Saturday, 30 March 2013

Retro Vinyl: Walkin' With The Shadows (Music For Pleasure, 1970)

Music For Pleasure's Shadows compilations released in the 1970s were a bit of a goldmine as far as collectors were concerned.

Unlike Cliff Richard's Music For Pleasure releases, which were usually repackages of old albums, Shadows compilations were made up of rare B-sides and EP tracks, in some cases released for the first time in stereo.

The first Shadows LP to appear on Music For Pleasure was in 1970 (MFP1388) and although christened Walkin' With The Shadows on the label, only The Shadows name features on the record cover.

There are at least three variation sleeves of this release.

The original cover featuring four individual sepia portraits of Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Brian Bennett and John Rostill set against a blue background seems to have been replaced very quickly with an atractive full colour sleeve of the boys (illustrated above).

I picked up my copy during the 1990s purely for the sleeve literally for pennies.

There was also an overseas version (MFP5501) produced in Germany, again with a different cover and this time using the heads of Hank, Bruce, Brian and John (lifted from the cover of 1965's Sound of The Shadows) stuck on to cartoon birds (certainly one of the more unusual Shadows LP covers).

Unlike the British release it doesnt retain the Walkin' With title but does attempt to date the recordings in this case, with the completely inaccurate year of 1966.  My copy was found in a second-hand shop called Something Old, Something New in Catterick Garrison.

The shop usually dealt with second hand goods bought from departing soldiers who were been based elsewhere across the world and was a goldmine for records  and books, I purchased this release on June 13, 1985 ( I used to meticulously date albums as I purchased them!).

Here's the track list for Walkin' With The Shadows, itself a neat compilation and all in stereo.

I've also listed the tracks original years of release and sources.

Side 1
  1. Walkin' (Wonderful Life, Album Soundtrack LP, 1964)
  2. All My Sorrows (The Shadows, Album, 1961)
  3. Little B (Out of The Shadows, Album, 1962)
  4. Las Tres Carabelas (Los Shadows, EP, 1963)
  5. Fourth Street (Shadow Music, Album, 1966)
  6. Sweet Dreams (The Boys, EP, 1962)

Side 2
  1. Ranka-Chank (Rhythm N Greens, EP, 1964)
  2. What A Lovely Tune (Guitar Tango, Single B Side, 1962)
  3. Semi Detatched Surburban Mr James (Jigsaw, Album, 1967)
  4. Blue Sky, Blue Sea, Blue Me (The Sound Of the Shadows, Album, 1965)
  5. Running Out Of World*  (London's Not Too Far, B Side, 1967)
  6. I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Arthur (The War Lord, Single B side, 1965)

* Running Out Of World is wrongly listed Running Out Of This World on all versions of the album. It was originally the B side of Hank B Marvin's solo single London's Not Too Far released at the beginning of 1968.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Retro Vinyl: The World Of TV Themes by Various Artists (Decca,1972)

Decca Records The World Of TV Themes was originally released in 1972 and slotted in to Decca's series of World Of compilations, which were released on the Decca/Argo labels between 1968 and 1980,

I found my copy in a charity shop in Askham, York for around 25p in 1994.

I bought the album at the time for the original versions of The Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Onedin Line theme tunes (the LP cover features a photograph of the schooner The Charlotte Rhodes from The Onedin Line).

However this LP did unlock a few other memories from childhood, particularly the beautiful theme to the drama series Family At War and the Murgatroyd Band's theme to Magpie.

As an album its almost too eclectic, The Murgatroyd Band (in reality The Spencer Davis Group) don't sit too comfortably next to recordings by The Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra or Sir Adrian Boult, though if looking for individual tracks and original versions to boot, it is a bit of a goldmine.

Tracks included: The Onedin line, A Family At War, Magpie, Going For A Song, The Sky At Night, Personal Cinema, The Flaxton Boys, The Forsyte Saga, Peyton Place, This Week, Casanova, Monty Python's Flying Circus.

  • For further information on some 600 World of... titles released by Decca and Argo check out this comprehensive guide on Rate Your Music

Saturday, 23 March 2013

CentreStage Cymru's Thankyou For the Music Reviewed

There's nothing quite so magical as seeing songs performed on stage with energy, enthusiasm and passion and that's what I've got every time I've seen Centre Stage Cymru perform on stage at Newport's Dolman theatre.

The group who recently celebrated their first anniversary since formation present their fourth show Thankyou For The Music this week including tunes from 42nd Street, The Wizard Of Oz, Carousel and Half A Sixpence.

