Friday, July 12, 2019

Welcome to Peter Clemon's Coventry Music Articles

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

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

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

Photos of the Coventry Music Museum run by Pete Chambers
Do visit the museum if you are in Coventry - website

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

NEW - Coventry Book Launch Documenting the Music and Entertainment Scene of 1970's by Ruth Cherrington. The Dirty Stop Outs Guide 1970's Coventry.
Available in Coventry from Waterstones and HMV or from Amazon UK here 

Hobo magazine and Workshop are well featured in the book as are many of the photos from the Hobo Archive pages here.Both Pete Chambers and Pete Clemons make a good contribution to the book as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands and Artists
Meanwhile a huge A to Z of Coventry bands and artists can be found (again in development) here

The Specials – Cathedral Ruins 2019

The Specials – Cathedral Ruins 2019
Review by Pete Clemons

"An iconic band playing iconic music in an iconic venue." Not my words, but those repeated by many of the folk who were among the 8000 attendees that turned out at the old cathedral where The Specials recently held court.

Now that they have passed into history this series of four sold out dates will, without doubt, enter city folklore. It was an inspired choice to hold these gigs in the ruins.

The old cathedral is a place of peace and reconciliation. And, 40 years ago, The Specials began a campaign that united people in a way few others have. They were at the forefront of the fight against racism and fairness. And that mission is as valid today as it was then. As such, it made absolute sense to hold the gigs there.

Guitarist Lynval Golding mentioned that there was no better place within the city to celebrate their 40th anniversary. And it is true. The Specials could easily have taken the easy option of one night at the Ricoh Arena, for example, if the intention was to just attract a big audience. Glowing with pride Lynval also mentioned that the look, feel and vibe of the old cathedral was just so incredible.

But the comment that resonated the most with me was that made by bass player Horace Panter. He pointed out correctly that, nowadays, so many things are very different since 1979. But in some ways, things are still very much the same. And with that in mind this band are still relevant.

Their most recent release, ‘Encore’, although not created from out and out pent up anger and passion, still carries many messages and themes. Particularly those surrounding issues we face today such as the politically divided country we find ourselves in along with a glimpse into private personal issues.

Vocalist Terry Hall concedes that technology has surpassed us and that, in a way, we have lost control. We are now led by goats he quips. In that respect ‘Encore’ can be viewed as a gentle reminder that maybe we need to take stock and reboot ourselves.

2019 has been a very good year indeed for The Specials. Up until the start of the Ruins gigs they had so far completed, more than 70 dates all over the place, with almost all of them being sold out. And, to top it all, they had a number 1 record which had since, more recently, gone silver.

As for the gig. Similar, to 40 years ago, it was still high energy and frenetic. I have to say that the band, although very different, were high energy. The stage was a snapshot of protest. Placards adorned it highlighting some of the issues addressed in the ‘Encore’ album. And the set contained tunes like ‘Embarrassed by You’, ‘Vote for Me’ and ‘BLM’. But the evening wasn’t swamped by ‘Encore’.

This was indeed a celebration. And we were also treated to a nostalgia trip by way of ‘Gangsters’, ‘Rat Race’, ‘Man at C&A’, ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’, ‘Ghost Town’, ‘You’re Wondering Now’ and many others.

The gig was a resounding success. An overjoyed audience was evidence of this. Even as the ruins emptied out this unique atmosphere seemed to flow out with it. Memories made from nights like this are priceless and ingrained within you for life.

Terry Hall’s final words were typically barbed. He mentioned how, in Los Angeles, May 29 had been decreed as The Specials day. ‘What does Coventry City Council give us?’ – he questioned. ‘Fucking Argos vouchers’.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Pink Floyd Venice July 1989

Pink Floyd Venice July 1989
by Pete Clemons

Pink Floyd had looked all but finished after Roger Waters had left them during 1985. However, less than a year later, the remaining 2 members, David Gilmour and Nick Mason, had reconvened along with the previously sacked keyboard player Richard Wright. This then sparked a court case over the band name with Waters claiming that Pink Floyd were ‘a spent force creatively’.

David Gilmour responded by saying that ‘the strength of Pink Floyd lay in the talents of all four members. Naturally, we will miss Roger’s artistic input. However, we will continue to work together as in the past. We are surprised at recent claims that Roger believes the band to be, ‘a spent force, creatively’, as he had had no-involvement with the current project. The three of us are very excited by the new material and would prefer to be judged by the public on the strength of the forthcoming Pink Floyd album’.

