Friday, 31 January 2014

“Ronnie Lane: the great, underappreciated British songwriter” says The Guardian’s music blog


A new compilation shows the former Small Faces and Faces stalwart should have been a star in his own right

There has never been any shortage of reasons to love Ronnie Lane. If his barrow-boy twinkle and the fact that his nickname was Plonk aren't sufficient, well, there's always the music.

Most of the discourse surrounding Lane inevitably focuses on 1965-73, the period when he was the bass player in the Small Faces, and then the Faces. And fair enough. Lane co-wrote the majority of the former's hits, he gave the latter the heartbreaking Debris and wryly romantic Ooh La La, and his input in both bands went way beyond songwriting. No shrinking violet, he nonetheless balanced their innate boisterousness with heart, soul, warmth and wit. Rod Stewart called him the "backbone" of the Faces. When he left in June 1973 they quickly fell apart.

If Lane still doesn't get full credit for his role in two groups dominated by their turbo-charged vocalists, his post-Faces career is even more badly undervalued. A new anthology confirms that he did some of his greatest work in the mid-70s with Slim Chance, a loose rustic-rock band he built in his own image, the good-time exterior masking genuine soulfulness.

I like this Lane a lot. I might even like him best. After leaving the Faces he'd retreated to Fishpool farm, near the village of Hyssington on the Welsh-English border. The music he made there was dug from the soil and baked in the sun. It mixed eclectic covers with originals and drew from rock'n'roll, country, folk, blues, early jazz, vaudeville and blue beat.

The first Slim Chance album, 1974's Anymore for Anymore, was recorded with a line-up that included Scottish folkies Gallagher & Lyle. The next two, Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance and One for the Road, were cut with members of St James's Gate and sundry other friends. Fishpool sounds a bit like a Welsh Big Pink, only with sheep farmers living down the lane rather than Bob Dylan. The musicians slept at the farm, recorded in the barn, playing acoustic guitars, fiddles, squeezeboxes, mandolins and piano.

Lane blossomed creatively out in the sticks, but commercially Slim Chance never really caught fire. Their first single, How Come, was the only hit; its follow-up, The Poacher, was less successful but a much better song. A classical-pop ode to the simple joys of fishing – almost certainly without the necessary paperwork in place – it is pastoral Plonk in excelsis, a hymn to salmon "with eyes of jewels and mirrors on their bodies, bigger than a newborn child".

As far back as Itchycoo Park and Song of a Baker, Lane had been attuned to nature, but the sense of communion comes through much stronger in his solo work. Songs like The Poacher, Burnin' Summer and Harvest Home reveal a mystical connection to the surrounding countryside. For balance, the other side of Slim Chance – heard on G'Morning, or One for the Road – was all Cockney hi-jinks and jug band stomps.

Lane combined both elements when the band hit the road. The Passing Show tour of 1974 has entered the annals as one of the most heroically ill-judged attempts to enliven the traditional touring model. Determined to take a Romany caravan across the English countryside, Lane rolled into towns with a rag-tag group of musicians, jugglers, fire-eaters, dancing girls and what he described as "the world's unfunniest clowns". He pitched his Big Top tent and watched his money disappear.

In need of cash, shortly after One for the Road Lane dabbled briefly with an ill-fated Small Faces reunion, and went on to make the excellent Rough Mix with Pete Townshend. But by the time of See Me, the final Slim Chance album in 1979, he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and his creativity became increasingly thwarted. He died in 1997, aged 51.

But what better way to remember him than as he appears on The Poacher: the mystic mod in his prime, chewing on a straw of hay as he heads for the river, singing, "I've no use for riches, and I've no use for power." If you listen closely you might actually believe him.

• Ooh La La: An Island Harvest is released on 24 February on Universal

Thursday, 30 January 2014

GABICCI SS14


Gabicci, a British brand that incorporates Italian styling with authority and class, is brings modernist 1960s vibes to its SS14 collection.

Digging deep into their archives and giving a satisfied salute to the era that brought us peace and love, Andy and Edie, and of course, the mods and rockers.

Curated by ex-FHM fashion director and Plan B's stylist Rich Evans, the lookbook/campaign story tells the tale of suburban lads on their scooters, scooting from one city to the next and onto the coast in their groups and gangs.

The story is a loose interpretation of Jimmy's journey in the mod cult classic film Quadrophenia, using the Surrey Downs to emulate the Brighton countryside and including London's reputable 'New Originals Scooter Club' members and scooters for authenticity.

Gabicci has been a firm favourite among subcultures past and present with a strong influence in the Northern Soul, reggae and ska circles, worn by everyone from The Specials and Bob Marley to Don Letts and they continue the legacy with today's musical icons such as Labrinth, Liam Bailey and The Vaccines to name a few.

See the video at the URL below for an insight into the lookbook: -

“Doctor Who and Crombie: Mod man with a box” says Stephen Bayley in The Independent


Why does Peter Capaldi, in character as the twelfth Doctor and striking a memorable pose that he will surely soon regret, look like an ageing mod?

I am asking this question in my studio just off London's infamous Carnaby Street, as fine a place as you could imagine to consider the absurd comings and goings of fashion. From here on the third floor, the entire prospectus of human folly is free to view daily.