You can read my full review of the show here: Thankyou For The Music, Dolman Theatre, Newport

Goodbye Television Centre - A Celebration That Wasn't

Recreating a classic TV moment
on The One Show
As Alan Whicker recently observed even nostalgia isn't what it used to be. 

As Auntie Beeb bade farewell to BBC Television Centre last night after 53 years,  it was almost as if something which should have been observed as a commemoration of greatness was almost brushed under the carpet.

The One Show kicked off proceedings at 7pm with Chris Evans and Alex Jones speaking to Michael Grade and Terry Wogan. 

Wogan himself was quite vocal about his feelings on the closure: "I know it's only a building. I know it's an inanimate object and it doesn't have a heart. But it has a spirit. There are spirits here, of immensely talented, brilliant people who made some of the best television programmes ever seen and I think it's a shame. It's a shame to close it down."

Evans caught up with two former Doctor Who's Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Baker was seemingly kept far away from the man who fired him back in 1986, Michael Grade but  appeared to have the last laugh when he gave Evans his ghastly Doctor Who coat to wear, which Evans did for the remainder of the show.

The One Show's major highlight was probably Matt Baker recreating Roy Castle's 1977 Record Breaker's tap dance around the fountain area of Television Centre with 600 tap dancers, pure magic.

Madness closed The One Show with Sugg's recalling that the band were banned from every show they appeared on because they didn't mime properly, thankfully they got to play out TV Centre like most events such as last years Jubilee and Olympics with fun and humour. If you need to close something, get The Nutty Boys in.

BBC4 continued to broadcast Madness live, followed by Goodbye Television Centre hosted by Michael Grade. The show featured such luminaries such as David Attenborough, Ronnie Corbett, Bruce Forsyth, Terry Wogan, Michael Parkinson, Noel Edmonds and Brian Blessed who also  lamented the loss of TV Centre by decreeing that those who made the decision to move the studios needed a "kick up the arse."

TV Centre's  closure undoubtedly is the end of an era, the spirits of many great TV shows reside there and thanks to an incomplete BBC archive we can continue to enjoy some of those shows on DVD, others are just remembered with fondness. 

For me, my TV Centre memories are been able to recite the address like doggerel as I grew up. God knows how many times I entered drawing competitions on Blue Peter or Doctor Who competitions on Swap Shop and Saturday Superstore and sent them in to BBC TV Centre, Wood Lane, London W12 8QT

I even visited the holy building five years ago to see the recording of Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad's Army. It was a fabulous evening  in itself celebrating 40 years of Dad's Army, it would be the last time a few surviving key figures involved with the series would chat about the series, David Croft, Philip Madoc and Clive Dunn (only on video) having since passed on. Jonathan Ross's own classic tenure on the BBC was shortly to end too.

So is the move from TV Centre wiping the slate clean? Chucking out the high standards set by its glorious past as well as the mistakes made along the way (Savilegate undoubtedly casting a dark shadow over proceedings), the BBC's decision to relegate much of the evenings celebrations to BBC Four was undoubtedly deliberate and only time will tell.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Recalling 1963: The Beatles - Please Please Me (Parlophone,1963)

It was 50 years ago today Parlophone records released The Beatles debut album Please, Please Me.

Perhaps not recognised as their greatest album, it was a landmark, it contains 14 tracks, 8 composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the other six, favourites from the boys live repertoire including Baby It's You, Boys, Anna, Chains, A Taste Of Honey and John Lennon's throat blistering rendition of Twist and Shout.

Four Lennon-McCartney compositions Love Me Do, PS I Love You, Please Please Me and Ask Me Why (credited McCartney-Lennon for the only time ever on a Beatles album) made up the first four sides of their two singles.

Two further songs written by John and Paul would be given away to other artists including Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas (Do You Want To Know A Secret) and Kenny Lynch (Misery). I Saw Her Standing There, the album opener is almost as recognisable from McCartneys vocal count in as it is for George Harrison's iconic guitar solo while John's There's A Place is Lennon's first recorded venture into thought provoking lyrics.

The art of The Beatles debut album goes a little beyond its music, there's also the iconic photo of the four Beatles, Ringo, Paul, George and John looking over the stairwell of EMI studios, their fresh faced smiles looking into the lens of cameraman Angus McBean.

