To carry on in the vein of the previous posting, the author embarrassingly offers The Eating Umble Pie Award to himself. After being frustrated at being unable to find a Skeggy phone number, he e-mailed Butlins, got a reply, phoned Lost Property at Skeggy and the lad there posted me my scribbled notes . Many thanks, the spirit of Billy Butlin lives on! So….I’ll try not to repeat anything from the last posting.
Friday Trevor Burton Band. Starting with ‘Further on up the road’ and a slow blues ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, we carry on in a blues vein with ‘Going Down’. A welcome appearance for the Move’s ‘I can hear the grass grow’ too. ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’ and ‘Hey Joe’ aren’t quite as successful but a solid start. Next are Eddie and the Hot Rods. Now back to a 5 piece, we get 70s tracks ‘Teenage Depression’, ‘Quit this town’, ‘Telephone Girl’, ‘I might be lying’, ‘Life on the line’, ‘Power and the Glory’ and ‘Do anything you wanna do’ alongside more recent songs ‘Better without you’, ‘Love love love’, ‘Why should I care any more’, and ‘Bad time again’. Live favourites ‘The kids are alright’, ‘Wooly Bully’, ‘Gloria’ and ‘Born to be wild’ made for a cracking hi-voltage set. Headlining are Focus. We get an early airing for the Tull-like ‘House of the king’, but it got to sound a bit ‘old hat’ after that so we went to check out the other stage. Oliver/Dawson Saxon. Good old-fashioned 80s metal. I was a bit old for them back then, but they still give the fans what they want.
Saturday afternoon. Starting with Laurence Jones. Youthful trio, opening with 3 blues-based songs. Soon showed respect for BB King with ‘Every day I have the blues’ and the crowd were very appreciative. ‘All along the watchtower’ was a bit predictable, but a decent start to the afternoon. Next are Top Topham and John Idan‘s ex-Yardbirds outfit. (Topham was the pre-Clapton guitarist, while Idan played bass and contributed Relfish vocals to the latterday unit. ‘Boom boom, out go the lights’ was a decent opener, but it went downhill pretty quickly. A Bo Diddley medley livened it up a bit, and we got ‘I wish you would’, but they were disappointing. Finishing the afternoon were Hundred Seventy Split. Excellent set of unfamiliar songs from Joe Gooch and Leo Lyons. I reckon Mr L must have spent hours watching the Cream Final Concert film.
Saturday night. It’s time for Stray. Opening with 3 tracks from the recent ‘Valhalla’, they follow them with a track apiece from ‘Suicide’, ‘Mudanzas’ and ‘Saturday Morning Pictures’. We get a Canned Heat tribute, and they finish with ‘All in your mind’. Always a good turn. There is an air of anticipation as the prospect of Hawkwind looms. Film back drop, glowing green giant, female dancer and a wall of sound Phil Spector would have been proud of made for a mesmerising start. We were treated to (I think) ‘Master of the universe’ and ”Arrival in Utopia’ before ‘Prometheus’. I was starting to get a bit numb, but ‘Silver Machine’ woke us up. It was an impressive performance though, even if one song sounded like ‘Del McCoury, you’re on fire’ and the vocals generally sounded like a cross between Johnny Rotten and a Dalek. I was imagining the producers of Dr Who being presented with a script which had the doctor going back to 1973 and telling Hawkwind they would be playing at Butlins in 40 years time. The script was rejected, of course, for being too preposterous! Final part of the plan was Curved Air , but they still hadn’t appeared 45 minutes after supposed start so we changed venues. Mick Ralph’s Blues Band Mr R was never really a blues player, as was demonstrated tonight. ‘It hurts me too’, some Jimmy Reed, but not headline status at all.
Sunday afternoon First up is Gary Fletcher. Very much ‘the other one’ when the Blues Band formed, but his confidence has grown and he is a decent solo performer. A mix of his own songs and stuff from the likes of Willie Dixon and Blind Willie Johnson, he finishes with his Blues Band classic ‘Green Stuff’. Good cobweb remover! Dave Kelly follows, with a range of songs by Dixon, Robert Johnson, Elmore James and Sunhouse. Plenty of banter, with a compilation cd to sell. A class act. Blue Swamp are no strangers to Skeggy either. Pleasant stuff, banter a bit ‘clubby’. I remember ‘Neighbour of the beast’ from last time, and they still annoy her Ladyship with the wrong words to ‘Grapevine’. Last up was Colin Blunstone. Plenty of hits, ‘What becomes of the broken-hearted’, ‘I don’t believe in miracles’, ‘Say you don’t mind’, ‘Old and wise’, ‘Time of the season’ and ‘She’s not there’. Someone who was much better than I thought would be.
Sunday night. The final countdown! The Blues Band are first. Opening with ‘Before you accuse me’, early songs ‘Can’t be satisfied’ and ‘Noah Lewis Blues’ are good, Tom and Gary get a turn nowadays but it starts to get a bit sedate. Mention of Chuck Berry livens things up and ‘Maggie’s Farm’ is a good finish. The next lot are what I came for. Blue Coupe An opening tease from ‘(Don’t fear) the reaper’ and we are in for a Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper onslaught. ‘Cities on flame’, ‘Burnin’ for you’, ’18’ and ‘Under my wheels’ all get an airing , as do a couple of Coupe numbers. Then, a split second of silence coincides with her Ladyship emptying her lungs and bellowing ‘GodzillaaaAAAAAH!. Sure enough, Dennis gives us the Public Health warning, Albert’s bass drum kicks in, and then we get THAT riff. I don’t know if the riff or the title came first, but it’s an inspired wedding. And beware, once heard you won’t get a full night’s sleep now, it will be pulsing through your temples! Black Sabbath would definitely have sold their souls for that riff. The sight of a 65 year old Albert Bouchard tearing around stage in his Godzilla mask is amazing, and the 3 of them have a combined age of nigh on 200! There is only Simon from the Hot Rods who is even in Albert’s league, both of them sing too. We get ‘School’s out’ and ‘Reaper’, with Joe Bouchard playing a sole Telecaster as opposed to the big production values on the original. The old live favourite, the MC5’s ‘Kick out the jams’, meant that blood seemed to be pouring from every orifice in my head, but they were absolutely great. This is one group whom I have no objection to being part of Mr Barton’s agency…bring ’em back! Last up are Dr Feelgood. Hardy annuals, I missed the first few numbers but got there for ‘Alcohol’, ‘Doctors’, ‘Quits’, ‘Wind up’ and the final flourish of Wilko songs.
And that was it. The best R n B for some time. Check out previous posting for other comments and photos.