Teddy Boys at The Black Raven (1972)

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A James Gray photograph of the Black Raven pub that is described in the Rolling Stone piece from a previous posting. Below is one of his portraits from 1973, this one features the same geezer who was supping back a pint in Roger Perry’s pic that accompanied Jerry Hopkins observations. He’s got himself a new hair cut . .

The two photos are from this Evening Standard  file

The two photos are from this Evening Standard file

There’s a public Facebook page on the pub here which features lots of snaps. The guys in the banner photograph can all be seen in the 1970 BBC documentary of Gene Vincent’s last tour of the UK having a pop at skinheads, more of which anon.

'Awopbopaloobop: The Teds are back and greased for action' (Rolling Stone 1972)

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Jerry Hopkins, ‘Beatle Loathers Return: Britain’s Teddy Boys’ Rolling Stone (March 2, 1972) gets in on the UK’s Rock’n’ Roil revival scene. Here’s my favorite observation by Elvis’ first rock biographer:

All you can see is hair.

Plumes and cascades and whirlpools of hair, all of it greased and obsidian-black, thumbing its nose at gravity as it stretches four inches from the brow, wobbling, glistening: the classic Elephant’s Trunk; sweeping back in shiny sheets past earringed ears to plunge into a perfect D.A. or splash over the velvet collars in hirsute waterfalls. Towers and arches and walls of hair. This isn’t just extraordinary styling—it’s architecture.

Unless you’ve got good eyesight you might want to check out the piece here, which for reasons known only to the magazine’s on-line editors uses a pic of Teds from 1954 rather than Roger Perry’s photographs

The Last Movie (Dennis Hopper) - Blu-Ray release

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#1082 of 3000 is the one I’ve got . . . a really fine package from Indicator with a stand out transfer of the film, superb extras, a fold-out poster, and a booklet with an Alex Cox essay and some great locations stills . . . colour me happy

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Just because she hasn’t got any running water or electricity doesn’t mean she doesn’t want nice things. Right now it’s a General Electric refrigerator. Like a jazz drummer, Stella Garcia performance as Maria is never off the beat. She always hits her mark regardless of whatever nonsense is going down.

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For much of the film, and in the documentary American Dreamer, Hopper wears a Lee 101J denim jacket and jeans. No one ever looked better in that combination, but this variation on a trucker jacket in heavy suede and rounded leather collar is pretty special, as is the blanket coat with fur collar that he wears while prospecting with Neville. When The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is your guide to getting the gold you gotta look your best.

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Dennis Hopper - Glory Stomper

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“Art work” by Ed Roth … what’s that mean? the bikes? Perhaps the vandalism done to Hopper’s Levi’s 507 jacket … who’d cut the sleeves off the jacket Martin Sheen wore in Badlands? Still, at least he’s not wearing a brand new trucker with hacked off sleeves that John Casavettes sports in Devil’s Angels …  I guess, Big Daddy blessed the production with the patches - swastikas, Maltese crosses, and gang names and emblems - Henchmen, Jokers, Glory Stompers and, Dennis’s gang, Black Souls … Saundra Gale plays Hopper’s momma in a costume that makes her look like she just jumped straight out of a 50s beatnik movie …

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The Glory Stompers (AIP 1968), starring Dennis “Baby” Hopper … Opens and closes with a kickstarter … The fly-eye end credits are well worth riding to the finale for …and that Ed Roth credit …


Paul 'Legs' Barrett RIP

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Sadly, Paul ‘Legs’ Barrett died on 20 January 2019, 78 years old. His presence and voice is all over The Sunsets 1969 debut album A Legend (Parlophone, PCS 7112), including a dedication to Karl Marx. It is easily their best sounding disc, Dave Edmunds production gives it a depth and a dynamic that was never matched on their subsequent, rushed, recordings. ‘This album contains what was the most progressive music in the history of recorded sound’ writes Edmunds in his sleeve notes, while fans of Colosseum may dispute this fact, and his use of the past tense qualifies the idea somewhat, 50 years later it still sounds good n’ rockin’ to me.

Pop Pulp: Paul Barrett on Shakin' Stevens

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I’m on a Sunsets kick this morning as Paul Gorman has laid out a great spread on the band and their Let It Rock t-shirts on his blog here.

Paul Barrett with Hilary Hayward, Shakin’ Stevens (Star, 1983).

On cover and format alone this looks to be just another exploitation title, a George Tremlett style cut n’ paste job to capitalise on Shaky’s chart success, but it is so much more than that. The first 3/4 are a first hand account of the Sunsets’ story written by their card-carrying Communist manager, Paul ‘Legs’ Barrett. It is a terrific account of the early 1970s rockin’ scene, the gigs and the band’s high expectations and low returns as they endless tour the UK and Europe taking their message to the people. And if you wanna know why so many of the revivalist discs suck, you’ll get the real dope here - no advance, no royalties, minimal recording time in cheap shit studios, and producers who were good at harvesting a fast buck and hopeless at the task they were paid to carry out.

