Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Welcome to Peter Clemon's Coventry Music Articles

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




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

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

video
Two Tone Central Skirmish
Music by Trev Teasdel
Photos of the Coventry Music Museum run by Pete Chambers
Do visit the museum if you are in Coventry - website





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

NEW


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands and Artists
Meanwhile a huge A to Z of Coventry bands and artists can be found (again in development) here https://sites.google.com/site/bandsfromcoventry/

No-Man – Returning Jesus



No-Man – Returning Jesus
By Pete Clemons

No-Man are: Steven Wilson Tim Bowness



No-Man – Returning Jesus

I guess we could all make that great claim for a great band yet to be discovered. One that has been around for a while, that’s totally gotten into your soul, while all around nobody but nobody seems to bring them up in conversation.

Well for me that band is No-Man. And their splendid release from 2001 ‘Returning Jesus’, is getting a whole new makeover. In addition the original album will be accompanied by a host of other tracks recorded during the ‘Returning Jesus’ sessions.

Formed in the early part of 1990, eclectic art rock trio No-Man - previously known as ‘No Man Is an Island (Except the Isle Of Man)’. At the core of the band was vocalist Tim Bowness, Ben Coleman on Violin and Steven Wilson on guitars and keyboards.

No-Man released their first self-financed single ‘Colours’ in August of the same year. A sensuous reworking of a Donovan original, it quickly achieved the attention of the music press.

A second single ‘Days in the Trees’ described as ‘an ambitious attempt at fusing timeless classical grandeur and modern dance momentum’ achieved similar critical success and set the musical agenda for what was to follow.

The albums, ‘Lovesighs – An Entertainment’ released April 1992 and ‘Loveblows and Lovecries – A confession’ released May 1993, confirmed the promise of No-Man’s early singles and solidified their reputation as a creative entity and an ability for combining the extremes of pop and added experimentalism.

Among those who recognised the bands potential were ex-Japan members Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri and Mick Karn, who toured as No-Man’s backing band in October 1992 and contributed to the ‘Loveblows and Lovecries’ album.

During 1994 No-Man released their next album ‘Flowermouth’. During the sessions for the album the band lost violinist Ben Coleman who had made significant contributions towards it. No-Man would also stop performing live in 1994 and would not return to the live stage again until 2006.

‘Flowermouth’ featured significant contributions from Robert Fripp, Mel Collins, Steve Jansen and Lisa Gerard and further enhancing No-Man’s growing reputation.

And understandably, I guess, as the profile and workload of Steven Wilson’s other band ‘Porcupine Tree’ grew the less you began to hear of No-Man. Despite that new releases did continue to appear. During 1996 the album ‘Wild Opera’ was released soon to be followed by a companion release ‘Dry Cleaning Ray’ in 1997. A clear change of direction was noticeable with these releases. Gone had the more ‘danceable’ rhythms and in came darker, more powerful, jazzier tempos.

I personally cannot remember the initial release of ‘Returning Jesus’ as being heralded in in any great fashion. It had kind of evolved over four years or so after an EP of new material titled ‘Carolina Skeletons’ appeared in 1998. In an old newsletter released by the band during September 1999 mentioned that the much delayed new album, formerly titled ‘Lighthouse’ had been completed. It featured Steve Jansen, Colin Edwin, Ian Carr, Theo Travis, Ben Christophers and Ian Dixon and would be released early 2000. And then another newsletter from April 2000 simply mentioned that the new album would be available later that year. And then I remember at a Porcupine Tree gig I attended in Northampton during the early part of 2001, there it was on the ‘merch desk’.

A shimmering introduction soon to be followed by Ian Carr’s unmistakeable trumpet opens up ‘returning Jesus’ on a track called ‘Only Rain’. And through to its finale, the stunningly beautiful ‘All That you Are’ this is indeed as fine an album that I have ever heard.

‘Returning Jesus’ is as powerful and intense as it is delicate. And upon re-release it will be out there once again, just waiting to be discovered by a whole new generation of listeners. And its re-release date just happens to coincide with Steven Wilson’s 50th birthday.






Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tim Bowness, Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham - 30 September

Tim Bowness, Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham - 30 September

by Pete Clemons


It is not often I can say that I have attended a gig where not one song performed throughout the entire evening has been from a latest release.

But then this is Tim Bowness who, in terms of performing, is a kind of enigma to me. His gigs are few and far between, you don’t quite know what to expect. But what you can rely on is that the whole event will be a mixture of enjoyment and intensity and performed alongside a band that has wonderful dexterity.

Tim Bowness is probably best known as vocalist and co-writer with No-Man, a long-running collaboration with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree. And despite the lack of new material on offer this evening this was an almost faultless performance that left you feeling drained.

