Saturday, 1 August 2015


Howdoo Brummies, Muso's, Boozers and Cruisers,

August is upon us so we can hope for some more lovely tanning weather for another month, so say the weathermen.    Mrs Bob is still in the holiday mood and has bogged off to the sun drenched avenues of Aston B6 to stay with her sister Blanchette, very exotic, whilst I don my Builders hat, tool belt and lower my levi's for the obligatory bumcrack and start knocking seven bells out of the kitchen.  I did the fireplace last year which won me 'grace and favour' from Mrs Bob for the year and now it's time to launch myself and my aching muscles at the bricks and mortar once again.       

So with a set of speakers wrapped in bin bags placed in the kitchen the challenge between my delicate musician fingers and cement began.  I have to say though that it's brilliant!   Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits belting out in perfect time with my lump hammer attack on the walls and old units.   "You got a lotta nerve, to say you are my friend" cutting and stinging like a stiletto.   Wow!, this physical stuff is good therapy.

Next on the audio list are all The Beatles LP's, vynil, one after the other with the aim to demolish all of the ancillary parts of the kitchen and units by the time I get to the White Album then, the wall goes down to Helter Skelter and Why Don't we Do It in the Road.   Yeah! Vinyl and volume, can't beat it guys.  Let's not forget that particular composer of those Beatles Heavy Classics...thanks Paul.

When I was a young sproglet of 14 or 15, I would venture forth, wearing my mohair jumper into the night and go to as many dance halls, youth clubs, boozers, swimming baths as I could walk to, to catch sight of the many groups playing there as I could.  It was the only way to learn in those days.    It wasn't just to learn guitar chords or phrases either, there was stagecraft to absorb.
If you wanted to be regarded as a 'proper group' then you would all have the same clothes, use the same make of amplifiers and have a singer as a front man with the group playing a handful of Shadows instrumentals, Watkins Copycat on full repeat echo for The Savage or FBI!!

All this is seen as quite naff these days but, I kid you not, it was full of excitement for us who experienced those first days of ELECTRIC live music.   
It was as good as it got for it's time and we really need to remember that this was the beginning of it all.    The whole concept and make up of a group in those early British days was roughly based upon the model of Cliff Richard and The Shadows and Elvis.
You wouldn't have been disappointed then, if you had gone to see one of Birminghams finest groups of the day, Johnny Neal and The Starliners, to fulfil all of the above qualities.   Johnny's voice was a powerful one, lusty and deep-throated at times. He was one of the very first Rock and Rollers in Birmingham and a lot of fine musicians went through the ranks of The Starliners.
A real highlight of his career was on TV's Opportunity Knocks and had some good success off the back of his performances on that programme with the record release "Put your Hand in the Hand".   Bizarrely he also was known for his long sideburns and it was evident from the picture below that it was a requirement if you wanted to play in that particular band.

The particular line up who did the Opportunity Knocks shows were (L to R)  Roger Craythorne (Drums), Johhny Neal, Barrie Gray, Bass, Graham Sideley, Keyboards and Geoff Nicholls, Guitar/keyboards/arranger. 

Johnny Neal and Starliners on Opportunity Knocks!!
Johnny was a real polished act and his stage presence was enormous. With his Billy Daniels influences he fitted naturally into the cabaret scene where he earned a good living for many a year, particularly in South Africa as a star of the hotel cabaret environment.   

I'm pleased to say that Johnny (Noga to his mates) who now lives back in Birmingham has just celebrated his 80th Birthday!! and I'm sure there are many old Brummies around who would also wish you well Noga....inhale, that's all you've got to do.   
Johnny and Maggie celebrating.
Amazing man of Brummie Rock history.....glad you're still with us Noga.  Here's to the next one.


A brumbeat musical career which included groups such as ELO and The Uglys, Brummie muso and songwriter, Dave Scott-Morgan is dusting off his cobwebs and, although a tad early to announce, will be playing a gig in September at the following venue: 

Now I can tell you from personal knowledge that Dave is a funny guy, hence his "Morganisation" pun, I could hardly control myself?  He is a very talented songwriter and musician with a grand voice, he can fly aeroplanes and has an extremely nice partner, Mandy.    I am sure that the concert will be full of jocularity, harmony, reminiscences and wonderful music and he has also thoughtfully planned it as an afternoon performance so he can catch up on his beauty sleep afterwards.  

I like the man and we shared some good times together.   You know where the venue is, so get yourself a ticket now and avoid the rush to see this Brumbeat survivor.   Might even be there me'self?

Right chaps and chapesses.  Clouds of dust are settling in the kitchen so I'm just gonna knock some shit out of it, Pizza ordered for 9 o'clock, six pack in the fridge!!!


