Tag Archives: 70s music

Glencoe

I bought Glencoe‘s debut album shortly after its release in 1972 and could never understand why, despite some high profile support slots with likes of Deep Purple, Argent and Wishbone Ash, they never seemed to receive the public acclaim they so deserved.

Why they never broke into a theatre-filling headline act in their own right, I’ll never know.

That said, when opening for Argent at Glasgow Apollo in September 1973, the crowd demanded and was rewarded with an encore. That’s something pretty rare indeed, especially in my fair city!

Their roots lie in London based band Forever More, who recorded two well received albums between 1970 and 1971, and counted among their number, three Scots: Onie Mcintyre, Alan Gorrie and Stewart Francis, who had formerly played together in Hopscotch.

Album cover (USA) – FOREVER MORE:’Yours.’

The group disbanded in 1972 shortly after changing their name to Glencoe, when McIntyre and Gorrie left to form Average White Band (together with another former member of Hopscotch, Hamish Stuart.) One of those recruited as a replacement was Graham Maitland on keyboards, who had played with Francis in … yes, you got it – Hopscotch.

The world of music has always been a bit incestuous.

Following an audition, bassist Norman Watt-Roy joined up and completing the new line-up was guitarist John Turnbull, formerly of the excellent Newcastle band Skip Bifferty.

The eponymous debut LP was released in 1972, and followed a year later by ‘The Spirit of Glencoe.’

Although, the albums differ in feel, both ooze class. The first is loud and in the main a mix of heavy rock and blues, though slower numbers like ‘Look Me In The Eye,‘ and ‘Questions,‘ illustrate Glencoe’s versatility. There’s plenty excellent and very distinctive guitar work from John Turnbull, while Graham Maitland’s keyboard playing dances all over the tracks and is an integral, identifying feature of the band.

Airport‘ is probably the best known track on the album, but I think ‘It’s‘ edges it as my favourite on the album. Slower in pace, and with a bluesy feel, it highlights the talents of each player.

The 1973 follow-up, ‘The Spirit Of Glencoe,’ isn’t quite so ‘instant.’ I was initially unsure as to how I felt about it. But it’s a grower, believe me!

‘Is it You?‘ is very much in he vein of the first album, chunky and beat heavy, it features John and Graham dueling guitar licks and bar-room, honky tonk piano. ‘Born in the City’ is another of the old school formula, and the one minutes and nine seconds of ‘Arctic Madness‘ shows a playful side, incorporating (I think) an accordion led eightsome reel.

(Album cover, front and back, ,for ‘The Spirit of Glencoe.’)

The two ballads, ‘Strange Circumstances‘ and ‘Song No. 22‘ are absolutely captivating, though I have to say I prefer their louder stuff.

What this album does, though is show that Glencoe were no one-trick pony. My research has not turned up one negative comment about the band.

The fact they had the quality of ex Steve Miller Band keyboard player, Ben Sidran, ex Osibisa percussionist Kofi Ayifor and ex Steve Miller Band bassist, Gerald Johnson all guest on the second album, shows the respect they had already garnered from their peers.

Indeed, after the band split in 1974, bass player Norman Watt-Roy and guitarist both had spells playing with Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

Yeah – I’ve most definitely got Glencoe filed under ‘One That Got Away.’

GLENCOE
Stewart Francis – Drums / Vocals
Graham Maitland – Keyboards / Vocals
John Turnbull – Guitar / Vocals
Norman Watt-Roy – Bass / Vocals

RELEASES BY GLENCOE

TITLEFORMATLABELRELEASE YEAR
Airport / It’s7″ singleEpic1972
Look Me In The Eye / Telphonia7″ singleEpic1972
Friends Of Mine / To Divine Mother7″ singleEpic 1973
Roll On Bliss / Nothing7″ singleEpic1973
GlencoeLPEpic1972
The Spirit Of GlencoeLPEpic1973

(Post by Colin Jackson of Glasgow – November 2022)

The Smartest Band In The World?

Paul Fitzpatrick: November 2022

The 70s were awash with bands who had a couple of big hits then disappeared from the scene – Pilot, Sad Cafe and Sailor, to name a few, and if I’d been a betting man, I’d have wagered my favourite Arthur Black shirt on 10cc following a similar path.

Formed in 1972, 10cc hit the ground faster than the Roadrunner on testosterone – three top 10 singles in the space of twelve months,
including a UK number one with “Rubber Bullets”.

Despite their meteoric rise, the band struggled for credibility, probably due to their association with Jonathan King, the Svengali of bubble-gum pop, and the fact that their first three hits could understandably be described as novelty songs… although, listening to them now they stand up pretty well.

Their first release, “Donna“, was a 50’s doo-wop parody.

The follow up, “Rubber Bullets“, borrowed it’s theme from Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock”, but in typical 10cc fashion – from the warden’s perspective… “I love to hear those convicts squeal, it’s a shame those slugs ain’t real

Their third release, “The Dean and I“, is best described as a Beach Boys pastiche concerning a coming-together at the high-school hop.

Unbeknown to most, buried amongst the bubble-gum, were some slick lyrics and savvy storytelling.

