Friday, December 27, 2013

Cliff Richard's Wild Concerts in Coventry

From the prolific pen of Pete Clemons - his latest article for Coventry Telegraph - Cliff's Wild Concerts in Coventry.

Cliff's Wild Concerts in Coventry 
Pete Clemons 

CLIFF Richard has just released his latest album 'The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook' where, as the title suggests, he has gone full circle and has revisited his musical roots from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

By all accounts this is Cliff's 100th album release which, by any stretch of the imagination is a remarkable achievement, and the songs on it see him pay tribute to the greats of rock 'n' roll who inspired and influenced him, such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly.

During his early days Cliff and backing group the Shadows, who before that had been known as The Drifters, were regular visitors to Coventry.

Cliff, it seems, has always been a local favourite.

In 1959 it was reported that a 500 strong mob of screaming teenage girls stormed a Coventry cinema when Cliff performed one of his early concerts there. Staff at the Gaumont Cinema - later to become the Odeon and nowadays known as the Ellen Terry Centre - had their uniforms torn and ripped from their backs as they struggled to stop fans getting backstage.

Another story from the late 1950s involved Cliff and the band having to be smuggled out of the Granada Cinema in Rugby to avoid being mobbed by young fans.

Cliff also used to perform regularly at the Coventry Theatre, both solo and with his backing group The Shadows. Each and every one of those gigs would be sell outs. Tickets for all of those visits would be snapped up very quickly. In fact The Shadows have, several times, sold out the venue while touring in their own right.

He would quite often use those gigs at the theatre as an opportunity to drop in at various schools and sports centres around Coventry. Such as the time in 1976 when he even paid a surprise visit to pupils at Binley Park School and took part in a question and answer session.

Other visits have seen Cliff play tennis at the AT7 Centre and give a talk at Finham Park School about his beliefs and has always been ready to help local charities and good causes.

His Christian life has seen Cliff deliver a service and attend a mission at Coventry Cathedral during 1968 where, apparently, upwards of 15,000 saw him perform. He also performed gospel music at both Queens Road Baptist Church during 1971 and Central Methodist Hall during 1973 and also at St Paul's Church, Leamington, in 1974.

Needless to say the congregation, at each of these events, was huge. More than 1,400 people attended the Queens Road service. A thousand people had packed into the main church and 400 sat in overflow seating and watched the event on closed circuit television.

By coincidence this was held during the same weekend that The Rolling Stones were appearing at Coventry Theatre. At the Central Methodist Hall concerts Cliff played two shows to more than 2,000 people.

Proceeds from the concerts went to the TEAR fund who bought a Land Rover for missionary agriculturalists in Tanzania. And, along with 299 others, Cliff has had his name etched into the ornate millennium screen housed within the Cathedral. This honour was paid for by his official fan club who pledged the money to mark his sixtieth birthday back in the year 2000.

The following review, from April 1960, was written when Cliff and The Shadows starred during a week's residency at the Coventry Theatre. This had not been Cliff's first visit to the city but it was the first time he had appeared since his backing group had changed their name to The Shadows: 'The Coventry Theatre is the home of mass hysteria for a week for 'Mr Cliff Richard', complete with white suit, black shirt and his musical group 'The Shadows' is performing before a seething, writhing, shrieking audience of teenagers.

Monday night saw my initiation into the bewildering world of inaudible word, crashing chords and body movements that so easily transform normal healthy youngsters into hysterical hero worshippers. I am still in a state of mild shock by it all.

Cliff Richard is top of the bill in a show that caters for the young. He is the man who gives them what they really want and, judging by the reception he received, he must give it to them well. It isn't often you get flowers thrown on stage.

It doesn't really matter that words are unintelligible in the fast numbers.

Just let him stab out his white shoed foot in the general direction of the audience and, judging by the screams, they react in much the same way as if they had been kicked in the seat of their pants.

Mr Richard is a rock 'n' roll general who skilfully marshalls his stage army around him and he pays great attention to the battle campaign in hand. His act opens with a string of fast bouncy numbers that whip the audience up into the required state of semi-consciousness.

His musical group, three guitars and drums, never keep still going through simple semi-dance routines that keep the performance at ecstatic level. They are a well drilled squad.

All the acts that precede the entry of the idol into the ritualistic arena play very minor parts in the nights proceedings but two are worthy of mention - one particularly so.

The Four Jones Boys give a polished punchy display presenting themselves as a singing group who are different. Good harmony, nice touches of humour and a friendly manner make them well worth their number two billing. And in Roger Mistin, the Coventry Theatre have introduced us to one of the best xylophonists I have heard for a long time.

If you are a Cliff Richard fan and, let's face it - who under the age of twenty isn't, then this is a show for you.' Who would ever have guessed after reading that review that Cliff Richard would go on to be knighted for his services to music and would still be very much around, more than fifty years later, in 2013.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Coventry Music Museum (The Coventry Sound)

The latest from Pete Clemons - his article on the Coventry Music Museum for the Coventry Telegraph.

Pete Chambers at the More than Two Tones Exhibition 2009

Pete Chambers and Horace Panter

Two Tone Gold Discs displayed as part of More than Two Tone Exhibition in 2009 at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery

Coventry Music Museum - Photo (and the one above) is, I think either by Paul Kennelly or Mark Rider.

In 1969 John and Yoko planted Acorns for peace in the grounds of Coventry Cathedral - which is covered by a special display and information in Coventry Music Museum.

After the More Than Two Tones Exhibition, Pete Chambers created the 2-Tone Central Museum at Coventry University, moving to the present location on Ball Hill, Walsgrave. Then the focus was mainly on 2 Tone but now the museum has widened to embrace the wider Coventry Sound from the 60's to the present.


An early proposal for a Coventry Music Museum that circulated c2003 / 4 from Trev Teasdel and used
as idea material for the More Than Two Tones Exhibition 2009 - on which Trev was a committee member with Pete Chambers and others.
Read more here

A forerunner of the Coventry Music Museum which provided a lot of ground work for the museum creation
was done between 2007 and 2009 at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery. Initiated by Pete Chambers in negotiation with the Herbert team, a steering committee was formed comprising Herbert staff via Roger Vaughan, representatives from CV1, Radio Mercia and BBC Coventry, Pete Chambers, Trev Teasdel, and musicians Neol Davies, Roger Lomas. Richard Elms and many more as can be seen in the minutes on this site below.
Read the Minutes and more on this site below

And read the review of the launch of the More than Two Tones
Exhibition here -

At the launch both Kristy Gallacher and The Primitives played at the Herbert - this is one of the songs filmed at the Herbert -

Kristy Gallacher performing at the Launch of  More than Two Tones.

