Monday, 1 February 2016

BULLS HEAD BOB FEB 2016. Read this Quickly!! Cozy Powell. Young Blood. BRUM the 60's Drum Beat City.

Watcha you guys,

Well I can't think of a worse start to a year musician wise, in two months we have lost David Bowie, Lemmy Kilminster, Natalie Cole, Paul Cantner from Jefferson Airplane, who, as well as being a member of this hippy, trippy band also co-wrote "Wooden Ships" along with Stephen Stills and David Crosby, Glenn Frey from The Eagles, Buffin Griffin, drummer for Mott the Hoople, Tommy James (Tommy James and the Shondells), Kitty Kallen "Little Things Mean a Lot", Nick Clay (And the Beat Goes on), R&B legend Otis Clay, ex promoter and manager Robert Stigwood and we also lost Ed Stewart one of the founder DJ's of Radio One and lastly my favourite actor Alan Rickman.  

It has also sparked a false death report of Charlie Watts and for some bizarre reason people have only just found out about the passing of Joe Cocker and Crosby Stills and Nash drummer Dallas Taylor, who both died a year ago but have been included in some recent reports.

To be honest with you I'm surprised that I still find myself alive.   In fact you'd better read this quick just in case you don't make it to the end of the page. Could there have been a worse January? I don't think so.  What? stone me, as I'm tidying this blog up I've just heard that Terry Wogan, another founder DJ at Radio One has died too.

There has been a blue plaque awarded to Cozy Powell in Cirencester, his birth place.  Although a born native of "Ciren", and having played firstly with a local Cirencester band The Corals, Cozy was a regular drummer for Brummie bands and I first came across him in 1966/7 as the drummer for Young Blood, another Brummie band who had paid their musical dues in Germany and on the road doing the endless round of gigs and had recorded three or four singles.  Cozy was poached from Young Blood by Dave Ball and his brother Dennis, whose third brother Pete was the guitarist for Young Blood, to join them in The Ace Kefford Stand, a short-lived group formed by Chris Kefford after his departure from The Move.  That must have caused a bit of a domestic kerfuffle in the Ball residence.

I think everyone knows Cozy's rise to fame from then on.   It's heartening to see this award for a guy who was pretty genuine, a lot of fun and one hell of a drummer.

Brummie drumming legend Carl Palmer and the ol' left hander, Tony Iommi went along to represent us Brummies at the ceremony.   Really pleased about this plaque.

Brian May, Tony Iommi and Carl Palmer.

It's a reminder to me about what a good little band Young Blood 
were in the days when Cozy was their drummer.  I don't mean
that they were good because he was the dominant or commanding
factor about that group because they were simply a good band,
but he was a very tight drummer.
The band had done the German stints and playing in those
situations and long hours makes a really well glued, musical
band out of you, they had a good image, good looks and musicality.
I saw them  play a few times and they were a great Brummie 
band of the day.


I knew all the members of this band and we would meet up at the
normal nightclubs like The Elbow Room, Cedar or Rum Runner after 
gigs and have fun mingling and things.  They were another band that 
had a good shot at "Making the big time" but didn't quite do it, it was
strange days.  Good band and great guys.  John Woodhouse has 
written a Biography in conjunction with the band on Brumbeat.Net,
so for more info on this Brumbeat band 

BRUM -  60's Drum Beat City
The music of Birmingham in the sixties was gritty, it was the days of earthy R&B, Blues, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry rhythms.   There were loads of great drummers in Brum at the same time as Cozy too and without being disrespectful to his ability, he wasn't a rarity.  

We had, in no particular order during 1966-7
John Bonham
Pete York, John Bonham, Mike Kellie, Carl Palmer, Keith Smart, Phil Brittle, Jim Capaldi, Bev Bevan, Mac Poole, Kex Gorin and more....(I know I will have missed people out who will be offended so sorry, in advance).  
It may sound a little bit of a well hackneyed phrase to say that "Brum Rocked" but with that amount of drum talent driving the machine, it really did! and those are only some of the many good drummers that were around then.

Anyway, you could have seen these very impressive guys play on a regular basis at clubs and bars in the city with their various bands and I too would have been with three of them, at various times during that period, enjoying their musical company.

