Beady Eye have split up? Thank fuck for that!
Beady Eye have split up? Thank fuck for that!
I just heard the sad news that reggae legend John Holt has died. His manager confirmed that he passed away in a London hospital on Sunday night. He was just 67. He started out as the lead singer of the Paragons and wrote many of their songs; including “Wear You To The Ball” and “The Tide Is High“. The latter went on to become an international hit for Blondie in the 80s and later for Atomic Kitten. I always preferred the Paragons original version. He also recorded as a solo artist while he was with the Paragons cutting tracks like the original of “OK Fred” in 1979. This was later a UK hit for Errol Dunkley in 1979. He recorded tracks with legendary reggae figures such as Duke Reid, Leslie Kong, Bunny Lee, Prince Buster and Alton Ellis.
He recorded and released many albums and singles and was a superstar in Jamaica. Sadly in the UK he was never as popular. His 1974 cover of Kris Kristofferson‘s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” reached number 6 in the UK chart. He released his last solo album, ‘Peacemaker’ in 1993. I still have a copy of the fabulous ‘1,000 Volts Of Holt’ album from 1973, only the CD version though. My vinyl copy wore out years ago.
My thoughts go to his family, friends and fans. John Holt RIP.
Sinead O’Connor as well as being a very talented singer and songwriter is also a qualified medium. She also believes that she is a better Medium than she is a singer-songwriter. If that is true then she must be a truly amazing Medium!
Five years ago in 2009 Procol Harum‘s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” was still the most played song on UK radio. Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was at number two in that listing. In a strange coincidence both songs use the word ‘fandango’ in their lyrics. Are their any other songs that use ‘fandango’ in their lyrics?
I missed this sad news last month. Either because it was not reported widely enough or because I was on holiday. So thanks to Record Collector magazine for bringing it to my attention. Joe Sample off of the Crusaders died of cancer aged 75 on 12th September. Whilst I am not a jazz aficionado I was a big jazz funk fan in my days as a soul boy in the late 70s. Soul Boy? You remember right? Peg trousers, billowy shirts or jumpers and on some occasions plastic sandals!
As far as jazz funk goes in my own musical history Joe Sample was a giant and as keyboard and piano player with the Crusaders he was a big hero. Many of you remember the Crusaders big 1979 UK hit “Street Life” with vocals from Randy Crawford. But my liking for the band goes back a little further than that to tunes like “Keep That Same Old Feeling” and “Stomp And Buck Dance” from 1976 and 1974 respectively. ‘Free As The Wind‘ and ‘Chain Reaction’ were also really great albums. I also used to won a couple of Joe’s solo albums too; ‘The Three’ and ‘Rainbow Seeker‘
My thoughts go out to Joe’s family, friends and fans. Joseph Leslie ‘Joe’ Sample RIP.
I had heard of the Amazing Snakeheads before this gig and indeed I had listened to some of their stuff on-line. However what brought me to this gig was actually one of the support bands who added me to their cheap list. Honestly I feel more honoured to be on a cheap list than I would to be on a guest list! Anyway the band who invited me were the magnificent Avalanche Party. I saw them at the Woolpack in York a couple of months back and stayed loosely in touch via Facebook following my review of the Woolpack show. Avalanche Party were the first band of the evening to take to the stage and once again it was a bloody good performance. They have some excellent material; “Mountains” is a great song and their cover of Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” is a truly inspired choice of cover that really suits the harder, punkier feel that the band give the song. They are a very tight band of very accomplished and talented musicians. They seem well-drilled and rehearsed but also have the right amount of star presence and swagger on stage. Their free 2 track CD has been on loop in my car on the journey to work for the past few days too. If you get the chances you really need to go and see Avalanche Party. If I find out that you did have the chance and didn’t take it I will have to send the boys round!
Second to grace the stage on Sunday were the Valmores. For me the jury is still out on that name. They were pretty good, certainly their playing was strong and it felt well rehearsed. Their songs are mostly strong although the lyrics I could decipher suggested that they might be trying too hard to be controversial. Songs about heroin and the rubbish state that England is in. The lead singer has a good voice although he seemed to want to be Jim Morrison off of the Doors but in a much cleaner 21st century kind of way. The Valmores do have potential to achieve more and I hope that they do.
The Amazing Snakeheads were the headliners and I think that it would be fair to say that I saw no snakeheads they were bloody amazing. They were also one of the loudest bands that I have seen for some time, but that might have been heightened by the fact that I was standing next to the speaker stack! Glasgow’s Amazing Snakeheads are probably the best perpetrators of loud, angry, scuzzy blues rock that I have ever seen. The band set up is drums, bass and guitar with the guitarist also providing the at times tonsil shredding vocal. We even had a crowd invasion from frontman Dale Barclay. I really enjoyed them, but I can imagine that they may be a bit of a Marmite band in that you’ll either love them or hate them. “I’m A Vampire” is my favourite Snakeheads song; what’s yours?
