Chappo, Family and friends half a century on

Roger Chapman: Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne. Wednesday 29th January, 2020

Now here’s a thing. A little over 50 years ago my wife Hattie, then my new girlfriend, and I went to our first live gig together – a free all-nighter at The Lyceum in London. Heading the bill were Family and among the support acts was The Edgar Broughton Band. So, when we heard that Family front man Roger Chapman was playing the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne this week AND Edgar Broughton was the support we felt we had to be there.

The Lyceum Ballroom December 1969: The place reeked of hashish, patchouli oil and the naive hope that somehow we could make the world a better place.  The Tivoli Theatre January 2020: We’re sitting in a theatre full of our near contemporaries wondering what went wrong. There may be a slight smell of Werther’s Originals.  

Some of the audience are a little younger than us, some are older. Some  look comfortably well-heeled, others decidedly battered by life. There are several who appear to have been newly released after being trapped in a squat in Ladbroke Grove sometime in the early 1970s. For them nothing has changed. At least one was literally viewing the worked through rise-tinted granny glasses.

The great Roger Chapman is undoubtedly in fine voice. Backed by an exemplary six piece band featuring long time collaborators Geoff Whitehorn on guitar, Paul Hirsch on keyboards, Nick Payn on sax, Poli Palmer on vibes and Gary Twigg and John Lingwood on bass and drums, the great Chappo looks good and sounds invincible….most of the time. However, at 77 years of age, the inimitable Chappo simply cannot compete with his younger self. The years have inevitably eroded the top and bottom of his considerable vocal register.

Though he can still deliver brilliant, beautiful songs in that astonishing, slightly gritty vibrato that set him apart from the pack back in the glory days of Family and Streetwalkers, there are some notes that he really can’t reach any more. For instance My Friend the Sun, dedicated to his old Family bandmate Charlie Whitney, just shuddered to a halt. No shame there of course and Chapman knows it. He simply shrugged, laughed and carried on.

He is far better with the jazzier, bluesy stuff or numbers that utilise his still massively impressive middle register. Songs like Who Pulled The Night Down, Moth to a Flame, Midnight Child, Habits of a Lifetime and the ever popular Short List were a joy to hear. But one-time crowd-pleasers like Burlesque and The Weaver’s Answer were far from vintage cuts. And there’s the rub.You have to do the favourites. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. 

Consider then the albatross that Edgar Broughton carries with him. Out Demons Out, his band’s signature chant from the 60s and 70s refuses to go away. Back in the day its sheer audience-swaying power made other bands fearful of following the mighty Broughtons on stage. Now, touring solo with just an acoustic guitar, Edgar clearly wishes it could be consigned to history. He’s halfway there. He didn’t play it but he did talk about it.

In fact he talked about a lot of things including fishing, the dental layout of the pike and the sad demise of his fallen friend, one-time counter-culture hero the late Mick Farren. Oh yes, and there were a couple of half decent songs in there too

Judy: Still rattling the chandeliers at 80

Judy Collins: Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne (19th January, 2020)

Now this was a strange one. Strange but nice I should point out. The wonderful Judy Collins – 80-years-old and still possessing a voice capable of rattling the chandeliers – acting as her own support act and delivering what was at times close to a stand-up routine.

Of course there was plenty of music too and many classic songs from a career that has spanned 60 wonderful years. But what happened to the advertised support?  Norwegian folk singer Jonas Fjeld – Judy’s collaborator on her latest album, the excellent Winter Stories, was notable by his absence.  The album and indeed Fjeld himself got a couple of honourable mentions in despatches from the stage and two of its numbers, River and Jimmy Webb’s sublime The Highwayman were undoubtedly among the high points of the show. But there was no explanation.

The concert opened with a couple of vintage tracks, Maid of Constant Sorrow and Chelsea Morning, with Judy on guitar accompanied by her longtime musical director Russell Walden on piano. To be honest she took a little while to get into her musical stride but when she did she was extraordinarily good, punctuating the set list, including classics like Both Sides Now, with  anecdotes and some rather whiskery jokes about Keith Richards.

After the interval she was back and wearing a sparkling crimson jacket – an 80th birthday gift from her old friend and fellow sixties survivor Joan Baez. Abandoning the guitar for the piano, she demonstrated a technique that revealed the classical training she received before joining the burgeoning US folk scene of the 1950s. 

