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GIG REPORTS 2014

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

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

                       


2014

Christmassy McGillivray

Saturday 20th December I drove down to Godalming, to The Red Lion, to see the Fran McGillivray Band. I was very surprised that the pub was virtually deserted, I had not visited this venue before, but it looked quite promising in terms of size and layout despite the room being a bit high ceilinged - which suggested difficult acoustics. When I arrived I found Fran McGillivray, Mike Burke and Roger Nunn all looking a little glum, although they did appear to cheer up when I arrived - perhaps because I had just doubled the size of the audience! After a bit of banter and an introduction to Roger's wife, Maria - whom almost inexplicably I had never met before - they started to play to a room with only a dozen of us in the audience. They are seasoned entertainers and are consummately professional though, and they played brilliantly. To my surprise the acoustics were reasonable, possibly because with a smaller audience the PA wasn't over loud.  Despite (or perhaps because of) the adversity to playing to a half empty room, the band were extremely tight - all playing and singing at the top of their game. The stage area was be-decked with Christmas greenery and tinsel which somehow seemed to enhance the richness of Frans voice. Despite her having recently suffered a rotten cold, her voice was still velvety - making me think of honey and brandy in that Christmassy setting. Roger played his heart out - he is one of the most versatile drummers I have watched, and he plays with his soul as well as with his hands and feet. Mike was hot as well - and his guitar solo on Long Gone even drew an appreciative applause from the small audience. Because it is ten years since the band ("So Long Angel") issued their Falling CD, the band played quite a lot of their own old standards as well as songs from their more recent releases. This gave the evening a more jazzy edge to the blues - which also encourages Roger to drum more soulfully - which - judging by his grins - he really enjoys. So we were entertained with Ecstasy, Mobile Blues and - as a finale, a fantastic presentation of Love Is Freedom - probably one of my favourite songs.  Fran and Mike presented their latest song - a blues called Christmas Don't Start Till You're Here - which featured some direct vocals from Mike.  Mike has a great voice, but in my experience of this band, has hitherto used it primarily for harmonising and backing; Roger also joined in with backing and he has a sweet voice as well. They also presented a very laid back version of Route 66 in which Mike and Fran alternated vocals. I was really impressed with this presentation - not only a great standard song, but an innovative arrangement. I was also impressed that this is the first version I have ever heard where the singers have clearly taken the trouble to look at a map! All the town names were pronounced clearly correctly!  I now have this version of Route 66 up high on my list of McGillivray favourites, along with Spoonful and Love is Freedom.  Massive coincidence: while driving to Godalming I had been listening to the Paul Gambaccini Show on Radio 2, and he was playing Christmas Blues by Charles Brown as I arrived in Godalming car park -  not being all that familiar with the song I had sat in the car to listen all the way through before I went to look for the gig. Amazing coincidence, when Fran sang the same song during the first set! Except I much prefer Fran's version of it!
Despite my broad and catholic tastes in music, Fran, Mike and Roger are easily my favourite purveyors of live music and I was really pleased to be able to see them on Saturday because this was the last planned UK gig of the year for me - I hope to be spending New Year overseas with my daughter. Despite ending my 2014 quest for live music on a high, I am gutted that I am going to miss gigs with The Nashville Teens, The Jackie Lynton Band and Karl Green with Vanity Fare while I'm away !
 

 

Saturday 6th December  Stephanie had been dropped off with us by George Leslie Calvert when he was en route to the late afternoon soundcheck with The Ian Campbell Single Handed Blues Band at The South Hill Park Cellar Bar. After supper we bundled into the car and drove round to South Hill Park. We were lucky to get a table - the event was sold out and by the time the gig started there was standing room only.  The band were magnificent - and during the first set they included all four tracks from their new CD, Calling Johnny Blues. Three of the songs, including the title track, were written by Ian Campbell, two of those three - Chevy 39 and I Don't Understand - were written in collaboration with Keith Allen. There were two sets to the performance and during the break we got to catch up with Keith Allen, Simon Spratley, and - of course - Ian Campbell himself; and after the final set that we managed a long chat with Simon Baker too.  The musicians were all pretty pleased with themselves- and they deserved to be. It was one of the best blues sets I have seen for years and the performance was polished - despite a few minor problems with Ians automatic key change device for his guitar (necessary when you only have one hand with which to play the thing!)  The second set majored on songs that have been part of the heritage of the original Campbell Band deliveries for many years - with a new twist now that Ian has only one hand to use.  Shake your Money Maker, Good Morning little Schoolgirl, Travis Boogie featured, and to finish with, Gloria.  An excellent evening, certainly the Old School R&B session I have listened to ages.

 

Jayne and Janis spelled correctly

Friday 28th November Fran and I drove over to Sunbury Cricket Club to see Paul Kings Skeleton Crew performing. it was good to catch up with June & Peter, who were there and also with Stevie Kemp and Janis and Jayne. I'm quite keen on spelling things correctly, so I was quite mortified to learn from Janis Kemp that I have been spelling her name wrongly for years! I humbly apologise for the ce instead of the s! Not only that, but I have been depriving her sister Jayne of her well earned "y" by mis-spelling her name too! I have checked back through all the stuff published here and on RogerandFran.com to correct my spellings of their names. It was also good to catch up with Paul - the club manager - to seek a spot for Elliot Schneider and Carmen Castro when they undertake their UK tour next August. Paul needs to hear some of their music, but is agreeable in principle. Steve Kemp was providing the music between live performances, and delivered his usual thought provoking mix of blues classics - things you wouldn't normally hear in a disco. Paul King was on top form - he is an exemplary musical entertainer, and a great song-writer too. The band had arranged a second outing for Alan Hitt as their drummer. Alan is a very good drummer, and (especially considering that the other members of this band have known each other for forty years and don't rehearse much) he managed  to keep aligned with the rest of the band without any apparent difficulty.  Colin Pattenden wasn't feeling good - he is recovering from an infection - but he played excellently despite his discomfort.  Chris Bryant had surprised everyone by getting his hair cut and beard trimmed - it made him look ten years younger. A good evening out.
 

 

Jack during the first set on Saturday

Saturday 22nd November we visited The Pyrford Sports and Social Club to see The Jackie Lynton Band playing.  Jack did seem a bit under the weather, but Mike Windus, Chris Bryant, Spud Metcalfe and Colin Pattenden all seemed to be bright and happy. I joined Adam Russell,  Jacky, Sarah-Jane, Trish, Ray Stiles and Pam and we exchanged news and opinions until the band started. The event was actually a wedding of two of the club members, so there were quite a lot of smart dresses and suits in the audience. The first set was brilliant - Jack was in good voice, and sang "Wonderful Tonight" for the happy couple to dance to. Ray and Pam did a demonstration dance (Ray teaches jive dancing and is an amazing mover) and the place was generally happy and noisy. After the break the band started up with a medley of Carl Perkins Rock'n'Roll songs including Blue Suede Shoes.  At the end of the song Jack was white as a sheet, staggered and had to be supported to sit on a chair. He had suffered blood pressure problems last Christmas, so we called an ambulance.  Adam Russell and Chris Bryant took over the performance and the band delivered entertainment until half past eleven while Jack underwent tests in the ambulance outside. These revealed that his pulse was not as rhythmic as it should be, so the ambulance took him away hospital for observation.  Next day we learned the good news that Jack had been discharged from hospital early on Sunday morning and was safely home again. Apparently it had been a problem caused by dehydration - so we need to keep him well watered when he is on stage in future.
 