On Saturday I had yet another opportunity to attend a live show from my favourite all-girl punk band the Tuts and obviously I wasn’t going to turn that down was I? The Tuts were the third and headlining act in the musical close to the Leeds Ladyfest. This festival exists to promote and celebrate women in the arts. The first part of the day included some very successful workshops I’m told. I was only there for the music and more of that later. The venue was the rather excellent Wharf Chambers in Leeds, this co-operative pub/ venue has the potential to become one of Leeds’ best small venues in my opinion. I understand that money raised from the event would be going to charity. One of the recipients will be Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL). This is an organisation that I know a bit about thanks to my friend Rachel Vernelle who is a passionate supporter. If you wish to contribute to SARSVL or indeed to help fund Wharf Chambers the links are above.
Anyway on to the music. The first band on were Demitaves. Three people, one acoustic guitar, some basic percussion and harmonies to die for. The well rehearsed vocals were reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at their best. The band also had some excellently written and performed songs. The acoustic cover of Britney Spears “Toxic” was a highlight. In my opinion if you cover a song you should make it different from the original and for this cover it was definitely mission accomplished. So would I go and see the Demitaves again? Of course I would and so should you if you get the chance!
Next up were Chambers a two-girl duo who told us that they had only been together for two months. If I heard that part correctly then they really were bloody good! A complete contrast to the close harmonies and largely a capella sound of the Demitaves it would be fair to say that Chambers rocked hard. Would it be a cliché to say that Chambers rocked the (Wharf) Chambers? It would? OK I won’t then. These women have a very heavy and very loud sound and are closer to heavy metal than any other genre for me. They only played three songs, but on the strength of that I would certainly check them out again given the chance.
Finally it was my chance to see those fabulous Tuts once again. This is the third or fourth time I have seen them and it would be very fair to say that they have got better every time. They have a great set of songs “Tut Tut Tut”, “Dump Your Boyfriend” and my current favourite “Worry Warrior” among many others. The Tuts are nothing like either of the other bands on the bill which for me makes for a brilliantly varied and interesting evening. It would have been nice to see more people there but it was a fabulous atmosphere and great show from Nad Tut, Bev Tut and Hat Tut. They even managed a crowd invasion at one point with Nadia and Harriet bringing their guitars and microphones onto the floor in among us punters. Jen Doveton off of Colour Me Wednesday also joined them on stage for one song.
Their UK tour is over now, the last show was in Manchester on Sunday. However the big news is that they will be treading the boards in the UK again very soon, in the early part of 2015 in fact. If you’re a Tuts fan you’ll already know this, but the girls are supporting the legendary Selecter on their UK tour! Check below for the dates. This came about after Pauline Black saw the Tuts thunderstorm interrupted Glastonbury set in June this year. I will definitely be there at the Leeds Brudenell show in 2015. If you haven’t yet checked out the Tuts I want a letter from your parents explaining why!
On Thursday I went to see the magnificent Ian Hunter and the superb Rant Band play in Sheffield. This was my second Hunter show in two years, I previously saw him in Harrogate in 2012. The support band was the stunning blues rock outfit Federal Charm from Manchester. They are a very tight unit musically and their lead singer Nick Bowden has shades of a young Paul Rodgers in his singing. I bought their album at the gig and it is a great set for listening to when driving or probably many other activities too. You should check them out. Click here for their Facebook page.
On to the main man though. Mr Hunter was on top form as expected and the Rant Band are just bloody good as always. It looked like Ian and the band were really enjoying themselves on stage too. It was an excellent set with the highlights for me being the old Mott songs “All The Way From Memphis” and “All The Young Dudes” both of which probably had everyone in the crowd singing along. I certainly was. But my favourite two songs of the evening were “When I’m President” which works better live than it does in it’s recorded form, probably because it is such a great song. The other was the poignant “Michael Picasso” which was originally released as a part of Hunter’s ‘Artful Dodger’ album in 1996. It is a heartfelt tribute to the late, great Mick Ronson. I must admit that the lyrics often bring tears to my eyes, as they did on Thursday.
Sadly the UK part of the tour is over now, but I urge you to go and see Ian and the band the next time they tour. You will not be disappointed. There are still plenty of dates left rolling into January. These are in Scandinavia, Japan and the USA. His merchandise stand was selling a ‘Live In The UK 2010′ CD which showcases just how good the band are in live performance. So while you’re waiting for that next tour get your hands on a copy of that CD. I have one final question how can Mr Hunter look so fit and young into his 70s? I need that secret! For another great review of Ian Hunter on this tour go to the backseatmafia blog who was at the Holmfirth show. I should add that none of the videos or pictures or videos on this post were taken by me and in fact none are from the Sheffield gig.