Masters – Allan Crockford

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Masters2


Ask Allan Crockford about his musical CV and you can not help but be seriously impressed; The Prisoners, Prime Movers, Solarflares, Stabilisers, James Taylor Quartet, Goodchilde and Phaze. Add his own current band The Galileo 7 and you have a very fine body of work to appreciate.

All of these bands are highly influential and inspirational to successive generations of aspiring musicians with a psych, garage tendency. “But what about mod?” you may ask.

I work on the principle that arguably with the exception of The Small Faces, there is no-such-thing as a ‘mod’ band. However, there are legions of bands with a mod following. Most, if not all of the bands Allan Crockford has been a part of, fall into the latter category when it comes to the UK. Across Europe, they are more regarded as part of the psych, garage, punk scene.

Over the Whitsun Bank Holiday, Allan lines up with long-time collaborators, Graham Day and Wolf Howard at Margate as Graham Day and The Forefathers.

The purpose of this incarnation was simply to revisit the back catalogue of their combined output and revitalise some truly great songs, resulting in the acclaimed debut album ‘Good Things’.

01. How pleased are you with the reception of both the band and the album?

Very pleased with both. It’s come as a great surprise to be greeted with this sort of enthusiasm for doing something exactly the same as we’ve always done! We suspected that a few old faithfuls would be interested, but it’s gone beyond that. If only we’d had this sort of enthusiasm when we last together as The Solarflares then we might have carried on without the 10 year break. I think the internet has helped with making our presence known.

02. What has been like to revisit those great songs with Graham and Wolf?

A lot of them we had played before at various times, but not collected together in one set. It’s been pretty easy really. The real surprise has been doing Prisoners songs without the organ and not really missing it. I suppose we’ve got better at filling the holes in the sound, or maybe letting the songs breathe with a sparser sound. One of the two anyway… I’ve also really enjoyed playing Gaolers songs. To me they are like new songs as me and Wolf didn’t play on the original recordings. It means it’s not all nostalgia.

03. You have had a long-standing writing partnership with Graham Day. How does the process work for you both and has it changed over the years?

It’s not a writing partnership. Graham wrote the basic songs, then they were fleshed out and arranged with the full band, whichever one we were in at the time. I might have contributed the odd arrangement suggestion occasionally, but the songs we play in the Forefathers are very much his. If I made a contribution it’s more in being quick to pick his ideas up and play bass in a way that compliments his sound. I only started writing songs myself in the last 7-8 years, during the time that we weren’t playing together. If we were ever to record new material with this band, then I dare say we’d do it the same way as we always did, with me and Wolf jamming along with Graham’s basic idea until the song emerged. Why change a winning formula!

04. How surprised are you that The Prisoners and Prime Movers are still immensely popular in the 21st century?

I dispute that the Prime Movers were ever that popular! The only reason we were called that when we initially made our return was for a one off gig in Germany for an old record label that specially requested it. We dropped all the PMs songs from the set very quickly, apart from ‘Good Things’. And also ‘immensely popular’ is pushing it a bit for both bands! We’ve got a small set of very enthusiastic and loyal fans that make a lot of noise, but it’s still very small scale. We’re very grateful to them, but we never over-estimate our popularity. We’re preaching to a small number of converted.

05. You have told me in the past that throughout your career, from The Prisoners onwards, you and indeed the other members of the various bands, never regarded yourselves as mods, but you seem to have attracted a mod following in the UK. Why do you think that is?

We never disputed that there were ‘Mod’ elements to our sound and style, but we never wanted to be defined by a label. We just loved 60’s rock n roll and style. Most people dressed that way back then, but weren’t called Mods. I don’t get the need to identify with something narrow and limiting. Why can’t you play the music and wear some of the gear if you feel like it, without someone putting a label on you? The development of youth culture and tribal allegiances are kind of interesting as topics for a social thesis or a Phd, but it gets a bit boring to be asked the same question about it for the next 30 years… No disrespect! I love the music, but I also love a lot of music that apparently Mods aren’t supposed to like.

06. Your own band, The Galileo 7 have received critical acclaim for their album from last year ‘False Memory Lane’. How would describe your sound and what you are aiming for with them?

We’ve made two albums before that; ‘Are We Having Fun Yet? (2010) and ‘Staring At The Sound’ (2012). There’s also the brand new single ‘One Lie At A Time’. I suppose it’s psych-pop rather than garage-rock, if anyone can pick apart the differences within our little sub-genres. Influenced more by mid to late 60’s pop psychedelia than R&B, more Nuggets than Rubble… I haven’t got the vocal range to take on soully/R&B screaming and testifying like Graham, so I try to work on melodies and harmonies that will work whoever is singing. I’m not aiming for anything apart from carrying on playing and having a creative outlet for my ideas. I realise that not everyone who has liked the other bands I’ve played in will necessarily seek out our stuff, but there’s enough crossover musically for anyone who is into the same influences to find something they like. And with our new lineup, the energy level has increased and I think we’re delivering the songs better than ever live. Check us out when you can!

07. Getting back to Graham Day and The Forefathers, when can we expect a follow-up album to ‘Good Things’?

Don’t know if it’s ‘when’, more ‘if’. We haven’t got any plans at the moment. It’s very tempting to knock out ‘More Good Things’ just because the first one was so easy and everyone liked it so much. But that might be a bit lazy. We might do it, but doing new stuff together might be more rewarding. But it’s up to Graham to write the songs, and who knows if he has the time or the inclination these days. I think singles might be more likely if it’s going to be new stuff. And if we did record new material, we might do it under a different name just to be obtuse. The Forefathers are supposed to be our tribute band!

08. The band are playing Saturday night at the Margate Whitsun Weekender. Are you looking forward to it and what can the audience expect from the show?

We always look forward to playing, and the audience can expect…. The usual! A load of old songs played with energy and fire, with maybe some unexpected choices thrown in. we like to keep the set fresh by chucking in the odd song that no one expects to play. Sometimes we don’t expect it either.

09. Are there any other bands that have impressed you recently, and if so, which ones?

I don’t really see a lot of bands to be honest, so it would be forcing it a bit to write any down… I spend most of my time buying vinyl re-issues of records I’ve already got, like a lot of other middle-aged music fans.

10. And what about your own plans? Will we see more from The Galileo 7?

Yes, we’ll playing whenever we can and recording new stuff when I’ve written it. No definite plans but something will happen. I’m enjoying playing with the new line-up and I’m sure that will inspire me to come up with new material very soon.

