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an undefineable band that came out of the late-70s ska boom. Leading lights were vocalist Pauline Black and songwriter/guitarist Neol Davis, who now plays in the excellent Box Of Blues
Sequencer, digital
very difficult to give a short, simple description ... looks and behaves like a tape recorder with similar buttons (play, FF, RW, rec),  but stores synthesizer instructions rather than analog sounds, has 16 tracks and channel mixing facilities, enables me to go out with 4 hours of backing tracks on 4 floppy discs which can play continuously for 30 minutes out of RAM with no moving parts. A hardware, rather than PC based, sequencer is small, robust and crash-free. I bought a Kawai Q80 about12 years ago for £500 - I have had to  the batteries
Shorrocks, Hilary
I met in 1973 when she was the make up artist for the Polyglot Dance Group. Hil's hometown was Morecambe, she was at college in Surrey, and over the next 3 years spent a lot of time in Coventry - resulting in me doing a lot of driving! She eventually finished college, moved in with me, and for the first time in my life I felt I had met someone that I could spend the rest of my life with. But by this time I was 28, Hil was 22 and, understandably, she got the urge to sow some wild oats ... and take my word for the fact that, by this time, her "oats" were pretty wild! She eventually married a guy and went off to live in Scotland, but by this time I had lost contact with her and I don't know where she is now.
Shorthose, Barry
alias "Wagger". One of life's true eccentrics. So how many golf club captains (or ex-captains) walk out on the course with £30 worth of old golf clubs in little more than a dustbin-bag having arrived at the clubhouse on a pushbike with a basketfull of allotment-grown vegetables on the front. Enter postman, Barry Shorthose ... who will go out on the course and, even with his low handicap, demolish people with thousands of pounds worth of gear round their necks, and no skill! So how does Barry fit into this "music" website? Simple, when I played Purley Chase GC last night, Barry told me he really enjoyed the show and that I was "brilliant". Coming from a no-nonsense, "blues-indifferent", ex-miner like Barry, that is one of the best compliments I could possibly get and it's my website ... so there
Sixties, the
at the beginning of the decade you could buy a car in any colour as long as it was black, you could watch any TV channel as long as it was BBC, and if your house had a refrigerator you belonged to the upper classes. Music had already, since 1955, taken a step in the right direction with the likes of Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran , Buddy Holly and many others
creation of singer & keyboard player Barry Walker and evolved from the club-band "Eyes of Blue" into a very successful cabaret act of the last 20 years who currently specialize in show tributes. Not my idea of fun but they do it professionally and go down very well with the punters. I remember spending a hilarious week with them in 1980 at Pontins, Morecambe, when Phil Street, Paul Hooper and Mick Smitham were part of the line-up. It was like a virtual reality rendition of Hi-de-Hi. The hi-jacking of the Noddy Train and the "Screw-a-Bluecoat " competition stick in my blurred memory. Visit Smackee's splendid new website.
Smale, Barry
bass player with the Boll Weevils until he got fed up with the internal politics and left. As turned out to be the norm, he was replaced by a technically better musicians who never played with the verve and soul that he did. Bas fondly recalls how he sat in for Jack Bruce one night at the Birmingham Marquee and played with the Graham Bond Organisation. Rather than try and summarise Bas's recollections of the era I suggest you click here to read his story.
Smith, Jimmy
a demonstration of the fact that all musical instruments have no limitations other than those put on them by people who, generally, don't play them. What do I mean? ...Jimmy Hendrix and the electric guitar, John Coltrane and the saxophone, Jaco Pastorius and the bass guitar, Elvin Jones and the drumkit  ... they all made the instruments sound like no-one did before, or has since. Not to mention, of course, Jimmy Smith who took the hammond organ and was the first to make it sing, bite and generally sound like a front-line instrument - instead of a muddy sounding background noise. If you don't own a Jimmy Smith album buy one (any one) and you'll see what I mean. If you don't feel inclined to spend money, turn on the TV and listen to the current Renault adverts - the music is "the Organ Grinders' Swing" by Jimmy Smith which sounds as cool today as it did 35 years ago when it was first released
Smitham, Mick
I first met him as the Monster Magnet lead guitarist. He could play any style but seemed happiest playing heavy. He was thin as a rake, long blonde hair down to his knees, and forever out of his brains on whatever "substances" you had ever heard of, and a lot that you hadn't. Since then there has been a moral revolution, he now doesn't smoke, drinks in moderation, goes to the gym everyday, looks  a paragon of  fitness and well-being ... and is a pain in the butt, a "born again" pain.  He and I meet playing golf every week and, as he said to me the other day "... who would have thought, back in the days of  ... that  now we would be ...". I shall say nothing further about Smitham on the grounds that it might incriminate him
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
The sound of country blues at its best - when you hear Sonny on harp and brownie on acoustic guitar & vocals you can imagine them sitting on a railway platform in the deep south (of the USA) playing away while a train pulls in. To try and describe their wonderful music is impossible - just go out and buy an album - you will not be disappointed. Pete Waterman first played me their music in the early 60s and I have been hooked ever since. Just search the internet or try AMG.
