I still haven’t stopped smiling at having The Pretty Things on my show yesterday. What a way to spend a Sunday, hearing amazing live music from Rock Royalty to then getting a glimpse in to what life was like in the 60′s.
Dick Taylor arrived first and as I suspected he would be, he was such an easy guy to chat to and so unassuming.
George and Jack then arrived having had a nightmare journey from Brighton getting stuck in a marathon on route but again shared the same relaxed energy as Dick and Phil which made me know I was going to have a good show.
Frank was last to arrive who was just so lovely ,impossible not to like. Now the line up was complete and so a mad hauling in of equipment in to the small studio then happened with cables and mic stands everywhere.
Very quickly a soundcheck happened and before you knew it 12pm was upon us and the show began.
To be that close to watching and listening to them perform was quite something. Its the closest I will ever get to what it must have been like in the 60′s. The sound they create is like nothing I have ever heard before. The fact that George and Jack are younger is completely forgotten about as all five become as one when playing,complimenting each other so well. This wasn’t marking it ,this was a proper heads down feeling it performance with Phils voice soaring over the top.It really was electric.
To then get even a tiny slice of their lives was fantastic and luckily Phil and Dick’s memory meant that vivid stories as if it happened yesterday easily flowed.Hearing about time spent with Bob Dylan,Brian Jones ,Keith Richards to name a few is really part of the history of Rock “N” Roll in this Country.
George spoke very eloquently about what Blues music means to him and also how much he has learnt from Dick.
There was lots of great natural Band banter between them all which made it so easy for me .
Phil and Dick were very conscious of making sure everyone got to talk with the other three really wanting the time to be spent on those two. It really did seem a Band without ego’s…….. that would be a first!
Of course an hour couldn’t possibly be enough but I did feel a lot was fitted in,even in that short time.I really did get a slice of life with The Pretty Things and I feel incredibly lucky to have met them and that they took the time to come on to my show.
Yesterday really was as good as it gets. So thank you Dick,Phil,Frank,Jack and George….. I salute you.
I am absolutely over the moon to announce that this Sunday The Pretty Things will be my guests. Yes The Pretty Things!!! An hour will clearly not be enough but to be able to sit and hear them play and to chat about their pasts is going to be quite something.
For any doubt on the impact they have made on music then read on:
The Pretty Things created some of the most exciting and innovative records of the late sixties and early seventies. They are considered one of the most pioneering and influential bands of that decade producing a whole string of rhythm & blues and freakbeat hits and, later, seminal albums that include psychedelic classic SF Sorrow and the Rolling Stone Album of the Year Parachute. Last year the band were awarded the Hero award at the Mojo Honours and the band have been name checked over the years by an array of artists ranging from The Clash, David Bowie and Aerosmith through to The Libertines and Kasabian.
DAVID BOWIE: (ON PHIL MAY, 1964, against his telephone no. entry in Bowie’s phone book) “Is God!” VAN (the man)
MORRISON. (July 1995) “The Pretty Things”? – one of the greatest “R&B” bands of all time – real wild.”
BOB DYLAN: “BOB DYLAN” “the sweet “Pretty Things” are…….” (Tombstone Blues)
DAVE GILMOUR – “PINK FLOYD” “The Pretty Things” always made The Stones look tame, and the time has definitely come for their renaissance.
GARY BROOKER – “PROCOL HARUM” “The Pretties” were great on stage – always far more rebellious than “The Stones” You could like “The Stones” but if you were a real rebel, it was always “The Pretties.”
MICK JAGGER – “ROLLING STONES” “always loved their version of “Cry To Me” — can’t wait for an evening with the new box set.” (Mick Jagger – July 1995)
JOEY RAMONE – “THE RAMONES’ (UPON MEETING “THE PRETTIES”) “Shit, like, I’ve always wanted to meet Phil May – “The Pretty Things’ were the biggest influence on us. Like, right at the start, when there were The Beatles, & The Stones, & stuff, we would hear about “The Pretty Things” & just pick up the odd record, but they were so wild……. they invented garage bands.” (backstage ® The Town & Country 1989 – The Ramones meet The Pretties).
THE LATE GREAT JOHN PEEL – THE GRANDFATHER OF ALL SERIOUS RADIO DEEJAYS “The Beatles” were cute, “The Stones” were students, but “The Pretty Things” were plain frightening, & much better at psychedelia than “The Stones…….”
