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.

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.

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 -

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.

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.

Also see the post on the Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands
which includes some youtube of the band and more photographs.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not Strictly Folk- The New Acoustic / Open Mic Nights

In this article, Pete Clemons takes a look at the new acoustic sessions in Coventry for the Coventry Telegraph. Names like Kristy Gallacher, Cliff Hands and Emma McGann are mentioned along with others.

Find out more about these artists and the acoustic and folk scene in Coventry from the 60's to present on the Hobo Magazine site Coventry Folk Club Scene

Dave Bennett
One of the long standing champions of contemporary folk and singer songwriters was ragtime guitarist Dave Bennett, whose daughter, Sarah Bennett and son Stephen Bennett have been active and very competent players on the Coventry acoustic circuit. Dave was a mainstay of the Rude Bare Folk Club and the Old Dyers Arms Folk clubs in the 70's and was the first to encourage Pauline Black (then known as Pauline Vickers) as a performer in his club before she joined The Selecter. Latterly he was one of Kristy Gallacher's guitar tutors. Dave was active both as an organiser and performer right up until he passed away (actually in a folk club!). You can read more about him on the Hobo Folk Club Scene blog here and listed to some of his music.

Justine Watson has been one of the main organisers of acoustic venues in Coventry, starting at the Golden Cross, the Escape bar and the Tin Angel and is a fine performer and singer songwriter herself.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


This time around Pete Clemons delves back the very early 70's and catches up with a band called Barnabus, who have recently reformed, for the Coventry Telegraph.

Drums - Tony Cox
Lyricist - Les Bates
bass - Keith Hancock
Guitar - John Storer

"The rock band Barnabus formed in 1970, in Leamington Spa, when pop covers band the Jay Bee Kay Pees split. Lead guitarist John Storer and bass guitarist Keith Hancock, enrolled drummer Tony Cox from the also recently defunct Rockin' Chair Blues Band. Barnabus started out playing covers from bands such as Black Sabbath, Trapeze, Deep Purple, to name but a few, but before long they progressed to writing their own numbers, with the help of a young lyricist/poet called Les Bates. They played all over the local area and in London. They were the support act for several "name" bands of the time - Man, Edgar Broughton, Trapeze. They even supported Hawkwind at the Coventry Locarno, and in 1971 recorded an album at Monty Bird's studios, in Snitterfield near Stratford Upon Avon. Barnabus won the Midlands heat of the Melody Maker Rock & Folk contest, in 1972, where the judges were Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi. The band eventually split up a year later, but reformed for a few charity gigs in 2009. All the members now play in other bands, but still play the occasional gig together. The band were promoted by their booking agents as Barnabas Legge although the band stuck with Barnabus themselves."

Some Text from the Hobo A to Z of Coventry bands

"Band Name Tony Cox has cleared up the confusion about the name of the band. The band's name was Barnabus but
" Barnabas (sic) Legge was the name our booking agents tried to persuade us to use, unsuccessfully!" Says Tony.
On the Broadgate Gnome site and originally on here there was an entry for both bands names as it wasn't clear if they were two bands with similar names. The spelling of the name was different too. Thanks for that clarification Tony.

Tony Cox explained
" Keith, John & I formed the band in 1970 following the demise of our previous bands, The JBKP's(K&J) and The Rockin' Chair Blues Band (me).

We started out as a rock covers band but soon started writing original material, aided by lyricist Les Bates. We had a bit of success, as well as the Melody Maker thing, we supported a several "Name" bands of the time, such as Man, The Edgar Broughton Band, Trapeze and Hawkwind.
The band split up in 1973 but got together again 3 years ago to play a few reunion gigs, mainly for charity."

Leamington based rock outfit. Played the Walsgrave 31st Dec 1970 and Tuesday 26th Jan 1971 (Silk Disco). Won Melody Maker 'National Folk/Rock Contest' early 1972. In 1970, as can be seen from the above advert in Broadgate Gnome, they played Henry's Blues House at the Mercers Arms. Just a few of their many gigs.