Sorrows, the
one of the few Coventry bands of the early 60s who played good, hard, tight rock. They were one hit wonders in this country with "Take a Heart". They then worked a lot on the continent, particularly Italy, where they had their own TV show and were superstars. By 1983 the band was long defunct but temporarily reformed with myself, Rog Lomas and Pip Whitcher on guitars, Nigel Lomas on drums and I forget who played bass. For much more info you need to visit the Perfumery, one of whose collection of photos you can see by clicking the icon >>>
Soul Sect, the [1966-1967 my membership]
featuring myself on vocals and blues harp, Reg Sparkes on bass, his brother on drums, Tony ? on rythym guitar, a guy with a Hohner Cembalet Electric Piano and Colin Williams on stereo Gibson (guitar). Carried on with a cosmic psychedelic name, "Into the Sun", after I left and played better music at better gigs  now featuring the blistering Williams guitar
Stafford, Brian
affectionately known as "Sid". Brian and family ran the Dive Bar for about15 years until 1986. Brian had always wanted the Blue Lias at Long Itchington (Warks, England) and when the landlord finally died of either old age, alcoholic poisoning or exhaustion Brian bought the place, gutted and rebuilt it to become the splendid canal-side resort it is now. I think Brian is at the Lias for the duration although in 1993 he did, at the behest of the brewery, take over the lease of the Cask and Bottle, The Burges, Coventry City Centre and kindly gave me the job of performing for the crowds for 2 nights
Stewart, Rod
forget everything you know about this man, listen to his days as vocalist with Jeff Beck and the early Decca singles before that, and hear a great blues singer at work. Buy any sampler that has Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, it'll be worth the cost of the album for this 3 minute track alone. So Maggie May made him rich  and famous, but from then on, his music went down the alcoholic pan
Stratocaster, Fender
the electric guitar of the last century. First designed by Leo Fender as an update to the Telecaster, but this was a whole new ball-game. Forget the technicalities, 50 years ago it looked like something from another planet. Come the onset of "outrageous" rock & roll, some 5 years later, this was an instrument tailor-made for the lead role ... Leo Fender certainly had vision. But the real attraction was the sound. 5 years ago there was a TV documentary on the instrument, "45 years of the Stratocaster". At the end was a collage of some 20 musicians playing it solo, everyone from Hank B Marvin to Robert Cray. In every case the sound of the guitar was unmistakeable ... as was the individual style of the musician. In history only a few instruments have had this ability, the Stradivarious violin, Selmer MkVI alto saxophone being examples, but there ain't many! The strat is, of course, still sold today by the bucketful, virtually unchanged from the original version
Street, Phil
conga player with Monster Magnet and, if I remember rightly, had a day job as a planning officer until he jacked it to become roadie for Smackee, then left for Australia in 1985 and has been unheard of until a short while ago when I picked up his E-mail address, A nutter, further details of whom cannot be safely put in print! But I have since heard from him, he has a 6 year old son and sounds joyously happy, good on ya Phil ...
a splendid magazine that was given away to punters in Coventry pubs in the late 80s, early 90s. It wasn't, of course "free"- the pubs paid the mag for advertising ... so what does this remind you of? The mag was the brainchild of Phil Kilvington, a Dive Bar regular, whose wife Cheryl was a BA air hostess, as a result of which Phil toured the globe on the cheap buying artwork.  Where was I? ... oh yes, the magazine covered a really hip scene in Coventry in the early 90s, when the Tic-Toc and many other great venues for musicians sprang up. It didn't last, and I can't help thinking that, wherever he is, Phil will be doing something on the Internet ... but I haven't found it yet!
Sun Records
the brainchild of Sam Phillips, who, after his treatment of Arthur Big Boy Cruddup, I don't think was the most equitable man who ever lived. But his label was responsible for the success of Johnny Cash, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, to name but a few, and you can't argue with that!
Synthesiserskorg.jpg (16306 bytes)
first made a name in the early 70s when they sounded like ... well, synthesisers. I remember borrowing an ARP Odyssey off Bob Jackson and using it with Ra Ho Tep. Digital technology has brought synths a long way and they can now copy sounds accurately but the problem is that sounds created with a keyboard will never have the expression and timbre of, say, a saxophone where the sound is created by a mouthpiece and cane reed. Even with a keyboard nothing can create the true sound of a Hammond organ. It is arguable that the first synths were church pipe organs, which had stops for a variety of instruments and, to be truthful, sound like none of them! But please do not e-mail me telling me the first synths were invented 2000 years ago by the Chinese or Egyptians, I have no doubt you are right and the band that opened Stonehenge used one.
