Archive for the ‘Climax Blues Band’ Category

Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988

Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988
nightofguitarstixNo Speak was an instrumental-only record label, founded by Miles Copeland in 1988. To complement the release of the label’s Guitar Speak album, Copeland organized a week-long “Night Of The Guitars” British tour with many of its featured artists. The line-up was truly stellar, and featured Copeland as Master of Ceremonies and the following guitarists: Randy California (Spirit), Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band), Steve Howe (Yes), Steve Hunter (ex Lou Reed band), Robby Krieger (Doors), Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Andy Powell & Ted Turner (Wishbone Ash), and Leslie West (Mountain). Each guitarist played a few songs of their own, backed by a “house band”. Highlights were Randy California playing “Hey Joe”, Powell & Turner with “The King Will Come”, Steve Howe performing “The Clap” and Leslie West with “Theme from an Imaginary Western”. But best of all was Robby Krieger who was introduced as the star of the show and played an impeccable version of the Doors “Love me Two Times”.
The London gig was recorded and the album contains the songs below. The show I attended featured a similar set.
Pete Haycock & Steve Hunter – Dr Brown I presume, The Idler, Lucienne
Randy California – Groove Thing, Hey Joe
Robby Krieger – Love me Two Times
Ted Turner & Andy Powell – The King will Come
Leslie West – Theme from an Imaginary Western, Never in my Life
Steve Howe – Clap Medley, Wurm
Alvin Lee – No Limit, Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’
Everyone on stage for – All Along the Watchtower and a rock’n’roll medley including Whole Lotta Shakin’ , Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Johnny B. Goode, Rock and Roll Music & Bye Bye Johnny

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Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979

Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979readingprog79
This was my 8th visit to Reading. The line-up was a predictable mix of new wave and heavy rock. It was also a year of line-up changes. Two of the main bands who were billed to play: Thin Lizzy and The Ramones did not appear. Thin Lizzy pulled out at a few days notice due to Gary Moore’s departure from the band. Lizzy were replaced by Scorpions and The Ramones by Nils Lofgren. Both of these changes were major disappointments. The weather wasn’t bad and the event was well-attended, but didn’t sell out. My recollections of the weekend are below:
Friday line-up: Bite the Pillow, The Jags, Punishment of Luxury, Doll by Doll, The Cure, Wilko Johnson, Motorhead, The Tourists, The Police.
Friday was the “new wave” day. I watched all of the bands from Punilux onwards. Highlights were The Cure who impressed me even though the only song I had heard before was “Killing an Arab”, and Wilko and Motorhead, both acts going down a storm with the crowd, who preferred their rock heavier and more traditional. The Police were riding on the crest of a wave of success, and were amazing, Sting had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the entire field sang along to the hits. It was great to witness a band at their peak.
The Police setlist: Deathwish; Next To You; So Lonely; Truth Hits Everybody; Walking On The Moon; Hole In My Life; Fall Out; Message In A Bottle; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Peanuts; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Landlord; Born In The 60s
Saturday line-up: Root Boy Slim; Fame; The Yachts; Little Bo Bitch (not sure that they played?); The Movies; Bram Tchaikovsky; Gillan; Steve Hackett; Cheap Trick; Inner Circle; Scorpions
reading79badgeWe spent much of Saturday enjoying the delights of local hostelries and didn’t venture into the arena until later in the day. To be honest, looking at the line-up now, it was pretty uninspiring. We made it into the festival for Gillan onwards. Gillan seemed to play everywhere at the time, and were always good fun. I’d seen them so many times that I was getting to know the new songs, but I also always looked forward to hearing Purple classics, which they did including ‘Smoke on the Water”. Steve Hackett played “I Know What I Like” which prompted a mass crowd singalong. The highlight was Cheap Trick with crazy antics from Rick Nielson and an exquisite performance by Robin Zander. A video of their performance that night is on YouTube. You can find “I Want You To Want Me” here, a bit rough, but still amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTLEYcO2VnE
For the encore Cheap Trick were joined onstage by Dave Edmunds and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs for a rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. Classic 😄
Inner Circle’s reggae rhythms went down well. Scorpions were great (I really liked “Loving You Sunday Morning” at the time), but we were disappointed that we weren’t seeing Lizzy who had become a Reading favourite and were massive at the time.
readingpaper79Sunday line-up: The Cobbers; Terra Nova; Speedometers; Zaine Griff; Wild Horses; The Members; Molly Hatchett; Climax Blues Band; Nils Lofgren; Peter Gabriel; Whitesnake.
Sunday highlights for me were The Members who were in the charts with “Sounds of the Suburbs” and got a mixed reaction from the crowds with some people liking them, and others lobbing cans, and Peter Gabriel who started with “Biko” and played classic solo tracks like “Moribund The Burgermeister”, “Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes The Flood”. Phil Collins joined Gabriel for the end of his set for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Whitesnake closed the evening and were worthy headliners (although they weren’t billed as so, with Peter Gabriel and non-showers The Ramones having shared top billing in the pre-festival publicity). They started with an amazing new song “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” which set the tone for the evening. Ian Paice had just joined on drums and Whitesnake now had three former Purple members (Coverdale, Lord and Paice).
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Steal Away; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Love Hunter; Breakdown; Whitesnake Boogie.
An enjoyable Reading weekend, if not one of the strongest line-ups.

The Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1975

The Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1975
reading75flyerThe Reading Festival hit its peak of success in the mid ’70s, and the 1975 festival sold out in advance. Although the previous years’ festivals that I had attended all seemed pretty full, you were still able to roll up and pay at the entrance. In 1975 the success of the festival and the draw of bands like Yes and Wishbone Ash ensured the site was completely packed, with hardly any room to be found in the campsites and car parks.
Friday line-up: Stella, Judas Priest, Wally, Kokomo, UFO, Dr Feelgood, Hawkwind. Judas Priest were an up and coming heavy rock band and were gigging constantly, as were UFO. Kokomo were a jazz/rock/funk outfit who were very successful during the ’70s. But the big success of Friday (and arguably the entire weekend) was Dr Feelgood, who were a massive hit with the festival crowd; Wilko and Lee being on red hot form. I was with a couple of guys who had recently become big Feelgood fans; “Back In The Night” had just been released and they were constantly singing it in my ear. “All around visible signs of the Doctor’s now-massive popularity – such as the many home-made banners (“Feelgood”, “Wilko” et al), the rapturous reception, the sea-of-weaving arms” (NME, 1975). “When Dr Feelgood stamped off they had within an hour, transformed this alfresco association into a tiny, sweaty, steaming R&B club. Charisma is too weak a word to describe what the Feelgoods had going for them that night.” (Brian Harrigan, Melody Maker, August 30, 1975). Hawkwind were ok, but it was cold, and they found it difficult to follow the Feelgood’s storming set.
readingprog75Saturday line-up: Zzebra, SNAFU, Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, Kursaal Flyers, Thin Lizzy, Alan Stivell, Heavy Metal Kids (billed simply as “Kids” in the programme), Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Supertramp, Yes.
My memories are of Thin Lizzy delivering an excellent set as always; they were gradually building up their own following and would soon break through to become massive; The Heavy Metal Kids being as OTT as ever; and Yes, who were amazing. I must also mention the Kursaal Flyers, who are sadly often forgotten in the history of pub rock; they would hit the charts in the following year with the great pop single: “Little Does She Know” (“I know that she knows that I know she’s two timing me”). Supertramp were on the verge of mega-success; they had hit the charts with “Dreamer” and had a considerable following. I was, and remain, a big Yes fan and their performance at Reading came at a point where the band were at the peak of their success. I recall it being very cold, with epic versions of “Close to the Edge” and “And You and I”, and a great version of “Roundabout” as an encore (very late and off to our tents). A bootleg exists of Yes’ set that night: Sound Chaser; Close To The Edge; And You And I; Awaken; The Gates Of Delirium; I’ve Seen All Good People; Ancient; Long Distance Run Around; Ritual; Roundabout.
reading75Sunday line-up: Joan Armatrading, Babe Ruth, String Driven Thing, Climax Blues Band, Caravan, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Robin Trower, Wishbone Ash. My memory of Sunday is of Wishbone Ash. Like Yes they were enjoying massive success at the time, and also like Yes they played a set of pure class, with the twin guitars of Andy Powell and Laurie Wisefield soaring through the cool, late Sunday evening.
Our DJs for the weekend were once again John Peel and Jerry Floyd. The weather was cold, with some rain, and the beer can fights were constant throughout the weekend. The festival had always been an organised, carefully planned event, but was becoming even more commercial. The nature of the festival, and its line-up, would transform further in the years which followed; with the emergence of punk and the re-emergence of heavy metal through the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). Any elements of the jazz festivals of the 60s had also disappeared.
Thanks to BaldBoris for allowing his image of the festival to be used through the WikiMedia Commons licence agreement.

Great British R&B Festival Colne August 26th 2013. Chris Farlowe, Climax Blues Band, The Pretty Things, and Wilko Johnson