Copyright:  Bullsheadbob


Wednesday, 1 July 2015


Hiya Brummies, Brummettes and World wide mates,

Whew, what a scorcher. 
summer attire
We've certainly been enjoying some great weather so, with economy in mind, we have decided not to go to Portugal this year for our hol's but instead, have ordered three tons of sand for the back garden to create our very own beach.    Mrs Bob is all excited about the prospect and has been trying on her summer balaclava, it might not be the most fashionable thing to wear at the beach but it does hide most of her excessive facial hair and also comes in handy to 'blend in' when doing some shopping with the sisters from the Sparkhill Feminist League.   

If you're a jazz fan you might want to toddle off into the city and cop an earful of some Jazz and Blues at various venues throughout the city during the 31st Jazz Festival between the 3rd and 12th of July.

The organisers contacted me to ask if I would do a 'little something' on the blog about the Festival, "Sure" I said, "Why don't you email me a poster of the event" working on the basis of a picture paints a thousand words.   I heard nothing in reply but did receive another email a couple of weeks after, from a different admin person from the same office asking me the same question, I sent back the same answer. Nothing came back- twice!   You might think I would have given up but, undeterred, I trawled the web and found the stuff for myself. 

It would
be too much for me to include here everyone who is playing during the festival but, take it from me there are a shed load of brilliant and passionate musicians appearing.  I would definitely go and see Andy Fairweather-Low, a little pricey, but the man is a mass of talent in a small package, not just Clapton's side man for so many years.   Do support the event, it's spread across many locations in Brum and it's essential to keep music live.   Go out, have a few beers and listen to some great musicians, I guarantee you won't regret it.  I'm on my hol's 
I'm afraid and will be busy making my beach, swigging parsnip wine cocktails, applying goose fat to Mrs Bob's back, and "twangin' on me ukulele".

Click on the link below to view the Jazz Festival programme



Sad to say that we have recently lost another of our Brumbeat survivors and great drummer, Mac Poole.   Mac was from Oldbury but was practically resident in Brum and would be around in the hubbub of Brum's nightclubs during the 60's when all us muso's would meet up after gigs.   I first met him at The Hen and Chickens, Langley when I was playing there.  He was very enthusiastic.

Marsha Hunt
Mac played with several Brummie bands but would find fame as the stickman for Marsha Hunt and then 'Warhorse', a band put together by ex Deep Purple Bassist Nick Simper.   Mac then played with a host of other well known bands.   
Mac - Far Right

I played with Mac for a short while in a band that we quickly knocked together to do some gigs for an agent we knew, who needed to fill some dates, we were a pretty 'heavy' band. We did some good gigs down in Devon, Barnstable Town Hall was one of them I remember.  We then headed up North to do a weeks worth of shows expecting the same sort of gigs there but on arrival we found we were booked into some working men's clubs! When they heard us doing a sound check they suggested that, should we go on stage, we would be lynched by the 'Scampi in a Basket' brigade.  We made a tactical withdrawal back to Brum.   Around that time he had been approached by Planty to ask him if he wanted to join Led Zeppelin, he opted out.
The Honeycombs

I bumped into Mac a few times since then at parties and such.  In the recent past he was the drummer for The Honeycombs which came as a bit of a musical surprise to me but "You gotta earn a buck where you can".  

Well God Bless you Mac, I enjoyed your company for a few years and you never ran out of conversation.  

Here's a link below to click on for some Youtube footage of Mac with Warhorse, worth a watch.


Back in the day, Bob Styler was the vocalist for The Yamps, and a fine band they were too.    I thought of him as a kind of Brummie Eric Burdon, with his energetic performances and strong stage personality.  

Bob quit the group scene in the late 60's but later on started playing as part of a duo doing the clubs, so kept himself involved in the music.

Today, Bob is the guitarist with The Shady Banda group born out of a Country band he was playing with that have retained a touch of that country rock but have gone back to the music they love to play, that is the music
of the sixties, with a smattering of some later music that we all know and love.     

The Shady Band are all experienced musicians, and the Shady Lady herself, lead vocalist Jeni Hatton, has a wealth of diverse musical experience including stage musicals. They are extremely well respected and have been doing lots of gigs recently.

The line up comprises of Jeni Hatton (lead vocal), Bob Styler- Guitar /vocals, Danny Walker -Drums/vocals
Phil Clayton- Bass/vocals.  

With all those voices you can be sure of some nice harmonies and there is always a brilliant party atmosphere when they take to the stage.  So get on your dancin' shoes and "loosen up yer larynx".

The band are already getting gigs for December so if you are promoter or club secretary get in touch with them now to avoid getting a cheap substitute.