Taylor, Dave
looked and sounded like the (then young) David Frost. Had a great gift of the gab and bullshit and got the band gigs in places where I would never have dared to ask. He and Colin Towe had a genuine confidence in our ability that I have never had. I heard from him in early 2002 ... he is now living in the south and virtually retired having spent his working life as a loss adjuster in the music and film industry with offices in London, New York and South Africa. Well done Dave and good luck to you.
Taylor, Greg
son of a well known master bricklayer, a trade Greg still carries on today - go look at Coventry Bus Station or the new Canal Basin buildings, all Greg's work. As a tenor sax player Greg 's sound was raunchy and unique. I bumped into him a few years ago at the opening of the Cask & Bottle, encouraged him to start playing again and got him a job with Ed's Kitchen, a local R&B/Soul Band who were great until their eventual demise. Greg is a genuine lovable nutter and I hope he will keep playing
the "land of smiles", and very nice people behind the smiles. I first went on a package tour with my father in 1982. The other destinations, Hong Kong and Bali, I was keen on but Bangkok, I thought, was just a bunch of temples and massage parlours. Actually that description is true but out of context. Like a lot of people before me, I have never escaped the country's magic and went back again and again, met my wife in 1985, married in 1986 and we now have 2 homes and 2 sons in 2 countries. If you want to know more, surf the Net or go to my Thailand site.
Tic Toc, the
started in the early 90s on the site of the old Orchid Ballroom, Hill St., Coventry, which had languished as a bingo hall for some 20 tictoc4.jpg (24704 bytes) years. The brainchild of one man (whose name I will remember one day), this venue put on a different kind of music every day of the week. I remember a genuine Brazilian samba show, when for the week before the 2 gigs  the cast put on daily workshops for Joe Public to learn salsa. To their credit, Coventry City Council put up a lot of money, recognizing the public benefit of the setup. Do you remember the TV series "The Paradise Club" (starring the wonderful Don Henderson and the "ratbag" out of Eastenders)? Same era, same idea! I DJed there about half a dozen times and played the main hall twice as one-man band, once with the Travs. But the best gig was the public bar, in the old cinema projection room, which had tremendous atmosphere and, for the punters, was free to get in. The once I played it there was an german "oompah band" (from Wolverhampton) in the main hall who came up and gave me grief in their intermissions ... but I got my own back. Eventually the major lender, M&B Brewery, got impatient for their loan repayments and pulled the plug. The place was then run for about a year by Streetworm but is now a "rave" set-up, or modern day disco ... a great shame.
Tim James One Man Blues Band, the [1990-present date]
playing a lot of blues, plus soul, jazz, rock & roll, and for that matter anything else that takes my fancy. I front on vocals, harp, saxes, piano, organ and guitar, the sequencer backing tracks use pretty much any instruments I want to use. Complete artistic freedom is the luxury of this setup. However, having no other band members has the disadvantage of freeing you from criticism which, although initially unpleasant, can save a lot of time - a band member tells you something is cr*p a lot sooner than an audience. But there's no-one to leave and no-one to let you down, hence the 1 man band is the longest running band I've ever been in . I would mention that the golden rule of 1-man bands is never to let the "black boxes" take over - in a 2 hour gig you will work for 4 hours, no-one else takes a solo, announces the numbers, fixes or sets up the gear, or tries to pacify the "play us some Quo" brigade. It's physically far harder work than playing in a band and I should mention that I could not manage without the sterling help of my wife Nat, who often throws in unwelcome but useful criticism
Top of the Pops
first hit the TV screens in about 1964 as aunty BBC's answer to the superb, atmospheric, blues based ITV show, Ready Steady Go. TOTP was a poor imitation from day one and hasn't improved in its appalling 36 year run. "If it was sh*t it was bound to be on TOTP".
