Updated Oct 27th 2007
Pete Chambers invited me down to Cov to attend the launch of his latest book on the history of Coventry Music - a
book mainly photographs.
The launch last Thurs 18th Oct 2007 was at 'The Fletch' and after a speech by BBC Radio Coventry DJ and musician Bob Brolly (featured in the book) and author Pete Chambers, the resto of the evening consited of book signings, networking and music.
Many Coventry musicans were there or those associated with Coventry music in some way. I can't remember the names of all those who played but they incuded some of the musicians from the 60's and later on form Wandering John guiitarist John Alderson and former Ra Ho Tep (Cov's former avant Garde Jazz group leader) Tim James performed some country blues on John's Delta Resonator guitar with Tim on vocals and harmonica. The set included Statesbro' Blues and a Robert Johnson Number.
After a couple of wines - I got up to dance, being described by one of the musician's as "the original Breakdancer"! but most of the evening was sent networking on behalf of the Hobo site. It wasn't too far removed from the original Hobo Magazine work in the
70's, finding out what the musicians were up to, throwing around ideas and informing them of the lastest happenings, with musicians that I haven't seen since I left Cov in 1980, although I have communicated with some of them via this site more recently.
There were many I didn't get around to talking to - some of the musicians from the 60's whom I didn't know personally and the Enemy - however the Lord Mayor came up and said hello although no converstion resulted from it - he was circulating one way as I was circulating the t'other.
First off though I spoke to Bob Jackson, for the first time in many many years. Bob was the main songwriter, vocalist and keyboardist with Indian Summer, whose RCA Neon album from 1971 is still a classic of progressive music. Indian Summer competed with Black Sabbath for their record contract - Sabbath won in 1970 but Indian Summer won in 1971. After they split Bob went on to play in bands with the Who's John Entwhistle, Ro Ro, Pete Brown (who wrote the Cream lyrics like White Room), Badfinger and now gigs with the re-formed Fortunes. Bob was unaware of some of the recent developments like this Hobo site and the proposed Coventry Music Exhibition and the Gnome Label. I was able to inform him about them and Bob said I'd set him on path to find out more about what was happening so hopefully he may contribute some of his info and stories to the site and for the exhibition..
Next off I spoke to ex Wandering John / Trevelling Riverside Blues band guitrist - John Alderson. We talked about the idea of publishing the 1971 Wandering John tapes - recorded at one of the band's last gigs at the Lanch Polytech (now Coventry University). John has the tapes but finding them after all these years might be a task. These tapes were to be the first release on the Gnome Label in it's original proposed form in 1971 but owing to the band splitting up and the Broadgate Gnome emigrating to Brighton - it never happened. Shame as they were (in Neil O'Connor's words) "a spaceship of a band". The hope is that the Gnome Label will soon be able arrange for the tapes to be digitally enhanced (they were recorded live in in the 70's) and release it. The next hope is for the band to reunite for a new recording session of fresh material - it could even be a Then and Now style presentation. So hopefully the Gnome can re-unite John Alderson and John Gravenor and Ade Taylor and Jim Pryal and John Alderson can locate the tapes.
Tim James (formerly of Coventry's Underground and experimental Jazz group of the early 70's - Ra Ho Tep) - joined us and Horace Panter formerly of the Specials of course. Horace is currently teaching music in a Primary School and was enthusing about how the kids loved his presentation of Blues music, especially excited about stories of Robert Johnson. Both Tim and John had been doing school residencies as musicians that very day along the same lines - and they had played, among others, Robert Johnson. It had struck a nerve and the roots music had excited the pupils, most of whom thought the session was going to be boring. We talked about how learning about the blues wasn't just about music, it was a doorway in to ecoomic and social history, the poetry of the blues, sociology etc. Having been a writer in residence in schools in the past, I could understand how artists in schools can generate enthusiasm in pupils for music and writing in a way that the normal curriculum can't. The enthusiam and insights that artists bring to it bring these topics alive and can even inspire pupils who are not otherwise too responsive to learning. this augers well as one of the ideas around the Music Exhibition is both adult Education moduals and musicians going into schools -and a reciprocal visit to the music Exhibition. Both John and Tim said they would explore the site and make any contributions they can.
Also there were Kevin and Lynda Harrison, formerly of the Coventry Jazz/
Rock group Whistler and later in the Two Tone period The Urge who single Revolving Boy is a classic (see on this site on You Tube) in the videos. Although I have communicated with them over the last year via this site, it was the first time I've seen them since my former Coventry days. Their new album Real Life Obsession is now on release and well worth buying, with Kevin's brilliant electronic music, Lynda's vocals and effects and a range of guest musicians including Two Toners
Horace Panter and Neol Davies and Guitarist Charles Bullen and of course Mick Gawthorp whose wonderful sax playing is always an inspiration (apologies to Mick as I left him out
of this in the original draft) and more who have helped Kev turn this into a innovative and exciting classic. Also - as Mick Gawthorp pointed out "these recordings facilitated a reunion of sorts in as much as Kev, Neol and myself collaborated again for the first time in decades."
Also there was former KING drummer John Hewitt who was formerly with Team 23 with Dave Pepper and Jim Lantsbery (also of King). We got talking after Jim had given me the thumbs up for my wild dancing! The lineage of King had evolved from two bands that played the Hobo Workshop in 1975 - Analog (with Paul Brooks / Steve Edgeson) and Trigon (with Paul Samson). Paul Samson of course went on the produce the Primatives and Catalonia. The evening was coming to an end about then but Jim said he would take a look at the site and hopefully contribut. Another drummer - Ted Duggan was there too but had disappeared before I could talk to him.
All in all it was a good evening and nice to be reconnected to my roots in Coventry after a long absence and some good networking was done. It looked like Pete Chambers did a good turn on book sales and I think him for the opportunity to attend this invitation only event. Thanks Pete.
Do check out Pete's new book if you are interested in development of the Coventry music scene - there are a lot of interesting pics and stories and an interview with Jerry Dammers. The amazing thing about this is tht despite all the posts on this site - Pete's books and the site have quite independant material in them in the main - which just shows what a lively scene there has and continues to be in Coventry.
Trev Teasdel - Oct 2007 - Below some of Coventry Music books by Pete Chambers
The Two Tone Trail and The Beatles - Sent To Coventry.
Visit TWO TONE CENTRAL MUSEUM http://www.2tonecentral.co.uk/