You can get the latest July gig news and other info from their website at

Alternatively you could chat with Bob himself if you call into the Stirchley Music Exchange, probably the last independent guitar shop in Brum with lots of good second hand guitar bargains and always a friendly face behind the counter, 
you know? just like the old days when people were civil to each other and you would be made to feel welcome when you went into a music shop.      

Brian May is a fine guitarist and his effect-laden, home made guitar is now manufactured by Burns.  Some people believe this was the first of it's kind - not so my friends.

In 1967 VOX marketed the V286 Grand Prix, not a VOX built guitar but one manufactured by EKO for them, that came with built in effects.  This is not to be confused with the VOX guitar organ that had been issued in 66.
I think that this was probably the first of its kind, albeit that Les Paul had his own recording guitar that did the same things but was not available to buy commercially.

I'm not a real fan of VOX guitars but I do like this model apart from the bulbous headstock.  Looks the business.

This has all the looks and attributes of a 60's guitar with it's harsh and cutting treble but you can also sound like Duane Eddy with lush, deep tones.
You can switch in the on-board distortion effect and play some screaming solos with it. There is also Wah, Delay and Tremelo effect.   It is a bit of a knob twiddling delight but if that's your thing then great.  

You should be able to find a good one for about 2000 pounds or more but a word of warning, if you are thinking about getting one, make sure you try it out well and if there is even a hint of a problem with any of the effects don't buy it. There are no spares available and it's one printed circuit

Great guitar for a serious collector.

Just as a top and tail piece to this article. Brian Mays much celebrated use of a sixpence as a plectrum was neither a 'first'.  It was quite common practice, I certainly used one, way back when.

My mate 'Skiffle King' sent me a picture that, if you are planning a career in music, says it all......

At times life can be crap and for sure, everyone will let you down but we can rise above it if we really want to.  Be true to yourself and remember that no good deed goes unpunished.

OK, take care of yourselves and those you love.


copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Monday, 1 June 2015

BULLS HEAD BOB June 2015 ...... MISTER B. B. KING, if you please.

Watcha Maties,

Some years ago  I was emotionally taken apart by the release of The Beatles 'Free as a Bird', a sound I thought I'd never hear again and freely admit that I cried like a baby, not just once, it lasted days...every time I heard it.

That was love, nostalgia and a pure delight that whisked me back to better days when I and the whole world during the 60's had lived our lives with these guys as our standard bearers, it was a great natural high.  It was also only natural that I should have felt some pain. 

Last month we lost a GIANT of a man, a man whose very presence would make you quiver with respect, a man whose blood oozed soul and who could, with a few notes from his beautiful and gifted hands, transport you to the very depths of sadness or give you an uplifting warmth, the like of which could normally only be experienced by high flying eagles.  It made me shed a tear because I loved the mans music.

He was of course the wonderful Mr B B King

His influence on my, and thousands of others musical journeys, along with Big Bill Broonzy, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Rufus Thomas, Chuck Berry, and later Eric Clapton, Peter Green and more of those other early guitarists was immense. Of course you could learn all the notes but to try to master the feel of the music in your own soul came at the price of blood, sweat and tears combined with unending hours of practise and the desire to recreate the feeling that BB could express in a few notes.   Nobody really did it better than he. 

Born in Mississippi to a family of cotton pickers, which was
surely enough of a daily grind to simply survive, for him and most poor people there was no future, no way out.   He had started to listen to his mothers records of Blind Lemon Jefferson, finding in those bluesy lyrics a resemblance to his poverty ridden life. He started playing in his teenage years and was known as Blues Boy King which in turn simply got abbreviated to BB.

The Thrill is Gone is his probably his best known song but
his discography is simply amazing.

His life was long, a respectable 89 years old and he was playing right up to 2014. 

At the time of his death he had already been a living legend for many years and his influence on all of the greatest musicians in the world of Blues and Rock music, is practically unmatched and on the day he went I shed a few tears and played every recording I had of his, more than once.

It was truly a day of mixed feelings, grateful for his life and music and desperately sad at his departure.  

BB King was the leader in his field, 'The Man'
whose career had roller-coasted through life but for me he was always the one I wanted to hear again and again.

During the over-indulgent, crap years of prog rock and poetry he became almost ignored and even hated, during an interview, he recalled playing at a Festival where he was announced to the huge crowd who booed him when he took to the stage, can you imagine that??    The world had truly lost it's head. His performance that day won the audience over, such was the music and fight in the man.   

It can only go on for so long and his last string of concerts in 2014 were not his best and got some pretty bad reviews.  Illness then saw him off the road, but during his lifetime it is estimated that he did over 15000 Concerts and I'm pretty sure that all but a handful were just pure genius.  It was such a shame that he had to go out on such a low note. 

