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Haley, Bill (& his Comets)
"...the blues had a baby and they named it Rock &  Roll"... to quote Muddy Waters. And  Bill Haley was the firstborn of an extremely large family. As far as I am concerned he began the Rock & Roll era in 1955, with the Comets, his "outrageous" backing band. I know, I've heard it all before - the Egyptians first played rock & roll, and the Jurassic Dinosaurs before them - but they didn't make records, Bill Haley did! Without Haley (and then Presley and Eddie Cochran) the AC/DCs and Black Sabbaths of this world would have still been playing the music of Alma Cogan and Max Bygraves, Haley's predecessors. At the time the frightened parents all said "... it's just a fad, it won't last" ...really? Before the revolution, "race" (or negro) music was not generally available and even afterwards we had to go through a phase of Little Richard's Tutti Frutti being charted by the simpering Pat Boone, but the process had at least started! I think the Blues owes a lot to Bill Haley. As for the music visit the website and listen
Hammond Organ
invented at least 70 years ago and was the original electric synthesizer, which could be programmed to (with limitations by today's standards) whatever instrument you wanted to copy. But the best sound is its own, utterly funky & unique, and created by a mechanical tone generator. Its disadvantages are:-

It is, not surprisingly, true that the Hammond sound is still too gritty and complex to be copied by a synthesizer although synths are, in the real world, nearly as good and far more practical
It is undoubtedly Jimmy Smith who deserves the title of "greatest player" of the instrument, but I personally think that Britisher Brian Auger deserves a mention too.

Harker, Malcolm
one of life's great eccentrics. When I met him Malc was at the Lanchester College studying engineering and living in a bedsit under Mrs Kohler, his Polish landlady who treated him like her own wayward son. You would never know it to look at him but Malc's family were successful entrepreneurs from the North East (and extremely rich) hence his comparatively luxurious BMC J2 bus (a van with proper seats of which there were still not enough) and brand new purple Ford Capri. I played with Malc in the Perfumed Garden & Acme during which he played guitar, bass, drums, sitar, harmonium and any other wayward instrument he could lay his hands on. I was reminded (by him) of the 8 foot long imitation Rickenbacker he bought in Bournemouth which adorned the walls of his already crowded bedsit. After later forming Indian Summer and guiding them toward their first album release he then went back to the north-east to take over Harker & Sons, the family engineering company. The one thing for which I am truly grateful to Malc is that he persuaded me that  I ought to learn to play saxophone, probably so that he could later recruit me for Danny & the Heart-Throbs.
He was also a very nice guy, if you ignored his forthright manner, which upset a lot of people ... but let he (or she) who is without guilt cast the first stone ... do you remember the Life of Brian?
After nearly 30 years I met Malc again when he and his current band, "We're Wolves of Stockton", helped put on a show for Barbara Hooper's 50th birthday party at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea on 17th November 2000. I am delighted to report that he is still eccentric, musically obsessed, and what he lacks in virtuosity is more than made up for by a unique showmanship and vitality which, to my mind, are worth infinitely more.
or "harps" are easy to play when you realise that they must be sucked as well as blowed (sounds rude doesn't it)! The sucked note is part of the scale and not there by accident. To play blues you suck most of the time which enables you to "bend" the notes for that distinctive sound. Best for the blues, in my opinion, are Hohner Cross Harps or Lee Oskar diatonic harps. Given either, go to the second hole from the left and suck. it. This is the root, or key that you will play in. For example, you play a C harp in G, blues style. I know, it sounds complicated but believe me, from then on it's completely natural ... and that's far more tuition than I ever had in the first place!
Hawkeswell, Nick
a real nice bloke and excellent bass player who seemed nervous & insecure, a problem he solved by forever having a joint in his mouth. Now personally I could (and still can) take or leave the odd bit of grass, dope or speed and hence have no inbuilt attitude on the subject. But a few years later Nick was the absolute example of how to blow your brains out with drugs. He finished up a moron, didn't have the brainpower of a 5-year old or, even worse, perhaps he did but could no longer communicate, was trapped inside his own head. Whatever, he was dead before his 25th birthday
Henry VIII Grammar School
originally in Hales Street, Coventry City Centre until a hundred or so years ago when moved out to the present Warwick Road site. In my time all you had to do was pass the 11 plus to get there, now your parents would need an awful lot of money. A shame because my memories are of a school with kids from all classes and backgrounds. To any old boys, why not either search or register on Coventry Schoolfriends, for old acquaintances
Hillbillies from Outer Space, the
a remarkable North Eastern band, with whom I had the privilege of sharing thenbhilbil.jpg (20010 bytes) "support acts" slot at the Newbiggin Town Fayre in 1996. I remember Paul Hooper telling me how, the first time he saw them, they had a chalked up blackboard with all of their repertoire listed so as to facilitate requests. They are excellent musicians who, like me, believe that good covers have far more artistic validity than indifferent "own compositions". Their repertoire is enormously varied, including their arrangements of songs by everybody from Ry Cooder to Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs". I jammed with them on tenor sax for a reggae version of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" and then Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile", on their version of which my maraccas (yes maraccas) fitted in perfectly. One of the best bands in the Universe, check them out if you're ever in the north east and see them advertised.  
