Rob Bradford reports on Pipeline 2002
Within ten minutes of arriving at the Conway Hall it was obvious that it was going to be a twangtastic day. Ian McCutcheon was breezing his way through “Valencia” and I’d already spoken to (in no particular order) Bill Bryan, Steve & Helen Terrell, Uncle Alan & Uncle Dave, Clive Poole, Jim Nugent, George Geddes, Paul Keyes, Trev Faull, Maurice Preece, Pat Terrett, Zoe McCulloch, John Tuck, his brother Jeff who’s also a drummer (with The Flames) and Jan & Colin Pryce-Jones. Phew! It was already like an instrumental Who’s Who and that was all before the enticing CD and record stalls which included some of those already mentioned plus MoviMusic (with the delightful Jolanda), Gerry Woodage’s Ventures pitch, Shadsfax, Leo’s Den and Bob “Bim-Bam” Thomas.
OK I admit it, I am an instrumental CD-aholic. Before the first group was onstage I’d already spent £60! The hall was heaving with numerous other poor souls who were similarly afflicted. Time to form a mutual support group, eh?
Before long people were settling into their seats and eagerly awaiting the first ever UK appearance of Los Jets…..
Time Is Tight / Walk Don’t Run / Guitarra Enamorada (Lovers Guitar) / Apache / Atlantis / Walkin’ / The Stranger – Kon-Tiki / Wonderful Land / Dance On! / Zorongo Gitano / Shadoogie
Rhythm guitarist and group founder Santiago Gonzalez has been playing in instrumental groups for 44 years. He still clearly retains loads of enthusiasm for the job and his playing retains a sprightly buoyancy. Veteran drummer (and announcer) Eduardo Batrina has notched up 38 years service with Los Jets, having previously formed the respected Spanish instrumental group Los Rangers. With various original group members over the years leaving, retiring and (sadly) dying, newcomers have had to be drafted in. Four years ago Santiago and Eduardo enlisted the services of Rafael Laviada (lead) and Elena Senderos (keyboards). The most recent addition has been that of Antonio Reyes on bass guitar.
Los Jets have a proud history (fully detailed in Pipeline 54) and have often been dubbed “The Spanish Shadows”. In Spain and the countries of South America, they notched up no fewer than seven No.1 hits (and numerous other chart successes) during the period 1961-1965. That’s quite an impressive pedigree.
From the opening bars of “Time Is Tight” onwards, it became obvious that we were in for a real treat. Elena ably demonstrated that she is a fine keyboard player during a lively romp through the Shadows’ arrangement of “Time Is Tight”. In fact, Elena’s keyboards are integral part of the group’s sound – never obtrusive, but fully meshing into the overall sound as rhythm instrument when not replicating generic string parts (as on “Atlantis”, “Wonderful Land” etc.).
Although sticking closely to the Shads’ versions, Los Jets’ sound contains a certain edge and minor detail differences in performance to make them sound just that little bit different. “Walk, Don’t Run” was given a punchy treatment whilst the Fentones’ “Lovers Guitar” (which, as “Guitarra Enamorada” had been a No.1 hit for Los Jets) flowed along very dreamily. “Shadoogie” was great and was used as a vehicle for all group members to perform a series of mini solos.
Unquestionably the highlight of their set was the performance of their very first Spanish No.1 from 1961: “Zorongo Gitano”. It’s refreshing after over 40 years of collecting to hear a “new” track and be completely blown away, it’s a superb original which was previously unknown to me. “Zorongo” has a wide dynamic range from hushed, almost silent passages to vibrant, exulting sforzandos with sonorous ringing chords. While the group provided a tight rhythmic backdrop, Rafael was free to liberally demonstrate a variety of techniques and sounds during his flamboyant solos. A thoroughly enjoyable and professional set from Los Jets and CDs of their ’60s material will obviously be worthy of investigation.