The world of popular music was about to change forever, and not even The Beatles would realise how much.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Retro Vinyl: Big Bond Movie Themes - Geoff Love (MFP 1975)

Here's another James Bond title from my vinyl collection, I have to confess picking this one up around 10 years ago in a charity shop in Dursley for 50p.

I remember reading that this particular album by Geoff Love and His Orchestra was at the centre of a bit of controversy as it was released with a cover using the likeness of Roger Moore at the time.

As impressive as the cover looks however, Music For Pleasure quickly got into a legal dispute for having used the likeness of Roger Moore on the cover, therefore a replacement version featuring Bond turning away  was issued. Not only was Roger Moore's likeness removed but Ursula Andress was also repainted to look unrecognisable. A great example of dumbing down an excellent piece of artwork.

The LP itself features some pretty good versions of Bond themes including On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Goldfinger and The James Bond Theme by Geoff Love and His Orchestra and has since become a highly sought after recording.

At the time, Love himself was a bit of an unsung hero as far as TV and film themes were concerned, making otherwise hard to obtain music easy to collect via a series of well produced and attractively packaged albums.

Big Bond Movie Themes obviously gave EMI such a headache at the time. Its shelf-life was a relatively short one and unlike other Geoff Love recordings has never been reissued on CD.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Looking back at the 80s with Paul Hardcastle

Paul Hardcastle
A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of chatting to musician Paul Hardcastle who has recently released a retrospective of his 80s work entitled Electrofied 80s: Essential Paul Hardcastle.

Paul's Number One smash 19 hit the top slot in 1985 and pretty much turned the music charts on its head at the time. Inspired by the documentary Vietnam Requiem, the song with its stuttering sample n-n-n-n nineteen wasn't taken seriously by record executives in the beginning.

“When I took it to Chrysalis Records, they didn’t like it saying ‘you’re joking, right?’” recalls Paul, “Simon Fuller, on the other hand, was the only one who said ‘I like it’, so he left Chrysalis and became my manager. Within six weeks it was number one in 13 different countries.”

You can read my interview with Paul Hardcastle here: Paul Hardcastle goes back to the 80s with new hit compilation.

Holika Performing My Last Nerve At Maindee Festival 2012

Here's another performance from Holika recorded at last years Maindee Festival.

This track entitled My Last Nerve was actually sung at the end of the set because everyone heard the beautiful music coming from within the tent, even though the band had performed it earlier on when the tent was virtually empty!

I was grateful purely to catch this performance!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hear ToyPop! Perform In The Summertime!

Here's another musical memory that was held in Newport last year.

I've written about ToyPop! before on the blog, a colourful band of girls from Newport Uni who create a lot of musical sunshine through the use of children's musical instruments.

I featured them in The Guide last June and now, just on the verge of the release of their debut album they are finally getting some recognition and getting airplay on BBC Radio Wales and Radio 1.

Songwriter Sarah Pountney has also been making news this week writing jingles via

The above performance captures ToyPop! covering Mungo Jerry's In The Summertime at The Local all-day music festival last October presented by Newport City Radio.

Hopefully this cheerful rendition will banish some of the winter blues we are currently experiencing!

Visit The Official ToyPop! Website

Retro Vinyl: Cliff Richard - All My Love (MFP, 1970)

By the late 60s, EMI's budget label Music For Pleasure hit on the idea of releasing albums by popular singers, some of these LP's were unique in that they featured singles and EP tracks whereas others were straight repackaging's of albums but with new covers.

This Cliff Richard release from 1970 is a combination of 11 tracks from his 1965 self-titled album Cliff Richard and his 1967 single only release All My Love.

The track-list for the original Cliff Richard album released in 1965 on Columbia Records was as follows:

Side 1
  1. Angel
  2. Sway
  3. I Only Came To Say Goodbye
  4. Take Special Care
  5. Magic Is The Moonlight
  6. House Without Windows
  7. Razzle Dazzle

Side 2
  1. I Don't Wanna Love You
  2. It's Not For Me To Say
  3. You Belong To My Heart
  4. Again
  5. Perfidia
  6. Kiss
  7. Reelin' And Rockin'
When Music For Pleasure reissued the album in 1970 they made a few omissions to the track-list and brought in Cliff's 1967 hit All My Love to open the second side.