Who else would reference Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ in a song about the high-school hop or inject the lyrics “we’ve all got balls and brains, but some’s got balls and chains.” into a song about prison riots?

Rubber Bullets
The Dean and I

I’d love to say I got the hip references and sharp lyrics from the start, but truth be told they went straight over my 14 year old head.

My 10cc enlightenment came a year later in 1974 when a girl at school, who’d previously introduced me to Dark Side of The Moon, and Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs, informed me of her latest purchase – Sheet Music, 10cc’s new album.

Sensing my confusion, she told me that she’d bought the album on the back of hearing a track called “The Worst Band in The World” before reading a stellar review of the album in Melody Maker…

They’re the Beach Boys of Good Vibrations, The Beatles of Penny Lane, they’re The Marx Brothers… they’re sheer brilliance”.
(Melody Maker, May 1974)

She duly lent me the album and whilst I didn’t buy into the hyperbole, the record was rather good, also, thanks to the accompanying sleeve notes I got an insight into their wry wordplay….

We never seen the van – leave it to the roadies
Never met the roadies – leave them in the van
All because of circumstances way beyond control
We became the darlings of this thing called rock and roll,

(“The Worst Band in The World” )

Dow Jones ain’t got time for the bums
They wind up on skid row with holes in their pockets
They plead with you, buddy can you spare a dime
But you ain’t got the time

(“Wall Street Shuffle”)

It was clear that the bands’ sound had matured from those early singles, so much so, that critics were now categorising 10cc as ‘art-rock’.

As I would discover, they were a pretty good live outfit as well….

Silly Love – Live

I can’t think of many groups where every band-member can write, produce, be a multi-instrumentalist, and handle lead vocals, so it was no surprise to learn that the quartet, all in their mid-twenties, were established musicians who had decent CV’s before forming 10cc.

Kevin Godley & Lol Crème were school mates from Manchester and teamed up with another local lad, Eric Stewart, to form Hotlegs, a band would go on to have a global hit with “Neanderthal Man” in 1970.
Prior to joining, Stewart had been the lead singer in The Mindbenders, singing lead vocal on their big 60s hit “Groovy Kind of Love”.

Hotlegs – Neanderthal Man
Groovy Kind Of Love

The fourth member, Graham Gouldman, was another local lad who joined Hotlegs just before they disbanded. A sought after songwriter, Gouldman had written “Bus Stop” for The Hollies, “No Milk Today” for Hermans Hermits and “For Your Love” for The Yardbirds.

1974’s Sheet Music was a turning point for the band, gaining them credibility as album artists as well as yielding two top 20 singles, “Wall Street Shuffle” and “Silly Love”

The bands next record, The Original Soundtrack, released in 1975 saw them break away from Jonathan King’s UK label and become more experimental with sound and recording techniques.

Locked away in their state-of-the-art studio in Stockport, the band had the freedom to innovate, patenting the ‘Gizmotron’, a guitar effects device, adopted by Jimmy Page.
They also turned their hand to re-engineering conventional recording practices, most notably the use of tape-loops to create the 10cc wall-of-sound.

Best utilised on “I’m Not in Love”.

The song, written by Stewart & Gouldman, was initially a perky bossa nova that left Godley & Creme underwhelmed, however, after discarding the song the band could still hear people singing it around the studio and decided to revisit it.

Godley came up with the idea to replace the majority of instruments with a choral tsunami of voices, whilst Lol Creme figured out the tape-loop process which created the 256-voice, virtual choir effect.

I can remember reading a 1975 interview with Bryan Ferry where he claimed the first time he heard “I’m Not in Love” he pranged his car, distracted, he couldn’t work out how the hell they had created the sound.


I was fortunate enough to see 10cc live in April 1976 at the Glasgow Apollo, just after the release of the album How Dare You, the gig had been rescheduled from earlier in the year as one of the band had been ill.

I was intrigued to see if 10cc could reproduce songs like “I’m Not in Love” and “I’m Mandy Fly Me”, live on stage, but they pulled it off – they sounded just like the record.

I didn’t realise when I came away from the gig that they would split-up a matter of months later.

Creative tensions had been growing between Godley & Creme on one side and Stewart & Gouldman on the other, which came to a head during the recording of the How Dare You album.
The former wanted the music to be more experimental and push boundaries, whilst the latter were perfectly happy with the path the band were on and didn’t see the commercial sense in rocking the boat..

Kevin Godley would later concede that they all needed a break and should have taken a year or two to explore other projects with the aim of getting back together.
Unfortunately, too many were bridges burned, and the four original members never collaborated fully again.

Their swansong as the original line-up was at Knebworth in August 1976, supporting the Stones in front of 200,000 people, so it wasn’t a bad way for Godley & Creme to exit.

Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart carried on as 10cc for a while enjoying success for a few years with global hits like “The Things We Do For Love” and their last number one, 1978’s “Dreadlock Holiday”.

Meanwhile, Godley and Creme pursued their ambition to create more experimental music and had a few hits before their talents as video directors came to the fore, leading them to direct music videos for major acts like U2, Sting and Paul McCartney.

Godley & Creme – Cry
10cc – The Things We Do For Love

A version of 10cc still tours today, involving Graham Gouldman, which hasn’t gone down so well with some of the remaining members, and despite an excellent BBC documentary on the band which they all cordially contributed to, the prospects of them ever recording or touring again is bleak.