Allan Crockford, thank you very much for this interview and best of luck with all your projects. Have a great time at Margate. See all the details here!


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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April 24, 2015 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Inspiration Interviews News Picks UK Tags:, , , ,
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Masters – James Taylor

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Masters2

James Taylor was born in 1964 and played organ in Medway legends the Prisoners, making four classic albums between 1982 and 1986. After the band spilt he formed the James Taylor Quartet, initially predominately playing Hammond-heavy versions of TV theme tunes and film soundtracks before developing his own brand of what would soon be known as acid jazz. Taking in jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, rock and more the JTQ have enjoyed huge success in a near 30 year period which continues to the present day. Ahead of the JTQ’s appearance at the Margate Weekender, James Taylor talks to Mark Raison for NUTSMAG.

01. When did you start taking an interest in music?

As early as I can recall, I remember seeing the Beatles on Top of the Pops in 1968 playing ‘Hey Jude’. I was into all sorts of music from an early age; eclecticism was always my thing and still is now.

02. Where they any musicians in your family?

My uncle had his own band playing sixties soul and my mother and grandmother were piano players and they gave me my earliest musical education. I had my first piano lesson when I was four years old. I was very interested in trying to work out tunes that I had heard on the radio and TV, so no change there really. My brothers and I formed a band playing Stevie Wonder covers.

03. Around the time of recording the first Prisoners LP, Better In Black, you briefly went to university but soon quit. What route do you think your musical path would’ve taken if you’d not made that decision?

Hard to say, I left after a few days when I realised there was no way I could take the whole thing seriously. I wanted to play with the Prisoners. I was not interested in engineering and I was bored of education. It was a scary decision to say to my professor “I want to be a musician” and to turn my back on serious education but I felt gigging was the most exciting thing in my life, so there was not much of a choice really. I still feel the same way.

04. On the first two Prisoners albums, before your Hammond, you got a great sound out of a Casio keyboard.

Thank you. I found the Casio in a keyboard shop and noticed it had a setting called ‘electric organ’. I played along with my 7” vinyl of ‘Green Onions’ and I was able to get a sound not too dissimilar to Booker T. Jones so that’s how I whiled away the evenings. As a sixteen year old before joining a band, I was hooked on all things Hammond-ish.

05. After the Prisoners, how did the James Taylor Quartet take shape and what was your original ambition for the band?

I was pissed off when the Prisoners spilt up because I just wanted to gig, so I put my own band together and just carried on really. You know when things fall apart sometimes it forces you into a new position or way or operating that was unforeseen but that in some way brings you forward unexpectedly. It was fortuitous that Eddie Piller liked our sound and started putting out our records. I was very surprised that other people liked our stuff; I thought I was the only Hammond nut around, turned out there were others.

06. Wait A Minute was a highpoint of the original JTQ line-up and included ‘Theme From Starsky and Hutch’ which is still what many people best know you for. What are your recollections of recording that LP and of Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley from the JB’s who played on it?

We were at a rather posh studio with a very expensive producer. We had a great laugh actually, didn’t want to come home. Pee Wee and Fred were really amazing. They complimented our sound and it felt odd to hear your heroes playing on your own record. I knew ‘Starsky’ would be popular but I didn’t think it would still be doing the rounds now, it’s aged well.

07. With Get Organized came changes to the quartet line-up. After working with the same musicians you’d known from Medway, how was it suddenly working with young jazz musicians known in their own right?

That was a period where I felt a lot of pressure from Polydor to be at the centre of this new emerging musical scene, but at the same time I really enjoyed working with all these great new players. I found a way to use the Hammond alongside all sorts; it was a kind of stretching experience. I felt that the early line-up had sort of extinguished itself and I had to decide how best to go forward. It was very liberating but when you separate from the people who share and understand your musical development closely it’s a shock to discover other people don’t see things quite the same, I had to be flexible. So it was a steep learning curve, it took a while until I found my feet again after the first band finished.

08. That period from the late 80s to early 90s encompassed rare groove, jazz, hip-hop and soul. It moved fast and the JTQ were right in amongst it; making albums at a rapid rate. How do you view those times?

We gigged and recorded flat out so it was tiring but very exciting. I could have taken more time out to examine things a bit I guess, but when you’re moving so fast you kind of don’t want to stop. The band was regularly selling out large venues all around the world. We were considered a very bankable act by the UK music scene and promoters, so we just lived on a bus basically, marriages fell apart, people got stressed out a bit, but it was a non-stop party for the first eight to ten years at least!

09. You had/have a strong reputation as a live act but was there pressure from record companies – when the acid jazz scene was at its height – to have bigger chart success?

Yes. Everyone in the business wanted us to be a vocal act, I was okay with this but instrumentals were always my passion, so it was good to make soul records as long as we could gig Hammond instrumentals as well. We had hits, a lot of commercial success was fun for a while but I soon felt the need to rebalance things and get back into our more core sound.

10. The Template celebrated 25 years of the JTQ in 2011. It’s a great album but you seem to operate more under-the-radar these days.

Thanks, but I wonder why you feel that to be the case? In the last three months we’ve played a week of sold out shows at Ronnie Scott’s, sold out the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Sage in Newcastle, headlined the Liverpool Jazz Festival. These are big gigs and we’ve been played on all the national BBC radio stations. As well as this we’ve recorded an album for TV/film and advertising, another live album for Ronnie’s, and I’ve written and am about to record a huge choral/Hammond piece for Cherry Red. I think you maybe feel we are under the radar because you’re not personally aware of these things. We are still one of the biggest jazz acts in the country and are permanently in demand worldwide, the problem is I’m running out of energy, I’m fifty now!

11. Your recent album, Closer To The Moon, contains elements of classical music. For many ‘classical music’ seems like something impenetrable and intimating, as well as outside their taste. What’s your interest in it?

Closer isn’t a classical record though, it’s just got some of those sounds on it. I’m interested in music which connects directly with me, this could be Stevie Wonder or J S Bach, I don’t really make a distinction. The Hammond works well in a variety of musical genres so I’ll make a record with Billy Childish or with a cathedral choir or Tina Turner, it’s all good. I recognise that classical music is a turn off to loads of people but what can I do? I’m just into it just like I’m into the Small Faces, so I’m excited to represent myself using aspects of the classical idiom. Have you heard those string arrangements of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake?
Classical music.