Becoming a folkie was a shrewd move that at the time did little to impress either her mother or her piano tutor but ultimately it brought her into contact with everyone from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to Joni Mitchell and Stephen Stills. And do you know what? I think we’ve all benefitted. Certainly audiences at The Tivoli have. Although modest in size the venue has become one of Judy Collins’ favourite UK theatres over the years. It’s a privilege to see her perform there.

Jeremy Miles

Rejected for being ‘too old’ 40 years ago

The Blues Band: The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne

It’s hard to believe that it is now 40 long years since Paul Jones recruited a bunch of mates to form The Blues Band with the idea of playing occasional pub and club gigs. Even though back in 1979 they were rejected by at least one major record label for being “too old”,  they proved a near instant success. Now four decades and countless albums later they are still at the top of their game and still sporting almost exactly the same personnel .

Now, as then, we have Jones on vocals and harmonica, Tom McGuinness and Dave Kelly on guitars and Gary Fletcher on bass – a formidable line-up augmented at The Tivoli on Friday by Sam Kelly, Dave’s son, on drums. Depping for regular drummer Rob Townsend, Kelly junior did a sterling job, giving the band a new dimension with some brilliant musicianship.

Not that any of The Blues Band are less than top notch, a fact they proved yet again by steaming through an evening of vintage blues and R&B with a couple of folkie frills lobbed in for good measure.

They opened with three tracks from their latest album The Rooster Crowed, and ended more than two hours later with the Louis Jordan crowd-pleaser Let The Good Times Roll. I could have done without the singalong element added to the encore myself but perhaps I’m being churlish. The band’s  set had included some great numbers. They mined their own individual and collective back catalogues and a dished up a welter of blues classics like Howlin’ Wolf’s Down in the Bottom, Muddy Water’s I Can’t Be Satisfied, Blind Willie McTell’s Statesborough Blues, a dollop of Blind Boy Fuller, a little Staples Singers and much, much more.

A great evening with wonderful musicianship from all concerned including great guitar from both McGuinness and Kelly while Jones remains one of the finest harmonica players on the scene. There were no weak points. However were I forced to pick personal highlights they would undoubtedly be Dave Kelly’s vocal and slide guitar work and Sam Kelly’s drumming. Brilliant stuff!

Jeremy Miles

k.d. pays tribute to the power of youth

k.d. lang – Ingénue Redux 25th Anniversary Tour: Lighthouse, Poole. (Thursday 25th July, 2019)

Her fans are a quarter of a century older than when Canadian singer k.d.lang first released the album Ingénue. It was a game-changer and so was k.d. as she adopted a potentially career damaging strategy and came out as an openly gay female singer. 

Publicly announcing that she was a lesbian seemed a brave move back in the early 1990s. How wonderful then that it all seems so utterly unremarkable now. These days people are more exercised over why she insists on her name – k.d. lang – always being printed in lower-case. 

The fans saw her then, as now, as a pioneer and they’ve stuck with her every inch of the way. So it was that in celebration of Ingénue’s 25th Anniversary a predominantly gay female audience was out in force when lang’s tour arrived at Lighthouse last night. It was a joyful occasion and a reminder of how much this singer and this album meant to the LGBT community. It accompanied many of them through heartaches and sometimes difficult, sometimes triumphant times.

They are older now, more reflective. “We’re just gay seniors” lang told them. There were whoops of delight and a round of applause as she posed and pirouetted. Of course her followers are not exclusively gay. Everyone was invited to this party and that is the way it should be.

Standing barefoot on the stage, wearing a loose fitting suit and surveying the fans from beneath her trademark masculine haircut, Kathryn Dawn Lang cuts a strange but confident figure

She’s an amazing performer with a voice that can astound with its power and purity. Fronting a superb seven-piece backing band, she performed Ingénue in its entirety. Ten tracks in their original order providing a quick reminder of what great songs the openers Save Me and The Mind of Love are.

The band, measured, nuanced and brilliant, delivered the musical magic against which this extraordinary singer wove her tales of love, loss and hope.

Things swung up-tempo with Miss Chatelaine and then settled into an almost hypnotic groove as lang delivered the rest of her masterpiece ending with, of course, the Grammy winning Constant Craving which had the crowd singing along.