Great British R&B Festival Colne August 26th 2013. Chris Farlowe, Climax Blues Band, The Pretty Things, and Wilko Johnson
band Marie and I spent the bank holiday Monday afternoon at the Great British R&B Festival, which is held each year in Colne, Lancashire. Yesterday afternoon’s line-up was particularly strong, featuring Chris Farlowe, Climax Blues Band, The Pretty Things, and Wilko Johnson on the International Stage which is in the Municipal Hall on the main street.
The Norman Beaker Band opened the proceedings at 2pm. Or rather the proceedings were actually opened by the crazy compare, wearing a fluorescent suit and hat. The guy did a great job on introducing the bands, changing his suit and hat throughout the day, getting more and emore outrageous as the day went on. Norman and the guys played a couple of songs before they were joined by Chris Farlowe. It’s a few years since I saw Chris. His voice was as soulful as ever, and the years haven’t diminished his energy or style. They played a set of favourites including Stormy Monday Blues; Tough on you, Tough on me; The Small Faces’ hit All or Nothing, and Handbags and Gladrags. They closed with (of course) his big hit Out of Time. The guy remains a master of R&B. Pure class and a great way to start the day.
Next up was The Climax Blues Band. Now if its a few years since I saw Chris, it’s even longer since I saw these guys in concert. In fact I think the last time I saw them was probably I the mid 70s. The line-up has changed many times over the years, with no-one remaining from the early days of the band. The current band continues the Climax traditional of recreating an authentic Chicago blues sound. We slipped out for something to eat,but got back in time to catch the end of their set, including their hit single Couldn’t Get It Right. colneprog The Pretty Things are a big favourite of mine, and they never let me down. The current line-up of the band features originals Phil May on vocals, tambourine and maracas, and Dick Taylor on guitar, along with long standing Pretty Frank Holland on guitar and mouth organ. They started the set with a couple of old R&B tunes, and the classic Cries From the Midnight Circus. Phil then explained that, although it was a blues festival, they had to play something from their classic album S F Sorrow. So next up was S F Sorrow is Born and She Says Good Morning. The three front men then switched to acoustic mode to sing a couple of old blues: Come on in my Kitchen, and Little Red Rooster, featuring some excellent slide guitar from Dick, growling vocals from Phil and great blues harp courtesy of Frank. These guy know how to sing the blues, and they just held the place spellbound. Then it was back to their old rock roots for Mona, and Midnight to Six Man. Great stuff. The Pretty Things were swiftly followed by the great Wilko Johnson. Wilko’s situation has been well documented, and his recent appearances have apparently all been joyous celebrations of his music and legend. Thankfully Wilko is still able to play and, in his own words: ‘It seems that I am still being spared the final onslaught of my terminal cancer. As the memory of the Farewell Tour recedes I am feeling again the desire to get up on stage and do my thing while health allows – so it is that I have decided to make some festival appearances during during the summer’. wilko He had asked specially to play at the festival, having done so several times in the past, and everyone present yesterday was delighted to see him. First Wilko was presented with an award for British Blues legend, he then started his set with the Feelgood’s song All Through the City, and also included the Feelgood classics Going Back Home, Roxette, Back in the Night and She Does It Right. The crowd clearly love the guy, and it was a very emotional show, with Wilko strutting his stuff back and forth across the stage, chopping away at his telecaster with those familiar riffs. Its many years since I’ve seen Wilko in concert and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to do so once more. I must also mention Norman Watt-Roy whose bass playing was simply stunning. Again, its many years since I’ve seen Norman perform, probably since I he was with Ian Drury and the Blockheads. The encore was a very emotional Bye Bye Johnny, with everyone waving Bye Bye to Wilko. The crowd were on their feet for a full 5 or 10 minutes after he finished, giving him a real standing ovation. Strong stuff.
We left after Wilko’s set, and drove back up north to pick Laura up and then return home.

Climax Blues Band 1976 Gold Plated gigs

I had the pleasure of seeing The Climax Blues Band a few times in the 70s. They guaranteed a good night of quality blues, with front men Colin Cooper on vocals, saxophone, harmonica, and guitar, and Pete Haycock on vocals and guitar. The rest of the line-up in those days was Derek Holt on bass, John Cuffley on drums, and Richard Jones on keyboards. A group of us went to see the band at Durham Students Union in Dunelm House and at Redcar Coatham Bowl. The band hit the charts in 1976 with “Couldn’t Get It Right” which got to No 10 in the UK Singles Chart and stayed there for 9 weeks. The programme below was for a tour promoting the “Gold Plated” lp which was released in 1976. Incredibly, this was their 9th lp. They have released 18 albums to date, the first dating from 1969 when they were known as The Climax Blues Band. A recent live CD was recorded at a gig at Nottingham University in 1976, on the Gold Plated tour. I would guess the set that we saw at Durham and Redcar would be similar. In that case it may have consisted of: Together And Free/Amerita/Sense of Direction; Running Out of TIme/Good TIme Blues; Mighty Fire; Country Hat/Come On In My Kitchen; Seventh Son; Couldn’t Get It Right; Chasing Change; Using The Power; Goin’ To New York; All The Time In The World/Get Back. Encore Medley: Hey Mama/Let The Good Times Roll/Who Killed McSwiggin/Get Into That Rock ‘n’ Roll. CLimax Blues Band are still playing to this day, although the line up has changed many times over the years, and has no original members. From their website: “Founded in the 60’s, by Colin Cooper, Climax Blues Band has always focused on its roots, a unique combination of jazz and blues. After 18 albums and the classic world-wide hit “Couldn’t Get It Right” and tours of the UK, Europe and the US, Climax Blues Band is back on the road again and still playing the blues in a creative way that has always been synonymous with their name.”
PS. Writing this post made me realise that I didn’t have any Climax Blues Band lps, so I went online and bought a copy of the “Gold Plated” album for £2!. It arrived this morning and I played straight away. It still sounds great after all these years. Now do I go and buy the other 17 albums?……