The gig itself formed part of a weekend of music and chat called the ‘Seventh Wave Electronic Music Festival’ and this particular evening was divided into to two sets. And accordingly the first set was totally taken up by a 30 minute plus layered, textured and improvised piece.

Opening up on a loop of Tim’s voice you really couldn’t slacken off the concentration levels for a second as each of the band namely Michael Bearpark on guitar, Andrew Booker on drums, Colin Edwin bass and Stephen Bennett keyboards displayed their individual and almost telepathic like skills throughout. It was absolutely sublime and spell-binding.

After a short break the band reappeared and treated the audience to the more familiar format of a song set. The tunes included an opening number of ‘The Great Electric Teenage Dream’ from the ‘Stupid Things That Mean the World’ album and ‘Dancing for You’ from the ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ album.

Inevitably the No-Man catalogue was also dipped into by way of ‘All the Blue Changes’, ‘Wherever There is Light’ and ‘Mixtaped’ amongst others.

But I guess the surprise of the evening went to ‘Days Turn into Years’ from the Bowness/Peter Chilvers collaboration album ‘California, Norfolk’.

And while on the subject of Bowness and Chilvers, a long awaited follow-up to ‘California, Norfolk’ is almost complete and will hopefully see light of day during 2018.

All in all 2017 has been a good year for Tim. His latest release ‘Lost in the Ghost Light’ has at long last seen him get the long overdue recognition he so richly deserves. This includes conducting more interviews than ever done previously and even seeing the artwork for his record gaining national attention by being awarded ‘Album Cover of the Year’ at the recent progressive music awards ceremony.

And all this has given rise to an interest in Plenty, the band Tim was a member of, pre No-Man and during the 1980s. In fact, two Plenty tracks made their way into early No-Man shows and one song - along with Days in the Trees - was part of the reason No-Man got signed to the One Little Indian label back in 1991.

16 of those tracks written in the 1980s have been reworked and re-recorded with all involved excited and very pleased with the results. This too will be released during 2018 if not sooner. Due to being in the autumn of life I don’t like using phrases that appear to waste time away but being honest………… I cannot wait. 



Monday, October 2, 2017

The Bee Gees – Benn Hall, Rugby 1967

The Bee Gees – Benn Hall, Rugby 1967
by Pete Clemons




This coming December sees a show advertised as ‘Jive Talkin’ perform The Bee Gees – ‘The timeless repertoire of the Bee Gees is brought to life in this stunning stage production’. And this show is being held at the ‘Benn Memorial Hall’ in Rugby.

And after seeing this show advertised it immediately struck me if the folk who run the Benn Hall nowadays were aware that the real Bee Gees once appeared at their venue.

So I threw a comment onto their Facebook page to stimulate a bit of debate on the subject. I am not sure they took my comment to seriously initially. But thankfully ex Pinkerton Assorted Colours guitarist, Tom Long who has a wealth of local knowledge, became involved in the conversation and added more meat to the bone.

After immigrating to Australia in 1958, from Manchester, the Gibb Brothers soon continued the singing career they had begun in England. And it was in 1963 that the Gibb brothers first made the Australian charts with a song they had written. By 1966 they were voted Australia’s best singing group.

The Gibbs then decided to try their luck back in England and made the return journey. On arrival back they contacted every agency they could. They were soon contacted by Robert Stigwood who, at that time, was joint managing director of NEMS Enterprises along with Brian Epstein. Within days of that approach they had been signed up.

It was decided soon that the Bee Gees had to extend their range and become more of a band and so alongside Barry, Maurice and Robin would have been fellow Australians, guitarist Vince Melouney and drummer Colin Peterson.

Australian born Robert Stigwood was a dynamic manager and impresario, and his organisation would have presented the concert as he personally managed the Bee Gees. Robert was famed for his fanaticism and perfection in musical accomplishment.

Almost immediately he had the Bee Gees on the road and they were playing venues up and down the country and this included a visit to the Benn Hall 50 years ago, during October 1967 incredibly, at the same time the hit single ‘Massachusetts (The Lights Went Out In)’ was topping the charts.

As far as my research has taken me I believe the set list for the Rugby gig would have been something like: Massachusetts, Turn of the Century, Holiday, In My Own Time, Jingle Jangle, New York Mining Disaster 1941, I Can’t See Nobody, Gilbert Green, To Love Somebody and Spicks and Specks.

In fact 1967 was an incredibly busy year for the band. Apart from the hectic touring they released the album ‘Bee Gees 1st’ (actually their third studio album) during July. It was however the band’s first ever album release for the Polydor label.

