HMS Prog. P and O Ferries Minicruise. 2-3 March 2018

P&O have been doing themed weekend minicruises for quite a while, including different genres of music and (no kidding) darts!  On a ferry?!  The prog rock version is the first attempt at this type of music so it is a first review.

We were lucky with the weather. Leeds to Hull seemed to have a clear corridor, if we had been 20 miles north, south or west we would have been snowbound.

Friday. An annoying delay setting off meant the opening act, Cairo, had to remove their gear but would play tomorrow night instead.          So Martin Turner ex-Wishbone Ash was first up. Tonight’s performance was the classic Argus LP in full, with the running order changed slightly.  Martin’s vocals were a bit wobbly to start with, but quickly got sorted. Danny and Tim are both strong back-up vocalists and there were plenty of Wishbone Ash fans there to witness a good rendition. No encore, unfortunately, but maybe the delay in departure was to blame. The overall vocal sound was maybe a touch ‘clubby’ but the playing was spot on.              Caravan.  No Geoff Richardson tonight, his place was taken by the highly-experienced jazz guitarist John Ethridge. Probably best known from Soft Machine, I seem to remember Her Ladyship saw him playing with Darryl Way’s Wolf in Scarborough (when Mr Way fell off the stage,)  Any Caravan fans who have seen recent gigs will have not been surprised by the set list. ‘All this could be yours’ , ‘Head Loss’, ‘If I could …’, ‘…Grey and Pink’, ‘Golf Girl’ and ‘Love to love you’.  Newer tunes such as ‘Farewell my old friend’, ‘Dead man walking’, ‘Fingers in the till’ all have that recognisable Caravan touch and they finish off with ‘I’ll be there for you’ and the crowd favourite ‘9 feet underground’.  Very enjoyable, we went upstairs to watch Geoff Downes on his keyboard. Missed the first half, but ‘Heat of the moment’ and ‘Video killed the radio star’ ended a good first night for us.

Saturday. Weather conditions meant we didn’t get into Amsterdam until 12.30pm, about 2 hours later than normal. So we didn’t go to the ‘secret’ gig, due to start at 1.00pm and featuring a couple from Pendragon on acoustic instruments.  Decided to look round the flea market and go bar-hopping (our usual schedule in Amsterdam). Crap exchange rate makes it an expensive way to spend 4 hours there.  Suitably refreshed we boarded the coach back and waited for Round 2.      Cairo. Having set up again, they started up with some FX. Strange that a 5-piece standard prog line-up should need so much electronic assistance.  I thought their first song was about President Trump ( ‘White House’) but it seems it was ‘Wiped Out’.  A couple of blokes in front of us were in major ‘whoop ‘ mode but I couldn’t see why. Possibly it was the gallon of over-priced Grolsch in the afternoon that had affected my ears? No, I decided, they were just crap.        Martin Turner and his chums came on for their second spot, this time playing the ‘There’s the Rub’ lp. The first studio outing for Laurie Wisefield, I aways thought it had Martin’s stamp all over it.  Today’s rendition was really good, all the vocals were excellent. They even managed a couple of encores with ‘Doctor’ and ‘Jail bait’. The bass sound was better than Friday and it had my thinking that if Mr Powell should try the same project he would come a real cropper.       PFM.  Veteran Italian proggers, filling in for original act Focus.  Not heard a note by them before, but I was very quickly impressed. Will check them out when I get home.    The weekend came to an end with another Geoff Downes spot. More from his extensive career, plus a Q&A session.  Two of Mart’s lot got up to do some Beatles songs, which seemed a bit bizarre, but Her Ladyship pointed out that maybe the Q&A section was flagging a bit  (and most of the audience were marginally overserved by this time).

