Tag Archives: memories

Radio Times

1945 Ekco A22 Radio

“Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin …”

My introduction to Radio, like many reading this I’m sure, was the iconic weekday show, ‘Listen With Mother.’ Broadcast immediately prior to ‘Woman’s Hour’ it was simply fifteen minutes of nursery rhymes, songs and short stories. (I don’t think my attention span has developed much in the ensuing years.)

This would be early Sixties, but already my interest in Radio had been piqued. As the years passed, my interests would widen, and with televisions in those days taking so damned long to ‘warm up,’ Radio seemed a natural and convenient alternative.

As I matured (?) from a sweet little four-year-old into a still little and also, no doubt, still sweet eight-year-old, I discovered a new catchphrase – one I could use to great effect in annoying my parents on a weekend morning after they’d enjoyed a night out at some fancy-dan Dinner Dance in the town.

“Wakey Wakaaaaay!”

In the same manner a peal of church bells draws many to worship, so this clarion call was the prompt to draw closer by my Dad’s stereogram on a Sunday lunchtime.

Billy Cotton

It’s perhaps strange to now reflect that a lame TV programme such as The Billy Cotton Band Show is at least in part responsible for my love of Radio to this day. Yet, living in a house where the sound of music consisted mainly of, erm, ‘The Sound of Music,’ ‘South Pacific’ or ‘The King and I,’ this was regarded as quite rebellious.

(See me? Punk as f***! Ten years ahead of Rotten, Vicious et al, I was.)

As the Sixties drew on, it wasn’t just Big Band music that grabbed my attention. There were some classic comedy shows to be had too. The one I remember listening to most was, ‘The Clitheroe Kid.’

This was a show centred around schoolboy Jimmy Clitheroe and his family. Jimmy, a diminutive comedian from the Lancashire town that provided his surname, was actually thirty-five years old when his long running radio show started. However, standing only four feet, two inches tall, he often passed for the eleven-year-old character he portrayed.

Jimmy Clitheroe

Listen to an episode entitled: ‘Thinking About A Holiday’ – courtesy of Radio Echoes. (First aired on 27th June 1971)

It would also be around this time I discovered the delights (and horrors) of Junior Choice.… and of course, another often to be repeated catchphrase:

Would it be deemed ‘sad’ to openly admit I still listen to the show each Christmas morning as I prepare the family meal? Songs like these made such a lasting impression!

Then of course, with football playing such a large part in the life of the young (and old) me, it was a regular Saturday ritual, with my Dad, to gather round the radio at 5pm and ‘conduct’ the orchestra playing this gem of an iconic tune:

Honestly, my stomach knots with excitement, when I hear this, even now. I’m right back to a cozy living room on a dark, dreich, late autumnal evening, next door the kitchen windows all steamed up, and our ‘special’ Saturday night meal of spam and beetroot sandwiches toasting under the grill.

(I also still wave my arms around like a loon in time with the music – as I suspect my sadly indoctrinated sons do too.)

Now, as the decade turned, I discovered to the ‘Happy Sound of Radio1.’ I should say that at the age of twelve, going on thirteen, I was myself, ‘fab’; ‘groovy’; ‘happening.’.

In truth, I probably found this modern pop music by accident, catching the handover from Stewpot’s Junior Choice to follow-on DJ Stuart Henry, who would become my favourite DJ of the time.

The more I became aware of what Radio could offer, the more I searched out new sounds and fresh presentations. My little plastic transistor had a very sensitive wheel dial, but with gentle, precise turns, and holding the radio to my ear as I turned through all points in the compass, I could sometimes pick up ‘pirate’ stations like Radio Luxembourg or Radio Caroline.

I thought at the time they offered a greater selection of music than Radio 1 – but then in the mid-Seventies, I stumbled upon John Peel! He’d actually been at Radio 1 since its inception, one of the original DJs, but his shows must have been after my bedtime!

Anyway, better late than never.

(You know that question about who, alive or dead, you’d invite over for a Dinner Party at your house? Peely would definitely be one of my guests. He introduced me to so much new music; new bands; new genres. His shows were an eclectic mix of styles. If there was one track didn’t take your fancy, chances were the next one would be on your wish-list of next purchases.)

The best DJ; the best voice; the best taste in music on the radio … ever!

Though my musical journey was by no means complete, having travelled from Billy Cotton to Teenage Jesus and The Jerks within six or seven years, I at least knew in which direction I was headed.

Without the more specialist stations available nowadays, Radio 1 was required to cater for all musical tastes. One of my favourite shows aired on a Saturday evening, at 5:30pm, as I was getting ready to meet up with pals for a night uptown at The White Elephant Disco.

At this time, I’d generally be laid in a bath tentatively scraping bits of red ash out of a knee wound sustained in that afternoon’s football match. If not, then I’d be showering caked mud off my legs – you don’t want to be lying in a bath of manky water after running a cross country race in the rain!

This was the Stuart Coleman hosted, ‘It’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ show. It ran for three years from 1976 and was just the job for getting me bopping round the bathroom and in the mood for going ‘up the dancing.’