Hohner Electric Pianos
had, to me, the funkiest sound I had ever heard, grainier than a Fender and a damn sight cheaper. From the first time I heard one played by Manfred Mann, I wanted one ... even though I didn't know one end of a keyboard from the other! I finally picked one up, 2nd hand for £35 from Charing Cross Road in the early 70s and used it 2 weeks later at the Diggers' Feast. I have since used Yamaha, Roland U20 and, currently, a Korg 01W which, as well as having onboard sequencer,  has excellent electric piano, upright piano, hammond organ sounds as well as nearly every  musical instrument in the world
Holland, Jeff
manager of the Dog & Trumpet, bon viveur and totally insane. Once stood behind the bar listening to a poser going on about his Rolex watch. "Let's have a look" says Jeff. The guy puts his watch on the bar, Jeff pulls out a hammer, Rolex then in little pieces all over the room. Once prosecuted and fined for stealing a dustcart from the back of his pub, the magistrate did not see the funny side. Eventually and predictably sacked by the brewery, I don't know where he is now
Holliman, Max
a man who is older than me, which is unusual these days. I first met him playing golf at Purley Chase GC. If you talk to local musicians in these parts, there ain't many who don't know, or haven't played with Max or one of his bands. Max now goes out in a, similar to mine, one man band format, playing Rock & Roll. Once or twice a year, the Max Holliman Band  resurfaces, which is always a good hoot
Hooper, Paul
drummer with Indian Summer, Monster Magnet, Zips,  the Dodgers, Smackee and many other bands. One of the Throbettes in Danny & the Hearthrobs. In 1989 Paul & I sat in my house and worked out how to get a Kawai Q80 sequencer to work, as a result of which the one-man-band was started. A very good friend of mine who, over the years, has been a great help with drum patterns and general inspiration. Paul now plays with the Fortunes and lives in Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland with Barbara, a geordie lass
Howell-Jones, Dr
consultant physician and a gentleman man who had far less academic ability than Dr Vince, but took an interest in his patients as people, rather than medical conditions. By involving me, the patient, in decisions about my diabetic treatment, he worked wonders. I first spent £30 on a private consultation which was great value for what I learned in that hour. After that I regularly saw him at his NHS clinic (free). He retired a few years ago but I still bump into and he still, after all these years, remembers me. His successor was Dr Biggs 
or low blood sugar was, and is, the principal cause of trouble for me, as an unstable insulin dependent diabetic. A normal person's body constantly monitors blood sugar levels and "injects" insulin accordingly. As a diabetic this mechanism no longer works and you have to manually take over the process, which cannot be done by numbers, it involves observation and monitoring 24 hours a day! Too much sugar damages your body, too little and your brain stops working. One slip, and you're in trouble! Sounds horrendous but becomes the day-to-day norm and need not restrict your life and activities at all
Indian Summer
Featured, amongst others during several re-incarnations, Malc Harker on bass, Paul Hooper on drums, Col Williams on guitar and Bob Jackson on Hammond M102 organ. They wrote good songs, toured, and played "class" heavy metal. However, they were managed by Birmingham impressario Jim Simpson and their limelight was stolen by stablemates Black Sabbath, who took the world by storm. Indian Summer recorded a fine album which was let down by awful mixing that lost all of the guts and caused the album to blob ... management triumph again ! For more information find out more about Rex Brough's Perfumery
Insulin Pumps
... are quite simply, the most significant advance in treatment in my 28 years of being unstable, insulin dependant diabetic. No "rocket science" here, simply a battery-driven syringe which you can programme to gently drip insulin into yourself all day long at precisely the dosages that your body needs. You can also "bolus" dosages for corrections and meals whenever it suits you. To find out more simply enter "insulin pump" into Google and read on ... and on.