Of course, it was long before my time, but once on the street outside, models modelled bell-bottoms, tie-dyed tank tops, hot pants and crushed-velvet loons the colour of a bruised aubergine. Boys, meanwhile, might be in mohair suits with an Italian cut, thin reveres, Clarks Desert Boots and a Ben Sherman button-down held down by a "Slim Jim" tie.

Alas, a recent victim to rent reviews was Sherry's, a mod outfitter defiantly unchanged since the Sixties, but until last year still selling every item of the costume you would need to ride your Lambretta to Brighton and throw well-formed pebbles at long-haired rockers with sexual-identity problems camouflaged by biker jackets, jailhouse tatts and grease.

But now that Capaldi is in a well-publicised dark-blue Crombie overcoat, drainpipe trousers in matching colour, plain white shirt and stamp-on-your-head black DMs, it may not be too soon to say that the closure of Sherry's was premature. I care nothing for Doctor Who as television, but am alert to contemporary portents. Are we having a mod revival? Is the Doctor going to summon up the sensibility of 1966 among us all? The art-school-educated Capaldi was born in 1958, so the question is not beyond his personal experience, nor his intellectual range.

If you want to understand the public's status anxiety and its closely related hunger for symbols – and how clothes express these states of mind – you need only take a look in Doctor Who's dusty and cobwebbed wardrobe. I was under 10 when it first aired, but was alerted to it by a vigilant schoolmate and dutifully watched a later edition. And what I saw in black and white was horrifying. A crusty old spitting and hissing actor called William Hartnell had a flowing white mane, windowpane trousers and a scary black frock coat.

I was spontaneously reminded of gloomy pictures from the Brothers Grimm or Struwwelpeter, with a disturbing admixture of Billy Bunter and Alice in Wonderland. A young subconscious was pitilessly dredged. I suppose, looking back, this fearsome spectre was entirely congruent with the fretful spirit of the age.

Capaldi and his advisers must be aware of how heavily-freighted the Doctor's costume is with meaning. You doubt it? Consider, then, the alternatives available. Capaldi's Doctor Version 12.0 might have been dressed in an embroidered Afghan coat, beads and sandals. He could have had flowers in his hair and worn a bandit-style moustache. He could have been going to San Francisco. Instead, he looks as you might if queuing for an early performance by The Who at The Marquee Club. The mods were the first of their social class to acquire a uniform and the uniform they chose had hints of military conformity, just as their personal style spoke of discipline and obsession.

In this, the smartly cut Crombie overcoat played its part. At just the same moment, Brian Epstein put the scruffbag leather-trousered Beatles into smart Cardin suits, they also wriggled into Crombies. Here was a coat that worked like social armour.

Crombie has become an eponym; a generic. The name goes back to a woollen mill founded in 1805. Bolts of Crombie cloth were displayed in the epochal 1851 Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, and later at Paris's Exposition Universelle of 1885. These bolts of cloth were to become materials of expression. In The Great War, Crombie manufactured a tenth of the greatcoats and they became known as the "British Warm". In 1932, a coat was made for the visit to the Scottish mill by the future King George VI. You can buy a re-issue of it today.

Associations with formalised violence and political control were enhanced when, in the Seventies, Crombie began, I do not know quite why, advertising in the Soviet Union.

In one poster, a model, apparently chiselled from stone, looks like a dimple-jawed Richard Burton. Hoping to play the same stunt, Mikhail Gorbachev wore a Crombie on his first visit to this country in 1984.

Three years before, President Reagan was wearing a suit made of his favourite Crombie cloth when he was shot. All of this adds, in delightful measure, to what Capaldi's fly-fronted, pillar-box red-lined "Retro" Crombie (with velvet collar) actually means.

I am not going to watch the new series of Doctor Who, but I am going to keep a very active look-out for the dramatic press releases which will surely create a theatre all their own.

The way I see it, what we are looking at here is the relaunch of two venerated British brands; three if you count Doc Martens.

A lot is being said about the public's appetite for heroes and for brands (although in our perplexed historical moment, human heroes and trophy brands are almost inextricably confused... perhaps the more so after today).

Crombie already has a commercial relationship with Globetrotter, the maker of idiosyncratically expensive suitcases, restored from neglect by an ironic revelation that vulcanised fibre board could be chic. I wonder if it is too daring to speculate that Doctor Who might now become a promotional vehicle for that sleeping army of forgotten British brands not yet acquired by voracious private equity?

What is a brand? It's that mixture of expectations and associations that all successful products possess.

Our expectations of Doctor Who include effortless time travel and subjugation of foreign or alien evil genius through cunning application of high intelligence.
 
Of course, that's just what's needed to revive the British manufacturing business. I don't see Peter Capaldi in his smart new Crombie as inconsequential telly PR.

"Brush off your dancing shoes" says the Blackpool Gazette


The Grundy Art Gallery has pulled off a coup by persuading an award-winning artist to bring his latest exhibition to town.

And on top of that they’ve got top poet Jon Hegley to come to Blackpool and perform a two-hour set.

First the exhibition, which is the work of the internationally-respected Matt Stokes, winner of the Becks Futures Prize in 2006 and shortlisted for the Jarman Award 2012.

Called Dance Swine Dance, and at the gallery from Saturday until March 29, it features the subjects Northern Soul, Cave Raves and American punk.