Mac Poole
From a guitarists perspective, the "Pre band PA" days when you put your kit on the stage and played without any amplification or alteration of sound was what made those R&B songs work so tightly in the clubs and dance halls we played at, because the drums natural volume, balanced sonically with 30 watt amplification at "10".  I can vividly recall seeing and hearing live, for the first
Stirchley Baths, Brumbeat Venue.
time a "proper" drummer.  The Brumbeat venue, Stirchley Baths, the drummer was Carlo Little and the band, 
Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages, not the limp sound of the 13/14 year old's I'd been used to playing with in my various and sundry Shadows type groups.    

It was exciting, crashing cymbals and deep tom-tom rhythmic sounds and growling bass and trebley guitars.  I was hooked.

The engine of any band is it's drummer and I'm pleased to say I had the chance to play with some of Brums best at the best time that there ever was for groups.  

Got some great new interesting stuff coming up in Brummies Abroad in April.

Get your loved one a Valentines Gift this month, it's cheaper and more enjoyable than a day of cold shoulder and hot tongue.

Tara a Bit

copyright:  BullsHeadBob

Friday, 1 January 2016

BULLS HEAD BOB JAN 2016. Bobs Xmas Gift - Eric Clapton Stratocaster mid boost system?

Happy New Year and all those other felicitations that people expect you to say at this time of the season and for my outer fringe followers here's the traditional Japanese felicitation for Plooki - "Akemashiteomedetogozaimasu" and for the Sisters of The Sparkhill Feminist League Theatre Group.... "Ihatemenallyear".

If you had read last months blog you would have known that I recently purchased a Fender Partscaster off EBay for 90 quid and was now hoping to receive a nice new set of pick ups as a Christmas present from Mrs Bob.

I don't like to know exactly what I'm getting for Christmas but, when necessary, I do like to influence and encourage someones gift decision, so had been slyly talking to myself, or pretending to be phoning someone and speaking in hushed tones, within her earshot during the few weeks leading up to Christmas so, confidence was high, as our American cousins would say. Certainly, Mrs Bob was giving me 'assured and knowing looks' when placing our gifts below the tree.   I could feel myself getting excited.

Although I didn't expect her to understand the concept fully, my main hint had been for a "fully loaded Eric Clapton mid-boost Stratocaster scratchplate", yours for around 160 quid which, added to the cost of the partscaster would total 250 pounds or thereabouts which is a ridiculously cheap way to get yourself a good sounding Fender guitar.

There are of course cheaper options for improving a set of under performing pick ups and the overall sound of your guitar, even changing the pick ups to some nice custom shop Texas specials that will give you a great Twang to your sound.  I mentioned this in my suggestive dialogue strategy, as it was an easier option for her to remember, a "box of pickups".

A couple of years back I upgraded my Squier telecaster pick ups to a set of dirty sounding ones from Ironstone, which were indeed a great bargain, and had thought that she may venture down this particular path as it was a cheaper option than the first.  Either way it would be an improvement for which I would be eternally grateful and there were packages under the tree that were the right size for either of these options.   

There was of course a third option and that was for her to buy me the mid-boost 'wire it up
yourself' kit for about 40 quid, but this is not something for those who can't use a soldering iron and I am one of those, so I hoped she didn't get me that.  Although, I had mentioned it too so it was the third option.

Now although our offspring, the Bobettes, left home years ago and got married and things I'm still a kid at heart and like to get up extremely early on Christmas morning to enjoy the ambiance, expectation and excitement of giving and receiving gifts, I don't like to miss a moment of it at all, Mrs Bob on the other hand, likes to lie in her bed come what may.   So up I got lit the fire, kicked the cat, took the dogs out for their walk then I made sure the living room was spic and span

and prepared a nice breakfast for me and Mrs Bob, and for this Christmas morning it was Eggs Benedict with crispy bacon on the side, coffee and Bucks Fizz.    The smell of bacon cooking prompted her to arise from her pit.  "Morning Mr Bob" she uttered, "A Bostin' Happy Christmas to you Bab" she said as a shaft of sunlight illuminated a rivulet of runny egg dripping from her chin.

We did the parent thing and phoned the Bobettes at their houses to make sure they were deep into the Christmas feeling and as we were now getting a little merry, having slurped all the bucks fizz, we adjourned to the living room to commence the highly anticipated gift giving bonanza, this time accompanied by a bottle of ruby port, warm mince pies and enough Quality Street to keep us fat for six years.  So, with Christmas music supplied by Sufjan Stevens making us all the merrier we commenced.

We started the proceedings with the usual exchange of selection boxes, hankies, pants and socks, building up the anticipation of the better items to come,  and better they were, new phone...nice, wow, a tablet!! this is getting good.  A glass or two of port plus half a selection box later there were just two packages under the tree, a large one for her and smallish one for me.  Must be the set of Texas pick ups judging by the box size.