They're not easy to get in the UK but they are, believe me, worth the trouble.
I must confess that the idea of being permanently connected to an electronic gadget didn't appeal to me - but you get used to this as quickly as you did injecting insulin in the first place. In the year it took me to get one I never met a user with a bad thing to say about pumps - "it will give you back your life" they said and they were absolutely, 100%, right.
Please understand, they require an awful lot of work, but no more than with old-fashioned injections and, this time, with fantastic results.
Insulin Pumps, getting one
Insulin pumps are used by 1 in 8 insulin-dependant Americans, 1 in 7 Germans and 1 in 1000 Brits. Stick that statistic in your "wonderful" National Health Service. You can't just go into Boots (or onto E-Bay) and buy one - you need a specialist "team" first, and at the end of the day it now ain't much easier - it certainly is more expensive. My own Diabetes consultant in Coventry simply didn't want to know but luckily, the lovely Dr Shirine Boardman from Warwick Hospital started a pump clinic over there a couple of years ago. However, even with her on my side I still had to submit a detailed "claim" to Coventry PCT to get the funding. It all took a year and wasn't a job for the faint-hearted - but previous users had to lobby their MPs in the process and generally be prepared to make a big fuss. On the other hand I do thank the NHS and everybody involved for their time and trouble - they're only "doing their jobs" when all's said and done.
Having got the device you do need 2 days training, for which I offer my sincere thanks to John Hughes - and to he and all at Warwick Diabetes clinic for the ongoing support and assistance. At the end of the day the NHS save on Casualty department use and the long term financial health savings far outweigh the initial cost - let's face it the Yanks and the Germans aren't always stupid!
Jackson, Bob
I remember him saving up for and buying his Hammond M102 which was pride of place in his Mum's council house on the Radford Road. Bob formed his dream band, Indian Summer , jammed with Ra Ho Tep on a few memorable occasions but then, to me, lost his way with Badfinger. Immense gritty talent on vocals and keyboards, which deserved to set the world alight, and didn't! Has played with a lot of bands, including Monster Magnet, and now plays for the Fortunes
or making it up as you go along. I must confess that I've always tended to avoid jam sessions, which can tend to be either an ego battle between prima donna guitarists or a platform for people who haven't got the balls or ability to join a band, which is undoubtedly the best way to learn the trade. Best to jam with people you know
James, Alfred (my dad)
was born in 1916, the eldest of the 3 sons and one daughter of the local "Copper" in Earlsdon, Coventry. I never met my grandfather, who died a few months after my grandmother and a few weeks before I was born. He was a locally famous policeman and one of his memorable pieces of advice was:
"never try to break up a fight between husband and wife - they'll both finish up hitting you !"
... and another gem
" there's never been a house built yet that's big enough for two women"
My dad went to school at Centaur Road (later renamed Hearsall) school then took an apprenticeship in thread-grinding with the newly formed Coventry Gauge & Tool Co. He worked his way up to Sales Manager very quickly and eventually retired in 1981. Something my wife could never understand was that me and my dad got on very well provided we didn't have to live under the same roof. My dad smoked, drank a little, and travelled the world in his job. He lost both of his legs through diabetes and died of a stroke in January 1988, in the Craven Arms, Earlsdon, Coventry - probably the first pub he ever drank in as a young man. He and I were out on a Friday night - artificial legs no problem - and we would have gone to Thailand the next week to meet his new "in-laws" (my wife's family). One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was ring up my wife and tell her he wasn't going to make it. Half of my father's ashes are at Canley Crematorium, the other half are lovingly tended at our house in Prakhanong, Thailand ... so he did make it after all.
James, Edith (my mum)
was born in 1916, the eldest of 2 daughters and 1 son in Edgwick, Coventry. Her father was a radial miller at nearby Morris Engines, a skilled man in much demand who never liked working in a factory and, at any excuse, would hop over the back fence and spend the day in the fresh air helping the local farmer. As a result my grandmother "took in washing" to buy food and when my mum passed the entrance exam for Barrs Hill grammar school she was unable to take up the offer due to the family's inability to buy the school uniform. As a result she finished her education at Broad Street, the "local comprehensive". She lived an exemplary life, didn't smoke, drink or stay up late, and died of throat cancer at the age of 63. A terrible thing to say, but after watching her go downhill over the last 6 months I was happy (for her) when she died.