And that was it.  An enjoyable weekend. Not cheap but hopefully it was successful enough to warrant another one. Negatives? There were people there who wouldn’t have known Martin Turner from Tina Turner but the audience in general were well-behaved prog fans. The sound system seemed to have one prog cd on repeat play.  Saturday’s pre-gig music had some sub-jazz  bollox on. When Her Ladyship politely requested some more ‘appropriate’ stuff she got a smartarse reply . It’s a good job there was some reinforced glass there, or he would have been eating his crisps through a  f**king straw. TW*T! ( N.B this wasn’t the prog DJ). The crossing was a bit rocky but nothing that P and O can can do about that.

photos…forgot camera so not great quality, taken on phone.



The festival season is not too far away and we will be inundated by lots of Led Zeppelin t-shirts (did they ever have any official ones back in the day?) and lots AND LOTS of Ramones t-shirts. One of our festival chums holds the opinion that only people who actually saw the Ramones can wear a t-shirt.  Of course, many of the wearers were not yet born when the Ramones finished, never mind started.  And have probably no idea who they were. So this review is mainly for them.

Over their 22 year career, there were quite a few official live lps. For me, they all give a better idea of what the fuss was all about than even their first studio lps.  However, in recent years there has been a glut of ‘semi-official’ cds ( from a range of artists) on the market, sourced from radio broadcasts. This one from da brudders came out in 2016 and features the Joey/Johnny/Marky/CJ line-up in a 1994 gig in Uruguay.

In the latter half of their career their set list had become pretty standard. The shows were about 60 minutes, with about 30 songs including a few from their most recent lp. Dee Dee/CJ got to exercise their tonsils briefly in the second half of the set. ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ recorded intro preceded the instrumental ‘Durango 95’ and the first 20 minutes-ish of the set was a high-speed aural blastathon. It includes the wonderful segue of ‘Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ which alone is worth the price. This tour was on the back of their covers disc ‘Acid Eaters’ (about which Johnny had mixed feelings) and there are songs from the likes of Love, Dylan and CCR here amongst their tried and tested favourites. ( ‘The KKK took my baby away’ seems to have been rested.)

The set is maybe slightly longer than usual and there is about 10 minutes of DJ chat before the gig , plus the odd comment during the show which isn’t too distracting.

The sound on these types of releases can sometimes be poor but this is pretty good. As is the performance. Purists tend to stick to the official ‘It’s Alive’ as the ultimate example, but this is about 20  minutes longer if nothing else. Yes, they were pretty much on automatic pilot in their second decade but if you are curious about what a phenomenon they were, you could do worse than this. These discs appear regularly on Ebay and at record fairs for a few quid, so put your hand in your pocket, part with some cash, and put it on.  But go for a pee first, turn it up to 11, crack a tinny or two, maybe skip the DJ stuff at the start and give it some welly.

And if anyone asks you which gig you bought the t-shirt at, tell them that yours truly wears Beatles t-shirts but he never saw them. So b*gger off!

Great British Rock and Blues Festival. Butlins, Skegness.19-21. 01.2018

Having given last year’s event a miss (we thought the line-up was too blues-orientated), we decided to give it another go.