I had gone to great lengths to buy Mrs Bob something that I knew she really wanted, as a reciprocal gesture for the pick ups that I would, no doubt, be unwrapping imminently.  It is true that in the past I have been a little guilty of buying her things that might not be warmly received by a lady, such as a wheelbarrow or a long roll of roofing felt for the garden shed, the gift that keeps on giving.   I thought I'd opt for something a little more personal and feminine. 

Now I know that she really likes educational gifts that challenge her mind and manual dexterity and which, in the end, give her another skill.
She had also mentioned during the year that she wanted to be more involved with my music, normally something best avoided as she has no idea about music or music terminology at all.  I have already made positive steps in that direction though and have trusted her with carrying my speaker cabinets and pushing the van so I don't want her to advance to anything that could be construed as "musical interference" just yet, shades of Spinal Tap enter my head at the mere thought, so it was a real tricky decision for me to get her something that would satisfy both her needs.

It took almost minutes to make a decision but I finally settled on this educational/music combo as her main gift:


A magnified soldering station set.  As she has failing eyesight I thought it best to spend the extra bit of money on the magnifier option to prevent her getting too many skin burns. I could picture her with a pile of broken cables and jack plugs, gaily laughing as she enjoyed contributing to my musical life, the smell of burning metal, the intricacy of delicate soldering, surely this was going to be her "year of years" gift wise?    She might even enjoy fitting in my new pick ups, a thought that hadn't crossed my mind until the moment of opening.

I felt proud that I'd gone the extra mile thought-wise for such a personal gift.

When she opened the gift her face was a picture.   She laughed as I had expected she would, her eye's were popping out of her head and her mouth could be described as someone experiencing a jaw dropping moment of amazement!!  
"Is this REALLY for me!?" she shouted excitedly,  "Yes my precious" said I, "All of it, the soldering iron itself hasn't arrived yet, but that will give you time to read the book first".    She was so overcome with joy she immediately phoned the Bobettes to spread the news.  "You'll never believe what your Dad's bought me?".

Last gift for me then......"Here you are, you deserve this Mr Bob" she said and passed me the box which was beautifully wrapped and tied with a red bow.  I could feel the adrenalin beginning to pump around my body and a bead of sweat formed on my brow, so excited was I. With one swift motion I stripped off the paper and there in front of me was



10 glass test tubes with a paper message in each one!  A hush fell over the room, even Sufjan paused his vocals as I let out an audible gasp, the sort of gasp that could be compared to the sound of a low flying jet, I think it was more a stifled scream really.  Mentally it all kind of happened in slow motion as I looked over at Mrs Bob who was now beaming with contentment.  She said "I heard you whispering on the phone to Nobber " then, "I knew it was what you wanted but I didn't expect you'd be that vocal about it, it was only a couple of quid". I felt my breathing start to quicken and my heart sinking so I quickly read all the uplifting phrases in one go, as a kind of mental amphetamine. They didn't work.

There should have been one that said "If you don't ask, you don't get".

I looked across at her and said  "How clever of you Mrs Bob and how thoughtful,
These are just what I needed", "Happy Christmas to one and all"

Best give Bob Styler at Stirchley Music Exchange a call.    

Happy New Year to You all.  Let's hope for some peace eh?


copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


What Ho you Brummies, Brummettes, Bobettes, My Japanese friend Plooki and
the Sparkhill Feminist league.

Yahoo!!!!!   The kitchen's finished, Mrs Bob is ecstatic and I am static...aching in every joint, gouges out of my delicate musician hands, paint still sticking some of hair together but I don't mind that, at least I still have hair, unlike some of my old contemporaries.     I can now relax and get into the spirit of the upcoming Christmas season.  
So....light the lights, start the music, warm up the mince pies and bring on the Brandy.


It's great to buy gifts for your loved ones and every year we have the same struggle for originality in our gift choices.  So, if you want to add a bit of a Brummie feel to your Christmas, here's a couple of small things that you could buy.


I've never been a great Jeff fan but do acknowledge that he has written some fabbo tunes in his time, right back from The Idle Race days.   This year has seen the release of his 'Alone in the Universe' CD and it is a nice piece of work, I have to say.   
Jeff has re-recruited Richard Tandy as the only surviving member from the original ELO into his new band and is doing gigs, I bet some of the old ELO band were sitting with crossed fingers hoping to get a call from His High Jeffness and were sick at being excluded from any future forays into the world of pop with the beardy one.