His trademark guitar was his black Gibson Stereo called Lucille it was not named after some awful break up with his greatest love but rather named after a girl whose two boyfriends got into a fight over her affections and during that fight knocked over a kerosene lamp that set fire to the hall where King was on stage playing.  He was evacuated but ran back in to the blazing building to get his guitar, he called all his guitars Lucille after that, no matter what the make, to remind himself not to get into scrapes like that with girls.

He gave one these guitars to the Pope, which really tops Noel Gallagher giving a Strat to " Call me Tony" Blair by a country mile.  I'm pretty sure that the meaning of the name Lucille was not lost on the Pontiff.  It was reported the Pope couldn't master the vibrato technique so called it a day on the gig front but the stage name "Yer Man and The Cardinals" had been mooted.

Some of you sharper eyed specimens might have noticed that there five hands in this photo, spooky or what?

There is something to be grateful for in this techno ridden world and that is there are many, many recordings of his performances that will be preserved forever thank goodness.   

BB wrote his autobiography 'Blues All Around Me"  first printed in 1996.  It's a good read and I recommend it.

Some brilliant Youtube clips exist.  Two of my faves I recommend to you are "Let the Good Times Roll" with Jules Holland Big Band and his entire performance at Cook County Jail but especially "How Blue Can you Get"
which you can link to below, the man at his very best:


Back to the Brumbeat news next month....

Love the one your with,

Copyright:  BullsheadBob

Friday, 1 May 2015

Bulls Head Bob May 2015. Will Hammond - The Ugly's, Back to the Blues. Jeff Lynne King of the Paving Slabs. Brummies Abroad Reunions. Johnny Neal.

Hail Brummies, West Midlanders, The Sparkhill Asian Feminist League and not forgetting my mates in the USA and Japan.

Well what a gorgeous Spring season we have enjoyed, me and Mrs Bob have been lounging around in the sun sipping Mint Juleps, Tequila Sunrises, Manhattans, Zombies, and Brandy Alexanders.  You might have guessed by now that we have bought a book on making cocktails and have been steadily using up all those half bottles of different coloured alcohol that you seem to accumulate every Christmas.  
I strongly recommend Zombies and anything at all that goes with Brandy.   The positive off-spin is that after a session on the cocktails I go and have a bit of a play and I always seem to think I sound great, the neighbours apparently enjoy my drunken playing too, because they throw things at our adjoining wall in appreciation.  A bit like the Run DMC and Aerosmith video. Must turn up a bit next time so they can really hear me. 

So here we are, I was going to make my annual pilgrimage across the seas
to see what our old Brummie muso mates are doing and you know what?
After some cyber mail exchanges it would appear that the majority are just taking it easy like you do when you live in sunnier climes.  Nonetheless there have been a few happenings and here they are:


His Royal Jeffness has been laying paving slabs again, this time in Hollywood, well one paving slab to be exact, and to make sure he got paid for his work he put his name on it.   This picture shows Jeff standing by, or over himself, waiting for the big scoff 'do' that would have followed this glitzy event.  Jeff wowed the onlookers with his the radical departure from his usual dress appearance?    I think he should market that look as the 'JUST JEFF' range, if you're interested Jeff, give me a ring I could get something going. 

Now I know he isn't one for sartorial elegance and also that he hasn't done many gigs in the recent past but I would have thought he could have bought himself some proper shoes instead of wearing his old school plimsoll's?

That aside, many congrats Jeff, it really is fantastic!!  I'm so pleased for him. I don't think he ever would have thought, in his wildest dreams, that he would have been given that particular honour.   Hollywood meant something in our teenage years.  

There is talk of a round of ELO gigs on the horizon.    I won't be going myself but will settle for listening to the CD's occasionally, well CD in my case.

I think there should be a documentary about Jeffs hair and his fascinating wardrobe but as me old Mum would say.  If it suits you why bother changing.
Gotta get rid of those shoes Jeff.

Will Hammond

Will Hammond former Uglys/Yamps guitarist continues to play on the Spanish scene but over the past year has been busy recording as well.   
"I've made these recordings without any studio effects because that's the way they are played on stage and it would be wrong to 'lush them up a bit' just for the sake of it.   

The Yamps. Will (left) and  Bob Styler
When I was a young 'Yamp' I really enjoyed the pure energy of the Beat music days, especially during the crossover from rock and roll and blues and decided that I'd like to play that way again. The Yamps had some incredible gigs and although I'm not so fresh faced as I was, I just adored playing that type of music again, only this time I feel twice as knackered.

I revisited the songs that I grew up with and that was the basis of the current group.  

No effects, No Pedals but plenty of sweat and energy.