Tony Cox adds " The demand for 60s/70s original prog rock is not great and so we don't gig that often!! However John & Keith play in a 60s "pop" band called the JKPs and are always busy in the Leamington area. Keith and I also play in a Bob Dylan tribute band called The Bob Phillips Dylan Rhythm Band which gigs occasionally, but Dylan music is also a bit of a niche market. So to keep busy, I also play with a blues rock outfit called Hoochmongers, and our bass player is the very same Martin Johnson from The Rocking Chair BB days!! so we've gone full circle"


An early version of America by Barnabus

More tracks on Youtube by Barnabus - click through Apoclypse 1971 Resolute 1971 War Drags 1971 Don't Cry for me Lady Perdita Clasped Hands Gas Rise Mortal Flight

And you know, there maybe even more - versions from 1971 and recently on youtube.
Look up the Hoochmongers and the individual muscians too.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Steve Walwyn - Doctor Feelgood and DT's

Pete Clemon's latest for the Coventry Telegraph - Steve Walwyn - guitarist with Dr Feelgood and The DT's.

Feelgood Steve's in DT's back.

 Pete Clemons 

SOUTHAM-born Steve Walwyn is, arguably, best known nationally as lead guitarist for rhythm and blues band Dr Feelgood, the band he joined during the spring of 1989.

Of course, closer to home, Steve will also be known as a member of the recently reformed R 'n' B band The DT's who appear at The Spencer Club on Friday, November 1. Thrust straight into the deep end, one of Steve's earliest gigs for Dr Feelgood was at London's Town and Country Club, which was recorded and released as the album 'Live in London' as well as also being filmed for TV.

And, apart from when Dr Feelgood had some downtime after the tragic death of vocalist Lee Brilleaux in 1994, Steve has continued to be one of the mainstays behind the band for over 20 years clocking up what must total as over 1,000 gigs for them.

You would therefore think that after all those years of being on the road Steve would not have found room for any other musical activities but I was staggered to learn that this was not quite the case. During the period when Dr Feelgood was on hiatus, following Lee's illness, Steve filled his time by performing with bands such as Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Roger Chapman Band with who he toured Austria, Germany and Switzerland before joining The Big Time Playboys.

The Big Time Playboys were founded by Ricky Cool during 1984 and are a hugely popular rhythm and blues band. But where they differ to other R 'n' B acts is that they are a revival group in as much that they cover a lot of American blues from the 1940s and 1950s.

And this uniqueness has made them very popular with the major names of rock music having performed for the likes of Eric Clapton and Robert Plant. In fact Steve's first gig with them during 1994 was just hours after he had auditioned to join them. This association with the band led to Steve having some particularly memorable moments. Crazy Legs was an album released by Jeff Beck and The Big Town Playboys during June 1993. It pays homage to the music of Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps who were a major influence on Jeff's early career. Although Steve was not involved with the recording of this album he did join the band shortly after its release and was with them when they were invited to play at a surprise 50th birthday party for Jeff at his home in Kent.

With Jeff out for the day the band set up their equipment to perform in front of an audience that included Kate Bush, Queen guitarist Brian May, Paul Rogers who was the vocalist for both Free and Bad Company and Journey's Neal Schon among others.

It must have been a quite intimidating experience but after the gig Steve got to discuss guitars and amps with Brian and Jeff, who went on to show him some of his own vintage guitars, and both Brian and Jeff complimented Steve on his playing. In fact Jeff Beck also attended some later gigs at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, London.

Steve was also a member of The Big Time Playboys when they performed as part of the wedding celebrations for Pink Floyd's David Gilmour when he married Polly Samson at Marylebone Register Office during July 1994.

Of course this is only a snap shot of Steve Walwyn's distinguished career. His first band "Hands Off" were formed while he was still at school. He then joined rock band "Chevy" in 1978 and it was at that point when he turned professional.

His next band was 'The DT's' who he joined in 1982 and it was while with them that he played with the late Steve Marriott (ex-Small Faces, Humble Pie) from 1987 until joining Dr Feelgood in 1989.

Surprisingly, it was not until he was about 17 years old when Steve thought about learning to play the guitar. He had been inspired by many artists and records, but his main influence at that time were the likes of Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Marriott, Peter Green and other, mainly blues, guitar players.