Anyway it's a nice CD so would be good in someones stocking no doubt.
It's been a long time since Jeff's early Brumbeat days with The Andicaps playing his old Burns sonic guitar.  

Jeff (r) with The Andicaps
This great CD is not Tony playing but is a tribute to him by other artists to celebrate his Black Sabbath days, when being Riffy didn't mean you had nits!!

All the proceeds from this CD go to the Macmillan Cancer Trust and is definitely a good CD to buy to help all those who are suffering from this illness and raising funds for this amazing charity is something which is close to Tony's heart. 

So if Metal is "yer bag man" then get one of these CD's right now!!!!  Happy Chriffmas Tony.

If you are in a mind to buy a loved one a musical instrument for Christmas or maybe buying a small stocking filler for your Muso mate then you can do no better than get it from one of Brums last independent music shops namely Stirchley Music Exchange located on the Pershore Road where great personal service is a guarantee!    Moreover, if you are new to music and not familiar with music terminology or what the 'tech specs' of a certain make of instrument are, you won't find yourself being 'talked down to' buy some faceless member of staff of some big music shop.

Steve Warburton or Bob Styler are always at hand to help with any enquiries. Bob has been playing music since I can remember and he is, 100 per cent, a Brumbeater of the old school having been vocalist for The Yamps and Traction.   I have to warn you though that owing to his later days doing cabaret he might tell you one or two of his jokes whilst you're in the shop. Crap they might be, but on Christmas Day as you pull your cracker and read the motto inside you'll see where he got most of his act from.

The shop deals mainly in
entry-level guitars but also stocks an amazing range of small things that the bigger shops don't stock and has a range of second hand musical instruments where you can find a REAL gem of a bargain rather than buy something new and nasty for the same price.

A recent sale at the shop was for a vintage Gibson ES125 signed by BB King AND Peter Green that had been brought in to sell, so you never know what's available unless you get your ass down there and have a look.   You might even get a cup of coffee but doubt if they will run to mince pies. 
"Well Hello there, it's been a long, long time".
The opening line to "Ain't it Funny How Time Slips Away", a favourite song of
mine, is one that was on my mind today as I wrote this bit of the blog because today was Brenda Bosworth's funeral.   

Birmingham's own 'Little Miss Dynamite", reflecting her similarity in stature and voice of the USA's Brenda Lee, sadly passed away recently.   I think she was probably the first female singer that all the musicians in Birmingham respected during the late fifties and early sixties, a time when most female singers in the UK were quite lightweight in their vocal styles and only a very few ever got to make a big name for themselves.
It's a shame that she didn't.......the original pocket rocket, her voice was three times the size of her diminutive frame and had a natural tinge of that motown sound.

Brenda had been in several bands in her time and supported The Beatles during their, Love Me Do and Please Please Me days, whilst being the vocalist for The Grasshoppers and spent some time talking with The Beatles back stage with
John seemingly being the chattiest of the group.  She was a soulful singer in the same style that Aretha
Franklin sang and during Brenda's days with Traction she shone in front of that "Brass heavy" sound of the big band.

In the very first blog I wrote many years back I stated the she was the best vocalist from Brum bar none.   Times and styles have changed vastly since those Brumbeat days when she was at her best and really set the stage alight.  I'm sure she could have held her own with anyone today.

She spent many years after the Traction days playing the working men's clubs, cranking out covers and standards as part of the cabaret group Fruit and Nuts which, incidentally also featured guitarist, Mick Adkins, a former member of The Andicaps along with Jeff Lynne.   I thought she was wasted doing that but she enjoyed every minute of it and the folks she sang to enjoyed every minute of her too, she was a lovely Brummie, with a great Brummie sense of humour. 
Bye Brenda and thanks for the times that I stood, mesmerised, by your amazing voice and charmed by your wonderful character.
Brenda Bosworth and top left Mick Adkins
About a month ago I was browsing on EBay, dreaming of what Mrs Bob might want to buy me for Christmas, as you do, and whilst looking at all those beautiful instruments for sale, I came across a Partscaster with a starting price of 90 pounds.   It comprised of a Fender Licensed Maple neck attached to a Fender Squier sunburst Stratocaster body.   

It was pretty late at night and I'd had a couple of beers and some herbal jazz, so my judgement could have been considered 'impaired' in the parlance of the boys in blue, but I couldn't get over the fact that there were no bids for it.   To buy the neck alone would have been around 80 to 100 pounds, so I thought, well if the electrics are crap which they normally are, then I'll change them as I had done with a Classic Vibe Telecaster a couple of years ago, so with the last seconds counting down and no bids above 90 quid I bought it.   