Will has also dipped his feet in the waters of the Rap world this year by guesting on a recording by Spanish rapper, Rude Acosta.
 "The hard British Blues guitar style just fitted in with the bassy rap sound. it's all about music and rhythm and the Spanish people of Extremadura have that in spade fulls, it's in their blood, there's plenty of passion here and with a long history of poverty, they know about suffering and that has always been expressed in the normal manner, through music, song and dance.

With his new CD on the horizon he has just finished
filming a great promo video of one of the tracks.  "The tracks were recorded at La Huerta Sonora (the Sound Garden) with the encouragement of my fab mate Jose Trejo.
Jose and Will

Recording the video was very enjoyable and took long hours but I was in great company and the photographer Javier Pulpo certainly caught some nice moments".  

The song is appropriately called "Back to the Blues" and here it is:
Graham has had a quiet year finishing off some recordings across the pònd but did have time to visit the UK where he met up with some old pals, namely Nigel Wright and Euan Rose who were formerly members of the The EKO's.  

When Graham left the band to form the Plazents/Brumbeats the other two went on to be the founding members of The Cheetahs, a group that me and all the Brummies who went to The Ritz will remember well.  

l-r Nigel, Euan and Graham
Graham said "It was brilliant to see the guys again".   For us here at Brumbeat Towers it's always brilliant to see these reunions.

JOHNNY NEAL re-union
Johnny Neal lived in South Africa for many a moon and although he now lives back in Brum has recently met up with some former members of The Starliners. Funnily enough, one of them was guitarist Paul Brunt who featured here a couple of months back.  Completing the picture was Drummer Mal Priddey who currently lives in Anglesey.
Paul, Mal and 'Noga'
It bought back a host of memories for the threesome and Paul Brunt says "Once we got Johnny singing he wouldn't shut up but I have to say that he still has a brilliant voice and was hitting all the big notes"

Johnny.  "It was marvellous to get back together and it was an emotionally charged experience reliving and talking about our hay days".

It's heartwarming to see those old friends re-united again from the days when
they were all aspiring musicians, being in a band together then was a totally different thing than today.  A true band of brothers.  Keep it up you guys.


copyright Bullsheadbob

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Bulls Head Bob Apr 2015 - It's SPRING!! Bobs Roofing Tip. Pretty as a Picture BrumPic. DEADLEGZ Rob Oliver. Brian Nicholls. LOOKING FOR BRUMMIES ABROAD.

Hello you Brummies and Mates around the World,

Spring has sprung, it's the First of April or 4/1 as our American cousins would say these days?   I'm as lively as a young lamb, full of the joys of the season when everyone gets those outside jobs done on the weekend leading up to Easter.  

I adore getting out into the garden with Mrs Bob.  I tackle the mentally arduous, but artistic, job of sprinkling flower seeds and things about in gay abandon, a flourish of Pansies and Forget-me-Nots here, a dash of Daffies there and hidden among them, a really Spiky Thistle, just to remind me that you always come across one of those arseholes in your life.      

Mrs Bob is busy laying paving slabs, heavy work you might think for a girl of her 'later' years?  I have to say that she may be overdoing it a tad and fear she will never have the necessary strength left to get the shed re-roofed before those April showers set in.  

That roofing felt is bloody heavy and that hot tar can be a real danger.  To make life easier for her, I've given her a tip, and that is to "wear a hat" because honestly, the last time I trusted her with a roofing job, her hair got full of tar when she slipped off the ladder onto the tar laden roof,  it was only the fact that her slide was broken by a rusty nail ripping into her ear that saved her from damaging her ankles.  
Thankfully she still had time to cook tea before popping off for some well needed stitches..

To have lived in Birmingham during the the days when you didn't have to manoeuvre your way through a human tidal wave of styrofoam-armed people, all shouting at their phones was great.   We had magnificent buildings and Birmingham's industrial ascent as one of the greatest producers of practically everything in the country was at it's peak.  All that's gone now.  For me a visit to the inner city is like having lived two distinctly different lives, I feel like a stranger in my own city? there is hardly anything of my past left standing these days. There is no soul to the place, all having given way to the concrete megaliths and the homogeneous, coffee house style of Franchise Birmingham these days.

I was consigned to the fact of never seeing some of those sights again so
hooray for the arrival of BrumPic.
(copyright Brumpic)

Although you would have to have a Facebook Account this is a great place to view the many photographs from yesteryear that people have uploaded, of the City and it's environs.