Were they the smartest band in the world?

Who knows, at their peak maybe they were, although I’m sure Beatles and Steely Dan fans would have something to say, but for a period in the mid 70s there weren’t many bands who were as innovative, talented and accomplished as 10cc.

‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’: Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Roll up, roll up ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.

It’s a little punky, it’s a little funky.

It’s a bit jazz, it’s a bit pizzazz.

It’s naughty its haughty

You wont Adam & Eve it

It’s only me old mates

Ian Dury & The Blockheads !

It’s late 1978 and the circus is back in town. There was always a bit of music hall or vaudeville about Ian and the lads, whether extolling the virtues of  Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n Roll or lamenting lost opportunities in What A Waste.

‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick came out of a jam session around an earlier recording  Wake Up (And Make Love To Me) and was written by singer Ian Dury and guitarist/keyboard player Chaz Jankel. It was released as a single on 23rd of November 1978.

Blockheads

Behindthe hit is a grinding and pulsating groove primarily led by bassist Norman Watt-Roy with his 16 notes to the bar acrobatics. I think he must have been heavily influenced by Weather Report’s Jaco Pastorios and Tower of Power’s Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia, two leviathans of the 70s’ bass guitar world. He’s ably assisted by some tasteful jazz piano, growling organ, jangily funk guitar and solid drumming by the rest of  the ‘heads. The chorus is like Chas & Dave meets disco in a sex dungeon !

We are then assaulted by Dury’s former fellow Kilburn & The High Road’s associate Davey Payne’s screechingdouble’ sax solo – A nod to jazz colossus Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Believe me, it’s not easy playing two saxes at a time. I nearly put an eye out trying !

Ian Dury

Leading this merry band of new wave troubadours of course is Mr. Dury. He doesn’t as much as sing but narrates this word play doggerel. Delivered in his best nursery rhyme bingo lingo Cockney, he not only gives you a useful geography lesson, he throws in a smattering of French and German too !

The whole things crescendos to a masochistic melee of screams and a demonic distorted guitar solo before crashing down into a foetal ball of shame and self loathing……………..  Am I reading too much into this ? A cold shower and I’ll be alright.

We of course didn’t know at the time that the ‘prop’ Dury carried was in fact a walking cane and that he had a withered left shoulder, arm and leg due to contracting polio as a seven year old. He certainly let it be known his views on peoples perception of disability with his anthem Spasticus Autisticus some years later.

In January 1979 Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick  knocked The Village People’s Y.M.C.A. off the number one spot and remained in the charts for 8 weeks.

The B-side was There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards. Says it all really!

Je t’adore, ich liebe dich

(Post by John Allan of Bridgetown, Western Australia – November 2022)

When Rod Was A God

Paul Fitzpatrick; November 2022.

I loved everything David Bowie released in the 70s up until Lodger.
Ditto, Stevie Wonder up to Secret Life of Plants.
Ditto, Joni Mitchell up to Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter.

I never stopped loving those artists but there came a point where I stopped rushing out to purchase their new material unconditionally.
It’s not a criticism, they were geniuses and performing at the level they did for so many years is unsustainable for any mere mortal.

There are loads of different examples of artists falling off a cliff, or whatever metaphor you care to use, it’s all based on personal tastes and opinions anyway.

As an example, a year before Bowie’s Ziggy exploded on the scene and Stevie’s Talking Book was released, Rod Stewart came along with Every Picture Tells a Story and for a couple of years, he looked like the “Prince that was promised’ to borrow a Game of Thrones phrase.

Love him or hate him, Rod Stewart has had an unbelievable career – million seller’s like “Sailing”, critically acclaimed hits like “The Killing of Georgie”, collaborations with Jeff Beck and Stevie Wonder and a stint in the best party band in the world – the Faces.

But for me there was a point in time when the guy could literally do no wrong – Rod Stewart vintage 71-72, was undoubtedly ‘The Man’.

Like a lot of people I had no idea who Rod Stewart was until I saw him singing “Maggie May” on Top of the Pops in October 1971.

It’s actually very rare for great songs to make it to number one in the charts. but “Maggie May” is one of the few exceptions, to add context, Middle of the Road’s “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” and Benny Hill’s “Ernie” also topped the charts in the same period

With his feather-cut, silk scarves and gravelly vocals, the androgynous Rod made a favourable impression – girls loved him, even getting their hair cut like him, and boys wanted to be like him, a veritable Jack the lad.

A big part of Rod’s appeal in the early 70’s was that he was a man of the people. Whilst Jagger was hanging out in Saint Tropez with Counts and Countesses, Stewart was down the boozer with his mates, playing Free & Frankie Miller on the jukebox.
If Rod drank champagne it was straight from the bottle.

Maggie May was the gateway to Every Picture Tells A Story, which is a top album, with the title track, “Mandolin Wind” and “Reason to Believe” all hitting the spot.

Then, just as Maggie May was starting to drop down the charts after a five- week stint at number one, Rod popped up again as part of a band called the Faces, entering the charts with a guitar-driven rocker called “Stay With Me”.