Friday. Screaming Eagles were the first evening act in Reds venue.  I seem to remember thinking they must have spent many an hour listening to their parents’ Bad Co. lps when they were last here. The singer tried to handle ‘Immigrant Song’, but didn’t have the range, unfortunately. We also got some AC/DC, but they seem destined for an early festival slot.      Atomic Rooster  Steve Bolton and Pete French have decided to resurrect the name, and one of our friends was making a first appearance here, with this lot being one of his reasons for coming.   The line-up is far removed from the line-up that made ‘Tomorrow Night’, but still rooted in the 70s.  Their rendition of the classic didn’t really do the original justice…difficult with none of the originals here this time around, though. ‘Black Snake’ was leaden, and ‘Devil’s Answer’ was ‘boomy’. Maybe we were in a bad spot acoustically, but more than one of our company was a touch disappointed.  ‘Death Walks Behind You’ got an airing and ‘Fire’ was the encore , giving the keyboard player another opportunity to show he had been watching some Vincent Crane videos. But they went down well, and a few of our friends are firm Roosterians, so we were in the minority. Frankie Miller’s Full House  Back in the late 70s, I went to the Penthouse in Scarborough a fair bit, and I reckon that FM and Co were the best I saw there. That is a big call, because I also saw brilliant gigs from Motorhead, Elvis Costello and the Attractions and The Stranglers. So I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing the new line-up, without (sadly) the superb Mr Miller.  Take a look on Youtube and you will come across Frankie with white shirt, black waistcoat and a Fender. So when the current outfit come out with someone in white shirt, black waistcoat  and Fender taking centre stage, my ‘cynical’ genes came to the fore. The programme notes neglected to say that Frankie Miller would not be here…interesting. Guitarist Ray Minhinnet sang on the opener then Mr Waistcoat took over.  OK, there are some of Frankie’s old bandmates here, but why not just call themselves ‘Full House’?  (And I must admit my opinion of Mr Minhinnet had dipped somewhat , having seen him in a sh*te Cream tribute act.)  Ironically, I was thinking that today’s Slim Chance don’t add ‘Ronnie Lane’s’ onto the beginning, when I thought I noticed one of them on stage. Seemingly Frankie gave his blessing to this FMFH reformation but the line-up has changed since last year. I don’t remember Ginger Baker’s Airforce being at Leeds University without Ginger Baker!  We then got some bloke whom the group apparently saw ‘being’ Paul Rodgers at a Free Convention to sing Andy Fraser’s ‘Be Good to Yourself’ and ‘Fool in Love’. So now it’s bloody ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ too. I had had enough by then and left. (It didn’t help when a group of old duffers sat near us, one of whom launched something from her nether regions that would have floored a fully-mature wildebeest at fifty paces.) I wonder if anyone on stage actually told the audience that Frankie wasn’t in fact there?!   Wonder if John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers will be on next year?   In terms of pedigree, tonight was a bit ‘thin’. And…would the musicians onstage have paid to see the Jimi Hendrix Experience without Jimi Hendrix?

Saturday First act is  Southbound. After less than a minute, realised it wasn’t for us and left. Passed Centre Stage, where some woman was shouting on stage.  Decided to camp down in the Pavilion and listen to CCR’s ‘Heard it through the Grapevine’.   Had a considerable time-out, and came back for the evening session. Huge queue outside Centre Stage, but there would have been if it was Bob the Builder, The Smurfs and Pinky and Perky on the bill.   Slack Alice and Friends  Original front man Cliff Stocker died fairly recently and Yorkshire roots rocker Des Horsfall is helping out.  Moon Martin’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ is a failsafe opener. After a while Ray Minhinnet came on as Des was doing a cracking version of Frankie Miller’s ‘Jealousy’.  They let Ray then sing and it wasn’t long before the shouting woman from this afternoon came on as well to sing a couple.  Why?! They have already been on stage!  Bugger off and let Des and the Alice lads have their spot!  Des brought things to an end with his old song ‘Crazy World’ but I think SA were too generous with the ‘Friends’ section.  And despite being in a different spot, an old biddie sat near us and keffed big style. I wish I had had two slices of bread in my pocket. I would have put it in a sandwich and popped it into Piers Morgan’s packed lunch box. But a good opening slot, which could have been even better.  Roger Chapman, Family and Friends. One of the main reasons for our coming this year, he and his trusty henchmen were in top form. Geoff Whitehorn has been on guitar in the recent Family line-ups and Poli Palmer is still there. A good blend of solo songs such as ‘Who Pulled the Night Down’ and ‘Kiss my Soul’ together with Family classics ‘Hey Mr Policeman’, ‘Burlesque’, ‘Processions’ and ‘Hung up Down’. A rare outing for Streetwalkers ‘Run for Cover’ and a great ‘In my own Time’ as the encore. Top class.       Xander and the Peace Pirates Much hyped by the dj, they did look and sound interesting to start with. ‘Red House’ was a bit out of kilter with the rest of the set, and things seemed to tail off a bit.  And, yes, we got another anonymous SBFL (Silent But F**kin Lethal) to send us on our way!  Who are these people?!  It’s as if they have all eaten a pound of sprouts before they came out!

