April 23, 2014

Development of the British Blues ---- show 6 ----
4-23-2014   Brit Jazz
(KKUP's Jazz marathon starts Friday)

Graham Bond        1963
Chris Barber          1993
Dick Heckstall-Smith   1991-2002
Shadows             early 60s
John Mayall      1969-1972
Jack Bruce            1978

With our annual Jazz marathon coming up this weekend, I welcome the opportunity to present to you a side of some of our players that might otherwise be left out.  Add to that the fact that the British version of the Blues (as you might remember if you have been following us from the beginning of the year) was born from the support of the already popular Trad Jazz bands, so many of the players have roots in both genres.  I have always tried to put together a decent Jazz show leading into each year’s marathon, even though I realize my knowledge is limited, in part because ever since my shows inception back in 1990 we have preceded a Jazz show, beginning with my old friend Bill Hazzard (may he rest in peace) and now the Razzberry who is following in Bill’s footsteps not only in musical choice but also in his dedication to better all things KKUP.


I have to admit that while I have always considered Jack Bruce to be the premier British bass player (even though he hails from Wales), that opinion was based entirely on his time with Cream and the Graham Bond Organization and those two groups only span the six-plus years between 1963 and 1969.  In between those groups he also spent some time with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Manfred Mann and he played with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated until Bond took the rhythm section of Bruce and Ginger Baker with him to form the Graham Bond Trio.  Of those three affiliations there is, I believe, only Stormy Monday available from his time with Mayall (and Eric Clapton) and none with Korner, but there are over a dozen tracks with the Manfreds which we will explore three shows from now.  But until this year, I never took the time to seek out his post-Cream material, although I did go see him at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz back in the late 70s.

We open and close today’s show with almost half hour sets of Bruce in a more jazzy setting than I had been used to in spite of my knowledge that his roots were much more in Jazz than Blues or Rock.  The opening set is from 1963, very early in the Bond group when they became a quartet with the addition of guitarist John McLaughlin.  I find it interesting partially because I don’t hear Bond on keyboards but only alto sax in this three song live portion from the album Solid Bond.  By the time they went into the recording studio probably a year later, with tenor saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith replacing McLaughlin, Bond switched his emphasis to the Hammond organ, which was very helpful in their transition to a more R&B based band. 

No matter the genre he plays, Bruce’s bass (string bass on this set) ties everything together, especially needed in all the free-form Jazz we hear today.  Bruce maintained his composition Ho Ho Country Kicking Blues in his musical arsenal as it appears a few times in his recordings.  The Grass is Greener, a McLaughlin / Bond number, and Doxy, credited to (presumably Sonny) Stitt, wind up today’s opening set.


We spoke on our first couple of shows about the importance of Chris Barber on the burgeoning Blues scene and even though the recordings we play here are from 1993 they do provide a little glimpse into what Trad Jazz was: apparently pretty much based on Dixieland as opposed to Modern Jazz.  How much more traditional can you get than our set’s opener, Stephen Foster’s Swannee River?  We turn it up a little with Dippermouth Blues and Blue Lady Blaze, all from the album Copulatin’ Jazz.


Dick Heckstall-Smith is likely the most significant of British saxmen, although that is something I never really thought much about in the guitar dominated Blues scene.  But DHS, as his lengthy name is often abbreviated, was an established working player in both the Trad Jazz and Modern Jazz fields before he joined Alexis Korner’s original formation of Blues Incorporated.  When invited to defect with Bond, Baker and Bruce, he opted rather to stay a while longer absorbing a working knowledge of the Blues via Korner’s repertoire.  After Bond’s group, he was recruited by John Mayall as his first fulltime sax player and stayed long enough to record the albums Crusade and Bare Wires, both with guitarist Mick Taylor, and only left when Mayall made the decision to go with a basic backing of drums, bass and guitar for his next iteration of his ever-changing personnel.  It was then that the rhythm section from the Bare Wires session, drummer Jon Hiseman and bassist Tony Reeves, founded the band Colosseum along with Heckstall-Smith.

I bought a used copy online of DHS’s recollections, Blowin’ the Blues, and was surprised to find it still included the accompanying CD which is the source for our two sets.  At some point, DHS began recording almost all of his appearances and, while they give a disclaimer regarding the sound quality, they all sound pretty clear to me.  Aquamarine is one of those otherwise unreleased live recordings from Newcastle in 1991 by DHS$, a band Heckstall-Smith performed with extensively.  Try was released by Jon T-Bone Taylor’s Bop Brothers on their … and Sisters 2000 album so it is like ly a studio recording since there is no location given.


They’re not Jazz, but the Shadows are included here in their instrumental form (they also were the backing band to the highly popular Cliff Richard and did sessions for some of the other better known vocalists in the UK) because particularly their guitarist Hank Marvin was cited as a major influence so often and by such a high caliber of guitarists that they cannot be ignored.  As we mentioned in our very first show, Marvin, bass player Jet Harris and drummer Tony Meehan got together initially in the highly successful Skiffle group the Vipers.  Between July 1960 and September 1961, the Shadows issued 5 singles which charted 1-5-6-3-1 in the UK and a #1 album just to ice the cake.  Meehan left late in 1961 and Harris a few months later and, while the band was still successful with its replacements, it charted nowhere near as strongly as the original. 

The choices here begin with five songs by the original lineup, listed with their chart ratings: Apache (#1), Man of Mystery (#5), Riders on the Storm (album track?), F.B.I. (#6), The Frightened City (#3) and 36-24-36 (B-side of a #1 single).  We follow that up with The Savage (#10), Perfidia (album track), Dance On (#1), The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt (#5), Guitar Boogie, Mustang, and Thunderbird Theme (no chart listings available for the last three).


It strikes me that a lot of times John Mayall seems to get away from the Blues, but as I was specifically looking for that trend I was hard pressed to find things that strayed far enough to truly consider them Jazz.  The closest was California, when he tried an experiment without a drummer for the album Turning Point.  Johnny Almond dominates with his tenor sax, making this a very different Mayall experience and one of his best releases.  Steve Thompson’s bass is ever-present and Jon Mark throws in some tasty acoustic guitar licks.  Our next two selections include my very favorite bass player, Larry Taylor.  Still active on the California Blues scene, Larry provided the bottom for Canned Heat and served off and on with Mayall.  Guitarist Harvey Mandel was also in Canned Heat for a while, but holding center stage on Crying is violinist Don “Sugarcane” Harris on this number which is still a slow Blues tune from the album USA Union.  With the inclusion of a few players with legitimate Jazz credentials in trumpeter Blue Mitchell, saxman Clifford Solomon and guitarist Freddie Robinson, backed by the rhythm section of Taylor and percussionist Ron Selico, Jazz Blues Fusion is my favorite Mayall album.  Maybe it’s because Mayall gives his players a lot of room to move and doesn’t actually sing as much, but his vocal is there on Change Yours Ways.


We come back around to some more of Dick Heckstall-Smith beginning with Heatwave, which appears on the Deluxe Blues Band’s double CD Blues Amongst Friends, again no recording date or location so presumed to be a studio recording.  Woza Nazu is one of DHS’s often played tunes and here the Hamburg Blues Band does it justice in this 15 minute version dating back to 2002 in Flensburg, Germany.  I first heard Looking Back on John Mayall’s album of the same name and, while they don’t have Peter Green on guitar, the Wentus Blues Band puts in more than a passable performance.  Recorded in Helsinki, Finland, like its predecessor this is another previously unreleased live recording from 2002.  Each of the selections we included in the DHS sets have a different feel, but he always shows his stuff admirably in any groove.


