Vanity Fare
in a mental space labelled "nice but harmless" - all based on my limited
exposure to their hit Hitchin' A Ride. I have
undergone a major recalibration - this band is not only hugely
versatile, multi-talented and have a preference for strong anthemic
music - but they are all incredibly nice guys too! I really hope
we get to work with them again soon.
Lynton Band at The Silver Birch
|Saturday 4th June a
group of us trekked across Bracknell to The Silver Birch
pub to see The Jackie Lynton Band
performing quality Rock'n'Roll. Chris Bryant
was away on holiday
so Ken Osborn deputised for him and
the line up was Ken and
Mike Windus on joint lead guitars,
Spud Metcalfe on drums;
Colin Pattenden on bass guitar; and
Jack Lynton on vocals. The pub wasn't that full at the
start of the first set, but there were enough to cheer and dance as Jack
gave a brilliant performance.
Kens style is much looser and more soulful than Chris's which gave the performance an interesting difference. The band played two sets with a fifteen minute interval and at one point Jack - ever generous as a performer - stood down into the audience and let Mike Windus lead on Reelin' and Rockin'. Mike is an excellent guitarist and his Chuck Berry style is great.
The little pub filled as the evening progressed and by eleven o'clock
"the joint was rockin' !" A good evenings entertainment.
|Saturday 14th May we were at
The New Theatre in Oxford to see
Matthew Bourne's new ballet,
Cinderella. We missed it at our local theatre
in Woking because we left it too late and it was sold out, hence the
trek to Oxford. We had been to see the classic version of this a few
weeks ago by way of comparison - but we both agreed that the modern
Bourne version stands head and shoulders above the
Frederick Ashton choreography.
The story has been re-imagined as being set in the London blitz of World War II - and specifically in the ill fated Cafe De Paris at the junction of Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus on the night of 8th March 1941, when 34 people dancing in the basement twenty feet below ground level were killed by two freak bombs which fell through a ventilation shaft and exploded on the dance floor. The new plot also borrows a lot from the David Niven & Kim Hunter film of 1946 - A matter of Life and Death - in which, due to the incompetence of the angels who were supposed to conduct him to Heaven, an airman (Niven) survives certain death when his plane crashes into the sea. Consequently he is given a second chance back on earth. where, guided by his guardian angel, the airman wins his life back through the love of his girlfriend, and the Angel takes someone else to stand in his place and "keep the records straight".
Prokofievs haunting music score; and like the familiar
Cinderella plot the first act positions Cinders as a plain looking
downtrodden step sister - whose wicked step-mother and step-siblings get
tickets to go to the dance at The Cafe De Paris.
Cinders daydreams of a handsome airman, runs away from home but is
caught in a bomb blast and taken unconscious to hospital.
The second Act parallels the classic story as a dream sequence. In
this case, instead of magically going to the Ball, Cinders magically is
taken to The Cafe De Paris - where she meets the handsome
airman for real. Just before the bombs explode she escapes,
leaving one shoe behind. The third act has the airman, now injured
with a head wound, searching London with the shoe - he eventually is
admitted to hospital where he and Cinders are reunited. The climax
shows the Airman and Cinders "just married" and the step family waving
goodbye as they board a train for their honeymoon. As the stage empties
the Guardian Angel selects a lonely woman sitting in the station waiting
room to be the alternative victim.
Cinderella - in the Blitz
Nashville Teens - 7th May
|Saturday 7th May we were at
The New Haw Club & Institute at Addlestone to witness a rare
"local" appearance by The Nashville
Teens. Addlestone is, of course, where
The Teens were formed back in 1962, and
most of the founder members lived within a stones throw of the hall.
Tonight we had one founder member - Ray
Phillips - and of course Colin
Pattenden who plays bass guitar for the band had his own
share of fame as a founder member of Manfred
Mann's Earth Band. Both guys are local heroes and
although the place wasn't packed, it was a good turnout with loads of
friends and relations who don't often get to see the Band performing.