12. What period of your career so far do you look back on most fondly and why?

I like things as they are now because I have complete freedom musically, so I guess now is the best period for me, it still feels very exciting to play the Hammond on stage, just as it did my first gig with the Prisoners. Being a musician is a privilege and it’s not a thing that I take for granted or shy away from.  I’ve enjoyed my career in music and I’m very grateful for your scene for being so supportive to us for so long. The mod scene got us started really and it’s always great to see mods in the crowd showing the others how to dance and dress. I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions, it’s given me a chance to reflect on many things and I’m very much looking forward to your festival down in Margate. I’ve never played there before so I can’t wait, also pleased to see that we share the bill with other great musicians: Graham, Allan and Simon [Graham Day and the Forefathers]. I reckon it’s going to be a memorable gig.

Find out more info about the Margate Weekender.

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Mark Raison

I've spent three-quarters of my life wandering the mod path with detours down its side streets and dark alleys. From an enthusiastic youth to a still-enthusiastic-but-harder-to-tell grizzled old goat, I've dabbled in all parts of the scene from writing fanzines 'Round Midnight and Something Has Hit Me; to promoting bands; attempting to manage bands; singing in the mighty garage combo The Electric Fayre; putting on indie, psych and soul clubs including Freak Scene, Orange Sunshine, and Shake!; writing liner notes for Reg King releases on Circle Records; and, in fitter times, tucking away the odd goal for the New Untouchables. I still DJ from my box of R&B humdingers but more often you’ll find me tapping away on my blog at monkeypicks.co.uk. I like the poetry of Charles Bukowski and dislike the taste of cheese.

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April 23, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page General Interviews ModJazz News Picks Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Jazz for Modernists 1- Intro

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series James Thomas on Jazz

Introduction: Ten for Starters

Hello, my name is James Thomas. Welcome to a new series about modern jazz in connection with modernism as understood by the New Untouchables, an important subject sometimes under-represented among mods and 50s/60s fans.

What was the role of jazz for the mod attitude and aesthetic? How much did early mods really listen to jazz? Where did they buy their records/hear live music? Did some mods follow ‘trad jazz’ due to its links with early  British R&B? How was jazz represented in fiction, film and other forms of cultural media? What about British and European modern jazz?

Jazz is fundamental to Mod history. The Ace/Kent label has produced a series of excellent ‘Mod Jazz’ CDs/LPs, concentrating on music for the dance floor. These are brilliant introductions to soul-jazz, funky hard bop, danceable cool, Latin and jazzy R&B. See, AN EXAMPLE IS HERE!

Jazz ‘beyond’ the dance floor, though, is equally ‘where it’s at’. Far from being ‘too intellectual’, modal jazz, the New Thing, post-bop, free jazz and their offshoots complement well the existential attitude of today’s mindful modernist.

Here are ten introductions to various styles of modern jazz. They’re not a ‘top ten’ of ‘mod jazz’, but they cover a lot of ground and introduce some essential names.

1. Bebop

Dizzy Gillespie & His Sextet: ‘Night in Tunisia’ (1946) (From Bluebird 66528-2CD The Complete RCA Victor Recordings, 1995)



Written in 1942 (by Dizzy Gillespie and pianist Frank Paparelli), ‘(A) Night in Tunisia’ is a standard of bebop, the style pioneered in the early 40s by, among others, trumpeter John ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, pianists Thelonius Monk and Bud Powell, drummers Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, guitarist Charlie Christian and double bassist Ray Brown. Bebop (or bop), evolving from big band swing, was developed by Kansas City – and New York-based musicians experimenting with harmony, rhythm and improvisation. ‘Night in Tunisia’ has often been covered; twice by drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1957 and 1960). Though not the first version (Gillespie recorded it for Continental in 1944 with singer Sarah Vaughan & Her All Stars as ‘Interlude’), this 1946 recording is possibly the most important.

2. Cubop/Latin

Charlie Parker/ Machito & His Orchestra: ‘Okiedoke’ (1949) (From High Definition Jazz HDJ 4076-CD The Latin Bird, 2000)



Dizzy Gillespie encountered Latin rhythms in Cab Calloway’s 1930s orchestra through Cuban bandleader Mario Bauzá, later leader of the dance orchestra of singer-percussionist Machito (Frank Grillo). In May 1943, at Manhattan’s La Conga club, the orchestra (minus Machito) wrote ‘Tangá’, probably the first fusion of Cuban rhythms and black swing-band phrasing. The inevitable dialogue between Latin music and bebop became known as Cubop. Gillespie’s 1947 big band included percussionist Chano Pozo, composer of ‘Tin Tin Deo’ and ‘Manteca’, while West-Coast pianist/bandleader Stan Kenton appeared with Machito’s Afro-Cuban orchestra at New York’s Town Hall (January 1948). Norman Granz recorded Machito for his Clef label in 1948 and, soon after, with Charlie Parker. ‘Okiedoke’, where Parker’s solo is fairly straight bebop, is a good example of the genre.

3. Cool Jazz

The Modern Jazz Quartet: ‘Ralph’s New Blues’ (1955) (From Prestige LP 7005 Concorde)

Formed in 1952, The Modern Jazz Quartet became synonymous with ‘Cool jazz’, a term covering various styles that, from around 1946, dispensed with bebop’s fiery tempos. Although mainstays Milt Jackson (vibes) and John Lewis (piano) were trained in bop improvisation, Lewis was in the Miles Davis Nonet, which in 1949/50 recorded some important sides with arranger Gil Evans (released in 1957 as Birth of the Cool). Davis, Lewis and Evans (with Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz, Paul Desmond, Dave Brubeck and Gerry Mulligan) took a more subdued, ordered approach, influenced by European classical (particularly Baroque Chamber) music. The MJQ were popular in Europe, providing the soundtrack to Roger Vadim’s 1957 film Sait-on jamais (released in the US as No Sun in Venice and the UK as One Never Knows).

