Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Monday, 25 February 2008
So who is this group and who are these top class guitarists ?
Well if you haven't guessed it the group was called "The Yardbirds" and this is their story :-
Formed originally as the "Metropolitan Blues Quartet" in 1962 in the London suburbs they changed their name to the "Yardbirds" in 1963 with a line up of singer/harmonica player Keith Relf, rhythm guitarist Chris Deja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty, and lead guitarist (Anthony) Top Topham.
It was in October that year that the group made their first significant line up change, Topham left the group and was replaced by a young art student called Eric Clapton. It was with this line up that the group enjoyed their first chart successin 1964, their first a song chart was called "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" which reached the heights of No44 in the UK chart -
This song was followed up by their first top ten hit and one of their most well known songs "For Your Love" which also became their first US chart hit. It also marked a move away from their British Blues style of play :-
Shortly after this hit Clapton left the group apparently as a blues purist at the time he was furious with the move away this style of music, went on to form Cream, and become one of the all time great guitarists.
So how do you replace somebody of this calibre, easy find somebody just as good called Jeff Beck, unbelievably the group found somebody who was also going to become one of the all time great guitar players. It was with this line up that the group embarked on their first and succesful US tour. It was also this line up that gave the group their biggest hit "Heart Full of Soul" which reached No2 in the chart :-
In early 1966 Bass player Samwell-Smith left the group and was replaced by another young guitarist who would go on to become a superstar called Jimmy Page, realising how good this lad was he was switched to 2nd lead with Deja taking the Bass.
It was this sound of a two lead guitar sound that gave Page his first ideas to form a supergroup of his own and the first traces of Heavy Metal were heard.
Sadly this line up did not stay together long and there is very few rcordings surficed of their studio work, Beck was actually fired following a bust up while the group was in texas and they became a 4 piece band.
Beck although not having the same commercial success as Clapton or Page is regarded as the best guitarist of the three in a interview given by the other two. He went on to form "The Jeff Beck Group" with Rod Stewart part of the band. His most notable solo recording is of course the guitar classic instrumental "Becks Bolero".
It was July 1968 that the Yardbirds played their last concert in Luton although they did a bit of studio work after that day, the group all went their seperateways.
Page always wanted to form a supergroup and he recruited bassist John Paul Jones. Small Faces lead singer was approached as was drummer Keith Moon (The Who), neither joined this new group. It wasn't long before Page met Robert Plant who recommended friend John Bonham as drummer. Origionally this group was to be called "The New Yardbirds" but they soon changed this to the name that they are so well known today "Led Zepplin" and as they say the rest is history.
Sadly the Yardbirds story doesn't end there, lead singer Keith Relf was killed in 1976 by a Electric Shock from a guitar that hadn't been grounded properley.
In 1992 the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame a cermony attended by all 6 surviving members including Clapton, Beck & Page.
This was also the year that Deja & McCarty have reformed a group called "The Yardbirds" with a new line up that are touring today. There is a strong rumour that Beck & Page are going to play some concerts with them in late 2008, we will see.
Thursday, 21 February 2008
While I was out I also treated myself to a Pineapple, its a fruit I love but don't get very often. I'll probably eat it Friday night.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Better than that our 1st team managed to win all four of their matches in "Division One North" qualifying them for the play offs for a place in the National Premier Division. The top two from the three regionalised 1st divisions (North, South & Midlands) all play all at a venue in Slough in May. A few of us are going down to support the team, whatever the result it promises to be a fun weekend.
However it nearly turned out a disaster for one of our players, he lost control of his car and ran off the motorway and down a steep enbankment, his car was a write off but lukily he was able to get a lift to the venue and although shaken was well enough to play. The funny part of this story was we actually passed where he crashed and saw him climbing up the hill but didn't recognise him as we drove by. In fact the comment in the car was "have you seen that idiot, who walks out here at this time of morning" It was on the M62 on top of the Pennines.
Monday morning I managed to get a 7 mile walk in, I'm trying hard to keep this going cos I reckon its doing me good. Monday night I went out to Pool we didn't have a match but some of our team were playing in the area singles knockouts so went to support (and have a few beers).
Tuesday I played Golf with a couple of former work colleagues, it was really cold never got above freezing but it was still enjoyable and I played ok. On the night I played TT in York and it was in the team handicap competition. We played a team from division Five who had big handicaps so it was hard. You have to play up to 42 against each player from the opposition but I'm handicapped at minus 13 so have to play to "55" then take my handicap off. The players I played against were off "24", "30" & "33" so had to beat them 55-17, 55-11 & 55-8. I actually beat the first two but lost my last one however the team came through winning 5-4.