Towe, Colin
one of my best friends ever, who I have seen once in the last 32 years. Col taught me how to start living, drinking, going out and scoring as a teenager. The only thing he didn't teach me was playing music, to which he was, and still is, a great listener who has no ability in performing. Last heard of living in Wimbledon with young wife and a few young kids
Travelling Riverside Blues Band, the [1980-1995]
formed by John Alderson in the early 80s with himself on guitar, Alan ? on vocals, George ? on drums and various bass players, the band played hard, heavy blues. The 1992 revamp lost Alan, brought in Steve ? on bass, an excellent young keyboard player called Kevin, and myself
Vans (in general)
anybody who played in a 60s band lived and slept half of the time in a rusty draughty unreliable van which swallowed all of  their earnings and always seemed to provide someone else (and their wives, girlfriends whatever) with a free means of transport. The Weevils' van was a brown 18 cwt BMC J2, a classic of its time until the Ford Transit came along. All sorts of politics would arise over allocations of what few seats there were with heated arguments and fights galore over girlfriends riding in comparative luxury while the musicians sat on the roof. In my case I always bagged a Selmer Goliath bass speaker cabinet which interested no-one unless they had mastered the art of sleeping on a hard surface in a bouncing carriage for a few hours at a time. I had, did and slept well - sometimes! Read Owning Up by George Melly for a great account of life in the back of a van. Although covering a trad-jazz band a decade before our time it is bang on the mark
Vince, Dr
 an outstandingly clever diabetic consultant who (and not just my opinion) is, from a practical point of view, completely useless due to his inability to talk or listen to his patients. Luckily, a girl I met in hospital pointed me toward Dr Howell-Jones
Walker, Barry
creator and front-man of  Smackee, a very good showman who always gets the audience on his side.  Barry has always been very helpful and kind to me whenever we have shared the bill. Although I have criticized Barry's music I do remember when, as part pf a medley, Barry played Stone Fox Chase, the Area Code 615 number and  theme music from the Old Grey Whistle Test. He bought and learned to play a blues harp specifically for this number and played it magnificently. Of course, I later discovered that he could play nothing else on blues harp and, had you asked him to "jam along with a blues in G", he'd have been lost. Reminds me of my experience with "3am". Forget the old pictures, for years Barry has worn a hat onstage, and probably sweats buckets in the process. So what's the matter with being bald for God's sake? Or why not be really "show-biz" ridiculous and wear a stupid wig like Elton John. By the way, I am also as bald as a coot - TJ.
Wandering John
a really weird rock band who often shared the billing when I was with the weird  Ra Ho Tep. Featured the legendary  John Alderson on guitar, Jim Pryal on drums, "Aidy ? on bass and John Graveney, a tall singer with a huge ginger afro haircut, who looked the business in those days
Ward, Pete
formerly a choirmaster at Coventry Cathedral, Pete bought a Hammond M102 and played wonderful Bach orientated organ parts as well as his first stab at Jimmy Smith style jazz which worked well. On the band's demise he bought a full size grand piano which needed a bay window removing to get into his parents' house. I didn't see him for years until 1996 when I joined Graham Walker's  Propeller and discovered that the guitarist, Jules was Pete's son! 
Waterman, Pete
the world famous record producer, who I first met in the early 60s and who later introduced me to Sonny Terry &  Brownie McGhee and the works of Paul Oliver, featuring genuine "work farm" blues singers accompanied by someone chopping a log with an axe. This was at a party at his parents' house, where he later switched to playing superb "non-commercial" soul & Tamla Motown. The amazing thing about this party was that his parents were there and did not, in any way, inhibit the "goings on" of a rowdy drunken bunch of teenagers.
Pete later on worked on the railways, his second love after music, delivered coal, sold cars and eventually worked his way up, the hard way, to become one of the best known "pop" record producers of all time. You can read his story at his official website or the BBC history.
Williams, Colin
I first met when I joined the Soul Sect in 1966. He owned a stereo Gibson ES330 (I think) which was technology gone crazy. Played like a demon and later joined Indian Summer. Col's problem was his tendency to listen to, say, Segovia and then sell his guitar because he figured he'd never be as good. Hence I think he currently works for Perkins Diesel Engines in Daventry, Northants, UK, wasted talent! 
Woolley, Bob
a (then) young biology teacher who, against a lot of peer pressure, started the Henry VIII school Jazz Society. I remember him as the only teacher who taught exam technique, or how to make the most of what little knowledge you had got and turn it into marks. Put bluntly, how to pass exams without doing much work!
Xmas Eve, 1968
I remember it well! Dave Pennycook rang me at work and asked if I'd sit in for the singer with his band, Optical Illusion by doing a gig that night at the Country Club, Ross-on-Wye. I had visions of a posh golf-club type place with gorgeous women and free Xmas drinks & fayre and said "OK" without hesitation. Thank you Murphy for what followed:
Zips (1976)
A studio band featuring Paul Hooper, Pip Whitcher & Roger Lomas. I don't think they ever did  any "live" performances, being formed to record a revival single of the old Everley Brothers hit, Bye Bye Love. This was at a time before rock music was woken up by the advent of punk and this type of "cover" was commonplace. Great things were predicted, Radio 1 incorporated the single in its "featured playlist" (undoubtedly with lots of payola) and the record completely and utterly blobbed! The band would have been great "one-hit-wonders", had they ever had the one hit! A shame because, as I remember, it was a good record.

1mbb website by Tim James