In between the sets by the main groups, Tony Hoffman (genial main-man and editor par excellence of Shadsfax) had arranged for a whole series of guitarists to play along to a series of backing tracks from the UB Hank CDs or Ian McCutcheon’s splendid Shadows Workout series. I didn’t catch all of these Shadfaxers performances, but we owe each and every one a debt of gratitude. It takes a lot of nerve to get up there and play in front of such a knowledgeable group of fans.
Of course, some players are actually very talented and experienced (but genuinely modest). In this group I would place Hoffers himself (who has the approval of a certain Hank Marvin… you’ll have to ask Tony about that yourselves) who gave us a splendid “Shindig”, Ian McCutcheon (who delighted with several numbers), Sir James of Nugent (with “The Rumble” and “Scarlet O’Hara”) and several other players whose names mostly remain unknown to me – but well done Lee Argent. During such a long day, fans simply had to use the breaks between acts to eat, drink, chat, buy CDs and visit other facilities. That must’ve sometimes made it difficult for our ‘Faxer Guitarists as their potential audience sometimes diminished. Nothing to do with your playing, guys, just a matter of logistics. Thanks to all of you. Next up was a group from Eastbourne, Lost 4 Words…..
LOST 4 WORDS
Pipeline / Man Of Mystery / Bustin’ Surfboards / Penetration / Hit And Miss / Just For Jerry / The Good, The Bad And The Ugly / Sunset Riders / Theme From Shane / Ghost Riders In The Sky / Magic Carpet / Samovar / Hava Nagila / Dream Of The West / Tequila / Wild Weekend / Rebel Rouser / Diamonds / Misirlou / Happy Birthday – Red River Rock / Lost 4 Words Theme / The Rise And Fall Of Flingle Bunt
These young looking guys certainly looked the part with their snazzy matching silver suits and with two guitarists sporting red Fenders. Full marks to them for an incredibly varied set list including seldom played covers from such diverse artists as The John Barry Seven, The Dakotas, Joe Brown, The Rocking Rebels, Dick Dale, The Krew Kats, The Outlaws and many more. It was an interesting contrast between them and the other groups. Los Jets were the “Spanish Shadows”, The Charades specialise in early to mid ’60s Ventures, Legend specialise in The Shadows’ Burns era and The Tornados are unique.
Matt Saunders (drums) and Tim Izzard (bass) always provided a rock solid foundation upon which guitarists Paul Morris (rhythm) and Jim Wootten (lead) built admirably. A nifty “Pipeline” was followed by “Man Of Mystery” before Lost 4 Words turned to surf again (all donning cool Raybans) for exhilarating romps through The Tornadoes’ “Bustin’ Surfboards” and the Pyramids’ “Penetration”. During these numbers, Paul was “surfing” on a suitably psychedelic wedge!
Other highlights from their eclectic set included “Hit And Miss” with Paul cleverly replicating the pizzicato strings of the JB7’s original by playing his guitar through a synth simulator device, a truly rousing “Ghost Riders In The Sky” (which received a tremendous ovation) and a superb “Hava Nagila” (even more resounding response), although Jim didn’t attempt Joe Brown’s guitar-behind-the-head technique (which he once told me “is actually quite easy really!”).
You want more? How about a very ambitious arrangement of “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” which Jim turned into a guitar workout tour de force. Not to mention a fiery “Wild Weekend” and “Happy Birthday” (dedicated to Big Al & Little Dave for Pipeline’s 10th event) interpolating with “Red River Rock”. Their original “Lost 4 Words Theme” is quite a tasty dual guitar item and “Misirlou” (with Paul wielding a fake toy sax whilst playing the part on keyboards) was a joyous out and out blasting thrash. A really promising group who brought an element of real fun and enjoyment into the proceedings.