The Faces were a five piece band made up of 3 former Small Faces (Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones) and 2 ex-Jeff Beck Group members (Ronnie Wood & Rod Stewart).

All accomplished musicians, the Face’s brand of boogie-rock wasn’t too dissimilar from American southern rock bands like The Allman Brothers and being at one of their gigs felt like watching your mates play in the local boozer. It didn’t matter if there were a few bum notes, you were there to have a good time and singalong.

The Rod juggernaut kept rolling through 1972 with the release of Never A Dull Moment, and the lead single “You Wear It Well” which repeated the success of “Maggie May”.
Three further singles would go on to reach the top ten that year.
“In a Broken Dream”, “Angel” and “What Made Milwaukee Famous”, it seemed like the boy could do no wrong.

As Rod adjusted to his new found fame things slowed down a bit. There was a new Faces album in 73, Ooh La La which Stewart described to the NME as a “stinking rotten album” before his next solo project Smiler was released in 74.
The lead single from Smiler, “Farewell” was another collaboration with Martin Quittenton who’d co-written “Maggie May” and “You Wear it Well”.
It’s actually one of my favourite Rod tracks but it didn’t fare as well, which triggered a change of direction.

Rod’s next number one was “Sailing” in 75 by which time the Faces had disbanded and Rod was concentrating 100% on his solo career.

He was a different Rod now, enjoying the trappings of success, draped in leopard skin, sipping vintage champagne from fine crystal with Mick & Elton and churning out formulaic hits like “Hot Legs” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”.

Rod may not receive the critical acclaim that some of his contemporaries enjoy but the old bugger’s still going strong. I went to one of his gigs a few years ago and was amazed by how many young people were there to see him, but then again I have kids who were brought up listening to his early stuff and they love it.

The set-list for his gig that evening didn’t include as many of my favourites as I would have liked, but the guy can still hold a tune and is plainly a national treasure.

I don’t think I bought another Rod album after Smiler apart from a couple of compilation albums but I still listen to Every Picture Tells a Story, Never a Dull Moment and the best Faces tracks.

I wasn’t a big fan of Hollywood Rod, the music or the person, but I loved Jack the lad Rod and the music he produced in the early 70s.

He may not have been a god for long, but very few ever get there anyway.

Out Of The Blue

Paul Fitzpatrick: November 15th 2022, London.

When you go to a gig nowadays to see one of your favourite 70s bands, words you rarely want to hear are…. “and here’s one from the new album folks”.

As a case in point, I went to see the Stones this summer, I’ve seen them a few times and you kinda accept that due to their colossal back-catalogue there’s gonna be some notable omissions.
Which is why, when Mick said here’s a new song I wrote about Lockdown, there was a collective sigh, and that’s how 65,000 of us got lumbered with “Living in a Ghost Town” instead of rocking along to “Brown Sugar” or “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

It wasn’t always the way though – exactly 48 years ago today on Thursday, 15th November, 1974, I sauntered out to the record store in my lunch-hour to purchase Country Life by Roxy Music, on the day of its release.

The reason I couldn’t wait a day longer is because I’d been to see Roxy a few weeks earlier at the Glasgow Apollo and they’d premiered a few songs from their unreleased album, Country Life, that had blown me away and had been swimming around in my head ever since.

Although predominantly an album band, Roxy always had the knack of releasing great singles – “Virginia Plain,” “Pyjamarama”, “Street Life” and “Love is the Drug” to name a few. The lead single from Country Life, “All I Want is You”, was no exception and was another great teaser for the album.


I’d been a Roxy fan since their first appearance on Top of the Pops with “Virginia Plain”. Their Apollo appearances for the Stranded tour the previous year had been talked about as one of the gigs of the year, so I was really looking forward to seeing them live.

The first thing that struck me was the crowd, up till then most gigs I’d attended at the Apollo had been dominated by Rory Gallagher doppelgänger’s, but this was more like a nightclub crowd, plus there was the unmistakable smell of Charlie (the perfume!) and Aramis in the air, as opposed to the usual aura of perspiration and Newkie Brown.

Roxy Music vintage 1974, was an impressive unit.
Apart from the original four of – Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay and Thompson, they’d added a couple of Prog Rock stalwarts to their roster – Eddie Jobson to permanently replace Eno and for the live shows ex-King Crimson bassist John Wetton.

On the night, Roxy got the balance just right by playing all the crowd favourites – “Do the Strand”, Editions of You”, “In Every Dream Home”, etc, whilst slipping in a few new tracks from the album.

I remember vividly a sequence of three songs that has set the bar for any gig I’ve been to since.

Bookended by “Mother of Pearl” and “Song for Europe” was a new song that I would later discover was called “Out of the Blue”, it climaxed with a magnificent electric violin solo, played impeccably by Eddie Jobson on his clear plexiglass violin, which for dramatic effect lit up the darkened stage during the solo.

I still get goosebumps when I hear the song and that violin solo.

Out of the Blue – Roxy Music

To show it was no fluke, exactly the same thing happened a year later when I went to see Roxy again, this time they were showcasing songs from their soon to be released album, Siren, which became another record that I had to go out and buy on the day of its release a couple of weeks later.

