Music Archive (274)
Do you want to know a secret? Billy J Kramer is back and very soon it will be common knowledge, as he has been busy recording a comeback album, which has spawned a single To Liverpool with Love. A native of Merseyside and now happily residing in New York, yet it seems he has never forgotten his roots, and why should he as he was at the centre of the Merseybeat in the early sixties? Young northern teenagers inspired by American rock ‘n’ roll artists like Buddy Holly and The Crickets, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and of course Elvis, making music.
In the music business, once you hit 30 you are considered over the hill, and this still applies in the 21st century. As far as middle-aged artists go, very few make an impact on the current generation, with most inclined to live off their back catalogue. They tour the world, coining it in with merchandising sales, and endless re-issues, and deluxe packaging of their greatest hits.
The Small Faces were one of the coolest bands to come out in the sixties. Four impeccably dressed lads originally from East London, Steve Marriott (Guitar and Vocals), Ronnie Lane (Bass and Vocals), Kenney Jones (Drums) and Jimmy Winston (Vocals and Keyboards), who was replaced by Ian McLagan in November 1965.
Waiting in line in the chill of late December, I began talking to a few other fans about the inimitable band 'Black Rebel Motorcycle'.
The Redskins came to me like a bolt of lightning. Arriving at the GLC Jobs For A Change Festival in June 1984, back when Ken Livingstone was a thorn in Thatcher’s arse as the panto villain and the quite brilliant Red Ken (far removed from the more recent muggy Congestion Charge Ken version) and passing loads of upset right wing skinheads crossing Waterloo bridge away from the Jubilee Gardens where the festival was taking place.
A Light That Never Goes Out, is a recent biography of one of Manchester’s finest bands, The Smiths, formed in 1982 and disbanded in 1987. Their first single, Hand in Glove, was released in May 1983 on Rough Trade. With the jangling guitar intro of Johnny Marr coupled with Morrissey’s unique melancholia and melodic vocals, backed by Mike Joyce’s 50’s rock ‘n’ roll meets 70’s funk drumming and the beating and pulsating bass lines of Andy Rourke,
The first solo outing for Simian founder and sometime Memory Band member Simon Lord is a fine example of classic English songwriting as a melting pot for a wealth of seemingly disparate influences.
These were the last words Paul Weller penned on The Jam's final album "Dig the New Breed", and I fondly recall where I read them for the first time. It was the 8th December 1982 (coincidentally the second anniversary of John Lennon's murder) late afternoon, and I was sitting in a Wimpy bar in the centre of Birmingham with my brother and his girlfriend, killing time whilst waiting for the doors to open to see The Jam at Bingley Hall.
From the first Motown tour in 1965 to Public Enemy in the mid-80s and today's cutting edge hip hop acts, white British audiences have always been very receptive to the music of black America and 1967's Stax-Volt Revue was no different. I was barely nine months old when Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Arthur Conley, The Mar-Keys and, of course, Booker T & the MG's got on a bus and ripped it up, cementing their reputation as the cream of the sixties soul crop.
The Zolas are a duo from Vancouver, Canada with Zachary Gray on vocals and guitar and Tom Dobrzanski on keyboards and piano, who use a variety of session musicians for live and recording work, which is a good thing as their songs, overall, are certainly epic affairs that are catchy and well thought out.
As if the brightly coloured Rolls Royce prowling the back streets of old town Poole wasn't unlikely enough in the mid-1960s, seeing Keith Moon step out on Green Road and bellow to his mate Chris Ferguson must have blown the minds of the locals.
"Yeh, Moonie was some character," says Chris today, with due understatement.
The music business is littered with A & R faux pas, the most notable is Dick Rowe's. Dick was the head of A & R at Decca in the 50's and early sixties. He'd made some very good signings, which include Them, The Moody Blues, The Zombies, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Tornados, Tom Jones, The Small Faces, Marmalade, and The Rolling Stones. However, when Brian Epstein turned up in his office and, after a lengthy audition, he turned down The Beatles.
ABBA first found success at the Eurovision Song Contest February 1974, with their pastiche to the British Glam Rock Sound, Waterloo. An anthemia and melodic pop song with catchy hook line chorus, a wall of sound production and powerful horn sections that penetrated the brain with the harmonious 'Waterloo'.
Now, anyone who knows my taste in music will tell you, I'm not into heavy metal, or rock music. When it's good, it's good, and there are some great bands around, like AC/DC, and Iron Maiden. There are also a few 'honest' bands, like Status Quo, Motorhead, and Slade, who just go out to entertain their audiences, and are not the least bit pretentious. However, the rest are on the mediocre side, playing endless, boring guitar solos, with some daft, longhaired bugger, shagging a mike stand, and wailing uninteresting lyrics.