And there was more to come with songs that showcased her continued prowess  as a writer, singer and performer and the brilliance and versatility of her band. She ended with a tribute to three of her fellow Canadian singer-songwriters –  Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. Her rendition of Young’s Helpless was one of the highlights of the evening and the vocal dexterity and passion displayed on Cohen’s Hallelujah was spine-tingling.

The encores found the 57-year-old singer paying tribute to the power of youth with name-checks for climate-change activist Greta Thunberg and the young anti-gun lobby campaigners in Florida. Some things may have changed for the better over the past 25 years but there are always new battles to fight.

Jeremy Miles 

Memories, markers and special times

Joan Baez: Fare Thee Well Tour – Brighton Dome (February 2019)

Despite battling a chest infection Joan Baez strode onto the stage of the Brighton Dome on the opening UK night of her extended farewell tour and delivered a performance that was masterful, moving and mesmerising.

The 78-year-old singer was determined that her concert was not going to be diminished by anything as mundane as a pesky illness. True to form she sang beautifully, just occasionally, and I mean occasionally, struggling for a note.

After 60 years on the road Baez knows how to optimise almost any concert  situation. So it was that alongside a wonderful catalogue of songs, starting with her alone on stage singing Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright – the first of five perfectly pitched Bob Dylan covers – we also heard her singing the praises of Britain’s National Health Service.

She had arrived in Brighton via a visit to A&E: “Hey the doctors all looked about 15-years-old but they clearly knew what they were doing,” she told us, revealing that blood tests had been made and antibiotics prescribed and all for free. “We don’t get that where I come from,” she sighed.

The medics had done well and more than 20 songs and nearly two hours later Joan Baez finally left the stage to a standing ovation after a series of  encores that had included sure-fire crowd pleasers like Forever Young and a singalong to John Lennon’s Imagine.

For most of the concert Baez had been joined on stage by her son the percussionist Gabe Harris and multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell. There was also some impressive input from singer Grace Stumberg. Age may have taken the top register from Baez’s soaring soprano but she knows exactly how to use her mature voice to maximum effect. Stumberg meanwhile is on hand to add vocal depth and harmonies to songs like Diamond’s and Rust, Donovan’s Catch the Wind and some belting country blues on Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee.

It was a superbly constructed set featuring songs from throughout the long and illustrious Baez career. Early favourites included Phil Och’s There But for Fortune, Dylan’s Farewell Angelina, Woody Guthrie’s Deportee and the traditional Darling Corey.

 It was an evening full of memories and markers of special times. When she sang Joe Hill many members of the audience will have recalled her performance of the same song at the Woodstock Festival 50 years ago this summer. She was six months pregnant at the time. A glance at percussionist Gabe brought recognition that he had been there too. Yup Woodstock in the womb. How cool is that?

But anyone thinking this tour is purely about nostalgia is sorely mistaken. There was also a good showing of high-quality material from her latest album Whistle Down the Wind with some beautifully reflective writing from people like Tom Waits and Antony and the Johnsons.

Like the every song in the set these are the kind of numbers that in the capable hands of Joan Baez can live and breath forever! Judging by the length of this extended farewell tour, there’s a good chance that she can too.

Jeremy Miles

 ***

Georgie from cotton mill via Fury to Fame

Georgie Fame and Family: Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne (2017)

What a great evening of music delivered by one the best Hammond organ players in the business. Georgie Fame enjoyed big chart hits in the sixties with hits like Yeh Yeh, Getaway and The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde and decades of life as a touring musician with people like Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.

Now, in his 70s, he’s enjoying a different sort of touring, as family man with a musical legacy to share. And sure enough, with two sons, Tristan and James, on guitar and drums and his granddaughters, Fallon and Merle (I think), as support act. “Grandpa Georgie”, as he was introduced, focused on the story of his musical life.

He played music from his almost 60 year career, including of course all the aforementioned hits, and offered genial and illuminating anecdotes between numbers. There were great songs by influential performers and writers like Booker T Jones, Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Hoagy Carmichael, Floyd Dixon and Peggy Lee and even a spot of country (Jim Reeves and Willie Nelson) as re-imagined by Ry Cooder and Joe Hinton.