Many of the works share a strong association with Blackpool and the North West – notably the development of Northern Soul, of which the now destroyed Blackpool Mecca played a crucial role.

“We are really excited about Dance Swine Dance because it has such a wide appeal,” said Grundy curator Richard Parry.

“Stokes is a greatly celebrated artist. Part anthropology, part tribute and part collaboration, his work addresses enduring questions concerning how being part of a collective shapes and influences people’s lives and identities.

“The Grundy provides the perfect setting for this and we are looking forward to exhibiting this work and seeing the enjoyment people get from it.”

Newcastle-based Stokes has established a reputation for his lyrical films that focus on subcultures.

With Dance Swine Dance, both floors of the Grundy will be filled, revealing a selection of artworks and projections that explore Stokes’s particular interest in musical subcultures.

Visitors can expect to see a range of historic and contemporary music scenes represented, including Northern Soul, ‘Cave Raves’ from the early 90s and American Punk in Austin, Texas.

As part of the exhibition there are two special events planned.

Hegley, widely known for his sung and spoken comic poetry, and who regularly sells out at the Edinburgh Festival, will perform at Blackpool Catholic Club on Queen Street on Friday, February 21.

Hegley is one of the country’s most innovative poets with several best selling volumes of poetry to his name. He is noted for his exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs and the misery of human existence. Hegley will perform a specially commissioned two hour set followed by a further two hour set of Northern Soul music from DJ David Belcher.

Tickets are £8 or £5 concessions/students and can be booked soon via www.visitblackpool.com

Before that, on Saturday February 8 in the Grundy Art Gallery, top Northern Soul DJ’s Richard Searling and Glenn Foster will discuss the history and evolution of Northern Soul in the North West, from the 1960s through to the present day.

They will field questions and play key records from the genre. It lasts from 8pm-midnight and is a free event but booking is essential.

Roger Daltrey says The Who will make a new album this year


Roger Daltrey says he will reunite with Pete Townshend this year to make a new Who album.

Speaking to NME as he announced the line-up for this March's annual series of Teenage Cancer Trust gigs, curated by Daltrey, he revealed that Townshend has been working on new material.

"Pete's got hundreds of songs," he said. "so the only question is whether we get around to it, but he wants to make an album and I'm always ready and raring to go. We'll see. I never know what I'm doing next, it's about what comes through my letterbox tomorrow, but I don't see why we wouldn't. My voice is still in good shape. The hearing isn't so great, but the voice is fine."

The album would be The Who's first studio album since 2006's Endless Wire. Daltrey, who has curated the Teenage Cancer Trust's annual concerts at the Royal Albert Hall since 2000, said he and Townshend won't be performing at the gigs this year as they have done during the past 14 years. Asked if the gap in the schedule on Friday March 29 could be a slot for them, he said: "No, it's definitely not us. We have someone, but we can't announced them until this band has announced something else first."

He did, however, say he may take to the stage with former Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson, with whom he's recently recorded an album. He said: "It's a tricky one. Wilko and I have got a show on February 25, but as I'm sure you know Wilko has terminal pancreatic cancer so we can't make plans for things like that. His tumour is like a grapefruit and getting bigger by the day, but I will say if he's still with us, and let's hope he is, we will do something. It'll only be a quick support slot, but we'll be there."

Of the pair's album, Going Back Home which will be released on March 10, Daltrey said: "We’ve been trying to make this album for about four years and it kept not happening for one reason or another, but when he was diagnosed, I said 'Wilko, whatever you want me to sing, let's do it'. And it's a great record, really good songs, and it was fabulous making it, so refreshing. It's going back to what I did in the early 60s with fast, three-minute R&B songs. No bullshit, just good songs."

Asked if he will mark The Who's 50th anniversary, Daltrey said: "I don't know. Possibly it'll be this album. I haven't thought about it, to be honest. We didn't think it was going to last the week, let alone 50 years. We were The Who, we used to break up after every show."
 
The Cure are among the line-up for the run of gigs in March. They last played for the Teenage Cancer Trust in 2006, although getting them back wasn't an easy task. "Robert Smith doesn't answer his emails!" joked Daltrey. "He's hard to get hold of, but I remember them playing in 2006 and they did a three-hour set which was just magical. Robert lives round the corner from me, although I've never seen him, nor have his neighbours. I think he must only come out at night."

The Style Council book, 'Mr Cool's Dream' by Iain Munn has been fully revised and updated for 2014


‘The Who before The Who’ by Doug Sandom now available at the Amazon Kindle Store


Product Description

DOUG Sandom’s part in the making of the most exciting rock band in the world can never be underestimated. He joined The Who – then known as The Detours – as their drummer in 1962 after an unexpected meeting with Roger Daltrey on a west London street. It was a time when fires were being lit under the music scene worldwide, everything had to change and The Detours had a long way to go to become revolutionary leaders in their field. Having finally decided to write his memoirs, Doug Sandom chronicles each stage of the band’s transition right up to his, Roger Daltrey’s, Pete Townshend’s and John Entwistle’s emergence from their chrysalis as The Who. It is a punchy tale of gritty determination and ever-burning passion for music. As Pete Townshend writes in his moving Foreword ‘Doug Sandom’s work with our band gave me the confidence to drive the band as a writer and creative thinker . . . ‘

On what would have been Steve Marriott’s 67th Birthday, we reproduce Mark Gerard Barry’s review of the new Small Faces box set, ‘Here Come the Nice’


5 out of 5 stars "...Close My Eyes...And Drift Away..."