After Siren, Ferry focused on his solo career for a bit and Roxy Music drifted apart, it was probably smart timing on their part to take a sabbatical during the Punk era although we would learn that the first band Steve Jones & Paul Cook of the Pistols formed, was called ‘The Strand’, in tribute to Roxy Music.
To affirm the connection further, Roxy’s producer, Chris Thomas would go on to produce Never Mind the Bollocks.

Roxy Music reunited in 1979 with a new album Manifesto and this smoother, slicker Roxy sound peaked commercially with Avalon in 1982.
I didn’t mind these albums but they sounded more like Bryan Ferry solo albums than peak 1972-1975 Roxy to me.

I still listen to Country Life and apart from being a good album it maintains Roxy Music’s glorious tradition of featuring glamorous femme fatale’s on the album sleeve.
 
The story behind the Country Life cover is that Ferry met two girls who were on vacation from Germany in a bar in the Algarve where he had decamped to write lyrics for the album.
Ferry needed some help translating lyrics into German for the song “Bitter Sweet” and Constanze who was the sister of Can’s Michael Karoli and Eveline (Karoli’s girlfriend), not only assisted with the translations but went one better, by also posing on an Algarve beach for the album cover.

Constanze & Eveline, pictured above, 40 years later….

The gig in Glasgow opened with the closing track from Country Life, a song called “Prairie Rose”, which in hindsight was an undeniable love letter to his Texan beau at the time, the model, Jerry Hall.

Hey, hey, you’re tantalising me

I always suspected Jerry made a bad call by choosing Jagger over the dashing Bryan Ferry and it has to be said that Mick’s insistence on performing his new Lockdown song instead of “Brown Sugar” only supports my case!

The set list for the gig is below and there’s also a link to an audio recording from YouTube of Roxy in Newcastle on 28/10/74 which was a few days after the Glasgow gig and the final gig of the 74 UK tour….

Prairie Rose / Beauty Queen / Mother Of Pearl / Out Of The Blue / Song For Europe / Three And Nine / If It Takes All Night / In Every Dream Home A Heartache / If There Is Something / All I Want Is You / The Bogus Man / Street Life / Virginia Plain / Editions Of You / Remake Remodel / Do The Strand

leyton buzzards

It could hardly be termed a quantum leap, moving from Pub Rock to Punk Rock, but like several others in the late Seventies, it was one made by East London band The Leyton Buzzards a year or so after their formation in 1976. There may be only a fine line between the two styles of music, but adopting the ‘punk’ label certainly attracted more attention and it wasn’t long before The Leyton Buzzards became regulars at iconic London venue, The Roxy.

Formed by long-time pals Geoff Deane (vocals) and David Jaymes (bass), they were joined by Kevin Steptoe (drums) and David Monk (guitar.) Their three-track debut single was released on the Small Wonder Records label in July 1978. Frenetic and anthemic ‘19 And Mad’ reflected the feelings of UK’s bored and pissed-off youth of the time. It was backed with the equally frantic and strident ‘Villain‘ and slower paced ‘Youthanasia.

The record found its way to BBC Radio’s John Peel who, well impressed, in August of that year invited them into the studio for the first of their four sessions for the show.

As happened so often in those pre-internet (pre-CD, prehistoric) days, it was through the Peel Sessions that my music preferences were shaped and the song ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Art School,‘ sticks in my mind as the first I heard of them

They reminded me a bit, one way or another of my favourites Radio Stars. And that could only mean good things. That was it. The Leyton Buzzards, eh? I was in!

Not long after this, and with Vernon Austin having replaced original guitarist Dave Monk, they won a ‘Battle of the Bands’ type of competition, organised by Radio 1’s David ‘Kid’ Jensen, and The Sun newspaper. (Punk and The Sun? No – me neither!) The prize though was well worth the association and the first release under their new contract with Chrysalis records was the single which some readers will surely remember, ‘Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees.’

More ‘New Wave’ than ‘Punk’ an with an underlying ska / reggae beat, it was an autobiographical track, recalling the lads’ days of riotous nights out, drinking and chatting up girls. It was hugely different from their earlier single but highlighted the band’s versatility.

As we’ve seen with various other bands featured on 70s Music, ‘versatility’ does not guarantee success. Delivered with that cheeky kind of ‘serious but not serious’ attitude, there was perhaps a little bit of an issue in that their target audience perhaps didn’t take them seriously? After all, they were presented as winners of a Pop Idol type competition sponsored by a newspaper that was itself not considered a ‘serious’ conveyor of current affairs. Would the street punks of the day buy into this?

I also understand that BBC, having been involved in sponsorship of the competition which won the band their Chrysalis Records contract, did not want to be seen to be ‘favouring’ the band and so restricted their airplay.

John Peel didn’t care though. Did he ever? He again offered The Leyton Buzzards a ‘Peel Session’ in January 1979 during which they previewed the forthcoming single, ‘Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees.’ Despite the various obstacles placed in their way, it eventually entered the lower reaches of the UK charts on 3rd March 1979. There it remained for five weeks, peaking at #53 but earning the band a (mimed) appearance on Top of the Pops.