Simon Spratley had a good outing on
his keyboards during the evenings gig, especially on The Who
Medley, where he is a key soloist.
Ken Osborn was sporting his cleaned
guitar and rebuilt guitar amplifier - which now produce a much rounder
and less fuzzy sound. Spud Metcalfe
played brilliantly on his new Ludwig kit; and finally,
Ray's voice was in great shape. The
band shone with an inner light, as they do whenever they are really
enjoying themselves - tonight they were very pleased with themselves and
produced an exceptionally brilliant performance.
|Sunday 1st May we were at
The Rose & Crown pub in Shilton, deep in the Oxfordshire
Cotswolds. The event was a pig roast, with musical entertainment
provided by our friends in The King
Earl Boogie Band. We thought we were probably going to
arrive a bit late, but only George Leslie
Calvert was there ahead of us; and we were just in time for
him to buy us a drink! Colin Earl
arrived next, then John Coghlan
and finally Dave Peabody.
It was glorious weather and we sat out in the sun not only while the band set up, but also throughout the whole of the first set. The pub rapidly became crowded and the pig roasters arrived with their pig on a spit. The band sounded extremely good in the first set and during their break they came outside and complained that they couldn't see us in the audience - so we gave up our strategic table in the sun and went indoors to watch them perform the second set.
They were really very very good. Each solo excelled and John's drum solo in particular was accompanied by cheers and whoops (it is his local pub). The band were so good that they didn't just get called for one encore - they got called - and gave - FOUR encores! An amazing gig with a very supportive audience by four extremely professional musicians - who all clearly enjoyed every minute of it.
KEBB at Shilton
dancing to the Jackie Lynton Band at Scratchers
|Sunday 24th April (Easter
Sunday) found us at Scratchers in the village
of Farncombe on the edge of Godalming. The reason was to see
The Jackie Lynton Band
playing. They had gigged the previous night at Northchapel, which
meant that they were rehearsed and hot to go - always better when "on a
tour". The little pub was crowded with locals, friends and even a
couple who had travelled all the way from Camden in North London to see
the renowned Jackie
Mike Windus and Chris Bryant were as hot as ever, Mike especially on the Chuck Berry numbers. Colin Pattenden and Spud Metcalfe provided the powerful drive for the music and Jack's singing was great. As well as his usual repertoire of Rock and Blues he gave us a stunning example of how he can easily handle the more harmonious side of classic rock with a performance of Isn't It A Pity (George Harrison).
It was a warm evening and the pub was crowded; unusually there were
dancers at both the front (see picture) and some people jiving at the
back - difficult enough when the pub is empty - and a bit of a miracle
when there are a hundred people jammed in it! A very good evening
enjoyed by all.
|Monday 18th April
On Monday evening I drove over to Walton-On-Thames to Bagster
House - an unlikely looking workings men's club in the middle of
a playing field. The object of the evening was an "Open
Mike" night; and the reason for attending was that
John Hawken (Nashville
Teens, Renaissance and
Strawbs) had called me at the weekend to say he was
visiting the UK for a few weeks and planned to go along with
Brian Willoughby (Strawbs).
The gig was great. There was a three piece band, guitar, bass and drums
playing when we arrived; the drummer was excellent. Then
Brian and John
got up and joined them to play Superstitions - a fantastic
piece for improvisation and solo showcases.
They were followed by a young couple singing their own songs, the first of which was good, but I'm sorry to report that the others left me cold. Next up was an Elvis impersonator who was very good. He also called up Brian and John to help back him.
Then the trio were back with Brian
and John and were joined by a lady
singer to perform Honky Tonk Women, followed by an
excellent version of Another Brick in The Wall. With an
early morning drive beckoning I had to leave at that stage, but it was a
great experience and I'm minded to go again one day soon.