 

Saturday 8th November was a long day - after spending the afternoon at a three hour cinema matinee in Walton-on-Thames, we drove down to Godalming to Scratchers (aka The three Lions) to see The Fran McGillivray Band. The pub wasn't particularly busy and it has been tastefully refurbished since the last time I went - a much nicer feel to the place, warmer, and more cared for.  Fran McGillivray, Mike Burke and Roger Nunn were all on stage setting up their show when we arrived, but made time to come over and say hallo - my Fran and I both really love their music, but because of our commitment to the musicians we support more formally, we don't get to see these three very often. They were all in really good spirits, we traded updates on our daughters and admired Rogers new Turkish cymbals. Fran and Mikes daughter, Katie Brayben, has the lead role playing the part of Carole King in the London musical, "Beautiful" which opens in London on 10th February next year - so we are all excited for her. It is ten years since Fran's previous band - So Long Angel - released their final recording; so as well as their regular play list - which includes music from their more recent CDs, they played three or four numbers from their Falling album, including Ecstasy and my personal favourite - Love's a Freedom.
When they played at my sixtieth birthday (gosh, that's almost six years ago!) they specially dedicated "Freedom" to me because they knew how much I liked it. In fact on that occasion I was standing with Jackie Lynton at the back of the hall while they played it. Jack is a prolific and successful song writer having written for bands like Status Quo; during Freedom he asked me "who wrote this one then?" When I answered that Fran and Mike had written it themselves he just said "It's f***ing good".  Praise indeed from the Master.  Almost six years on at Scratchers they dedicated it to me again, which, of course, makes it even more special to me.
Generally the band were on fire! All clearly really enjoying the show - a constant big beaming smile from Roger and a really tangible rapport between Fran and Mike, who were both dancing about the stage like teenagers. The pub had filled up by the time they had finished the first set, and it had filled with an appreciative audience. Mikes guitar work continues to amaze - he is a stunning player; and Frans singing was excellent - she has a great range, holds notes very well and has a voice that is deep and flavoured with honey and chocolate.  Fran has an amazing ability to convey the real angst of blues songs, while at the same time catching Mike's eye and flashing her twinkling a smile at him - quite the opposite of bluesy!  An amazing couple with a true love of the blues/jazz fusion music genre they work with; and the ability to deliver it so professionally.  Without a doubt our favourite live music experience.
 

Fran McGillivray Band at Scratchers
 

 

Saturday 1st November Fran and I drove over to Pyrford Sports and Social Club to help Graham Pereira celebrate his sixtieth birthday. He had booked Paul King's Skeleton Crew as the entertainment, supported by Stevie Kemps Disco. While the band were setting up I had a quick chat with Steve Kemp. The term "disco" is quite misleading, no glitter balls or flashy light shows here, Steve is more in the mould of the late great John Peel, playing us masterpieces by Captain Beefheart and Howlin' Wolf. I really like his shows, all thoroughly well thought through.
Since the last time we saw Skeleton Crew perform they have changed their drummer. The usual front line of Paul King, Colin Pattenden and Chris Bryant are now supplemented by Alan Hitt on the drums.  I haven't seen Alan for several years, he is good steady drummer - fascinating because he plays left handed with the hi-hat and snare on his right. I am fascinated by drummers because the drum kit is probably one of the most complex instruments in any band, requiring all four limbs to operate independently of each other!  The band had played together at The Black Horse in Addlestone just the night before so they were practiced, and consequently very tight on this performance.
As well as all of Grahams family and friends at the party, there was quite a gathering of musical wives, girlfriends and buddies. Jacky, Pat and Sarah-Jane were there supporting their partners in the band, and Janice Kemp and her sister were there to support Steve. Because Graham had invited many of the musicians who regularly play at the club (Graham is the guy who books them!) there were others in the audience like George Leslie Calvert and Stephanie, and Liz and Colin Earl, as well as Chrissy, Arnie, Debbie and Russell.
The band played extremely well and performed three full sets, ending at half past midnight. Pauls style is a cross between folk-rock and boogie-jugband so we had a broad sweep of musical types, and during the last set the dance floor was full.

photo left:  Chris, Colin and Paul
 

 

Jack with Stated Quo

Saturday 18th October I collected Jackie Lynton from his home at Woking at one o'clock and we drove the almost two hundred miles up to The Box at The Royal Hotel in Crewe - way up in Cheshire. The gig was a performance by Stated Quo - a cover band - and both Jack, and our friend John Coghlan, were appearing as guest artists at the gig. While the band sounded very much like the original Status Quo, they didn't look much like them - except, of course, for John, who looks EXACTLY like one of the original members, because he is one! The vocalist and lead guitarist of Stated Quo is Mike Grady, a lovely guy with long curly hair and an excellent voice.  He was supported by Jimmy Glynn who covered second lead guitar, some vocals and harmonica.  Simon Fenton provided the driving force of bass guitar - a tall guy with splendid flowing hair - which on this set (smoke, lights and a wind machine) looked absolutely fantastic. John Coghlan played the drums for the whole of the first set and the overall sound was very Quo-like and very loud. Jackie got up to sing four songs with them around the middle of the first set; these included Chuck Berry's Let It Rock and his own Rock'n'Roll Whisky Blues. There were about 130 in the audience, ninety percent of whom were Quo Army head bangers - who looked great and clearly were really enjoying the performance. Toward the end of the first set, the band showed their virtuosity by deviating from the Quo song book and playing the Shadows instrumental, The Rise and Fall of Fingel Bunt which really showcased Mike's prowess as a guitarist. After the first set we had a real deluge of fans into the Green Room, seeking autographs and photo's with their heroes. Eventually John Coghlan packed and set off for home while the second set commenced, this time with their own drummer Al Bowerbank up on the drum rostrum.  Jack sang the first three songs with them - his voice much more powerful than the first set (he had a bit of a sore throat, but I don't suppose many of the audience noticed). When he had finished his part of the show Jack and I alternately sat in the Green Room or hung around chatting in the smoking area downstairs and outside. The band were very good and played through until gone midnight.  We had planned to leave early, but we couldn't go because Mike was on stage, and he hadn't yet paid Jack for the show! Eventually we got the money at about half past midnight and confirmed arrangements for the next of these gigs - which is to be next February 21st at Mansfield. We were back home by half past four in the morning.
 

 

above: The Teens at Whitby
 

 

below: two views from behind the stage.

 

Saturday 27th September The Nashville Teens appeared at The Whitby Festival of The Sixties, in Whitby Pavilion. It was a long day (18 hours) involving 560 miles of driving, a sound check, some excellent fish and chips, a couple of beers and a Rockin' performance to a sell-out crowd. It was tiring, but it was fun. I started collecting Spud Metcalfe, Ken Osborn, some guitars and a backline amplifier just before half past ten in the morning. We set off with the intention of using the M1 motorway, but before we got there we had a call from Colin Pattenden and Ray Phillips who told us that they were stuck in a fairly stationary queue on the M1 near Milton Keynes, They had also warned Simon Spratley - who was driving up independently.  We quickly re-planned our route and diverted via the M40 merging onto the M1 again at Nottingham.  Although we had been a good three quarters of an hour behind Colin and Ray when we started, we arrived ten minutes before them at Whitby Pavilion. Simon was already there, waiting with the promoter, Chris Woods, who was worrying that we were running a little late.  Inside we met up with old mate Cliff Bennett and were introduced to his backing band, who were The New Amen Corner. There weren't any original members from the sixties, and this was the first time we had worked with this particular combination of musicians. For a change, Cliff had left his Rebel Rousers at home and was appearing as a "guest artist" with Amen Corner. We were later joined by Steve Ellis (of Love Affair) who was also guest singing with Amen Corner.  We also met with Carl the compere (who shares our dressing room at Chris Wood gigs, but who's surname I've never found out!). The first band up were a local tribute band called "The Stones" who would be opening for us. They turned out to be very good. Chris should not have been concerned because our soundcheck was delayed anyway by the New Amen Corner boys, who had so much "technology" that they had difficulty getting a good sound.  We completed ours in about twenty minutes and then set out to search for fish and chips while The Stones set their stuff up on stage. Their lead singer has an uncanny resemblance to the young Mick Jagger - and a very similar voice. We returned just as the show was starting, and had a beer while we watched the Stones performing. When they had finished it was our turn to be on stage for an hour. The Teens set was excellent - good sound quality and a sold out audience of about two and half thousand people who clearly loved the music. The dance floor was packed.  Many in the audience dress up "sixties style" - which makes for a great party atmosphere - although many of us are no longer as slim as we were in that magic decade! After the performance we packed the instruments away, and watched the beginning of the Amen Corner set, with Steve Ellis singing. We didn't stay long though, and soon bade farewell to our friends in Whitby, and to each other - and set off for home at about twenty minutes to midnight.  We were back in the Bracknell area by half past four in the morning, and I got into bed just before five o'clock, when the sky was just beginning to turn from black to grey with the impending dawn.  A long adventure, but lots of fun.
 

