Friday, 27 July 2012

Northern Soul Allnighter in Stoke on 4th August

Northern Soul Allnighter Saturday 4th August
BIDDS Main Room
Sutherland Road
ST3 1JB 

10pm - 6am 
£10 admission (pay on door)
Classic & Current Floor-packers - Oldies & In-demanders

Andy Dyson
Ted Massey
Sean Chapman
Rob Smith
Dave Welding
Ian James
Tony Foster

Atmospheric venue - late bar - scene friendly door staff - large wooden dance floor - private car park

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Action book, ‘In The Lap of The Mods' - Coming Soon

 The Action book will be available in two editions: 

Hardcover Edition

This large format (US Letter size) cloth bound book with over 200 pages printed on high quality 170grm paper, features: 

The Action's story told in full detail for the first time ever based on dozens of interviews and extensive research. 

Contributions from all original band members - Reggie King, Michael Evans, Roger Powell, Pete Watson and Alan King, in addition to Ian Whiteman and Martin Stone.  

Comment from well known Action fans and contemporaries Pete Townshend, Paul Weller, Peter Banks and Phil Collins, along with other key music industry figures. 

Foreword by Sir George Martin CBE. 

Over 200 colour and B&W images, many of which are reproduced for the first time, including: 

• Previously unseen informal and promotional photographs of the band

•Publicity material, including rare press releases, flyers and posters

•Rare items of memorabilia, such as gig posters, handbills and fan club material

•Single releases, acetates and recording session sheets from Abbey Road Studios 

An in-depth account of the Birdcage Club in Portsmouth, a legendary Mod venue and Action stronghold, together with a full gig listing of who played there. 

A comprehensive list of every track ever performed by the Action, whether on stage, TV, Radio or on record. 

Accounts of the Action live at venues across the UK and Europe, including recollections from fans in Holland and former regulars at such iconic clubs as the Marquee, the Goldhawk, Watford Trade and the Cavern in Liverpool. 

Original gig and record reviews from the music press. 

The full story behind the original Action line-up's reformation in 1998. 

Special Edition 

This special edition includes the following exclusive bonus items (neither of which will be made available or sold individually), each housed along with the hardcover book inside a presentation slipcase:  

•An incredibly rare and previously unreleased one-track 7 inch single of 'Why Do You Wanna Make Me Blue' - an exact replica of a single-sided acetate / demo the Action recorded for an unsuccessful audion for Decca on 31 May 1965, prior to them signing with George Martin's A.I.R. company. This precious nugget represents the earliest known recording of The Action. 

 •'Where The Action Is’ – a comprehensive chronology of the history of the Action - a daily diary of events, gigs played, appearances on TV and radio, record release / tour dates / chart positions and details of every recording session at Abbey Road, supplemented with press articles, gig adverts and additional items of rare unseen memorabilia and ephemera not included in the hardcover edition of the book. Also included in this paperback volume is an extended Action family tree (from 1961 to the present day) and a full discography of the band. 

For more details and to reserve your copy, contact:

The Strypes 'Young, Gifted & Blue' 7" EP (Heavy Soul Records)

The Rolling Stones recently celebrated 50 years together after first playing their R&B laden set at The Marquee Club on 12th July 1962 (filling in for Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, who were recording a session for the BBC).

Half a century later, 4 lads from Ireland (aged, I believe, just 15) called The Strypes have released a blistering 4-song 7” vinyl EP on Heavy Soul Records entitled, “Young, Gifted and Blue”.

Featuring Bo Diddley’s, ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover’, Slim Harpo’s ‘Got Love If You Want It’, Billy Boy Arnold’s ‘I Wish You Would’ and Eddie Holland’s ‘Leavin’ Here’, this is authentic blueswailing R&B played with a maturity that belies their youth. Great passion and superb musicianship (including some great harmonica) give an authentic Yardbirds/Rolling Stones/Pretty Things vibe and it is no surprise that they have already made several appearances on Irish TV and at various festivals, as well as playing many packed out gigs, most recently bringing their set to the UK.