And with that, during 1986, Pink Floyd went back into the studio to begin work on what would an album titled ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’. ‘The last time we made a record it was during a pretty awful time. The Wall was more of a static show but now, they wanted to take ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ out onto the road’, Said David Gilmour at the time.

Asked, at the time if he and Roger Waters were talking, David Gilmour responded that they were ‘not at all friendly at that moment’ and how it was ‘hard to stay friendly when someone who is trying to completely fuck you up’.

The court proceedings had even spilled into the rights to famous stage effects. And this was hampering tour preparations. The inflatable pig, for example, was fought over until it was discovered that the original order for the porker had been for a sow. So, to get around that issue, the band ordered in their own version. It was a boar that had massive testicles fitted to it.

Gilmour and Mason also found it hard to raise the cash to fund the tour. So, they had to invest in it themselves. This involved the selling off, of various personal items.

However, by September 1987 off they embarked on the first of three tours that took them through to July 1989. They had completed just shy of 200 shows. The last but one of these being a televised extravaganza held on a floating pontoon in, a hundred metres or so off St Mark’s Square, in Venice.

Initially the show had due to have been staged on the square itself. But the fact that it clashed with a celebration called the Feast of the Redeemer, along with fears that vibrations from the PA could possible damage ancient architecture, meant that the gig had to be moved.

All in all, the show became quite a scandal in Italy with demands for resignations at the local council. But that didn’t deter an estimated audience of up to 150,000 locals turning up along with the estimated 100 million that watched the spectacle on TV from 20 or so different countries.

David Gilmour remembers it all as follows: ‘The Venice show was great fun, but it was very tense and nerve-wracking. We had a specific length of show to do. The satellite broadcasting meant we had to get it absolutely precise. We had the list of songs, and we'd shortened them, which we'd never done before. I had a big clock with a red digital read-out on the floor in front of me, and, had the start time of each number on a piece of paper. If we were coming near the start time of the next number, I just had to wrap up the one we were on. We had a really good time, but the city authorities who had agreed to provide the services of security, toilets, food, completely reneged on everything they were supposed to do, and then tried to blame all the subsequent problems on us’.

Matt Cattell – The Bedroom Demos

Matt Cattell – The Bedroom Demos
by Pete Clemons

Matt Cattell's youtube channel You can find many of his tracks on this channel.

I am not sure if it was intentional or not but Matt Cattell’s new album ‘The Bedroom Demos’, which has been a work in progress for a considerable amount of time, was released at end of Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental awareness being quite significant to this project.

You see, by his own admission, Matt has had more than his fair share of issues. And this album has all the hallmarks of those demons being faced head on and placed into song. And now those songs have been released and to be heard by the greater public.

The first thing to say is that Matt’s lyrics undoubtedly draw you in. They are powerful and feel as though Matt has cleansed his very soul. But that’s not to say that they are all born out of frustration. As to be expected the album is reflective. But that is balanced by positivity. It even throws open the prospect of looking to the future. From a listener’s perspective, it does all hang together to great effect.

Forgetting the subject matter of the lyrics for a while, the music is eye openly good. With all things being equal, the potential here is for a couple of major anthems. If these songs, can permeate into the greater publics psyche, who knows where this project could go. With each listen to this album I really do get an image of several of these songs being sung by the masses in some huge field somewhere.

Matt is an ardent and very hard-working performer on the open mic circuit. He played, in excess, of 75 gigs alone during 2018 growing his support. And hearing Matt on a recent radio interview he explained how he practices his songs every day, so he never lets himself down while on stage.

When asked if he gets nervous before a performance Matt’s response was a confident ‘never’. Matt seems to thrive on the whole performing thing, never getting fazed putting himself out there. The adrenaline it all creates gives him an amazing buzz.

Even funnier was hearing Matt explain how he gets himself ‘into the zone’. And while in that place of concentration, and despite being on stage in full flow, how people still try to talk to him or even pull on his microphone.

‘The Bedroom Demos’ contain two discs and you get 26 songs in total. 13 recorded plugged and the same 13 unplugged. Whatever way your mood takes you. Included is the single, ‘Trouble’, released toward the end of 2018 along with an accompanying video.

As the album title suggests, the songs were written and produced in Matt’s bedroom studio where he performed, arranged, mixed and mastered the entire project.

Thankfully, Matt appears to be on a good footing now and is facing the prospect of a more optimistic future. The foundations have been laid for his music. So long as the momentum is continued then I can only predict good things for Matt.