             

 

     

Wednesday 24th September We attended The Half Moon pub in Putney to meet up with friends Penny Pound and David Quaife - who are both directors of the Peter Quaife Foundation. David's brother, Peter, was bass guitarist and founder member of The Kinks, but he sadly died of kidney failure a couple of years ago. Peter had renal problems for years and always found sitting around doing nothing during dialysis was a real bore. While he could use that enforced stillness to write songs with his co-writer Michael Julin, he realised that it must be extremely difficult for children to sit or lie still while undergoing dialysis. So Dave and Penny set up the PQF as a charity which raises money through pop music - mainly through concerts and record sales.  Not to fund dialysis, but to provide distractions for kids who are undergoing dialysis. The money goes on computer games, books, etc to keep the kids occupied while they have to sit or lie still for hours on end. Wednesdays event at Putney was a concert to raise money and the main show was Geno Washington and The Ram Jam Band.  I haven't seen Geno perform since 1965, when he appeared at my youth club! (The Bowes Lyon Centre in Stevenage). He still has that phenomenal drive and still generates the audience excitement which has them shouting "Geno Geno" and repeating his yells. A great performer - and also a great singer, his support is from The Ram Jam Band who are a five piece band including two saxophones as well as the more traditional drums/bass/lead section. Geno's wife, "Frenchie" was there as was Mike Read - the well known DJ - whom I haven't seen since the Brighton Millennium gigs fourteen years ago. We had a good chat about The Nashville Teens - Mike comes from the same area of Weybridge/Addlestone and has known them since before they recorded Tobacco Road.  An excellent evening in good company and with some amazing music. Geno certainly knows how to whip up a crowd - even when they are mostly over sixty years old!

Picture right:  Penny with Geno on Wednesday
 

 

 
Sunday 21st September  We arrived at Cranleigh Arts Centre about seven o'clock and looked for our friends Mike Burke & Fran McGillivray.  They were not the main act, they were opening for The Nimmo Brothers, an act I had never heard of before.  We got there about a quarter of an hour before curtain-up and discovered to our horror that tickets were twenty pounds each!  We really like Fran and Mikes music, and might have paid that to see them doing a full show - but they were only doing a forty minute warm up, and we didn't plan to stay for the main band! So I phoned Mike and asked him to come meet us in the foyer.  Mike is a star - he got our names on the door and we got in for free!  They were exceedingly good, singing mainly blues numbers. They started with Midnight Special, and their set included Sitting on Top Of The World and Drinking from The Same Old Well. They also sang Candle Burning and Some Luck from their current CD - which are a little more on the jazz edge of blues. The whole presentation was excellent and it filled a long felt need to hear our friends performing again.  Sadly the management didn't allow flash photography, so I didn't get any decent pictures.  Never mind, we hope to see them again soon.
 

 

Saturday 6th September we drove over to Sunbury Cricket Club where Pete & June Barnard were holding a charity gig to raise money for some children's charities. They laid on a dinner and a band - DAVE'S NOT HERE, led by our old pal Karl Green (Hermans Hermits) on bass guitar and vocals; supported by Richard Scarfe (Love Affair) on lead guitar and vocals; Kevin Welling provided keyboard, rhythm guitar and vocals while Ian Saunders drove the powerhouse of the drums and provided backing vocals. 
It was a very warm close evening and the band looked extremely hot, but they managed to keep the dance floor full most of the time.  Karl has recently returned from a tour in the USA and hopes to return there in November for a series of radio interviews and promotional work prior to touring again next Spring. He doesn't have a name for the USA tour band yet, but we joked about calling it "Hermans Not Here" !  The first set was very tight and sounded great. Richard is an excellent guitarist and can sound very much like Jimi Hendrix. Kevin's piano was - for a change - dominant. This was good because it outlines each tune the way that the best studio mixes do - but rarely comes out on stage because pianos are generally quieter than the other instruments. The reason for this wasnt that Kevin had turned up - it was that in deference to the age profile of the audience (many were well into retirement) the band had been consciously trying to keep the volume of the other instruments down.  Ian is a star on drums, particularly during the heavier rock numbers. The effect of suppressing the sound rather than just belting out at high volume was excellent.
During the second set Karl had asked me to video a couple of numbers so that he might use them as promotional material on his next USA visit in November. Unfortunately Karl had been talked into adjusting the balance and volume during the break - something he later regretted.  Not only were the vocals marginally too "bright" in the second half, but as a result there was a lot of feedback from Karls microphone. This wasn't too obvious during most of the second set, but was particularly bad during the final number - which was the Hermits classic, There's A Kind Of Hush. Shame because that was the one song he wanted to use for promotional work!  The song was very well presented, and Karls voice is excellent for it - but the feedback didn't help the quality of the video I was making.
Overall - although I know Karl was upset by the poor sound quality in the second set - the show was great and we raised almost 500 for the charities.
 

above: "Dave's Not Here" on Saturday night
right:  Karl Green - not the best pose I've ever shot of him!

 

 

Saturday 26th August was a local gig -  The Silver Birch pub in Bracknell - to see THE NASHVILLE TEENS. The band rarely play such small gigs, but The Birch is Spud the drummers local, so we do a couple of appearances there each year. The band are really too loud for such a small environment, but they play it anyway. It was a very warm evening, and I didn't arrive until just after nine o'clock. I found Spud & Trisha Metcalfe, Simon Spratley & Alison, and Ken Osborn drinking at an outdoor table.  After a chat I went indoors and found Ray Phillips, Colin Pattenden and Adam Russell setting up stage with help from Wesley Phillips.

The band started playing at about half past nine and played their one hour set with a fifteen minute break in it. The sound quality was good (apart from a bit of feedback from Rays microphone during the first set.) and the band were generally very tight and on form. Ken was - however - absolutely on fire. He was so good that got an ovation from the audience for his solo in Red House and again for his solo in Born to Be Wild. It was an exceedingly hot evening and although there weren't many punters in the pub - understandably because the few that were there were melting - they were very appreciative.  It was even hotter on the stage area and the band all reckoned that they had lost weight sweating! 

picture left:  The Teens at The Birch
 

 

Sunday 20th July was a surprise gig for me. I didn't plan to go until almost half past eight on Sunday evening; and by nine o'clock I was at The Hare Hill Club. with a pint of lager in front of me! The club was averagely busy, but the hall was virtually empty, with only four people sitting in one corner (with guitar and saxophone cases); a lady setting up a drum kit onstage, and another lady sitting in another corner.  We were soon joined by another guy with a guitar, whom I didn't recognise, but who turned out to be Robin Bibi - a much acclaimed guitarist and alleged pal of my friends Fran McGillivray, Mike Burke and Dave Peabody.  Eventually a few more people drifted in until we had about twenty, seventeen of whom were musicians! The music started - with a band presenting a reasonably good set of blues featuring Robin on vocals and guitar.  His guitar stood out as a professional!  I'd never seen Mr Bibi before - and while his voice isn't bad, his guitar work and harmonica playing are exemplary. One day soon I need to see him perform in a more professional surrounding. After a few songs I was joined by Chris Bowling - who is the social secretary of the Hare Hill Club, he was able to tell me who each of the musicians was.  Like all open mike events there were some performers who were gems and some in which enthusiasm scored higher than accomplishment; but at least they all tried. Two other performers stood out to me. One was a keyboard player who's name I didn't catch - I think they called him JC? Not a very imposing looking man, but an excellent organs style - not unlike the early style of Alan Price. The other was named Roger Ward, and he is the lead singer with a band called Dave Hudson and the Hornets.  He has a very powerful voice, as well as a tuneful one, and sang a handful of soul songs.  Another performer I'd like to see more of - and I will, because his band are supporting The Jackie Lynton Band at the next Hare Hill Fest on Sunday 24th August.

This was a very good gig. Not polished, but interesting, and it showcased some amazing talent hidden among the general lot of averagely good musicians.  Next time I'm bored on a Sunday evening, you'll likely find me along at Addlestone
 

 

above: Friends, Family and Fans at the party
below: Ian Campbell and Len Surtees join the Teens on stage

Saturday 12th July was a red letter day for THE NASHVILLE TEENS. Their seminal record, Tobacco Road, was released on 26th June 1962 - and fifty years ago this week it was shooting up the charts to secure the name "The Nashville Teens" in the musical hall of fame. Despite several changes in management the band went on through the next few years to achieve chart status (top fifty) with Google Eye, Find My Way Back Home, This Little Bird, The Hard Way, and Biggest Night Of Her Life, and some of their members eventually went on to play with the likes of The Animals, Renaissance, and The Strawbs. One went on to marry Suzi Quattro and another joined Don Ardens management team and was the personal manager of ELO during their entire recording career. Ray Phillips kept the faith and has maintained the band name throughout the intervening years.

