Cat Stevens Newcastle Odeon 21st March 1974
I only saw Cat Stevens once in concert, although Laura and I have seen him more recently, since he has become Yusuf Islam. The concert was in 1974 at the massive Newcastle Odeon. Stevens was promoting his latest album at the time, Buddha and the Chocolate Box. Interestingly, the title of Buddha and the Chocolate Box “came to Stevens when he was travelling to a gig on a plane with a Buddha in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other. He pondered that if he were to die in the plane these would be the last objects with him, and he would be caught between the spiritual and the material. The album leans towards the spiritual path, and is an indication of the direction his life would follow” (Wikipedia).
Cat Steven’s band at the time consisted of Jean Roussell on keyboards, Alun Davies on acoustic guitar, Gerry Conway on drums, Bruce Lynch bass and Larry Steele on congas and electric guitar, with Suzanne Lynch and Anna Peacock on backing vocals. Support came from Linda Lewis whose band was Max Middleton on piano, Robert Ahwai on bass and Linda’s husband Jim Cregan on lead guitar.
It was a great concert, with Cat Stevens singing all those sweet songs so beautifully. The set consists of his early 70s classic songs, and new tracks from Buddha and the Chocolate Box. Based on concert recordings from the time the set is likely to have been something like: Wild World; Longer Boats; Oh Very Young; Sitting; Sunny Side; Where Do The Children Play; Moonshadow; How Can I Tell You; Bad Penny; Later; Lady D’Arbanville; Peace Train; Father And Son; Music; 18th Avenue; Bitterblue; Hard Headed Woman; King Of Trees; Sun / C79; Sad Lisa.
I also like Cat Stevens’ 60s songs and would love to see him perform Matthew And Son or Here Comes My Baby. The guy is a genius songwriter.
Archive for the ‘Linda Lewis’ Category
Cat Stevens Newcastle Odeon 21st March 1974
The Reading Festival 1972
I first went to the Reading Festival in 1972 (is it really over 41 years ago 🙂 ?), and continued to go every year until 1980. I missed 1981 as it clashed with a local “Rock on the Tyne” Festival, and have never returned, although I did think of doing so on several occasions. I’m aiming to reflect on one year each week for the next few weeks, starting today with my first Reading experience.
I’d already been to the Lincoln Festival in May 1972 so I felt, as a 15 year old, I was already a hardened festival goer. I didn’t know anyone who wanted to go to Reading, so decided to go along myself. My parents weren’t keen on my idea of hitching so I agreed to go by train. The festival took place over the weekend of August 11th to 13th, 1972 starting on Friday afternoon. For some reason I decided to get the train down to London early on the Thursday night, arriving around midnight. Having nowhere to spend the night I took a tube to Piccadilly Circus and found an all-night cinema. It was showing Elvis films all night; I paid my money and sat close to the front. The cinema was quite empty, the audience was a few couples, some Elvis fans and several people alone like me, and just looking for somewhere to spend the night. I don’t recall which films were shown, I think there were six, and I’m pretty sure one was “Kid Galahad” (which, by the way, is a good movie), and I think another may have been “Fun in Acapulco” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” (not so good). I emerged, very tired, from the cinema in the early hours of the morning, and went across London to get the train to Reading. I didn’t have a ticket for the festival, so when I arrived I joined the queue and bought a weekend ticket. In those days it was all about seeing the bands, so I stayed in the queue to get a good spot in front of the stage. All I had taken was a sleeping bag; no tent; no change of clothes (I told you that I thought myself a hardened festival goer).