This morning I woke up to a blanket of snow although it is now thawing, apparently the forcast is to get warmer towards the weekend so that is good. I've been to sign on at the JobCentre I've to do this every two weeks to get my "Job Seekers Allowance", its not a lot but helps a little.
Tonight I'm playing Pool doubles in the area knockouts, I'm partnering Lofty one of the friends who is coming to Chicago with me.
I didn't weigh in this morning but I'm confident the eating as gone well, I expect to have a least stayed the same if not lost weight.
On another note I've been wondering what to plan for my birthday (Chicago trip is 3 weeks before), anyway the problem is solved because some of the lovely Young Ladies I used to work with contacted me and are organising a night out for me, these things are best left in the hands of the experts.
Monday, 18 February 2008
In the early 1970's (when I was a lad) Glam Rock was all the rage but another brand of music I always felt was put under the Glam umbrella but it was slightly different. Ok the groups dressed up a little but really it was a throw back to the classic Rock & Roll era of the late 50's early 60's. Four groups come to mind that brought a modern brand of 70's Rock & Roll to the publics attention and they all had a fair amount of success.
First to apear on British TV (on the Basil Brush Show) in 1973 was a 4 piece Band called Mud and in the period between 1973 & 1976 they had numerous hit records including 3 number one hits.
One of these chart toppers was the biggest seller in the UK in 1974 and people around my age must have danced to this one, hell it was played at every party I attended. If you haven't guessed it the name of the song was "Tiger Feet" :-
1974 was the year another group hit the scene and although only having one chart topper they actually had more chart hits than Mud, the name of the group is of course Showaddywaddy and that chart topper was "Under the Moon of Love" which was a cover version of a 1961 Curtis Lee US hit song :-
Showaddywaddy were a eight piece band featuring two drummers who got their success with a string of cover versions and I would suggest their most well known song is another cover version this time Eddie Cochrans 1960 classic "Three steps to heaven" :-
Also in 1974 another group of similar style stormed the charts with their first released song reaching top spot, the group was called The Rubettes. Their style was more based around 1950's DooWop than traditional Rock & Roll and that No1 hit was of course "Sugar Baby Love"
Although the group failed to actually top the charts again they did have a string of hits and here is another for you to enjoy "Juke Box Jive" :-
As these groups faded from the Chart radar in the late 70's one more group gave us a short blast of this style of music. It was 1977 when the group Darts first appeared on our screens with the classic "Daddy Cool" :-
Although Darts never actually topped the UK charts they did have a string of songs reach the top ten including three number 2's one of which was this classic "Come back my love" :-
Finally I think I should end with where it all began and let Mud have the last word so here is another great song for you all to enjoy "Lean on Me" (RIP Les Gray) :-
Just looking at the way the audience is dressed in these clips in the fashions of the time brings back many fantastic memories to me.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
Weight Loss - I'm quite pleased with my result although not brilliant I'm showing a loss of around 5lb this year so far. Ok no big shakes in around 6 weeks but a loss all the same. Eating I'm still having bad moments late at night although the rest of the time I've been good I believe.
Also I'm certain my fitness is improving I'm doing a lot of walking (about 7 mile per day), I also got a round of golf in this week. On top of that I'm playing my Table Tennis & training on a regular basis. I feel quite good at this moment in time.
I can't give you an accurate weight but can tell you on my scale I've gone from 214lb to 209lb this year so far (about 6 weeks). I said not accurate cos my scale although consistant is weighing low (about 10lb+ I reckon), so I'm probably around 219lb.
I can tell I'm losing cos of the way some clothes are fitting, some feel better others getting a bit loose.
Table Tennis - Its been an hectic time, a couple of weeks ago was the York championships, I didn't do brilliant but with my partner I won the Mens doubles. I was also runner up in the Veterans singles but dissapointed cos I thought I could win that one. I've since avenged my defeat in the league.
Last weekend I played for Yorkshire Veterans and again wasn't totally at my best and thought I could have done better. Saying that the team did great and we were 2 nd in our division.
Monday night in the local league I had a good win beating the only player in the area I'd never previously beaten, was pleased with that one and did it in straight sets (life in the old dog yet).
This weekend is massive for our Club in the British League, We are at Widnes in Cheshire and I'm playing for our 2nd team and we are only one point above the relegation zone, we have 4 massive matches and I'm selected for them all.
At the same time our 1st team are going well in Division One North and a good weekend will see them reach the play offs for a place in the National Premier Division. The Play Offs are down South in May and I'd go to support if they get there (any excuse for a weekend away).