This Saturday the band threw a party to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Tobacco Road. Held at The HareHill Club in Addlestone - the original bands home town - the party was for FAMILY, FRIENDS and FANS.  Chris Bowling, the chair of the events committee at the club, had arranged the venue - laid on the bar and a barbecue and between us we had consumed quite a lot of alcohol wondering what number we should cater for. We settled on between 150 and 200 - and as it turned out, 200 was a good estimate. On Saturday Colin Pattenden was at the venue before 2pm to set up the backline, Ray Phillips joined him mid afternoon to set up the DVD show; and I rolled up just before five to set up the projector for the rolling photo album.  After half past seven the band began to roll in. First was Simon Spratley with his keyboards, soon followed by Ken Osborn and Adrian (Spud) Metcalfe with drumkit and lead guitar amplifier. Colin had also set up a spare guitar amplifier on stage because we expected guests who might want to join in!  Sure enough, Ian Campbell arrived with his "one handed" guitar frame and when Chris Bryant arrived with Sarah-Jane he was carrying his guitar.  All through the evening we had a rolling (and random) slide show projected at a screen beside the stage - a concoction of over five hundred photographs spanning the fifty years - with odd scattered tributes to special people, like Rays late father and to Alan Williams - Rays best (and very recently late) friend from his army days.  We had also commandeered the overhead video projector and had the big screen down in front of the stage to show a couple of DVDs of The Nashville Teens, one dating from the mid seventies and one from 1984.  The hall gradually filled with familiar faces and the bar and barbecue were soon doing a roaring trade. The weather was warm and close, so there was a lot of circulation between the hall and the open air yard where the barbecue was sited.
 
The place was fairly full by nine o'clock so we started - unusually - with me doing an announcement. I'm fine doing presentations to large audiences at work, but not at all comfortable under spotlights in front of a noisy audience at a party! Tonight I had the role equivalent to "best man" at a wedding. I had to read out the apologies and well wishers messages.  First I welcomed the musos whom I had clocked in the room: friends Colin Earl from Mungo Jerry, Jackie Lynton, Ian Campbell and Chris Bryant; plus two "retired" Nashers - Len Surtees, and founder member Pete Harris.  I then had to read out the thanks and congratulations from those who couldn't be there who included Art Sharp and John Hawken (Nashville Teens founder members) Ian McLagan (Small Faces - who claims to have been inspred by John Hawkens piano playing); John Steel and Pete Barton (The Animals); Alan Lovell (The Swinging Blue Jeans); Karl Green (Hermans Hermits); and Ted Taylor (Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes). I read out a special apology from Rose & Ken Kneil: They are our number one fans - if ever we do a festival or big weekend gig - if Rose isn't there right at the front hanging onto the stage - we worry about how she is!  I then introduced each of the current band members, who each got a round of applause - ending with Ray, whos round of applause merged into Ken striking up the opening bars of Rockin' on the Railroad. It almost looked rehearsed!

The band played their regular first 45 minute set, ably assisted by Adam Russell, who joined on harmonica when appropriate. This was followed by a break for more video show - and to allow us to set up Ian Campbell's guitar frame on stage. The second half was nothing like the regular Teens second set! We started with Ian Campbell and Chris Bryant replacing Ken OsbornRay introduced Ian and briefly told the story of how he had been disabled and had fought back to play the blues guitar literally single handedly. Ian played lead guitar on a couple of numbers before Len Surtees joined the extended band on stage with his harmonica. It was so hot in the room that Len had to shed his leopard skin stage jacket which he had arrived in. It was his stage gear from the seventies - and it had actually featured on one of the videos we had been watching that evening! After three more numbers Len and Ian stood down to enable Ken Osborn to get back on stage. while Ray was joined by his daughter Vanessa. She is an excellent vocalist in her own right and they sang a couple of excellent duets, including I Put A Spell On You.  Finally, Vanessa stood down to be replaced by her brother Wesley - who sang Tobacco Road and Born to Be Wild with his dad. The dance floor was full and after the performance everybody agreed that it had been a great party. 

Happy Birthday Tobacco Road.
 

                       

Wesley and Ray singing Tobacco Road                                                         Vanessa and Ray singing Spell On You
 

 

 
Wednesday 2nd July we drove through considerable congestion (almost an hour and half to get through Twickenham because of a major road accident on the A316) and arrived just in time to meet up with David Quaife and Penny Pound at The Half Moon in Putney. Our quest was to see a gig by Ian McLagan - keyboard player with The Small Faces, and now a resident of Austin Texas. David (brother of the late Peter Quaife - bass guitar with The Kinks) was on a mission to sign up Ian to support the Peter Quaife Foundation;  Penny was there not only to support David (she is a director of the charity) but also to re-live her teenage dreams which seemed to revolve around The Small Faces!  Actually the show was brilliant!  Ian is still "small" (I'd guess five foot, maybe an inch or two more), but he has a big - and musical - voice; a big personality; and he is an excellent pianist.  He was accompanied by only one member of THE BUMP BAND, the bass guitarist John Nortathomas, who was equally amazing. One of the best - and most dextrous - bass guitarists I have seen and heard recently.
The duo played mainly Ian's own songs from the intervening years since Small faces ceased trading. They started with a song called ShaLaLaLa which was brilliant and showed us what an amazing bass guitarist John was. More of Ians songs flowed out,  How Blue,  Love Letter, All I Want To Do, I'm Hot, You're Cool, and Warm Rain. With only two musicians there was an almost acoustic feel. Of course he also play to his local audience and threw in the Small Faces song Get Yourself Together.
As well as his general stage presence and artistic skills, Ian is also a brilliant raconteur - and he regaled us with entertaining stories between songs - both of his time with The Small Faces, and of his current adventures with The Bump Band. I was pleased to hear him tell that one of his biggest influences had been John Hawken of the Nashville Teens, I was able to tell him afterwards that I had been to see John play at The Half Moon several times, and their keyboards had occupied the same stage space! Perhaps the most interesting announcement was that Ian, Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart have been talking about potentially re-forming The Faces for a tour sometime in 2016/2017 to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary
An excellent evening.
 


 Ian McLagan and John Nortathomas on stage at the Half Moon

 

Levisham Station Gig

Saturday 14th June was a long day. THE NASHVILLE TEENS had packed the PA, backline and instruments into Colin Pattenden's van on the Friday evening, and had reconvened at 5am on Saturday morning for the long journey up to the middle of The North Yorkshire Moors. Colin, Ray Phillips and the instruments went from Chertsey in the van. Simon Spratley took his own car, I while travelled from Bracknell with Ken Osborn and Spud Metcalfe in my car; and with Kens amplifier and guitar because otherwise the boot felt empty. Our destination was Levisham Station on the North Yorks Moors Railway, half way between Whitby and Pickering, and the gig was the North Yorks Moors Railways Sixties Steam Weekend. We were reassured to see that it was signed by the AA from as far South as the York bypass - about an hour away by car!
The area is - of course - "Heartbeat" Country - with the iconic TV series being filmed at the village of Goathland, just a few stations further along the track. The journey took us over four hours by road, but we were all there by about half past ten at one of the strangest gigs we have ever played!  Levisham Station is about a mile and a half from the tiny village of Levisham - which is itself a long way from Pickering, the nearest town of any real substance. The predominant feature is the scenery, which is absolutely gob-smacking. The road to Levisham has some pretty steep hills, but we were amazed when we encountered the one-in-three descent to the station on an unfenced moorland road, cluttered with sheep and lambs which had no traffic sense at all! As the car reached the crest of the descent the whole world disappeared below my line of vision over the bonnet (hood) of the car- and driving for the next few feet was an act of faith that the road didn't plummet into a gorge!  At the bottom of the hill, nestling in the steep valley, is the station.  There is no evidence of an economic reason for its existence at all - except that it is roughly half way between Pickering and Whitby; so the single line splits into two for a short stretch so that trains can pass each other there. The little station was quite busy with people who turned out to be NYMR volunteers - or "Wombles" as they are known. They helped us cart the heavy equipment along the station platform and out to the marquee stage which had been set up for us.  We were due to start at noon, and planned to play four separate sets of thirty five minutes or so each during the afternoon.  The general concept was that trains would pull in - new audience hopped off, while old audience hopped on - after the trains had pulled out, play a set until just before the next set of trains pulled in.  Good idea, but in practice the timetable was quickly out of kilter with some trains waiting almost twenty minutes in the station (they cannot progress on the single track railway until the line is cleared by their opposite number arriving).  The first train was half an hour early, so we had a fair sized audience while we were still setting up the stage!  The station also boasted a real ale tent, a little art gallery, food and drink shops and a display of nineteen sixties vintage cars. It is difficult to assess numbers, but I think we had a rotating audience of about two hundred at the station at any point in time - more when an engine was waiting in the station - and people were hanging out of the windows to listen and watch. There was another musical event at another station further up the line - with a couple of local bands playing - but we didn't get a long enough break to jump on a train and go and assess them.
No time for a soundcheck, so just after noon the band went straight into Rockin' On The Railroad, a very apt piece of music to start the event. The audience were really appreciative; and at the side of the marquee there were even spasmodic outbreaks of couples jiving on the wet and spongy grass. The Teens played Tobacco Road three times during the afternoon! A bit of a record. In the twenty years I've been mothering them I've only once ever seen them once perform it twice in one day - and that cost the punter at a private party an extra five hundred pounds! So this was a bit of a first.  As the afternoon progressed Ray successfully weaved the set list so that there were few other repetitions, and the band really enjoyed themselves playing in the sunshine in this remote and beautiful open air setting. The weather was good all afternoon (it had rained most of the morning and did so again in the evening).  People came and went and we donated a handful of CDs to the sweet shop for them to sell - with all proceeds to the NYMR funds.  Eventually the last train pulled out at about half past four and we had to strike the stage. The army of "Wombles" helped cart the equipment along the platform where we loaded it into our vehicles. Colin and I enjoyed a couple of double toffee ice cream cones courtesy of chatting up the station shop staff; before setting off up the incredibly steep hill back to civilization at about half past five. The long journey home was unremarkable and we all got back to our homes in the Thames Valley before ten o'clock.  An extremely unusual, fascinating, and - above all - fun, gig thanks to NYMR. It's a long way to go, but we all hope that we may get booked again another year!
 