With a new 7” in the pipeline via US label, Lust Records, (to be recorded at the legendary Toe Rag Studio), and numerous gig offers coming in, there’s a real buzz around The Strypes right now, and justifiably so. If you’re a fan of Maximum R&B played with Fire ‘n’ Skill, get yourself a copy of this 7” EP now while stocks last. In years to come, you’ll be pleased you did.

'Saturday's Kids: The 1980s British Mod revival' by Darren Russell

Inspired by Richard Barnes’ 1979 book, ‘Mods!’, (that was predominantly made up of photographs from the original 1960s Mod scene) together with a family interest in photography, Darren Russell took a camera to many of the 80s Mod events that he attended from circa 1982 onwards and, all these years later, we have the newly published ‘Saturday’s Kids’ book.

Edited by Claudia Elliott and with an introduction by scene veteran, Dave Edwards, there are interesting narrative contributions from Gary Wood (The Scene), Tony Perfect (Long Tall Shorty), Mark Raison, Peter Jachimiak, Bernadine Wood, Mick Wheeler, Steve Besemer, Paul Hurst, Tracey Wilmot, Kev Lock, Dominic Morgan and the author himself. The pictures are all black and white, very much south-east-centric and taken at rallies (Hastings ’82, Littlehampton, Isle of Wight ‘83), events (Ilford Palais Alldayer), clubs (Phoenix Club, Crawdaddy Club, Solent Club), at gigs (The Scene, The Moment, Makin’ Time, Fast Eddie, Small World, The Aardvarks, JTQ, The Phrogs & Paul Weller etc.) and shopping trips to Amsterdam and Paris. 

There’s also several scene ‘Movers & Shakers’ captured throughout such as Dave Edwards, Eddie Pillar, Tony Class, Ian Jackson, Paul Hallam, Rob Bailey etc. and many great shots of ‘Mod’ed-up’ scooters.

‘Saturday’s Kids’ gives a pictorial memory lane for many of us that were on the Mod scene at that time (and still are today) – thank goodness Darren took his camera (as most of us rarely did) to record this moment in time.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Karla Milton Collective – Bookmark Theatre, Bloxwich. 18th May 2012

After the recent albums, videos and heavy gigging schedule of DC Fontana in recent years, I felt that finally they had got a really good line-up and sound together. Thus, I was somewhat surprised to hear that two of their most prominent personnel, Karla Milton and Steve Trigg, were leaving at the end of 2011 to pursue their own musical objectives - potentially a huge risk.

After over 4-months of putting together their own line-up, writing new material and rehearsing a new stage set, here they were back on stage for the very first time as The Karla Milton Collective (at, incidentally, the same venue that they played their final DC gig). This very nice theatre was absolutely jumping with a crowd eager to see what this new band has to offer.

Following some moody backing music, down went the lights and the drummer kicked into life in front of a digitised screen of images. On, one by one, came the bass player, guitarist, percussionist, keyboard player, and brass section – each joining in the rhythm and melody of the Steve Trigg penned instrumental, “Finally I See The Light”, a great soul stomper that got the crowd to life. As the applause continued, on came Karla Milton and the band launched into “Hiding in the Shadows which she co-wrote with Steve. Following the excellent ‘Jack is Back’ they performed a re-working of Karla’s “Benny” which they had played previously with the DCs. Next up was a cover of Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Bottle” in which Tim Nightingale switched from sax to flute to great effect.

The sound of The Karla Milton Collective is jazz tinged soul; occasionally moving towards the funkier end of soul spectrum. With Karla’s gyrations and a very lively brass section, they are visually energetic to watch on stage as well as soul stompers aurally, and musically they are a very proficient outfit. The sound mixing was excellent and the crowd really got behind them.

Another superb instrumental followed, allowing Karla to make a mid-set costume change, and they were back to their 9-piece line-up to take us through “Sphynx” (originally by The Brand New Heavies) and another half a dozen originals, including the excellent “Don’t Let The Cat Out Of The Bag” and “Onwards and Upwards”. Leaving the stage to rapturous applause, they were soon back for the delicate “Songbird”, with percussionist Jo Butler switching to 12-string acoustic, and the final rousing cover of Mother Earth’s “Mr. Freedom”.

18 songs were performed tonight, 13 of them original compositions, on what was a successful return to the stage by Steve & Karla under The Karla Milton Collective moniker - the future certainly looks bright for them.