The guitar duly arrived and I am more than pleased with it and although the electrics work OK they do lack a little depth so I have now been looking at replacement electrics and have been "talking to myself" within earshot of Mrs Bob saying what a wonderful Christmas it would be if I can open a box on Christmas Day and feast my eyes on some new pick ups.  I don't know if my ploy will work but, if so, I will then set work to make this little bargain my own. 
If not I will be be going to Stirchley Music Exchange to see how they can help me out, I'm sure I heard that Bob Styler had the Clapton mid boost taken out of his Strat so maybe there's a deal in the offing there.

I'm looking forward to this challenge and will keep you informed of my progress after the New Years festivities.

It wouldn't be the Christmas blog without my card to Oggie.  Oggie doesn't believe in Christmas or in Father Christmas either!!! As you may know, my cards of the past have been mostly of scantily clad young ladies, in an effort to cheer him up a bit.

This year I have taken into consideration his age and the consequences of what a scantily dressed blonde might do to his heart rate and so have come up with the perfect solution and practical too.  I have decided to give him something he could well do with.....every old mans friend, a HAND WARMER for him to use on Christmas Day when he's traipsing down the road to the pub to meet up with those other sad gits who don't celebrate Christmas either. So: 


NO NO NO!!!! I can't do that to him. 

Here is the alternative Hand Warmer Oggie, being demonstrated by Father Christmas himself, what better way to keep your spirits up and your hands warm:  Happy Christmas mate.

So folks despite the troubles in this world, that seem to be on the boil at the moment, we can only live one day at a time so make sure you and your loved ones are safely tucked in for the winter months and spare a thought for those who are not as fortunate as you.

A special Happy Christmas to John Woodhouse, the Skiffle King, Nobber and the Gang of Four at the boozer and all those musicians, be they angels or devils, from my past as a Brumbeat musician.

Bless you all.


Copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Sunday, 1 November 2015

BULLS HEAD BOB Nov 2015. I Love Bass Players. Rumble at the Pie Stand. The Killer live.

Howdoooooo  Brummies,

There's nothing more that could rouse from my bed quicker than Mrs Bob saying
"Bob what's in the Blog this month, my little choochie?".... the realisation that, still owing to ongoing works in the new kitchen, I hadn't written a word and now it's 6 o'clock in the morning of the 1st of the month!!  After an assortment of several expletives and a loud howl as I kicked, barefoot, the leg of the bed as I hotfooted it into the bloggery.   As I entered the computer had a screen saver flashing saying "You've done it now Bob!! Blog!!

Just after The Beatles broke up John Lennon wrote a song called "Instant Karma" which he composed, recorded and issued as a single all on the same day. So with that as my inspiration and a throbbing toe here goes......Goodness me what can I talk about right now to save being sent into the shed of shame for unblog-like behaviour.  

Not the normal type of phrase I use when talking about Bassists but would like to say thanks a lot to the 418 bass players that visited the blog last month in response to someone mentioning my BASS PLAYERS SPECIAL in the forum.  You're very welcome guys and if you too are a bassist and didn't read this then click below, or get your carer to do it for you.


Alex's Pie Stand, famous haunt for criminals, hookers, bikers and musicians and assorted night people of Brum during the 50's and 60's has, once again, featured in a new book called  "The Accidental Gangster" written about a feud between the  notorious London mobsters, the Kray Twins and the Fewtrell Brothers, the latter being the brothers that owned the famous Cedar Club and others where us muso's met up after gigs.  

The book is written by the son-in-law of one of the Fewtrell brothers so I guess it's pretty factual and features an apparent 'Rumble' at the Snow Hill Pie Stand between 50 Kray family bruisers and the same amount of Fewtrell bouncers and associated thugs after the Krays had made move on the Fewtrells patch.
Now I never knew this happened but can just picture the scene as some skinny musician is trying to buy a meat and potato pie as bodies are flying through the air like the Crazy 88 scene from Kill Bill.  Did it happen? some say yes and others say no.  Perhaps you were that skinny, sweaty muso clutching your crusty pie and running for the confines and security of the van.

So if your Granny is into mindless violence, which bizarrely is all they seem to have a penchant for, then now is the time to buy it to pop under the Christmas tree this year.  Packet of boiled sweets, book of violence, sugar, what a cornucopia of delights for Gran.