During an interview by Barry Gibb at the time he mentioned how they drove the producers and technicians mad as they had nothing knocked out for the album. Apparently they sat about, thought up a subject, and wrote a song on the spot. It seems they did the whole of the ‘Bee Gees 1st’ LP like that. It was spontaneous and off the cuff.

By 1968 the band had completed a tour of the U.S. and was touring Scandinavia and the U.K. with a full orchestra under the direction of Robert Stigwood.

Tom Long’s own recollections along with a guy he knows who worked at the Benn Hall at that time of the Benn Hall ultimately came up with the following list of bands and artists that also appeared at the venue: the Small Faces, Status Quo, The Kinks, The Walker Brothers, Long John Baldry, Jeff Beck band with Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Zoot Money and possibly Joe Cocker.

Tom’s friend who sold the food also mentioned that ‘all the bands had their pre-gig meal taken down to the dressing room’. The Bee Gees apparently came to the kitchen to collect their own. What a memory!



Chic and the Coventry Dance Club Scene

Chic
By Pete Clemons


The 70s UK disco era, an import from America, covered a broad brush of music styles. I wasn’t the keenest of fans but, like many, I admit to spending time in the many clubs around Coventry back then that played ’disco’ music. Not only that, I also admit to enjoying some of the records that those venues introduced you to.

The Detroit Emeralds, Al Green, The Delfonics, The Detroit Spinners, Billy Paul, Donna Summer, Rose Royce, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes were just some of the names, off the top of my head – there were many more I’m sure – that I listened to and genuinely enjoyed.

And a lot of those clubs, along with others around the Midland’s, would occasional play host to those names and put them on for a night or more. Mr Georges, The City Centre Club, Baileys in Leicester and Romeo and Juliet’s in Birmingham immediately spring to mind.

The late 70s saw the disco genre hit its peak having been boosted by the incredibly successful film and soundtrack, ‘Saturday Night Fever’, which was set around and based upon what was happening within the New York culture at that time.



But that period also seemed to be the springboard for another huge wave of music that was quickly seized upon by the disco fraternity. And this was a kind of funky rock sound that was very danceable and endeared itself to the whole disco scene.

And one of the pioneers of this new sound was a band called Chic. And Chic took the disco to a whole new level. They were incredibly innovative and brought with them a whole new fresh sound.

Chic were Nile Rodgers on guitar and bass player Bernard Edwards who had originally both met as session players during the early 1970s. Apparently inspired by the music of Roxy Music Nile, along with Bernard began the process of forming Chic during 1976.

In fact Nile Rodgers had been involved in a minor UK hit with a band called New York City and a song called ‘I’m Doin’ Fine Now’. It even led to his first Top of the Pops appearance.

Firstly the pair brought in drummer Tony Thompson and then vocalist Norma Jean Wright who was the primary singer on the first Chic album that included the band’s first major hits ‘Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)’ and ‘Everybody Dance’ during 1977. Incidentally these songs also saw Luther Vandross providing backing vocals.

Norma then left soon after to per-sue a solo career and this saw the band enlisted the services of Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin as replacements.

Chic had signed to Atlantic Records who, at that time, had bands like Led Zeppelin and Yes on their label. The powers that be at Atlantic thought that the next idea for a single ‘Le Freak’ was not particularly good and suggested it would not sell. ‘Le Freak’ turned out to be a massive hit. It was energetic and sharp. It had a melody that seemed to cross over to other genres and took its place as one of the biggest ever selling songs for the label.

1979 was a huge year for the band. It was also the year that saw the highest number of singles sold in the U.K. during a calendar year. And four of those hits belonged to Chic. And those hits led to several Top of the Pops appearances in front of upwards of 20 million viewers which equated to almost a third of the population.

At the same time Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards were collaborating with other bands including Sister Sledge and Sheila B Devotion who a year earlier had had a minor hit with a not so inspiring version of ‘Singing in the Rain’.



In the words of Nile ‘I gave my time and effort to either revive flagging careers or to begin others’.





Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Coventry Music Museum - New EP and Label!

Coventry Music Museum - New EP and Label!

By Pete Clemons



How many music related exhibitors can boast their own record label? Very few I suspect, if any at all, would be the correct answer.

Well Coventry Music Museum, the brainchild of Pete Chambers, has done just that. And the first, of what’s promised to be many releases in vinyl, CD and download formats, has just been released.

A 4 track vinyl EP titled ‘The Alternative Sounds’ EP has already been produced and this debut offering is currently on sale.

The Alternative Sounds title is actually a clever pastiche of Martin Bowes fabled and legendary Coventry music fanzine that he put together during the late 70s and early 80s. And the E.P. has been compiled and mastered by Martin himself at his Cage Studios based in Coventry.

