Monday, April 24, 2017

Welcome to Peter Clemon's Coventry Music Articles

This Post Remain's on top as an introduction to the site. Scroll below for the latest posts.

This Blogspot is part of the Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine) archive.

Hobo was a Coventry music magazine c 1973 - 75 and the archives of the magazine and Hobo workshop and the general music scene of the 70's was originally on Vox blogs c 2007 until recently. Vox closed and the site is being redeveloped and rearranged here - it's still in progress so bear with us.

This Blog
This Hobo blog spot in particular  is for Peter Clemon's Coventry music Scene articles for the Coventry Telegraph. Pete Clemons has a huge database of hundreds of gigs in Coventry from the 60's to the present. Both professional acts and local bands. He has had over 100 articles publish in the Coventry Telegraph which, on his request, we've collated here and  have linked them with further material from the Hobo magazine archives.

NEW

  • Early posts on here - if you scroll right down - are Pete's Rock of Ages Posts - gigs in Cov through the ages since the early 60's to present.
  • Later posts are about important music venues in the city and their history.
  • Other posts are about Coventry bands from the 60's onwards.

Pete Clemons and Trev Teasdel at  BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire January 2016

Links to the other Hobo Coventry Music Archive sites 
Coventry Music Scene from Hobo - This is the Hub to all the sites below

Hobo - Coventry Music Archives This is the main Blogspot for the Coventry Music Archives from Hobo Magazine with archive material from HoboMagazine and other Coventry music magazines, feature articles and other documentation. This site is still in development.

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club
The archives of the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club which was opened in 1955 by the Goons and where some of the Two Tone musicians started out and literary figures like Phillip Larkin and much more. many Coventry bands played the Umbrella in the late 60's and early 70's. It also housed Coventry's first Folk Club.

Coventry Folk Club Scene 1970's  
This is the Hobo site for Coventry's longstanding and thriving Folk and Acoustic scene. It covers both folk archives from the 70's and features on some of the contemporary singer songwriters out there now along with Pete Willow's history of Coventry Folk Scene and pdf versions of  his 70's Folks Magazine 1979 / 80. Top names like Rod Felton, Dave Bennett, Kristy Gallacher, Pauline (Vickers) Black, Roger Williamson, Sean Cannon and many more.

Coventry Gigs 1960 to Present (This blogspot in fact!).

Coventry Discos, Venues, Music shops and Agencies / Studios etc.
A steadily progressing blog for a variety of other aspects of Coventry's music scene - the DJ's, Discos, Venues, Arts fests, record shops, studios, music agencies etc etc..

Coventry Musicians Who's Who 
This blog has an A to Z of Coventry musicians. It's not yet complete (if ever!) but there are many names and their bands on already. I will come back to it when the A to Z of bands is complete and add in names not on. Meanwhile if you are not on it - and you should be - or your friends and their bands or if your info is incorrect - do let us know at hobozine@googlemail.com.

Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands and Artists
Meanwhile a huge A to Z of Coventry bands and artists can be found (again in development) here https://sites.google.com/site/bandsfromcoventry/

Visit TWO TONE CENTRAL MUSEUM http://www.2tonecentral.co.uk/

Tim Bowness, vocalist.


Tim Bowness, vocalist.

By Pete Clemons



There are vocalists who belt out the songs. And there are vocalists whose voice you hear uppermost and the music is incidental. And, for me, Tim Bowness is definitely in the latter category. 

Tim’s voice has warmth and richness to it. It carries an unusual breathiness. It is an instrument in itself. And his pronunciation can be quite exquisite. Dare I say that I find his voice is quite seductive in the way he draws you into his songs.

Amongst other releases Tim’s debut solo album, ‘My Hotel Year’ was released 2004. Contributing to the music was the likes of ambient music creator Roger Eno and Soft Machine’s bassist Hugh Hopper.

In 2009 Tim heavily contributed to an album titled ‘Talking with Strangers’ released by former Fairport Convention vocalist Judy Dyble.

But prior to all this Tim was a founding member, along with Steven Wilson, of the band No-Man. And No-Man are no strangers to Coventry.

On Saturday October 17 1992 No-Man, who by now also included Ben Coleman on violin, appeared at the Tic Toc club, latterly known as The Colosseum and more lately Kasbah. They had not long released a mini album / EP called ‘Lovesighs – An Entertainment’ that contained a track which immediately caught my attention ‘Days in the Trees’.