Should any physical albums still be available, and I hear it sold rather well, then they can be purchased on eBay. Alternatively, the album is downloadable via iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Tim Bowness – Flowers at the Scene

Tim Bowness – Flowers at the Scene

by Pete Clemons

I have heard it mentioned many times before that rock and roll is a young man’s game. Bucking that trend right now is singer songwriter Tim Bowness. Since turning 50, Tim has produced a series of albums under his own name that has given him an identity and a recognition of his own. Age it seems, is no longer a barrier.

For me however, whatever Tim Bowness was going release as a follow up to the incredible ‘Lost in the Ghostlight’, was going to be received with a very critical ear. Not daring to compare the two musically, but in my mind, this was a similar moment to how I remember Pink Floyd following up their master piece ‘Dark Side of the Wall’.

Of course, ‘Wish you were Here’ was rightfully applauded as the great album that it has since become. But not before it had run the gauntlet of being the difficult follow up to its legendary predecessor.

And I admit to maybe not wanting to enjoy Tim’s latest release ‘Flowers at the Scene’ because it just happened to be the follow up to one of my favourite albums of the last decade or so. And after one play I simply dismissed it.

After realising I was being totally unreasonable, I went back to the album. And, after a few tracks in, I found myself drawn in, by, of all things, a lyric that went ‘Spaghetti on the floor’. It did make me smile and set visions off in my mind.

The line introduces you to the heartbreakingly beautiful tune titled ‘Not Married Anymore’. It really got to me, and I was in. And, I can honestly say, that I cannot remember hearing the word ‘spaghetti’ being used in a lyric before.

Unlike Tim’s other releases there does not appear to be an overriding theme. It is a collection of situational and very moving songs. Some of the songs have been revived into life from the past while some are new to this project. But all the songs are ‘thinkers’ in as much that, typical of Tim’s writing, they evoke a keen sense of sadness and regret. But at the same time, recognising that life also moves forward.

Apart from fully detailed lyrics, the sleeve notes are sparse. They kind of hide the fact that there is a stellar cast of musicians contributing to this album. That said, Tim’s unique delivery of song is still very evident.

Interestingly though, the production has been credited to No-man. This appears to mean that Steven Wilson has had major involvement in the album. As an aside, and on a tweet released earlier in the year, Steven mentions that the pair (he and Tim) are ‘gradually edging towards releasing some new no-man music at some time in the not too distant future’. Couple that with an interview from 2018 where Tim mentions that, while making ‘Flowers’, a recording session did take place, but it is unlike anything they have released previously – does make for a tantalising prospect.

Until then though, I am rightfully giving ‘Flowers at the Scene’ the kind of respect that this wonderful album fully deserves.

Apollo 11 Moon Landings July 1969

Apollo 11 Moon Landings July 1969
by Pete Clemons

For those with long memories, I am guessing you can remember exactly where you were, when man first landed on the moon during July 1969. I personally, can remember being transfixed by this incredible voyage of exploration made by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The entire mission lasted just over eight days from its launch date of 16th July to when it splashed down on the 24th.

Of course, not everyone was convinced that the moon landings were for real. I can still hear my Mum telling us how it was all fake and being staged in a desert somewhere. And of course, soon after, there was a film with a similar storyline.

But what else was going on at that time? I’m sure there will be others reviving memories as to what was being shown on the TV and cinema back then, along with other events. But thought I would revisit, and try to capture, the music scene both locally and nationally.

On the evening of the blast off you could find Derek Brimstone performing at the Drumbeat Club held at the Globe Hotel in Warwick.

The following day, the 17th July, saw Magna Carta at The Biggin Hall Folk Club on the Binley Road. And Friday 18th there was a visit of Jackie and Bridie (Jacqueline McDonald and Bridie O’Donnell) to the Mercers Arms.

The highlight of the Saturday evening, as far as my research took me, was a band called Life who were appearing at The Sportsman’s Arms. However, on the evening of the landing, Sunday 20th July, you had a choice of seeing either Roger Williamson at the City Arms Folk Club in Earlsdon or Black Velvet at The Mercers Arms.

Monday 21st gave you the opportunity of seeing The Mike Cotton Sound who were on at the Chesford Grange. This was followed by 60s-star Tommy Bruce who was appearing, in city centre on Tuesday 22nd, at the 40 Thieves, later known as Busters.

It was back down to the Drumbeat Club, Warwick on the 23rd for a visit by Colin Scott. And finally, splashing down at the Biggin Hall Folk Club on the 24th July was Gerry Loughran.