Chicago - Less than two weeks to my Chicago long weekend with a couple of mates and I'm really looking forward to it. I've been planning a few live music venues to go to while we are there, want a bit of variation so this is our plan tell me what you think :-
Early for Food "Fados Irish Pub" (always a good atmosphere) British beer and a awesome Bacon Cheeseburger - http://www.fadoirishpub.com/fado_pub_main.php?city=chicago
Later (9.30pm ish) for Music "Blue Chicago" to see Shirley Johnson one of my fav Chicago Blues singers - http://www.bluechicago.com/
Early for Food any Pub Restaurant on Rush Street (loads of bars there)
Later for Music "Underground Wonder Bar" not been before but been advised its a must - http://www.undergroundwonderbar.com/index.html
Early for Entertainment while we eat "Andys Jazz Club" - http://www.andysjazzclub.com/
Later for Fun & Entertainment "Howl at the Moon" Duelling Piano Bar - http://www.howlatthemoon.com/chicago_tonight.html
Early for food Pubs around Lincoln Park
Later "Kingston Mines" Blues Club (2 stages going here) - http://kingstonmines.com/
Early some Pubs up North around Lawrence
Later "Green Mill" Jazz Club (famous Club - Al Capones old haunt) - http://www.greenmilljazz.com/
Ok the diet may suffer I'm sure but hell this is life. I'm working on what to do during the day (probably wont see many mornings). We'll check out the museums, go up one of the tall building, maybe visit the Pier, Parks & we intend to see the Blackhawks Ice Hockey on Sunday.
Thats it for now folks.
Monday, 11 February 2008
When you think of groups of that time many think of the Mersey Sound such as the "Beatles", "Gerry & the Pacemakers", they may even think of the fantastic groups coming out of London such as "Rolling Stones", "The Who", "The Kinks", "Small Faces", "DC5", etc. they may even think of Birmingham with "The Moody Blues" or "Spencer Davis Group". However the group we are going to look at today came from the Land of the "Geordie" in the North East of England the City of Newcastle and of course that group was The Animals.
Of course one song sticks out in everyones mind when you think of "The Animals" it was the song that gave then their only UK No1 and became the first British act other than the Beatles to have a US chart topper. The year 1964 and arguably one of the best songs of all time "House of the Rising Sun (of course I've posted the Karaoke version cos I knew you'll all want to sing along):-
The group were not a one trick pony though and had many chart hits with no fewer than 7 songs reaching the top ten between 1964 & 1967.So who were "The Animals" that made that fantastic Bluesy/Rock type sound well we will start with that man with the unbelievable vocals and that is Eric Burdon I just believe he has one of them voices that you can listen to all day. He is still signing today and check out my friends on MySpace. Here he is with the group back in the sixties with a superb version of "Tobacco Road" :-
Lead Guitar and that is Hilton Valentine who played them classic opening notes on House of the Rising Sun. In 1966 he left the Animals and moved to California forming his own Skiffle group. He did return to England at a later date and played with a Animals reunion group but eventually moved back Stateside where he now resides in Conneticut (take note Jenny). He released a non succesfull solo album in 2004 called "Its Folk 'n' Skiffle Mate".
So on to Keyboards and that is Alan Price who as gone on to have a good solo career with four top ten hits and a number of other compositions reaching the charts. His most famous hit was in 1974 with "Jarrow Song", this is a tribute to the Jarrow Marchers of 1936. This was a time when the country was in recession and there was no work in the North of England, the North/South divide was greater than ever. In desperation the men of the Mining town of Jarrow marched the length of the country to protest to the government of the day in London. Don't miss this video (some things never change) :-
I'll do the Bass Guitarist and that is Bryan "Chas" Chandler, now can anyone tell me his claim to music fame other than been with The Animals. Well he went on to be a music Promoter and manager and his the man who discovered and guided non other than "Jimi Hendrix" through his career. On top of that he was significant in the Glam Rock era as manager of one of my favorite groups "Slade".
Finally on to the Drummer and thats John Steel, Originally a trumpeter, he and Burdon formed a Jazz group in 1957 called "The Pagan Jazzmen". They soon switched instruments and embraced the new rock 'n' roll explosion, when they became The Pagans. In 1959 they met Alan Price and joined forces. The band went through many name changes and different personnel before eventually forming the Animals in 1963. Following the Animals Steel became a buisness man but still occasionally works as a part time drummer.
Over the years the Animals have been reformed with different personnel but never achieving the same success as the origional line up.
So here is a couple of Classics to finish with :-
1. Dont let me be Missunderstood :-
2. We Gotta get out of this Place :-
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
The pace of life is so much less stressfull than when I was at work, small jobs I need doing I can do at my leisure, more things are getting done, hell every cupboard in the house as been tidied up. When the spring comes I've a few outside jobs to do, some big hedges to cut back, Shed to Tidy up, Shed also needs painting (& roof re-felting), garage doors need painting, etc.