Side 1
  1. Sway
  2. I Only Came To Say Goodbye
  3. Take Special Care
  4. Magic Is The Moonlight
  5. House Without Windows
  6. Razzle Dazzle

Side 2
  1. All My Love (Solo Tu)
  2. I Don't Wanna Love You
  3. You Belong To My Heart
  4. Again
  5. Perfidia
  6. Reelin' And Rockin'
The album also features accompaniment by The Shadows and The Norrie Paramor Orchestra and proved a popular release when MFP reissued it in 1970. My mum has a copy of this and the original Cliff Richard LP in her collection. I picked my copy of this album up at a record fair in Swansea in the late 90s for around a pound. It features a great portrait of Cliff on the front and of course some great album tracks.

The original Cliff Richard album is available on CD along with Cliff's 1967 LP Don't Stop Me Now, while Cliff's All My Love LP seems to have gained a CD release on the Magic label with the addition of 13 bonus tracks (including those removed from the original Cliff Richard album).

Friday, 8 March 2013

Recalling 1963: Maigret Meets A Milord, Penguin Books,1963

Strange that out of all the casualties of television programmes that are missing from the 1960s including episodes of Dixon of Dock Green, Z Cars, Doctor Who, Top Of The Pops, The Likely Lads  and others, virtually every episode of the detective series Maigret broadcast between 1960 and 1963 survives.

Actor Rupert Davies enthralled audiences each week as French writer Simenon's super sleuth that he was even brought back for a one-off special in 1969.

Curiously Maigret has rarely been repeated since the 60s and has niether been released on video or DVD. I recall catching a repeat back in the 80s and would certainly welcome the chance to see a few more.

In the meantime I will have to make do with this Penguin book I found last weekend. Published in 1963 to tie-in with the TV series (and featuring Rupert Davies as Maigret on the cover) this title, Maigret Meets a Milord features several of Simenon's early Maigret stories translated into English.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sketchbook: Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein

"Why Andy Darling..." inspired by Roy Lichtenstein, 1994
I recently found some more examples from my sketchbook circa 1994.

Kiss, Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein, 1994
In this case both examples were most definetely inspired by Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein and from what I remember great fun to create!

Petula Clark Talks About Her New Album: Lost In You

Petula Clark
Now in her 80th year, Petula Clark is still as busy as ever!

Not only has she recently released an excellent new album called Lost In You, which features the fabulous dance track Cut Copy Me but also announced several UK dates for a new tour at the end of the year. 

I recently interviewed Petula whose timeless approach to music has enabled her to span the decades since 1949.“It’s never a conscious thing;” she told me, ‘I never sit down and think I’ve got to move with the times. I just live for the day and if the music comes out sounding different or contemporary that’s just the way it is.”

Petula's new album also includes a new version of her 1964 classic Downtown as well as brand new versions of Elvis' Love Me Tender and John Lennon's Imagine.

You can read my interview with Petula Clark over at the South Wales Argus website: Pet Sounds - Petula Clark Interview

Monday, 4 March 2013

Andy's Retrospace: A Meeting With A Likely Lad - Rodney Bewes

I recently interviewed Likely Lads actor Rodney Bewes and last week had the pleasure of meeting him when his one-man show based on the writings of Dylan Thomas' A Boy Growing Up visited Newport Riverfront.

Read about my encounter with the  Likely Lads legend over on Retrospace: Andy's Retrospace: A Meeting With A Likely Lad - Rodney Bewes

Music Notes: The Last Carnival

The Last Carnival
This week's Meet The Band features The Last Carnival, a young British band with a 21st Century sound born from the vinyl dust of yesteryear. 

Infused with pop soaked melodies and thumping rock beats imagine a modern mash up of Little Richard/Beach Boys/Van Halen/Bowie/Stones and you’d be getting close! 

With their debut album released later this year, recorded with renowned London engineer Jay Reynolds and mastered by Pete Maher (U2/The Killers/Snow Patrol), 2013 promises to be their biggest year yet. 

Two national headline tours across the UK and Ireland in 2012 saw them grace the stage at such prestigious venues as the world famous Cavern Club, Liverpool, O2 ABC Glasgow, O2 Academy London, Academy Dublin, Academy Manchester and many more. 

The ‘Carnie-Army’ – their ever-growing loyal fan base – has even more to look forward to with tours booked throughout the coming months. Tickets for The Last Carnival's March headline tour are on sale now via The Last Carnival's official website.
  • Wed 6th March - O2 Academy3, Birmingham 
  • Thu 7th March - The Globe, Cardiff 
  • Fri 8th March - The Haunt, Brighton 
  • Sat 9th March - Plug, Sheffield 
  • Sun 10th March - Academy 3, Manchester
  • Mon 11th March - O2 Academy2 Islington, London 
You can read my interview with The Last Carnival here: Meet The Band: The Last Carnival
Links to other Interviews: All You Ever Do Is Talk Talk

Recalling 1963: The Merseybeats' Tony Crane Remembers Band Beginnings

I recently interviewed Merseybeats front man Tony Crane who recalled the early days of the popular Liverpool band that debuted in the British charts 50 years ago with the record: It's Love That Really Counts.