When I decided to delve into more recent Jack Bruce material, I figured a good start would be through the 3CD album Spirit, featuring five live concerts broadcast over the BBC.  Graham Bond and saxophonist Art Themen were included on one show and Mick Taylor on another, but I opted for the most recent (recorded June 26th 1978 and broadcast September 4th) to wind up today’s show.  Joined on drums and percussion by Jon Hiseman and on saxophones by John Surman, Bruce plays both standup and electric bass.  This is the same cast that also did the earliest show in the collection, recorded August 10th 1971.  It strikes me they might have been paying attention to the clock since the three tunes are named Fifteen Minutes Past Three, Ten to Four and Twenty Past Four, but that didn’t seem to take any attention away from the music.  I would think Bruce had something in mind to start things off, since the first track is credited to him, and then followed up with some improvisation (in Jazz?  Imagine that!) while the other two list the full trio for authorship.

There are also a couple of photos of him playing the cherry red Gibson EB3 bass that I saw him use with Cream, inspiring me to get one back around 1968.  I wish I still had it but someone thought they deserved it more than me ………

I said in the beginning that I always considered Bruce the premier bass player on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean but that does not mean he is my favorite.  He can bring nuances to any R&B group he joins but is too often more free form than I would try to emulate.  Now, Larry Taylor … that’s another story.  If there is anyone I would like to sound like, it is he.  Bass players like these can at the same time be inspiring and frustrating.  It was guys such as these that made me realize I was only playing AT bass.


You might have noticed this show’s accompanying article is a little different from those previous.  I did not have desire nor time to do the research in putting together biographical sketches of the artists so I just sat down and wrote my feelings brought about as I listened to the music.  I probably throw in more opinions than usual but I hope you don’t find it lacking in substance.  Oh yeah, it’s also a lot shorter.

April 9, 2014

Development of the British Blues ---- show 5 ----


Pretty Things   1964

Artwoods   1964

Clapton’s Yardbirds   1964/65

Santa Barbara Machine Head   1966


We have already been introduced to Dick Taylor as the longtime friend of Mick Jagger with whom he often shared the stage, most notably as the bass player in the earliest configuration of the Rolling Stones.  As youths, they began jamming at Taylor’s parents’ house and by 1961 they had taken on the blues style as Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.  By this time, Dick was away at Sidcup Art School where he also got together on guitars with Keith Richards, another childhood friend of Jagger’s from Dartford who eventually also joined the Blue Boys.  When Brian Jones came into the picture, Taylor switched to bass guitar as the group took on the moniker Rollin’ Stones.


As the Stones were turning pro in 1962, Taylor had been accepted at the London Central School of Art and opted out of the band in favor of his studies.  But by 1963, he got together with vocalist / harmonica player Phil May, then added May’s bass player friend John Stax (the last name taken displaying his reverence for the American Soul label; real name John Fullegar) and recruited rhythm guitarist Brian Pendleton through an ad in the local newspaper.  They would all stay together through early 1967 as the Pretty Things, a name chosen not only to pay homage to Bo Diddley but also in defiance of the critics who felt their hair too long.  In fact, if the Stones seemed to go against the conservative conventions of the day, the Pretty Things took everything a step further, be it in their looks, their music, or their lifestyle.


They started out at the local Dartford Station Hotel, became successful on the College circuit and, in May 1964, took up residency at London’s 100 Club where the Record Mirror commented that they had “built up a reputation as one of the hottest new acts on the London scene”.  They had struggled to find the right drummer and when they signed with Fontana Records in the spring of 1964, it was the label’s suggestion that they add the stabilizing influence of veteran drummer Viv Prince, whose skills May said “made Keith Moon look like a pussycat!  And Keith studied him … for about three months before he got the gig with the High Numbers”, later to become The Who.   “Stabilizing influence.”  Hmmm…


The band’s first single, Rosalyn and its flipside Big Boss Man was released in June, leading to an appearance on BBC television’s Ready, Steady Go!, which in turn led to an offer of an American tour to include a performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, all of which was declined by the band’s management team.  Don’t Bring Me Down and its B-side We’ll Be Together came out in October and made the Top Ten by November, and by year’s end the two singles were put out again as an EP.  In promotion of the single, an eight day Scottish tour was followed by appearances on Ready, Steady Go! and Thank Your Lucky Stars. 


Now, the plan was for an album and a US tour early in the year.  For the album, May recalls, “We drove all night down from a gig in Leeds and waited outside in the van until the place opened at nine o’clock.  We went in, set our gear up and basically played our live set”, all while chasing the A&R man / producer from the studio, saying “’I’m not staying down there with that bunch of animals!’  We’d only been at it for half an hour and we had no producer.  And Viv had spewed up over the drums and fallen twice”.  It was veteran session drummer Bobby Graham who took over behind the mixing board and presented their sound admirably.  After its release in March 1965, the album reached number 6 and the Taylor-penned Honey I Need, culled from the album with its b\w I Can Never Say but released a month earlier, went on to #13.  Still, May was not all that pleased with the early LP.  “It didn’t sound like a record, it sounded like anarchy.  And I thought that would be our undoing … But what was going down was a raw energy that the other records didn’t have.”


Again, the US tour didn’t happen, partly because it was felt the offer wasn’t serious enough but also because the American distributors had not wholeheartedly promoted the band’s singles.  The next 45, Cry to Me and Get a Buzz, was released in July and reached #28, giving them four singles and an LP, all but the first 45 charting, in thirteen months time. Cry to Me likely would have gone higher had the Rolling Stones not contemporaneously included a version on their Out of Our Heads album.


An April 1965 televised concert in Holland was shut down after only three songs due to the volume of complaints from outraged parents.  More justified would appear to be the August concert, where the New Zealand Truth told us “the longhaired ‘musicians’ broke chairs, lit fires backstage and abused officials”.  This led to a lifetime ban from playing in New Zealand but, as they were about to head home, Prince got into an altercation with the plane’s pilot and was kicked off the flight.  According to May, “He got thrown off the plane when we’d all got on.  A few seats caught alight, but it was blown out of all proportion”. He did make it back in time to miss numerous gigs due to self-indulgence and his tenure with the band lasted only a little longer, his drum stool soon filled by Skip Alan.


For the follow-up LP Get the Picture, the band included six band-penned tunes of the twelve tracks as opposed to only three on the first album, although we only present one in our samples chosen.  Prince was available on some of the cuts, but Bobby Graham often filled in as well as again spearheading the recording sessions.  Master session guitarist Jimmy Page also appeared on at least the album’s first track, which didn’t make the cut for our playlist.  This album and the preceding single, both released in December of 1965, marked the beginning of a long-term failure of commercial success as registered by the charts.


Alan, as well as Graham and Mitch Mitchell, had sat in with the group in Prince’s absences on stage, but his first studio time was for the Midnight to Six Man single with the B-side Can’t Stand the Pain.  The release only hit #46 in its only week on the charts.  The two songs, along with LSD (referring to English currency pounds, shillings and pence while not shying away from the drug implication) and Me Needing You, resurfaced on the On Film EP after being included in a 1965 short film entitled The Pretty Things.


The last song in our set Come See Me, which was backed by LSD, winds up our Pretty Things’ second set not only because it winds up the two CD set I have but, also, because the band moved away from the Blues-based sound into more Pop material supplemented by strings and horns before they moved on to the psychedelic fad.


