Monday, May 15, 2017

Welcome to Peter Clemon's Coventry Music Articles

This Post Remain's 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.

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.

This Blog
This Hobo blog spot in particular  is for Peter Clemon's 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 publish 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/

Visit TWO TONE CENTRAL MUSEUM http://www.2tonecentral.co.uk/

Badfinger - musical legacy

Badfinger - Musical Legacy

By Pete Clemons




To view the history of Badfinger and conclude it as just complicated is a massive understatement. Even when you attempt to delve into it all you quickly discover that it is a labyrinth of awful luck, bad blood and the absolute worst case of deceit within the music industry, that you are ever likely to read about.

Yet all of that aside, Badfinger have a musical legacy that other bands could only wish for. And as a legitimate member of the band, joining them in during 1974, Bob Jackson is aiming to concentrate on exactly what Badfinger were all about. And that was by creating some of the finest pop songs from the 1970s.


The original Badfinger line up


In 2015, former member Bob assembled his own version of Badfinger along with guitarist Andy Nixon, bass player Michael Healey and Ted Duggan on drums to honour the memory of original members Pete Ham, Tom Evans, and Mike Gibbins.


Badfinger now - current line up


During that same year they undertook a 23 date UK Theatre tour and 2016 saw the band continue to play UK shows.

2017 see’s Badfinger playing further selected dates once more with two very special dates being earmarked for Coventry during July.

The first will be on the main stage of the Godiva Festival on Sunday the 9th. The following Sunday, the 16th sees the band perform at The Empire on Far Gosford Street (the old Paris Cinema for those with long memories), along with Hazel O’Connor and the Subterraneans and a host of others, as part of the Mercia Music Festival.

The second date is particularly important as it is in aid of Myton Hospice and Motor Neurone Disease.

And it seems that Badfinger’s legacy has recently taken on a new lease of life. When the final episode of popular TV series ‘Breaking Bad’ was aired on TV in September 2013, it was viewed by an audience of ten million viewers. The farewell scene was set to Badfinger’s 1972 single release ‘Baby Blue’. That song suddenly found it-self subjected to thousands of downloads.

Baby Blue came from Badfinger’s third album called ‘Straight Up’ that also gave us the classic Day After Day. Its predecessor, ‘No Dice’ also contained classic songs such as No Matter What and the timeless Without You. Badfingers first album ‘Magic Christian Music’ contained Paul McCartney’s anthemically penned tune Come and Get it. The album also ended with a track called Maybe Tomorrow which was penned while Badfinger were known under their previous name of The Iveys. But all that has only touched on Badfinger’s career. They, along with The Iveys, were so much more.

Bob Jackson’s contribution to the Badfinger legacy can be found on an album titled ‘Head First’. It was recorded toward the end of 1974 but remained unreleased till 2000.

Bob was also instrumental, in 2013, of organising and performing, with Badfinger and friends, at the unveiling of the Pete Ham Blue Plaque for Swansea Council. The plaque designed to mark for years to come the achievements of Peter Ham and the work of the band.

So sit back, let the misfortunes of the band and all that went with it wash over you, and enjoy the music as it was meant for. And, most of all, celebrate what this wonderful band have left us with.

Follow the activities of the current version of Badfinger via the link below where you can also find details for the ‘Head First’ album.



http://www.badfingeruk.com/index/





Godiva Rocks - The Coventry Musical

Godiva Rocks 
The Coventry Musical.

Saturday 7 October through to Saturday 21 October 2017 at the Belgrade Theatre.

By Pete Clemons





During a year that has seen Coventry submit a bid in an attempt to become a city of culture for the year 2021, the team who created the gripping play ‘One night in November’ have reunited once again to produce another love story unique to our home.

Writer Alan Pollock and director by Hamish Glen created the compelling and thought provoking work ‘One night in November’. And, in similar respects to now, it was released during a very poignant period for the city.

‘One night in November’ was set during the war years. Those familiar with the play will need no reminding but it was a love story with a dramatic twist. A twist that ended with Coventry history was re-shaped forever.

Alan and Hamish’s latest creation is also based around a fictitious story line. But what sets this apart, for me at least, is its musical soundtrack. 20 songs created by Coventry related artists who were either born in the city or, at least raised here, will be performed.

Just imagine if you can, these will be unique interpretations of songs that may not have seen light of day for a very long time and may never be heard live again. This really is, I think, a golden opportunity to experience the immense talent of Coventry’s glorious bygone age.

The songs to be featured will be wide ranging and were originally by a variety of artists from Frank Ifield and Vince hill through to the Hazel O’Connor, The Specials and The Enemy.

As mentioned, ‘Godiva Rocks’ is a love story. The storyline is centered on The Orchid Ballroom. Today of course, we know The Orchid as The Colly or more recently the Kasbah.

The magnificent building that the Kasbah resides in is more than 100 years old. It is one of the oldest and most enduring entertainment rooms in the city.

Situated at 51 Primrose Hill Street this incredibly proud looking building first opened as the Globe Picture Theatre in 1914. Quite incredible when you think about it now but at the time it was one of four cinemas in the Hillfields area alone. Movies were shown within it for more than 40 years until it closed in 1956. The venue was then re-opened in 1957 as the Majestic Ballroom.

Music and dance sessions continued at the Majestic until July 1961. The venue was then taken over by the Mecca organisation that spent the rest of the year rebuilding and redecorating. During early 1962 announcements began to appear that bookings were now being taken at the renovated building with its luxurious decor and modern amenities. March of that year the venue opened again as The Orchid Ballroom.

To quote Alan Pollock, Godiva Rocks is "a celebration about the greatness of this city, who we are and what we're proud of". "No-one has ever done a musical about a town...a love story, the music, the essence of the town"

If the music does not disrupt your concentration on the story line, ‘Godiva Rocks’ I am sure, will be as equally gripping as its critically acclaimed predecessor.










Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pete Shelley / Howard Devoto

Pete Shelley / Howard Devoto

By Pete Clemons




Continuing a theme, I set myself during 2016, of attempting to celebrate the new wave of bands, and their music, that had shook up the whole scene some forty years previous, I think it must be worth mentioning the revolution that Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto brought to the music industry.

Both Pete and Howard, who were then both members of The Buzzcocks, are themselves very modest about it all. And, quite possibly, they never gave it a second thought or stopped to consider the impact that their approach to getting The Buzzcocks music ‘out there’ would forever leave on popular music.


Pete Shelley

Going back to the mid-1970s and the music business was in a vastly different place to that which it is in today. And without a record company deal both Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto really wanted to hear how this band that they had formed would actually sound like in a professional environment. So they came up with the idea of making and distributing their own records. Forty years ago this really was out of the box thinking. 

Howard Devoto

Shelley and Devoto had already created a small piece of musical history for themselves by putting on the now legendary gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester that featured their own band along with The Sex Pistols and Slaughter and the Dogs. It is now written into folklore how the pair had been to London and High Wycombe to see the Pistols, after reading about them in NME, and realising that there was actually another band trying to achieve the same musical vision as their own.

Shelley and Devoto set about their quest and discovered that they could get a thousand records printed for five hundred pounds including a picture sleeve. Five hundred pounds was an awful lot of money back then (getting on for three grand in today’s money using an online comparison). So after help with the finances from friends and family they went for it and actually began the process of making their own records.

After earlier attempts at the recording process themselves Pete and Howard met up with Martin Hannett, who had been described to the pair as a ‘hippy and wanna be producer and recording engineer’. Martin booked the band into a studio. And he produced the band’s first organised recording sessions held during December 1976. After these early efforts Martin Hannett would, himself, go on to become a very successful producer.

Pete Shelley had been bought a Polaroid camera for Christmas 1976 and it was this that he used to create a shot of the band. And that very photograph was used for the 4 track EP’s sleeve. A copy of the EP, titled ‘Spiral Scratch’ and which was released during January 1977 on the bands own newly created New Hormones label, was sent out to John Peel. And not long after John had given the record a spin on his very popular radio programme, the initial run of one thousand copies sold out.

As news of the EP’s success spread it was as though, all of a sudden, any aspirant musicians suddenly felt empowered to be able to make their own records. A new dawn had certainly broken through.




Soon after the release of ‘Spiral Scratch’, and after performing just 11 gigs for The Buzzcocks, Howard Devoto left the band. He returned to college but would resurface a year or so later with a new group called Magazine.

Magazine were a totally different proposition altogether. They used the energy of punk but added more complexity and emotion to their music. Magazine was a quite superb band who released a succession of excellent albums.

My own personal introduction to The Buzzcocks happened around September 1977 and it came, as most things did, via the above mentioned John Peel show. The band played a session for John and the tune I immediately picked up on was ‘What Do I Get’. I clearly remember that it seemed like an eternity to wait for ‘What Do I Get’ to be released as a single as it wasn’t due for issue until February 1978.

However enthused by my knowledge of this new band I headed for Virgin Records in the arcade in search of back catalogue vinyl. Of course the lads who worked in there at the time, namely future Specials drummer John Bradbury and photographer John Coles were unsurprisingly I guess, already aware of The Buzzcocks.

My enthusiasm for the band must have struck a chord with John Bradbury as on my next visit to Virgin he handed me a homemade cassette of Buzzcocks live sessions recorded even earlier to those in December 1976 which produced ‘Spiral Scratch’. These particular sessions, recorded during October 1976, would surface as a semi-official release titled ‘Time’s Up’.

‘Time’ Up’ re-appeared on vinyl during the 1990s. And although purchased a copy of it, I still, to this day, hold on to the cassette John Bradbury gave me.

Shortly after the John Peel session in September 1977, The Buzzcocks happened to appear at Coventry’s Mr Georges club. By now the band had signed up with United Artists records. With Howard Devoto gone the band at this point was Pete Shelley on guitar, Steve Diggle guitar, John Maher on drums and Garth Smith on bass.

And this visit to Coventry became significant for two reasons. One was the fact that this gig would be Garths last for the band (legend has it that he was sacked immediately after) and the other was that The Buzzcocks had been supported by Coventry band The Flys fronted by Neil O’Connor – Hazel’s brother.

With Steve Garvey now on bass guitar the band made two return visits to Coventry, in fairly quick succession. On both occasions they appeared at the theatre. These gigs took place in 1978 and the early part of 1979 and would have been in support of their debut album ‘Another Music in a Different Kitchen’ and its follow up ‘Love Bites’.

The Buzzcocks tour for their third album ‘A Different Kind of Tension’ never passed through Coventry as far as I remember. Instead you needed to get to Birmingham Odeon or Leicester De Montfort to see the band. But, if you got to either venue in time to see the support band you were treated to fellow Mancunian’s Joy Division. Apparently, though, the tour did very little for Joy Division’s lead singer and lyricist Ian Curtis. Apparently he found playing these larger sized venues totally soul destroying.

2016 saw The Buzzcocks celebrate their achievements with a fortieth anniversary tour. Once again Coventry was on the schedule where this time they were to be seen at The Copper Rooms located on the Warwick University campus. They performed a great selection of songs, which spanned their entire career, played in that now familiar fast and furious style.

And to mark the fact that their first recordings were also released forty years ago, January 2017 saw ‘those ‘Spiral Scratch’ utterings being lovingly re-released through the Domino Record Company, along with the nascent ‘Time’s Up’ demo recordings’. And very well in the charts they did too.