Tag Archives: Seventies

Live From The Apollo – It’s Star Time…

Paul Fitzpatrick: December 2022

By late 1974 my record collection was starting to take on a different complexion.

Whilst my album collection in the main, remained loyal to Zep, Bowie, Roxy, Stones, my singles collection was being supplemented weekly by tracks absorbed at the discos of the day – Clouds & Shuffles (I was only 16!).
The likes of George McCrae, Barry White, and Hamilton Bohannon.

Cut forward a couple of years and the sounds of – Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament, Isley Brothers, The Crusaders and Stevie Wonder had taken over my stereo.
Even the non R&B artists grabbing my attention had somewhat of an R&B flavour – Hall & Oates, Little Feat, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan.

Around this time a crowd of us would go to certain bars and clubs in Glasgow like The Rooster on Glassford St, or Joannas on Bath St, primarily for the music, (but to be fair the talent wasn’t bad either!).

There was something missing though – live music.

Being a regular at the Greens Playhouse/Apollo since my first gig in 1972 to see Humble Pie (supported by Peter Frampton), my frustration in the mid 70s was that it was nigh on impossible to see any decent R&B bands, live in Glasgow.

Which is kind of ironic given the Apollo was named after the home of live R&B – the famous Apollo Theatre, in Harlem, New York,

The absence of live soul acts in the west of Scotland was no fault of the Glasgow Apollo though – a lot of visiting US bands didn’t travel any further north than London on their whirlwind European tours, and the Apollo with its 3,500 capacity probably scared off a lot of promoters.

Unfortunately, we weren’t blessed with a plethora of live venues in the mid 70s, and traditional Glasgow theatre’s like the Pavilion, with capacities of c.1,500, were already kept busy with a steady diet of….
Robert Halpern’s hypnotist show – Residencies by Sydney Devine and Christian, and of course, Pantomimes…. oh yes they were!

A few decent soul/funk bands did make it to the Apollo though and I went to see most of them….

First off, I saw the Average White Band in May 1976, supported by the excellent Kokomo on a balmy Saturday night.

The highlight of the show according to everyone who witnessed it was a 20 minute encore of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”, with Kokomo joining AWB on stage.

No doubt it would have been my highlight too if I hadn’t have been kicked out the venue.

Let me explain – the crowd were still on their feet after a rip-roaring version of “Pick up the Pieces” and a few of us ambled towards the front of the stalls in readiness for the upcoming encore, only to be turfed out via the fire-exit, stage left, by some meathead stewards.

I went to see The Clash’s first Apollo gig the following year when spitting at punk gigs was de rigueur (despite the height of that stage!) so I had zero sympathy for the shell-shocked stewards, covered in collateral phlegm – karma’s a bitch.

I loved AWB but they were local lads, we also wanted to see the the bona fide American funk bands, and we’d need to wait 18 months before the Brothers Johnson, hit the Apollo in 1977.

The Brothers Johnson – I’ll Be Good To You

LA natives, The Bros Johnson were fronted by siblings, Louis “Thunder Thumbs” on bass and George “Lightnin’ Licks” on guitar.
Mentored by Quincy Jones the band enjoyed a meteoric rise in the States with their first four albums going platinum.

When the band came to town they were promoting their second album. As part of their first trip to Europe they only had two UK gigs planned – Wembley Arena and the Glasgow Apollo.

To be honest I don’t remember a whole lot about the gig apart from the bass playing of Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson.

I was used to bass players like Entwhistle or Wyman who stood impassively on the side of the stage, rooted to the spot, so to see a bass player move his feet was a revelation.

“Thunder Thumbs” solo

Also, this was the first time I had seen anyone play ‘slap-bass’ and not only was Louis centre stage, he was a one man funk machine.

Louis would go on to play bass on most Quincy Jones productions including Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

The last 70’s R&B band I can remember seeing at the Apollo was the Commodores, a funky collective formed whilst studying at Tuskegee University, Alabama, before being spotted and signed by Motown.

They played the Apollo in April 1978 just before “Three Times A Lady” became a global hit and changed their course from funkateers to balladeers.
Fortunately the set they played that night was based on their recent Commodores Live album which is what we wanted to hear.

They were excellent live, put on a great show and went down a treat with the Glasgow audience.


After the gig a few of us gathered at the stage door because a couple of girls we knew said the roadies had mentioned something about an after-party.
We waited with them and sure enough the band came out to get into their limousines and Lionel Richie himself, invited all and sundry back to the Hotel where they were staying.

As we trudged through the Glasgow rain, we speculated about who would be there, what the spread would be like and whether there would be a piano in the suite so Lionel could play “Easy” (like a Sunday morning).
It was all very exciting until we got to the hotel to be met by a roadie resembling Mr T who duly informed us that the invite was for ladies only – how did we not see that coming!!??

So when old Lionel belts out “Three Times a Lady” lamenting about how he adores his missus, I hope she knows what was going on in the Albany Hotel that wet Wednesday evening in 78!

Apollo Stewards and Lionel Richie you just cannae trust them…..

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)

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.

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)