4. Hard Bop

Horace Silver & the Jazz Messengers: ‘The Preacher’ (1955) (From Blue Note LP 1518 Horace Silver & the Jazz Messengers)


Connecticut-born Horace Silver (1928-2014) was a key pianist in ‘hard bop’, a style developed from the mid-50s to the mid-60s. Absorbing bebop’s new vocabulary, it drew on blues, gospel and rhythm & blues (big and small band) in contrast to the classical influences of ‘cool’ and chamber jazz. Hard bop numbers were longer than bebop or straight R&B, melodies alternating with lengthy soloing. Around 1953, Silver and drummer Art Blakey formed the Jazz Messengers, a constantly-evolving combo featuring the cream of East Coast jazz musicians. The catchy, gospel fused ‘The Preacher’ was initially deemed too ‘old-fashioned’ by Blue Note producer Alfred Lion. Silver’s own quintets, incorporating Latin, soul and modal jazz influences, recorded many fine albums for Blue Note, including The Tokyo Blues (1962), Song for My Father (1964) and The Jody Grind (1966).

5. (Cutting-Edge) Hard Bop

Thelonius Monk quartet, with John Coltrane: ‘Bye-ya’ (1957) (From Blue Note CD Thelonius Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, 2005)

‘Straight ahead’ and ‘funky’ hard bop, exemplified by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, trumpeter Lee Morgan, saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley and Horace Silver’s groups was probably the dominant form of mainstream modern jazz from 1955-1967. However, many musicians involved were not content to repeat the formula. The first great Miles Davis Quintet (1955-1958), featuring John Coltrane on tenor sax, pushed boundaries on LPs like Relaxin’ (Prestige, 1957). In 1957, Coltrane joined the quartet of unclassifiable genius Thelonius Monk for a residency at New York’s Five Spot Cafe. His playing on Monk’s calypso-inspired ‘Bye-ya’, recorded at a recently unearthed concert at Carnegie Hall (November 1957), reveals how Coltrane’s ‘sheets of sound’ style owed much to his interaction with Monk’s abstract
piano phrasings.

6. Modal Jazz

Miles Davis: ‘All Blues’ (1959) (From Columbia LP CL1355/CS1863 Kind of Blue)


From Miles Davis’ epoch-defining Kind of Blue, ‘All Blues’, featuring Coltrane and pianist Bill Evans, is a foundational example of modal jazz (the title track of Milestones (1958) is often considered the first). Theorised by composer/bandleader George Russell (1923-2009), modal jazz uses scales or modes rather than chords for harmonic progression. This sounds technical and it’s often easier to identify than describe modal playing. Suffice to say, improvisation around scales allowed greater melodic and harmonic freedom and drone effects evoking an exotic, ‘Eastern’ flavour. Coltrane pursued modal styles after 1960 on tracks like ‘India’, ‘Impressions’ and ‘A Love Supreme’. Pianists McCoy Tyner (from Coltrane’s quartet) and Herbie Hancock (whose ‘Maiden Voyage’ is key) brought modal techniques to hard bop on their Blue Note sessions and those of artists like vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and saxophonist
Joe Henderson.

7. Soul jazz 

Ray Bryant Trio: ‘Shake a Lady’’ (1964) Sue 108


It’s quite difficult to distinguish ‘soul jazz’ from ‘hard bop’. ‘Moanin’, by Philadelphia-born pianist Bobby Timmons, is considered early soul-jazz; yet the first LP it features on, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (1958), is classic hard bop. Soul jazz perhaps emphasises gospel’s call-and-response structure more. While hard bop usually privileges at least one brass instrument, soul jazz often worked in a rhythm trio format, particularly with Hammond organists like Jack McDuff, Richard Holmes and Jimmy Smith. Another Philly pianist, Ray Bryant (1931-2011), perfected a funky soul jazz style for various labels (Columbia, Prestige, Sue and Cadet). His dance floor mover ‘Shake a Lady’, covered the following year by “Cannonball” Adderley, is classic soul jazz.

8. Post-Hard Bop

Charles Mingus: ‘Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting’ (1959) (From Atlantic LP 1305 Blue & Roots)


Double bassist, bandleader, writer and composer Charles Mingus (1922-1979) was a legendary figure for modernists, beats, original hipsters and progressive folkies like Bert Jansch and Davey Graham. His extensive discography includes five or six essential LPs for modernists, including Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956), Mingus Ah Um (1959) and Blues & Roots (1960). ‘Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting’ kicks off the latter in fine style, a frenetic, buzzing take on soulful blues featuring a six-strong horn line-up (including future Blue Note star, altoist Jackie McLean, the gospel-driven piano of Horace Parlan and Mingus’ stunning lead bass). Somewhere between Ray Charles and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, this is five minutes of aural tension that all modernists need to hear.

9. Avant-garde/New Thing

Eric Dolphy: ‘The Prophet’ (live) (1961) (From New Jazz LP NJ 8260 At The Five Spot)


Los Angeles-born multi-instrumentalist (flute, alto sax, bass clarinet) Eric Dolphy (1928-1964), like fellow travellers Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor, was part of the so-called ‘New Thing’ in jazz. Veteran of sessions with Chico Hamilton and Mingus, in 1960 Dolphy recorded his first two LPs for New Jazz: Outward Bound and Out There, and featured on Coleman’s groundbreaking Atlantic LP, Free Jazz. In 1961, a momentous year, he recorded with Coltrane (Olé), George Russell (Ezz-thetics), pianist Mal Waldron (The Quest) and trumpet prodigy Booker Little (Far Cry). That July 16, a quintet featuring Dolphy, Little, Waldron, bassist Richard Davis (who would play on Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks) and drummer Eddie Blackwell recorded at New York’s Five Spot around two hours of fantastically modern music, including ‘The Prophet’, described by critic Michael G. Nastos as “a puckery blues… armed with minor phrasings and stretched harmonics” (Allmusic). Dolphy’s masterpiece Out to Lunch (1964) would be his only recording for Blue Note.

10. Avant-garde/Post-bop

Andrew Hill: ‘Siete Ocho’ (1964) From Blue Note BLP 4159/BST 84159 Judgment!


Of Haitian origin, Chicago-born pianist Andrew Hill (1931-2007) recorded a dozen or so outstanding, challenging sessions for Blue Note between 1963 and 1970. With one foot in tradition, another in the future, Hill, like Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard and the second great Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, skirted the fringes of the avant-garde around a broad range of styles now defined as ‘post-bop’. Opening his third Blue Note session, Judgment! (1964), ‘Siete Ocho’ (Spanish for 7/8) is a pulsating nine-minute dialogue between Hill’s exploratory piano and Bobby Hutcherson’s atmospheric vibes, propelled by probing bass from Richard Davis and powerful drumming from Coltrane’s sticks man Elvin Jones.