James' Law
of playing musical instruments
it always worked fine for me and is a damn site quicker than spending 3 years in your bedroom. You learn to play very quickly in front of an audience with the help of adrenalin, a fantastic drug which is legal and free!
James' Law of PA systems
if at all possible, use your own
James, Pete
my brother, who came along to my first gig at Willenhall Youth Club and, by the time I had woken up the next morning, had persuaded my dad to lend me some of the money to buy my first PA, and lent me a bit himself. Pete was a staunch supporter of my first band, the Boll Weevils, and had far more faith in my ability than I did. Pete was an apprentice at the GEC and he and his mates got us a few gigs and paved the way for our future success
Jazz Society, Henry VIII School
was started by Bob Woolley and Andy McCutcheon in 1964. I was president, an honorary post that didn't require actually doing anything, but being the performing blues musician in the school they had to recognise that me in some way. The society's monthly meetings were held in the B2 biology lab with the school's reluctant blessing - the school did not know which pub the meetings adjourned to, or which Birmingham nightclub the AGM was held in. In all fairness, even today the media would have a field day with a school where under-age kids were doing these things under the school's corporate umbrella
Joyce, Rodney
hands up any Coventry musician (and a lot of others in the country at large) who, on hearing that immortal line "hey man ...", doesn't remember Rodney, a guy who lives and breathes "good sounds", and good other things too. For his activities over the last 30 years or so Rodney deserves a book, but that book could never be written on the grounds that it might incriminate him, and a few hundred others in the process. Managed 3am, played congas in Smackee and, much more to the point, Kyham, a local jazz-rock oufit with Steve Tatham on sax , Chris Jones on guitar and Jim Pryal on drums. I never did get to see the band but they gigged in London at the Speakeasy, the Greyhound and Ronnie Scotts -so they must have lived up to their reputation. I know that one of Rodney's early influences was conga-player Speedy Aquaye, who was with Georgie Fame's Blue Flames, and I can imagine Rodney playing with this band with  "hey-mans" and "yeahs" all over the place. I would love to have seen and heard it
Korner, Alexis
The Paris born son of a Turkish-Greek mother and Austrian father, raised in France, Switzerland, North Africa and, finally England to become, I think, the founder and father of British Blues. He was no great singer or guitarist but the list of people who performed in his bands would take a few pages, and include Mick Jagger, Cyril Davies, Paul Jones, Graham Bond and many others. Checkout the AMG Allmusic Guide for full details. I once had the pleasure of supporting Alexis at the Leofric Jazz Club, to find one of the nicest, most helpful people I have ever met in the music business. He seemed to have a genuine interest in my band's music and was full of helpful suggestions. He hosted a weekly Radio 1 show in the 80s, during which he would intrigue you with the diversity of his musical taste. I sadly remember him concluding his last show with the words "I have to go to hospital this week and don't know whether I'll be back, but thank you for your support over the years ..." He died of cancer shortly afterwards and the memory of his last words still brings tears to my eyes - he was that sort of bloke!
Lanchester College, the
now Coventry University, opposite Coventry New Cathedral. With Warwick University figures a lot in my musical and personal history although I was never a student at either. Where do we start? It has an enormous gymnasium which was also used for concerts every week and the legendary Lanchester Arts Festivals in the 70s. I remember playing there with the Bo Weevils, as support for the Spencer Davis Group in 1966. Standing in the bar after our set I suddenly realised that, at 2 minutes past midnight, I was legally old enough to drink. Having spent the last 3 years touring with a band I thought that this was utterly hilarious and fell about. The barmaid wouldn't serve me for, she thought, my own good but when I explained what was amusing me she was then convinced that I was p*ssed  for telling such silly stories. See Tony Fletcher for the story of the fruit cake. It was, of course here that Danny & the Heartthrobs brought the house down in more ways than one
Last Fair Deal, the
a straight duo featuring John Alderson on guitars and myself on vocals, harps and saxes.jatj03.jpg (12482 bytes) First performed in about 1991 when John and I were performing with the Travs at the General Wolfe (Foleshill Rd, Coventry). The support band didn't show up so we jammed an hour of blues numbers to tremendous audience response. We have, over the years, threatened to take this show on the road but other commitments have taken priority and we only managed a few spontaneous "support" performances ... until 16th September 2000 when we performed at a birthday party in a garden tent, for "Dolly", a hip 80 year old. Following this I went out and got us a paid gig on 7th October in another tent at the Malt Shovel and we are now, finally, on the road. The music is raunchy blues with excursions into J J Cale, Bob Dylan, Soul music and whatever else takes our fancy.