John Hawken at Bagster House
Honeycombs and teens finale - Twist & Shout
|Saturday 16th April
was a day by the seaside, at Swanage in fact; and the late
afternoon and evening were absorbed by putting on a new version of
The Rock Around The Sixties Show
at The Mowlem Theatre, starring
THE NEW HONEYCOMBS and
THE NASHVILLE TEENS.
Unfortunately the gig clashed with Colin & Jacky Pattendens daughters
wedding, so we had to have a "dep" playing bass guitar. We were
lucky and got George Leslie Calvert.
Simon was already at the theatre when Ray, George and I arrived and so were Paul, John and Bob of the New Honeycombs. Spud and Ken turned up together about ten minutes later followed by Angie. We had a full house. The afternoon was packed with sound checking and rehearsing the finale, which was both bands on stage performing Twist and Shout, which we hoped would be accompanied by the audience who would be dancing in the aisles.
The show was terrific artistically and musically, but it was a
disaster economically. The house was virtually empty - a factor,
so the management told us - of it being "off season". However, because
The Mowlem is a very small theatre, we were able to make
this appear less obvious by closing the upper circle. It was
still a bit disheartening after all the publicity which had gone into
the show. The show must go on though, and the bands played
extremely well and gave the third full auditorium a great performance.
The lesson learned is one we should have already known - that is that
seaside theatres do well in "the season", but not "out of season".
A great show, what a shame it was for such a small audience.
|Saturday 2nd April
Fran took me to London to see
CINDERELLA danced by The Birmingham
Royal Ballet Company
at the Coliseum next to St Martins in The Fields in
The tickets were a birthday present, and the deep thought behind them is that I plan to see the new Matthew Bourne interpretation of the story in the next month or so, and it is always interesting to contrast and compare.
I've never seen this ballet before and the music was typical Prokofiev - very "art deco" and not particularly memorable - but very good. The ugly sisters - Dumpy and Skinny - are played for comedy while the love story is played straight. The parts of the lizards, toad and mice are very skilfully danced, and reminiscent of Frederick Ashton's work in the sixties. This is the classic European late eighteenth century version of the story. Earlier versions are found all over the world from China to South America; and some are quite bloodthirsty and potentially inappropriate for earlier twentieth century ballet, but all seem to involve shoes and dancing.
The dancing was superb - the Birmingham Royal Ballet are evidently
very well trained; with lots of dramatic costumes and choruses of
sparkly tutu's. There were three acts and the scenery and stage effects
were incredibly well done; overall a great show and well worth
seeing. I look forward to seeing Bourne's version for comparison.
|Saturday 26th March
took me to Pyrford Social Club where
The Jackie Lynton Band was
performing. The little club room was packed and it was nice to see
some familiar faces there; Vanessa and Jacky, as well as
Keith-The-Stalker and his posse.
Jack was in a story telling mood and regaled the audience with loads of his jokes as well as delivering excellent Rock and Roll. When Jack gets talkative as well as singing it is usually an excellent show. Evidently Colin P had spent some time getting the sound quality right because Jacks voice was clear as a bell. Spud was hot on the drums and Colin Pattenden played his heart out. Mike Windus and Chris Bryant were both sparkling - especially on their solos. At one point Jack sat down with the audience and let Mike sing Reelin' and a Rockin' - and the three guitarists choreographed their own little bit of Status Quo type silliness for the guitar breaks.
As well as Rock and Blues, Jack
is also an excellent ballad singer and among the more memorable pieces
of this genre he sang Five Card Hand and
George Harrison's Isn't It A
Pity - an excellent song, beautifully performed by the band.
Mike, Colin, Jack, Spud and Chris
KEBB - above, and with Keith Allen below
|Thursday 17th March
found us at The Maltings in Farnham - one of
Monica Boogaloo's adventures. The
event was a fairly extraordinary performance by
The King Earl Boogie Band.