Strangely though, there are no other confirmed dates yet for more shows, and no official recordings available either. But when the time comes and the shows are announced, get your ticket booked and prepare yourself to be thoroughly entertained.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Small Faces Convention - Saturday 8th September

What Is Mod? The BBC Tells Us The Answer...

Following Bradley Wiggins fantastic feat of endurance over the last 3 weeks in becoming the first British winner of the Tour de France, the media have already started picking up on his supposed Mod leanings. Today I was amused to find the BBC website explaining exactly what Mod is...

They say, "British Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has been variously described as "mod-loving cyclist", "king of the mods" and the "fastest mod on two wheels". But just what is it that makes Wiggins a mod? If sport replicated life, Bradley Wiggins would have ridden up the Champs Elysees on a shiny Lambretta scooter. Wiggins is a self-proclaimed mod. With his previous Paul Weller-style haircuts, carefully pruned sideburns, and collection of scooters, Wiggins could almost have been an extra in Quadrophenia, the classic mod movie of the late 1970s."

They continue telling us that, "The mods people think of today - and those Wiggins takes his cue from - hail from the 1960s. There are both musical and style cues. Wiggins has spoken previously of his musical tastes - listing The Who, Small Faces, The Jam, Oasis, and Ocean Colour Scene as his favourite bands. All are mod favourites. Mods of the 1960s wore parkas, tailored suits, loafers, skinny trousers, and Fred Perry polo shirts. Wiggins has designed cyclewear for the Fred Perry label. The parkas of the 1960s were often ex-RAF issue and so displayed the classic target symbol, known as the roundel. Wiggins reportedly has the RAF roundel on some of his training kit. Mod hair was neat and clean in contrast to greasy-haired rockers and long-haired hippies. Wiggins has said he grew his hair long in 2007 in honour of John Entwistle bassist from The Who. The sideburns were another Entwistle touch."

Once again we have people from outside of the scene talking about Mod with (they think) authority and getting it all wrong. Ex-RAF issue parkas (and all with targets on because they were RAF) - I ask you!!!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

‘Lost in Sound’ – Fay Hallam & The Bongolian (Blow Up)

This is an interesting release on Blow Up Records, a new album that is a collaboration between Fay Hallam (Makin Time/Prime Movers/Phaze/Fay Hallam Trinity) and Nasser Bouzida a.k.a. The Bongolian.

The album contains 10 Fay Hallam originals, with Fay & Nasser playing all instrumentation with the exception of track 1 that features Fay’s (and Graham Day) son, Josh Day, on piano and harp. And track 1 is a real belter – ‘Freefall’ is a blistering opening to this collection and would make a great single. The next song, ‘Dancing’, was originally trailed in the pre-release stage and, again, would have made a good single deserving of radio airtime. The pace slows down for the reflective ‘Lights Are Coming Down’ before the tempo resumes normal service with the excellent piano driven ‘Get Off The Bus’. ‘I Can’t Cry’ has the feel of the Get Carter theme and grooves along quite nicely. ‘Gathering’ is another top song and is followed by a new, and more laid back, version of ‘Alive’ (originally released as the B-side to the Fay Hallam Trinity single, ‘We Live To Shine’ on Biff Bang Pow Records). We get into a cool, lounge music, mood next with ‘Shallow Moon’ before the delivery of the powerful title track, ‘Lost In Sound’. Rounding off affairs with the up-tempo ‘I Don’t Need To Know You Love Me’, this is an album well worth adding to you collection.

Fay is at her best when harmonising with herself on top of a driving Hammond groove, and there is plenty of that going on here – I am just surprised that Jools Holland hasn’t featured her on his ‘Later’ show yet as this is spectacularly ‘on message’ with what he is doing. Following her triumphs in recent years with her albums, ‘Realm’ and ‘1975’, this is another big win – long may she continue writing and recording.

'A Clockwork Orange' on ITV1 This Week

It's time to set your digital box to 'record' again as ITV1 is set to screen Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess's 'A Clock Work Orange' this Wednesday 25th July at 10.50pm.

Although the film gives a slightly different emphasis to the story than the original book, it is still compelling viewing (if a little violent in places - remember, the film was banned for many, many years before it finally got another airing).

