Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
A few days ago my buddy over at DEREKS 45S POSTED a little blurb on BOB THE SILVER BULLET SEGER ! WHO AT ONE TIME REALLY MADE SOME GREAT SOUNDS!
Those of you who blanche – understandably –at the mention of the nameBob Seger should relax, because I’m about to hep you to a time when Dr Jeckyll was still in control and the Chevy-shilling Mr Hyde we’ve all come to fear was still years away from materializing.
Back in the day – the mid-60’s to be exact – Seger had yet to grow a beard and was the very essence of soulful garage punk. He prowled the streets, stages and recording studios of his native Detroit with his band the Last Heard, and laid down some absolutely shit-hot 45s, crossing paths with local giant Del Shannon (who discovered Seger and made his first recordings), as well as future classic rock bigshot Glen Frey (who played in local band the Mushrooms and later sang backup on Seger’s classic ‘Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man’).
One of these records – his first big success (in 1966), on a local level anyway, selling tens of thousands of copies in Detroit alone – was the blistering ‘East Side Story’. Issued locally on Hideout Records, and then picked up for national distribution by Cameo, ‘East Side Story’ driven by a deadly fuzz guitar riff and Seger’s injured howl was a garage punk masterpiece.
Though ESS, and ‘Heavy Music Pt1’ were big local hits, and starting to spread into other regional markets like Florida and Pennsylvania, Cameo soon went bust, sucking Seger’s career down the drain, at least temporarily until he signed with Capitol Records in 1968.(larry)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The company was founded in 1963 by Arthur Bernard Sugarman (1925-1987), who was born in Brighton as a son of a Jewish salesman. He emigrated to the United States in 1946, via Canada, and changed his nationality to American. He married the daughter of a Californian clothes producer and later returned to Brighton, where he bought a concourse shirt factory. The brand became famous for being sported by several well-known musicians and singers. The brand has been the fourth largest men's casual wear brand in the United Kingdom.
Monday, January 26, 2009
John's Children - Hot Rod Mama (BBC Session)
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Last weekend I ventured down to Durham North Carolina with my fellow 7CSC comrades,let me tell you something! It was a blast! I got to meet a lot of new friends from all over the East Coast ,here are a few pictures of our COLD FREAKIN WEEEKEND!!!!!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Just up the road from the Disc was the Flamingo Jazz Club, around the door of which grouped throughout the night its then cliental having come up for a breather. Mainly newly arrived West Indian immigrants, plus a sprinkling of black GIs based at the US air bases scattered across the south of England and East Anglia, plus a lesser number of white jazz cats. Us young Mods, who thought back then that we were at the fore of the UK street fashion scene and as hip as hell with our Ben Sherman shirts, mohair suits and blue beat hats, would get a fair bit or ribbing and a little abuse when we walked past the Mingo from the black guys hanging around its stairwell. Most of us Mod's were then in our mid teens, whilst the Mingo regulars then were somewhat older, early to late twenties. We gave as good as we got although occasionally one of the black guys would chance his arm and half heartedly attempt to roll one of us, on the odd occasion when some blocked up kid new to the scene would hand his cash over whilst in a drugged daze, one of the other brothers would more often than not put a stop to it and return his cash, after deducting a shilling or two as a lesson for the youngsters gullibility.
Before I go on what you have to understand is Britain was far from the multi racial society it is today and most Mods lived in parts of London or the Home Counties which had few black faces; the more so in the New Towns and estates of the south east of England, like Welling Garden City, Hemel Hamstead, Basildon, South Ockendon-Belhus etc, which had been built to take up the housing slack brought about by the bombing of London during WW2 and the determination of the post war Labour Government to at least attempt to build homes fit for heros, and replace the wretched slums that surrounded most big cities in the UK. Thus all these Black guys on the street in Wardor St were something completely new and in truth somewhat intimidating for most of us, or would have been if we were not so young, naive and adventurous in search of a good time [stoned-out too]
Given time many of us began to wonder what it was like down in the Mingo basement; and as tales of fantastic live music down below began to seep along the street, not least that a young organist and his band named Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames were bringing the house down at weekends, the more adventurous of us decided to give it a go. Dube's [purple hearts]downed we ventured forth, through the crowd hanging at the entrance we went with trepidation, down the stairs to the door where John Gunnell, one of the two brothers who ran the Mingo took your cash, half a quid, normally paid with a ten bob note and then you were in. On entering you were hit by a wall of cheap perfume and roll on deodorant, smoke, sweat and dancing bodies, all accompanied by a throbbing R@B soundtrack. As you pushed your way to the front there were three rows of old cinema seats in front of which there was a small stage for the band to perform on, with Hammond Organ, drums and amplifiers set up. To the left on a raised platform, there was a coffee bar type area from where you could oversee the stage and the rest of the club, a foot or so below and from which you could view the band and check out the girls dancing before you [attempted to] make a move.