PHIL MAY – LEAD SINGER WITH “THE PRETTIES” IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE SUNDAY TIMES -12TH JULY 1964. “who are you calling a queerie?” (Sunday Times 12.07.64).
GLEN MATLOCK – “SEX PISTOLS” (first impression of “The Pretty Things”) “Pretty Things” – pretty seminal – (July 20th 1995).
SID VICIOUS & NANCY (& NANCY’S PARENTS – summer 1977) Nancy’s Parents – “who are those terrible looking people sitting by the pool?” Sid (eventually) – “Oh them, I think that’s “The Pretty Things” Nancy’s Parents – “Oh God, they look even worse than you” (summer 1977).
MICK FARREN – JOURNALIST, MUSICIAN, “UNDERGROUND” TORCH BEARER, NOVELIST, L.A. RACONTEUR, & LUNATIC “The Pretty Things” ——-——- the mighty mutant fashion fusion of art school anarchy, & Kings Road “R&B” (Mick Farren 26 July 1995).
SCREAMING LORD SUTCH: 60’s ROCK & ROLL ICON, OBSCURE POLITICAL FIGURE, & VETERAN OF 1000 UNSUCCESSFUL BY-ELECTIONS “They had everything it took to overtake “The Stones”, but in those days “all publicity is good publicity” didn’t apply because – though they were years ahead of their time image wise (The Sex Pistols of their day) – it was all too much for the general public in the early sixties. The Stones just about walked the line; The Pretty Things went way over it. This was a time, remember, when simply getting married could ruin a pop star’s career. The man in the street couldn’t imagine any of the Pretty Things even being married – except to each other…
DENNIS D’ELL – LEAD SINGER WITH “THE HONEYCOMBS’ & APPEARED ON VARIOUS RECORDINGS WITH OTHER “NAMES” & WAS RECORDED BY JOE MEEK. “When we appeared on Sunday Night at The London Palladium in 1965, we borrowed Viv prince from “The Pretty Things” so that Honey Langtree, our usual drummer, could go centre stage & sing a duet – “That’s the Way” – with me. Viv had a massive reputation as a raver, so after the rehearsal that afternoon, he was locked in the dressing room until it was time to go on – in case he went on a binge, & didn’t show, or else went berserk on camera in front of an audience of millions. The next day one of the tabloids ran a feature headlined “Who was the other Honeycombs girl?” because of Viv’s long hair.
JIM McCARTY – EX YARDBIRDS DRUMMER, WRITER OF MANY 60’s HITS, WORKED WITH CLAPTON/BECK/PAGE/ETC. “In the winter of 1992 I was approached by a major US “R&B” producer to work with Phil (May) & Dick (Taylor) of “The Pretties” on a seminal US “R&B” recording of old standards with various US musicians, in a famous old “black music” Chicago studio, where we would breathe the same air as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, & all the Chess heroes Along with Richard flute (ex Canned Heat) & a string of “New Chicago” blues legends, we cut a lot of Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry (the usual stuff), & a monster version of Aretha’s “Chain of Fools”.
Phil sang really well, & I have always been constantly amazed at how underrated Dick has been as a guitar player.
It was a great trip, & while we were there, we also managed a few Chicago club dates, every one of them packed out, despite the sub zero temperatures, & constant blizzards!”
KIM FOWLEY – 60’s RECORDING ARTIST, L.A. GADABOUT, CLUB OWNER, MENTOR OF FAMOUS GTO’s “Viv Prince was God.”
DON CRAINE: LEADER OF 60’s “R&B” ICONS “THE DOWNLINERS SECT” “A few years ago we managed to team up with Phil May & Dick Taylor for a few cuts on an album we were all guesting on – Dick turned out one effortless riff after another, & Phil – arriving like a 50’s screen Idol – blazed into incredible vocals, putting most songs down in just one take. Pretty they weren’t – brilliant they were, & still are.”
BRUCE BRAND – LEADER OF “THEE HEADCOATS” & MAINSTAY OF THE BURGEONING “NEW MOD” REVIVAL. “of my three guitar heroes – Link Wray, Jet Harris, & Dick Taylor – Dick was the only one to grab my lapels & pogo to his own support act. Besides, anyone with the good taste to appear in a Norman Wisdom film – “What’s Good for the Goose” (1969) – has to have a bit of savvy!