The Merseybeats who are currently touring the UK with The Solid Silver 60s show with the likes of Mike Pender's Searchers, Wayne Fontana and Dave Berry, were originally named The Mavericks until Cavern Club DJ and booking agent Bob Wooller renamed them for an important date. 

 “The local paper came out. We ran down to The Cavern – because we lived within running distance." recalls Tony " I said: ‘You said you were booking us on this, there’s some other band on called the Merseybeats. Who are they?"

“Bob said: ‘No, that’s, yourselves’, and we went: ‘Oh no, you might as well have called us The Liverpool Echo!"

Mersey beat was only the name of the paper, the music was never called Mersey beat: we thought music was the Mersey sound, the ‘beat’ came in much later on.”

Read on:

Sunday, 3 March 2013

In Pictures: Around Cardiff Bay

Me in front of The TARDIS


Our Boys

Cardiff Bay - A Little Blustery

Another view of Cardiff Bay

Fun in The Light Ship Cafe

Going for lunch on The Light Ship

The Light Ship Detail

Retro Vinyl: The Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits (Columbia, 1966)

This is another of those great Greatest Hits packages from the 1960s that does exactly as it says on the label and gives you great music, in this case 14 fabulous tracks by The Dave Clark Five.

My mum only actually ever owned Glad All Over, which shot to the top of the charts in 1964 and when I got into 60s music in the 80s I was quite taken with this band particularly as they were heavily featured on reruns of Ready Steady Go on Channel 4.

Dave Clark who owned the rights to Ready Steady Go must have been on good terms with Channel 4 as the DC5's only ever film Catch Us If You Can was shown a few times over this period.

I remember my absolute shock when going into Darlington one Saturday afternoon finding this gem within five minutes of getting off the bus on a market stall for 50p.

The Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits (Columbia) doesn't hold back from defining its own greatness by subtitling itself 14 World Million Sellers. All the essential hits are on here Glad All Over, Bits and Pieces, Do You Love Me, Because and of course Catch Us If You Can. The mono presentation serves the bands dynamic energy well and it still sounds fabulous all these years later...

Sadly we've lost three of Dave's great band in recent times, Denis Paynton, Mike Smith and most recently Rick Huxley.Lenny Davidson and Dave himself  along with Rick were present when the band were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame in 2008.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

A Meeting With A Likely Lad - Rodney Bewes

Meeting Rodney Bewes
Its been an interesting few weeks (despite fighting off a bit of a chest infection that doesn't seem to go away) in that I've done a few great reviews and interviews for The Guide.

However none gave me quite as big a buzz as returning to my desk one morning and finding a message stating "can you contact Rodney Bewes - he called while you were away from your desk".

Rodney Bewes, I thought, now there's a name! I grew up watching Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais' Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads (among with several other TV series in the 70s) and always felt a personal home-link to that show.

Set in the North East of England, I associate the broken rubble of old houses, new council estates and changing fortunes of the two central characters Bob Ferris (Rodney Bewes) and Terry Collier (James Bolam) with past memories of where I spent my early years in Stockton-on-Tees (although I believe many scenes were filmed in Newcastle).

Some signed Rodney Bewes/
Likely Lads memorabillia
Anyhow on returning to Mr Bewes call, I was thrilled to be invited to interview him the following Friday to talk about his new one-man stage show A Boy Growing Up inspired by Emlyn Williams readings of Dylan Thomas which he saw back in the 1950s.

It was quite magical to think this fellow Northerner who hails from Bradford was heading towards Wales for St David's Day to read the writings of the great Welsh poet!

Hearing Rodney's voice over the phone was surreal but in a nice way and the interview in which he gave me several entertaining anecdotes from his life and career on stage, film and television was incredible fun.

Extracts from my interview with Rodney Bewes were published in last weeks edition of The Guide, which you can now read online and further to that  I went to see A Boy Growing Up myself on Thursday evening and met Rodney afterwards where he kindly signed a few of my Likely Lads items and posed for a photo with me. A magical moment!


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