Unfortunately the band got slaughtered by a critic who happened to be present that night and in Tim’s own words during a recent conversation as he recalled the gig. ‘Sadly, the Coventry Tic Toc performance/experience wasn’t No-Man’s finest hour! ‘

As memorable as the gig though was the fact No-Man were accompanied on stage by JBK namely drummer Steve Jansen, fretless bass player Mick Karn and keyboard player Richard Barbieri who had all previously been in the band Japan.

And these musicians would go on to become collaborators in a wide variety of future projects. As for No-Man, well gigs performed during 1993 would prove to be their last together for the foreseeable future. 



However both Tim and Steven Wilson would continue, albeit in the shadow of Steven’s other emerging band Porcupine Tree, to release music as No-Man. And the music/lyrics were becoming more powerful in terms of subject matter.

As such it was an incredible surprise when, seemingly out of the blue during 2008, a gig was announced for Bush Hall in London. With a complete new band, this new version of No-Man put on a memorable performance. And it was saved for posterity by way of DVD package entitled ‘Mixtaped’ which was later released.

A few years later and yet another gig was announced, this time closer to home, at The Assembly Rooms in Leamington Spa during 2011. Again this performance was recorded, this time on CD, and made available under the title ‘Love and Endings’.

More recently and bringing things right up to date Tim Bowness has released a trio of wonderful studio albums. The first of these ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ was, as I understand, intended as a No-Man album, and released during 2014. The songs are very melancholic and reflective yet, at the same time, the music creates an uplifting atmosphere. It received some very positive reviews.

This was quickly followed up during 2015 by ‘Stupid Things That Mean the World’ another emotionally charged record, packed with nostalgia. Tim loves books and reads poetry and I suspect a lot of the imagery gained from that has surfaced in his songs.

For the third album of this trilogy Tim is attempting to look through the eyes of a classic rock artist who is in the twilight of his career and realises that time has simply moved on.

It is an incredible piece of work and rather that attempt to describe it all myself I have unashamedly dipped into Tim’s website and grabbed the following……

‘Lyrically, the album addresses how the era of streaming and ageing audiences affects creativity, how a life devoted to music impacts on real / family life, and how idealistic beginnings can become compromised by complacency and the fear of being replaced by younger, more vital artists’.


‘As mentioned on the Album Notes for Lost in the Ghost Light, the album revolves around the contemporary musings of Moonshot leader Jeff Harrison, though the events in the songs take place between 1967 and 2017. 



Jeff’s career was of interest to me because he came from my home town and was born on the same date as me in exactly the same place (Victoria Park Maternity Home in Warrington as I’m sure you’re eager to know). Admittedly, it was 16 years earlier, but how could I not be curious?

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were no local musicians of any note from the area, so (in both a good and a bad way) Jeff became something of a home town legend regularly played by DJs such as The Longford Lover.

I was fascinated by the fact that Jeff and Moonshot had been passionately idealistic during a musically revolutionary time (1967-1975), but seemed completely exhausted for a decade or more after. Where did the inspiration / drive go? How was all relevance and credibility lost? Why did Jeff make the career choices he did?

Although some critics still rate the band’s early albums (as do I), it’s fair to say that Moonshot’s reputation has been sullied by years of playing ‘golden oldies’ to diminishing audiences. Jeff’s 1980s penchant for wearing leopard skin outfits and his dismissive remarks about contemporary music (post Punk) have also had an impact on his critical standing. In recent years, Jeff’s vocal aversion to downloading and streaming have come across as bitter rather than insightful (I think he sometimes makes a good point, but feel there’s no moderation in the way he expresses his views). His current obsessions with President Putin t-shirts and the falling standards of rice pudding production are a little (endearingly?) odd by any standards’.






Ian Bourne, Nuneaton Singer Songwriter.

Ian Bourne, Nuneaton Singer Songwriter

By Pete Clemons



I don’t know Ian Bourne, as such, but I do know of him. And I wouldn’t mind betting that a great deal more people also do without actually realising it.

For several years now Ian has hosted, and performed at, a great number of acoustic open mic sessions. Not just in Coventry but county wide and beyond.

The energy and enthusiasm that he put into these events appeared to be endless. And if you have ever attended one of these sessions then the chances are that it was hosted by Ian.

Ian, himself, has been playing guitar since almost before he can remember, and regularly teaches guitar in his spare time. He has an impressive theoretical knowledge and uses interesting and challenging strumming patterns and finger style in his playing.

He learns songs with ease and boasts an extensive repertoire of songs and he regularly performs an eclectic mix of distinctive original material and quirky covers both as a solo artist and also as a duo with a number of other performers.