One of those tracks played in that Peel Session was ‘Love Is Just A Dream,’ showing the band had not lost any of their initial, snotty, punk attitude.

Third single ‘I’m Hanging Around‘ arrived in early May ’79 and the fourth, ‘We Make A Noise‘ (the picture sleeve of which was designed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame) followed about twelve weeks later. By now, for reasons of which I’m unsure, they had dropped their hometown name, ‘Leyton’ from their name.

Their ranks had by now also been swollen with the addition of former Cockney Rebel keyboard player, Milton Reame-James.

They were now The Buzzards and as such, embarked on a UK tour with The Only Ones.

To fulfill their contract with Chrysalis, an album was released, containing their earlier singles, future (and final) quirky single ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You,‘ some Peel Session tracks, some demos and all in all some excellent, raucous punk numbers.

**(They reverted to their original name The Leyton Buzzards for the final single release, below …. although the album on which it appeared was credited as by The Buzzards. Also, towards the end of their time, drummer Kevin Steptoe left, being replaced by Tony Gainsborough.) **

Entitled ‘Jellied Eels To Record Deals,’ it was pretty much an account of their time together as a band. Confirmation, if you like, that they had come to a natural end was indicated with the final sentence of the back sleeve notes: ‘The band now intend to make significant changes of direction ….’

And that was that. The Leyton Buzzards had come to an end.

That’s not the end of the story, however.

Now, this is a 70s Music site, and we’re straying into the prohibited territory of ’80s Music, so I’ll keep this brief.

In 1980, Geoff Deane and David Jaymes put together another band, which despite their first two releases failing to impress the record-buying public, would go on to record eight Top 40 singles between August 1981 and August 1983.

That band? Modern Romance.

Their debut, eponymous single, with echos I think of Cockney Rebel (Judy Teen even gets a mention) failed to impress in the manner subsequent releases would.

Their biggest hit was ‘High Life’ which reached #8 in Spring 1983, however, I think they be best remembered for this:


I know, I know. But what the heck – there’s no law says just ’cause you like Punk and New Wave you can’t shake it all down to a bit of fun salsa, right?

And so the story ends … almost. On leaving Modern Romance at the height of their success (after their #15 cover of ‘Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White‘) co-founder of both Modern Romance and The Leyton Buzzards, vocalist Geoff Deane left to focus on personal projects.

Not just any old little projects, mind . Oh no, no, no. Projects like writing the dcreenplay for films such as ‘Kinky Boots‘ and ‘It’s A Boy Girl Thing’; writing scripts for TV series like ‘Birds of a Feather‘; contributing to the soundtrack of ‘Shrek.’

Oh …. loads of things. The boy done good (sic.) that’s all I can say!

Yeah, Pub to Punk Rock may be a baby step. Pub rock to writing comedy series and film screenplay, via Punk and Salsa – now THAT is a QUANTUM LEAP!

(Post by Colin Jackson from Glasgow – November 2022)

Standing On The Corner, On Winslow Arizona

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, November 6th 2022

Glenn Frey, a founding member of the Eagles would have been 74 today.

A native of Detroit, as a teenager he was due to join his friend Bob Seger’s band but his family objected as he’d been caught smoking grass with Seger.

Instead, Frey followed his musician girlfriend to California, and settled into the burgeoning Laurel Canyon music scene before accepting an invitation to join Linda Ronstadt’s backing band.

Frey subsequently introduced Don Henley to Ronstadt’s band, a line-up that already featured Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon, and the foursome would go on to form The Eagles in 1971

Track one on The Eagles eponymous debut album was a song co-written by Frey and his friend Jackson Browne – “Take it Easy“.

The Eagles, Jackson Browne & Linda Ronstadt

“Take it Easy” was a song that Jackson Browne had intended to include on his own debut album but was struggling to finish. He played it to Frey who volunteered his services, contributing to the lyrics and the arrangement, completing the song on the basis that the Eagles could record it first.

The song featuring Frey on lead vocals was released as a single in May 1972. It was a top 20 hit in the US & Canada but didn’t register at all in the UK where Glam Rock was at its peak in the summer of 72.

In 1972 Route 66 went through the heart of Winslow, Arizona, however by the end of the decade Winslow had been bled dry by an interstate by-pass diverting traffic away from the once bustling town.

The residents looking for ideas to put the town back on the map decided to commission a statue to commemorate the exact spot in the town referred to in the song.

in 1999, a statue, a mural and a permanently parked flat-bed Ford truck, were positioned at that ‘Corner in Winslow, Arizona’, to honour the towns place in Rock history.

The monument has done it’s job attracting thousands of tourists and has become a magnet for Eagles fans all over the world….. particularly so since January 2016 when many have specifically travelled to pay their respects to Glenn Frey.

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona, 
and such a fine sight to see. 
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
slowin’ down to take a look at me. 


Come on, baby, don’t say maybe. 
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me. 

We may lose and we may win
though we will never be here again. 

So open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy.

1971 – The Best Year in Music?

Once again we were invited to submit a piece to TURNTABLE TALK on Dave Ruch’s excellent ‘A Sound Day.‘ blog.
Dave’s site covers all genres and eras of music with insightful articles and great writing, and it’s well worth a visit.