Unfortunately George Leslie Calvert
was otherwise disposed somewhere overseas, so we enjoyed the bass
playing of Dave Harding instead.
The rest of the band were all present and correct. There was a lot
of sitting going on! We expect it from
John Coghlan (drums) and Colin Earl
(piano) because their instruments sort of demand it -
but Dave Peabody also played sitting down because he has injured his
knee. Gordon Vaughan played brilliantly - he can really make his
The band played mainly tracks from their recent CDs - possibly because these had been the reference points for Dave Harding, who had deputised at very short notice. He coped very well with some of the more fiddly bits - particularly the unusual ending to This Little Light of Mine. John Coghlan played a brilliant solo on Who Do You Love. I always smile when I see this man - a legend of the British Heavy Rock scene - playing delicately with brushes, or lightly tapping his little splash cymbal.
The sound was engineered by Keith Allen - a veteran musician associated with Marty Wilde's Wildcats - who sings, plays harmonica, plays guitar and plays drums. Farnham Maltings Cellar Bar is a notoriously difficult place to get volume and balance - but he did well. Towards the end of the show Keith was invited up to sing and harmonicise Hoochie Coochie Man and Teenage Wedding. He has a fabulous blues voice and with his long grey hair and six foot four frame he really looks the Rock'n'Roll icon that he is.
An excellent evening with a slightly different line-up than usual -
very entertaining - and thanks to Monica
Boogaloo for running such a lovely gig.
Sound check at the Kenneth More
Friday 11th March I finished work early and drove to Addlestone to collect Ray Phillips and his son, Wesley, after which we drove almost seventy miles around the M25 and into the east side of London to find The Kenneth More Theatre at Ilford. Outside the stage door we met up with Colin Pattenden, Simon Spratley, Spud Metcalfe and Ken Osborn - collectively THE NASHVILLE TEENS. Inside the theatre we met with Paul Bonner and John, Bob and Angela - who are collectively THE NEW HONEYCOMBS. This was the first experimental evening of a potentially great sixties nostalgia tour.
The two bands had not met before - so we had an interesting sound check getting to know each other before we - The Teens - went toseek some form of food sustenance. We ended up in McDonalds, so I'm not sure whether that counts as an achievement or a cop-out; and then we progressed to the Black Horse - a dingy and quite dangerous feeling little pub, before returning to the theatre.
We arrived back just as the other band were starting their set playing to a three quarters full house. I was surprised by The New Honeycombs. They were not a band that I particularly appreciated in the sixties, a bit "nice" and "poppy" - but they were excellent and some of the songs I had dismissed as a teenager are actually quite good, even Have I the Right, which was, of course, their tab number.
Having a fragile right arm excused me from
most heavy duties, so I watched backstage during the break while
Spud, Colin and
Simon beavered away behind the closed
stage curtains to rebuilt the drum kit, change the fold back settings
and generally prepare for the second half. The second half started
and The Teens were great -
the audience loved them and the band loved being loved - loads of smiles
and banter with the audience. Ray
told anecdotes about his experiences with Chuck
Berry, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and
Spencer Davis while he strutted his stuff on stage like a man
half his age! He also added This Little Bird into the set,
which was terrific - a real nostalgia item. All too soon they
reached their climax with Tobacco Road, and then
the New Honeycombs came to join them on stage where both
bands united to perform Twist and Shout - which the
audience joined with. A bit out of character for
The Teens "Hard Drivin' Rock"
image - but the audience loved it. A great evening.
Mike, Colin, Jackie and Chris.
|Sunday 6th February
I made a pilgrimage to Scratchers at Godalming to
see The Jackie Lynton Band
playing. It was the first time I'd seen Jack since the beginning
of December and Vanessa Lynton was in the audience so we had a lot of family news to catch up with.