The Lost City / It’s A Man’s World / Main Theme From Rhythm ‘n’ Greens / Blue Sky, Blue Sea, Blue Me / Zambesi / Maroc 7 / It’s Been A Blue Day / Santa Ana / Waiting For Rosie / In The Mood / Temptation / The Miracle / Genie With The Light Brown Lamp / You Gotta Have Heart / I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Arthur / Chattanooga Choo Choo / Deep Purple / Now That You’re Gone / Tennessee Waltz / The Flyder And The Spy
And so we moved swiftly on to Legend….. As the group themselves say, the last year or so has been the stuff of dreams for them. The majority of the group members played in various pro and semi-pro groups during the ’70s and early ’80s before jobs and families put an end to their regular playing days for nigh on 20 years. Their common ground was a love of Shadows music, particularly the 1964-1968 period when the Shads were playing Burns guitars. In the late 1990s, they met up at the East Yorks Shadows Club in Scarborough.
After getting to grips with playing again via the ubiquitous UB Hank/Shadows Workout backing track CDs, David Martin (lead/rhythm), Terry Carter (lead/rhythm), Chris Jarvis (bass) and Martin Verrill (drums) gravitated towards playing live sets as a group, concentrating on the Burns era tracks. David Martin is also well known for having set up the fantastic MSN Shadows Web community Site (www.shadowmusic.co.uk <http://www.shadowmusic.co.uk>), which has done so much for aficionados of the Shads and instrumentals generally. Bruce Welch has been a great support/influence and has even joined Legend onstage as has Warren Bennett, whose friendship and input is truly genuine.
The group went from strength to strength and then came an offer from Joop and Jolanda at MoviMusic to record a CD. Legend were thrilled but initially a little uncertain. Now, here comes the Dream Come True part. Warren Bennett heard about the project. This amazing man offered Legend his services as MD, arranger, keyboard player and producer! Not only that… would they like to record the CD at Brian Bennett’s Honeyhill studios and have the equally legendary Dick Plant as sound engineer! The CD was launched at Pipeline 2002 and mighty fine it is too.
Legend’s 20 number set was neatly divided so that David and Terry played lead or rhythm on exactly half of the set each. They were equally impressive when playing either. As an added bonus, Trev Faull (noted author and keyboard wrestler extraordinaire) joined the group on keyboards because “Warren Bennett is abroad playing keyboards for someone else!” I have to say that Trev was excellent, beginning with the haunting “Blue Sky, Blue Sea, Blue Me” where his lush synths overlayed Terry’s sensitive lead work. “Maroc 7” was superb with David Martin expertly re-creating those tremulous opening guitar figures before playing the noble theme in suitably stately style. The whole group was excellent and Trev did wonders to suggest the full orchestra on just a single keyboard. “It’s Been A Blue Day” is similar to “Blue Sky…” and Terry was again on prime form as was Trev, playing a much more intricate keyboard part. Finally, what a joy to hear Terry & the boys on the magnificent, but rarely performed, “The Miracle”. Again Trev’s contribution was splendidly vital, but even he couldn’t play the full orchestral part as well as adding those sublime harp arpeggios (so they were absent).
David Martin spoke with genuine feeling when publicly thanking Warren, Joop, Jolanda, Ian McCutcheon, Pat Terrett, fans generally, Pipeline specifically and Bruce Welch for their help, encouragement and support. In fact, Bruce was amongst us and David dedicated “Temptation” (a rousing performance) to him because “the rhythm guitar part is even more difficult to play than ‘The Savage’!” Every track was sheer delight and I’m only spotlighting a few of my personal faves (one of the reviewer’s few perks).
Simply great to hear the seldom performed “It’s A Man’s World”, “You Gotta Have Heart”, “I Wish I Could Shimmy…” and “Flyder And The Spy”. David’s beautiful leadwork sparkled on the beguiling “Now That You’ve Gone” and Terry gave us a beefy “Zambesi”. Inevitably attention tends to focus on the lead, but I must stress that Chris and Martin were superb throughout in their supporting roles.