Ian is also a talented songwriter and enjoys writing and playing a wide range of musical styles such as folk, jazz, jazz and pop. He incorporates a mixture of acoustic and electric during his gigs and can also play keyboards.



He has recently released some of his music via bandcamp. A mini album titled ‘All of your hate and other lies’ are available to download at a very reasonable price. In Ian’s own words ‘I've been gigging these original songs for some while now, time to make definitive versions, and move on’.

Sadly Ian recently took a turn for the worse. His Facebook page carries an account of what happened and his progress so far. It is positive in as much that he will make a full recovery, although it will take time.

Hey, I'm finally home. Well, have been for a bit and feeling pretty crap. I have some bad news, I am afraid. I had a pretty hefty seizure last week (hence why I have been in hospital for the last week). It is the only one I have ever had, but there are some nasty consequences:


I will probably not be able to drive for the next year, which is going to be a bit of a pain


I feel pretty terrible at the moment. I am on some really strong anti-seizure medication and also on rat poison as I have a blood clot left in my head. It might take quite a while to get rid of even if it is possible to get rid of it


It is very unlikely that I will be fit to perform or host for some time although I do have a few gigs booked. Chances are I will probably spend much of the next year writing and recording and possibly doing some non-music projects.

Ian, you will be a huge loss but the main thing is that you are going to make a full recovery. Your efforts in keeping the music scene alive and kicking in Coventry is nothing short of legendary, and will always be appreciated for that.

Ian Bourne on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ian.bourne.3

Monday, April 17, 2017

Led Zeppelin – Locarno 1971

Led Zeppelin – Locarno 1971
Pete Clemons



Rock band, Led Zeppelin, are considered to have been one of the most innovative, influential and successful rock groups in the history of modern day popular music. 

They came together during 1968 and the band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. They had been born out of another British blues band, The Yardbirds, where Jimmy Page had been lead guitarist for a short while. 

Yardbirds with Jimmy Page

Led Zeppelin were essentially a blues band who, with their distinctive guitar driven sound, took that particular genre to a whole new level. Their totally unique style was also able to incorporate other influences such as folk music.

And, as a band, they were just pure class in all departments. Not one of the band members was picked out solely as being the person most ‘out there’. This was not a band with a front man and bit players behind him. As musicians they were an incredibly tight unit and each band member playing a vital part.

With the demise of The Yardbirds during 1968 Jimmy Page and bass player, Chris Dreja, took it as an opportunity to create a whole new band. After much auditioning the band eventually settled on the classic line up described above after Dreja stepped aside when he decided he would rather move into photography.

Fast forward a few year and Led Zeppelins fourth album was being released on November 8th 1971. This particular record was actually untitled but quickly became known as Led Zeppelin IV amongst other pseudonyms it adopted. The album contained some of the bands most recognisable songs such as ‘Black Dog’, ‘Rock and Roll’ and arguably the bands most iconic song ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

A winter tour had already been publicised during early November 1971 aimed at promoting the new album. Initially eight dates were announced which included a couple of extravaganzas at the Empire Pool Wembley. Then seemingly out of the blue a few extra dates were added to the tour and one had been organised for 9 December at the Locarno Coventry.

Tickets went on sale from outlets such as Jill Hanson record shop and each were priced a one pound. A bit steep seeing how the ticket prices for the earlier announced dates had been set at 75p. Maybe this is why tickets were still on sale on the day of the gig.

The bands fourth album had barely been in the shops a month when the Coventry took place and, as such, a lot of the tunes were getting early outings in the U.K. although they had been road tested on the U.S. tour that the band completed the previous August and an earlier spring U.K. tour.

Nick Buxton a student at the time, then living in Chester Street, remembers the gig well. ‘Stairway to Heaven, for example, barely got a ripple of applause as the audience were unfamiliar with this then’. And given the passage of time, understandably, a lot of the fine detail is hazy with Nick.

The set list for the gig, however, almost certainly went close to this: Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Black Dog, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That’s the Way, Tangerine, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, Dazed and Confused, What Is and What Should Never Be, Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love and Communication Breakdown.

The four symbols that each of the band members had chosen for the Led Zeppelin IV album sleeve were placed on each of their onstage equipment set ups. John Bonham’s three circles, for example, were placed on his bass drum.

The gig was also notable for being disrupted by an IRA bomb scare. After the third song, resident DJ Pete Waterman, leapt to the stage and advised everyone to clear the building.