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James Thomas

James Thomas was born in Bristol just the wrong side of 1970 (1971). His first encounters with the 1960s were his two-year-old elder brother’s reminiscences of the Moon Landing (since deleted by the BBC) and an afternoon in 1975 listening to the Beatles with his parents. He remembers 2-Tone and the ’79 revival, but was the one in his primary school still wearing flares until he persuaded his mum to buy him a black Harrington jacket (a stylish-enough copy by Burtons) and asked a hair stylist to make him ‘look like Suggs’. In the 1980s he became obsessed with almost every aspect of the 1960s, whether it were Star Trek, the length of George Harrison’s hair in March 1965 or the first colour TV broadcast of a cricket match (he thinks it was 1968). After being side-tracked by progressive rock (an ongoing guilty pleasure), James came to his senses in 1986 on seeing footage of Booker T and the MGs and Otis Redding on a programme celebrating the 60th anniversary of television. A flirtation with ‘indie pop’ (in the bowl-cut and anorak days) led to too much introspection, but also a new interest in the psychedelic sounds of the 1960s that seemed to go hand in glove with a liking for The Pastels and The Razorcuts. A summery afternoon in the jazz tent at Bristol’s annual (and long gone) Ashton Court Festival in 1989 opened his mind to the sounds of Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, Art Blakey and most forms of modern jazz. In 1990, James attended his first proper 60s club night, the revered Kaleidoscope Pop! in Leeds. On his return from the North in 1992, he developed a new commitment to Mod culture. He recalls early Untouchables Brighton New Year rallies and in 1994 moved to London. A real education for him (in so many ways...) was a period in Barcelona (1997-2002) where he helped out with the Magic in the Air club for a year or two and where his IQ was permanently reduced by a record dealer who made him clean vinyl for four weeks in a windowless room. After a decade or so in the West Country, he is now living again in London, where he plans to write about jazz, meet like-minded people and study the history of the cravat.

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May 5, 2015 By : Category : Front Page ModJazz Music Picks Reviews Tags:,
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Rob Bailey on Margate Mod and Sixties Festival

I recently met up with Rob bailey, AKA DJ Dr Robert to chat about his joint new venture ‘Great British Music Culture’ (go to: www.gbmusicculture.co.uk) and their first Event ‘The Margate Mod and Sixties Festival’ (full info here). Here is what he had to say!

01. What was growing up in the Kent area like and what are your first musical related memories?

Music was all around me from an early age especially at school with the ever so cool sixth formers and our home economics teacher Miss Potts (who was every young Mods dream) riding her Vespa to school. Quite a few of us signed up for her classes she was a bit like Fay Hallam of Makin Time but before her time this was 1982/83. The music followed on from the style at first.

02. Margate, Kent, the Medway area have all been a vibrant historical ‘musical delta’ over the years?

Being close proximity to London helps of course but growing up near Medway in the early eighties was exciting. Along with my short spell at Gillingham football club my other passion was music. We had that in abundance and attitude from local heroes the Prisoners and JTQ followed when the Prisoners split. We also had a great DJ’s like Graham Sage and Keith Rylatt who run Bogart’s Soul club, Jo Wallace at Churchill’s and the King Charles Mod nights. In 1985 the Cool Running Scooter Club started organizing its own nights in Maidstone where both Lee Miller and I started our DJ journeys. This was going on all over Kent we met the Canterbury lads Jake, Paul, Nick and Chris also the Llewellyn brothers and Matt, Tony and Simon from Thanet. All these areas had their own Mod related nights and scenes. Allan Crockford used to work in my local Our Price record shop during the day and be a Prisoner or member of JTQ by night!

03. Margate itself was quite a Modernist Weekender Mecca in the golden era and the New Untouchables used to stage events there, why did this stop?

Margate like Brighton is close proximity to London and hit the headlines back in 1964 and will always be synonymous with the Mod scene. It’s has a great beach and the first ever fun fair Dreamland which reopens its doors this summer.

In 2002 New Untouchables revived it for a couple of years with great success but the problem was the town was detioriating around us.

04. So tell us what changes have been afoot in that Margate for those not from the local area?

Fast forward a decade and the new Turner Arts centre has transformed the town. Our venue the Westcoast and Black Cat Club in the heart of the old town is surrounded by vintage shops, boutique hotels, family run cafes, restaurants, tea rooms and even an old sweet shop. The UK’s first ever fun fair, Dreamland will reopen its doors for the first time in over a decade this summer. Margate also offers one of the best Beaches in Britain and one of the few places you can watch the sun rise and set.

05. So you have a new event called Margate Mod and Sixties Festival what is the new venue like?

The venue is fantastic space opposite the harbour in the heart of the old town and is a similar size and space to the Komedia in Brighton with two rooms and offers a great live music space. The smaller venue Black Cat is already hosting some great club nights that are Mod and Sixties friendly with Profumo, Wahoo, Face Up and the Soul Cellar. It will also be serving the best Caribbean food in town during the day all weekend.

06. What live bands have you got lined up for this Event?

We start as we mean to go on with a stellar line-up of live bands. Kicking things off Friday is closest you will ever get to hearing the Small Faces live. The Small Fakers have built a superb reputation as a must see live band for all things Small Faces. Saturday daytime is out Battle of the bands (go to: www.gbmusicculture.co.uk to enter). I can’t wait for Sat night and a chance to see Graham, Allan and Wolf in action playing all those songs I love from the Prisoners, Solarflares and Prime Movers. Sunday daytime we have two explosive young bands, the first from Spain the Faith Keepers are best described soulful dynamite and already blew the roof of in Brighton two years ago.  They will be joined by young London band The Turning who play 21st century Mod pop and recently supported mates The Strypes on tour. Sunday night James Taylor takes centre stage with those groovy Hammond vibes before our Northern Soul allnighter gets underway.

07. What about DJ Talent to fill those dancefloors?

We have a great mix playing of DJ’s playing across the board Mod and sixties sounds including the New Untouchables regulars along with local guys from the clubs mentioned above and special guests from the London area.

