Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Joe Brown in Concert at Theatre Severn Shrewsbury, Monday 29th October 2012.

I hadn't seen Joe live for a number of years and was looking forward to tonight's concert.

As the lights went down, with his trademark haircut and chirpy cockney manner, Joe walked out onto the stage to great applause, and welcomed everyone to what was going to be his "Living Room" set for the first half of the show. Normally the band would take to the stage first and the star of the show would be introduced, not in this case. Joe proceeded to introduce each member onto the stage individually.

The first song - "Ballad of John Hurt" was a tribute to the great 1930s guitarist, before Joe's son Peter took the lead on the mandolin with "Cloverleaf Rag". Next up was a Roger Cook (remember Cook & Greenaway the songwriting partnership?) composition composed for the ukele entitled "Tickle My Heart". This was followed by the band's version of the ELO classic "Mr Blue Sky".

A selection of Hawaiain styled pieces followed, then Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" with drummer Phil Capaldi taken lead vocal on "Return To Sender" which had him in fine banter with Joe on borrowing his teeth and hair!

10CC's "I'm Not In Love" was followed by the Travelling Willbury's "Where Were You?". This featured some excellent lead guitar work by Peter. Returning to another Roger Cook number which Joe reminded everyone was the first hit that Roger had written - The Fortunes "You've Got Your Troubles", the first half was brought to a close by one of Joe's early hits "That's What Love Will Do" which received great applause.

If the first half was the living room set which was very laid back then the second half was to be much more up tempo. Opening with another Joe Brown hit "Darktown Strutters Ball" and the another "Picture Of You". With Joe playing fiddle the next offering was a  U2 number. "Whilst I've got my ukele in my hand I thought we would do some heavy metal" chirped Joe as the band went into Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" closely followed by The Who's "Pinball Wizzard".

Remembering his close friend - George Harrison, Joe sang George's composition "That's The Way It Goes" which he performed at  George's memorial concert in 2002. This again featured some excellent lead guitar playing. After "Killing The Blues" guitarist Ben Lee took to do lead vocals on "I've Got A Woman".

Soon it was time for drummer, Phil to make his way to the front of the stage, being replaced on drums by Peter, whilst Phil sang "Stood Up", an appropriate song for someone who spends the majority of the time sat behind a drum kit and only seen from the waist up. Finishing the song to great applause, Phil milked the warmth shown by the audience to the full showing his boss that he too can get the crowds going.

The next batch of musical offerings included "Sea Of Heartbreak" and the Italian waltz "Suni Devito" then Joe's instrumental hit "Hava Nagila".

Announcing the last two songs were now upon us Joe announced that Peter would sing the first which was to be "Lover's Jamboree" and that he would do the next , "Henry 8th" which had the audience in fine voice on the parts "I am" and "No Sam".

The final song was "I Will See You In My Dreams"

The lighting for the show was simplictic, creating the right mood needed for each song without being too dramatic. The audience looked to be at 90% of the venue's capacity, made up of older and younger fans that were treated to an evening of some excellent musicianship, 5 part vocal singing, multi instruments played, plus some of that chirpy cockney banter that Joe has become renowned for, which included him talking about his "dad" - Marty Wilde.

The Band: Pete Brown, Phil Capaldi, Ben Lee, Mike Nicholls.


Monday, 29 October 2012


Every last Friday of the month Brumbeat favourite Mike Sheridan hosts an evening of pure 50s & 60s nostalgia at Walmely Social Club, Fox Hollies Road, Walmely, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

This features Mike & Suzi Sheridan as a duo, and the Mike Sheridan Rock n Roll Band.

Admission is £4.50 on the door. Food available, late bar!

Monday, 22 October 2012



I went along to see what I thought was going to be another in a long line of tribute bands, how wrong could I have been. This was no tribute band but a full, well produced show that happened to feature a number of excellent performers who paid homage to their chosen idols - Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.

The stage setting included banners promoting the show either side a giant screen along the back of the stage and as the lights dimmed up on the screen came "Bill & Ben the flower pot men" followed by an advert for Shell petrol with Bing Crosby singing the jingle, these put the audience in the right time frame as the opening credits rolled onto the screen as the band took to there places.