There were memories of the legendary all-nighters at Soho’s Flamingo Club and there were wondrous tales of his early years in rock ’n’ roll, of touring with Eddie Cochrane and Billy Fury, why he withdrew from a talent contest at a Welsh holiday camp with a pre Beatles Ringo Starr and much much more. An eye-witness to some serious landmark moments in rock history, Fame even watched as his tearful drummer Mitch Mitchell, distraught at being sacked from the Blue Flames, was snapped up by new boy on the block Jimi Hendrix.

It was illuminating to hear just how much of Fame’s astonishing career has been down to pure chance. Meeting the right people, being close to the right telephones. It was astonishingly effective. One minute he was a junior worker in a cotton mill in Leigh in Lancashire and the next he was being signed by the great pop impresario Larry Parnes to play piano with his stable of hit-makers. 

This involved, at Parnes insistence,  changing his name from plain old Clive Powell to Georgie Fame but it also landed him a gig in Billy Fury’s backing band The Blue Flames. Unfortunately management decided that the Blue Flames were a tad to jazzy for their main man and the entire group were given their marching orders. For Georgie it was too late to change his name back to Clive Powell but not too late to take over as lead vocalist.

The residency as house band at the Flamingo followed and  then a favourite song, Yeh Yeh, gave them a significant hit and briefly turned Fame and his band into pop stars. They toured relentlessly but before long the music industry sharks were circling. It was Fame who was singing the hits and playing the signature Hammond organ. They could make a whole load more money if they axed the band. The rest as they say is history. Georgie Fame was forced to leave his friends and he learned some uncomfortable lessons about the ruthlessness of the music world but he was also suddenly free to enjoy a career that found him able to indulge his love of jazz, blues and R&B. Ironic really that a boy from the Lancashire cotton mills ended up playing music by people who actually picked the damn stuff in the fields of the Mississippi Delta. 

The Tivoli show featured wonderful stories and some marvellous musical finesse. The Hammond organ is an extraordinarily expressive instrument and Fame knows exactly how to handle it. Though he did switch briefly to piano to pay tribute to the great Fats Domino, one of his original heroes, whose death at the age of 89 had been announced only hours earlier. He chose Good Lawdy Miss Clawdy which was  recorded by Lloyd Price in 1952 featuring a classic Fats performance on piano.

It was a lovely evening with the granddaughters returning to the stage and joining grandpa, dad and uncle for a final number. Reflective and poignant, it was simply called Was.

Jeremy Miles

Mayall: Godfather of British Blues plays on

John Mayall: Bournemouth Pavilion (Saturday, 25th November, 2017)

The first time I saw John Mayall was nearly 50 years ago and he was old then. Perhaps I should clarify. He was in his mid thirties and I was only 17, so he seemed old to me.

Yet on Saturday night, four days ahead of his 84th birthday, he played the Bournemouth Pavilion and not only was he looking fit and sounding great but he played a brilliant set. What’s more there’s a new album – Talk About That – and, inevitably, yet another line-up of amazing musicians.

That’s the thing you see. Back in 1968 John Mayall was THE man, a musician whose ever-changing band, The Bluesbreakers, had become a sort of finishing school for some of the finest musicians of the era.

By the time I caught up with Mayall, who was known as the Godfather of British Blues, many of his discoveries had already flown the nest.  Eric Clapton had formed Cream and Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie had evolved into the nucleus of the original Fleetwood Mac. He did still have a young Mick Taylor in tow but within the year he would be off to join The Rolling Stones. The Mayall line-ups were phenomenal.

So it’s wonderful to see him keeping on, keeping on and with such energy and focus. Playing keyboards, harmonica and guitars, Mayall has settled on a stripped-down format for his latest band featuring just himself with Chicago session men Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums.

Both are astonishing talents and Mayall uses them brilliantly delivering numbers that span half a century of his own career. They included numbers like Acting Like A Child and The Bear from the late 60s, tracks from the new album and some superb covers of classics by people like Jimmy Rodgers, JB Lenoir and Sonny Boy Williamson.

Two thirds of the way through their 90 minutes set the band was joined on stage by blues guitar virtuoso Buddy Whittington. A one-time Bluesbreaker himself and leader of the trio who had been the opening act, Whittington turned what had been merely excellent into phenomenal. Now a four piece, the band stretched out into sublime versions of Nature’s Disappearing, a song about looming  environmental disaster that Mayall penned decades before green issues made the headlines and California. An absolutely brilliant show.