Fairport Convention bass player, Dave Pegg, had been in attendance and recalled the gig in a 2001 interview: "Went to see Zeppelin at the Locarno Coventry when there was a bomb scare, everyone left the building except Robert who was saying 'what's the matter with you all?' Although, it appears now though, that not everyone evacuated.

After some time the gig restarted and the evening’s interruptions were still not over. During Dazed and Confused it seems that Jimmy Page lost grip of his violin bow and it launched itself into the crowd. 



Although individuals from the band have appeared in Coventry before and since, Led Zeppelin's visit to the Locarno during 1971, was the one and only time that they played together as a band in the city. However, exactly five years later, a Led Zeppelin film that documented concerts at Madison Square Gardens and titled ‘The Song Remains the Same’ was shown for a week at the ABC cinema in Hertford Street.

Led Zeppelin IV went on to become one of the most iconic albums of all time in particular in the U.S. where it was at one time the third best ever selling album ever. 








Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Joe O’Donnell's Gaodhal’s Vision


Joe O’Donnell's Gaodhal’s Vision

by Pete Clemons



To celebrate its 40th anniversary Coventry resident Joe O’Donnell is giving his 1977 concept album, Gaodhal’s Vision, a complete makeover and a whole new lease of life.

Joe, of course, leads the powerful Celtic rock band Shkayla who also include Martin Barber on keyboard, Si Hayden on guitar, Adrian Litvinoff on bass, Karen Milne on drums and Ben Haines on percussion.

Gaodhal’s Vision is a concept album that tells the mythological story about the Milesians, a race of people who eventually settled in Ireland and who, legend has it, gave rise to the Celts.
The Milesians or Gaels, as prophesised eons earlier by Gaodhal a Scythian nobleman and who had been a military adviser to the Pharaohs, left Egypt and travelled through North Africa, Southern Europe and through to Iberia , now known as Spain.

The Milesians then built boats that took them across the Bay of Biscay and onward to Eire (Ireland). On reaching Eire they then defeated a local tribe of magicians who would then live alongside their conquerors. Ultimately the Milesians influence would spread across the whole of Ireland.

The album itself is a musical of that journey about their exodus from Egypt and onward to the Emerald Isle. And the story is the stuff of folklore but one that has been discussed for many centuries as to its validity. Being Limerick born it is a subject that has been close to Joe’s heart for many years.

And Joe has recently acquired the master tapes to Gaodhals Vision and is currently in the process of re-mixing and re-mastering them. In addition to that the album will be getting a more modern feel as it is being enhanced by way of fresh guitar parts and additional percussion.

So with this new improved release you can expect an album that is longer than the original, extended and tonally polished lead guitar on the Rory Gallagher parts, enriched orchestral passages and powerful new contributions by Shkayla.

A couple of shows were recently performed at the Belgrade B2 Theatre under the title of ‘From Egypt to Eire’ and featured Joe along with his full band who gave a complete performance of Gaodhal’s Vision. And it was clear to see they all enjoyed the experience.

Having attended one of the performances I can confirm that the band, as can be imagined, was fierce and lively. The live performances were both exciting and, where required, sympathetic to the storyline.

Without picking on individuals there really were some fine individual playing all round. And the performance was enhanced by fusion dancers, traditional Irish dancers and an appearance by Uilleann pipes.

The show was filmed with the intention that a DVD of the production will be included in the 40th anniversary album package due for release later in the year.

The album package will also feature an illustrated souvenir insert with insights to the album and images relating to the legend of the Milesian people.

For further details relating to the purchase of the album follow the link below.

http://joeodonnellsshkayla.com/shop/gaodhals-vision-40th-anniversary-edition/


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Sorrows in Europe October 2016


The Sorrows in Europe October 2016 
By Pete Clemons


They say you can’t keep a good band down. And that is true for Coventry band The Sorrows who incredibly, and after more than 50 years, are still packing in the audiences.

As has happened in previous years, October 2016, saw The Sorrows once more invited across to Europe. This time, to perform at two sell out gigs.

The Sorrows line-up included local legend, Dave Gedney, on guitar alongside Mark Mortimer on 5 string bass guitar, Nigel Lomas on drums, Brian Wilkins on lead guitar and harmonica and, of course, vocalist and frontman Don Fardon.



German band Beat Revolver supported The Sorrows on each of the nights and the itinerary for the weekend went something like this:

Friday 7th - The guys flew from Birmingham to Dussledorf, Germany. At Dusseldorf airport they were picked up from airport. From there they were then given a tour of Dusseldorf old town that included a trip down the Rhine. Lunch at the Golden Einhorn followed. Then it was onward to the first gig of the weekend. This meant crossing the border and into in Belgium for the evening performance at a club called La Zone in Liege.