I recall, in my playing days, walking with my Mum up Corporation Street and several people said "Hi Bob", as they passed by.  My Mum looked quizzically at me and said "Do you know Everyone in Birmingham?"  The answer to that is, in those days I felt I did.   
Anyway some of the photos on this great Facebook page are priceless.  It makes me feel all warm inside.  Take a visit if you have a fancy.  Well recommended.
DEADLEGZ ...Rob Oliver
Raising money or awareness for a charity has long been supported by the musical community in Brum.  I have highlighted the efforts of Steve Gibbons, Steve Winwood, Tony Iommi among others who have raised a ton of dosh for various good causes and long may it continue. 

So it comes as no surprise to find the "Chip off the Old Block" Rob Oliver
Rob Oliver in training.
son of the mighty Pete Oliver, has been busy raising funds

for various charities and in the company of a couple of mates is currently training to take on the Deadlegz Three Peaks Challenge which is to scale the three highest peaks in the country, Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scarfell Pike in 24 hours!!!
This is no mean feat you guys.   

The charities benefiting from this challenge are ACORNS, Birmingham Childrens Hospital and Foort Foundation, all great charities needing support.

So Please Visit here:DEADLEGZ
for more information about the project and become a sponsor or if you see Rob out doing gigs then pledge some dough personally.  I shall be a sponsor. Good luck Rob.
Brumbeat guitarist Brian Nicholls' son is coming back to the West Midlands at the end of this year from his life in Canada and has already started to reform the band he had prior to his overseas excursion.  He phoned Brian and said "and you're on Bass Dad" which is a nice backhanded compliment if ever there was. In the old days you only got involved with a band members Dad if he had a van. So maybe it's true that the family who plays together stays together.  From my experience of playing with family members it's a nightmare so good luck there mate!
(copyright B Nicholls)

I think Brians saving for a strap!

He also asked if I could put out a request for contact with  Max "The Nub" Griffiths, former guitarist of Brumbeat group The D'Fenders.  I shudder to think how he got his nickname!!  Anyway if you are or know Max then please drop me a line and I'll pass on the contact details.

Next month will be our annual pilgrimage overseas to get all the up to date info of our old Brummie musos who moved location a tad!!

I'm sure there are many more BRUMMIES ABROAD who have not been in contact and would like to take the opportunity to get in touch with lost friends and bands so please drop me a line by the middle of the month and let me know what you're doing these days.

Right, that's it, I'm off to survey my days seed sprinkling, best knock up a quick Brandy and something.

Take Care you Guys, it's dangerous out there.


copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bulls Head Bob Mar 2015 - Gibson Rarities, Gibson J200 King of Rock and Gibson Chet Atkins CE. Have guitar will Travel....Paul Brunt.

Watcha Brummies and maties around the globe,

Spring is on the cusp of Springing and all is well with the world, if you forget about all the barbarous acts being conducted out in Russia and the Gulf....I shake my head, heavy in disbelief that the world has come to this.   

So anyway in last months blog I talked about the great Tanglewood acoustic guitars quality and playability at an affordable price.
I have gone to the other end of the price scale for this time around with a couple of classy rarities.
One thing is sure, if you are going to pay a lot of dosh for a guitar,
then you should consider it's likely value in the years to come.
If you buy a stock Gibson or Martin today you will surely enjoy playing a quality instrument for your lifetime but it is highly unlikely to become a diamond treasure of the future, only some instruments are destined for this, with the forecast value being based upon it's rarity or style and it's condition.   The way to do it is to buy something that was available only in small numbers and here are a couple of guitars that fit that bill nicely.

If you are a fan of the birth of rock and roll like me, you want to be able to get the sound that was made back then.   Eddie Cochran, without doubt, had the best recorded guitar sounds of all for the time, especially the acoustic sound of Summertime Blues and C'Mon Everybody.
Elvis of course was the most prevalent influence upon the youth of the late fifties and early 60's and had some nice guitars made especially for him, one of those guitars was the Gibson J200, finished in black with personalised mother of pearl inlays.  This one of a kind guitar had been a personal gift from a fan named Jim Curtin in 1974 and he had Elvis' name inlaid into the neck with two crowns and finished in black lacquer.

The crown emblem denoted his reign as the King of Rock and Roll and would be rockers would drool over photos of Elvis wielding such a beautiful thing.  The original guitar is one of those on display at Graceland.  

In 1996 Gibson remade this fabulous guitar in a limited edition run of 250, and replaced the Elvis name with more crowns as fret markers, and you had to be mighty lucky to get hold of one.   It has to be said that you also had to have a pocket full of dosh as the Sale price was around 3500 dollars.  There will be NO more of this model made.

The guitar is made of sitka spruce with the back and sides made of maple and the fretboard ebony.   The headstock is a thing of beauty.  It has wonderfully hidden pickup controls so as not to spoil it's lines and comes with a serial numbered certificate of authenticity.