When the band confront Lionel Burge, head of Contour Records (who released some Sunsets sides and LPs by The Houseshakers and Hellraisers), about getting paid directly rather than their funds being channelled through producer Donny Marchand, he tells them to agree to his way or he’ll get the Hellraisers in to make the album. What could you do? asks Barrett. In the end, the records helped them get gigs and that was where the money was and, eventually, good money too.

After 7 years of playing the circuit the band come to an end, killed not by Shaky jumping ship for the Elvis Musical in 1977 but by a new generation of rockers. Barrett tries to sell the band to Island Records’ A&R man, Richard Williams, but tells him, ‘Sorry I think you’re too old. I’m gonna sign Eddie and the Hot Rods instead.’ He then tries Danny Seconda at Track records, who are excited about having The Heartbreakers (if you don’t stare too long you can kinda see a potential synergy between the two bands), and tells the Sunsets to get some new clothes at the expense of the company. off they go to a King’s Road emporium, reserving themselves suede jackets, cowboy boots and fancy shirts’ and then they wait on the company to stump up. . . it never does. Tapes are made with Charlie Gillett, Vic Maile, and Mike Hurst, none are ever released. By the time Track does do something with Shaky he’s gone solo are the Sunsets are long gone . . . and that synergy with Johnny Thunders no longer looks so good.

Barrett stories are worth the price of admission alone, but it’s his depiction of Shaky that is the real draw. He paints him as naive, vain, semi-literate, overly sensitive and just plain dumb. Payback is a motherfucker, as they say, and Legs gets in a bank vault full. Is he bitter? The book’s final sentence:

To quote Paul Barrett, who has been watching Shaky’s career with the caring, concerned interest of a colleague who has been a friend, ‘he’s got what he always wanted, but he’s almost certainly lost what he had.’

Nick Kent - 'Viva Rock'n' Roll Facism'

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‘Critic’s Choice’ Let It Rock, January 1974. 30 UK and USA rock critics tell readers what they liked best about 1973. Along with Lester Bangs and Lenny Kaye, Kent liked the Stooges, only he saw them as a call to arms rather than just a good night out: ‘That hordes of deranged mutant-youth will spring up from the suburbs primed on Iggy Pop and wearing Keith Richard death-head face-masks to assassinate John Denver, James Taylor and Carly, and rock-writers who write turgid wank-analysis of Bob Dylan and Professor Longhair.’ Prescient . . .

I’ve kept Mike Leadbitter in the frame because he liked the Flamin’ Groovies’ ‘Married Woman’ 45 and so do I . . .

'The Golden Years of Rock 'n' Roll' - 6 disc set (1975)

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Was this the final 1970s compilation by Alan Warner of golden oldies from the UA, Liberty and Imperial catalogues? This was billed as a World Records release, part of the EMI group, and probably sold through mail order like a Reader’s Digest set. 102 tracks are played out in chronological order from 1948 to 1964. Another MONO release.

Clive Richardson from Shout magazine provided the notes, design by anonymous . . . you can tell.

'Rock 'n' Roll Jamboree' 4 disc boxed set UA (1974)

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UMO 4000 . . . at some point in 1974 UA repacked the first 2 volumes of the Many Sides of Rock ’n’ Roll and put them in a box with a booklet that reproduced the notes from inside the gatefold sleeves. The one significant difference was that these four discs are all in MONO . . . all three volumes and the four single disc sets were all ‘electronically enhanced to simulate a stereo effect.’ The mono purists were out there pushing their agenda . . . and Alan Warner and UA were now working their side of the road.

16 Golden Oldies, From the Vaults - volumes 1-3

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Each volume offers ‘16 Golden Oldies’ from the usual catalogue culprits, the first two are on the Liberty label and the final one on UA. All put together by the estimable Alan Warner

LBS 83278 . . . Photography Mike Hasted, motorcycle courtesy of Raymond Way Motors Ltd, Kilburn. Rings and chains courtesy of Adrien Mann

LBS 83278 . . . Photography Mike Hasted, motorcycle courtesy of Raymond Way Motors Ltd, Kilburn. Rings and chains courtesy of Adrien Mann

LBS 83377 . . . cover photograph by Red Saunders. This one goes full topless and seems to have escaped from the store room of Tommy Roberts’ emporium, Mr. Freedom. It makes no sense in this context whatsoever, but I think it is great.