JOHN STEPHEN – THE “KING OF CARNABY STREET” MILLIONAIRE FASHION RETAILER IN THE 1960’s, HUGELY INFLUENTIAL TEEN MOGUL “Phil my boy, We’ll hope to see you white-jeaned & at your lovely best for the photographers who pounce on you. Have sent an invite to Brian (nb. Jones). And Mr. Baldry is likely to be in attendance to chat up the local talent.” (2nd Jan 1965).
CREATION RECORDS – SELF STYLED “INDIE” DARLINGS, & UNTIL LAST MONTH THE LABEL WHO WERE SIGNING THE NEW “PRETTY THINGS”ANTHOLOGY “No, no – I just don’t want to do this, it’s already too difficult. Our current roster are far less trouble than you, & I don’t need to be involved with people who are more difficult to deal with than “Oasis” & “Primal Scream -especially when this is supposed to be a catalogue item” (James Kyllo – legal head – Creation / Revola after one meeting & a phone call with Mark St. John about “The Pretty Things” late May 1995).
BRYAN MORRISON – “PRETTY THINGS” FIRST MANAGER/AGENT! PUBLISHER (1964-1969) STILL “PRETTIES” PUBLISHER & CURRENTLY PUBLISHES/ADVISES “PINK FLOYD” / GEORGE MICHAEL / “THE JAM” / ETC. “after ‘Rosalyn’ but before ‘Don’t Bring Me Down” we were actively looking for a strong single. It had always been my contention that the first of the real “long haired/bad boy” bands to get a no.l hit would last & I wanted it to be “The Pretties”. Donovan had inadvertently turned me on to the Dylan track ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ just before it was released, & so I charged in to get first refusal on the track for the band. Right then “The Pretty Things” were hotter than a pistol in the States, & they gave me a four-week run on getting the song covered & out. Everything looked great, & I knew we had our no.1 Only the band wouldn’t do it!
I persuaded, pleaded, begged, & bribed, but no way Jose. They didn’t want it at any price. Finally after five weeks of pleading I had to give it up, & a few weeks later “The Byrds” crashed the charts everywhere with their version. “The Stones” picked up that elusive no.1 that we wanted, & the band never had another big single It was the one time that I would have been far happier to have been wrong – but it was so typical of them, no-one could ever control that lot” (Bryan Morrison 18.07.95).
TONY CALDER/ANDREW OLDHAM – STONES MANAGEMENT TEAM (1964/1967) OWNERS/FOUNDERS OF THE IMMEDIATE LABEL. MAJOR INDUSTRY MAFIA!! “The new “Pretty Things” compilation is a great package, it really should be on the New Immediate! The trouble is they are looked after by an insane guy called Mark St.John and he drives us crazy. But not half as crazy as we were back in the 60’s. “The Pretties” had a record happening, & we wouldn’t let them onto the same Ready Steady Go show as “The Stones” – they were serious competition then. So they got bumped and the record stuffed. I recall that we did that to them about a year later as well. Sorry boys, we probably owe you an apology. They were good but what they needed at that time was good management, which “The Stones” had, but they hadn’t. Still, it’s a great package (Tony Calder 19.07.95).
PETER GRANT – MANAGER, LED ZEPPELIN FOR THEIR ENTIRE CAREER – INVENTED MODERN ROCK AS AN INDUSTRY “The first time I met “The Pretty Things” was in 1963 when I was tour manager for Chuck Berry, & he played The Club Noreik in London & The Pretties came to see him. After the show Phil & a couple of the guys came backstage for a chat. I had seen them play a few gigs & had been most impressed – I was even more so now meeting them & seeing their attitude as to their careers whilst still being the original rock rebels. I gave them my thoughts. The next day Bryan Morrison phoned to say I had tried to steal his act – soon put him straight on that one! Some ten or eleven years later Jimmy (Page) & I were discussing the kind of bands we would like to have on our new label – Swansong Records, & he suggested “The Pretty Things” which I though was great. He said, I think they are free. A few days later Phil & the guys arrived at my office in The Kings Road saying they were free, & would love to be on Swansong. I was most flattered when they asked me to manage them as well. Very hard to wear two hats at once, but as the band were real pro’s I jumped at the request & worked it out….. the rest is history. Mark St.John. seems to be doing a nice job with their new anthology box. Long overdue”(Peter Grant July 25 1995).