First things first - anyone expecting this box set to give them straightforward reissues of the four Small Faces albums covering the 'Immediate' label period should look elsewhere (for details on those see the PS below). What we have here is an entirely different beast...

"Here Come The Nice" is a full-on vaults trawl - a 4CD Deluxe Presentation Box Set comprising of 41 Previously Unreleased tracks. In fact the full 75-song compliment has been newly remastered from original Mono and Stereo masters and newly mixed from studio multi-track session tapes for this release. The entire project was overseen by surviving band members IAN McLAGAN and KENNEY JONES - coordinated by Small Faces reissue series producer ROB CAIGER. Scrupulous tape sourcing and recovery of them has taken him over five years alone - with the remastering being handled by sound engineers NICK ROBBINS and ROB KEYLOCH (who were involved in all four of the much-praised 2012 Deluxe Editions - which I've also reviewed).

"Here Come The Nice" by SMALL FACES is on Charly/Immediate CHARLY 110 BX and although initially rumoured on the Net to be a US-only release due to licensing issues - it is now a 28 January 2014 Worldwide release (February 2014 in the USA). Housed in a 10" x 10" hard card box - it's a limited edition of 3000 with the certificate inside signed by Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan. Here's a detailed breakdown of the contents:

CD1 is "Small Faces Singles - Worldwide As Bs & EPs"

20 Tracks - 54:16 minutes. All were issued as 7" single versions/edits around the world and are in MONO. The liner notes also advise which were used on the Mono variants of the albums. None are unreleased but timing errors on old CD reissues have been corrected.

CD2 is "Small Faces In The Studio - Olympic, IBC & Trident Sessions - Part 1"

18 tracks - 52:17 minutes. All tracks are previously unreleased versions - 1 to 3 and 10 to 12 are MONO - all others are STEREO.

CD 3 is "Small Faces In The Studio - Olympic, IBC & Trident Sessions - Part 2"

16 tracks - 49:47 minutes. All tracks are previously unreleased versions - 4 to 10 are MONO - all others are STEREO.

CD 4 is "Alternate Small Faces - Out-Takes & In Concert"

21 Tracks - 63:31 minutes. Tracks 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 are Previously Unreleased. Tracks 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 are Live from the Newcastle City Hall on 18 November 1968 and are from the Pye Studio master tapes with pitch and speed corrections. Tracks 4, 6 and 12 to 15 are MONO - all others are STEREO.

The 72-page colour hardback book has a Foreword by Pete Townshend of The Who and liner notes by noted writer Mark Paytress with contributions from Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan, Rob Caiger, Tosh Flood, Barry Green, Gered Mankowitz, Ken Sharp and Jeff Slate. There are many other Rock celebrity names with quotes as well. As a coffee-table book it's properly gorgeous and the last set of pages in particular (51 through to 69) are beautifully done - featuring song-by-song annotation of the highest quality with new info and great colour photographs.

Speaking of photography - I have to admit to massive disappointment at the rather dull-looking 'Lyrics' book. Apart from some full-page Repros of rare single and album artwork - the rest of it is all sepia-tinted black and white photos with not a jot of that great Sixties colour in evidence anywhere (rather like the terrible booklet in The Rolling Stones "London Years" box set). I suspected licensing costs at first (too cost prohibitive) - but it’s worse. According to Gered Mankowitz (who photographs are long since associated with the band) - Immediate got loads of full colour negatives but Gered never got them back. He was left with only a handful of colour negs literally and boxes of black and white. Hence all that beautiful colour artwork, all that great Sixties look, all that cool promo stuff appears to have been lost or chucked. I say this because after the beautiful colour images in the hardback - the dark pages of "Lyrics" with all the images faded into the back of the text (making some of it almost unreadable) comes as a real visual let down. But - and I should stress this - they've done a classy job with what they've had to work with.

There's also a paper repro of the "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" Press Kit - a three-way fold-out 1967 rarity which pictures the album, the band and lists their personal details as well as some witty Immediate blurb and words.

There are 2 facsimile foldout posters in colour - a Live Gig Poster for Newcastle City Hall, June 8th with Gary Walker & The Rain, P.P. Arnold, The Nice & The Sect with John Peel as compere and a foldout advert poster for "Tin Soldier" single on Immediate IM062 (essentially the Picture Sleeve of the British issue).

There's 2 Gered Mankowitz Fine Art Prints - the boys holding the Itchycoo Park sign (in colour) and four children holding the same sign upside down (in black and white)

There are 5 x Immediate Postcards - photos on front and adverts for singles and albums on the other side

The signed certificate is presented on a repro of A Tape Box

The 4 x 7" singles are:

1.   "Mystery" - Repro of a 1-Sided Emidisc Acetate (on Black Vinyl) delivered to Andrew Loog Oldham in 1967. It was intended to be a single but withdrawn. A handful of the acetates were made.