Influences came from many musical styles as wide ranging as from classical to country, rock and roll, Cajun, jazz, and some folk music. But above all the blues is his number one musical love with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and Robert Johnson being particular favourites. 

Away from his commitments with the 'Feelgoods' Steve Walwyn has more recently re-created an iconic music night. Kelly's bar in Leamington was, for decades, a 'must play' venue for many local bands. Throughout the years it has catered for all tastes including R 'n' B. So now on the first Wednesday of every month at The Zephyr Lounge in Leamington, which sits adjacent to The Assembly, you can now hear those sounds once more. So far bands like Chevy, Barnabus and The Mosquitoes have all appeared and January 2014 sees a scheduled visit by Dr Feelgood themselves.

As and when time allows Steve is also keen on organising charity gigs in aid of those less fortunate. At these events he does seem to be able to attract the cream of local musicians into joining his band for the occasion. His most recent of these gigs also included Horace Panter of The Specials on bass and acted as a fundraiser for Baginton Fields School.

Thanks to Andrew Lock for his use of the photographs from the recent reunion gig by The DT's. Andrew is hoping to put on his first themed live music exhibition in Leamington this coming December.

It will be on a Monday night and will be based on the blues. It will feature photos of Steve Walwyn, Larry Miller, The Animals, Oli Brown, Cherry Lee Mewis and many more. It is also hoped that Steve will be in attendance and the plan is to have a charity raffle with a few of Andrew's prints along with some other surprises as prizes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Pilot and The Craftsman - Coventry Pub Venues

Pete Clemons focuses on two Coventry venues for his latest Coventry Telegraph article - The Pilot and The Craftsman.

Also at the Pilot Folk Club in 1973 - Derek Brimstone and Colin Scott.

Trev Teasdel recalls " I did a floor spot that night - to get in free to see Derek play. I was friends with his son Steve - also a good guitar player but who preferred open tuning at the time. I met Steve when i lived in Birmingham for the summer of 1971 - Kings Heath. He was travelling around with a couple of guitar players having been down to the beaches of Cornwall. Steve also stayed with us in 72 at the cottage out  at Shilton. The cottage was original the base of Coventry folk rock band April. Steve taught me the rudiments of clawpicking when I was just learning guitar back then.

It was a well organised folk club and the two main acts were well received"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jimi Hendrix at Coventry Theatre 1967

Pete Clemons tells the tale of Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Move and Amen Corner at the Coventry Theatre November 1967 for the Coventry Telegraph.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Roddy Radiation

This time Pete Clemon's has focused on Special's songwriter / guitar player - Roddy Radiation (Roddy Byres) who formed one of the earliest punk bands in 1975 - The Wild Boys, who had two tracks on the 1980 compilation Sent from Coventry and went on (post Specials) to form a string of Rock a Billy bands. Pete's article for the Coventry Telegraph will tell you more.

Rebel man Roddy still riffing

Pete Clemons on Roddy Byers of The Specials, The Bonedigger and The Skabilly Rebels

He has more than a hint of James Dean in his appearance and from what little I know of him personally he is a fairly reserved sort of person.

But as a guitarist, Roddy Byers is far less so. It is on a stage that he really cuts loose. He has a controlled aggression which is, at the same time, incredibly innovative.

Of course as Roddy 'Radiation' he is without doubt better known for his lead guitar and song writing activities within The Specials. But, for me, he saves his best work for the other bands he has fronted since The Specials split back in 1981.

Those bands have included The Tearjerkers, The Bonediggers, The Raiders and, more recently, The Skabilly Rebels. And these groups have provided the vehicle for his love of 1950s rock 'n' roll and rockabilly.

The Tearjerkers were in fact up and running while The Specials were still in existence during 1981 and were an outlet for songs Roddy had originally written for The Specials but had been rejected.

Roddy's music has always had that early Elvis Presley/Gene Vincent feel to them and maybe that style just never suited The Specials.

The Tearjerkers had several lineup changes but at the time of recording they had been made up of Roddy (vocals/guitar), Mark Byers (vocals/guitar), Joe Hughes (vocals/bass), Pete Davies (drums) and a wild accordion player called 'Slim Tearjerker', aka Clive Pain, who also contributed to the vocals.