And the 4 tracks included, which has to be said, represents a fantastic range of Coventry’s diverse and varied music scene, are as follows: Roddy Radiation and the Skabilly Rebels ‘Heartbreak City’, Crokodile Tears ‘Trains’, The Primitives ‘Never Kill a Secret’ and Attrition ‘Two Gods’.

And these artists have given these songs towards the project for free. Now it doesn’t need me to tell you what a big deal it is when an artist gives away their work. The cause needs to be a worthy one, as in the case of recording artists, song writing is their life blood. It’s what pay’s the bill for them. They don’t do it lightly.

The launch evening for the E.P. was held at the museum. Many enthusiastic guests were in attendance including some of the cast from the forthcoming play Godiva Rocks which is being staged at the Belgrade Theatre along with several local luminaires from the Coventry music scene and beyond.

Those gathered were first of all treated to Crokodile Tears. The Croks, namely Christopher Sidwell, Alf Hardy and, one time Hawkwind member and now Hawklord, Jerry Richards were in attendance accompanied by Christopher Sidwell’s grandson. Between them they gave us a selection of their greatest hits such as ‘If Hippies Ruled the World’, ‘Egg and Chips’ and ‘Trains’.

The Croks set was particularly poignant as each song they played was dedicated, in remembrance, to a different and now lamented Coventry musician.

Following them were The Primitives, well half of them at least, vocalist Tracy Tracy and guitarist Paul Court. Between them they performed a three track acoustic set that included one of their more recent songs ‘Spin-O-Rama’, and the now classic tune ‘Crash’ feted by many as being up there as one of the best pop songs ever produced.

The Alternative Sounds EP will be the first of several releases and the physical copy of this particular record, as far as I understand, is a limited edition of 500 which is selling fast. So if you are interested in purchasing a copy then best act fast. All proceeds from its sale will be going to help the museum sustain itself. It is available directly from museum along with Vinyl Destination in the Market as well as record shops in Leamington Spa and Rugby. On line specialist Bandcamp will also be distributing it.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Daniel Wylie - More Melodic Sunshine………….

More Melodic Sunshine………….
By Pete Clemons




Daniel Wylie is a singer songwriter who appeared in several bands, and as a solo artist, during the 80s and 90s in and around the Glasgow area.

And then Daniel created the Cosmic Rough Riders who, aided by Stephen Fleming, became a duo. CRR then flourished into a full blown band after they had enlisted the services of Mark Brown and James Clifford. But then, during 2002, Daniel left his own band and reverted back to becoming a solo performer again.

During their existence Cosmic Rough Riders developed a warm and generous sound that couldn’t help but make you smile, and sing along to, when in their company.

Cosmic Rough Riders came to my attention shortly after the album ‘Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine was released on the Poptones label during the year 2000. A single released from that album ‘Revolution (In the Summertime)’ gave the band its first hit. This was followed by popular release from the album ‘The Pain Inside’.

And CRR were very good live as well. I remember well, seeing them perform at the Godiva Festival and again, this time in an acoustic setting, at a record shop in Coventry.

Even after Daniel’s departure, for me at least, Cosmic Rough Riders created some impressive music and, as a complete body of work, CRR have left us with a hugely enjoyable legacy.

Daniel then signed a solo deal with Measured Records and released two albums the first ‘Ramshackle Beauty’ followed by an album of outtakes titled ‘Postcards’.

Another new label brought another new album as ‘The High Cost of Happiness’ dropped during August 2006 on Neon Tetra Records.

But all that is now history and a decade or more has passed. And now 2017 has seen Daniel release a new album that brings us some more much needed melodic sunshine.

Daniel did release a vinyl only L.P. during 2015 called ‘Chrome Cassettes’ but I am yet to listen to this.

Released a few weeks ago this latest CD, titled ‘Scenery for Dreamers’, was a part of my summer listening and it has since endured several repeated visits.

The first thing that struck me was the disc labelling. It paid homage to the 1960s/1970s classic record label Harvest with is distinctive logo. So immediately it was aesthetically pleasing to me.

The ten songs, 7 with a full band and 3 acoustic, are powerful and are full of hope. In the main this album display’s a positive imagery. But above all the album is chock full of melody, which is the aspect of song writing that Daniel, is clearly, still drawn towards.

I also get the impression, from his songs, that Daniel is more than happy to demonstrate romanticism. Feelings of love resonate throughout this album as they would do in his earlier work.

If not already familiar, you really do need to find the time to listen to Daniel and to the Cosmic Rough Riders. But be prepared to clear some space on you record shelves for his current and back catalogue.

For album details - contact Daniel directly on his Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/daniel.wylie.5