This months topic was Those Were The Days My Friend.
Simply put, Dave was asking, what was “music’s best year.”

Here was my take on it….

This month’s Turntable Talk topic is a nice subjective one… ‘what was the best year for music?

Well, it’s no surprise to discover that every generation thinks their era was the best, which makes perfect sense – people’s memories are precious and music plays a major part in that.  

My musical consciousness began as a 10-year-old in the late 60s.
The Beatles were at their creative peak, The Stones, The Kinks and The Who were already established and there was plenty of radio friendly pop music on the radio courtesy of – The Monkees, Herman’s Hermits, Marmalade, etc.

Whilst I can remember some of it, truth be told I was too young to appreciate the cream of 60s music, with The Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix, Motown, Stax and the Laurel Canyon scene inspiring what was to follow.

And what was to follow was pretty special.

Take 1971 as an example.
Here’s a few albums you may of heard of….

  • The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
  • Carole King – Tapestry
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
  • David Bowie – Hunky Dory
  • Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  • Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
  • John Lennon – Imagine
  • Joni Mitchell – Blue
  • The Who – Who’s Next
  • T Rex – Electric Warrior
  • Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat
  • The Doors – LA Woman
  • The Faces – A Nods as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse
  • James Brown – Sex Machine
  • Don McLean – American Pie
  • Gil Scott Heron – Pieces of a Man
  • Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  • Pink Floyd – Meddle 
  • James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim 
  • Isaac Hayes – Shaft 
  • Yes – Fragile
  • Paul McCartney – Ram 

It’s staggering that the majority of theses artists were able to release landmark albums of such exceptional quality on an annual basis; sustaining a creative peak whilst still finding time to live a 70s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, which is no mean feat!

Included on this list are two of the top three albums of all time, according to music bible – Rolling Stone magazine‘s top 500 albums.
Marvin Gaye’s – What’s Going On and Joni Mitchell’s – Blue.

Another remarkable thing about this era was the diversity of the music.

Rock, pop, soul, reggae, jazz, country folk, glam, funk – it was one big melting pot.

In 1971 you would find Benny Hill rubbing shoulders at the top of the singles charts with Deep Purple and The Doors, and Jim Reeves swapping album chart positions with Led Zeppelin and Wishbone Ash.

In terms of the best year for music?

I think you could probably make a reasonable case for any year between 1967 and 1976, however, 1971 was seminal for me, it was the year I started going to record shops and buying albums, and it left a lasting impression.

Of course, I couldn’t afford to go record shopping every week, and whilst a 7yr old Jeff Bezos was still dreaming of Alexa in 71, every trip this 13yr old made to the record store was an event, and every purchase was critical.

I’m pretty sure the first album I purchased with my own money was Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story.

(Ironically the opening line on track one, side one on Every Picture Tells a Story is one that summed up my record shop experiences up until I made my first purchase… “Felt some time feeling inferior”)

I remember travelling into the city to the record shop with a couple of mates – buzzing to be going with my own money, to make my own choices.

I can remember – the sense of privilege and belonging I felt for the first time in a record shop, as an active consumer rather than the annoying wee pleb who’d spend ages going through racks of albums, asking to hear tracks, with no intention (or means) of purchasing anything.

It made sense therefore that the record shops that made us feel welcome (or less unwelcome) were the one’s that got our business when we eventually made our buying decisions.

I can remember – the anticipation on the journey home, auditing the sleeve-notes, absorbing every bit of information, using the lyrics to sing along, a-cappella style on the top deck of the bus.

I can remember – when you got home the magic of placing the needle on track one, side one, and then settling back to hear that opening riff or vocal for the first time.

From Robert Plant’s “Hey, hey mama said the way you move” to Don McLean’s “Long, long time ago”.

From Keef’s “Brown Sugar” riff to the sax intro on “What’s Going On” – 1971 was the gift that just kept on giving.

If you need any further convincing, here’s a 1971 playlist to give you a taste of the year’s releases….

(Paul Fitzpatrick: London November 2022)

Whistling in Music

Russ Stewart: London, October 2022

“Who’s the whistling Rufus?”

The miscreant in the 70s Bearsden Academy registration class refused to own up to the supervising teacher’s enquiry. 
Possibly unaware of Jimmy Shand’s greatest hit and hence confused by the question.

Inappropriate whistling should be a capital offence. 

It has its place…. 
Indicating occupancy in an unlocked public toilet cubicle. 
Encouraging your pit bull to relax it’s hold on a newborn’s throat during lambing season.
Or
As an expression of innocence as you stand, catapult in hand, next to a broken window.

It is never appropriate in a musical context.  Lennon, Ferry, Presley, Rod Stewart, Peter Gabriel, and Whistling Jack Smith…. WTF?

Why? 

Inability to write a lyric? 
Age shrunk vocal range? 
Can’t afford a sax player? (I can recommend a talented Western Australia resident who may have spare time when not dagging sheep in his hobby farm)

Picture Sir Rod in front of his bathroom mirror, engaged in some nasal hair husbandry. 
The tiling lends a supportive echo as he whistles a jaunty air. 
His rock and roll mojo has long since departed. 
He thinks : ‘got a potential hit here for my desiccated fans’. 