Nationally, the UK singles chart for 16th July looked like this:

1. Something in the Air – Thunderclap Newman

2. In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley

3. Honky Tonk Women – The Rolling Stones

The chart altered slightly for the week of 23rd July when ‘Give Peace a Chance’ by the Plastic Ono Band appeared at number 2 and Thunderclap Newman and The Rolling Stones swapped positions. Top album in the UK during this entire duration of the Apollo 11 mission was Jim Reeves with ‘According to my Heart’. It was eventually dislodged by Jethro Tull during early August. Perhaps influenced by events, the soundtrack to ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’ began to make a rapid re-entry to the chart during this time.

Other prominent singles that were getting airplay on the radio, and youth clubs, included The Beatles with ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’, ‘Time is Tight’ by Booker T and the MGs, ‘Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’’ by Crazy Elephant and ‘It Mek’ by Desmond Dekker.

Over in America it was the original soundtrack to ‘Hair’ that had peaked in the album charts. While topping the billboard singles charts throughout the entire moon landing period was ‘In the Year 2525’ by Zager and Evans.

Released to coincide with the Apollo 11 mission was David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’. Released during July 1969 it took a little time to climb the chart but by September it had touched down at number 5. The single was far more successful on its re-release during 1975 when it hit number 1.

While most of us were glued to the screen for the return of the Command Module as it made its splashdown into the Pacific, Pink Floyd were actually jamming to it during an interlude for a live, late night broadcast, on the BBC. The tune, never released but is widely available on youtube. Titled ‘Moonhead’, it is a remarkably atmospheric bluesy piece by a band just on the up after a period in the doldrums.

Coventry's Roger Williamson

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

by Pete Clemons

Born in 1983 and blessed with an amazing singing voice, that I once read described as ‘an extension of her speaking voice’, Amy Winehouse grew into an incredibly confident performer. Her style was effortless and so natural. But she was also an intense character. 

During her short life Amy absorbed many influences. Going right back to her earliest days Amy enjoyed watching Top of the Pops. By the age of six she loved listening to Kylie Minogue. At eight she had progressed to Madonna. Then, when she hit ten, Amy discovered hip hop duo Salt-n-Pepa who, in her words, ‘changed her life forever’. From then on in she came to love singers that carried a song and who used their voice as an instrument. During her teens Amy listened to R’n’B as the various influences continued.

Amy had a brother who was four years older than her. She clearly remembered, at aged fourteen, he had been listening to Ray Charles ‘Unchain my Heart’. Hearing this introduced her to a world of jazz music and more particularly, pianist, Thelonius Monk who Amy really took to. It was around this time that Amy began to write her own songs.

Then, at eighteen, Amy came to singer Sarah Vaughn. It was then that Amy began to enjoy and discover the drama and atmosphere within a song that singers like Sarah Vaughn could bring to it. This began the process of Amy developing her trademark style of putting herself into her own songs.

Amy did one gig with National Youth Jazz Orchestra during the year 2000. After this her manager got Amy signed up to Island Records for whom she recorded her first album. Amy Winehouse was just 20 when that first album, Frank, was released on 20 October 2003. Produced mainly by Salaam Remi, many of the songs within it were shaped by her love of jazz. Apart from two covers version’s, Amy co-wrote every song on that album.

Amy began to head out onto the road promoting the album. And one evening at the Warwick Arts Centre, early 2004, all those influences collided together on stage, at one of Amy’s earliest ever gigs. This was well before the more destructive influences got a grip of her.

Bob Caldwell, then the jazz correspondent at the Coventry Telegraph and a guy who knew his stuff, inadvertently alerted me to her via his weekly column. He wrote ‘Amy may be a new name to many but at the tender age of 20 she is said to sound like a fully-fledged professional who has spent 40 years on the jazz circuit. Her material reaches out to embrace soul and blue’s so her performances have something for everyone, and Amy’s current tour is hot on the heels of having achieved two recent Brit awards’. That was enough to tempt me along.

As the lights went down, and the band kicked in, Amy instantly became a seasoned performer as she swayed along to the beat. ‘Know You Now’, ‘I Heard Love is Blind’, ‘There is no Greater Love’, ‘You Sent Me Flying’ and her then latest single ‘In My Bed’ were all given an outing, along with several others tunes.

It was a totally natural performance. The type that, the person delivering it was maybe not fully aware, as to how good they actually were.