DOUG SMITH – UNCROWNED KING OF THE LATE 60’S HIPPY GRUNGE SCENE, MANAGER (AT VARIOUS TIMES) OF MOTORHEAD, HAWKWIIND, THE DAMNED, MICK FARREN, TED NUGENT, CREDIT TO THE NATION, & CHUMBAWUMBA “I thought my one year with “The Damned” was bad but that was a holiday compared to one month with “The Pretty Things” – (Doug Smith July 1995).
BRIAN LANE – LABEL BOSS OF “FRAGILE RECORDS” MANAGER OF – YES/ASIA/FISH/IT BITES/RICK WAKEMAN/BUGGLES/DALEY THOMPSON/ETC. ENTREPENEUR & EX-PLUGGER FOR MIKI MOST! “I knew that there were only two ways I could get membership of The Royal Berkshire Polo club – signing “The Pretty Things” or going to bed with a member of The Royal Family – Lady Di. wasn’t available, so I’m stuck with the worst behaved band in the world still, at least they meet my signing criteria, which states that no artist on the label may be younger than the managing director!” – (Brian Lane 21.06.95)
On Sunday’s show I played some great vinyl even including a test pressing of my Bands upcoming single. I have never played anything of my Band on the show and it did feel odd to introduce myself but after three years of doing my show I thought sod it!
So my play list was:
1. John Lee Hooker – Boogie Chillen
2. Chocolate Watch Band – Lets talk about girls
3. Sid Sings – Don’t Honey me
4. Electric Prunes – I had too much to dream last night
5. The Ventures -Green Onions
6. Rory Block – Come in my kitchen
7. Stefan Grossman – Salty Dog Rag
8. Skip James – Good Road Camp Blues
9. Valerie June – Workin Womans Blues
10. Janis Joplin – One Good Man
11. Mamie Smith – Crazy Blues
12. Junior Kimbrough – I gotta try you girl
13. R. L Burnside – Going Down South
14. The Cramps – Human Fly
So its been an important week at Resonance with the station needing to raise £50,000 to help secure its Art Funding.
There is still time to donate. Just click on to the Resonance link on this page and it will directly take you to the website where a click on to Paypal or Just Giving will help keep this station alive.
A lovely quote by Kurt Vonnegut which sums up the spirit of Resonance is:
” Go in to the Arts. I am not kidding. The Arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.Practicing an art no matter how well or badly is a way to make your soul grow,for heavens sake. Sing in the shower.Dance to the radio.Tell stories.Write a poem to a friend,even a lousy poem.Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
My play list yesterday was:
1. Hound Dog Taylor – Roll Your Moneymaker
2. Hank Williams – My Buckets got a hole on it
3. Bessie Smith – Nobody Knows you when you are down and out
4.The who – Young Man’s Blues
5. Tom Paxton – Standing on the edge of town
6. Etta James – The Sky is Crying
7. The Beatles – Money
8. Rodriguez – A Most Disgusting Song
9. The Black Keys – Money Maker
10. Seasick Steve – Dog House Boogie
11. Robert Plant – Satan your kingdom must come down
Remember if you missed the show you can hear it again this Friday 10am
It was so nice to have Kat & Co back on my show on Sunday. I couldn’t believe it was Dec 2012 when I last saw them. As always Kat delivered a flawless performance and was backed in a really cool understated way by Fred on keys and Francesco on guitar. Conversation turned to the lack of venues allowing young Bands to learn their chops and also the serious lack of female Blues artists. In the three years I have been doing my show I have had five females on. That is certainly not for want of trying.
Kat brought in a great selection of songs which as always time ran out so we only got time to hear four of them.
The full track listing was:
1. Born Under A Bad Sign – Roach
2. Killing Floor – Roach
3. Drinking Again – Dinah Washington
4. The Sky is Crying – Etta James
5. I ‘m A Woman – Koko Taylor
6. Voodoo Woman – Koko Taylor
7. Married To The Blues – Shemekia Copeland
8. Ghetto child – Shemekia Copeland
9. Pity Party – Zora Young
10. Workin Woman Blues – Valerie June
11. The Hour – Valerie June
12. Come in My Kitchen – Rory Block
13. Maybe – Janis Joplin
I am sure Kat will fight hard to be heard by a larger audience. She certainly has the voice and the songs. I just hope the British Blues Scene will embrace her as live she really is reminiscent of the incredible Female Blues artists from the past.