One thing worthy of note is their 1968 LP, S.F. Sorrow, which was the first rock opera and an inspiration to Peter Townsend’s Tommy.  The product of more than a year of labor, the album was released in December 1968 to critical acclaim but once again no chart success.  In spite of the fact the album was out in the UK 12 months before Tommy, the American distributor dragged their feet to the extent that The Who’s opera had been out six weeks and the American press panned it as derivative of Tommy instead of the other way around.



Considering how popular the Artwoods were on the British club scene during their three year existence and how much a couple of the players would contribute in the future, it is amazing that the band never had the opportunity to make any kind of impression on the American music fans.  Especially with a little brother who played with the likes of the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces, both with Rod Stewart, and eventually wound up with the Rolling Stones, Ron Wood’s brother Art was only able to conquer Europe with his band while performing as many as 300 gigs a year. 


Art Wood was born in London in 1937 and began attending the Ealing Art School in 1950.  He started his National Service commitment in 1955, and during this period he put together a Skiffle Group.  He began his singing career in earnest in 1958 when he formed the nine piece group the Art Wood Combo with a Swing and R&B repertoire, but his immersion into Blues brought him in contact with Cyril Davies who invited him to join him and Alexis Korner in their Blues Incorporated as part of their initial lineup in 1962.  The band was structured along the lines of an R&B revue in that they featured multiple singers, early on including the harmonica playing Davies, the strictly vocalist Paul Jones and Long John Baldry, who also occasionally played his 12-string guitar.  Pretty much not what he had signed up for and receiving less and less singing opportunities as the number of singers expanded, Wood would only stay with the band a matter of weeks before engaging in a short-lived reformation of the Art Wood Combo. 


With the Combo employing various musicians as gigs arose, in late 1963 Wood signed on with Don Wilson’s outfit.  Bass player Wilson also went by the name Red Bludd while calling the rest of the band his Bluesicians as they played a blend of Jazz and R&B in the clubs and at American armed services bases, but most often the Don Wilson Quartet was playing weddings and bar mitzvah-type gigs.  They would take on the name Art Wood Combo with the arrival of their new singer and included Jon Lord on keyboards, Derek Griffiths on guitar and Reg Dunnage as their drummer.  Heading out from a gig one night, the band’s van crashed into a truck, breaking both of Wilson’s legs.  He would recover but did not go back to playing music,


In 1964, the combo went into the studio and cut a pair of tunes for a demo, Kansas City and Talkin’ ‘Bout You.  They took on Johnny Jones as manager, who promptly got them a residency at the 100 Club and a contract with Decca Records.  Malcom Pool had already taken over the bass duties, but as the band was building to a heavier schedule Dunnage opted out and the auditions brought out both Mitch Mitchell, later of Jimi Hendrix fame, and Keef Hartley.  Hartley had only taken up the drums at the age of eighteen and upon moving to Liverpool that same year (1962) replaced Ringo Starr in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.  Keef moved from to Freddy Starr and the Midnighters and then on to the Artwoods, the new name Decca convinced the band to now work under.


Summer of 1964 saw the recording of the unreleased Hoochie Coochie Man, but the Leadbelly tune Sweet Mary did hit the airwaves in October with the backup If I Ever Get My Hands on You.  Promoting the song on the first live broadcast of BBC TV’s Ready, Steady Go1 brought the bands playing schedule up to almost every day of the week.  It also brought requests for Lord as a session man and he performed on the Kinks’ first album.


They found themselves back in the studio in January to lay down their second single, Oh My Love, whose lack of chart success did nothing to hinder their popularity in the clubs.  Another appearance on Ready, Steady Go! preceeded a couple of radio broadcasts on Saturday Swings and Easy Beat and then another TV shot on Beat Room.  They were also selected to back the American Blues singer Mae Mercer on her UK tour and were included in the packages with P.J. Proby’s English tour and Petula Clark’s tour of Europe as well as being chosen to play at Monte Carlo’s International Beat Festival, hosted by Prince Ranier and Princess Grace.


The commercial failure of their third 45, Goodbye Sisters released in August, was frustrating, compounded later when an American tour including a recording session with Bo Diddley fell through their fingers because there was apparently no band available to work in England as part of the reciprocal deal and thus the Musicians’ Union blocked the opportunity.


These frustrations made their way onto vinyl when, after a January 1966 tour of Poland with Billy J. Kramer, the band went against their soulful roots and put out an EP including A Taste of Honey, Our Man Flint, These Boots Are Made for Walking and the only tune penned by a band member on the 26 track CD I have (the entire recorded output while the band was in existence with the exception of two 1966 B-sides), the Jon Lord authored Routine.  Which leads us directly to their problem: this was the era where the song writing duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney set a high bar for bands to strive for with their imaginative and prolific writing output.  An excellent cover band such as the Artwoods could still draw a big dance crowd, but if one were prone to buy the music they would most likely seek out the original.


The boys regained much of their R&B credibility and garnished a minor UK hit when they put out their version of Sam and Dave’s I Take What I Want backed with one of those songs I don’t have, bearing the ridiculously long title I’m Looking for a Saxophonist Doubling on French Horn Wearing Size 37 Boots.  The other tune I don’t have is Molly Anderson’s Cookery Book, which backed their next single I Feel Good when it was released in August of 1966, again failing to hit the charts.


Not only were the club appearances still going strong, they were getting into the better playing venues more and more, such as their August 22nd debut at the Marquee.  The band was now hoping that their LP could do what the five singles could not: provide the public with a buyable product.  Art Gallery came out in November and, while it sometimes followed the band’s R&B sensibilities, it just didn’t have the oomph of their live performances.  With the lack of success of the album, Decca called it quits and dropped the Artwoods in spite of having an albums worth of recorded material that, unless recently released, is still collecting dust.


Parlophone put out a 45 with What Shall I Do and In the Deep End in April and the band performed the two songs as well as Steady Getting It and Devil with a Blue Dress / Good Golly Miss Molly on radio’s Wayne Fontana Show, but sales were not strong enough for the label to exercise their option for a follow-up release.


Hartley would leave the band, replaced in April of 1967 by Colin Martin, and play a year with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before putting out seven LPs with his own Keef Hartley Band, followed by a return stint with Mayall.  The other band member to put together as notable a career was Jon Lord, who had ten years of training with aspirations towards becoming a classical pianist until he was exposed to the Jerry Lee Lewis tune Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On.  He was playing Jazz in the tenor saxophonist-led Bill Ashton Combo by 1962 and joined with Wilson in 1963.  Lord began playing the Lowry organ while Art was with the group and they were occasionally billed as the Great Organ-ised.  He then switched to the Hammond B-3 organ for concert purposes in spite of the problems incurred in moving such a beast.  One thing Lord wanted to do was to apply some of his classical leanings into the combo’s sound which would later occur while with Deep Purple.  After the Artwoods, Jon was in the Flower Pot Men and he and their bass player Nick Simper would join Ritchie Blackmore in the formation of Roundabout which in turn morphed into Deep Purple.  He then moved on to Whitesnake.


Fontana gave the group one more chance, putting them in a gangster setting and under the moniker of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, with Al’s Party backing Brother Can You Spare a Dime, originally a 1932 Bing Crosby release.  This A-side and the album opener Can You Hear Me are likely my favorite two tracks from the CD, but again sales were disappointing except in Sweden, where the boys made a final hurrah on tour before putting it all behind them and breaking up the band.