 

Saturday 31st May, we drove into London for a Saturday afternoon gig at The Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden. The event was a promotional gig for the Peter Quaife Foundation (a children's kidney dialysis charity in memory of the late PQ, who was the original bass guitarist with The Kinks). The band performing were THE MICHAEL JULIN BANDMichael was a close friend and collaborator with Peter Quaife until he died in 2010.  After his death, Peter's brother David Quaife and my pal Penny Pound, had formed the PQF charity to raise money for children's dialysis.  The taxi dropped us at the end of Earlham Street and we almost immediately ran into old friends - "The Gausden Girls" - at the front door to the club.  They were on their way out for a cigarette and a photo session with new friend Kevin the photographer. Back in the sixties these sisters - Libby Gausden-Chisman and Judith Smail, aka The Gausden Girls - were part of the Pink Floyd entourage, being girlfriends of Syd Barrett and David Gilmour respectively. Libby especially is still involved in various Pink Floyd fan club events.
After a huge round of hugs we left the girls to their nicotine fix and went upstairs where we found Neil Chisman - Libby's lovely and long suffering husband; and Penny Pound and David Quaife - plus a lot of likely looking "Mods".  I have been to one of these PQF gigs before, and was hoping that these guys would be around. They are part of a movement called "The Young Modernists". People in their thirties who dress in sixties mod styles and generally make me feel forty years younger by their very presence! We found a seat and ordered some beer.  the club has a very sixties feel to it - especially in daylight. the show was scheduled to start at one and go through till five or six.  In fact it didn't start until half past three, which was a shame for Sue Day!  I had been conversing with Sue via the social media that very morning- saying how I was looking forward to the gig.  I didn't expect her, but Sue arrived about two o'clock! What a wonderful surprise - but sadly she had to go again by three - so she didn't get to see or hear any of the live music. Mike started his band up at about half past three. There were a couple of guys from Germany, a girl backing singer named Danielle, and Mick Bolton (of Mott The Hoople) on keyboards. They played music mainly written by Peter and Michael, but with the odd addition by Ray Davies - which included Dead End Street - which was excellent. I bought the CD without hesitation.  After the bands second set Mick Bolton returned and played four solo numbers, including All The Young Dudes.  Overall it was an excellent afternoons entertainment - which hopefully earned some money for the kiddies dialysis unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
 

Mike Julin and friends.

 

Mike, Colin, Jackie, Nina, Spud, Chris and Adam.

Sunday 25th May I attended the late afternoon section of The HareHill Fest - held at HareHill Social Club in Ottershaw. I was specifically there  to see THE JACKIE LYNTON BAND playing. We targeted our arrival for five o'clock when The Jackie Lynton Band were supposed to start playing.  We knew that Chris Bryant's shop in Guildford doesn't close until five. As it turned out Chris wasn't too late and the band kicked off at five thirty.  HareHill was buzzing with people and kids - it was good weather for the "Fest" and there was a barbecue and a bouncy castle outside. Our favourite DJ Stevie Kemp and his lovely lady Janice were there. Steve was providing the music between bands. Among other friends in the audience were Neil and Liz, Jacky, Sarah-Jane, Debbie, Trish and Chris Bowling: alias Chris-the-Carpet - who was actually organising the event. Jack's gig was good - although perhaps because it was not as loud as usual, it was quite noticeable that the band play Brown Sugar in a different key to the Rolling Stones, and some of the changes sounded a little strange. I've never noticed this before so I'm not sure whether they have always played in that key and I just never noticed before; or whether this is a new arrangement.  I forgot to ask, so I may never find out!  There were some real jive dancers in the audience, who were also great entertainment. They were led by Mo and Kate and although they are "our age" (i.e. old enough to be retired!), they are still employed as lead jive dancers in The Jersey Boys in Town. Their dancing was absolutely phenomenal and included Mo throwing Kate over his head at one point!  Their dance school is in the old American Dance Hall at Greenham Common, where they sometime have live groups to dance to.  Of course I gave Mo a Nashville Teens visiting card. The gig was enlivened even more than usual by the guest appearance of Nina - a lady who just happened to have her blue double bass with her! She stood in for Colin for a couple of numbers. I was told that she has only been playing the instrument for four months, but she looked and sounded really good. The gig stretched a bit at Chris Bowling's request because the next band scheduled hadn't arrived,  but eventually Jack brought proceedings to a close and Stevie started playing his eclectic selection of music.  We packed the backline away but left the PA system for Steve and the next band.  I never found out whether the other band ever turned up, we are back at the club in July for a Nashville Teens gig, so I'll ask then.
 

 

Saturday 17th May We took ourselves to Pyrford Sports and Social Club to see PAUL KING'S SKELETON CREW playing. Jackie Lynton and Ray Phillips were in the audience, as well as Mel, Jacky, Sarah-Jane and Pat.  Paul King was looking fine, but was going down with a chest infection - and although this made his voice a little raspy, he still put in a fine vocal performance.  Colin Pattenden had brought along his little upright Gibson electric bass guitar - which is valuable and looks good - but which doesn't sound a patch as good as his Alembic five string, which luckily he had brought along as well. Chris Bryant was sporting a new haircut which he hated, so we all teased him about it; and Greg Terry-Short appeared to be in good mood but looked a little grey (he has suffered some more mini-strokes, in  one of which he drove his car through a roundabout and cracked some of his vertebrae.). The band didn't start until almost half past nine, and played two sets through until midnight. As usual, Jack Lynton had been there for support only and departed after the first few numbers, but Ray stayed on and got called to the stage for the last half hour when Paul's voice really started to flag.  Among the more fun items played were a couple of Pauls originals from Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime and Lady Rose. The band were plagued with bad luck, but laughed the problems off and acted thoroughly professionally for each little episode.  The first was when Paul accidentally knocked a pint of beer over the PA amplifier. Chris was about to start one of his solo songs at that point and just before the accident had been bantering with Paul about wanting to sing The Monkees I'm A Believer. Paul really doesn't like that song and had said no!  Chris had just hit the opening chords of whatever he was planning to play when the PA shut down. This threw Paul and Colin into disarray - Paul because his vocal and harmonica backing wasn't going to be heard and he had lost a whole pint of beer!, and Colin because it was his amplifier! In the confusion Chris stepped forward from the microphone bank and seamlessly switched his guitar playing to the tune of the Neil Diamond classic which Paul hated so much. Supported only by Greg and his own lead guitar backing, he then sang I'm A Believer without the aid of a PA - and with some ad-hoc line changes to refer to wet amplifiers! This gave Paul and Colin time to dry the equipment and get it restarted for the next song. Later in the set Paul and Chris got out their Ukuleles to duet on Kiss Me - which is fast becoming one of Pauls most popular songs. Sadly - probably because of his strokes - Greg was unfortunately not on his usual top form, as a result of which several of the numbers had very disjointed endings. There were also a couple of songs where he noticeably speeded up the drumming, including Hoochie Coochie Man which was the first song Ray guested on.  Ray was not impressed, and not as tolerant of Greg's mistakes as the regular band members.  He stopped singing and turned to glare at Greg for a good twenty or more beats, until Chris defused the situation by changing the tune to match Greg's new groove and set Ray off singing Route Sixty Six. The evening ended OK at midnight and all of us in the audience enjoyed the performance despite the few adventures. After the gig the grand-daughter of the Governor (Grahame) - who must be aged about ten - came to find Paul and Chris. She had brought her new pink plastic guitar with red hearts all over it and nylon strings. She wanted to ask them how to play it; so Paul tuned the plastic guitar and then he and Chris serenaded her with another performance of Kiss Me.  Whatever your personal views about allowing ten year olds to stay up after midnight, she was insufferably cute and the whole episode got a great round of applause from those of us who were still in the room.
 