Saturday 8th – And yet another full day had been arranged. After lunch the band were treated to a sight-seeing tour of Liege. They were then driven, back across the German border to Cologne. After dinner The Sorrows then played their second gig of the weekend. This time the venue was the Sonic Ballroom, Cologne.

Sunday 9th – After a sightseeing tour of Cologne which included the cathedral the band were treated to their final touch of hospitality when they had a lunch at the Fruh Brewery, Cologne. Then it was back to Dusseldorf airport for their return onward flight back to Birmingham.

The Sorrows returned home with far less baggage than they went out with as they totally sold out of merchandise and souvenirs.

The following weekend the band was on stage once again, this time at The Albany Club, giving their time and full support to a charity event.



Sorrows at the Albany Club 2016

As 2017 kicks off The Sorrows are still receiving plenty of offers of work. Early in February they were back on stage at the Prince of Wales hotel in Southport alongside Merseybeat bands The Fourmost and The Undertakers for yet another sold out event.

The Sorrows set list today still includes classic tunes such as No No No, You Got What I Want, Teenage Letter, Find a Cave and of course Take a Heart. But the band will also find the time to let Don cut loose with songs he had success with as a solo performer such as I’m Alive.

And The Sorrows are not just a band turning out the songs for the sake of nostalgia. This current version of the band, are certainly fired up, and deadly serious about what they do. And that is to tear up the stage and create a great sound.

And the audiences, particularly it seems in Europe, are just lapping it up.








Honky Tonk Rose

Honky Tonk Rose 

by Pete Clemons


Honky Tonk Rose


Buried within the bleakness of a country album called ‘Deguello Motel’, is a more upbeat song called ‘Honky Tonk Rose’. The album is written and produced by American singer songwriter Roger Alan Wade who is from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Although I am guessing that Roger Alan Wade is relatively unheard of over here in the U.K. he does however have a pedigree of note. It sees that Roger has written songs for country legends such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Hank Williams Jr. amongst many others.

A verse from his song ‘Honky Tonk Rose’ goes like this……..

On the crazy side of town there is a bar room

Where the music's loud and beer and whiskey flows

There's a girl there breakin' hearts and waitin' tables

I love that girl, my honky tonk Rose




And maybe, it was, just that track, which may have been the catalyst for one of Coventry and Warwickshire’s newest, and most unlikely bands. Namely: Honky Tonk Rose. Who knows?

But regardless of whether or not the song inspired the band, I do think that it sets the scene for what HTR are all about. They are certainly upbeat and they are certainly uplifting.

I mentioned the word unlikely. Not in a derisory way at all but more with surprise. Folk who know the Coventry and Warwickshire music scene will be familiar and know the background to some or all of the names that make up HTR. And maybe they share my surprise.

However for those who don’t the band are Holly Hewitt - vocals, Dave Page - guitar, Horace Panter - bass, Rick Medlock - drums, Jim Widdop – steel guitar and Malc Evans guitar.

Having witnessed HTR in action several times during 2016 this 6 piece appears to specialise in delving into the American songbook in search of obscure, the not so obscure and long heard country rock based songs and bringing them to life once more.

The project was brought together by Horace Panter who had the dream of playing the classic country songs he remembered as a youngster. And HTR simply came together to enable that dream to reach fruition.

2016 was a very productive year for the band. Their debut was at the Broomfield Tavern back in February and they continued to play some top venues and events throughout the year.

To quote one of the band members ‘Honky Tonk Rose is a dream of a project and I feel very lucky to be part of it’. ‘Every gig has been received with great enthusiasm’.

And it is absolutely right to say that this is a serious band. Each of those involved in this project are seasoned and experienced musicians who are equally enthusiastic.

All the elements for country rock are there including trucking, beer, the dispossessed and God. This all sounds very dull maybe but, dour in its execution of the music, it certainly is not. This band really does whip up an exciting atmosphere.

And with concerts performed well beyond Coventry’s boundaries, including prestigious venues such as the Jam House in Birmingham, Honk Tonk Rose is raising a few eyelids.

So there you have it. Honk Tonk Rose, creating their take on country music and delivering it passionately and with sincerity. So maybe, it shouldn’t have been so much of a surprise to me after all.


Honky Tonk Rose - give it up or let me go - broomfield tavern,coventry - 27/02/16



https://twitter.com/honkytonkroseuk