Colin Pattenden was pleased with himself and wreathed in smiles all night; and it was good to catch up with Spud Metcalf, Chris Bryant and Mike Windus . The band were joined by Adam Russel (from The Flying Tigers) for several numbers. Adam is an amazingly good harmonica player and he gives that quintessentially British Old School R&B feel to the performance. While the whole band were tight and on really good form, both Jack's vocals and Chris's guitar solos were on fire! Mike Windus also played a blinding good slide solo.
Jack was in "entertaining mood"
and interrupted several songs with his banter and jokes, which usually
goes down well with a friendly audience - and this group were more
friendly than usual because a whole bunch of
Jacks followers were present - giving the whole gig a homely
feel. An excellent evening with some brilliant music from a very
|Saturday 22nd January
I drove myself over to Oxford to The Seacourt Bridge
Inn at Botley, to see The King
Earl Boogie Band playing. The band were excited to be
playing again, this being their first gig almost together since mid
November. The "almost" is because Gordon
Vaughan couldn't make it, so the band performed with only one
lead guitar - which was, of course, Dave
Peabody. Indeed, Dave excelled himself. He is without a
doubt one of the best guitarists I have ever met, but tonight he managed
to be even better! He reached into his soul when he played Drifter
Blues and Walking Blues - both awesome
performances. Colin Earl was
also at the top of his game with fingers blurring across the keyboard as
he stabbed out gorgeously staccato country blues riffs - both men
clearly in Nirvana with their music and revelling in a very appreciative
I had seen Dave and Colin playing together only a few weeks earlier, but I hadn't seen George Leslie Calvert since Christmas or John Coghlan since the gig at Carnglaze last November. They too were both on fire - reacting to a very lively audience. John was in particularly Quo mood where as well as providing the feather light touch where required, he was also revelling in beating out the hard rhythms and throwing in the odd flamboyant baroque paradiddles. It's a shame that there wasn't time to give him a solo - he looked as if he needed to let one out!
Les's bass complemented
John keep the hard driving rhythms
going and he also gave us full power of his husky voice on
In The Summertime, Slow Down and Teenage Wedding.
An excellent evenings entertainment.
Colin and Dave
|The following evening, Sunday 9th January
Fran and I found ourselves at The Red Lion in Stevenage
Old Town, watching our friends Dave
Peabody and Colin Earl entertaining the assembled locals.
Unfortunately we could only stay for the first set, but it was great to get our first dose of Boogie and Blues this year - and a total contrast to the previous evenings chamber music. The set was predominantly blues, although Colin played a very rag-like boogie solo which I forgot to ask him the name of. Of course they played a snippet of In The Summertime and Dave did a very nice version of Drifter Blues which he kindly dedicated to me. They closed the first set with Down The Road Apiece; and then - sadly - Fran and I had to depart.
It would have been great to stay for the second set, but we had been
travelling all day and we were still eighty plus miles from home, so we
bade our farewell and wished them luck until the next time.
St Martins was sold out
8th January we attended a concert at St
Martins-in-the-Fields church, which is on the corner of
Trafalgar Square in London. The event was a baroque music concert by
The Belmont Ensemble of London.
Our first gig of 2011. The ensemble was formed by its conductor,
Peter Dyson, to provide work
opportunity for students bridging the gap between conservatoire and
finding employment. It performs every fortnight at St
Martins-in-the-Fields, and is reckoned by Classic FM to
currently be Britain's foremost chamber music group. This concert
was given by candlelight, which added a nice touch; there are a variable
number of violinists, some violas, a cello and a harpsichord.
The first half started with Bach's Brandenurg Concerto No3, and was followed by works by Vivaldi and Purcell. Pachelbel's Canon and Bach's Air on a G String were among the better known baroque pieces in this set. After a break the ensemble returned and played Mozarts Salzburg Symphony No2, and then the high spot of the concert, Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
The ensemble answered an encore call with a modern Brazilian piece
which was excellently performed but the acoustics were such that we
couldn't hear what it was called or who it was composed by.
Nonetheless, a stupendous evening of excellent music.
START OF 2011