MORE THAN TWO TONES VIDEOS - Local Artists talking about the Coventry Scene.

Find the full series of these More than Two Tones Videos here

Pete Chambers - Two Tone Trail / Plaques / Walk of Fame / Books / Music Museum

On this page, linked here, you can see photos of the fuller range of work done by Pete Chambers, from his Coventry Music books, the Walk of Fame, Two Tone Trail and plaques to the Music Museum.

Pete Waterman and John Bradbury at the launch of the Two Tone plaque at the former Coventry Virgin records store - with Pete Chambers in the foreground.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Brian Matthew

Pete Clemons takes a look at BBC presenter Brian Matthew - born in Coventry in 1928, for his latest Coventry Telegraph article.

Brian on Air with the Beatles.
Pete Clemons 

LAST month has seen Brian Matthew back in the spotlight yet again with the release of the latest Beatles double CD titled 'On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2'.

Volume 1 was first released back in 1994, apparently selling five million copies in the first six weeks of release. Volume 2 is another delve back into the BBC archives and contains 63 tracks of which several are previously unreleased recordings along with studio chatter of The Beatles talking to the various radio presenters where Brian is quite prominent throughout in particular on disc 2. Brian Matthew was born in Coventry on September, 17 1928 and attended Bablake School. He began his broadcasting career for forces radio in Germany during 1948.

After that Brian worked for Dutch Radio in Hilversum which was once known as the centre for radio and broadcasting in The Netherlands. He then moved back to Coventry where he worked for a short while in a dairy.

And it was while at the dairy that Brian wrote to the BBC asking them if he could present a programme on Dutch Jazz through a programme of theirs called 'World of Jazz'. After an audition his offer was taken up.

And that was the start that Brian had at the BBC where for well over 50 years his slightly deep yet silky smooth voice has graced the airwaves as he went on to present radio shows such as Saturday Club, Easy Beat, My Top 12 and the arts programme Round Midnight.

Almost all the big names of the era appeared on Brian's shows, many of them live on air, and one of the biggest and most popular at that time were The Beatles who he developed a friendly relationship with. He even spent a week in the US touring with the mop tops.

Saturday Club was a prestigious radio show, originally launched in 1957, and was a showcase for up and coming talent. Brian was presenter of this show when, for example, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran appeared on it.

The Beatles also gave their first performance on Saturday Club during January 1963. And Brian Matthew was also host for the Easy Beat programme when The Beatles first appeared on that show later the same year.

It has been documented that The Beatles appeared on 275 live performances at the BBC between March 1962 and June 1965. They appeared on 39 radio shows in 1963 alone and, on one single day, recorded upward of 18 different songs. In fact during 1963 they had their own radio programme titled 'Pop Goes the Beatles' which went out on a Tuesday tea time.

Despite working with The Beatles many times Brian has admitted that, although friendly, he was never that close to them on a personal level.

He did admit though that he was close to Brian Epstein and did count him as a personal friend. In fact at one point Brian Matthew and Brian Epstein had plans to build and own their own theatre in the Orpington area of Kent but the project never materialised.

Another, more recent radio show Brian has been involved with is 'Sounds of the Sixties'. This iconic BBC show has been running since 1983 and, for a while, each episode was presented by a different artist from that decade.

Brian Matthew took over during March 1990 and, for two hours each Saturday morning he has made the show his own as he has presented it with his own unique style.

He divided the programme into one hour of 'A' sides and an hour of 'B' sides which even involves the listeners who sometimes introduce the song they requested. 1990 also saw Brian receive a Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Outstanding Contribution to Radio.

Brian has not been confined to the radio either. Between 1961 and 1966, and in addition to his radio commitments, Brian was travelling from his London base to Birmingham's ITV studios to be one of the presenters of 'Thank Your Lucky Stars'.

The format for this show was that each band played two songs although on this show the acts usually mimed to their hits.

And back in the days when radio was as popular then as TV is today Brian's shows would attract the biggest and greatest of pop acts for on air coverage.

During his early days there was very little pop music played on radio and his pioneering shows regularly attracted young audiences that were numbered in the millions.

Today it is very difficult to imagine just how gruelling life was for the bands during those formative years of beat and pop.

But to get an indication of how just one day's life was like for The Beatles, George Harrison once recalled, 'We used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the programme.

Then we'd probably drive back up to Newcastle for a gig in the evening'.

Apart from a final gig on the rooftops of the Apple studios in London during January 1969 the Beatles retired from playing live after a tour of the US in August 1966.

The Beatles 'On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2' is clearly aimed at the Christmas market. And due to the fact that, essentially, there is little new in these releases then, yes I agree, this CD will not be for everyone.

Having said that there are some previously unreleased recordings and studio chatter by The Beatles are to be made available for the first time. These include covers of Chuck Berry's 'Too Much Monkey Business', a Frank Pingatore song called 'Clarabella' and an unreleased Lennon and McCartney tune called 'I'll Be on My Way'.

But one thing I am certain of is that this release is sure to interest those who enjoyed the ritual of tuning into those old radio programmes.

It will also revive many memories of an exciting time for those fortunate to have grown up during the 1960s.

Bablake School - Coventry - where Brian Matthew attended.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Noel Nouvelet - Joe O'Donnell's Shkayla - Celtic Christmas Charity Single

Pete Clemon's (in his latest Coventry Telegraph article) treats us to a special report on a new Celtic Christmas single by Coventry based Joe O'Donnell's Shkayla Noel Nouvelet - which has a long and interesting history as Pete explains and is offered as part of a free EP download but with the hope that people will pay for it as the money is to go a Children's charity to fund an innovative Music Therepy programme at the Rainbow Children's Hospice. The EP on Silvery Records can be downloaded here

Joe O'Donnell has a page on Facebook -

The single features Shkayla - Joe O'Donnell, Si Hayden, Martin Barter, Adrian Litvinoff, Brendan J. Rayner and additionally the vocals of Coventry singer songwriter and acoustic music promoter Justine Watson, Coventry Bhangra percussionist Juggy Rihal and London based Asian Vocalist Shaheen.