Skeleton Crew - 17th May 2014

 

Friday 8th May I drove on my own to Sunbury Cricket Club to join Peter & June for a performance by DAVE'S NOT HERE, featuring the lovely Karl Green and his pals. The band are Karl (bass guitar and vocals) and Kevin Welling (keyboards, guitar and vocals).  They then joined Richard Scarfe (lead guitar and vocals) and Ian Saunders (drums and backing vocals)  As well as peter & June I recognised quite a lot of the audience.  I could see Karl's daughter Daisy down at the front, but no sign of her mum, Kay. The show started badly - Richard had arrived late and hadn't set his guitar amp properly - fixed after the first song - but he was also going down with a nasty throat infection, so his vocals suffered a bit as well. Despite that it was a great show. About half an hour into the performance Colin Pattenden arrived and joined us. The band has an eclectic set ranging from The Kinks, through The Eagles, to relatively heavy blues. A nice evenings entertainment.  As is usually the case at this Blues Club, Paul Watts got onto the stage after the bands encore and cajoled them into playing "just a bit more".  This always stretches till midnight and always commences with Johnny Be Good and Route Sixty Six. Colin slipped away as Paul got onto the stage and l waited until Paul had finished his favourite two numbers before I too slipped out and headed for home - arriving about a quarter past midnight.

picture left: Paul Watts and Karl Green

 

 

Thursday 7th May Fran and I drove to Putney, to The Half Moon, where we met up with Jacky & Colin Pattenden, Chrissie White, a new friend Rachel, and Julie & Gordon Sellar. The event was to see CHRIS SLADE'S TIMELINE performing. Chris is an old acquaintance who has even been to one of our annual picnics! He is a rather special drummer. Chris started his career in the nineteen sixties with The Squires, Tom Jones' original band. He played session drums with Gary Numan, Olivia Newton John and many many others and was drummer for progressive rock band Uriah Heep, before joining Manfred Mann's Earth Band - where he teamed up with Colin Pattenden.  Chris and Colin left Manfred to set up their own band - Terra Nova, which sadly didn't make much impact.  This was a great shame - I have heard some of the unpublished tapes of Terra Nova, and they are amazing. After Terra Nova, Chris moved on to play with The Firm (included Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page), and then he spent five years with AC/DC. Then from 1999 to 2005 he played drums for Asia before moving to Los Angeles. He formed his own AC/DC tribute band there, Chris Slade's Steel Circle before returning to the UK to form Chris Slade's Timeline - which has an AC/DC edge to it, but which plays songs from throughout his career - including Delilah from his early days and Blinded By The Light, Davy's On The Road Again and Joybringer from his days with The Earth Band.  During the show he made several references to Colin being in the audience.  The whole show was extremely well put together, brilliantly executed and deafening! Just like it should be. After the gig we milled about and recalled old times with Chris, and chatted with his bass and lead guitarists (Andy Crosby and James Cornhead).  The band also sported an amazing keyboard player - who doubled on rhythm guitar for some numbers - named Michael J Clark.  There were two vocalists; an excellent singer named Steve Glassrock who handled all the more musical numbers - and had an amazing range and tenacity for holding a note!; and a very shouty - but appropriate for AC/DC numbers singer named Paul Davis. A great evening which left us with our ears ringing.
 

Picture right: Colin Pattenden and Chris Slade

 



The Nashville Teens on Saturday night

Saturday 26th April we went - with Pam & Steve - to The Silver Birch pub where The Nashville Teens were playing. The place wasn't as full as expected, but there was a decent little crowd. Colin Pattenden and Spud Metcalfe were setting up on the little stage when we arrived.  We caught up news with Simon Spratley and Ken Osborn; and I had a long chat with Ray Phillips. In the audience were Jacky Pattenden, her sister Terry with her husband Mick. Trisha Metcalfe and Cola Osborn were there as well. It was really nice to catch up with Cola - she has been suffering from a trapped nerve in her back for years, and on the rare occasions she came to gigs she looked as if she was in pain.  Recently Cola had an operation to sever some nerves in her back - and now she is back to normal and smiling; it is good to have her back in the gang. Adam Russell had come along, with his box of harmonicas, to augment the band when needed; and I had taken along a spare box of earplugs because I had reckoned that Steve and Pam wouldn't be used to the level of sound. Just as well - the first set was stupidly loud!  As well as distorting the sound all around the pub, it was so loud that Ray couldn't hear the key changes and twice lost his place with the words!  I am not a musician, but I have seen this band play hundreds of times and I'm ashamed to say that this set was by far the least professional I have ever heard them perform. Not a criticism of the quality of their playing or singing, but in terms of overall presentation the volume was just too great for the little room - and the sounds were distorted and even painful for those near the stage. The Teens took a break half way through the evening, during which there were lots of complaints and recriminations within the band about who it was that was too loud and about who should turn down.  After a lot of "straight talking" the band adjusted their volumes and the second half was much much better.  One of the absolute strengths of The Nashville Teens is their tolerance to each others foibles (and we all have them!) This sort of event would and crashed a band of hot headed youths, but when we sat and discussed the evening afterwards, the episode seems to have strengthened the bonds and they had all really enjoyed the second set. The team dynamics of musicians never ceases to amaze me. It's just like being at work, but with a lot more emotion, and everything done in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of live entertainment, where adrenalin is a key driver.
Unfortunately Steve and Pam had had to leave after the first set - so their view of The Teens is probably in need of restoration. We shall have to take them to another gig soon!!  The gig wound up just after half past eleven, and was a great example of the extremes of a pretty awful sound in the first set and a really good sound in the second set.
 

 

Saturday 19th April On Saturday night Fran and I drove over to The Pyrford Sports and Social Club to watch The Jackie Lynton Band playing.  The little club was packed with friends old and new.  Sarah-Jane had brought her daughter Hannah along, Jacky Pattenden and Trish Metcalfe were there as were Mike & Anne Connor and Steve and Pauline Kemp.  Two of Jack's daughters and their children were also in the audience, plus Graham and the regular club members. The band were all there when we arrived - Jack Lynton himself in great form and in the mood for telling blue jokes; Mike Windus Spud Metcalfe, Colin Pattenden and Chris Bryant were all either setting up their equipment or sitting outside smoking.  The band were very tight from the start, and - miraculously - Colin wasn't too loud. We've been telling him to turn down for ages, but this time it was Chrissy Bryant who made the comment - and Colin obviously believes fellow musicians more than he does his non-musician friends!  The gig was exciting and well presented - Jack sang Guess Who - one of my favourites, and did a fairly eclectic mix of various styles. A great evening with lots of music and laughter.

picture left:  Jack telling jokes.
 