When I say The Killer it is not as a continuation of the above piece but is in 
respect of the amazing Jerry Lee Lewis.  I featured JLL in last months blog and was glad to hear from Norm Crandles to say that The Satelites had been the support band for Jerry Lee at The Adelphi in Brum during his second time
visiting the UK following the outrage the year before when he was found to have married his 13 year old cousin....always found it funny that Elvis never suffered from such indignation when he installed a very young Priscilla in Graceland?

Norm:    " Jerry Lee Lewis was due on stage at 9 o'clock and the place was packed with Teddy Boys and Teddy girls, all awaiting his arrival.  The audience weren't interested in us and were even less interested on hearing that Jerry was going to be an hour late owing to bad traffic.  We continued playing with an undercurrent of anger at the non appearance of their hero at the appointed hour.   On his arrival with his bassist and drummer they asked to use The Satelites amps and stuff and the band willingly obliged.

The Killer took to the stage and blew the place apart with his energetic on-stage antics, all watched from the wings by Norm and Maggie his wife.

"He was electrifying and the audience were all going wild and following the show Jerry Lee then sat on the edge of the stage giving autographs and talking to the kids there.  "He was certainly not the angry, unmanageable type of person that he has always been portrayed as, he came and thanked us all personally for letting him use our kit too.  What a nice guy."

Now I've met my fair share of famous musicians but I would have swapped them all to have had this meeting.....wish that had been me, great one Norm.

Well guys, sorry, this "Instant Blogga" may be short and sweet but like they say the Pony Express always gets through.

Enjoy this lovely Sunday...go out and buy your other half a surprise gift.

Take Care
Bob...The King of Grouting.

Copyright: Bullsheadbob

Thursday, 1 October 2015


Watcha Brummies, mates, mate-ettes and Sundry Visitors,

I am still up to my armpits in building work.  You know when you have that thought buzz through your head "I bet I could knock down that wall and...etc etc....this weekend, I'll have it all painted by the weekend after".  It's all bollocks, you would think that after years of falling into the same trap that I would have developed a little common sense and not taken this path of self destruction, committing myself and my thin wallet to sure oblivion.  Mrs Bob is in full 'buzz' though picking brushed chrome fittings and things to adorn the room of culinary delights.   So, in advance, I apologise for the short length of this months blog.  I'm under the cosh to deliver the goods, kitchen wise and it's full steam ahead in the Bob household....Still, they say the best things come in small packages so I hope you appreciate this little jewel of Brumbeat memories.

I've decided that I have 'niched' the niche-market in sundry visitors and
for the sake of equality have included them in my monthly salutations so they feel needed.   Oh shit!  I didn't mention the Sparkhill Feminist Sisters Group, and they always have a knee jerk reaction to anything I might do or in this particular case, what I didn't say, and for sure they'll be bearing placards in some street or other, shouting for "Total Inclusion in Everything" as a result of my error, then the Police will be called to quell their "Acting about in funny manner Sarge" and with my Nephew being a Policeman who normally earns his living glaring at people outside Villa Park, he could be injured by a hurled feminist bahgee!   Flippin heck, you have to be so careful of what you say these days.
Luckily in the older days, that is to say the 50's, when men were men and women were grateful, none of this PC stuff applied.  That was in the days when we saluted the greats of Rock and Roll, surely the key to today's modern versions of the great songs like Heartbreak Hotel and Move It.   My overriding favourite Rock n Roller is always a toss up between the immaculate Little Richard and 'The Killer' Jerry Lee Lewis and this week we celebrated Jerry Lee's 80th birthday.    I still include Great Balls of Fire in my set and occasionally, High School Confidential too.   
Jerry Lee played two 'Farewell'concerts in the UK one in London and the other Glasgow.   Jerry Lee did not fail to impress.

The music was never out of fashion for me and in the late 60's there was a slight re-birth of Rock and Roll music which was championed by The Move amongst others and their set included several Eddie Cochran songs including, 'Weekend" and "Something Else".

It was only appropriate that the Move should have great success with Fire Brigade with it's Duane Eddy like guitar opening phrase and were the current market trend setters of the time

Much has been written about the Pie Stand in Birmingham for the late nighters looking for a pie and a cup of tea in the small hours.  Before it became synonymous with groups meeting up there it was really a place for bikers gatherings and I must thank Vince P for getting in touch with me to send a couple more photos of the place showing a gathering of it's previous occupants prior to the 'groups' phase.  My brother in law would have been one of those bikers and could even be in this picture:

Well I can't spot any groups here, outside of the bikers there is only one older guy on the right probably thinking "I don't know what this country has come to?", he should have been there during the Flower Power phase of the Summer of Love, with all the bands there in  their flowery attire he would have been truly alarmed.  Pansies is the word that might have entered his head!