Over to Pete Clemons -

Joe bows out for charity.
Pete Clemons 

IF you happen to be on the lookout for some Christmassy music with a difference and, at the same time, would like to help a great cause then can I direct you to the latest single by Joe O'Donnell's Shkayla and friends titled 'Noel Nouvelet'.

'Noel Nouvelet' is actually a traditional French Christmas carol which originally contained thirteen verses and translates roughly as 'Sing We Now of Christmas'.

It was apparently intended as a New Year's carol, as opposed to a Christmas carol, with versions of it dating back to the early 1500s. The traditional version that is used nowadays dates back to one from the 1720s.

However, Joe's interpretation of this carol is very different from the original. For a start he has also managed to incorporate the famous 'Coventry Carol' which can be heard at the beginning and at the middle eight section within the tune.

And not only does the single include members of Shkayla but it also features the talents of Coventry bhangra percussionist Juggy Rihal, indie vocalist Justine Watson and London-based Asian vocalist Shaheen.

The combination of all these influences creates a potion of incredible melodies and rhythms that originate from both the East and the West.

The 'Coventry Carol' is, of course, a Christmas carol that dates from the 16th century. It was named after and was performed within Coventry during those days as part of a mystery play titled The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors.

In fact performances of the Coventry Mystery Plays, or Coventry Corpus Christi Pageants, have been recorded as being performed as far back as 1312/13 and continued for almost two centuries. I believe that there were ten in total.

The carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, as told in the gospel of Matthew, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed.

The lyrics of this haunting carol represent a mother's lament for her doomed child and apparently it is the only known piece of music that has survived from this particular play. The original author of the tune is unknown.

It is said that the only original copy of the play was always kept by the council for safe keeping. And when a copy was required the copyist had to go to the council and pay a hefty fee in order to stage the play on. But apparently the council copy of the Coventry plays has long been lost.

The only manuscript copy, from those originals, to have survived into recent times was destroyed by fire during the late 1870s and it had been held at the Birmingham Free Reference Library. Fortunately though Coventry antiquarian, Thomas Sharp, had preserved copies in two volumes and it is from these that we know about, and interpret, the mystery plays today.

And the same biblical story which inspired the Coventry Carol has also been the inspiration of some wonderful, but quite graphic, paintings and artwork from artists of all nationalities over the centuries.

All proceeds of the single, which is available as a download only, will be passed onto the Music Therapy department of Loughborough based Rainbows Hospice that helps terminally ill children.

The power of music has, over the years, been well documented. Studies have shown that music can influence heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, pain perception, physical health and all round well-being. At University Hospital's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, music therapy helps children and families discover new ways to effectively cope, both physically and emotionally, with hospitalisation.

Says Joe, "I'm very keen to support Rainbows Hospice with this project. Music has been my life and I was fascinated to find out how music has been used to help improve the quality of life for the young people in its care - and for their families.

"My hope for Christmas is that as many people as possible download the single and I would be absolutely delighted if 'Noel Nouvelet' can help to build up Rainbows' resources for this fantastic support and therapy."

Time in hospital can disrupt normal living patterns, school and important social activities for children.

The Music Therapy Program at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital attempts to minimise this disruption by providing sensitive and creative interventions that includes the playing of instruments and the writing of songs.

These interventions also offer acute and chronically ill children the chance to learn, express themselves, interact with family and friends and simply relax and just enjoy themselves.

Even parents, brother and sisters can join the fun and experience the benefits that music creation can bring. Music therapy interventions take place individually, during group sessions, and during Rainbow Channel TV programming which is available on the Rainbow Hospice website.

Rainbows Hospice music therapist, Neil Eaves says, "We care for around 250 families every year, and facilities like our music room help our dedicated to team relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and support parents and siblings.

"The truth is that we can't do our work without public support and we're excited that Joe O'Donnell's fantastic music may go a long way to supporting this very important and valuable work."

All three mixes of the single are available from the Silvery Records website for a suggested donation of PS1 per download and are available from the link below. I hope you agree that this is the perfect opportunity of being able to offer a chance to make a difference to young people's lives through the power of music.

And while there why not take the time to look at all the other delight that are available at

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Peppermint Kreem

The story of  Coventry band Peppermint Kreem is a little complicated, involving a number of bands and line up changes but Pete Clemons has managed to unravel the band's history for his latest article for the Coventry Telegraph - his 60th article not including the 24 Rock of Ages listings for the paper.

Peppermint Kreem has fan page on Facebook with lots of photos and such like

The other Coventry bands include Makeshift / The Plague / Dr Slagg's Confessions and at least 3 versions of Peppermint Kreem and associated bands New City Sounds and The Motion / Revolution.
CLICK the Links to read more about these bands and view some of the photos etc.

Music with a Minty Flavour!

Pete Clemons 

OF all Coventry bands I have read about or researched none, for me at least, is more fascinating than that of Peppermint Kreem.

The story is actually a trilogy which takes the group from its beat band beginnings in 1968 through to their conclusion in 1987 but not before they had recorded a rock opera. Paul Kennelly has meticulously kept extensive notes over the years and it is these that I have plundered to pull this article together.

The roots of Peppermint Kreem can be traced right back to previous incarnations of the band beginning with Makeshift from around 1967 and then The Plague who existed between December 1967 and April 1968.

The Plague was formed when Paul Kennelly put an advert in the Coventry Telegraph. Arthur 'Modie' Albrighton was first to answer it. "We were hungry for work and would take anything." said Paul. "It was a great way of learning the business and the band performed from The Benn Hall in Rugby to Harlaxton Manor in Lincolnshire."

The line-up of The Plague was Paul Kennelly (vocals), 'Modie' Albrighton (bass guitar), Brian Griffiths (drums), Ray Haywood (lead guitar) and Bob Hopkins (keyboards) and they played their first gig at The General Wolfe on Friday, December 8, 1967.

Brian Griffiths left The Plague on January 25, 1968 to be replaced by Tom Ryan on drums. Bob Hopkins then left the band during April '68.