 
Saturday 5th April was a special occasion. We drove over to Pyrford, near Old Woking to join The Nashville Teens at The Pyrford Sports and Social Club. We have had plenty of our bands playing at this venue before, but this was the first time a big and loud rock band like The Teens had been let loose in the club. Normally hiring The Teens would be beyond the pocket of such a small club - but they had their budget supplemented by a couple of locals who were celebrating birthdays - so the economics had come together. Art Sharpe (one of the two vocalists with the original Teens) had sent me an image of a 1961 advertisement for The Nashville Teens to appear at the same venue fifty one years ago - before they had recorded Tobacco Road. I took a copy with me, the ticket price was 3/6 (about 17 pence)  and at that gig there had been free transport to and from Byfleet station and a free buffet! We didn't arrive until half past eight and were pleased to find lots of friends as well as our friends from the band. Simon Spratley is progressing well with his flying lessons, although he was a bit despondent because that mornings lesson had been cancelled due to low cloud. Ken Osborne and Spud Metcalfe were both fine and played brilliantly all night. Colin Pattenden was busy with setting up the sound, but found time for a decent chat and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Ray Phillips was pleased to be out again and bounced about the stage despite his recent knee operation. Adam Russell was there too with his pocket full of harmonicas; he is now becoming a regular feature on several of The Teens numbers. The disco was being run by Stevie Kemp who had sorted out that all the music played was from 1964 - a magic programme. The gig was great - if a bit loud - and the audience loved them. I was especially moved by Rays version of Put A Spell On You, which I think really showcases his bluesy voice. Ken shone on his solos' - especially during Born To Be Wild, and Simon got a beautifully jazzy piano solo toward the end of Red House.  The show climaxed - almost - with the dance floor full for Tobacco Road; but as aficionados know, that is a false tab, and the band ended with the whole building leaping to Born To Be Wild.  A great evening which left us with ringing ears.
 

The Nashville Teens at Pyrford

 

Mike, Colin, Adam, Jackie and Chris

Saturday 29th March we walked across town to The Silver Birch pub to see The Jackie Lynton Band playing. We haven't been to this pub for some months so it was great to catch up with some of the locals we know. The band were setting up as we arrived but all found time for a chat. I was able to tell Colin Pattenden and Spud Metcalfe about the negotiations for The Teens to play at this years GastroBlues Festival in Hungary, and Spud introduced me to a lady who wanted to hire The Teens for her birthday party in July. Fran and I also had a chance to catch up with Sarah-Jane and Chris Bryant. Adam Russell was there to guest on harmonica - I always enjoy talking with Adam, he is a real aficionado of Rock'n'Roll. In the first set Jack sang a couple of new songs - one that he had written himself, and his own arrangement of AC/DCs Can't Stop Rock'n'Roll. I suspect the latter will be on his new CD which he is scheduled to record in early July.  Mike Windus got a solo spot with Brown Sugar and Chris Bryant sang his own arrangement of You Can't Always Get What You Want To. When we were chatting during the break Jack was seriously considering getting Chris to lay that down on this years CD. A true indication of what a generous musician Jack is - he encourages and nurtures the skills of his band members, sometimes at the expense of standing aside off the stage.
The second set was good with an added personal highlight for me because at the break Jack had remembered that it was my birthday the previous week - so a few numbers into the set he paused the show and got the whole pub singing happy birthday to me. He followed this up by playing his arrangement of Chuck Berry's Let It Rock - which he knows is one of my favourite numbers.  Overall it was a great evening.
 


Chris in ecstasy

 
Thursday 20th March I met Fran in London in the early evening and we took a taxi to The Royal Albert Hall to see a performance of Raymond Gubbay's Classical Spectacular. This birthday treat from Fran was in response to me voicing a concern that I hadn't see a decent classical music concert for ages. It couldn't have been a better show to fill that gap - it was truly spectacular, and contained a huge variety of classical music.  The conductor was John Rigby, who led not only the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but also the full choir of the Royal Choral Society and The Band of The Welsh Guards - with vocal embellishment by Tenor Paul Charles-Clarke and Baritone from Richard Morrison; supplemented by Piano and Organ solos from Jonathan Scott. The evening was made further spectacular by an brilliant lightshow, laser show and indoor fireworks with added fun from The Classical Spectacular Dancers and the Moscow Militia, who provided muskets fire and cannon fire where required!  The first part commenced with Bizet's March of the Toreadors from Carmen from the orchestra. They were joined by the choir for Handel's Zadok The Priest, and then by The Welsh Guards for Sousa's Stars and Stripes ForeverPachelbel's Canon in D followed and then the choir were back with Gounod's Soldiers Chorus from Faust.  The dancers were pirouetting in the aisles to Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Swan Lake. The Tenor and Baritone then wowed us with the Au fond du temple saint Duet from Bizet's The Pearl FishersJonathan Scott then took to the piano with the whole orchestra for a full length version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - which was awesome. The first half ended with Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 - which always makes me think of my late Dad because this piece of music nearly always bought him close to tears.  When he was a prisoner of war in Burma the Japanese would not let the camp band play God Save The King, so they played Elgar's Pomp instead.  The whole show was laced with orchestrated lights, projections and laser beams cutting across the hall through stage smoke.  The second half started with an un-programmed version of Strouss's Radetzky March played by the orchestra without a conductor! during which the Moscow Militia marched through the aisles. The second half was as varied and wonderful as the first, starting with Jonathan Scott on the mighty Albert Hall Organ blasting out Saint-Saens Finale from his Symphony No 3 - the Organ Concerto. Messrs Charles-Clarke and Morrison then treated us to the Largo al factotum ("Figaro") from Rossini's Barber of Seville, and Puccini's Recondita Armonia from Tosca The Royal Philharmonic then gave us the full treatment with Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations before we enjoyed audience participation with The Hornpipe from Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs and Arne's rousing Rule Britannia! The operatic lads joined together to deliver us Puccini's Nessun Dorma, from Turandot, followed by the highlight of the evening - Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. This was brilliantly presented, with the Moscow Militia firing muskets and cannon in the upper circle, and the lasers and lights working overtime. A really fantastic show. Of course there was an encore too. The orchestra struck up Offenbach's notorious dance - The Can-Can - and the Classical Spectacular Dancers cart wheeled down the aisles in a flash of long white knickers as sparks from indoor fireworks rained down on them and the audience.  A terrific ending to a terrific show - and a great birthday present.
 

The RAH was amazing

 

A New Song - reading the words

Saturday 8th March we drove down to Godalming, to Scratchers (aka The Three Lions at Farncombe) to watch The Jackie Lynton Band playing and acoustic set. The reduced volume was necessary because unfortunately the pub recently suffered a fire, and while most of the fire damage was upstairs, the stage area was damaged by water when the firemen doused the upstairs blaze; and is currently screened off.  The musicians at this regular gig are temporarily having to play in the "old" bar area which dates back over three hundred years to when the pub was called "The Worlds End". Unfortunately the old area isn't sound-proofed - hence the acoustic performances to spare the neighbours! Running quiet meant that Spud Metcalfe wasn't able to bring his drum kit to the gig; and another problem this evening was the absence of Colin Pattenden, who had been struck down with gastro-enteritis. We were lucky though, because Gordon Sellar was available to stand in on bass guitar.  The remainder of the line up was of course Jack Lynton himself, Mike Windus on lead guitar and Chris Bryant on second lead guitar.
The pub changed landlords recently and tonight it was absolutely packed - and with a different demographic. Loads of young people and very few of the old faces we used to see there. The vibe was good and the new landlord and landlady (Graham and Sarah) seem a nice couple.
After a bit of catching up chatting with Gordon and a quick chat with Claire and Sarah-Jane, the gig started.  Interesting seeing Jack performing without a drummer - he tended to be much more bluesy and slow. He performed a couple of new songs, one ballad and a new one of his own.  Gordon and Mike were on good form, but Chris was absolutely steaming and played brilliantly.  He added new vibes to some of the older songs, and clearly was in ecstasy during some of his guitar solos. Unfortunately we had to leave at the first break - about half past ten - but it was a great gig with a new audience clearly loving Jacks presentation.
 

 
Saturday 15th February, After the Valentines Day gales the country was littered with fallen trees on the Saturday morning. We set off extra early to make the 230 mile trip to The Prince Of Wales Hotel in Southport, where Chris Wood was holding a Valentines Sixties Weekend Festival. Just as well we left early because the M40 was blocked and we all had to divert round the M1/M6 loop. The line up for Saturday night was The Nashville Teens, The Foundations and The FourMost. and about 250 guests were staying over the weekend to enjoy reliving the nineteen sixties. The Teens were scheduled to be on last, but Chris switched us to become the opening act of the evening in order to give us a fighting chance of getting home to London before dawn!  It was great to catch up with John Dee and Alan Warner of The Foundations again, and with Hue Montgomery, their lead vocalist. It was also good to catch up with Alex Leyland of the Fourmost who we haven't seen for ages. Chris had engaged a new sound engineer whom we hadn't met before, but who turned out to be very good. After he had heard The Teens set he became quite animated when he came on stage to change settings for the next band. He just kept repeating "Wow! so much energy! so much volume! Wow! So much energy! Wow!". The gig was terrific, Chris has very interesting audiences. They are generally fairly mature sixty and seventy year olds, but they dress the part for a sixties gig and most of them get up to dance. Some of them are still stunningly good looking in miniskirts and boots, although a bit more wrinkled than they were in 1964.  The weekend package includes hotel rooms, so they all stay at the hotel from Friday night through until Sunday night and have a whale of a time. Some of them seem to attend every one of Chris's gigs, so we are starting to recognise them and greet them when we see them in the hotel. The audience loved The Nashville Teens, and the floor was heaving with dancers all the way through the one hours set.  I like to think we set a high hurdle for the later bands to follow. Our slot was eight o'clock until nine o'clock - and we were packed up, paid, and had said goodbye to our mates in The Foundations and The FourMost before the next act was even on stage. We were on the road out of Southport by quarter to ten in the evening and home by two in the morning.  Another great gig.
 