In fact, as the set wore on, I began to concentrate more upon these two. It became apparent just how closely they managed to recreate the sound and feel of the Rostill/Bennett bass/drums interplay of the day. It’s revealed even more on the CD, because Chris Jarvis doesn’t just play bass, he pays homage to John Rostill by playing bass as he would have done. So full marks to him and drummer Martin, it’s quite uncanny. A marvellous example was in the group’s outstanding performance of the intricate “Waiting For Rosie”. Top-notch stuff. I recommend that you buy the CD as it also contains a couple of tasty Warren Bennett originals amongst the splendid cover versions. (The) Legend Lives!
And talking of legends, we then saw one in the making as onstage came The Charades…..
Hawaii 5-0 / The Pink Panther Theme / Walk Don’t Run ’64 / Rap City / The Savage / Lost In Waves / She’s Not There / The Stranger / Theme From The Persuaders / Washington Square / Skylab / Love Potion No.9 / From Russia With Love / Besame Mucho / Inter Ceptor / Journey To The Stars / Woolly Bully / Diamond Head / Get Ready / Yozoro No Hoshi
Hannu Kononen (lead), Marko Rahikainen (rhythm), Leo Eerikainen (bass) and Jari Moberg (drums) are The Charades – yet another instrumental combo from Finland. I knew precious little about them, only their reputation preceded them. After all, “In Motion” was Pipeline’s album of the year and 1,000,000 Pipeline fans couldn’t be wrong, could they? I knew that the group specialised in recreating the early to mid-sixties Ventures sound and that was about it. I didn’t have a copy of “In Motion” and so decided to buy a CD shortly before the group took to the stage. Then I retreated to my balcony vantage point, not knowing quite what to expect.
The curtains parted to reveal The (men in black) Charades standing coolly waiting to commence. Within a few seconds I was struck by a couple of thoughts:
1) The rhythm guitarist was a dead ringer for Mike Gross.
2) Even before they’d played a single note they seemed to radiate those somehow indefinable qualities attitude and stage presence.
There was no 3 because the next thing that struck me was a massive sonic blast as Jari launched a frenzied attack on his drums and the group blasted into a rip-roaring “Hawaii 5-0”. What a tremendously powerful yet clean sound. A simply magnificent rhythm section topped by Hannu’s excoriating (and very fast) lead guitar. The group didn’t need the orchestra that graced the original recording. They created their own aural Tsunami. Book ’em Danno! What an explosive start.
Next up was a fast, tight and vibrant take on Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther” in the Ventures setting. Impressive stuff. The Ventures were never slow to latch onto changing musical trends. In 1964, they decided to re-work “Walk Don’t Run” in the manner of The Chantays’ “Pipeline”. The Charades powered through the number with belligerent panache. Urged along by Jari’s fast sledgehammer drums and throbbing bass, Marko fired out those spitting rhythm runs and as for Hannu… well, close your eyes and it could’ve been Nokie up there.
Still no let up as the group now eviscerated one of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, better known as “Rap City”, which had even more power than the Ventures original! In fact, that is what’s so impressive about The Charades. They are to that early Ventures sound what our beloved Rapiers are to the classic British instros. Viz: they take the style and the sound, lovingly study and recreate it (technical perfection and accuracy is a must) and then improve upon it. The Charades have an enormously powerful sound, formidable technique, class and style. Plus, their ensemble is almost telepathic. Quite remarkable.
“The Stranger” is, of course, from Borodin’s “Psolotvian Dances”. Back in 1955 several of its themes were “borrowed” for the film “Kismet”, and “Stranger In Paradise” became a massive hit for no fewer than six acts simultaneously (with Tony Bennett taking his version all the way to No.1). The Ventures turned it into an exciting instro. Incredibly The Charades again manage to eclipse the original. The arrangement is identical but simply played faster and louder with vicious energy.
“The Savage” is the Ventures arrangement. Very well played too (though I still think that the Shadows’ original is unsurpassable). “Lost In Waves” is a superb original swamped with reverb and dripping with echo. Maybe I can pay no higher tribute if I say that it could easily be mistaken for one of those Wilson-Bogle-Edwards-Taylor originals which frequently resided on those sixties albums.