At that point it was agreed to give the band a fresh start and a new name. Ray Haywood suggested Peppermint Creams to which Paul responded with a slight variation to Ray's original idea. And so on April 26, 1968, they appeared as a four-piece at The Heart of England Club, Meriden, as Peppermint Kreem.

As covered by an article and various photographs for a Coventry Standard piece during May 1968 they bought a 15-seater bus from the Enterprise Club for the Disabled in Avon Street for PS24 and 10 shillings. This was used to carry their equipment.

1968 saw the band just 'out there playing'. They were, not at that time, in to doing their own music. What they would do though was to rearrange numbers, speed them up/ slow them down and fill in with drum solo links. The band toured extensively and regularly appeared locally in venues such as The Navigation on the Stoney Stanton Road and The Walsgrave.

On July 13 Peppermint Kreem added keyboard player Dave Fairclough to the line-up. His first gig for them was on Saturday July 13, 1968 at the Hobmore Hotel, Yardley.

By late 1968, the band had been signed by Don Fardon, his own solo career had taken off, and Vince Martin, of Friars Promotions, stepped in as manager. A tour of Scotland, for impresario Albert Bonici, was booked for December which would take them as far north as Lossiemouth, Nairn, Aberdeen, Elgin and Arbroath.

But sadly, due to other commitments, only Paul and Dave were available. In order that the tour could go ahead, Paul and Dave hooked up with Glass Forest, a Welsh band who were based in Birmingham, the lineup being Paul on vocals, Dave on keyboards, Andre on guitar, Karl on bass and Byron on drums and the band performed as Peppermint Kreem.

And that was the end for this phase of Peppermint Kreem. Paul and Arthur ("Modie") formed a band with Pete Davoile (Peppermint Kreem 2 and Seagull) on drums and Dec Wilson on guitar. Appearing as Dr. Slagg's Confessions, they polished off the last few dates left in the old Peppermint Kreem diary. After that, they all went their separate ways, with Arthur replacing the bass player in New City Sounds, and Paul replacing Allen ("Sabu") Parsons in The Motion.

Within days of Paul joining, the Motion changed their name to Revolution, and then eventually became Natural Gass. The line-up over this period was: Paul Kennelly (vocals), Dave Sutton (lead guitar), Reg Galland (bass), Granville Barber (drums), Bob Hopkins (keyboards), Pete Smith (ex-New City Sounds) on bass and Martin Lucas on lead guitar.

That wasn't the end though for Peppermint Kreem. 1972 saw the band reform and they went onto to achieve many good things. The previous version of the band never got to record but this would all change with Peppermint Kreem mark 2. Paul admitted: "I had never got to write and perform my own material and it just seemed the right time. It wasn't originally conceived as an opera. I just began to work up song ideas. What began as separate songs became a string of pieces, linked together. This was influenced by our standard set that was composed of varied material all tied together making a non-stop presentation."

This time around Modie had switched to guitar with the rest of the band being Paul (vocals), Keith Jaynes (bass), Bob Hopkins (keyboards) and Pete Davoil (drums). "We recorded the opera at Bird sounds studio near Stratford-on-Avon and it was called Revelation 2001. Regrettably it was never released and I have no idea what became of the master tapes. We did play the whole thing live on carnival day at the War Memorial Park during July 1973. It was a fine summer's day and we were set to go on stage at 9.30pm.

"For the first 20 minutes we played our versions of non-stop standards, then, after a short break we presented Revelation 2001. We held a respectable sized crowd for the standards show but I was not sure how they would react to the opera.

"You have to appreciate that the public were not directly paying for our performance, and could have drifted away at any time, but they didn't, the melody, some of it haunting, held them spellbound." That was last time that Peppermint Kreem played live together. However, in 1987 three of the band got back together yet again. Known as Peppermint Kreem 3, Paul Kennelly, 'Modie' Albrighton and Bob Hopkins, set about re-recording Revelation 2001 at Time Machine Studios in Earlsdon.

Sadly though it was never fully completed and although CD copies got 'out there' it remained unmixed. It is just made up of keyboards, guitar and Paul's vocal. There are no drums or bass. Also, at Time Machine, Peppermint Kreem laid down keyboard and vocal tracks for another project called 'Atlantis'. Again, this was never completed and remains unreleased.

Although there are no plans to complete these works it is still something that at least some kind of legacy of this wonderful story exists.

circa 1967 - 1969 1972 - 1974 Source Broadgate Gnome / Rex Brough / Pete Chambers

Rock group - Roye Albrighton's site is worth a visit

Peppermint Kreem on Facebook

Great Photos on the Facebook site.
Line up: Paul Kennelly (vocals), Arthur (Mode) Albrighton (bass), Tom Ryan (drums), Ray Haywood (guitar), Dave Fairclough (Keyboard). (According to Broadgate Gnome) but instruments differ in Rex Brough account below - also two lines up mentioned.!

Lineup 1

Paul Kennelly - Vocals
Modie Albrighton - Guitar
Tom Ryan - Drums
Ray Haywood - Bass
Dave Faircloth - Keyboards

Line up 2
Paul Kennelly - Vocals
Pete Davoil - Drums
Keith James - Bass
Modie Albrighton - Guitar
Bob "Spindler" Hopkins - Keyboards

Recorded at Montybird recording studio in Snitterfield and possibly at Midland Sound Recorders around July 1968. They
were a great live attraction, using spectacular light shows and were extremely popular. they recorded a rock musical, Revelations 2001, which along with 4 other PK CDs is available now!

Pete Chambers writes "Modie was a top class guitarist and Blues harpist who began with

the Makeshift before moving on to Peppermint Kreem and New City Sounds. Peppermint Kreem headlines the Memorial Park gig in the mid 60's. They recorded their own Rock Opera - Revelations 2001 at Time Machine Studios in Earlsdon. Modie was also in Nuts and Bolts, Crossfire and Heaven Sent - a club band that would include Rodney Byers (Radiation) in its ranks.Modie now lives in Germany where he is well known for his music and runs a recording studio)."