So how am I filling my days in other than work around home. Well as always I try to arrange things to do in the evening but its the days I've gained. When the weather has been good I've done a long walk each morning (about 6/7 miles), I sort of head out of town till I come to the Canal then walk back along the canal tow path into town, call in a few shops then head home for lunchtime. I've got a few contacts whom I'm going to start playing golf with when everything drys up a bit, we've had a lot of rain and the courses are a bit too flooded at present.
This morning I've been into town and joined the local library, its amazing I haven't been a member for over 30 years and they have come on a lot. Not only books to read they have magazines & newspapers, you can loan CD's, DVD's, Videos, etc. They have internet access (not that I'll bother unless down at home) and you can even get a cup of Coffee. I'll probably visit once a week possibly more if the weather is bad.
On another related note today was my two weekly appointment I have to attend at the Job Centre (so I can claim JSA). It only takes 5 minutes but they try find you work. Today the lady gave me a print out of a Job to consider applying for, now it was 12 hour shifts including weekends and about £12k less than I was on (don't think I'll be going there). To be honest while you are sighning on you can insist on equivellant job to what you was doing for the first 13 weeks then they can make you go for a lesser job. However as from April I'll be claiming my old works pension so wont be "signing on" anyway, I'll then only be looking for something part time.
As for my money its doing fine and under my budget, I took the redundancy decision after making a lot of calculations and the signs are I've made a good decision. Obviously its early days yet and may be things I need that I haven't considered, I'm just keeping a open mind to what direction my life will now go.
On a good note - Only 3 weeks to my Chicago trip, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Monday, 4 February 2008
I'm going to start off this feature with a group I liked big style in the late 70's early 80's "The Jam".
The group of Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton & Rick Buckner were schoolboy friends from Woking in Surrey.
Taken from Wikipedia :-
The Jam were an English punk rock/mod revival band active during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
They had 18 straight top 40 singles in the UK, from their debut in 1977 to their breakup in 1982, including four number 1 hits. Two of these 18 singles were only available in the UK as imports, and as of 2007 they remained the best-selling import singles of all time in the UK. The Jam released one live album and six studio albums, the last of which, "The Gift", hit number 1 on the UK album charts.
They drew upon a variety of stylistic influences over the course of their career, including 1960s beat music,soul, rythem & blues and Psychedelic as well as 1970s punk rock and new wave. The trio was known for its melodic pop songs, its distinctly English flavour and its mod image. The band launched the career of Paul Weller who went on to form The Style Council and later had a successful solo career. Weller wrote and sang most of The Jam’s original compositions, and he played lead Rickenbacker guitar. Bruce Foxton provided backing vocals and played unusually prominent basslines, which were the foundation of many of the band’s songs; including the hits "Down at the Tube Station at midnight", "Eton Rifles" and "A Town called Malice".
Gotta have a song about getting beaten up in a Subway Station (they don't write lyrics like this anymore). :-
Personally I was lucky to see The Jam play live at Bridlington Spa in 1981 and they certainly was one of the best live acts around.
As said earlier Paul Weller wrote most of the songs the group did but they did have an early chart success with a cover version. The song "David Watts" was wrote by one of my all time favorite song writers "Ray Davis" of 60's supergroup "The Kinks" so gotta include it.
In their time they created a few interesting achievements, one song "Thats Entertainment" charted at No21 in the UK despite not been released as a single. This was based entirely on imported sales, the song also appears in Rolling Stone magazine best songs of all time.
They became the 2nd group (following the Beatles I believe) to appear live twice on the same episode of Top of the Pops.
On their break up many of their songs were rereleased and the had to distinction of having 14 songs in the UK chart in the same week.
A number of their songs were used in the soundtrack to the film Billy Elliott including "A Town called Malice" :-
Their last ever song "Beat Surrender" made the top spot in the UK chart, nothing like finishing on a high.
My favorite Jam song of all time is probably this one "The Bitterest Pill" :-
Saturday, 2 February 2008
Well last night when I twisted in bed I aggravated it, gee it now really hurts, I couldn't get comfortable all night and find it hard to twist. I'm ok bending down just twisting side to side hurts. It even hurts if I take deep breaths an expand my chest/lungs, it as though its pressing against an inflammed area.
This morning I had a couple of pain killers and did a 6/7 mile walk which seems to have loosened it up, seems to be worse if I stay in one position for a while, gotta keep moving.
Friday, 1 February 2008
I seem to be eating ok since Wednesdays Post some am optimistic of some weight loss next week if I keep it up, we'll see.
I'll get around everyones blogs this weekend I hope.