LBS 83377 . . . cover photograph by Red Saunders. This one goes full topless and seems to have escaped from the store room of Tommy Roberts’ emporium, Mr. Freedom. It makes no sense in this context whatsoever, but I think it is great.

UAS 29153 . . . design is credited to ‘Painted Lady, London.’ I can’t make out signature beneath the car.

UAS 29153 . . . design is credited to ‘Painted Lady, London.’ I can’t make out signature beneath the car.

Zigzag  magazine #12 (May 1970) – I think I need that Jett Powers collection . . .

Zigzag magazine #12 (May 1970) – I think I need that Jett Powers collection . . .

Zigzag  #20 (1972)

Zigzag #20 (1972)

Rock 'n' Roll Is Here To Stay UA 1973

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UAS29336 is the catalogue number and the fourth volume, I think, of Alan Warner compilations. The usual United Artist/Liberty/Imperial contractees are all here along side a licensed Jerry Lee Lewis Sun cut, but the real interest is with the ‘70s sleaze: the Bardot lookalike model and the Ted in full drape mode, cutthroat razor and cheroot. And the chopper, the ultimate period prop . . . cliche on cliche . . . Nice.

Photography by Bryce Attwell

The Many Sides of Rock'n' Roll Vols 1-3

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The late 60s - early 70s rock ’n’ roll revival bought not only old rockers back to British stages and new bands to beat on the traps of the first generations song books, but it also bought a small flood of reissues. Some of the best of these were curated on the United Artists label under the guidance of Alan Warner.

The three double album volumes were released in 1973-74 with each side themed, ‘instrumentals, ‘rock’n’ roll stars’, ‘teen ballads’, ‘groups’ and so on. Each came with a four page photograph styled album of images of the groups and singers and some cursory notes .

UA had access to the catalogues of Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Johnny Burnette, The Ventures, and Bobby Vee and they mined these tape vaults mercilessly.

Pierre Tubbs was the art director across the series and he utilised a number of photographers and illustrators.

Photo session produced by Norman Seef (Los Angeles) and it is awful . . .

Photo session produced by Norman Seef (Los Angeles) and it is awful . . .

Illustration by Bob Cotton

Illustration by Bob Cotton

Illustration by Michael Bennallack-Hart. This album pushes into the mid-1960s with The Count Five’s ‘Psychotic Reaction’ and it gives a plug to the ‘superb anthology of similar items on an album called  Nuggets  on Elektra.’

Illustration by Michael Bennallack-Hart. This album pushes into the mid-1960s with The Count Five’s ‘Psychotic Reaction’ and it gives a plug to the ‘superb anthology of similar items on an album called Nuggets on Elektra.’

Gary Herman, 'The Who' (Studio Vista, 1971)

The first book to be published on the The Who, but one rarely referenced. The author had a column in Let It Rock where he wrote about technical things like microphones and PA systems. That side is lacking here, instead he uses an Eng. Lit. approach to pick apart the themes in Townshend’s songs, which is all so so. In what is essentially a long essay, the best element by far is how he works in a relatively sustained examination of the band’s synthesis of a Mod sensibility into their work and very being - a Mod’s view of life that is as much there in ‘My Generation’ as it is in ‘Sally Simpson’ or any other number from Tommy.

‘Above all, because Mods pursued the end of non-self-alienation, they also pursued collective experience. It is totally inaccurate to describe Mods as “individualists,” for they were only individualist in the sense that the whole group saw itself, and was seen, as a unit separate from the conformities of contemporary society. . . No matter how far The Who have left their original sources of inspiration behind, the jubilation and the triumph of the collective mod experience always manages to reassert itself.’

The book is also thoughtfully illustrated throughout with some brilliantly chosen images and carefully considered page design. David Goard’s otherwise unremarkable cover illustration foreshadows Quadrophenia with its rendering of Townshend’s head combining the band’s four facets.

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Addendum

In the February 1975 edition of Let It Rock, Gary Herman gave the low-down on all things Who since the publication of his book in 1971. Solo albums from Daltrey and Townshend, three from Entwistle and one forthcoming from Moon, seven singles, Leeds, Next and Quadrophenia, and two compilations had followed. A lot of product . . .

In his review of Quadrophenia for Phonograph Review (December 1973), Greg Shaw noted that Gary Herman had written ‘a whole book about Mod, and when it came time to put a title on it, his choice was clear cut, he called it “The Who.”’ Which is kinda true in a way, so it is not surprising Herman is most concerned with the band’s latest studio outing in his Let It Rock overview. He was not much impressed:

But Quadrophenia doesn’t ring true as a simple Mod’s tale. It’s too overloaded with Townshend’s self-conscious and arty interpretations; it’s too much of what he thinks Mods should have felt.