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Who announce Quadrophenia tour of North America

The Who have announced a major North American arena tour where they’ll perform their iconic 1973 double album 'Quadrophenia', in its entirety, along with a selection of Who classics.

Founding members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will be joined by Zak Starkey (drums), Pino Palladino (bass), Simon Townshend (guitar/backing vocals), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Loren Gold (keyboards/backing vocals) and Frank Simes (musical director, keyboards/backing vocals).   

As yet there are no details of any UK dates - hopefully they will be announced soon and take place not too far into 2013.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Steve Cradock - Summer Acoustic Tour Dates

The World’s No.1 Northern Soul All-Nighter – Saturday 21st July, King’s Hall, Stoke ST4 1JH

The Kings Hall, Stoke is now in its 16th year as the World's Best Attended Northern Soul All-Nighter and was used extensively in the motion picture 'SOULBOY’.

Promoted by Goldsoul, they say their All-Nighter features an unrivalled DJ line up playing the Best Loved Oldies, Up Front Discoveries and Forgotten Floorshakers.

Many people have likened the King's Hall to the Wigan Casino; the huge main hall is surrounded on three sides by a seating balcony from where you can witness the awesome view of Northern Soul dancers. 

Opening Times - from 9pm until 7am  

DJ team- Mick H, Chris King, Ginger Taylor, Kev Roberts, Dave Evison, Andy Dyson, Sean Chapman, John Poole, Nige Brown, Rob Smith and guests. 

There are two more All-Nighter’s in 2012 – 6th October & 1st December.

New Bruce Foxton Solo Album Featuring Paul Weller

Bruce Foxton has announced plans to release a new solo album later in 2012 via Pledge Music (an organisation that helps artists and bands design a specifically tailored fundraising campaign to raise money for their next release).

Bruce says, “This will be my first solo album since “Touch Sensitive” and I’ve worked with some really exciting artists while making it. First and foremost, the band, Russell Hastings & Mark Brzezicki, both very dear friends and fantastic players, we’ve had a ball recording together. Also on the album are Paul Weller & Steve Cropper! It was such a pleasure to work and hang out with Paul again. Then there’s the equally-legendary Steve Cropper. What an honour to have them both play on the album. I’m so proud of this record and hope you enjoy it. Thank you for your continued support.”

You can pre-order the album via Pledge Music along with a range of never-before-seen items and experiences, all of which you can pre-order or ‘pledge’ on. These items will be sent out when the album is released and allow you access to the project as a whole, viewing exclusive footage from the studio, behind the scenes and concerts, as well as exclusive photos, audio and news updates.

You’ll find snippets from 2 of the new album tracks in the player on the left hand side of the Bruce’s Pledge Music page. They’re called “Glad I Found My Tears” and “Number 6” which features Paul Weller on piano. Just go to and click the grey ‘play’ button on the left hand side.

New Paul Weller single out on 23rd July

Paul Weller releases his next single, ‘The Attic’, on Monday 23rd July. Taken from his recent number 1 album, ‘Sonik Kicks’, it will come backed with a brand new song, ‘The Piper’ and a full length version of the album track, ‘Sleep Of The Serene’.

The website describes ‘The Attic’ as a song that motors along in a space-age rockabilly style with PW crooning like a pining teen idol for his lover. Weller himself says, “Lyrically, it’s a bit lovelorn”.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

'McVicar' on Sky

For anyone who wants to see McVicar (starring Roger Daltrey) then you luck is in. Set your digital box to record the Sky Crime/Thriller channel at 3am tomorrow morning on Sky channel 307, Virgin 407 or HD at 437.

But be quick, only a few hours to go!!!

The Jam's 'The Gift' album is to get the Deluxe Treatment

News is just in that The Gift album by The Jam is to be given the 'Deluxe' treatment. Details are very sketchy at present but we are promised a stack of rare and unreleased material.

Furthermore, there's a special limited edition deluxe box set due to be released on 19th November (see the photo above) that will retail at £79.99.

More details will be released shortly via

Monday, 16 July 2012

'Alfie' on Film 4 Tonight

Michael Caine's classic, 'Alfie', from 1966 is on Film 4 tonight at 10.40pm.