A reminder that all of this week until Sunday 16th its fund raising time for Resonance. This is to secure money from the Arts council which is how the station survives. Please go to ResonanceFm website for ways to donate and to find out about all the events which are happening.
I fell in love with Berlin. It was only a fleeting visit but I had such a good time. The Fallen Leaves played a brilliant set at the “White Trash Fast Food” venue and I really hope that my Band will get to play there soon.
My visit inspired my selection of songs that I chose for my show on Sunday.
So if you missed it I played :
!. Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps- Be Bop A Lula
2. Tony Sheridan – My Bonnie
3. The Yardbirds – You’re a better man than I
4. Amon Duul – Halluzination Guillotine
5. Can – Mother Sky
6. Nico – I’m Not Sayin
7. Scorpions – Speedy’s Coming
8. The Pretty Things – LSD
9. Chuck Berry – I’m talking about you
10. The Fallen Leaves – Trouble
11. Bo Diddley – Pretty Thing
12. The Shady Lanes – Berlin
If you can’t work out the connections then tune in for a repeat of my show this Friday 10AM
I am off to Berlin tomorrow to see The Fallen Leaves play. I have never been to Berlin before so I thought what a great way to see the city to include seeing such a great Band.My show this Sunday will therefore be a repeat from last year when The Fallen Leaves came in to Resonance and played a brilliant live set and then we had some good conversation. So tune in at 12pm. If you miss it my show is repeated Friday at 10am.
Off to pack my thermals as I hear its very cold over there.
The Obscuritones came to the studio yesterday and made perfect guests for my last show of this series. I normally steer away from having Bands on with so many members due to the small space at Resonance but I had heard them through a door whilst they were rehearsing a while back and thought it would be worth the chaos. Of course that’s easy for me to say as its Francisco that has the hard task of setting them up and getting them a good sound.All I have to do is hope that everyone feels relaxed and enjoys the experience.
I had met Phil (drummer) a couple of weeks back and its obvious that he is one of the good guys , a hard worker who clearly really believes in this Band and so he should as they delivered a tight sharp set in the studio with plenty of sparkle from Jane and Joey on vocals.Not easy to do first thing on a Sunday when you have had a late one performing in Wales the night before!
Hugh did some beautiful guitar work,really fluid and understated.He seems very unaware of what a good player he is,which appears to be a common theme with this Band.They have a lot more muscle than they realize.
You then have Andy on double bass. Here is a guy totally at ease when playing, driving the drums and guitars and holding it all together. What is also nice about this Band is having another female on board which is Sam playing acoustic rhythm guitar for that authentic rockabilly sound.Sam was full of cold but of course as soon as the red light went on, Dr Theatre took hold and she performed faultlessly.
Finally Phil who as I suspected from meeting him is one of those players who really listens,tunes right in to what the Band are doing to give that gorgeous swing that made it impossible for me to keep still!
Having six on meant I just got a taste of their lives and loves with me having to cut Jane’s track and conversation very short as the hour was up before we knew it.
Were they worth the chaos of chairs and cables and instruments everywhere? Absolutely,in fact I have already invited them back on….better warn Francisco though!
How to have a smile put on your face: Have Paul Lamb arrive at Resonance Studios wearing snakeskin boots with a bottle of red wine in his hand. Now here’s a man who knows what he likes , knows what he is doing and definitely knows how to have a good time! Its very clear that this man is completely dedicated to music and has an absolute drive to always be improving, which after listening to the sounds he got out of his harp , seems near impossible.I have had some great harp players on my show all with very individual styles but Paul created such sweet notes that it was like a bird singing. The way that Chad (guitar/vocals ) and Paul melded together was pure magic.Giving each other room to show off their chops while still being sensitive to the songs showed that these two have enormous respect for each other and the artists who’s songs they cover. Most working class Northerners I know never take themselves seriously but they do take what they do seriously,that vibe from Paul merging with Chad’s South London boy easy charm makes for a great mix.
Paul had some very funny stories to tell from his day’s starting out which he can recall so vividly it was very easy to get a real feel of what it must have been like.
My over riding thought of spending time with Paul and Chad was that there’s two men who discovered at a young age a passion for music, away to express themselves through their instruments and have stayed true to themselves, kept on their own path. Many a man would be very envious of that.
It makes perfect sense why their duo CD is called “Going down this Road “. If you are lucky enough to have them at a venue near you, don’t stay in and watch your box set, go and be part of what musicians do best when they do what they love and that’s put a smile on your face.