08. Anything else going on for Scooterists? Is there a meet up for those riding down from the London area?

There are two ride outs over the weekend. Our first ride out is organized by Bar Italia Scooter Club on Sat 23 May and leaves Blackheath Tea Hut on the A2 at 10am stopping at Medway Scooters in Strood and continuing down the A2 arriving at the Piazza opposite the Westcoast on Margate seafront early afternoon. Our second ride out is by the THANET AREA SCOOTER SERVICES to Ramsgate via Broadstairs, meeting at 12 noon on Sunday 24th at the Piazza. We have arranged parking in the Piazza with road closures on those days for scooters. The scooter Competition is sponsored by THANET AREA SCOOTER SERVICES, BAR ITALIA and THE PIRATES S.C and will take place at 3pm in the Piazza on Sunday 24 May 2015.

09. So there is a great outdoor area at the venue, tell us about that and how you will use it?

Our daytime events are on the Piazza opposite the Westcoast in the heart of the old Town right opposite the beach. We will have a stage with live music both days including battle of the bands on Saturday afternoon, open decks DJ sessions, scooter comp, market and record fair, food and drinks available at special prices for wristband holders.

10. How can folks buy a ticket and find out more?

The full program and tickets are online at: www.gbmusicculture.co.uk

If you want to enter battle of the bands or a trade stall or a spot at the Open decks session please contact us here!

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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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April 29, 2015 By : Category : Bands DJs Events Front Page Interviews Music News Picks Scene UK Tags:,
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NUTsCast – Sessions – part 5

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series NUTsCast - Podcast

Welcome to The Nutscast Sessions, the newly revamped podcast from the New Untouchables. Each month we will bring you a band ‘in session’ recorded especially for Nutscast. In addition, your host ‘The Baron’ – Graham Lentz will play a mixture of the best new music, club classics and a few surprises.


Episode 15: (or 5 of the new format) of Nutscast. The new edition of the Nutscast Sessions is the Le Beat Bespoke 10 Special, featuring tracks from all the artists appearing on stage at 229 The Venue this Easter.

The live session comes from the High Learys and there are tracks by The Action, Roy Medina and Willie Mitchell. There is also an exclusive from the forthcoming album Le Beat Bespoke 6.

So join ‘The Baron’ aka Graham Lentz for the preview of Le Beat Bespoke 10 this Easter 2015 – brought to you by NUTsMag (newuntouchables.com).

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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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February 16, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music News Picks Podcasts Tags:, , ,
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NUTsCast – Sessions – part 6

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series NUTsCast - Podcast

Join The Baron for Part 2 of our Le Beat Bespoke 10 Special Nustcast shows. This time we have great sounds chosen by 18 of our guest DJs over the Easter Weekend to get you in the mood.

With tracks by the likes of Slim Harpo, July, New Swing Sextet, Martha Starr Night Beats and Gemma and The Travellers from selectors Ady Croasdell, Sean Chapman, Carlo Sesto, Traxel, Lolo, Holly Calder, Dr Robert, Lee Miller and John Vincent, Rhys Webb and Mik Parry! This one not to be missed take a listen here. See the list of who is playing here!


Episode 16: (or 6 of the new format) of Nutscast. The new edition of the Nutscast Sessions is the Le Beat Bespoke 10 Special, featuring tracks from some of the DJ talent appearing on stage at 229 The Venue this Easter.

So join ‘The Baron’ aka Graham Lentz for his DJ preview of Le Beat Bespoke 10 this Easter 2015 – brought to you by NUTsMag (newuntouchables.com).

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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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March 18, 2015 By : Category : DJs Front Page Music News Picks Podcasts Tags:, , ,
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NUTsCast – Sessions – part 4

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series NUTsCast - Podcast

Welcome to The Nutscast Sessions, the newly revamped podcast from the New Untouchables. Each month we will bring you a band ‘in session’ recorded especially for Nutscast. In addition, your host Graham Lentz will play a mixture of the best new music, club classics and few surprises.

Stone Foundation at Modstock

Episode 14: (or 4 of the new format) of Nutscast. Join Graham Lentz for this special Xmas edition of Nutscast Sessions with a look back at 2014 and ten live recordings from Modstock 3.

The featured artist is Stone Foundation, plus tracks from Secret Affair, Mergers, Apemen, Eddie Philips, Kenney Jones, The Velvelettes and Brenda Holloway.

In addition, we have songs from French Boutik, Phroggs, Eddie Floyd, Toots and The Maytals, Temptations, Nick Waterhouse, Muleskinners and Ronnie & Robyn. Presented by Graham Lentz brought to you by NUTsMag (newuntouchables.com).

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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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December 28, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music News Picks Podcasts Tags:, , ,
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Motown Shop Around

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Collectors Corner

Collectable early UK Tamla Motown singles

Along with Rock’n’Roll, The Beatles, Stones and Dylan, it’s probably fair to say soul has been one of the most collectable forms of music since the first record collectors started scouring junk shops looking for deleted obscure 45’s back in the late 1960’s. With it’s massive UK fanbase, Tamla Motown soon became one of the most popular labels to collect and there are plenty of choice UK rarities to empty your wallet with. The first release came out on the most celebrated of UK labels, London American, which was set up by Decca Records to release the latest sounds from the USA it held the rights to release.

In the mid 50’s the explosion of great R’N’B tracks released in the USA and the fact Decca had the rights to release music from Specialty, Atlantic and Chess meant we were treated to all manner of classic American music in the UK. And so in May 1959 the Marv Johnson US Tamla single “Come to me” was released on London HLT 8856, this was followed in November the same year with the piano led instrumental “The Hunch” by Paul Gayten (London HLM 8998) which had been released in the US on Anna records the previous month. Neither sold particularly well but do appear for sale occasionally, neither should cost more than £80 in top condition.

motown 1

In March 1960 London took up the option to release Barrett Strong’s classic single “Money (That’s what I want)” (London HLU 9088) which was at the time moving up the US hot 100 on it’s way to a #23 chart placing. Unfortunately the same thing never happened in Britain and the single flopped making it the most expensive London single to locate, a mint copy usually selling for around £100-£120. Britain had to wait another eleven months before the next UK release, but what a release it was.

The Miracles had just had Motown’s first million selling 45 in the USA , “Shop around”, and the track was released over here on London on HL 9276. Although it wasn’t a chart hit sales were respectable which is probably what tempted London into releasing a follow-up “Ain’t it baby” in September 1961 (London HL 9366) and even an EP release the following month “Shop Around” (London RE 1295). The EP is by far the hardest of the London releases and when it does appear is usually guaranteed to fetch way over £100.

motown 2

After six releases and no UK hits, Decca gave up and the releasing rights for Tamla and Motown moved to Philips subsiduary Fontana. A real mixed bag of a label, early releases ranged from Aretha Franklin and James Brown tracks to Cleo Laine and Sooty & Sweep! And so in November 1961 The Marvelettes debut US single and Hot 100 #1 smash “Please Mr Postman” was released on Fontana H 355 in Britain. Although not a hit over here it had steady sales prompting Fontana to release three singles from the label in quick succession early the following year.