Jeremy Miles

Richard Thompson: a genius unplugged

Richard Thompson: Lighthouse, Poole

Fifty long years after he made his first appearances as a shy but talented teenage guitarist with Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson is rightly regarded as a one of our greatest singer-songwriters and a brilliant and innovative musician.

This tour offers a fascinating stripped-down perspective on a career that not only spans half-a-century but has produced some peerless material that actually changed the course of folk music history.

Armed only with an acoustic guitar, an extraordinary talent and the kind of songs that it’s hard to believe haven’t existed forever, Thompson played a two hour set that covered all bases.

There were reworkings of wonderful solo recordings like Gethsemane, and 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. There was a nod too to Fairport with a tender version of Who Knows Where the Time Goes and several classics from the Richard and Linda years with I Want to See the Bright Lights tonight, Wall of Death and a singalong version of Down Where the Drunkards Roll.

Performing at the top of his game, 68-year-old Thompson resplendent in cut-off denim jacket and trademark beret was in fine voice. It’s hard to believe that back in the early years of his career he had little confidence as a singer. Somewhere along the line he quite literally found his voice and it’s been getting better ever since.

Perhaps even more impressive is his beautifully dextrous guitar work. Whether playing brilliantly evocative songs like the emotive They Tore The Hippodrome Down or thrashing his way through Push and Shove, his largely forgotten and previously unrecorded  tip of the beret to The Who, Richard Thompson is the consummate guitarists guitarist.

This tour largely supports his recently released Acoustic Classics and Acoustic rarities albums but it also offers a chance to wonder at the depth and breadth of his repertoire and his abilities as both an artist and an entertainer.

Perhaps the two sides of that coin were captured to perfection in the final encores with Waltzing’s for Dreamers and Don’t Sit On My Jimmy Shands.

Support act was singer Josienne Clark and guitarist Ben Walker who also paid tribute to Thompson’s late lamented one-time Fairport Convention bandmate Sandy Denny with an impressive version of Fotheringay.

Jeremy Miles

When Henry the horse danced the waltz…

beatles 5.jpgIt was 50 years ago today that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play – well give or take a day or three. On Thursday 1st of June 1967 I was 16-years-old and like most of my schoolfriends made a beeline for the local record shop to hear The Beatles’ newly released album.  Little did we know at the start of what would become known as the Summer of Love that music, and indeed a whole bunch of other things, would never be quite the same again.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band may not have been the greatest album ever recorded but it was one of the most innovative, inventive and influential. It was unlike anything anybody had ever heard before and it caught the spirit of the time perfectly. Listening now to the remastered 50th Anniversary edition I realise that it gave us a soundtrack to an era and, as the 1967 Summer of Love morphed into the 1968 Year of Protest, the album stayed with us. Continue reading “When Henry the horse danced the waltz…”

Bob Dylan: things really have changed

Bob Dylan: Bournemouth International Centre (5th May 2017)

The lights go down. There’s a sense of anticipation that almost crackles in the air. Which Bob Dylan are we going to get tonight?

Will it be good Dylan or bad Dylan? Brilliant Dylan or atrocious Dylan? Over the past four decades I’ve seen them all. I’ve been listening to his music even longer.

The answer comes as the man himself appears in the spotlight and opens the show, as he has every night on this latest leg of his famed Never Ending Tour, with Things Have Changed, his Oscar winner number from the turn of the millennium.

Things certainly have changed as we will discover in an evening that mixes Dylan classics with his American songbook covers. His voice is stronger than it has been in years, his five piece band is superb and Bob himself seems almost chirpy. I say ‘almost’. He’s as idiosyncratic as ever, performing either from the piano which he plays rather badly or striking attitudes with the microphone stand from the back of the stage. He does an almost imperceptible jig here, a shuffle there and an occasional self-conscious hand on hip pose. He looks like a rather camp gunslinger but the music is amazing and his vocals are masterful.

The growl and yelp of yesteryear seem seriously under control. Songs from across the decades somehow gel in a manner that they have no right to. Duquesne Whistle, Stormy Weather and Tangled up in Blue sit happily side  by side. Highway 61 Revisited and Melancholy Mood do not seem strange partners at all. 