The host of the show Roy Orbison (Barry Steele) took to the stage performing a number of classic Orbison hits before introducing the first of his special guests for the night - Johnny Cash (Peter John Jackson). An excellent performer who certainly knew how to use his guitar not only as an instrument but as a prop with great effect, also brilliantly playing two harmonicas on "Orange Blossom Special". Time for the next guest, the king himself - Elvis Presley (Paul Molloy) before Roy Orbison returned to close the first half of the show.

Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison
The second half opened with "Thunderbirds Are Go" on the screen with Orbison opening with some more hits from the Orbison catalogue before bringing back Johnny Cash with more great numbers. The band then played The Shadows "Apache" musically excellent but personally I would have liked to have seen the three guitarists take centre stage and perform as The Shadows. Keyboard player Barney Williams returned to his post as Jerry Lee Lewis belting out "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin". Enter Elvis for his second spot of the night, only this time in GI mode more great numbers from this fine performer before Orbison closes the show with several numbers from the Travelling Willburys and of course "Pretty Woman" with both Cash and Elvis joining him for the finale.

Throughout the show camersa caught the performers live and put them up onto the screen along with archive film footage of the original stars.

With costume changes, stage settings, excellent lighting & effects, first class musicians, well rehearsed performers, plus unforgettable songs this show has it all, I look forward to seeing it time and time again, hopefully so will you the reader.

As I said in the beginning this was not just a tribute act but a fully, well produced show and credit to its producer Lynne Steele.



Looking around the almost capacity middle aged to elderly audience before the commence of the show I wondered how many of them had come to see four guys of senior age, not youngsters. In the foyer during the interval I overheard a woman telling her friend that she thought that the big guy (Michael Williams) must be an original member as the other three looked too young. However, when you go to see a Drifters concert you expect to hear good tunes performed in four part harmony, and slick choreagraphed dance moves, the audience tonight were not to be dissapointed.

For me the show got off to a false start with lead singer Michael Williams coming out to perform a couple of solo numbers which could have only been to showcase his solo album on sale in the foyer. Leaving the stage, a voice over then announces that as with Treadwell's policy and legacy of The Drifters and introducing new, younger members into the line up the Drifters walked on stage to thunderous applause opening with the theme tune to the tour's title "Masquerade" which again to me was a false start - better to open with a hit record that everyone knows, get them onside and then perform a lesser known number. This was followed by " Hello Happiness" "At The Club", "Dance With Me" "Down At The Beach" "Under The Boardwalk" "There Goes My First Love" "More Than A Number In My Little Red Book" interspersed with some lesser known songs before "Sweets For My Sweet" brought the first half to a close.

The second half began with more hits - "Like Sister & Brother" "On Broadway" and "When My Little Girl is Smiling" before treating the audience to a forthcoming new release "The Whole World" followed by "Do You Dream Of Me" which was released in 2011 and was the first release by The Drifters in 35 years. Back to more from the catalogue of hits - "Up On The Roof" "Come On Over To My Place" "Save The Last Dance" "Stand By Me" "Kissin' In The Back Row" and "Saturday Night At The Movies" to name a few.

The second half saw almost the entire audience to a man / woman on their feet - dancing, swaying, clapping and singing along with the hits

The group were backed by an excellent 5 piece band made up of Saxaphone, Guitar, Drums, Bass, and Keyboards which to me were a little loud on some of the softer numbers but overall produced a great sound.

Going back to my opening comments about whether the audience were expecting to see the original Drifters as they left the building in a joyous mood I don't think they could care or have given it a second thought they had been to a soul party with four lads calling themselves The Drifters providing the cabaret. So if they went away happy does it matter or should the group be billed as being The Drifters 2012 or whatever year the line up changes?

For further details of the current tour visit www.theofficialdrifters.com


Saturday, 20 October 2012


Looking for a DJ / Presenter for your next function? Whether it be a club night, dinner, village hall bop or a family party then ALA CRA is the DJ for you. Regarded as being one of the country's top revivalist DJs he specialises in 1960s, 1970s & 1980s Nights. As well as being part of a special 1940s show.