The first release was from The Miracles “What’s so good about goodbye” (H 384), The Marvelettes “Twisting Postman” (H 386), and Eddie Holland “Jamie” (H 387). Not one of these singles bothered the UK charts and the Miracles and Eddie Holland singles are now prized rarities for the collector, the former usually selling for around £100 and the Holland 45 easily doubling that in perfect condition.

Around the same time (August 1961) a Motown anomily gained a UK release, The Spinners US Tri-Phi release “That’s what girls are made for” which was a Fuqua / Gordy composition sneaked out on Columbia records in the UK (DB 4693). Some discographies list this single and some don’t as it isn’t an official Motown release but we’ll go with the former as it is a £100+ rarity!

The fact that Fontana’s Motown releases were not selling as well as their Johnny Mathis releases was the probable reason the label was on the move again in autumn 1962 to the upcoming independent Oriole label.

motown 3

Originally set up in the mid 1920’s in Whitechapel, London, Oriole had begun to have regular chart hits in the late 50s and early 60’s with artists such as Chas McDevitt, Russ Hamilton and Maureen Evans all reaching high positions in the UK. Head of A&R at the company at the time, John Schroeder brought Berry Gordy over to London to sign a twelve month distribution deal and In September 1962 the company launched their “Oriole American” series with three singles leased from the Tamla-Motown stable.

Mary Wells “You beat me to the punch” (CBA 1762) was swiftly followed by The Contours “Do you love me” (CBA 1973) and The Marvelettes “Beechwood 4-5789″ (CBA 1764). All three were steady sellers, unlike the next release in December 1962. Mike & The Modifiers “I got myself a brand new baby” (CBA 1775) must have got lost in the Christmas rush as it sold pitiful amounts hence it’s rarity today. This along with the other ultra rare Oriole / Motown release “I found a girl” by The Valadiers which was released in March 1963 (CBA 1809) have both sold for up to £1000 each and are jewels in any UK Tamla Motown collection.

motown 4

Oriole released a total of nineteen singles in just under a year, including UK debut discs from Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas and Little Stevie Wonder. Most can be found at a reasonable price apart from the Eddie Holland “If it’s love (It’s alright)” (CBA 1808), The Marvelettes “Locking up my heart” (CBA 1817) and Martha & The Vandellas “I’ll have to let him go” (CBA 1814) 45’s which are all £200+ rarities.

Just as Oriole looked on the cusp of a UK chart hit with Little Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips” (CBA 1853) which was released in August 1963 the US label was snapped up by the giant EMI group of companies and after one final release from The Miracles “Mickeys’ monkey” (CBA 1863) in September Tamla-Motown found itself being released on the legendary Stateside label in Britain. But that’s another story altogether…

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James Clark

Loves collecting records. My main loves are 50's rock'n'roll, 60's soul and r'n'b, beat, mod and psych and hopefully will be sharing some nuggets with you over the next few months. Apart from being a vinyl junkie I'm a Arsenal obsessive and a hopelessly romantic drunkard, but don't let put you off, we all have our faults.

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November 10, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Music Picks Reviews Tags:, ,
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Northern Soul – Film Review

‘Northern Soul’ by Elaine Constantine

The ICA, London, SW1Y 5AH – October 2014

The anticipation had reached fever pitch here in the UK for the release of ‘Northern Soul’ by Elaine Constantine. Delays after funding troubles and soundtrack licence issues only added to the great sense of achievement when the cinema doors finally opened. I had heard glowing reports from scene stalwarts who had managed to see the film before its release so I was already won over. A social media campaign ensured that the film was shown in well over one hundred cinemas on the opening weekend. I managed to get along to the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall to see it for myself on the big screen.

It’s a tale of two friends growing up in a small town in the north of England during the early seventies who discover the world of Northern Soul. The main character John played by Elliot James Langridge meets Matt (Josh Whitehouse) by chance at the local youth club and the adventure begins. The two lads dream of travelling to the US to find Northern Soul 45’s and becoming hotshot DJ’s, encouraged by discovering Wigan Casino DJ Ray Henderson (James Lance) cover up record by the Salvadores.

During their journey the two boys come across all sorts of characters in a roller coaster ride of emotions and amphetamine fuelled tragedies, triumphs and tribulations. Plenty of humorous moments including John’s fascination with the excellent Soul sister Angela (Antonia Thomas) which transcends you back to those awkward adolescent teenage years with a smile. In fact that is the beauty of this film it reawakens all those memories and the excitement you felt when you first discovered the scene and other people who shared your passion.

What Elaine also manages to capture with great effect is not only the landscape, clothes, cars, haircuts and language of the era but the excitement and energy in the dance floor scenes which are incredibly hard to film. All those practice and casting sessions clearly paid off as well as promoting talent from within the scene and consulting key people from the era to give ‘Northern Soul’ a rare authenticity.

Naturally the excellent soundtrack is the driving force and had plenty of people shuffling around in their seats whom under normal circumstances would be up dancing and clapping at the appropriate moments but were very encapsulated by the film.

The ICA was full of folks around my age group who really enjoyed the movie however I hope this film will reawaken the long lost tribes and inspire the youth of today to make it their own.

You can purchase the soundtrack as well as the film on DVD but do try and get along and experience the film on the big screen if you can. Check out a list of Cinemas showing the film HERE!

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I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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October 21, 2014 By : Category : Film Front Page Inspiration Media News Picks Reviews Tags:, , ,
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NUTs – August Bank Holiday in Brighton 2014

I think the first time I really had an idea about how big Brighton would be this year was sometime around the beginning of June. It seemed as if everyone I spoke to from that time, kept telling me they were going to Brighton. Social media was awash with people ramping up the anticipation and excitement as the weekend got closer.

Ticket sales for Komedia were sold out months ahead of schedule. The Volks Tavern nights were equally snapped up so a new third venue, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar was opened more on that later. By the time we got to the week leading up to the Bank Holiday, there were barely any tickets left for any of the venues. There was no better indication of how busy it would be as Friday approached.