By the late ‘70s though, it wasn’t just music that had me tuning in to Radio. As a keen fan of baseball, I found that the 1945 Ekco A22 radio I’d picked up at a Scout Jumble Sale (still have it – similar model to that at top of this post) could pick up the American Forces Network (AFN). The time difference meant it was more late-night listening, but I was transfixed by the atmosphere and imagery evoked while listening to commentary of game from Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park.

Baseball on the radio

It was Radio that also introduced me to ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ in 1978. It aired on Radio 4, so I have no idea how I found it, but that then led me to become a huge fan and reader all of Douglas Adams’ books.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Even today, with the advent of BBC Sounds app, I listen to re-runs of Hancock’s Half Hour (pre-Seventies, I know) and Dad’s Army, of which three series were adapted for radio, and broadcast in 1974 / 75 / 76.

It’s a sad fact and by-product of ‘progress’ that the ‘old’ is usurped by the ‘new’, only to be granted a passing word in history books.

Not Radio, though!

Radio has seen off records; reel-to-reel recordings; cassette tapes; VHS; Betamax; CD; CD-R; MP3. It is now easily holding its own with HD TV; Smart TV; streaming services and podcasts.

Long live Radio, I say!

Wonderful radio
Marvellous radio
Wonderful radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio
Radio, radio

Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson from 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.

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)

remember remember

Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot

I do have vague memories from back in the sixties of something we called Bonfire Night, where a few paltry fireworks were let off and the community stood around a massive bonfire watching an effigy burn. Apparently, the straw dummy facing immolation was the representation of one Guy (Guido) Fawkes, the fall guy for an assassination attempt on King James I in 1605. The main perpetrator was a Robert Catesby, an English Catholic, who along with his cronies, planned the failed Gunpowder plot. Fawkes was guarding the gunpowder in the undercroft of the House of Lords when caught and was hung, drawn and quartered for his troubles.

As a child, I don’t think I grasped the historical references, especially the Protestant/Catholic struggles that would be a background to my young life. It was just a good night out in winter.

The evening started in our back garden with a few of my school chums and their parents. My father took his Health and Safety role seriously armed with milk bottle, taper, hammer and nail. Then the hallowed box of fireworks, hidden from curious school kids up to this point, would be brought out.

First, the rocket would be placed in a milk bottle and my father would gingerly approach it with a taper.

Stand back kids. No, further back !

Once we were several postcodes away, lift off commenced.

Phzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Bwwaat !

Like a loud wet fart.

Occasionally, the milk bottle would fall over, sirens would wail and we would dive for the Anderson shelter.

Then, the Catherine Wheel. This was a delicate set up. Hammered too hard into the side of a fence post and it wouldn’t turn. Too loose and it would cascade in a spiral of death and destruction.

Back to the shelter !

Truth was, most of the time it just fell to the ground and fizzled out.

Now, something the kids could really get into – sparklers. Held at arms length, you could wave them about for all of three minutes. There was always one child that would try and grab the molten metal end.

Quick ! Get the first aid kit from the bunker ! It’s behind the gas masks !

Well, that was fun and it’s only a quarter past seven !

There was a wooded area across from our house about two acres in size that was aptly named The Woods. Over the course of the previous month, neighbours would assemble this colossal wood pile at a designated area (designated by who ?) It always looked well structured but I don’t remember their being a Community Flammables Construction Working Party. The whole thing seemed quite organic.

With Mr Fawkes atop (a penny for the Guido doesn’t really work, does it ?) The erection was soon ablaze. No! I’m not talking about Ol’ Man Dirty Dawkins up to his tricks again ! I’ve never known anyone with such a supply of puppies to visit !

With your face like a well skelpt arse and your bum freezing there was a welcome feeling of communal unity. There was no need for ‘authority’ to be watching on with unwarranted scorn and disdain.

But there was always one.

Who let that banger off ! You should have done that in your own back garden. Quick children ! There’s a safe cave in the woods !

Fireworks are banned in many countries and are now only seen in synchronised displays at public events.

Influenced by the popularity of a blockbuster movie, Guy Fawkes has now come to represent broad protest in mask form.

James Sharpe, professor of history at the University of York, has described how Guy Fawkes came to be toasted as “the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions”

I think he got that right.

I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

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

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)

LOOK! NEW BLOG LAUNCHES TOMORROW!

We’re told that more memories are evoked by way of music and smell than any other … though we’d of course argue that Once Upon a Time in The ’70s could now also be considered a decent shout!

While we work on the development of our next project, a ‘scratch and sniff’ blog, Paul and I have decided to expand the concept of sharing memories from The Seventies, by focusing on Music, in the form of our new blog, 70s Music (70smusic.co.uk )

That’s music of all genres from the decade; from general Chart Pop music, to Soul / Funk & Disco, passing through Classic Rock; Punk; Underground and Progressive music; Glam; Yacht; Singer / Songwriter; Reggae, Ska & Two Tone; Country Rock / Southern Rock.

The lot!

This idea was prompted by the increasing volume of music based posts here on Once Upon a Time in The ’70s. Some of those posts have been reproduced to the new blog, but there are also many new articles for your nostalgic pleasure.