There is a host of guitar collectors who sadly, never play these beautiful things but would rather stick them in a hermetically sealed cave, high in the hills, until their mint condition value becomes just another saleable commodity, no love attached.   This guitar is much sought after with the first 50 of the model being more desirable than others so you would count yourself very fortunate lucky if you own one of the early numbers.

Only someone who can play and who loves music would have bought it to play.

From one great Gibson to another of their rarities, The Chet Atkins CE (Classical Electric).   A chambered mahogany body, nylon strung guitar made initially and especially for Chet Atkins which gets the blood racing for us "pickers". Gibson really made this guitar well with its unequalled electrics delivering a truly believable acoustic sound.  Chet Atkins was one of the first real guitar hero's for us kids of the 60's.  He was the greatest of pickers and I along with others 'sort of' learnt "Trambone" or other easier type of picking tunes to get ourselves through the basics , all the time improving our techniques.  Once you had done that it made playing the picking music of the Blues a bit easier once that came along.

Essentially though, this is an electric, solid body classical guitar and it's tonal range is phenomenal and subtle, a really special 'one off'
for us to play if you can find one that is, they ceased production in 2006.  The impressive tone controls are placed nicely and they are incredibly responsive.  This has been used by Brian May, Mark Knopfler and many other great players.

Like the Elvis 'King of Rock' this is a real rarity and definitely one for the collectors or musicians alike...I'd love one!

It would certainly be great to have a guitarist in your band that had, let's say, a Fender 60th anniversary Stratocaster and these two great guitars because surely he must be good.   It would be even better if he had been around for a few years and had played all those classic songs of the 60's and had gigged at all those great Brumbeat gigs too with great acts.

Well your wish is my command.......Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:
Have Guitars will Travel
Paul Brunt.......Gis a Job!!
Paul was one of those Brummie 60's guitarists who was very active on the 60's scene and has played with Johnny Neal and The Starliners, Lee Stevens and The Satellites and Jimmy Powell back in the day, so he ain't short of experience AND he's looking for a group or duo to join!!!

Here's a picture of Paul with Lee Stevens and The Satellites, Paul second from right, taken at Aston University where the band were gigging with The Spencer Davis Group during those heady winklepicker days.

Paul stopped playing music seriously in 1970, his last gig being with Johnny Neal at The Rum Runner.   He had become disenchanted with the scene, which isn't surprising as the band scene was on the wane and disco was on the horizon, enough to make anyone say "enough is enough". 
He sold his kit to Jones and Crossland which consisted of two VOX AC30 amps a Stratocaster and a Gibson 335 that he had purchased from Martin Baggot of The Applejacks, Paul said it went for peanuts and, like us all, regrets not having had the foresight to keep the guitars.  

GIS A JOB Paul got a 'proper job' just round the back of The Bulls Head in the scaffolding industry and made a hugely successful career for himself travelling the world a couple of times.   Then during a night out with his wife watching a band he sort of got the urge again and she kindly bought him the King of Rock J200 for his 50th Birthday, from then he played at parties and social gatherings but also really started to get his interest back, honing his skills with some help from a good music teacher.  His guitar collection grew from then on and he has chosen superbly in his purchases and is currently upgrading his Stratocaster pickguard to his satisfaction.   Now, he has the time and his beautiful collection of guitars to get back playing again if he can find someone or some band who may be interested in getting together for a chat.  

He has a liking for music of The Eagles, Beatles, James Taylor Stevie Wonder and an assortment of other classy guitarists. That sort of rules out Thrash Metal and Hip Hop but if you are on the lookout for a good guitarist with brilliant kit and a great history of playing with top line Brummie bands then you only have to make contact with me or John Woodhouse on the BRUMBEAT.Net webpage and we will forward your details to Paul.

"Well since my Baby left me"........I can almost hear it playing.

Congratulations to Bob Styler on the arrival of his Custom shop 339..

I'm on kitchen duty today, Mrs Bob is having over the Ladies of The Third Age for a Tarot Reading session, I'm in charge of vol au vants, or "Sick in Pastry" as I refer to them and have also been assigned the duty of passing about the dry sherry,  we only had half a bottle so I've decanted the sherry along with some cheap but potent honey licquer, I bought back from a dirty weekend in France, and half a bottle of Gin.  I've left it with them so they'll believe anything after they've drunk that lot, there's already the sound of raucous hooting coming from the living room.   

Take Care

Copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Bulls Head Bob Feb 2015. Inside the Bulls Head! Bobs Christmas Present. TANGLEWOOD. Euromania.

Howdee doodee Brummies, Brumettes and my Global Mates.  