Art was a part of Quiet Melon in 1969, whose all star cast included Kenny Jones, Ian McLagan, Kim Gardner, Ronnie (probably Wood, not Lane) and Rod Stewart.  However, as Art later put it, “Then Rod and Ronnie blew me out, the little bastards, and went on to become the Faces.  Oh well!”  In the nineties he joined the Downliners Sect and, in 1998, he and brothers Ted and Ron got together to record a Quiet Melon album and a performance at the Eel Pie Club.


Griffiths went on to session work and played with the Mike Cotton Sound before rejoining Hartley in 1974 to form the Dog Soldier band, later putting together his own GB Blues Company.  Malcolm Pool was in the Don Partridge Band before retiring from the music biz and Martin would become a BBC producer.


Santa Barbara Machine Head appears to be a brief stepping stone in Jon Lord’s transition from the Artwoods to Deep Purple.  Bassist Kim Gardner and guitarist Ron Wood from the recently defunct Birds joined him in this endeavor that had only a few gigs but made it into the studio for these three 1966 tracks which we include today, first issued in 1995.  From here, Gardner went on to Creation, Wood to the Jeff Beck Group, the Faces and ultimately the Rolling Stones, and the fourth member, drummer John “Twink” Adler, later went to the Pink Faeries.


NOTE:  I use the term we throughout this blog site because I don’t want to take any blame, but if you should happen to like it then you can give me all the credit.



Eric Clapton was born on March 30th, 1945 in Ripley in the county of Surrey to the unwed Patricia Clapton and a married Canadian soldier, Edward Fryer.  When his father returned home after the war, his mother wed another Canadian soldier and moved to Germany and then Canada, leaving Eric in the care of his grandparents with the belief he was their son.  He then went by the name Eric Clapp, the surname of his grandparents, Jack and Rose. The situation became even more tangled as his mother moved back home when he was twelve and had to be referred to her as his sister.


Eric became interested in the guitar during the Skiffle era and coerced the Clapps to get him a plastic Elvis guitar after his attempt to carve a Stratocaster from a block of wood and, when he was fifteen, a Hofner acoustic.  In 1962, Eric enrolled in the Kingston School of Art presumably to learn the design of stained glass, but he discovered too many diversions from his studies and three months later was most often found busking in the streets of Kingston and Richmond after being expelled from the art school.  He was much more diligent in his pursuit of knowledge of the Blues than he could ever have been towards his curriculum. 


Eric was 18 when he met Tom McGuinness at the Station Hotel in Richmond.  Fellow guitar player McGuinness and Clapton formed the Roosters in January 1963 and would move together from there to Casey Jones and the Engineers.  While the Roosters were an R&B group in the style meeting Clapton’s approval, the Engineers were a Pop-oriented outfit that Eric stayed with for only about six weeks between September and October.  Eric was the lead guitarist in both bands and this was where he switched from acoustic to an electric Kay guitar.  This was also the period that Clapton picked up the nickname Slow Hand because he broke a lot of strings, so the audience began to clap slowly each time he had to restring his axe.  Eric went to the Yardbirds in October and McGuinness to Manfred Mann in December, initially as their bass player, and would form McGuinness-Flint and a while later help found The Blues Band.


By the time Clapton joined the Yardbirds, they had pretty much completed their formational phase.  The earliest assemblage would have been in the late fifties when the rhythm section of drummer Jim McCarty and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, then playing guitar, joined some schoolmates in the Strollers.  After adding Paul’s brother, Brian Smith, the band renamed themselves after his Gretsch guitar, becoming the  Country Gentlemen and playing copies of basic American Rock ‘n’ Roll such as the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and Ricky Nelson plus the English chart toppers Cliff Richard and the Shadows, performing at high school dances and pubs until the individuals graduated in early 1962.


Later in 1962, Chris Dreja and Anthony “Top” Topham were getting together listening to and learning tunes by Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed, among others, while in attendance at Hollyfield Road School in Surbiton, coincidentally simultaneously being attended by Eric Clapton.  They put together an R&B group that stayed together until merging with the Metropolis Blues Quartet in May 1963.


The MBQ was an acoustic Blues group including Samwell-Smith, now on bass, and Keith Relf as its harmonica playing singer.  At the same time that McCarty rejoined Samwell-Smith, Topham and Dreja came into the fold.  Relf came up with the name Yardbirds (meaning hoboes who hung out around train yards) and the boys began to put together a repertoire based on American Blues such as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters.


After a couple of weeks, they convinced Cyril Davies to put them in the intermission set at his Eel Pie Island Hotel gig and did well enough that they joined them similarly at his gig the next week at the Railway Hotel in Harrow.  This second showing earned them a Friday night residency and they soon picked up a regular spot at Ken Colyer’s 51 Club.  As a new band with a limited set of material combined with the fact that Colyer’s club was often an all-night affair, the songs had to often be extended well past their original three minutes or less to as long as twenty minutes while the band learned to improvise and progressively build up the dynamics into what would become their trademark “rave-ups”.


When the Rolling Stones deserted their manager Giorgio Gomelsky in favor of Andrew Loog Oldham and gave up their engagement at Gomelsky’s Crawdaddy Club, Giorgio chose the Yardbirds as the new house band for his Sunday night shows starting September 29th, 1963, seamlessly replacing the Stones one week after their last appearance.  Having been brought up in France and Switzerland, upon immigrating to England in the mid-50s Giorgio’s endeavors would make him an important character on London’s Blues and Jazz scenes.  He had filmed the Chris Barber Band’s performance at the First Richmond Jazz Festival in August of 1961 and by mid-1962 took over occupancy of the back room of the Station Hotel every Sunday evening to promote Trad Jazz with an appreciation also for Blues.  After taking on the Stones in February, Giorgio moved to the larger Richmond Athletic Club and continued to sell out each week.  Following the release of the Stones’ first single, the band needed an even larger venue and the door opened for the Yardbirds.  Having been burned by the Stones, Gomelsky put the Yardbirds on a salary and made sure they signed a managerial contract.  A few weeks into their new gig, the 16-year-old Topham was convinced by his parents that his schoolwork was more important than his musical avocation, and that is where our story goes full circle back to Clapton, playing for the first time at the Crawdaddy on October 20th, 1963.  Keith Relf had been a schoolmate at Kingston Art College and, being familiar with his recent musical talents, invited Eric to consider joining the band.


Meantime, Gomelsky’s friendship with Horst Lippman and Fritz Rau, producers of the American Folk Blues Festival series of shows, often gave him first opportunity to promote the visiting musicians in the UK.  While in the country, Lippman and Sonny Boy Williamson attended a Yardbirds show in Croyden and were impressed so much with Clapton that they determined to come back after the festival tour and record shows with the band.  Giorgio convinced them his Crawdaddy Club would be the ideal venue and the shows happened on December 7th and 8th, 1963, but were not released until mid-1966, and then only in the US and with the picture of Jeff Beck rather than Clapton on the album cover.  The opening set of the band finally made it to vinyl much later, in 1981 on a German label.  We lead off our first Yardbirds set with two tracks from these opening sets, Let It Rock and You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover..


The Yardbirds also had a regular Saturday night slot at Croyden’s Star Club and began a Thursday residency on January 23rd, 1964 at the Marquee.  When the club moved to a larger venue, the band played the opening night of Friday March 13th (coincidentally the last of Sonny Boy’s concerts in the UK), and continued on Fridays rather than their previous Thursday shows.  The group also played at Birmingham’s town hall for the First Rhythm and Blues Festival in February, once again backing Sonny Boy.  Also on the lineup were Steampacket, the Spencer Davis Rhythm and Blues Quartet and Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men (including Rod Stewart).