2.   "Album Sampler" - Repro of Immediate AS 1 album-sampler for "Small Faces" LP in a Immediate Label Bag on Red Vinyl (this was not on the DELUXE EDITION of "Small Faces"). It has excerpts from 5 tracks with British DJ Tommy Valance introducing in between tracks. The original is very rare.

3.   Itchycoo Park EP - repro of a rare 1967 French 4-track Immediate Records Extended Play 45 on Blue Vinyl - tracks are Itchycoo Park/I'm Only Dreaming/Green Circles/Eddie's Dreaming

4.   Here Come The Nice EP - repro of a rare 1967 French EP on Immediate Records Extended Play 45 on White Vinyl. Tracks are Here Come The Nice/Became Like You/Talk To You/Get Yourself Together

Finally there's a full-sized INFO PAGE on the rear of the box but of course like so many of these US issues it falls off the moment you remove the shrink-wrap which is a pain.

SOUND:
CD 1 is all MONO and features UK and worldwide single releases - and right from the "Here Come The Nice" opener - you can hear the quality. Very clean and full of presence. "Talk To You" is just stunning as are the rarely heard single edits of "Mad John" and "The Journey" (coupled as a single in Australia and the USA). The sheer mono whack of "Rollin' Over" still sends chills up my spine ("where at man!" indeed!).

CD 2, 3 and 4 is where the fun begins. Most tracks on CD2 are stop-start studio run-throughs with cool Londoner wide-boy dialogue in between takes - "I've broken a string man!", "This will be Take 24", "Go up an octave Ronnie", "bit faster Ken" or "we can do better than that!" - and so on. "Wit Art Yer" turns out to be Take 1 of "I Can't Make It" (full of rocking effects guitar and swirling keyboards) which in turn leads into a superb Alternate Stereo take of the song proper. The slang-named "Doolally" has Marriott shouting "Hey" throughout its multiple stops and starts and there's some amazing heavy lead guitar on Take 9 of "Call It Something Nice".

A string of great alternates open Disc 3 while Take 1 of "That Feeling Of Spring" mainlines you right back to the Summer of 1967 with all its echo and giggling. The brass instrumental "All Our Yesterdays" sounds like a Magical Mystery Tour outtake while the Alternate of "Talk To You" in rocking Stereo is so Sixties I can smell the Joss sticks. "Mind The Doors Please" is essentially a 5-minutes drum solo superfluous to anyone's requirements - but far better is a trio of tracks that feel like you're eavesdropping on an acoustic unplugged Small Faces session - "Things Are Going To Get Better", "Mad John" and "Fred". I liked these a lot - intimate and stripped down.

Another belter and compilation fave of mine is the rocking instrumental "Collibosher" - which was on both "The Autumn Stone" double album and opened Side 2 of the "In Memoriam" LP. Here we get Take 4 and fabarooney it is too. Another shocker is the genuine tenderness in Take 2 of "Jenny's Song" where Marriott sounds like he's Terry Reid doing the gorgeous "May Fly" ballad from 1969. Disc 4 opens with a trio of complete initial stereo takes which are only slightly different brill nonetheless and even more impressive is the rarely heard Mono Northern Soul smack of "(If You Think You're) Groovy" track by The Lot which is P.P. Arnold with The Small Faces. But for me the highlight of the entire set is proper remaster quality given to "Me You And Us Too" which is "Wham Bam Thank You Mam" under another name with different lyrics. It absolutely rocks and encapsulates what I loved about the band's sound at that time (I think it's been on previous CD reissues of dubious origins but never sounding this good). The live stuff is drenched in panting screaming girls and raucous to say the least - but more than anything you get the sheer sonic assault of the band and what a ludicrously exciting live act they were. Impressive trouser snakes boys...

WEAKNESSES/NIGGLES:
It's far too expensive for what's on offer and following on from the opening paragraph it has to be said out loud that this is `fan' stuff - the casual listener may find it all a bit wearing. I thought CD2 was the weakest of the unreleased stuff (bit cheeky called a 36-second segment a track) but CD3 and 4 more than make up for it.

SUM UP:
Worth the wait - I think so yes. This is the Small Faces - and for a band so notoriously mishandled down through the decades there's a real sense of people making sure this reissue comes up to muster. And as I drool over the hardback book and listen to that cool Take 1 of "Itchycoo Park" in Stereo once more - I wonder will we ever see their like again. It may cost - but at least this box set remembers them with style and class.

It really was all too beautiful folks.

PS: The four albums from the period are available as follows - "Small Faces" (Immediate Label) and "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" are already issued as 2CD DELUXE EDITIONS (see my 2012 reviews) and there is very little duplication with the content of this box. Third is the American LP "There Are But Four Small Faces" which can be sequenced from the 2 DELUXE EDITIONS and the 4th is the sought-after double album "Autumn Stone" which will see a DELUXE EDITION of its own in September 2014.