And guess what, the Last Fair Deal has a splendid  website to which you are cordially invited
Lennon, John
Okay, he was weird, outrageous, downright zany (especially when he teamed up with Yoko) but you couldn't help liking him because he was 100%genuine. I personally have always found the later "imagine there's no wars" stuff a bit sickly, my favourites being A Day in the Life and I am the Walrus. You could spend all day browsing Lennon websites. Click here for, I think, the best.
Leofric Jazz Club, the
@ the Hotel Leofric, Broadgate, Coventry ... run by manager Roy Brunt for McKiernans Promotions. On Sunday nights put on modern jazz  downstairs and blues/R&B in the upstairs room, where they would have had trad jazz a decade before. On my first gig with the Weevils we were support band for Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men. We later supported all sorts including a band called Bluesology (with Elton John on Hammond organ), the Brian Auger Trinity and numerous visiting Americans. We soon had our own top of the bill spot with people supporting us. We would arrive from the night before's Marquee gig at about midday, set up the gear, go home for sunday lunch, sleep the afternoon, play that night, get home late and off to school the next morning. In the Leofric I spent a lot of time in the modern jazz room and getting into the more avant garde styles of music. I also had a great time upstairs - it was a superb, if badly paid, gig
Liggins, Fred
an out and out be-bop jazzer and excellent, if eccentric, horn player when he joined us. Fred's Mother lent us the money to buy (Fred) a van and that was the last time we ever saw much money from gigs. But Fred was the type of guy who you knew was ripping you off  but somehow all you could do was go along with it. In image he changed from a scruffy beatnick to a hip soul who still turns female heads today and was last heard of living in Kenilworth. He did sell me his alto sax in 1970 by which time music was no longer of any real interest to him. The horn was an absolute gem - once it had had a lot of money spent resurrecting it back into playing order. Despite all I liked, and still like, the guy - certainly the "Weevils" would have got nowhere without his influence, although I didn't personally like the direction we went in
Lion-Table Logic
"A lion has 4 legs. 
(table) has 4 legs - therefore it is a lion"
Ancient Chinese Wisdom, I was told by ex-employee and dear friend, Paul Taylor.
Over 20 odd years as business advisors Paul & I listened to hundreds of examples of  "logic" generated by this principle. To hear some today, just switch on the news and listen to politicians
Locarno, the
affectionately known by the locals as the "Rockhouse" in Smithford Way, Central Coventry, and since converted to Coventry City Library. In its day it was a "Mecca" ballroom (along with the Orchid) that I frequented and grew up in from the age of about 13. ... this was legitimate in its day because for a lot of the time they didn't sell alcohol, as kids we didn't need it ... until later. I eventually got to perform there with the Boll Weevils. For our first gig we had to take half the stuff down there on the bus, carrying amplifiers from the bus-stop in Broadgate, past the audience queuing outside, into the dancehall. Great Image ! The Rockhouse also had a revolving stage. It still amazes me to now walk around what used to be the dancefloor looking for books. I genuinely believe that buildings have "vibes" because the Rockhouse still communicates with me every time I go in, or perhaps it's just deep-seated nostalgia. 
Lomas, Roger
guitarist with the Sorrows in their hayday then pretty unemployed until the 70s when he played with Zips and the Dodgers. In 1978(ish) he recorded Selecter and the Specials in his converted batley garage at his council house in Broad Street, Coventry. This was, of course, the start of the Coventry Ska boom and Rog went on to make a big name for himself as a record producer with the Specials, Selector, Bad Manners and many others. He now runs a studio and works as agent for Roy Wood's Army, as well as any production bits & pieces that come along
Luckmans, Accountants
in 1966 was a small firm (2 partners, 5 staff) in Hertford Street, Coventry, fronted by John Luckman & David Lightowler. The firm expanded and is now located in sparkling new offices at Victoria House, Queens Road, Coventry under the name of  LDP Luckman Duckett Parker (with 5 partners and 30 odd staff). They now have a website, "under construction", but it's coming along ...
Luckman, John
originally my boss and still my very good friend. As a youth, worked at the GEC then took articles as a trainee accountant with Trevor Webb, to whom he later set up office next door. When I first worked for him he had a clapped out Morris Minor with bald tyres, the Jags and Kenilworth Road Mansion came later. Mind you, I first went to work on a pushbike

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