John Gunnell always introduced the bands, he is heard doing so on the live album Georgie Fame, Rhythm and Blues Live at the Flamingo, which captures the moment perfectly. Whilst Mr Fame was undoubtedly the star within the stable of Mingo artists,** [most of whom the Gunnell Brothers also managed] we all had our own particular favorites, and I like most Mingolians would diligently get the Melody Maker every Thursday to see who was doing the Saturday Allnighter -12 midnight to 6-am, and in case we had any energy left, the Sunday afternoon 3 to 6 pm slot. My heart used to sink if it was John Mayall, not because he had a crap band, far from it, but he was so self indulgent, a Blues purists who saw himself as a middle class intellectual in the jazz club habitue mold, back then he failed to understand to us mods, black music was not an intellectual thing, but was there to lift our spirits and move us emotionally, to take us beyond our lives as factory fodder or to lighten our days at school, where we were be educated to become the cart horses of capital and with a big stick at that.. So if Mayall was playing the Sunday slot it was a nono, as most of us would be done in from the all-nighter and suffering a vicious come down, so John singing about struggling up another bloody hill was going to do us no good at all.
With the influx of us young Mod's and our coming together with the black brothers, the Mingo had moved beyond a jazz club atmosphere and John was the wrong band for the club the Mingo had become.. The whirling thump of the Hammond organ and horns is what we wanted, with a singer who punched a whole in our souls, we wanted to be lifted not driven down into our boots. Having said this Chris Farlowe who was one of my favorites got by without a horn section, but he did have Albert Lee on guitar and Dave Greenslande on organ and for some reason, when ever other singers came down to the club it was with Chris and the Thunderbird they more often than not sat in. Remember things were different back then, whilst of course there were many late night drinking clubs in the West end, an allnighter that had live music was very rare. Only Ronnie Scott's [old club] in Gerard Street, which was directly opposite the Mingo springs to mind. There was Ken Colyer's Studio 51 which used to have an all-nighter now and again, but it was full of middle class trad-jazzers and was an acquired taste to say the least and for me the atmosphere was a kin to an average students bar of the age, although in truth back then I had never been in a collage let alone a students bar. Thus many musicians who had been gigging around London and the home counties would turn up in their early hours to sit in and blow their horns, Eric Burdon and saxophonist Dick Hecksal Smith were the two I remember most, at his best, long before he became a born again American, Burdon was a wonderful singer. I saw him and Farlowe on more than one occasion bring the house down, not least when dueting with Stormy Monday Blues, just magnificent. Rod the Mod's mentor Long John Baldry also sat in from time to time, often he was simply on the pull. As to did Jimi Hendrix, just the once mind, fresh off the plane from the US. I also remember Chris Barber the Trad jazz guy often turning up in the small hours to blow his trombone which surprisingly turned out to be a treat.
The first band I saw was Ronnie Jones and the Knight-Timers, Ronnie was one of those GI's I mentioned above accept he stepped out of the audience onto the bandstand to sing with a sweet soulful voice, Ronnie due to commitments went his own way to be replaced in the Knightimers by Herbie Goings, another American GI or so we all presumed, an R@B belter in the mould of Wilson Picket and I tell you Herb could really shake the Mingo down. Whilst he was to be followed somewhat later by yet another American 'ex serviceman,' Geno Washington who teamed up with an outfit called the Ram Jam Band, a real showman but voice wise he never came up to Herbie who had a great voice and a songbook of black music that covered the previous two decades and more, thus he often had the club in the palm of his hand.
Then their was the guy who I thought had the best name ever for a band, Zoot Money and his Big Roll Band and boy did he let the good times roll. Zoot was a bundle of energy with a smile like a cheshire cat, who owed a lot to the show band style of Fats Domino, with a touch of the rock and roll exuberance of Little Richard thrown in and he went down a storm with most Mods, especially in the suburban halls which ringed London and which most of us frequented during the week. But some how the black guys never took to him in the same way as they did Mr Fame,
It was this unity that I aforementioned which instilled in all who went down the Mingo a rejection of the infantile and nonsensical nature of racism, for we had been part of a celebration as a black and white crowd which rejoiced in black music played by white and black musicians, and we were never going to become pawns in any racist politicians hands for we had been as one. What we learnt down in that dark basement room was not to fear difference but to embrace and rejoice in them, test them and if its fine, go with the flow. We learnt to look outside our own sphere of influences, whether in music or life in general; and not to always simply go with the majority.
Of course it is impossible to write about the Mingo without mentioning what fueled it, for back then as today no all-nighter could survive without its punters being on just a little more than thresh air and the odd can of larger, no matter how good the sounds. Amphetamines, Dubes, purple hearts, blues whatever one wished to call the speed of the day was the power source, at least for us Mod's, that and the music. In the early days they came from being 'liberated' by people who worked for French Kline and Smith the major pharmaceutical manufacturer, having been passed down the line until small time pushers did the deal on the street. Different pushers had their shop fronts south off Shaftsbury Avenue, much as I presume they have about the West-end today, one in the doorway of Revels shoe shop in Wardor St, another on the corner at the T junction where Gerald St met Wardor St, etc etc. The Dubes were as easy to get up West back then as Coke is today, it was only when demand outreached supply that bent doctors, breaking into chemist ships and counterfeiting french blues came into play and by then the Mingo had died a death as many of its best musician's and punters went in search of flower power or a more steady source of income.
* 1960's fashion trend, popular amongst working class youngsters.
**although after his first hit record I don't think he played the mingo anymore, certainly not after late 1964-65, no matter as the rest of the bands who gigged there where equally good.