By Mark Gerard Barry
 
 

The Strypes announce North American tour for March and European Tour for April/May to follow their February UK tour


MARCH

10 - NASHVILLE, TN - High Watt 

11 - MEMPHIS, TN - 1884 Lounge 

12 - AUSTIN, TX - TenOAK (Elixir Lounge) 

18 - NEW YORK, NY - Bowery Ballroom 

20 - ALLSTON, MA - Great Scott 

21 - MONTREAL, QC - La Sala Rossa 

22 - TORONTO, ON - Virgin Mobile Mod Club 

24 - CHICAGO, IL - Subterranean 

25 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Triple Rock Social Club 

27 - SEATTLE, WA - The Crocodile 

28 - PORTLAND, OR - Holocene 

29 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Bottom of the Hill 

31 - LOS ANGELES, CA - El Rey Theatre
 

APRIL

10 - BELFAST, Ireland - Limelight 

11 - DUBLIN, Ireland - Academy 

12 - DUBLIN, Ireland - Academy 

14 - BERLIN, Germany - Postbahnhof 

15 - HAMBURG, Germany - Uebel & Gefaehrlich 

16 - COLOGNE, Germany - Gebaude 

17 - CRANS-MONTANA, Switerzland - La Caprices Festival 

19 - AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Melkweg (Old Hall) 

20 - SCHIJNDEL, Netherlands - Paaspop Festival 

22 - BRUSSELS, Belgium - Botanique 

23 - TOURCOING, France - Le Grand Mix 

26 - BOLOGNA, Italy - Covo 

27 - LYON, France - Marche Gare 

29 - NANTES, France - Stereolux Club 

30 - PARIS, France - Gaite Lyrique


MAY

02 - MURCIA CITY, Spain - Estrella Levante SOS 4.8

The Reluctant Sons, Camrose Social Club, on Saturday 1st February


'Modern World' every third Friday of the month at the Vertu Bar, Hockley, Birmingham


Monday, 27 January 2014

Heavy Soul Issue 21 – Coming Soon!!!!!!!


 
The new issue of Heavy Soul Modzine is almost finished and includes interviews with Barry Allchin from The Eyes, Brett ‘Buddy’ Ascott from The Chords, Phil Otto from The Clique, David Walker from Modculture.com and Hugh Dellar of the newly reformed The Beatpack.
 
It promises to be another great issue.

Fred Perry announce the Spring 2014 Bradley Wiggins Collection


The latest collection from the British cycling champion includes heritage inspired cycling shirts, merino knitwear, a pack away cagoule and classic tipped bomber jacket.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

“Here comes the thrice” says the South Yorkshire Times


Ace faces needed to look no further than Fibbers for a thoroughly three-mendous modern music treat.

The popular York venue hosted (last Friday) a Faces festival, turning the Stonegate venue into a Mods’ mecca.

The Faces Story tells the tale with finely crafted tunes of one of the longest enduring late great musical movements.

The Small Fakers, Humble Lie and The Faces Experience made it a must-see event for discerning members of the in crowd still into arguably best bit of Britpop culture’s most dynamic and creative period.

Featuring a trio of exceptional tribute acts and internationally-renowned Rod Stewart tribute Stan Terry, the show represents very best of three amazing bands inextricably linked.

The stunning two-and-a-half hour show recreates the sights, sounds, energy and excitement generated from ’65 to ’75 by exceptional talents of Marriott, Lane, MacLagan, Jones, Frampton, Ridley, Shirley and Wood as well as Rod The Mod.

To recap ... The Small Faces were the foremost UK band for a sharp-dressed and hip youth cult, remaining hugely influential even now. Top tunes All Or Nothing, Here Come The Nice, Tin Soldier, Itchycoo Park, Lazy Sunday ... case rested!

Humble Pie, formed by Marriott with Peter Frampton on guitar, rivaled Zeppelin in taking “white man’s blues” to another level, reworking R&B standards and writing powerful originals.

Live At The Fillmore seminal live album showed just why they dominated the US arena and concert hall circuit throughout the early ‘70s with Thirty Days In A Hole, Four Day Creep, Big Black Dog, Hot ‘n’ Nasty, Black Coffee and their lava-hot version of Ray Charles’s I Don’t Need No Doctor.

The Faces had to regroup after losing seemingly irreplaceable pocket rocket Marriott but the remaining members simply recruited Ronnie Wood on guitar and a certain Roderick David Stewart on lead vocals.

The rest, as they say, is historyThree Button Hand Me Down, Cindy Incidentally, Stay With Me, Ooh La La, Debris and Miss Judy’s Farm were hits while The Faces also backed Rod as a solo artist with massive monsters like Maggie May, Reason To Believe, You Wear It Well, Mandolin Wind, Gasoline Alley and way too many more to mention.

Musical backdrop to Mod festival reports the Nottingham Post

MODS are set to descend on Notts for a 12-hour charity fundraiser.

March of the Mods will see all things mod-culture celebrated in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Eleven bands and a host of DJs have signed up to be part of the event.

Mick Keetley, organiser of the event, said: "There are some fantastic bands providing the soundtrack to what promises to be a top afternoon and evening."

The fundraiser is set to take place at Rolls-Royce Leisure, Watnall Road, Hucknall, on Sunday, March 16.

Tickets are £7.50 in advance or £10 on the door, subject to availability. To book call Mick Keetley on 07931720895.
 
 

The Who Live At Kilburn gives rare look at band in Keith Moon's last performance


Airing on Palladia this month is a rare concert by The Who "Live At Kilburn", filmed in December of 1977 in London.

Intended as footage to be used in the 1979 documentary about the band "The Kids Are Alright", the concert was actually an invitation only event and shot during a period when the Who had not played live for nearly a year.