Thankfully none of my musical heroes have yet sunk to whistling. 

Todd Rundgren gets close.

On the otherwise excellent “Useless Begging” track he uses two coins to mimic a tap dance routine. 

Real tap dancing is cool. 

Executing a paradiddle in a puddle whilst rapping about one’s romantic attachments to “hoes”, and one’s dislike of law enforcement, would get my attention. 

The act of whistling looks ridiculous. 
Undignified puckering of the embouchure.
Budgie trills. 

Thankfully Roger Whittaker’s beard masked some of his facial contortions. 

A bearded Rolf Harris even indulged in a spot of whistling when not Waltzing Matilda (or whatever he was doing with the young maiden)  

Alas, the Bearsden Academy whistler remains at large. 

That Was Great, But Who Played It?

Russ Stewart (of this parish) knows a thing or two about music so when he says the blistering guitar solo at the end of the The Carpenter’s “Goodbye to Love” is every bit as good as anything 70s heavyweights, Clapton, Beck, et al, have produced, then it’s worth considering.

The only issue is that 99% of us would have no idea who the soloist on the Carpenters track was.

Actually the player in question goes by the name of Tony Peluso, who at the time was a guitarist with a little known band called Instant Joy.
Richard Carpenter wanted to add some fuzz-guitar to a track he was recording called “Goodbye to Love” and had been impressed when seeing Tony live, so he invited him to play on the session and was so taken with the result that he became part of the Carpenters band.

When you get into it, the world is awash with great solos and contributions from musicians that fly so low under the radar that you need to carry out a deep-dive to unearth them.

Take the excellent guitar work by Amos Garrett on Maria Muldaur’s sultry one-hit-wonder “Midnight at the Oasis”. Listed as one of Jimmy Page’s favourite guitarists, Garrett has played with Stevie Wonder and Todd Rundgren as well as releasing several albums of his own.
His solo on Muldaur’s hit is often referenced and is considered by many musician’s to be a classic, but he’s not exactly a household name.

Similarly, Elliott Randall is another hired hand who’s intro and guitar work on Steely Dan’s “Reeling In The Years” is the stuff of legend.
Randall preferred to stay out of the spotlight, turning down invites to join Steely Dan as well as Toto, and even said no when he was offered the musical director gig for the Blues Brothers project.
Randall spends a lot of time in the UK now and can often be seen playing in pubs just for the fun of it.


Amos Garrett

Elliott Randall

As always, axe-men get most of the glory but they’re not the only players who can steal the show….

Unless you’re a big Rolling Stones fan the name Bobby Keys may not mean anything to you, but you’ll be familiar with his work – he’s the guy playing the raspy saxophone solos on hits like “Brown Sugar” and “Miss You”.

Keys, a Texan, was born on the same day as Richards and was best man at Jagger’s wedding, and apart from a brief period in the 70s he remained an integral part of the Stones inner sanctum until his death in 2014.
When he wasn’t on the road or in the studio with The Stones, Keys was an in-demand session player, featuring on albums by George Harrison, Joe Cocker and John Lennon where his sax playing on “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” is immense.

Thick as thieves with Keith Richards, Keys was sacked by Jagger in the mid 70s, when he found he’d filled a hotel bathtub with Dom Perignon and drank most of it leaving the band with a heftier than normal room service bill. Keith managed to bring his old drinking buddy back into the fold once Jagger had calmed down though.

Staying with horn players, David Sanborn is another saxophonist with a mountain of credits including some unique solos that you will definitely have heard.
It’s his distinctive alto-sax you can hear on David Bowie’s “Young Americans”, The Eagle’s “The Sad Cafe” and Stevie Wonders “Tuesday Heartbreak”.
Sanborn has carved out a decent solo career and alongside Tom Scott and the Brecker Brothers, he was the go-to horn player for most of the big recording sessions in the 70s.

(John Allan wrote a great piece on Tom Scott that you can find using this linkTom Scott)

Not renowned for their solos, even bass players can get in on the act every now and again.

Probably the most recognisable bass line in popular music was released almost 50 years to the day.
It was written and played by Herbie Flowers a veteran English session player who doubled up with an electric bass and a double bass to get the sound he wanted for Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side”.
Instead of getting a writing credit for producing one of the best song intros of all time, Flowers received a flat fee of £17.


Another bass solo that’s not so well known but just as distinct and striking was constructed and played by a young Anthony Jackson at a recording session for the O’Jays “For The Love Of Money” in 1974.
This song’s always been a favourite of mine but to be honest I didn’t learn till recently that the intro to this funk classic was actually played on the bass.
Jackson who started off in Billy Paul’s band has gone on to have a long and fruitful career as a top session player featuring on albums by Steely Dan, George Benson and Paul Simon.
His contribution to the O’Jays hit was so profound however that he actually received a writing credit from Gamble & Huff, and they didn’t hand those out lightly.

Jackson was one of the lucky ones, a lot of 70s session guys never got credited even though they were helping to create platinum albums whilst being paid a set hourly rate.

So, the next time you hear an amazing solo or a great piece of playing spare a thought for the unsung hero who got a measly £17 for creating a piece of magic.

(By Paul Fitzpatrick: London, October 2022)