Tag Archives: Music

British Rock and Roll

There’s something really appealing to me about Rock and Roll as interpreted in Britain.

The often slightly more ‘showbiz’ and big band aspects to the arrangements add a campy and delirious sense of fun that is quite different to the US originators.

That said- Britain could and did rock with the best of them, despite perceived wisdom to the contrary.

Big Fat Mama: Roy Young- this has it all! Screaming vocal, big band slumming it, a pleasingly distorted production, and of course, the obligatory girly bvs. Enjoy!

Here’s a Johnny Kidd B-side from ’61 that even more epitomises the ‘arranged’ side of UK RnR without compromising the excitement for a minute.

Obviously ‘Shakin all Over’ is rightfully considered a classic, but pretty much all his singles have at least one highly worthy side, and this is my favourite.

Up next is Eden Kane’s ‘New Kind of Lovin’, proving even the often dismissed early sixties pop puppets had something to offer.

This was on the flip of his biggest hit, and is therefore a super common 50p single just about everywhere.

I love the tone of his voice. Even on the ‘pop’ A-side ‘forget me not’ he sounds not too far from the slack jawed warble of Phil May.

Dave Carey led Jazz groups from the drums in the fifties, and had a couple of novelty records on Philips before joining their A&R department and working with Kaleidoscope, amongst others. The most common of his Philips single is the truly awful ‘Bingo’, but after that came this facemelter- ‘Drum Beat’.

An actual video now. Lonnie Donegan isn’t a name that would necessarily spring to my mind as a purveyor of acoustic guitar shredding, but check this out.

Also notice the great musicianship of his band. There’s definitely more ‘schooling’ gone on here than you’d expect given the relative simplicity of the song structures, but when the band gets to solo…check out the drums!

I love the way the guitarist unleashes some super technical playing with just a ‘yep, I know’ smirk…just awesome.


One more for now- Derry Hart and the Hartbeats- come on baby

For me this is the perfect blend of showbiz and pounding.

Even though there’s a horn section, this doesn’t sound like the hipsters on a Little Richard record…there’s something strangely formal about the playing.

Similarly with Derry Harts vocal- even though he’s screaming in the best Little Richard style, theres something pleasingly…West Country(?) to his accent.

A great record, and of course, another B-side.

If you’ve enjoyed these tracks, there are a fair few comps of this stuff about, and with the inherent snobbery surrounding UK Rock and Roll, plus the relative obscurity (or overlooked plentifulness) the original records won’t often stretch to wallet hurting prices.

Free Joy


Here’s a rip of a record I found. I think it’s from Hong Kong, it’s a ten inch, and the only words on it in English are ‘Happy Birthday’.

3 of the 4 tracks are trad sounding- not really my bag, but the last is what I imagine is also a folk melody, but played in a rock and roll style.

It’s possibly the happiest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

Paul Linklater- Virginia C

This track is from Paul Linklater’s ‘Smooth Sailing and How’, probably my favourite ‘underground’ release that deserves to go overground (well, at least as far overground as the BLOGOSPORE) of the last couple of years.

Lo Fi tones and attitude are great and all, but when there’s a killer song poking through the murk, that’s what really grabs me, and this record has them in spades. Check it out.


I wanted to write a post about music I had particularly got into over the last year, and I couldn’t really remember what I’d listened to when. I turned to the expert, my last.fm page.The stats there revealed the totally unsurprising truth that The Beach Boys are still my god and that The Association are my financial system (no, I’m not sure where I’m going with this metaphor either) but also helped show things which sprang from nowhere to the top of my chart.So I turn my attention to number 3 in my stats for 2010, the wonderful eccentric genius that is mr Kevin Ayers.

I stumbled across Kevin Ayers on a great comp, Insane Times: 25 British Psychedelic Artyfacts From The EMI Vaults which has some fantastic music on it, like “Is it love” by Jon, and “Mr Armageddon” by The Locomotive (one of my ’09 musical crushes) and also Kevin’s “Song For Insane Times”. I didn’t really like Kevin’s track at first, but it really grew on me.

There’s something special about the feel of Kevin Ayers’ music, the attitude maybe, that’s just so relaxed and natural, from the joyful pop of “Religious Experience (Singing a song in the morning)” right through to more experimental things like “The Confessions of Doctor Dream: Irreversible neural damage”. It never feels fake, it always feels like genuine playfulness, never self-indulgent or posturing.

Anyway, I think all I’m saying in this long and winding post, is that I love Kevin Ayers, and that listening to this marvellous box set brought me much comfort.

Like someone had sat me down and said to me: “It’s all going to be ok you know” and I believed him.

p.s. Banana.