Don’t worry though, we fully intend to keep writing and accepting pieces for Once Upon a Time in The ’70s which will remain open.

70s Music, the blog, will launch tomorrow, Friday 23rd September 2022.

It would be wonderful if you could pop over for a look – we’re pretty sure you’ll return!

Social media links have already been set up for the new blog. We’d love to see you there too. Oh, yeah – and please do tell your friends where to find us.

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

(PINTEREST will be added over the next few days)

Paul and I are sure 70s Music will trigger many happy memories from The ’70s and possibly even lead you to discover some sounds that passed you by at the time.

Have fun!

COLIN & PAUL

Those Guilty, Guilty Pleasures

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, September 2022

Colin and I were once again invited to submit a piece to TURNTABLE TALK on Dave Ruch’s blog, ‘A Sound Day.
Dave’s site covers all genres of music, the articles are interesting, the writing is excellent and it’s well worth a visit,

This time, the subject open for discussion was ‘Guilty Pleasures

According to psychologists, the term Guilty Pleasure tends to be associated with shame or embarrassment rather than guilt itself.

In essence, a Guilty Pleasure is something we enjoy, but we know we’re not supposed to, because liking it, somehow reflects badly on us.
It’s why to this day, there are certain pieces of music we don’t include on shared or public playlists but are happy to listen to in our own ear-space.

Looking back, there were a raft of songs in the 70s that I could never admit to liking at the time….

If you want to talk about guilty pleasures – who was about to risk their credibility to sing the praises of the Starland Vocal Band’s ‘Afternoon Delight’ in 75 when the popular topic of the day was Bonzo’s powerhouse drumming on Physical Graffiti?

Afternoon Delight Anchorman Style

Decades on, I’m happy to admit that there’s loads of tracks in my current music library that I would have once distanced myself from.

Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe we just mellow with age, but there are quite a few ‘dad-tracks; I remember grimacing to in his car that over time crept into my own music library.

I’m talking mostly about classic easy-listening artists like Glen Campbell, The Carpenters, and Neil Diamond, who’s song ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’, I was astonished to learn, is one of my most played songs – 222 plays to date, according to i-Tunes.

I loved ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ when it was released but it was a covert romance, Mr ‘forever in blue-jeans’ Diamond was my dad’s music not mine, although, cut forward to 2022 and ‘Sweet Caroline’ has become a UK crowd anthem and Diamond has attained national treasure status.

To make things worse, on its release in November 1970, ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ shared the UK charts with Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’, Deep Purple’s ‘Black Night’ and Jimi Hendrix’s swansong, ‘Voodoo Chile’, so in the ongoing effort to maintain credibility, as much as I liked it, ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ was never going to be the song of choice on any jukebox I was putting my hard-earned pocket-money into.

Here’s how tastes change though – according to my i-Tunes data, Paranoid, Voodoo Chile, and Black Night between them, have racked up 95 plays in the past 5 years, whilst ‘Cracklin Rosie’ trumps them with 222 plays….

I stand by the fact that ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ is a great pop song… a breezy, upbeat track with a good melody. Just under 3 minutes long and with the backing of the exceptional ‘Wrecking Crew’ – the famous LA session players who played on almost every big hit of the 60s/70s.



Figuring out the high number of iTunes plays, it’s a song I include on a lot of playlists, probably because I get a rush of nostalgia on every listen… transporting me back to my youth and time spent with my dad and his 8-track player.

Funnily enough, it’s exactly the same vibe I get when I hear Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears of a Clown’, or the Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’. Two other sub-3-minute pop classics from the same era, the big difference I guess is that there’s no guilt attached to appreciating Motown greats….

Inspired by the topic I have rustled up a short 70s guilty pleasures playlist.

Looking down the list, I’m bugged that I was embarrassed to declare a fondness for a lot of these songs – they are all well-constructed, melodic, classic, pop songs, however, in context to what we were into at the time, few if any could be discussed, purchased, or even hummed in fear of public humiliation… thankfully we all move on!

hooray! hooray! it’s a holi-holiday!

Yup – that’s right. It’s time to load up the car; prepare the stock of Heinz Sandwich Spread sandwiches; buy the Beano Summer Special and an I-Spy book for the journey, and head off to Blackpool for our Summer Holidays!



Actually, I DO wish I was going to Blackpool this week, because the annual Rebellion punk festival is back on this weekend coming after an absence of three years. But that’s by the by.

As we did last year, Paul and I are gong to rest up on the blog for a few weeks … BUT WE WILL BE BACK IN EARLY SEPTEMBER with more nostalgia and memories of the Greatest Decade, the ’70s.

Thanks again to all who have contributed over the eighteen months or so since we launched, and thanks also to those who have read and enjoyed the posts.

Have fun, the last few weeks of summer (I think our summer, here in the west of Scotland, was a week past on Tuesday) and we’ll be back soon.

(Remember – the Facebook Group will still be available for any ’70s discussions, so feel free to make pertinent posts.)

Sorry to leave you with this, but it HAD to be done!

JACKIE & PAUL