Now not only were the Bikers and Teddy Boys regulars there but they took over the shrine of Birmingham Brumbeat, that is The Bulls Head on the Coventry Road after Disco came along and ruined all those great live performance venues.  Here I must thank Vince again for bringing a video clip from the Mace Archive to my attention.  The Dance Hall that was the Bulls Head was renamed as The Hideaway Club and in 1973 Chris Tarrant Interviewed a group of 'Teds' outside the building, as it was destined to be shut down.  

It is the same frontage that every Brummie group of any quality would have stepped through and when I first saw it I felt a real tinge of nostalgia, even though it was just a quick shot of the entrance.   Anyway it is the only thing piece of video footage I've ever seen and I hope it brings back some fleeting memories to some of you.

Here is the clip:   THE BULLS HEAD ON VIDEO

I'm on the way back to the kitchen, just how lucky do I feel?

Cheers from here in the bloggery and I hope to regale you with something a little more substantive next month.

Have a Hug

Copyright:  Bullsheadbob

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Hi Brummies at home and abroad,

Well great to see the country doing so well at the World Championships and the Womens Hockey, and of course the Ashes, and on top of that, it looks like the Mighty Villa have the makings of a great team this season.   Look at me, I've gone sports mad, Mrs Bob is rummaging through her stuff looking for her leotard, I thought it wise not to tell her that it's in the shed, I've used it to hang my marrows in and it works a treat, holds 4. 

The great thing is, she'll be happy for hours searching the house?

Well, in dribs and drabs, I seem to be getting some more interior shots of the Bulls Head, Coventry Road.  This time with my thanks again to Pete Trickett for sending me some photos of Formula 1 performing there.  

The first photo shows Pete Trickett, drums, Mel Stanton, Bass and 
Paul Stevens, rhythm guitar.
These photos were of Formula 1's last gig together at the shrine of Brumbeat, The Bulls Head.

It is pertinent to note the hairstyles of the band compared to those of the guys visible in the audience, still with sideburns and slicked back, so this would have been early Beatles days.

There's some really nice kit on stage there.
After this gig the band broke up with Pete and 
Mel joining up with Richard Tandy, in his guitar playing days, and Derry Ryan to form the band Stacks who used be regulars on stage at The Rum Runner.   Interestingly Richard bought Paul Stevens black telecaster from him for 50 quid, how much would you pay these days for a 1964/5 Telecaster????

Pictured Right, but on the left hand side of the stage is lead guitarist Keith Hughes with his very nice, and very early Stratocaster, looks like a red one too, tight trousers, winklepickers and roll neck sweater, all the rage then.

I can't thank you enough Pete, hopefully there are some more Photos out there of this iconic place.  Maybe you've got a couple?


Between 1963 and 64 Burns made the very nice, albeit bulky, TR2 , I wouldn't say that it was warmly liked by guitarists, perhaps because of it's large body size, but it was a model I liked a lot. I particularly liked the hidden controls under the scratchplate. A nice touch of style.

At the same time a New York department store called 
St George started selling it's own brand of 'St George' guitars, they were all Japanese imports of the Shiro Musical Instrument Manufacturing Factory, much like the guitars of Fenton Weill and EKO etc and they produced several guitars for St George including the "Ernani St George" which bears a remarkable resemblance to the TR2.

This very rare 1965 guitar was recently sold on EBay and on closer inspection it really does seem to be made from a selection of odds and sods from the Japanese factory, the neck looks like those fitted to the old futuramas and the pick ups, whilst not the same as the TR2, do bear a resemblance to the Burms Sonic and as there was no other guitar body of this shape about then I have to assume that it was a straight design copy.  

The body is an absolute clone of the TR2 and it too, had its controls under the scratchplate.

A couple of months back I announced the passing of old mate Mac Poole and now a sad start to this month too with the news that great all round Walsall musician, Bill Bonham who passed away last week.    I thought that it would be a good time for us to revisit the piece I did on Bill a year or so ago, right from his start in the world of music.  So with no apologies for repeating myself:


copyright (B Bonham)
It looks like any other early sixties designed pub, with it's country-cottage style chimney and all very angular and G Plan.   There was a ballroom on the left of the building that had not been added at the time of this photo.   This boozer was as important to Walsall as The Bulls Head, on the Coventry Road was, in Birmingham.   All the midlands great bands played here.   The pub in question is The "3 Men in a Boat" and for historically excellent bands like The Redcaps and The N'Betweens this was 'Home territory". 