The Friday line-up was: Good Habit, Nazareth, Cottonwood, Steamhammer, Jackson Heights, Genesis, Mungo Jerry, Curved Air. The music started at 4pm and there were two stages set alongside each other to make for quick changeovers. I positioned myself close to the front somewhere between the two stages so I had a good view of both. There was a press enclosure right down front, and an area where the Hells Angels would encamp, so you couldn’t get that close to the stage. I got talking to a guy next to me; he was also alone, still at school and a similar age. We stuck together throughout the weekend, keeping each others place in the crowd, and sleeping there on a night in our sleeping bags. This seems crazy now, but hey I was young and just so excited about seeing the bands. You could sleep in the main enclosure in those days; you had to leave in the early morning so that they could clear up and get ready for the next day. Some clearing happened during the night; this didn’t make for a good night sleep as there was a danger that someone stood on you (this happened to me several times). The organisers stopped letting people sleep in the main enclosure a few years later; a punter was run over by a vehicle that was driving around collecting litter….The bands I recall on Friday were: Good Habit (saw them a few times, they used to were monks habits on stage), Nazareth (this was before “Broken Down Angel”; they played a great version of “Morning Dew”); Genesis (Simply amazing. I was a big fan at the time and have written separately about their set which included The Knife, Twilight Alehouse, Watcher Of The Skies, The Musical box, and The Return Of The Giant Hogweed. Classic); Mungo Jerry (got the crowd rocking), and Curved Air (also amazing; It happened today, Backstreet Luv, Sonja Kristina).
The Saturday line-up was: Jonathan Kelly, Solid Gold Cadillac, Man, Linda Lewis, Focus, Edgar Broughton, Jericho, If, Johnny Otis Show, Electric Light Orchestra, The Faces. I watched all of the bands, and also took some time to have a look around the stalls in the arena. I didn’t see any need to venture into town (that would come in later years) and spent the entire weekend within the confines of the festival. The weather was quite warm, sunny with a little drizzle now and then but nothing major, and certainly nothing compared to the rain I experienced at the Lincoln festival earlier in the year. Highlights I can dimly recall now are: Jonathan Kelly (Ballad of Cursed Anna simply wonderful), Solid Gold Cadillac (very jazzy), Man (very long guitar solos; Spunk Rock; great!), Linda Lewis (she looked so tiny on that stage and admitted to being scared), Focus (went down well with the crowd and were one of the successes of the weekend), Edgar Broughton (amazing, I was already a fan. Edgar very unspoken as always. Out Demons Out!!), If (jazzy, great guitarist), Johnny Otis Show (just blogged on them), Electric Light Orchestra (this was a very early performance and one of their first since Roy Wood’s departure. Wasn’t sure what to expect; they were good), The Faces (Rod and the guys on great form, lots of footballs kicked into the crowd, Twisting the Night Away and I’m Losing You were big live favourites of mine at the time).
The Sunday line-up was: Sutherland Brothers, Gillian McPherson, String Driven Thing, Matching Mole, Stackridge, Vinegar Joe, Status Quo, Stray, Roy Wood’s Wizzard, Mahatma Kane Jeeves, Ten Years After, Quintessence. John Peel and Jerry Floyd were comperes for the weekend. Jerry was the regular DJ at the Marquee Club, who organised the festival at the time. I spend much of the weekend chatting about music to the guy that I met on the first day and we struck up quite a friendship. I made a few friend at festivals in those days and would see some people every year but I never ran into this guy again. Wonder where he is now. Highlights of the day were: Matching Mole (featuring Robert Wyatt), Stackridge (“Slark” was a favourite of mine at the time), Vinegar Joe (Elkie just stunning), Status Quo (this was one of the shows that helped them break back. Peel was a big champion of theirs at the time; I think he introduced them as the “Finest rock’n’roll band in the world”, or something like that. They were playing amazing boogie at the time, with Francis giving it some cheeky banter. Someones Learning was a favourite), Stray (excellent, Del in mirror suit), Roy Wood’s Wizzard (pretty good, very retro rock’n’roll. Ballpark Incident had just been released), and Ten Years After (Alvin’s guitar playing was stunning, I’d just seen “Woodstock” and was a big fan). I left as Quintessence’s took to the stage as did many others (TYA were official headliners) to catch the last train to London. The tubes had stopped so I walked across London. I’d missed the midnight train so I spent the night in Kings Cross station.
Monday morning: I was stiff, tired, and scruffy. I got the first train home and went straight to bed 🙂
Wow! that took longer than I thought it would! The scans come from the newspaper style programme which was produced by the Reading Evening Post. The poster (it looks like a cartoon of Leo Lyons from TYA to me?) is from the middle of the programme. Oh and I forgot to mention the “Wally!” chants, which seemed to go on all night.