The Yardbirds were in the studio in December and January making three demo tracks that enabled Gomelsky to get the group signed with EMI.  They then put together I Wish You Would and A Certain Girl for their first single, released in May 1964. 


The band was booked for the August 9th Fourth National Jazz and Blues Festival in Richmond but, the evening before, Relf suffered a collapsed lung and nearly died.  Being the most important gig of their career thus far, the band went on to close the Festival utilizing Mick O’Neill, whose band Clapton would consider joining after his departure from the Yardbirds, as substitute vocalist.  The band’s finale was a jam session with Georgie Fame, Graham Bond, Ginger Baker and Mike Vernon joining them on stage.  With Relf’s health (he was a chronic asthmatic) putting the status of the band in limbo, they decided to go into the studio and lay down the instrumental foundation for their next single, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Contradicting his doctor’s recommendations for three months recovery time and against pleas from the band, Relf left the hospital after only two weeks and added the vocals and joined the band in recording the flip side, I Ain’t Got You.  The A-side was banned by the BBC but still reached #44 on the strength of their popularity on the club scene.  Much of the rest of the year was spent on package tours where Relf felt their portion of each show would be much less stressful than their normal full-night shows. 


Realizing the minimal success of their first two singles, especially compared to the vitality of the live performances, the band decided their debut album should be a live recording.  The natural choice for a venue would be the Marquee so in March of 1964, everything was set up for the resulting Five Live Yardbirds album, released in its entirety in the UK in December and only partially in the US as one side of the Rave Up album.  Rolling Stone writer Lester Banks later considered it “without a doubt one of the four or five most exciting rock concerts ever recorded. The early Yardbirds were loose and raw and played with a breathtaking natural energy that has never been matched by any of their progeny.”  I would like to know the others he has in mind to consider adding to my collection.  In spite of having half of it already on the American Rave Up LP, I purchased the import around 1968 along with Graham Bond’s Sounds of ’65 to listen to some pre-Cream material and I have never come close to regretting either purchase.  Because I consider it that good, the whole Five Live album is used to close today’s show.


In May of 1964, Clapton had the opportunity to share guitar duties with Muddy Waters on a session for his longtime piano player, Otis Spann.  Apparently two tracks featuring Clapton were released but I have only one in my collection, Pretty Girls Everywhere, a song that I have heard done by many artists since and seemingly always done well, but this is my favorite version.  Because it was not with the Yardbirds, I have opted to include the track in an upcoming show.  For the Yardbirds next 45, Clapton wanted to do an Otis Redding tune, but Samwell-Smith had more sway over the rest of the band and he wanted to go with a more commercially viable song they been asked to record by the teenage songwriter, Graham Gouldman, titled For Your Love.  Clapton disapproved vehemently and refused to take part in the recording, agreeing at the last minute to put a lead in the instrumental break.  Along with Relf’s vocal, the song utilized an outside bongo player and bass player (Samwell-Smith instead was on the production end) and Brian Auger playing harpsichord.  As it turned out, by totally dropping their R&B roots for Pop drivel, the Yardbirds finally achieved the success they were hoping for when the March UK release climbed to the number three spot while its May US debut reached #6.  Got to Hurry was a Clapton-penned R&B instrumental that was the flip side and Eric’s first recorded composition.  It was Samwell-Smith’s opinion that “the R&B sound is a bit dated now” and Relf confided that, regarding the public’s musical appetite, “If they want more pop numbers, we’ll play them.”  


Disillusioned, Clapton gave public notice in March 1965 that the Yardbirds no longer had his services.  Where would he find a home and be allowed to develop his Blues skills?  And who could possibly replace Clapton and keep the Yardbirds whole?  Hint: it wouldn’t be Brian Auger or any other harpsichord player.

March 26, 2014

Development of the British Blues ---- show 4 ----


Rolling Stones   1964/65

Duffy Power   1962-67


We have spoken earlier of the importance of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated in the formation of the Rolling Stones, but we can go back even farther, to 1951, when Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were boyhood friends in Dartford, about 15 miles southeast of London.  When they ran into each other again at a train depot in 1960, Richards took note of the batch of R&B records Jagger was carrying.  Keith’s tastes ran more towards Chuck Berry-styled Rock ‘n’ Roll but were close enough that they were soon performing together in Jagger’s group The Blue Boys.


As they moved around the London Blues scene, they went to the Ealing club on April 7th 1962 to see Blues Incorporated and were impressed with slide guitarist Brian Jones, a regular sit in guitar player.  At this time he was going by the name Elmo Lewis, (coincidentally?) Lewis being his father’s given name.  Within a week, the three began rehearsing and soon moved in together as roommates and began to put together a band.  According to Richards, “Mick and I both thought he was incredible. He mentioned he was forming a band. He could have easily joined another group, but he wanted to form his own. The Rolling Stones was Brian’s baby.”  Between rehearsals, the three still sat in with Blues Incorporated.  Their first performance was filling in at the Marquee July 12th 1962 while Korner did a BBC show. The trio was rounded out by drummer Mick Avory (later of the Kinks), bassist Dick Taylor (a holdover from Jagger’s Blue Boys) and keyboardist Ian Stewart, who would often be referred to as the sixth Stone.  Among the artists at their first rehearsal were guitarist Geoff Bradford and singer Brian Knight, both of whom declined joining because they were interested in pursuing Blues instead of the R&B Jagger and Richards were heading towards. Late in October, the band paid to cut a demo, which was very quickly rejected by EMI, leading Taylor to leave the group and begin his path to forming the Pretty Things.  Bill Wyman would replace him in December 1962 and Charlie Watts became the drummer the next month.  The first gig for this ensemble was January 14th, 1963 at the Flamingo Club, after which Ian Stewart noted in his diary, “Best Stones show ever”.


While the Stones were playing a recently acquired eight month residency at Giorgio Gomelsky’s Crawdaddy Club, the Beatles came to hear them on April 14th after reading a favorable newspaper write-up.  Following the show, the Stones hosted the Beatles backstage and Jones wound up bringing Lennon and McCartney back to their flat.  The Beatles continued the good feelings by inviting the Stones backstage the next week at the Albert Hall where Jagger queried the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, about some financial details such as royalties.


Gomelsky served as their manager until they came under the guidance of Andrew Loog Oldham.  Gomelsky had no signed agreement with the band and thus had no say in the matter.  The band terminated him after his return from his father’s funeral.  At nineteen, Oldham was not only younger than all the band members but wasn’t even able to sign legal documents without his mother’s co-signature (in fact, only the 26-year-old Wyman was past the required age of 21), but he was able to acquire a contract with Decca Records in May 1963 and cut their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s Come On that they declined to play on stage and Decca publicized with only one ad.


The contract with Decca was very favorable, after the label missed out by declining to sign the Beatles, not only monetarily (triple the royalties that a new client would receive and ownership of the master tapes), but also giving the Stones full artistic control over the material recorded and the right to use studios other than just Decca’s for their sessions.  Normally, only three hour blocks of recording time were allotted but, because of Regent Sounds’ modest pricing, the band was able to spend longer on their projects and this was the studio where the entire first album was recorded.  Oldham felt the studio "leaked, instrument-to-instrument, the right way"


After a couple more singles preceding that first album, the Stones hit number 1 in the UK in mid-1964 with their cover of Bobby and Shirley Womack’s Its All Over Now.  By the next year, the writing tandem of Jagger-Richards was going full throttle with The Last Time and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and the April 1966 release of Aftermath was the first album of entirely band-written material.  Jones’ contributions to the album went beyond his lead guitar, piano and harmonica work, stretching out to marimba (I had to pull out my dictionary; it is a type of xylophone of which the vibraphone is one) on Under My Thumb, the dulcimer on Lady Jane, and sitar on Paint It Black.  Later he would increase his instrumental arsenal when he implemented recorder on Ruby Tuesday (which also featured Bill and Keith on cello), mellotron on Please Go Home and accordion to Back Street Girl.  Towards the end, he would limit his stage performing to mostly piano.