The Who is clearly shaking off the rust here. The concert was plagued with audio problems and at one point an apparently frustrated Pete Townshend is seen deliberately knocking over one of his speaker cabinet heads.

Midway through the show Townshend says to the audience: "Well, this isn't really worth filming is it? Might as well tell the camera operators to go home".

Aside from the few moments of the concert that were actually shown in "The Kids Are Alright", the rest of the video sat in the band's vault for 30 years before being uncovered in 2006. Audio glitches were repaired along with other enhancements and the entire performance was remastered and released as a DVD.

In fact, in its current form, the concert is pretty special viewing. Shot on 8mm film with six cameras, its a nostalgic trip through time when the band's concerts had simple lighting, no video screens and no sidemen. Its also their last live performance with drummer Keith Moon.

The Who plays an 80 minute set that blisters through old favorites like "I Can't Explain" and "Substitute" into rarities like the John Entwistle led "My Wife". Its also the first time the band played the yet- to- be released "Who Are You" live.

While critics cite the concert as evidence of Moon's health decline (he died the following year of an overdose of a drug that was supposed to help cure his alcoholism), Moon actually appears to be quite competent and in the moment. Frontman Roger Daltrey is as fit as ever and in top voice. Entwistle blisters away on bass. And, Townshend is a madman with his trademark windmills and slides across the stage.

What they may have lacked in a consistently tight musical performance is made up for with astounding raw energy.

Anniversary exhibition appeal to Mods and Rockers by the Isle of Thanet Gazette


"CALLING all Mods and Rockers! Margate needs stories and pictures from locals who were part of the infamous seaside gatherings in 1964.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the event the Margate Museum wants to exhibit photos and share stories from business owners, residents and day trippers who were there.

Mods and seaside trippers Val Weedon and John Hellier were among the many people who visited Margate from the decade of cool.

Val, 63, said: "Although I was a Mod in 1964, I was only 14 and living in Chesterfield at the time. Moved back to London in 1965 and I went to Margate a lot after that!"

John Hellier is based in Essex and is the biographer of Small Faces frontman and Mod legend, Steve Marriott.

The Mod movement was characterised by young working-class Brits who had money in their pockets.

Rockers in leathers and motorbikes stayed faithful to 1950s music.

The two groups clashed in the early 1960s culminating in violent skirmishes, most notably in Margate and Brighton.

Do you have any photos?
 
Please contact us at: newsdesk.thanet@KRNmedia.co.uk or call Ian Dickie on 01843 231213."

Lambert & Stamp: Sundance Review


James D. Cooper’s celebratory documentary traces the roots of the Who via its affectionate portrait of the idiosyncratic management team that helped define the band.

Is it too sweeping a statement to say Lambert & Stamp instantly earns a place in the pantheon of great music docs? Who cares, let’s just go ahead and say it. This wildly entertaining account of the genesis and rise of the Who gives due acknowledgement to Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, described by Roger Daltrey as the band’s fifth and sixth members. James D. Cooper’s rollicking film is a heady return to Swinging Sixties England at the height of the Mod explosion that’s packed with primo archival material and killer tunes. It’s also a vigorous testament to the rewards of creative collaboration, shining a spotlight on two highly unorthodox, self-invented rock entrepreneurs.

The brilliant synergy of those contradictory yet complementary personalities should make this dynamically packaged movie of interest to audiences far beyond hardcore Who fans. As an account of the early days of a band that galvanized “My Generation” while smashing up guitars, it’s as probing and candid as one could hope for -- stuffed with memorable anecdotes and tasty trivia nuggets. But Lambert & Stamp is arguably even more rewarding – not to mention surprisingly moving – as an intimate snapshot of an unlikely chalk-and-cheese friendship.

Lambert died in 1981, which might be expected to cause an imbalance in the way the band’s joint managers are represented. Though he also died in late 2012, the garrulous Stamp was still very much around at the time this film was being made, to share his colourful recollections first-hand. But Cooper and ace editor Christopher Tellefsen have accessed an extraordinary trove of filmed material and interviews that make Lambert every bit as vivid a presence in absentia as his friend and business partner, or the surviving Who members, Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

The abundance of terrific footage from the era is perhaps a direct reflection of the shared interest that first drew Lambert and Stamp together when they met while working as assistants at Shepperton Studios in the early ‘60s – they were both film lovers and aspiring directors in thrall to the French New Wave. They didn’t set out to make a mark on popular-music history. Rather, their impetus was to find a band they could take under their inexperienced wings and steer to a sufficient degree of success to make a movie about them, thus providing the would-be auteurs with an entrĂ©e into the film biz.

Townshend reflects that “irreverence” is probably the wrong word to describe their approach, since that would imply that they weren’t fully invested in the process. But there’s undeniably a larkish, make-it-up-as-we-go spirit that characterizes Lambert and Stamp’s role in moulding the raw talent of the High Numbers, as the group was originally called, into rock royalty.

Townshend’s art school chum Richard Barnes observes that Lambert and Stamp were such inherently different types that they seemed almost like characters out of a sitcom. Indeed there is a certain odd-couple, buddy-movie vibe to Cooper’s film that feeds its ample humour.