As for his recent elevation to Nobel Laureate for Literature? Four songs in and he’s already referenced everyone from Ovid and Percy Bysshe Shelley to Duane Eddy and God. He’s very well read, it’s well known.

Intriguingly Dylan’s 2012 album Tempest supplies no fewer than five songs. Great material but there is of course even greater material missing. It’s an argument that could go on for ever. You’ll never please everyone. 

For me the most telling moment came during the encores when before closing with a wonderfully faithful to the original Ballad of a Thin Man, Dylan performed a pleasing sounding but ultimately perplexing version of Blowin’ in the Wind which he delivered as a jaunty croon-along ditty.

Was he being ironic? Or is it just that things really have changed since he first wrote that song as a 21-year-old making an anguished plea to the world to stop killing and wars? 

I suspect that 75-year-old Bob Dylan now knows that his words may have earned him millions but they’ve sadly done little to bring peace to our increasingly unstable world. Blowin’ in the Wind is, at the end of the day,  just another song.

Jeremy Miles

McTell and Poole’s freezing winter 1962/63

Ralph McTell: Lighthouse, Poole.Tuesday (1st November 2016)

Celebrating 50 years on the road, acoustic folk giant Ralph McTell was in understandably nostalgic mood for this wonderful concert. For a start he was returning to Poole where he spent the freezing winter of 1962-63 living in a beatnik crash pad in a fish-crate store over a bookies shop in the High Street. There have been a few changes since then. “There’s so much more traffic,” he murmured in wonderment. “We’ve got colour television… we’ve been to the moon!” 

McTell has written a few songs too. Not least his greatest hit Streets of London which he slipped in as the penultimate number, with the audience singing along, in a set that had taken us on a remarkable journey through his life and career. With an inimitable deep velvety voice and a guitar style that is without equal, McTell delivers songs that are often deeply autobiographical. He’s a profoundly skilled songwriter and compelling storyteller. His opening numbers Walk Into The Morning and Nanna’s Song evoked memories of life as a young busker in Paris while Barges recalled days of innocent wonder and childhood games.

But there were observational songs too like Pepper and Tomatoes which he penned in response to the appalling ethnic cleansing that occurred as neighbour turned against neighbour in the former Yugoslavia.  There was Reverend Thunder which told the story of blues legend the Rev Gary Davis who, even though he was blind, carried a gun to deter thieves. Other prime influences on McTell included Woody Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and of course Bob Dylan. We were treated to the result of their distant tutelage and a few spin-offs too. Here was a one-time simple South London folk singer who opened his ears to some wondrous sounds and soaked up everything that was going.  It was all there at the Poole concert – a  little bluesy ragtime here, the earnest words of a New York cowboy there and the occasional blast of a soul-warming Dylanesque harmonica. It was a joy. McTell says that as a songwriter and musician he’s still learning. At 71 he sounds at the top of his game, though one or two of the high notes he would have routinely included a few years back are now a challenge to his vocal abilities. It’s not a problem. His mastery of stagecraft and songmanship is a more than  adequate compensatory factor.

He encored with West 4th and Jones, a song inspired by the cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, an album he recalled first seeing (and hearing)  when he was living in Poole, penniless but full of optimism for the future. He’s right of coures. There really have been a lot of changes in the ensuing decades. Who’da thought back then that radical vagabond folkie Dylan would become a Nobel Laureate? Now that we all know how well deserved that award is, it seems an obvious choice but back then it would  have been unthinkable. Ralph Mctell made a point of publicly adding his congratulations from the Lighhouse stage and it underlined the fact that then times really are a changin’.

Sadly one thing that has not changed in the past half century is the lack of empathy shown to the homeless, the poor and the mentally ill.  The pen-portraits that Ralph McTell used to describe the deseperate, lonely and vulnerable in Streets of London are as pertinent now as they were on the day that he wrote the song. 

Jeremy Miles 

Superlungs: gig of a lifetime runs out of puff

Terry Reid.jpgTerry Reid, The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne.

Terry Reid has never been lucky. He was first choice as vocalist for Led Zeppelin but, busy on tour, helpfully suggested they might like to check out a chap called Robert Plant instead. Extraordinarily the same thing happened when they wanted him to front Deep Purple. Reid was out on the road and it was Ian Gillan who got the call. Continue reading “Superlungs: gig of a lifetime runs out of puff”