In the meantime, the band was having continuously successful album sales.  The British-only album, Rolling Stones #2, charted number one for thirteen weeks while its American equivalents (since the Brits did not include already released singles on their albums and American labels did the remaining songs were split between two LPs, one released two months earlier and the other two months afterward) 12x5 hit #3 while Now climbed as high as #5 upon its release.  Out of Our Heads soared to number one and, once it was released two months later, December’s Children (and Everybody’s) didn’t drop from the US charts for 36 weeks, peaking at number four.  The UK version of Out of Our Heads, which similarly contained songs from both those US albums, only got to #2.  This was the first time since their third single over a year and a half previous that a release had not gone to number one in Britain, and it would be a full year before another such occurrence.  All of those LPs were released in the one year span between November ’64 and November ’65.  It is clear that the Stones were becoming a powerhouse in the fairly recent transition of album dominance over 45s in the American marketplace.  Aftermath went #1 UK and #2 US.


Backing up a bit, to March 17th 1964, the band met Marianne Faithfull at a birthday party.  Immediately afterward, Richards sat down and wrote the song As Tears Go By, which first shattered Jones’ idea of his own writing future with his realization that Keith could write a three minute song in three minutes, then later proved to be the highlight of Marianne’s singing career.  It is likely she was better known for her long-term relationship with Jagger, although she first spent time with Brian and then Keith, but before all of them she had a brief marriage which bore a son in 1965.  Regarding their relationship, she noted, “After the beginning Mick was never very interested in having sex.  I always felt that whatever sexual drive Mick had, he used it up on stage and there was little left over for his personal life” and later that “the whole time I was with Mick, I fancied Keith”.  In this age of artists choosing appropriate career names (a la Duffy Power, the other half of today’s show), Faithfull was her father’s last name while her mother’s maiden name was Sacher-Masoch, the second part descended from the novelist whose writings brought about the term masochism.  She moved in with Mick around Christmas 1965 and, although she declined his numerous offers to marry, they remained together for four years.  Let’s Spend the Night Together was also written for her.


On October 25th 1964, Americans saw the Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show and also saw a flood of complaints from parents, leading Sullivan to say, “We won’t book any more Rock and Roll groups and we’ll ban teenagers from the theater”.  The Stones later went on to Santa Monica to headline the TAMI (Teen-Age Music International) Festival, following Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Beach Boys and Smokey Robinson, among a handful of others, but immediately preceding them was James Brown at his peak.  According to the Supremes Mary Wilson, “James gave the longest show ever to ensure that the Stones had to work hard to beat it.  And they did.”  Later, during their 1965 US tour, they met up again with Brown and received death threats from the Ku Klux Klan for consorting with “niggers”.


On this first American tour, the Stones visited the Chess studios at 2120 South Michigan Avenue, the address used as the title to an instrumental on the 12 x 5 album, where they met their idol Muddy Waters dressed in overalls while doing maintenance / janitorial work on the building.  This treatment of Muddy reminds me of the discussion between Leonard Chess and Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun where Chess mentioned an agreement he had with Waters, the man who almost singlehandedly put Chess Records on the map.  "Muddy, when your stuff like Hoochie Coochie Man and Mojo stops selling, you can come over to my house and do the gardening."  Regarding his relationship with Big Joe Turner, Ertegun responded, "Funny, but I got a different kind of deal with Turner.  If his records don't sell, I can be his chauffeur!"  The band got the opportunity to pay tribute to their heroes the next tour when they were set to play on the Shindig show.  They negotiated their appearance contingent upon Muddy’s being included on the broadcast, but when he was unavailable Howlin’ Wolf got his TV debut on the May 20th airing. 


December 7th was their last of 244 concert dates in 1965 and the group went right into the studio and laid down half of the Aftermath album.  Their 1966 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was the first US network television color broadcast.  When the tour wound down in mid-1966, it would be three years before the Stones were stateside again.  I thought I had never seen the Stones, but was reminded in my reading that, on June 18th 1967, Jones introduced Jimi Hendrix to the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival, to this day the best concert I have had the privilege of attending


For the Stones, disruptions at their concerts were just an everyday part of doing business.  While it was not particularly unusual for teenagers to try to get on the stage with their Rock idols, this band had a penchant for creating full-blown riots at their performances.  One example would be a concert in mid-1964 at Blackpool, Scotland where Brian Jones was taunting the young men in the audience while also mouthing sexual suggestions to their girlfriends.  The crowd got rowdy and Richards took center stage to further chastise them.  As he began the next tune he was spat upon in the face and so walked up to whom he considered the culprit and kicked him in the mouth with his steel-tipped boot.  As the band was whisked away in a police van, the resulted damage was reportedly 35 arrests, 60 injuries and 10,000 British pounds.  Another time in Berlin, Jagger took the opportunity to goosestep and hold up a stiff-armed Nazi salute on stage to the instrumental break in Satisfaction, angering the crowd into an ensuing frenzy that brought about 149 arrests as the band made their escape through old WWII air raid tunnels.  And there was the time that Jones told the driver to speed up so he could watch a fan that was holding on to the car lose his grip and fall in the road.


Around 8pm on Sunday, February 12th of 1967, four vans and nineteen policemen interrupted a party at Keith’s home with a warrant as Richards stepped aside to let them inside.  While they missed some LSD and dismissed two dozen needles as for diabetic use as they frisked the nine people in the home (George and Patty Harrison had left earlier), among the multitude of items confiscated were four “pep pills” found in Mick’s velvet jacket but nothing illegal on Keith’s person before the officers politely departed.  Still, Jagger, Richards and two other guests were to face charges that could have brought up to three years incarceration.  With a month off before their next musical commitment, the boys decided to visit Morocco until the matter’s playing out in the headlines blew over.


The three defendants appeared in court (the fourth having left the country) on May 10th facing charges, Mick for possession of the four amphetamine tablets and Keith for “permitting (his home) to be used for the purpose of smoking controlled substances”, and were released on bail.  The same day, Brian was confronted by fourteen members of London‘s drug squad who confiscated various types of drug paraphernalia and proceeded to cart him off to the Kensington police station where there were already dozens of journalists already on hand.  The next morning, Jones was in court posting bond for charges of possession.


Following testimony on June 27th, the jury first found Robert Fraser (the third defendant) and then Mick Jagger guilty, but Richards’ portion took three days, including where Keith claimed that any drugs found were planted there.  Much of the proceedings seemed to focus on the fact that Faithfull had been found clothed in nothing but a fur rug and that, when taken upstairs to be frisked, she let it fall to the floor.  Eventually, Keith too was found guilty and received a one year sentence; Fraser was to serve three months and Jagger six as all three were sent off in handcuffs to begin doing their time.  Three days later, the two Stones were out on their own recognizance having posted 5,000 pounds bail.  An appeal on July 31st brought more good news as Jagger’s sentence was reduced to twelve months probation while Richards’ was thrown out entirely due to the inflammatory nature of the inclusion of the naked Faithfull aspect having tainted the case.  Fraser’s appeal failed and he went back to serve out his full sentence.  Brian’s day in court came on October 30th when he pled guilty and received a nine month sentence, but a substitution of probation was granted on December 12th.