Pete Chambers writes in Godiva Rocked to a Backbeat

" The Albrighton brothers - Arthur (Modie) and his brother Roye (website are
both now located in German where Modie runs a recording studio and both have found some fame. However their roots are entrenched in Coventry and its music scene. Modie -a top class guitar and blues harp player began with the local band Makeshift before moving to the 5 piece Peppermint Kreem that headlined the Memorial Park concert in the mid sixties.They even recorded their own rock Opera - Revelations 2001 (at the Time Machine Studios - Earlsdon).Members included Paul Kennelly, Tom Ryan, Dave Fairclough and Ray Haywood. Modie went on to join Nuts and Bolts, Crossfire and Heaven Sent - a club band that would include Roddy Byres (Radiation) in its ranks. Roye joined the German based prog rockers Nektar. (See his website). Modie and Paul played in Plague, Makeshift. Modie later played in new City Sounds too. Modie went to Germany in 1976. Modie remembered going to Coventry Theatre when he was 8 to see Larry Adler in Jack and the Beanstalk. Adler threw harmonicas out and asked if anyone that had one wanted to come on stage and join him. When Modie got on stage he told him he had his own and did a duet with him."

From Pete Chambers - Backbeat - Coventry Telegraph
" Nostalgia: Peppermint Kreem lads had some fresh ideas

IT'S amazing the number of bands I come across who, for one reason or another, have nothing to show for their musical journey but precious memories.

No cuttings, photos or recorded music.

No such problem with one Coventry-based band, Peppermint Kreem.

These guys have kept a veritable museum of their band history from the 1960s, just the kind of thing we love here
at Backbeat. I caught up with founder members Paul Kennelly, Pete Davoile and Arthur (Modie) Albrighton and asked them about the life and times of one of Coventry's more interesting bands.

Arthur (Modie) Albrighton was born in Coventry in 1941, and could play the harmonica by the age of four. "My dad would take me around the working men's clubs," Modie said. "I would perform pops and classics.

My most treasured memory from my from my early days, is doing a duet with Larry Adler, live on stage at the Hippodrome (Coventry Theatre). 

"My first love was the blues. I was working as a radio and television engineer and playing in The Ricky Thompson Band at the time. I guess I wanted to try something different and this led to Peppermint Kreem."

Peppermint Kreem were formed when Paul Kennelly put an ad in the Telegraph. Arthur Albrighton answered the ad: "We were hungry for work and would take anything," said Paul. "It was a great way of learning the business, from The Benn Hall in Rugby to Harlaxton Manor in Lincolnshire."

Modie said: "We formed a makeshift band and we used the name The Plague. We had heard there was another Plague on the road, so we chose the name Peppermint Kreem. We thought no one else would have that one!

"The line-up was Paul Kennelly on vocals, Modie on bass, Ray Haywood on lead guitar, Dave Fairclough on keyboards and Tom Ryan on drums."

Things looked good for the band, that was until they were lined up for a tour of Scotland in 1968, with the help of Vince Martin. Sadly some of the members were not prepared to commit. It was left to Paul and Dave Fairclough to join up with a Birmingham-based band Glass Forest to complete the tour.

"Considering we were a puttogether band, we did very well," said Modie. "I'm so glad that I made it up there though."

That wasn't the end of the band, however, because in 1972 Peppermint Kreem 2 were formed. 

The line-up was Modie on lead guitar with Paul on vocals, Pete (the feet) Davoile on drums, Bob 'Spindler' Hopkins on keyboards and Keith Jaynes on bass.

The mark one band Peppermint Kreem never got to record, the mark two version would put the record straight, in more ways than one.

"It was my baby," reveals Paul. "I had never got to write and perform my own material and it just seemed the right
time. It wasn't originally conceived as an opera. I just began to work up song ideas. What began as separate songs became a string of pieces, linked together. This was influenced by our standard set that was composed of varied material all tied together making a non-stop presentation.

"We recorded it at Birdsounds studio and it was called Revelation 2001. Regrettably it was never released and I have no idea what became of the master tapes. We did play the whole thing live on carnival day at War Memorial Park in July 1973. It was a fine summer day and we were to go on at 9.30pm.

"For the first 20 minutes we played our versions of non-stop standards, then, after a short break we presented Revelation 2001. We held a respectable-sized crowd for
the standards show but I was not sure how they would react to the opera. You have to appreciate that the public were not directly paying for our performance, and could have drifted away at any time, but they didn't, the melody, some of it haunting, held them spellbound."

Modie said: "When we re-formed in 1972/73 we achieved great things, but the band didn't hang together and I emigrated to Germany, met my wonderful wife, Eva and continued to play guitar and harps with various bands. I was also employed by the US army at the time and made friends with serving personnel, teaching guitar and recording.

"We are still living in Germany.

Eva and I have a wonderful country house, part of which is given over to my business Falcon-Studios. Here I record up-and-coming artists, encourage them and publish original material."

This year is the 40th anniversary of the band, and there is talk of a new album with a Nordic theme, plus a website with images, history and news, there may even be some merchandise. 

I'll leave the final words to former drummer Peter Davoile: "The most rewarding thing for me was being part of a professional band and playing something new and very creative!"


SOME of the places the band played were Sibree Hall, Barker Butts School, Navigation Inn,

Leofric Hotel,
Nicholas Chamberlaine School, Newdigate Club, Chase Inn, Holyhead Hotel, Woolpack, Coventry City ground, Walsgrave Hotel, Bell Inn, Sportsmans Arms, Elite Club, Blue Boar (Watford Gap), Heath Hotel, General Wolf and others.

THE band recorded a second rock opera in 1987, entitled Atlantis.

PAUL is now living in Wales and runs the West Wales Museum of Childhood as a way of displaying his lifelong collection. Visit

Look out for three top guns off the local scene playing together at the Beer Engine, Gosford Street, on June 21 at 9pm. That's Neol Davies and Aitch (both former Selecter) and John 'Johny Slide' Alderson, former Traveling Riverside Blues.


Paul Kennelly says " We regularly used Monty Birds studio to rehearse and record. I believe that it was an

old R.A.F. tracking station...or similar. I do have photos taken inside Bird Sound studios "

his is Peppermint Kreem at the old crossing gates on Heath Road, Bedworth in November 1968. L to R : Ray Haywood ( guitar) Tom Ryan ( drums) Arthur Modie Albrighton ( bass guitar) Dave Fairclough ( keyboards) and Paul Kennelly ( vocals).