Lambert was the terribly posh son of the celebrated classical composer and conductor Constant Lambert, and the godchild of Margot Fonteyn. An Oxford-educated, well-travelled polyglot who was as openly gay as was possible at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in England, he is first seen cruising around Beverly Hills in the back of a Rolls, expounding on the demise of opera and the symphony and heralding pop as the new frontier. Barnes jokes of the dedicated chain smoker: “We think he used one match in his whole life to light the first cigarette.” One of Lambert’s earliest film jobs was as a cameraman on explorer John Hemming’s dangerous Iriri River expedition into unexplored country in Brazil in 1961.

Stamp, on the other hand, was an unvarnished London East Ender whose father was a Thames tugboat captain. His brother, the actor Terence Stamp, describes him as “a rough, tough fighting sort of spiv,” whose only notable interest was in girls. It’s inferred that his working-class background and Lambert’s sexuality gave them an outsider status in common that overcame any barriers of class.

Refreshingly, Lambert being gay never appears to have caused any problem for the straight guys in his orbit. Townshend even grumbles amusingly that he never made a pass, making him feel unattractive, while Daltrey says he was the first toff ever to speak to him without condescension.

While combing music venues for a band to launch, they were drawn to a dingy club with lines of scooters parked outside, where Daltrey, Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon pumped out feedback-heavy sounds from the stage for a crowd of mesmerized Mods. With no music-industry experience and no connections, Lambert and Stamp had only chutzpah to recommend them, but the guys in what was to become the Who liked the shtick of these instinctive ideas men.

This influential period in British pop culture has been widely documented elsewhere – not to mention depicted in dramatized form in the 1979 film Quadrophenia, based on the Who’s concept album. But the footage here, coupled with the incisive commentary, is bracingly immersive. While Stamp says his thing was “Trotsky rhetoric,” Lambert excelled at erudite social commentary, distilling the teen Mod gestalt (in television interviews in German and French, as well as English) into an eruption of revolutionary self-empowerment and rule flaunting that served to forestall the post-20 slide into middle-class convention. Lambert and Stamp positioned the Who at the centre of this ferment as a whole new philosophy in popular music, which stood apart from what the Beatles or Stones were doing.

While the band and its managers for many years were spending more than they earned, Lambert shared “his aristocratic expertise in how to get by with no money,” as Townshend puts it. But his influence was felt in other ways, too, throwing Purcell recordings and other classical music championed by his father at Townshend to inform his understanding of structure and melody.

Cooper deliberately jumps around in his chronicle, avoiding a restrictive timeline in favour of energizing non-linear curiosity. While less attention inevitably is given to the late Entwistle and Moon than to Daltrey and Townshend, pithy observations illuminate the contributions and personalities of all four musicians. Accounts of friction within the band – particularly before Daltrey tamed his scrappy street-fighter nature and stopped taking the bait of Moon’s goading cruelty – are especially absorbing.

However, the most compelling conflict emerges with the slow disintegration of Lambert and Stamp’s relationship to the Who, which started with the release of “Tommy.” Townshend is both forthright and self-protective in his account of the gestation of that rock-opera concept album and the eventual 1975 Ken Russell movie, conceding that Lambert helped identify a through-line in a post-war story that began as a more amorphous spiritual allegory.

Lambert and Stamp naturally assumed that they would produce and direct the film version, fulfilling their long-stalled ambition. But Townshend balked at the idea and the deal went in another direction. This also caused a rift between the management partners. Stamp got an executive producer credit on the movie, while lead producer Robert Stigwood shut Lambert out due to his escalating drug habit.

The pain of that period, plus subsequent lawsuits, professional separations and deaths might threaten to cast a downbeat pall over a film about collaboration. But its water-under-the-bridge sense of Zen-like acceptance makes the final section incredibly poignant. The graciousness shown by Daltrey perhaps instigates this resolution, but it’s Stamp’s humour and rough-hewn wisdom that make it resonate. When he discusses letting go of the dream to make a great film that he had carried around since he was 16, the hard-won peace of the man is beautiful, made even more so by the knowledge of his death since these interviews were shot.

Needless to say, the ageless music of the Who courses through the film like electricity, along with that of other artists associated with Lambert and Stamp, among them Jimi Hendrix (whom they signed to a record deal before they even had a label). One clip in which Townshend gives Lambert and Stamp a first acoustic taste of “Glittering Girl” is a gem.

Editor Tellefsen’s credits are in narrative features, and this marks an impressive step into documentary, incorporating lively graphic elements and image manipulation, and making extensive use of black and white on new interviews to integrate them amongst the vintage clips. Cooper tells a full-bodied story in this fast-paced two hours, harnessing the chaotic energy of two men who generated a whirl of unconventional ideas and strategies.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (Documentary Premieres)

With: Chris Stamp, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Terence Stamp, Heather Daltrey, John Hemming, Richard Barnes, Robert Fearnley-Whittingstall, Irish Jack

Production companies: Motocinema, Harms/Cooper

Director: James D. Cooper

Producers: Loretta Harms, Douglas Graves

Executive producers: Loretta Harms, Mark Mullen

Director of photography: James D. Cooper

Music: The Who

Editor: Christopher Tellefsen

Sales: Motocinema

No rating, 117 minutes.