Besides the release of three members of the band, 1967 also saw the release of three albums (Between the Buttons, the American compilation Flowers, and Their Satanic Majesties Request)

as well as the release of Oldham’s services.    Around the end of the year, the Stones commissioned a mobile studio which was hauled behind a tour lorry and served them well for many years, if not still.


Brian Jones was rapidly wearing out his welcome with the band.  Essentially, he was not an honorable person to begin with, having a penchant in his youth to steal almost anything not nailed down in addition to being responsible for many pregnancies without a care for the offspring.  In the early stages of the band, he would take a significantly larger cut of the earnings than the others and, when he found himself unable to write the songs and earn the royalties, he felt as though he was no longer receiving the proper share he was due for starting his band.  He felt his initial idea had inspired the song Satisfaction while Jagger and Richards were the ones getting rich from it, so he would often maliciously throw licks from the Popeye theme into the instrumental break’s lead.  His copious drug intake caused him to be late or not even show up to rehearsals, and it took its toll on his interpersonal relationships with most of the people around him.


Now, he was facing problems getting work permits for upcoming tours.  He had disliked the psychedelic tinge to the Satanic Majesties album and mostly stayed out of the studio thereafter.  Rumors began to circulate that Eric Clapton would soon be his replacement in the band.


If Marianne Faithfull was Jagger’s long term love interest, then Anita Pallenberg might be as close to that as Brian would attain.  As author Christopher Sandford described the twenty-two year old German who appeared with Jones in September of 1965 as “the most ravishing, drop-dead girl on his arm anyone had ever seen.  But gorgeous.  Bone-thin yet built, with a shock of cropped blonde hair and clad in a shiny black nano-skirt; her face corpse-pale but for two droopy, coal-black eyes that gave her an air of boozy languor … she had starred in films and been on the cover of fashion magazines all over Europe”.  But their relationship was fraught with violence as Brian was seen using his fists on her and she was once heard retaliating with a whip she had been seen carrying into the room.  According to Anita, “Brian was taking acid all the time … When he did, he saw creatures coming out of the ground, the walls, the floors.”


In early to mid-March, while in Morocco as the boys were letting tales of their busts cool down, they had taken over the entire top floor of the best hotel in Tangier.  One day, Jones picked up two of the local working girls and took them to Anita’s room for a little more than a manage a trios, but when she declined he proceeded to beat her silly.  Having seen enough of this type of mistreatment of Pallenberg, Keith made up a story to get Brian out of the hotel so he could whisk her away.  When Jones next saw her, he asked the still-bruised woman to return to him, but she too had taken enough.  From then, she was Keith’s girl.


While it was the pretty boy Jones the girls came mostly to see, it was the married Wyman who best mastered the opportunities for sexual dalliances, setting a personal record of thirteen groupies in eight nights of their (1965?) Australian tour.  Unlike the rest of the Stones, Charlie Watts would take every opportunity to catch Jazz concerts or listen to Charlie Parker or Thelonius Monk records in the den of his country home, which had formerly been the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Musically, the Stones pulled away from the psychedelia of Satanic Majesties with the massive hit (number one on both sides of the pond and Richards’ self-proclaimed favorite Stones song) Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  Similar to Jones’ feelings about Satisfaction, Bill Wyman was not pleased that he was the one who came up with the riff that would become the other largest royalty revenue-enhancers credited solely to Jagger and Richards.


For the Beggar’s Banquet album, they included outside musicians such as Family’s (and later Blind Faith’s bass player) multi-instrumentalist Ric Grech and pianist-extraordinaire Nicky Hopkins (on too many sessions to name but the Jeff Beck Group and the Who immediately come to mind), and even Traffic’s Dave Mason threw in an oboe part to Street Fighting Man.  Their sound engineer Jimmy Miller sat behind the drums when Charlie Watts was occasionally unavailable.  Brian Jones’ contributions were minimal and his last show would be on May 12th when the band did a ten minute cameo appearance at Wembley Stadium for the New Music Express’ Poll Winners concert.  His departure from the Rolling Stones, the band he had put together, his band, was announced on June 9th.


On Wednesday, July 2nd, Jones was found floating dead in his pool.  While there are always those who will try to make a conspiracy theory out of just about anything, those sentiments seem unfounded here.  Although he had proven himself to be a strong swimmer in the not too distant past, this was a totally different man.  His body ravaged by drugs and related abuses such as poor diet, he was much heavier than he had ever been and some of his acquaintances thought him to actually be shorter.  It was not a rarity for him to not be able to maintain consciousness.  There was a time during a recording session when the band stopped playing in order to find out what was causing a noise, only to discover Jones slumped over and passed out with his amplifier humming.  According to the coroner’s report, he had a dangerously enlarged heart, liver dysfunction, pleurisy and asthma.  He had the temperature of the pool raised to 92 degrees because he thought it too cold the day before.  Let’s see, obese and in ill health, drunk with a blood-alcohol level of 2.2, stoned and prone to passing out, jumping into water almost the temperature of a hot bath …. generally not a brilliant idea.  The coroner’s verdict of death by misadventure, although a little vague, sounds like the most plausible scenario.


The new lead guitarist would be Mick Taylor, a somewhat recent graduate of the John Mayall guitar player factory, who would serve the band thru December of 1974, but this seems as good as any place to end this commentary.  It has turned more to a summary of tabloid literature than of true musical relevance, but such was the nature of the Rolling Stones.  More will appear when we return for a second visit to their music in a couple of months.


Our first set from today’s show begins with three of the four sides of the singles they released in 1963 followed by five songs from their first two albums, England’s Newest Hitmakers and 12x5, both released in 1964.  It likely well represented their stage shows of the day with three Chuck Berry songs: Come On, Carol and Around and Around.  In fact, it wasn’t until their fourth album Out of Our Heads, when half of the dozen were penned by the band, that no Berry song was included.  Master Blues writer Willie Dixon has I Wanna Be Loved and I Just Want to Make Love to You, and of course the Beatles tandem of Lennon and McCartney peovided I Wanna Be Your Man on this set.  We also see the first Jagger-Richards composition to reach vinyl in Tell Me.  Stoned, the one 1963 B-side we left out of the set, was credited to the entire band.


Our next set was taken from the first disc of the double CD by Duffy Power.  We ignored the two songs chosen for his debut single but when there was enough studio time to try one more track, Duffy’s choice of the Jimmy Witherspoon Jazzy Blues number Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough seems a perfect introduction.  Duffy’s next release was much better suited to our tastes; the Gershwins’ tune It Ain’t Necessarily So from the black opera Porgy and Bess backed up by Duffy’s own If I Get Lucky Someday.  We discuss in some detail the Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There in the next portion of our essay, but it marks the first time he had the option to bring his club band, the Graham Bond Quartet, into the studio.  The next three tunes were taken from an afterhours jam session and show the style of Blues Duffy was following with Big Joe Turner’s Shake, Rattle and Roll and a couple of Ray Charles numbers, What’d I Say and I Got a Woman, all with the Bond band behind him.  We continue with Duffy’s own composition Woman Made Trouble.  I’m Sitting on Top of the World was first sung by Al Jolson in 1925 and appeared in the 1927 movie The Singing Fool.  The Paramounts backed Duffy on excellent versions of Mose Allison’s Parchman Farm and Floyd Dixon’s Tired, Broke and Busted (that’s Power on harmonica), comprising his next single in March of 1964.  Duffy’s original I Don’t Care is next, with the Fentones augmented by Ginger Baker and Duffy’s harp on Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters’ Money Honey and Lloyd Price’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy winding up a long set.  Fortunately, Duffy gave excellent commentary about the CD tracks although some of the backing musician information is incomplete.