Paul Kennelly has a Facebook page dedicated to the history of Peppermint Kreem and many previous bands he was in - here

ARTHUR " MODIE " ALBRIGHTON.......... By Paul Kennelly.

"A complicated , multi talented instrumentalist and sound engineer of the highest standard.

He played Bass guitar with the 1968 band, Lead guitar with the 1973 band and guitar/keyboards in the 1987 sessions. Modie is the brother that I never had and I love him very much and hold him in high esteem. He is also one of funniest people that I have ever met.... just look at these great photographs."

Paul kennelly's outfit.The thinking behind the white outfits was, we had a huge , white fabric screen that hung on a scaffold, set behind the band , on stage. Modie developed a bizarre light show, using epidiasopes, cine projectors, light wheels and strobes. When this was in " full flight " , the projections fell on us as well as the screen ( well, that was the general idea ) ! Paul.

One of my most memorable gigs with Peppermint Kreem 2 was the Memorial Park. We played the Rock Opera ( Revelation 2001 ) but because we were on in the daylight, we could not use the light show. This was not good because we were as hot on visual effect as we were on getting our sound right. Paul.
Coventry Evening Telegraph 1973

L to R Bob Hopkins ( Rhythm Guitar) Ken Davenport ( Drums ) Tony Tallis ( Guitar ) Paul Kennelly ( Bass Guitar ) Grahame Fox ( Lead Guitar ).

Photo Shoot at the Cedars Pub in Coundon, Coventry. 1968.

Paul at The Navigation Inn, Coventry. 1968. Tom Ryan on drums.

Paul kennelly's outfit.The thinking behind the white outfits was, we had a huge , white fabric screen that hung on a scaffold, set behind the band , on stage. Modie developed a bizarre light show, using epidiasopes, cine projectors, light wheels and strobes. When this was in " full flight " , the projections fell on us as well as the screen ( well, that was the general idea ) ! Paul.

Coventry Evening Telegraph 1973

One of my most memorable gigs with Peppermint Kreem 2 was the Memorial Park. We played the Rock Opera ( Revelation 2001 ) but because we were on in the daylight, we could not use the light show. This was not good because we were as hot on visual effect as we were on getting our sound right. Paul.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Matadors

Pete Clemons looks at 60's Coventry band - The Matadors for his latest article for the Coventry Telegraph.
(Now includes new update from Sound Off.)


700 gigs but no LP from The Matadors

Pete Clemons

THE expression 'they were a hard working band' has been used many times before in numerous articles and not least of all within the subjects that I write about. But if the number of gigs played during a career equates to how hard working a band is seen to be then 'The Matadors' can rightly claim to be up there with the very best of them.

The Matadors were made up of Neil Tyson vocals, guitar, harmonica, Dave Finlay organ, vocals, Dave Colkin bass, vocals, Harry Heppingstall drums and were formed in 1962. Actually early dates had them down as Larry Spain and the Matadors but for whatever the reasons Larry left the band after a few gigs fairly early on in the bands career.

During almost six years in existence from when they first got together through to their eventual demise in 1967 The Matadors had played well in excess of an astonishing 700 gigs in the region. And this amount of live work did not include other dates and bookings away from Warwickshire.

Admittedly the earliest of those gigs were played at venues like St Georges Ballroom in their home town of Hinckley but nevertheless the 600, or so, gigs that this band played within the Coventry area is still an incredible and highly impressive number.

The band received an early break in 1964 when they were signed by Harold Davison who was also the manager of the Dave Clark Five and the Applejacks. He managed to get the band down to Decca Studios in London where they recorded six of their own songs along with another that Decca Records themselves had selected. 1964 also saw The Matadors tour Scotland where, according to their personal manager Mike James, they went like a bomb. The same year they also appeared with Billy J Kramer on a package tour down the south of the country.

The Matadors used to also go down a storm at the Coventry Flying and Country Club out at Baginton. So much so that, along with bands like Johnny B Great and Goodmen and The Echo Four they would be given pleasure flights out of the nearby airport.

Such was the band's popularity that during 1965 The Matadors won a poll organised through the Coventry Express newspaper. Thousands of music fans had filled in their printed forms and posted them off and the group found themselves as the clear winners. Runners-up being The Little Darlin's while actually the biggest surprise of that poll, which had been for beat groups, was that Coventry's own Irish show band had made it into third place - The Pat Gissane Show Band.

This is how The Matadors' victory was reported at the time: 'The winners of the Express poll, The Matadors, have themselves undergone a definite change. An organ has been added and much of their earlier material has been dropped. The Matadors now put a great deal of emphasis on stage work and their material ranges from hit-parade gear to ballads and modern arrangements of older "pop" hits. One of their most popular numbers is a rendition of the old Buddy Holly flipside "Everyday" - one of the rock numbers to have stood the test of time. The "Mats" do some of their own material and hope to have a record released which is mid-tempo and sung in falsetto harmony - on an Ivy League kick'.

1965 then saw the band sign up with top independent record producer Joe Meek, the man who had produced several million selling hit singles including 'Telstar' made world famous by The Tornadoes. All the signs were good as a clutch of songs were recorded. Enough in fact to make three singles. However, a year later not one record had been released.

The Matadors moved on after their personal manager, Mike James announced 'we can't wait around for ever'. The whole experience made the band and their management unhappy and totally disillusioned with the music industry.

After the well publicised delay and the band's response The Matadors first single was leased by Meek to the Columbia Records label and was at long last released during January 1966.

The 'A' side was titled 'A Man's Gotta Stand Tall' with the 'B' side titled 'Fast Cars and Money'. Its matrix number was Columbia DB7806 and the lead song can still be found even today. It is on a CD called Joe Meek - RGM Rarities Vol. 2: The Beat Group Era. 

The Matadors called it a day in 1967 and soon after Neil Tyson and Dave Colkin formed a band called Magazine along with lead guitarist Nick Mayne and drummer Steve Talbot.

In keeping with the blues and soul fashion of the late 1960s the band adventurously incorporated a brass section.

Magazine seemed to pick up where The Matadors had left off by way of many visits to venues such as The Walsgrave and The Red House pubs. Despite always being on the verge of recording I don't think it ever happened. Magazine remained active until the mid 1970s.