That's channel 315 on Sky, 428 on Virgin, 300 on freesat and 15 on Freeview.

The original is still the greatest!!!

Jon Lord of The Artwoods - RIP


I was saddened to hear that Jon Lord, Hammond supremo with The Artwoods, has lost his batlle with pancreatic cancer and has died today aged 71.

Born in Leicester, Lord learned classical piano at an early age before being seduced by watching early rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis and jazz organist Jimmy Smith.

He also worked as a session musician and is thought, by some, to have played piano on The Kinks' hit 'You Really Got Me'.

For me, his greatest work was with The Artwoods who recorded the legendary 'Art Gallery' album as well as several classic singles. Together with Art Wood on lead vocals, Derek Griffiths on lead guitar, Malcolm Pool on bass and Keef Hartley on drums, The Artwoods were one of the best British R&B bands of the sixties. We lost Art a few years ago (and it was my pleasure to work with Art & Ronnie Wood on the Mod Aid 20 single in 2005), and Keef was taken away earlier this year. Now Jon has gone and what a sad day this is - but what a musical legacy he has left behind.

In addition to The Artwoods, he co-founded Deep Purple in 1968 after meeting guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and co-wrote many of the group's best known songs including 'Smoke On The Water'.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Rolling Stones celebrate 50 years together


The Rolling Stones are celebrating 50 years together after first playing at the Marquee Club on 12th July 1962, filling in for Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated (who were recording a BBC session at the time).

The current issue of Mojo (see below) features The Stones and includes a CD of the bands R&B influences, which is well worth picking up.

Guitarist Keith Richards confirmed this week that the band had got back together for a couple of rehearsals and, whilst infering 'live' performances may be on the cards in the future, didn't go as far as giving any tangible details.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

ISSUE 13 of the Modzine HEAVY SOUL is out now!!!
Included are interviews with NOLAN PORTER !, Paul Hooper-Keeley talks about life in 80s mod band THE THREADS, Saturdays Kids author / photographer DARREN RUSSELL talks about his book as well as Nick from the Italian record label RECORD KICKS.
Pete Quaifes brother Dave is interviewed about his charity night in honour of THE KINKS bass playing Mod and finally PAUL SAWTELL informs all about the Cambridge Mod Scene.
Also inside is the 5th part of the 100 greatest Mod bands, Dreamsville weekender review, the usual news, and latest 45s reviewed. A look at the 1989 Lowestoft CCI Mod Rally and heaps more too.
Don't forget the 20 track Club Sounds CD, a special supplement on THE THREADS and the latest edition of The West Indian Music Appreciation Society newsletter.

Manchester Mod Weekender 2012

The 13th Manchester Mod Weekender is coming up fast now, with just 2 weeks to go until the 27th & 28th July.

Taking place at The Deansgate, Friday night features the very popular Mod Ball (9pm to 2am) which is always great fun. Entry is £5 on the door.

From noon until 5pm on Saturday we have the 'Free & Easy' session with many guest DJs, stalls and much conversation to be had. And as the name suggests, entry is free.

Saturday night is the big one - 'The Hideaway Club' from 9pm to 3am with DJ's Paul Welsby, Mike Warburton and Neil Henderson (possibly?) plus special guest DJs playing the early R&B dance tunes that has spawned several collections on the Kent label and a huge reputation for taking the Mod scene forward. This legendary club will cost you just £5 on the door.

Shindig! - Issue 27

The current issue of Shindig! features The Chocolate Watchband as the cover stars and includes a 12- page feature of this San Jose based quintet who combined rough elements of R&B with harder edged British bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Yardbirds.

Other interesting main features in this issue are focused on The Wheels from Belfast and The Toby Twirl (who supported the Small Faces on occasion).

Reviews in issue 27 include a look at 'King New Breed R&B Volume 2', Nine Below Zero's 30th Anniversary re-issue of 'Third Degree', Fay Hallam's new album, 'Lost In Sound', the Acid Jazz EP 'Lookin' Good With...' by Jimmy James & The Vagabonds and in the book review section, Manu's updated, 'This Is Modern Life: The 1980s London Mod Scene (Mod Chronicles Vol. 1).

Another great issue available directly on line or in W H Smith.