Hey, remember how The Ventures used to cover vocal hits and turn them into monster instros? Well, boy do The Charades demonstrate just how this was done with great style and flair. “She’s Not There”, “Love Potion No.9”, “Woolly Bully” and The Temptations’ “Get Ready” were all delivered as brilliant instrumentals by The Charades. Look, I could go into detail about every track, but I’m beginning to run out of superlatives. The Charades are simply sensational. I notice that only six tracks from their amazing live set at Pipeline are on “In Motion”. I hope that they’ll get around to releasing another CD PDQ!
I’m glad that I picked up “In Motion” before The Charades’ set because when I got to their table five minutes after they’d finished, every single one had sold out! I’ve got lots of versions of the brilliant “Journey To The Stars” and “Diamond Head” by other groups but (apart from The Ventures themselves) I’ve never heard them played better than The Charades played them today. I now want: a) to dig out my Ventures CDs and play some of the tracks again, and b) obtain more recordings by The Charades
Alan and Dave maintain that they got the best reception of all of the many groups that have graced Pipeline’s ten conventions. They are certainly most impressive and I’d like to hear them again very soon. I’ve just thought of one word to sum up their performance: Compelling!
Headlining this year were The Tornados…. Instead of the customary introductions from either Alan or Dave, a guest announcer appeared. It was none other than Bruce Welch. It’s wonderful that artists of his stature lend their support to the Pipeline Convention. Bruce has been a regular visitor down the years. Bruce was really there, as he explained, to meet his old friend Clem and to introduce The Tornados. In fact, Clem and Bruce have remained good friends since they first met at the 2 I’s way back in 1958. “Back in the 1960s” explained Bruce, “we regarded The Tornados as just about our only serious challengers in terms of instrumental hits.”
In the pantheon of British instrumental groups The Tornados are amongst the all time greats. Under the aegis of legendary producer Joe Meek they cut some fabulous instrumentals. “Telstar” is undoubtedly one of the greatest records ever made with global sales currently estimated at 11 million copies. It should have made Joe Meek and The Tornados very wealthy. As many of you know, because of a whole series of appalling and wretched circumstances, that didn’t happen. The music industry was (and still is) littered with stories of rip-offs and deception. Unfortunately The Tornados were blighted by these problems. The music was great though.
In a recent Gandy Dancer poll there was a category something along the lines of “Group Most Wanted To Reform”. I think that The Shadows were at the top of that chart (someone please write in to correct me if I’m wrong) and at No.2 were The Tornados. From the original line-up both Alan Caddy and Heinz Burt have sadly died, Roger LaVern has had surgery on his hands and now only plays occasionally, and George Bellamy made it clear many, many years ago that his Tornados days are a thing of the past.
But there is one very special person who is still there, namely drummer Clem Cattini. Clem is very modest, but he is definitely one of the finest drummers ever to emerge from the UK. After he left The Tornados in 1965, Clem became one of Britain’s top session drummers. Amongst his numerous achievements is playing on literally hundreds (if not thousands) of chart hits. It’s been confirmed that he has played on 42 No.1 hits (beginning with Johnny Kidd’s “Shakin’ All Over” in 1960). In fact, he’s probably played on over 50 No.1s which is simply incredible. He’s even played the Conway Hall many times before (backing David Bowie on one occasion). In fact the venue was the scene of his professional debut with Terry Kennedy’s Rock ‘n’ Rollers back in 1957. More importantly for us, Clem was a founder member of The Tornados and played on every track that they recorded between the end of 1961 and the beginning of 1965.
Clem and Roger LaVern are the legal owners of the Tornados name. In 1989 Clem decided to reform The Tornados but with the addition of female vocalist Lynne Alice (who tragically died just over a year ago). The emphasis was mainly on vocals with only three or four instrumentals regularly featuring in their shows. Nevertheless, we should all be grateful that Clem has kept The Tornados going for the past 13 years.