Meanwhile drummer Harry Heppingstall joined groups like A Band Called George and jazz rock band Wave who had a residency at the Earlsdon Cottage from 1972 through to 1973. Wave then evolved into Khayyam, another jazz rock/progressive band, who featured lead guitarist Chris Jones and appeared a number of times at The Golden Cross.

It has always been my understanding that Khayyam did go as far as recording an album, although I have never heard it and therefore cannot verify this story.

However it seems that, if the tale is true, then the band never got the right deal in order to release it offi-cially. Which seems to be a never ending trend for the band, and all those involved with them. Bad luck and wrong deals was the story of The Matadors' career really.


The Matadors update

It was an absolute joy to attend a recent ‘Sounding Off’ event at the Coventry Music Museum. The talk, hosted by Pete Chambers, was with the remaining members of 1960s beat band The Matadors. And it really was fascinating to hear, at first hand, the memories of these guys.

The passage of time had clearly eroded away some of the detail, but it was like seeing the formation of a jigsaw puzzle, as each of the band members each had their own individual memory and by bouncing those pieces around themselves the more complete the story became.

Originating from Hinckley, The Matadors spoke initially of their influences such as Elvis Presley and The Shadows. Although drummer, Harry Heppingstall, emphasised that his background had been in jazz. After a short spell as being known as The Rapiers, by 1962, they had settled on The Matadors, namely Dave Colkin bass guitar and vocals, Dave Findley rhythm guitars and vocals, Harry Heppingstall on drums and the late Neil Tyson on lead guitar and vocals initially lined up in a similar fashion to that which The Beatles also adopted.

The band clearly remembered the night at the Orchid Ballroom when they were top of the bill to The Kinks. The Kinks, at that time were a fledgling band who had recently come to the attention of the then ballroom manager Larry Page. But The Matadors mentioned that they still felt uncomfortable at heading up a show that included a band from London and offered to reverse the rolls and let The Kinks headline.

Inevitably the Joe Meek story came into conversation. The band recalled how things appeared to be fine when they initially signed for the independent record producer. But a year later they found themselves still waiting for a single to be released. It got to the point where a spokesman for the band had threatened to ignore their contract with Joe and set about joining a major company direct. The band had cut three discs with Joe and as yet none had been released.

Talking about the experience ‘We went down to his flat come studio in London. Joe was very arrogant and not at all willing for suggestions. He had Dan Findley’s piano keys fixed a certain way in order to get a sound he wanted’. The Matadors even received one of Meek’s infamous a tongue lashings.

After much delay the single was leased by Meek to Columbia in 1966 and local sales were strong. The ‘A’ side was titled ‘A Man's Gotta Stand Tall’ with the ‘B’ side titled ‘Fast Cars and Money’ on the ‘B’ side. The Matadors themselves much preferred the ‘B’ side though. Soon after producers Tony Hatch and Andrew Loog Oldham both became interested in the band.

1965 saw the band expand itself musically and this is how it was reported in the Coventry Express ‘The winners of the Express poll, the Matadors, have themselves undergone a definite change. An organ has been added and much of their earlier material has been dropped. The Matadors now put a great deal of emphasis on stage work and their material ranges from hit-parade gear to ballads and modern arrangements of older ‘pop’ hits. One of their most popular numbers is a rendition of the old Buddy Holly flipside ‘Everyday’ - one of the rock numbers to have stood the test of time. The ‘Mats’ do some of their own material and hope to have a record released which is mid-tempo and sung in falsetto harmony- on an Ivy League kick’

Another memory the band touched on was playing The Walsgrave Pub one Christmas day evening. They hardly saw a soul on the journey between Hinckley and Coventry and had visions of an empty venue. That was until they arrived at The Walsgrave and saw the huge queue of people waiting to get in.

As the bands reputation grew, so did the travelling, and so did their connections. As such The Matadors were able to drop the names of some very famous performers who they had crossed paths with. Eric Burdon, for example, cited the band during a tour of Scotland with The Animals as being one of his favorites. They mentioned the genius of Stevie Wonders whose use of diminished notes and the black keys on a piano was something they had not seen or heard before. Along with Georgie Fame they even had an impromptu jam with him. Mike Pinder of Moody Blues fame however was a bit standoff ish.

It was a wonderful hour or so that had clearly been much enjoyed by both band and audience.

circa 1962 - 1967 - Sources Broadgate Gnome / Rex Brough / Pete Chambers / Tim James

Beat group

Line up: Neil Tyson (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Dave Finlay (organ, vocals), Dave Colkin (bass, vocals), Harry

Heppingstall (drums).

Formed 1962 , they were a hard gigging and well respected band who were based in Coventry, but who actually came from Hinkley.

In 1964 they signed with Joe Meek as their recording manager and cut a number of sides with him.

"Joe twisted our sound up, he speeded us up so we sounded like chipmunks" said Dave Colkin recently.

After a delay Their first single was leased by Meek to Columbia in 1965 and local sales proved healthy. They released a second single, but dissaffection was setting in with Meek's techniques and they shopped around for another recording manager, and both Tony Hatch and Andrew Loog Oldham both showed interest around May 1966.

By 1967 they were being courted by Polydor, but as the label had a low profile in the UK then,but they never released any singles.

They became Magazine in 1967 with the addition of a brass section, a reflection of the tastes of the time.


As 'The Four Matadors'

A: A Man's Gotta Stand Tall/ B:Fast Cars And Money (Columbia DB7806 1966)

Their single A Man's Gotta Stand Tall can be found on the album Joe Meek - RGM Rarities Vol. 2: The Beat Group Era

Mentioned in NME 1966 as The Four Matadors

" The winners of the Express poll, the Matadors, have themselves undergone a definite change. An organ has been added and much of their earlier material has been dropped. The Matadors now put a great deal of emphasis on stagework and their material ranges from hit-parade gear to ballads and modern arrangements of older "pop" hits. One of their most popular numbers is a rendition of the old Buddy Holly flipside "Everyday" - one of the rock numbers to have stood the test of time. The "Mats" do some of their own material and hope to have a record released which is mid-tempo and sung in falsetto harmony- on an Ivy League kick." Via Tim James Site From Coventry Express, Friday May 28th 1965

Citybeat by Paul Connew

From Rex Brough

"Stuart Colman tells me they were from Hinckley. from an article that Tim James posted up , Matadors had an organ player. The Matadors put a great deal of emphasis on stagework and their material ranged from hit-parade gear to ballads and modern arrangements of older "pop" hits. One of their most popular numbers was a rendition of the old Buddy Holly flipside "Everyday". The "Mats" did some of their own material and hoped to have a record released which is mid-tempo and sung in falsetto harmony- on an Ivy League kick.