We come back to the Stones circa 1965 with selections from the album The Rolling Stones Now with the expected Chuck Berry tune, but Bo Diddlet, Arthur Conley and Amos Milburn influences thrown in.


Returning to Duffy Power with three of his own tunes, Love’s Gonna Go (Duffy on harp), She Don’t Know (both featuring Jimmy Nicol on drums), and I’m So Glad You’re Mine (this time, Duffy on guitar and Phil Seaman behind the drums).  McLaughlin, Bruce and Seaman backed Power on Dollar Mamie, a tune that dates back to the thirties or even earlier.  I believe the next four songs (Little Boy Blue, Little Girl, Mary Open the Door with Duffy’s harmonica solo and Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog) were released on a French EP by Duffy’s Nucleus, (EDIT: it was It’s Funny and not Little Girl) but the version of the first three here (Power originals) are played by McLaughlin, Baker and Bruce.  McLaughlin is also on Hound Dog.  We wind down the Power portion of the show with Duffy’s original Just Stay Blue and the Randy Newman-penned

Davey O’Brien (Leave That Baby Alone).


The 1965 Out of Our Heads album fills out today’s final set with a stronger Soul influence from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke.  We end the show with the one live tune from Out of Our Heads (Bo Diddley’s I’m Alright) and the two from the Decembers Children LP (Route 66 and the Hank Snow country classic I’m Movin’ On), also released in 1965.  I really enjoyed these live cuts, which made it all that much more disappointing when they released a piece of garbage titled Got Live If You Want It a year later with some decent songs but their performance could have been an ad for the effects of amphetamines.


The favorite singer of Alexis Korner, Duffy Power never received the acclaim he deserved, even though the British publication Record Collector later referred to his output as “some of the most enduring Jazz-Folk tinged Blues of the 1960s” while asking, “How did this man avoid becoming a superstar?”  We have earlier heard his vocals from the 1965 LP Sky High as our choice for the Blues Incorporated segment of our very first show, although some of today’s selections predate those recordings.   


Born in September 1941 as Raymond Howard, he joined in the Skiffle craze with a couple of bands called the Amigos and the Dreamers.  Coming under the influence of Elvis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, by 1958 these artists’ songs found their way into the Skiffle repertoire of the Dreamers, soon to be renamed the New Vagabonds.  He fell under the gaze of the highly successful manager Larry Parnes early in 1959.  Parnes had the habit of finding more suitable names for his clientele as in Tommy Steele (originally Tommy Hicks), who achieved 17 records between 1956 and 1961 making the charts.  Likewise, Reg Smith, now Marty Wilde, charted 13 times 1958-1962 followed by Ronald Wycherley having 26 hits from 1959 to 1966 under the name Billy Fury.  More from Parnes’ late 50s stable included Georgie Fame, Vince Eager, Johnny Gentle, Dickie Pride and Lance Fortune.  By signing with Parnes, Ray Howard became Duffy Power, combining the last names of two popular actors of the time, Howard Duff and Tyrone Power. 


Parnes was able to get a good amount of publicity and keep his new client busy on package tours with mostly his other artists.  Between 1959 and 1961, Power put out six singles for the Fontana label, mostly remakes of cheesy American pop tunes and none successful enough to maintain his concert schedule, much less a contract renewal. 


Due mostly to his lack of success coupled with finding out his girlfriend was a prostitute, Duffy was contemplating suicide, this in spite of adding his newfound Blues influences of Ray Charles and Muddy Waters to his array of songs.  It was not until Ricky Barnes, a Scottish saxman friend, came by and dragged him to a Blues club in Soho where the band of Albert Lee allowed him to perform with them a full hour of Blues material that his depression somewhat subsided.


Armed with a newfound confidence, he decided he would only sing only the music of his choice, withdrew from the stable of Larry Parnes in favor of Mike Hawker and signed a new contract with EMI’s Parlophone label by late 1962, his first 45 for them released in February of 1963.  Another change he was considering was a different name to reflect his new musical focus.


The Graham Bond Quartet (pre-Heckstall-Smith while John McLaughlin was on guitar) was backing Duffy on his gigs and went in the studio with him on February 1963 to record a Beatles tune, I Saw Her Standing There, possibly in preparation for Power’s July 16th appearance on BBC’s Pop Goes the Beatles.  Perhaps it was this upcoming performance or the fact that they both recorded for Parlophone, but whatever the reason, the Beatles had enough sway that when they complained about the jazzy way Power and the Bond band put together their version of the song, executive ears were open and a remake had to be cut the next month.  Why would you hand a song to an artist and not expect them to put their own stamp on it?  We heard earlier in the show how different the Stones version of I Wanna Be Your Man was from the Beatles’ own recording, but perhaps by then Lennon and McCartney had become more confident.  Both the recordings are on my CD and in spite of it taking several takes in the evolution to the final release, it is the original that I prefer and present to you, although I really don’t see that much difference nor reason for concern in the first place.


The Graham Bond Quartet backed him on a few more sessions and Power also used the Paramounts, later to become Procol Harum, for his recording dates, but he always preferred Jack Bruce’s bass playing and either Ginger Baker or Phil Seaman on drums.  With the termination of McLaughlin from the Bond Quartet, John was freed up to record with Duffy more often.  One of Duffy’s gigging bands later was the Fentones, which included lead guitarist Jerry Wilcox and bassist Graham Alexander, but when they went into the studio he preferred to not use their varying list of rhythm guitarists or drummers.  Not to be overlooked is Duffy’s own playing, both on harmonica and guitar.


By the end of 1964, Parlophone opted against renewing his contract.  He put together a single with Love’s Gonna Go which was released only in the US in 1965 by the Jamie label and his name was altered to Jamie Power for the American market.  Alexis Korner came across a demo of the song and he got Duffy to appear with Blues Incorporated at club gigs and ultimately in the studio between April and June to record the Sky High album.  He would often turn to Korner’s bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox for future sessions and, when Alexis started a children’s show (Five O‘clock Club), the quartet would throw in a couple of tunes per broadcast until Power and Korner had a falling out.


Power’s next body of work was done independent of any band per se as he chose varying musicians to fit the differing projects, but he was unable to find a label to publish them until years later on the 1971 album Innovations.  Early in 1966, he did put together the gigging band Duffy’s Nucleus with McLaughlin, Thompson and Cox, who had replaced drummer Red Reece, and the group put out four songs before they disbanded when Thompson and Cox moved on to form Pentangle.  In 1967, Parlophone put out one last single to no success. 


He was approached for an album in 1969 and put together a full set of demos which were supposed to be the basis of recording sessions, but the album never came out until 1973 and then with only his acoustic guitar accompaniment.  Approached again in 1970, this time by Rod Argent and Chris White, currently with the band Argent and best known from their time in the Zombies, with a CBS contract and an offer of a 32-stop tour with them and the Climax Blues Band, but Duffy was dissatisfied with the recordings and quashed the LP.


I am very pleased with the 2CD set I purchased (Leapers and Sleepers) and would like to get a couple more of his releases, but they are a little too pricey for my budget.  Perhaps I will find them used.