Among the many names that he has worked alongside over the years reads like a who's who of British pop from 1950s through to 1980s including -

Ricky Valance, John Leyton, Jess Conrad, Wee Willie Harris, Jet Harris, Tommy Bruce, Billie Davies, Chas McDevitt, Johnny Caesar (The Caesars), Shel Macrae (The Fortunes).

Rockin' Berries, Cupids Inspiration, Mike Penders Searchers, Paper Lace, Ivy League, Fourmost to name but a few.

See also page on this site.

Friday, 19 October 2012


Leading revivalist DJ, Presenter and Promoter Alan Crowe has published his autobiography "If It Wasn't For Bad Luck" with Authorhouse publishers.

Containing over 51,000 words, numerous images the book chronicles Alan's life to date from childhood to the present.

Many people in the business have written endorsements included in the book including - Jess Conrad, Ricky Valance, Wee Willie Harris, Dave Lodge (Manager to Tommy Bruce), The Bachelors, Shel Macrae (The Fortunes), John Allison (The Allisons), Craig Douglas, Mike Sheridan, Johnny Caesar (The Caesars)

Each of the above is pictured in the book with Alan as is - Vernon Girls, Billie Davis, Dave Dee, The Jets, Tommy Allsup, Frank Ifield, PJ Proby, The Crickets, Brian Poole, Dave Berry, Robin Gibb, John Leyton, Jean Wycherley (Billy Fury's mum), Jack Goode (TV Producer) plus many actors, actresses and sports personalities that he has worked with in a career spanning over 30 years.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Rock Family Trees

I got in last night after watching an excellent Eagles tribute band - "Talon" at Theatre Severn Shrewsbury and turning on the television came across what turned out to be an excellent programme Rock Family Trees.

The programme on BBC 4  presented by Music journalist Pete Frame looked at how a number of Midlands groups - Moody Blues, Idle Race, The Move, ELO, Wizzard evolved from other groups and the dramas behind them.

Among those that were interviewed were - Bev Bevan, Roy Wood, Trevor Burton, Denny Laine, Justin Haywood, and Jeff Lynne.

Such a shame I missed the first half of it. The next two programmes were about Jeff Lynne.

A great night for Brum Beat.

Alan Crowe

Telstar 50

Whilst the media is hyping the 50th anniversary of The Beatles making the charts with "Love Me Do" and are perceived as being the ones that changed the worlld of popular music, lets not forget that the music and fashion culture changed in the 1950s with the birth of Rock n Roll.

It should also be pointed out that "Telstar" by The Tornadoes and produced by Joe Meek is also celebrating its 50th anniversary of not only making the UK charts but also the American charts..

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Big Jim Sullivan R I P.

British session guitarist Jim Sullivan has passed away after a long period of poor health. He was 71 years old. He played on over 1,000 chart hits — including 55 No. 1 singles — during his vibrant career, in addition to working with a who’s who of classic rock royalty.
While Sullivan was hardly a household name, you’ve certainly heard his work. A myriad of U.K. hit makers called on his talents, including everyone from Donovan and Dusty Springfield to the Walker Brothers, Tom Jones and Thunderclap Newman.
Born James Tomkins, Sullivan began his musical career in 1959 as a member of Marty Wilde’s band (Wilde was a U.K. rocker in the Gene Vincent mode). He was a teacher and mentor to both Yes guitarist Steve Howe and Deep Purple‘s Ritchie Blackmore.
According to Classic Rock Magazine, Blackmore labeled “big” Jim “a big influence. He’d only been playing about two years, but he was just about the best guitarist in England, straight away. I thought I was alright and learning pretty well. I couldn’t even understand what he was doing.”
In addition to the stacks of records he lent a hand to, Sullivan was the house guitarist on the legendary British music television shows Top of the Pops and Ready Steady Go, and also is credited with pioneering the use of the fuzzbox and talkbox, later made famous by Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton.
Along the way, he toured with Eddie Cochran, befriended Elvis Presley, and also found time to work with George Harrison, Frank Zappa, the Who, Long John Baldry and producer Joe Meek. In 1968, Sullivan made a record under the name Lord Sitar which, as you guessed, featured him playing the sitar.
If all that wasn’t enough, according to legend, Jimmy Page borrowed one of Sullivan’s guitars while he was recording the first Led Zeppelin album.