Guitarist (and fine singer) David Graham has been with Clem since 1989. For tonight’s special all-instrumental set (something that many of us have dreamt about but never thought that it would ever happen) Clem enlisted the services of Derek (Del) Griffiths on guitar. Del has played with such luminaries as The Artwoods and Keef Hartley, so his musical roots go back to our Golden Era. Bassist Colin Farley (formerly with ’80s hit makers Cutting Crew) joined The Tornados after the departure of the long-serving Dave Harvey. Bip Weatherall (who also notched up over a decade’s service) was replaced on keyboards by Kevin Earl. However, I noticed that Kevin was absent and a gentleman by the name of Brian Miller was on keyboards, of which more later.
Clem’s intricate drumming patterns introduced “Jungle Fever”. Normally this segues into another track after about thirty seconds in the group’s normal set, so it was great to have a full performance. The group was immediately into its stride with Brian expertly recreating Geoff Goddard’s idiosyncratic stylings, particularly on the stabbing/staccato passages. It was impossible to recreate Joe Meek’s overdubbed exotic jungle FX, but it was still great to hear this track played live in full. Next up was the bubbly “Globetrotter” which was a huge jog-along hit despite a) having passages almost identical to “Venus In Blue Jeans”, and b) the group absolutely hating it. Clem (with self deprecating humour) related the anecdote of him daring to tell Joe Meek that he despised the track, thereby invoking the notoriously volatile Joe’s wrath. Clem fled downstairs rapidly followed by a dangerously heavy tape deck hurled at him by the apoplectic producer!
Everyone (and subsequently fans too) felt that “Globetrotter” should have been held over in favour of George Bellamy’s fantastic “Ridin’ The Wind” which is a glorious guitar/organ led opus. Brian Miller was outstanding on keyboards and Del & Dave combined to faithfully recreate Alan Caddy’s atmospheric twanging solos. “Robot” worked a treat with drums, organ and guitars combining to achieve the effect of those clanging chords at the opening of the original, whilst “The Ice Cream Man” exuded all of the rinky dink, ice rink Mr. Softee charm of the 1963 cut. Strange how some tracks simply evoke the feel of a bygone era. Although “Life On Venus” may have been dubbed “Son Of Telstar”, it was still too good a track to have been buried on the B-side of “Robot”.
It was at this point that I thought of the danger of taking all of this for granted. What a superb job Clem and the group were all doing in their professional yet inimitable (apparently) laid back style. “Dragonfly” represented a change of direction back in 1964, with the usual organ/guitar roles being reversed. Del had done his homework as he stylishly reeled off his superb solos. Like “Jungle Fever” (which it was partly based on), “Hot Pot” was missing Joe’s bizarre FX but the group captured the weird overall sound admirably. The next track, “Exodus”, was a real highlight. Jimmy O’Brien had been the organ soloist on both the 1964 single and the live recording from Blackpool. It was O’Brien’s own arrangement which made it such a great single. Brian Miller was superb, he captured both the sound and every nuance of O’Brien’s dramatic, swirling patterns during a performance of convincing grandeur and integrity with Dave Graham providing the brief, but stinging guitar passages.
“The Man With The Golden Arm” was not a Tornados number, nor was this version related to Jet Harris’s 1962 classic. No, this was unique as The Tornados harked back to Elmer Bernstein’s 1950s score and added some original touches of their own. Very fluid and jazzy with everyone in fine form, particularly Colin deploying his bass as the lead instrument. “Wipeout” likewise became a sort of Surfaris/Saints hybrid. Clem gave a masterly display of how less is more during the drum breaks. Ron Wilson would’ve been proud as Clem, as David Graham wickedly put it: “A legend of the 60s, now in his 60s”, played with all the energy and enthusiasm of a youngster only with the added advantages of years of experience and brilliant technique.