Friday 22 August

I was at my day job for most of Friday and by 11am, I had to turn the sound off and put my phone away, such was the activity on social media regarding Brighton. All day I was receiving updates from those who got there early and every message I looked at said the same thing: Maderia Drive was packed with scooters and mods from lunchtime onwards. This was unprecedented for a Friday afternoon. There were always some, but never packed! I arrived in Brighton at about 8.30pm and made my way to The Dorset. It was busy already. An hour and a half later and it was heaving. I left to help get Komedia ready for the opening night party. It never ceases to amaze me how the Komedia staff are so well drilled that within minutes of the comedy night ending, the place is transformed and ready for a modernist party. The upper room was hosted by the Ham Yard DJs, while downstairs in the main room was the NUTS team including Chris Dale, Lee Miller and Rob Bailey and special guest Graeme Very.

Mingling among the smokers outside, even at midnight, there were still people desperate to find a spare ticket to get in! Needless to say, it was some party in both rooms and a perfect way to get the weekend started. As the revelers headed for their beds at 3am Saturday morning, thoughts turned to what promised to be a special day.

Saturday 23 August

Arriving at the Volks Tavern on Maderia Drive was something of a revelation at 11.30am. It was the first time the full magnitude of the weekend hit me. I could barely believe my eyes at the numbers of people and scooters already in attendance. There is no more impressive a sight than gleaming Vespas and Lambrettas lined up along that road, with the sea and pier as the backdrop. As the stall holders set up and the market got underway, the Volks became a hive of activity and it didn’t stop all day. Once outside, I went up the steps to the balcony walkway which is a popular vantage point to get a panoramic view of the masses below and what a sight it was! As someone mentioned to me, it was Saturday, but it felt more like a Sunday, such was the turnout. By 2.30pm, it was time for me to introduce the first band of the weekend. I confess I knew virtually nothing about them, other than Dr Robert telling me he had seen them in Spain some weeks before and they were awesome. It didn’t give me much to work with, but I blagged it a bit and Les Grigris hit the stage. They have that slightly shambolic late sixties Pretty Things look about them, but by heck they can play! It was not long before more and more people crammed into the Volks to get a glimpse of this band and their barnstorming set. It’s not just that they sound great, but these boys really put on a show, wandering through the audience whilst playing their full-on r&b laced, garage, freakbeat repertoire. They played two 45 minute sets and I think it’s safe to say their performance has already gained legendary status. As I said at the time when I returned to the mic at the end of their second set; “I think we have just witnessed one of those ‘I was there’ moments.” And I stand by that statement. The afternoon wound down at 5.30pm as everyone went off to prepare for the night to come. Les Grigris were the talk of the town for the next few hours at least.

My evening started at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar where the Fuzz 4 Freaks session was held. It’s a perfect venue for our psych-loving friends, a basement room, low ceiling and a great acoustics. I was on hand primarily to introduce the Exploding Sound Machine, the Birmingham-based outfit that had the audience enthralled with their brand of rich, textured, early-Floyd inspired songs. If Les Grigris set the standard earlier in the day, Exploding Sound Machine matched them in quality of performance, albeit, in their own style. From Sticky Mike’s, I made my way to Komedia with Rob Bailey heading in the opposite direction. By all accounts the Fuzz 4 Freaks was rocking all night. It was the same story at the Volks Tavern. Sarge from Scootering Magazine told me he’d never seen the Volks that rammed and in full-on party mode. As for Komedia? Astounding. Both upstairs and in the main room. Just astounding. The dance floors were never empty and the DJs produced the goods time after time. The buzz was palpable.

Sunday 24 August

11.30am again at Volks Tavern and, although some were carrying hangovers, the mood was one of relaxed enjoyment. The sun shone and ‘family day’ was well under way. It really was like a family day, a mod culture family day. Children, parents, first, second, third and fourth generation modernists all mingled, chatted, laughed, took photos, made new friends and reacquainted with old friends. The scooters were admired, inspected and talked about. The spectators gathered as 2pm arrived and the scooter competition got underway. Rob Bailey was assisted by Gary Milan and Gary Wall as judges and what a tough task they had. Spectacular barely describes the turnout, especially the Lambrettas.

Finally, the awards were made:

Best Vespa went to Simon Neale from Leamington Spa with his Silver GS160 – Reg: 286XUT.
Best Lambretta went to Cameron McKinnon from Kettering with his Green and White LI150 and sidecar.  – Reg: VSY706
Best Mod Scooter went to Barry Hewes from Lincolnshire with his Red TV175. – Reg: 865YUA.

At 3pm, the rideout got underway led by Peter Edwards from the Bar Italia Scooter Club. There seemed to be some confusion on-route, but when you consider the estimates were that between 750-800 scooters took part, we will be looking for more stewards next year.

As the Volks afternoon wound down, there were already people asking about tickets for Komedia. The demand was staggering. And so to the grand finale of the weekend. I had the pleasure of introducing The Dials and Hypnotic Eye at Sticky Mike’s. For those that didn’t get to see them, you missed a couple of brilliant sets from two quality bands. I would have to say the NUTS team enhanced their reputation for finding top-draw live talent after this weekend. All four were outstanding.

As I left Fuzz 4 Freaks to head over to Komedia, I got word that Volks Tavern was in full flow again, which was good to know. However, the atmosphere in Komedia was unbelievable. The main room was hosting the Northern Soul night, while upstairs was pure mod r&b. A fitting end to a magnificent weekend.

Three nights, three venues, countless scooters and people and a brilliant atmosphere all weekend from start to finish. That in itself says as much about the people who attended the August Bank Holiday as it does about us as organizers.

Our thanks go to the management and staff at Komedia, Volks Tavern and Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. To our sponsors, Jump The Gun and Rimini Lambretta Centre. To the entire NUTS team, but most of all, to all of you who came to Brighton. You made it one of the most talked about events of recent times. Social media has been flooded with positive feedback and great photos. So here is a word of advice; don’t leave it until the last minute to book your tickets for next year. Subscribe for FREE to the NUTS network here  to get your early-bird ticket notification.

Finally, a date for your diary. 28-31 August 2015. That’s when we do it all again.

Photos by:  Carlo Sesto & Paul Boddy 

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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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September 3, 2014 By : Category : Articles Events Front Page News Picks Scene UK Tags:, , , , ,
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