During 1978 'Slim Tearjerker' had achieved the accolade of being named 'Champion Blockhead' when he was selected by Ian Dury in a New Musical Express competition and befriended the likes of The Clash and The Specials which led to his friendship with Roddy.

As well as playing for The Tearjerkers, Slim also turned out for bands like The Boothill Foot-Tappers, The Rough-House All-Stars and The Skiff Skats. He also wrote what he described as a 'masterpiece of a love song' titled 'You're Too Bloody Good For Me'.

The Tearjerkers recorded for Chiswick records where a couple of songs 'Desire'/'Western Song' were released as a single. Some of their other recorded material can nowadays be found on compilations such as 'The Chiswick Story - Adventures of an Independent Record Label 1975-1982' and 'Don't Let the Hope Close Down', a benefit album for the famous London music pub venue The Hope and Anchor not to be confused with the one that once stood at the ring road end of our own Whitefriars Street.

Locally the band played regularly at venues such as The General Wolfe and The Freemasons Arms and the line-up did change several times during their existence. The Tearjerkers eventually split up in 1987 because there had been no major recording success.

Next up for Roddy were The Bonediggers. Again this band was fluid but during its existence the main musicians behind Roddy included David West (vocals/guitar), Sam Smith (bass), and drummers Gaz Muldoon and Jim Pryal. A great piece called 'Bonediggin' was used as the band's signature tune.

The Bonediggers were regulars at the the Tic Toc club and had their unofficial base at The Dive (Lady Godiva) pub. Demos were recorded at The Depot studios at the rear of the Belgrade theatre.

And, in 1990, a three-track EP released on the Rimshot Record Label featured a track called 'De Angelo' and also included a new version of old favourite 'Desire'.

Roddy left The Bonediggers during September 1993 but soon returned to the action with a group called The Raiders.

At the time Roddy was quoted as saying 'Whereas The Bonediggers was Hank Williams meets The Clash then The Raiders are The Clash meets Hank Williams. A good time rock 'n' roll band with a punk attitude'.

In addition to Roddy on guitar The Raiders were Sam Smith on bass, Gaz Muldoon on drums, Badger on Sax and Ian Toughie on guitar and although short lived they still managed to record a sixtrack tape and fulfilled live dates at venues like Sir Colin Campbell and The General Wolfe.

An excellent 18-track anthology CD was released during 2005 which brings together recordings from the above period in either original form or a re-worked format.

It really is a great release and a lot of these songs are still played live today.

In fact the track 'Lorraine', albeit performed on this CD by The Tearjerkers, originally dates back to Roddy's pre-Specials band The Wild Boys. 'Lorraine' was also one of two contributions from The Wild Boys to the compilation album 'Sent From Coventry' that was released towards the end of the 1970s/early 1980s.

For almost ten years now Roddy has fronted The Skabilly Rebels and they play exactly what the label says. Ska and rockabilly complete with a mix of punk, country and blues.

Backing Roddy over the years of this venture is long time musical partner Sam Smith on guitar, the late Iain Howard also on guitar, Jaynie Jones on keyboards, Mac on bass and Drew Stansall on sax, both Paul Ayriss and Terry Downes on drums and many, many others.

2009 saw The Skabillys release their debut CD, which was recorded at Moonbase Studios in Earlsdon and contains 16 tracks of which some are more up to date workings of songs heard during his years as a Tearjerker/Bonedigger such as 'Black Leather Jacket' and 'Judgement Day'.

February and March 2012 saw Roddy complete a 12-date tour of California, Reno, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona over in the USA. Rather than take the normal band Roddy teamed up with American talents such as Danny Dean of Danny Dean and the Homewreckers and billed themselves as the U.S. Skabillys and, between them, played a mix of past and present and new songs from Roddy's songbook.

Roddy is undoubtedly his own man or, for want of a better phrase, a true rebel. He was one of the very first people in Coventry to discover punk rock and regularly visited London during its early days as 'pub rock'.

This was well before that particular genre had left the capital. I am convinced that, some day, history will give him the same 'hall of fame' treatment afforded to other musicians from that era. One that I think he richly deserves.

Monday, September 23, 2013