Max Steiner’s beautiful “Theme From A Summer Place” was popularised by Percy Faith. The Tornados never played the track live and it was sheer delight to hear it. Alan Caddy had borrowed his solo from a certain Mr. Chet Atkins and Del Griffiths was in outstanding form during a most mellifluous performance. Again The Tornados didn’t record Booker T’s seminal “Green Onions”, but what a superb version this was. Really slinky, smouldering and brooding as the band stoked up the atmosphere and upped the ante little by little including a biting guitar break by Dave Graham. Instrumental playing of the highest calibre by all concerned.
“Love And Fury” was The Tornados’ first release and was a tribute to Billy Fury. All of the ingredients of the Tornados sound were present and correct. It deserved to be a hit. Again, the 2002 Tornados were on top form from Clem’s rapid snare rhythms to Del’s eerie sounding metallic lead breaks. The ultra rare “Swinging Beefeater” (amongst the first tracks recorded with Joe Meek) was also superbly played by Del on lead and he later performed heroics on the jazzy “Earthy”. “We sometimes needed titles for instrumental tracks” recalled Clem, “Alan Caddy wrote ‘Earthy’ so he named that one. ‘Swinging Beefeater’, I don’t know why it was called that. Nothing to do with the Tower Of London. I think it was just because Alan loved beefburgers!”
Jungle Fever / Globetrotter / Ridin’ The Wind / Robot / The Ice Cream Man / Life On Venus / Dragonfly / Hot Pot / Exodus / Man With The Golden Arm / Wipeout / Theme From A Summer Place / Green Onions / Love And Fury / Swinging Beefeater / Earthy / Telstar
And so to “Telstar”, which still has an emotional charge even after 40 years and over 500 cover versions. That is the mark of a truly great original. Referring back to Bruce’s opening remarks, Clem related that the music press tried to fabricate rivalry between The Tornados and The Shadows. “There was rivalry, but on our part (i.e. the respective groups) it was always friendly. In fact when ‘Telstar’ reached No.1, The Shadows sent us a congratulatory telegram.” The 2002 convention closed to the majestic strains of the immortal “Telstar” and, for an encore, the Tornados were obliged to play it again. A fitting close to a brilliant day.
Here I must congratulate the remarkable Brian Miller. On Wednesday evening, i.e. only three working days before Pipeline, Brian received a call from Clem to say that Kevin Earl had broken his arm. Could Brian help out by deputising and playing keyboards on 18 numbers, 17 of which he’d probably never heard of before, and there was no sheet music available! As Brian had known Clem for over 30 years, they met up whilst backing Dana as well as playing together on numerous sessions, he said yes. On Thursday Clem sent him some Tornados CDs. Brian listened to them and spent two days transcribing the arrangements.
Following that he had just one rehearsal before the show. Let’s face it, virtually every Tornados number depends on the organ as lead instrument. Now, he could have just played through the set and that would’ve been an incredible achievement in itself. But he went further by listening carefully to the different playing styles of Geoff Goddard, Roger LaVerne and Jimmy O’Brien. Not only that, Brian recreated different organ sounds by a combination of loading in some old Vox samples and constantly adjusting assorted echo and reverb settings. What a lovely guy too. He was very modest about his playing, but did confess that he’d played in West End shows, including “Cats” for over 20 years.
Derek Griffiths was equally modest and affable. He told me that he desperately wanted to get as close as possible to Alan Caddy’s guitar sound (which was frequently enhanced by Joe Meek on recordings) and had spent hours experimenting with different amps, echo boxes and settings. We should all applaud the dedication of these people to their art, and indeed all of the acts because it shows their total dedication and the fact that they care. In this day and age, that’s quite something.
Last but not least a big heartfelt thanks to Alan Taylor and Dave Burke (plus their dedicated wives, children, other close relatives and helpers) because without them none of this would happen at all. There are numerous other folks to thank too, but those dedications should come from Alan & Dave themselves and not me. For those of you couldn’t make it, I hope that this write up and the forthcoming video will suffice.
Guys, here’s to the next Twangtastic Decade.