Linda Lewis Sunderland Empire 1975
Support from Labi Siffre
Linda Lewis worked incredibly hard in the first half of the 70s. It seemed that everywhere I went, I would saw her perform. One of the first occasions I became aware of her was when this chirpy, cheeky but obviously nervous young lady took to the stage to sing and strum her songs early one day at the 1972 Reading Festival. She then popped up as the opening act on a number of concert tours of major artists of the time. I recall seeing her open for Cat Stevens, and Elton John, and there were certainly others. And she also took to the stage of the 1975 Knebworth Festival, sharing the bill with Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart, Roy Harper and Steve Miller (and of course DJ John Peel).
Linda always came over as a genuine person. She would chat with the audience, and had an engaging, chirpy and bubbly personality. Her songs were a mix of folk, pop and R&B; as a result she was quite difficult to categorise. As the 1975 tour programme explains: “Tonight, ladies and gentlemen you have the pleasure of viewing one of the great contradictions of our time; Linda Lewis. Sounds like a bit of a cheek? When Linda greets you on stage or in person there is an immediate air of warmth, good will and earthy sensitivity. Between those occaional high pitched giggles, there is an outspoken artist who is very much her own woman.The contradiction lies with us her audience. Look around you tonight and you’ll see the kind of melting pot that Linda attracts as her fans. There are those who welcome sweet singing Linda, wrapped in delicate shawls, long skins and singing the misty lyrics of her early days. To the younger ones, Linda is the chirpy voice on the Spangles ad and the crooner of ‘Rock A Doodle Doo’. Late nighters have been swayed by her sensuous jazz influenced sets down at Ronnie Scott’s Club twice this year. And across the ocean, her old tim€e soul singing on ‘It’s In His Kiss’ probably has them envisioning her as the British Gloria Gaynor. Giving credit where it is due for diversity, it’s not everyone who has shared the stage with Elton John and The Staple Singers, Ritchie Havens, Jim Webb, Family plus tackled the Knebworth festival.”
By 1975, Linda was out on her own headline tour. My friends and I caught the tour when it called at Sunderland Empire in October 1975. She was promoting her fourth album “Not a Little Girl Anymore” which featured quite a racy photo of Linda on the cover. She had already hit the UK singles chart in 1973 with “Rock-a-Doodle-Doo” which reached No 15; produced by her husband Jim Cregan, of Family and Cockney Rebel. Linda hit the chart again in 1975 with her cover of “It’s in His Kiss”, which reached No 6 and was later covered by Cher. Her set consisted of some of her own songs, and a few covers, including a great version of John Martyn’s “May You Never”. Support act Labi Siffre had seen chart success himself with “It Must Be Love” (No. 14, 1971, and later covered by Madness) and “Crying Laughing Loving Lying” (No. 11, 1972). This was a pleasant evening with two great, and often under-rated, British singer-songwriters.
I lost touch with Linda Lewis as the 70s came to close. I remember seeing Labi one more time, at a Friday night gig at Newcastle Poly Students Union. Its time for me to look for copies of Linda Lewis’ early lps and catch up with her work again.
Richie Havens Newcastle City Hall 1972
From the programme: “Richie Havens has a way of singing songs that makes people listen to them as if they’ve never heard them before. Taking as his material his own songs and the compositions of today’s greatest popular songwriters: Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot…. – Richie gets right inside the meanings of them in a way that corresponds exactly to the way he and his audiences feel about the songs, the stories in them and the world around them. Whereas many musicians re-interpret songs by surrounding them with symphony orchestras, swamping them with the thousand strong choirs, Richie’s method is exactly the opposite. Using a minimum of sideman, accompanying himself with his rhythmic and forceful guitar technique (for which he uses an unorthodox open E-tuning). Richie relies above all on the strength of his own personality to get the music across. And it works.” The Woodstock film brought world wide fame for a number of artists such as Richie Havens. His passionate performance in that film introduced me to his music, and drew me to see him in concert at the City Hall in 1972. I remember this gig well for his deep and personal treatment of some of his own songs and a selection of classics. The set included versions of Maggie’s Farm; Fire and Rain; War; Here Comes the Sun; Eleanor Rigby and Freedom. Richie was trashing away at his guitar, using his thumb across the frets. He would wander around the stage, and was dripping with sweat by the end of the show. Support came from the excellent Linda Lewis. I have just read that the great man passed away yesterday, aged 72. He will be greatly missed.