Soundcheck at Southport
 

 

above: The Poster
below: The Zombies

 

Friday 24th January I drove up to Baldock to collect my old school friend Rick Hyne, and we then took ourselves over to the bar at The Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. We expected to be attending The Ultimate Sixties Rhythm & Blues Tour, so we were disquieted to find the theatre bar area full of yummy mummies with hordes of little people, most of whom seemed to be sporting little tiaras and brandishing pink magic wands. It turned out that the theatre was about to host a performance of the late running panto - Cinderella, while our target gig was actually downstairs in the adjoining sports hall. After a beer and a glass of wine each - and a brief stop for a final cigarette for Rick - we descended to the hall. Our seats were fairly central at the foot of the tiered seating, and separated from the flat floor seating area by a wide gangway leading the whole width of the hall. Merchandising at the end of the aisle leading to our right and a bar at the end of the aisle leading to our right.  Guess which direction we went in most frequently?  The hall was crowded, sold out to a capacity audience of about one and a half thousand people who were mainly aged between sixty five and seventy five, yet sported longish hair and oozed a definite Rock'n'Roll aura. 
The first band up was The Animals and Friends, Mick Gallagher and John Steel are still in there, as is our old mate Pete Barton, who now leads the band as a twenty-first century version of Eric Burden. They performed some great Animals hits including Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, and - of course - The House of The Rising Sun.  Then they brought on their "friends" one at a time; first Dave Berry.  I haven't worked with him since the millennium gigs in 1999 and 2000, and he is a little bit too glitzy and "cabaret" for my liking - but  he performed well, including putting out a couple of JJ Cale numbers and finishing with a very good delivery of his classic The Crying Game. He was followed on stage by the Animals second guest singer, the legendary Maggie Bell. When she performed with her band, Stone The Crows, she was often called "The British Janis Joplin" and she certainly has a similar raw blues power in her voice. She put on an amazing show, demonstrating absolute control of her bluesy voice to deliver spine tingling vocals.  A very memorable show.
During the break I managed very quick hallo's to Pete and Maggie (who was astounded that Jackie Lynton was "still F'ing alive" as she put it) while Rick hit another cigarette outside, 
The second half commenced with a very professional presentation of The Yardbirds music. Jim McCarty is still presiding on drums, but unfortunately Chris Dreja is not well, and Top Topham was standing in for him - so while there was a bit of continuity (Top was a founder member of the Yardbirds, but had left them by the time they found fame) only Jim remained as a true original from their heyday. The other members of the band were all new to me, and although they were all very competent and professional, they all looked unreasonably young!  The lead and bass guitarists (Ben King and David Smale) both leapt about while playing in a style more suited to the Glam Rock era of the seventies, while the vocalist (Andy Mitchell) did a competent job of singing and playing the harmonica, but Keith Relf will always be a hard act to follow. They were good, but they weren't the Yardbirds I remember - even from just a couple of ears ago. They did perform I'm A Man and For Your Love, but mainly focussed on numbers like Over Under Sideways Down, which were less R&B and more "Progressive". Still, it was good to see Jim and Top on stage - and the band did manage to sound like the originals.
The headline act of the night was The Zombies, here a mere half dozen miles from their hometown of St Albans (I used to work with Colin Blunstone's dad at De Havilland's Hatfield factory in the late sixties and early seventies).  They were amazing. I was surprised to see Jim Rodford on bass.  Jim used to play with our mates, The Swinging Blue Jeans, and with The Kinks - and he now regularly plays with Mick Avory's band, The Kast Off Kinks.  The main men of The Zombies were there - Rod Argent, looking younger than ever now that he has shaved off his beard; and Colin Blunstone still grinning like a schoolboy and singing like an angel. They performed several Zombies hits, including She's Not There; they also covered Argents big hits Hold Your Head Up and God Gave Rock and Roll To You,  and Blunstone's I Don't Believe In Miracles and Breathe In, Breathe Out.  An amazingly well structured, beautifully presented and emotively nostalgic show - The Zombies are every bit as good now as they were when I first saw them in 1965.
So overall this was an amazing evening. My two most favourite bands of all time - The Yardbirds and The Zombies on stage at the same time, fifty years downstream from a time when I would buy every record released by either band even before I'd heard them! Coupled with this I got to share this nostalgic experience with Rick, who was one of my best friends throughout that emotive teenage experience of discovering music and being aged sixteen years old!
 

 
Thursday 23rd January Fran and I drove into London and found our way to Trafalgar Square to a "candlelight" gig at St Martins In The Fields. It was to see a performance by The Belmont Ensemble of London of various baroque music, culminating in Handels Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. 
The ensemble were a dozen young ladies (and one man) with violins, violas and a cello - being conducted by Peter G Dyson.  The lead violins were Helen Davies and Pippa Harris - who were magnificent in their solos.  We had front row seats, and the acoustics were great. The evenings programme started with Handels Overture & Dances from "Theodora". This was followed by a couple of Mozart pieces; The Salzburg Symphony No 1 and The Serenata Notturna.  The first section of the concert was concluded with a brilliant and moving performance of Faure's Pavane. After a break the second part commenced with Handels Arrival of The Queen of Sheba and a stirling presentation of Pachabels Canon in D.  This was followed by Purcell's Fairy Queen Suite before the big climax of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.  
This was of course a "false tab" and the Ensemble gave us an encore. I didn't catch the name of the piece, but is sounded fairly modern and had motifs within it of both Greensleeves and Scotland The Brave !  Appropriate for a performance just a few days shy of Burns Night. 

picture right: Peter Dyson and The Ensemble in St Martins In The Fields.

 

Jack Lynton Band at The Birch

Saturday 18th January We cheated exercise and drove the mile or so to The Silver Birch pub in Bracknell where The Jackie Lynton Band were playing. It was our first dose of live music in 2014, and also our first since November 2013 (if you exclude the pantomime!) The pub was crowded, including a whole bunch of the Quo Army, led by Fozzy Linda and The Cubster, and making a lot of noise. The band were excellent.  Despite his recent on stage collapse, Jack was back on great form and soon had the audience under control - he even got a load of dreadlocked local hooligans dancing to Run Rabbit Run !!!  Spud Metcalf and Colin Pattenden were driving the beat with their drum/bass guitar combo, and Mike Windus and Chris Bryant were both excelling on their guitar solos.  Mike was noticeably in a more "Country" mood than usual (he usually thinks he is Chuck Berry) and a tad louder than Chris - but that didn't matter.  Jack gave both Chris and Mike their solo performance opportunities. They both chose Stones numbers to sing.  Jacks voice was really good this night - I know he had been a bit concerned after his New Years Eve problem, but he acquitted himself brilliantly and proved that he still has the showman in him. Early in the evening I was accosted by a gentleman of the Australian persuasion who wanted to know whether I was me. The mysterious stranger approached me about the second or third number into the first set, while I was sitting with the Quo Army gang. Now Jack is not quiet and I couldn't hear a thing, so we went outside, unsure if I was going to get good news or have a fight! The gentleman was smiling benignly so I thought it would be OK; and it was.  Nigel Cavalier, or "Cav" - for that is is tag - hailed from Melbourne in the antipodes and has been a Lynton fan for years, having regularly seen him at The Golden Lion, Fulham in the Quondam Days of the eighties. I was delighted to find that Cav was not only a fan, but was a "stalker", being a reader not only of Jacks website, but of my own (this one).  He is a really nice guy and I will now always think of him as "Cav-the-Stalker", because I didn't know he was following this odd website. I was amazed to learn that Cav had only just arrived in the UK that afternoon after a 27 hour flight.  He had met up with his cousins and their partners, and then dragged them along to one of Bracknell's seedier pubs to see The Lynton Band.  Jack was on excellent form, and I sincerely hope the Cav and his cousins really enjoyed themselves.
 

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