Stuart also tells me The Matadors cut one single for Columbia entitled "A Man's Gotta Stand Tall". The record was issued in January 1966 and had an excellent band original on the flip called "Fast Cars & Money". The single was issued as being by The Four Matadors and is now highly collectable as it was produced independently by Joe Meek. He remembers another of their own songs they performed on stage called - "The Sun, The Sand & The Sea".

Memories from Tim James

"I always thought they were an ace band in the early 60s, they looked good and played hard biting rock & roll of the day at the youth club dances where I first saw them. But but by '64 they were old hat, hadn't changed with the times, and went on to look more like a cabaret act before they folded."

From Pete Chambers - Backbeat - Coventry Telegraph

" This fine "Coventry" band had a secret, they weren't from Coventry at all. They in fact hailed from Hinckley in
Leicestershire, formed out of the enter-level band the Rapiers in 1961, one of the first bands in the area.

Original drummer Graham Baker had the misfortune of working shifts, so missed various bookings. His temporary fill-in was Harry Heppingstall and after some soul searching Graham was asked to leave and Harry took over the "skins" on a permanent basis. By early 1962 they had re-branded themselves The Matadors.

"The Beatles came and changed everything," confesses Dave Colkin. "We had a vocalist Larry Spain, but he was asked to leave and we found ourselves as a four piece band. The line-up was that of The Beatles, bass (Dave Colkin), lead (Neil Tyson) and rhythm Dave Findlay (guitars) and a drummer (Harry Heppingstall). We also shared the vocals like the Beatles and would often indulge in three-part harmony again like the Fab-Four. "We even got called the Midlands Beatles. We were playing the same songs as them, but up to that point we hadn't heard them so it wasn't like we were copying them. Larry Spain's brother worked on the American Army bases and got hold of the latest stuff coming Stateside, records like Twist and Shout and Chains, so we used them in our act, as did the Beatles. We went to see them when they played at The Co-op Hall in Nuneaton October 1962 and we all turned to each other and declared that they were doing our act!"

Indeed, their choice of songs was of interest to some of the big acts they got to support. "We used to play Do You Wanna Dance," Harry Heppingstall told me. "We supported Brian Poole and The Tremeloes one night and they expressed an interest in it, next thing we know they had a number one with the song. To make matters worse we had thought about releasing it ourselves."

It's worth pointing out at this point that the Matadors (or the Mats), were not your average beat band. They were very professional unit that knew how to work an audience, they had a great stage presence and an exciting set-list that included Can I Get A Witness, Well Alright, Walk Like A Man, Fun, Fun, Fun, Mr Pitiful and Everything's Gonna Be Alright. As you can see an emphasis on good old R'n'B - but not so for their one and only single, A Man's Gotta Stand Tall.

By 1966 The Matadors had got a chance to record a single with the legendary Joe Meek, thanks to their manager Mick Tiernan. Meek was a loose cannon, a changeling producer who had an original approach to sound techniques. He had produced the first US number one by a British pop group - Telstar by The Tornadoes. He liked to experiment with sound' the easiest and most simple way was never an option for Meek.

We went down to his recording studio in London. I found him arrogant and not over-friendly," said Dave. "Instead of a normal mixing desk Meek had his in a stack and worked standing up, and he looked like a teddy boy. "He fixed Dan Findley piano keys with paper and drawing pins to get the sound he wanted, everything was very experimental."

I recall," injects Harry. "How very bossy he was, I put my drumsticks down at the end of a take, and he shouted at me to
pick my sticks up again, 'I'll tell you when you can stop'!"

The Matadors (or the Four Matadors as they were known at the time of this single), were not happy with Meek, the way he had delayed releasing the record and what he had done to it.

He had speeded up the whole thing, and the vocals just sounded far too high. That's a shame because at the correct pitch, the song has a great keyboard phrase, and is a fine sounding song.

After internal wranglings with Joe Meek, the single was finally released by Columbia, and sold tremendously well locally, selling out in Jill Hansons, Coventry, in a matter of hours.

Sadly Columbia never promoted it enough and the lads left to seek another recording contract. One was with the Walker Brothers' recording manager who wanted them to sound like The Walker Brothers, and even puppet master Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds fame demoed the band in Birmingham, but never got back to them.

The lads continued doing what they did best, working as a jobbing band seven nights a week, supporting the likes of Matt Monro. They eventually split up, sadly Neil Tyson passed away. The two Daves formed the band Magazine for a time. Harry joined soul band Natural Gas and now drums in Lonnie Donegan tribute act Paul Leegan and The Legends. Dave Colkin still sings, and does a wicked Elvis impersonation in countries as diverse as Thailand and Tenerife. While Dave Findlay went on to play in the band The Old G's (The Old Gits).

PopTrivia - MATADORS

IN 1964 The Matadors played on ATV's TV show, For Teenagers Only alongside The Swinging Blue Jeans.

THEIR Colombia single A Man's Gotta Stand Tall/Fast Cars and Money is now worth around pounds 80 in mint condition, thanks mainly for its Joe Meek connection.

JOE MEEK lived a troubled life, particularly towards the end of it. Joe had a crush on Heinz, a member of The Tornadoes, and consequently he built a solo career for him where one was not obviously beckoning. When Heinz formed a close relationship with a woman Meek was livid and shot his housekeeper then turned the gun on himself. The gun belonged to Heinz but a verdict of suicide was later proved beyond doubt."

See Pete Chambers Pop into the Past article too

From Pete Chambers - Godiva Rocked to a Backbeat

" The Matadors played so much in Coventry that most people thought they were from the town -( they were from Hinckley). They won the Best Coventry Band Contest. Dave Colkin - " We went down to Holloway Rd, London to the house Joe Meek used as his recording studio. I found him arrogant and not over friendly. Instead of a normal mixing desk, Meek had his in a stack and worked standing up. He looked like a Teddy boy. He fixed Dan Findlay's piano keys with paper and drawing pins to get the sound he wanted. Everything was very experimental."