Thanks for dropping in to the Snug,

INSIDE THE BULLS HEAD...well a bit of the Stage!
For some years now I have been longing to get a photo of inside the Bulls Head, Coventry Road.  I do have one but it's a close up of a guitarist on stage so you can only see the wallpaper behind his head.  As luck would have it Pete Trickett, drummer for Formula 1 and Stacks has sent me another photo with him playing on stage there, with Formula 1, it's not much in terms of  being descriptive but it is slightly more informative than the wallpaper shot I have.  It also has Bassist Mel Stanton's winklepicker shoes making an appearance and the PA speakers balanced on a chair which itself, is balanced on a table on the stage.   Perhaps you have a photo of the venue?  if so please get in touch, I know there are many people who would love to see the place again.  If you haven't read the story of Formula 1's brush with success then click Here:  FORMULA 1

copyright P Trickett

For the past three years I have featured my latest musical Christmas present and this year is no exception.   Mrs Bob listens to the cheapest of my year-long hints at what I would like, but like clockwork always passes on the 1958 Les Paul, can't understand it, she could quite easily take out another mortgage!

My taste for music is largely driven by the Blues and Bluegrass
the former is what I like to play on stage with others,
electrically, and the latter is what I like to play acoustically on my own, or with others on the porch with a few beers and some harmonies.   I might be guilty of exaggerating the mental picture of us singing on the porch though.   I've only got a small porch that covers the front door but it  does save on beer costs!
There is a gross misunderstanding of Bluegrass, it is not Country and Western which was manufactured in the 50's with sickly sweet lyrics about truck drivers, dying dogs and being in prison for the "lurve of a gud woooman". 

There is one thing for sure though, without these two music styles there would never have been rock and roll so don't knock it.
As the Blues from the Delta represented the repression and hard times of the southern Black plantation workers, Bluegrass was the very heart of those early poor Irish, Scots and English settlers in the Kentucky region of the USA, the Bluegrass name being derived from the tall savanna grass that has small blue flowers.   These isolated settlers had a hard and remote life and their only access to music and other living beings was the Sunday church meetings that they had to make a long journey for and those traditional folk songs they bought with them, in their heads.   

Fiddles, banjos and mandolins were the instruments small enough to take on those long voyages across the Atlantic and of those three, the Mandolin is the instrument I like the most and that is what Mrs Bob bought for me this year. However when she gave it to me she said under no condition was I to grow a beard and start wearing Checkered shirts.

OK, It's a Tanglewood, it's a beginners model, but Tanglewood have made a nice job of it and I am already finding my way through the scales and chords, I shall be working hard towards rewarding myself with an upgrade when I think I deserve it.

Levon Helm and The Band come to mind as soon as I pick it up "Oh to be home again, back in ol' virginny"......

Having to re-visit again the flat picking style of playing this instrument has benefited my guitar playing a lot too, it has really loosened up my right wrist.   It's tuned the same as a violin too so, if you can master this, you could theoretically play the fiddle.
Go ahead expand your mind. 
For the past 15 years I have been the owner of a Tanglewood SJ5 electro acoustic guitar which I LOVE, I really do.
Bobs Babies
This was recommended to me whilst I was visiting a guitar shop.   I played it without knowing a thing about the then new company, other than they were British, but I fell in love with it almost straight away, it fitted my hand like it was made for me and everyone who hears it likes it too.   I was in the market for a new acoustic and had been trying the normal quality brands but none of them really gripped me.  I nearly didn't buy it because it wasn't a well known brand at the time but am really glad I did.  I strongly recommend Tanglewood acoustics, so don't be biased that a hefty price tag means a better guitar, this company makes great sounding guitars.   

So if you are on the lookout for a good acoustic, there are second hand SJ5's that come up for sale on EBay or other sites and go for between 180 and 250 pounds, normally with a hard case too.  This is a seriously good guitar and definitely worth buying.

The bedlam going on in Euroland means that the value of the pound is at its highest for 7 years so now could be the time for you to get yourself something expensive and make a great saving to boot if you
buy from Germany or any other country operating with the Euro cheaper than you can get in the UK.  A couple of years back I bought a Laney VC30 from Germany and even then it was cheaper than anywhere else, including the UK, they have fixed postal rates which are cheap.  If you like the idea then the bigger stores like Music Store and Thomann have large stocks.   I would normally recommend going to a guitar shop but these days with soaring prices you have to take advantage of savings whenever they present themselves.

After suffering from countless years of abuse from the tribes of the Southern Jessies and big gobbed Yorkies about how we Brummies sound it does my heart good to know that the Brummie accent is currently the most liked!!   I love it and I Love being a Brummie too, there's grit in this City.  

It's February so remember you guys to get your other half something nice for Valentines day.  I'm getting Mrs Bob an expensive Mandolin, I'm sure she'll love it??


Copyright Bullsheadbob