If you were a very young aspiring musician it would have been the perfect place to grow up in and learn from the 'bigger boys'.   Therefore, it was not surprising that the young man who actually lived at this pub from the age of 10, and had the opportunity to absorb all that melting pot of music, became one of the midlands premier musicians. I talk about Bill Bonham, organist and pianist.   Bill had received classical musical training from the age of 6 and by his teenage years was '"the hot kid on the block", his playing being influenced by the jazz greats, the classics and acts like Graham Bond with his growling R&B.

"My Father always had different types of bands and combos at the pub and I could always talk to them about music and they would be very generous towards me.   I used to hang around whilst the various bands were setting up and I walked in one day when the Redcaps just started a soundcheck ........I was mesmerised and I think I closed my open mouth about twenty seconds after they had stopped playing, "I wanna do that" flashed through my head!!
"A jazz combo pointed me in the direction of Charlie Parker and I remember when I first heard him play I thought he was God"

Bill Bonham (right)
From his early teen years Bill went through the normal course of joining and forming groups, playing saxophone with the first band then moving on to a Hohner electric piano/Farfisa organ with a Selmer Twin Thunderbird 50 and finally a Hammond L100 with a Vox T60, his reputation as a good musician going before him.  It came as no surprise that by the tender age of 17 he was in one of the best bands on the planet at that time and that was the Terry Reid Group.   It is well known that Terry Reid was the first choice as vocalist for the soon to be, Led Zeppelin but due to other commitments he turned it down and referred Jimmy Page to Robert Plant, who at that time, was in the band Obs Tweedle with Bill.   Plant returned the favour to Reid by recommending Bill for his own group and the die was cast.

The great sound of Reid's 3 piece band, his amazing voice apart, was built on the same structure as The Doors, that is with dominant keyboards and no bass player, "I used a Fender Rhodes Bass piano or the Hammond organ foot pedals to provide the bass lines". 

The Terry Reid band were signed to Mickie Most and when Reid became ill,
Most wasted no time in utilising Bill's great musicianship in the recording studio with the likes of The Hollies and Donovan.   "I did a tour of GB with Donovan which was a nightmare, we had rehearsed his set for a couple of weeks before going out on the tour and on the opening night at the Hammersmith Odeon we played the first song and then he started playing songs I'd never heard before for the rest of the set!!, luckily I have a good ear and was able to follow him but really had no idea what was coming next.   Mickie Most was horrified"

Following his time with Terry Reid, Bill returned to Birmingham and played with a resident band in the Rum Runner and some others, eventually going to RADA to complete his musical training before moving to the USA. 

There is one final thing that I should make clear.  It is not unreasonable to think that he was related to John Bonham given that they are both Brummies but in fact they were not related at all, it was simply a bit of fun on both their parts to tell people they were cousins.  John Woodhouse has already done a more detailed feature on Bill Click Here and unfortunately succumbed to the Bonham dynasty in-joke, never mind John, you had to be there to know it!!

On the face of it, it appears that Bill made some cool and groovy decisions during his playing days but we all make the occasional mistake and he is no exception:
(Bill Bonham top right with Fairfield Ski - copyright B Bonham)
Complete with the RickWakeman cloak...No wonder he buggered off to the States!!  

Bill was a serious and massively talented musician and went on to make a successful career for himself in the US with the Disney Corporation.   I'm sure that those of us who knew him will keep him in our thoughts for a long time.
Anyway, Ladies and Gents I give you, Bill of the best, God Bless. 

Just to remind you of how good he was here's a clip of Bill jamming with a California below

Recently on 'Midlands TV Today' there was a clip of Moody Blues bassist John Lodge re-visiting his old family home before playing a gig somewhere in Brum.   He talked about buying his first guitar from a guy who lived nearby called Brian Nicholls for 2 pounds 10 shillings.

Now the Brian Nicholls ex 'Varsity Rag' who has featured here on the blog several times has been inundated with phone calls and e mails asking him about it and though Brian was raised in Perry Bar and John Lodge in Erdington he said "I have not actually confirmed or denied it so, why spoil a good story with the truth?"........plausible deniability but with a possibility that it might be true if John Lodge had got it wrong?

Take Care you lovely people....


Copyright: Bullsheadbob