Sunday Went for breakfast and sat next to a bloke who got a continental breakfast. A load of bread rolls , which he duly filled with ham and stuffed in his pocket. Then had an English, followed by fruit and an apple. Of course, he was taking the rolls and apple for some homeless man in Skeggy who had had his home repossessed and auctioned off for a pittance on ‘Homes Under The Hammer’ where some tw*t promptly put it on the rental market. Or maybe he was just stealing food for his lunch, which if everybody did would double the food costs and bump up ticket prices and reduce quality of the acts. You decide.    Edgar Broughton Or as the knowledgeable dj phonetically announced ‘Edgar Browton Band’.  As Edgar wearily confirmed, wrong on two counts. It was the solo Mr B, as witnessed by yours truly at A New Day Festival. Our friends were interested in seeing him, and not alone in expecting his 3-piece band doing ‘Out Demons Out’.   He was awful last time and, sorry Mr B, it was more of the same here. Plaintive voice that threatens to burst into tears, with naff lyrics. A huge buildup to a seemingly spectacular song died on its ar*e.  I can’t bring myself to say anything otherwise, sorry.     Stray Edgar may be trying to move away from the 70s but Stray are firmly entrenched there. Now a 5-piece, with a Pearl Handled Revolver man on keyboards. A range of songs from across their fifty year canon of work, such as ‘Fire and Glass’, ‘I Believe it’ and the perennial ‘All in your Mind’. They always give 100% and go down well.    Billy Walton A favourite at Linton Festival as well as here, they have the big Southside Johnny New Jersey sound. But not one of their songs is memorable. My companions agreed.  CCR’s ‘Green River’ was good but the medley of snippets from the likes of ZZ Top, Zeppelin and Otis Redding only showed up the average nature of their own material. Very animated though, they certainly have more than a handful of fans.   Nazareth Singer Dan McCafferty left a few years ago after a health scare, but the new man has a more than adequate set of pipes.  They mix up their own ‘Razamanaz’, ‘Expect No Mercy’, ‘Hair of the Dog’ and ‘Broken Down Angel’ with covers ‘Love Hurts’, ‘Beggars Day’, ‘My White Bicycle’ and ‘This Flight Tonight’.  Her Ladyship is a longstanding fan and she thought the new singer was bloody good, so that is praise enough.    Dr Feelgood Almost missed them. A queue of about 200 waiting outside on a one out/one in basis. That cannot be right or acceptable for people who have paid a lot of money. Fortunately, we went back later and got in.  I assume most of you out there have seen Pointless on BBC 1 , 5.15pm. So let’s play Pointless!!     Question no.1, the subject is Dr Feelgood.  Here is the Skeggy set list, using the first letter of each song. Have a go  (no conferring)










S B     (Some may say it is just ‘S’)






T – B M


Any Pointless answers?  Maybe.

Another good performance from the lads, they rarely fail to deliver.   The end of the night had the woman dj reminding us yet again that she has a BBC Radio programme and even more modestly, actually plays a recording of herself singing!  And ‘Can’t get Enough’ had beaten ‘All Right Now’ 3-2 by the end of the weekend!

Finally made it to Jaks , stopped for last ones and retired…marginally overserved. Jaks is a good venue but has rarely featured in a review here. There are some who spend most of their time here, rather than brave the queues in the main venues.

Ok, a few moans, but if there was an Ofsted-like body to assess festivals (Of-fest?), Skeggy would be classed ‘a good festival’.  Good music, good organisation, good food, good staff. And, for us, good company and good friends.

Photos: apologies to Roger Chapman fans , the only marginally decent one was with his back to the camera!

4 Play Quo. The Lion, Castleford. 12.01.2018

Decent.  Better than John Coghlan’s Quo. Discuss.

Crosscut Saw. Duck and Drake. 6 Jan 2017

Back in 1969 there was a film called ‘If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium’. Similarly there is a gig called ‘If it’s the first Saturday in the month at the Duck and Drake it must be Crosscut Saw’. but it’s not quite as catchy a title!

The usual 9.30pm start, with the usual opening salvo of Bo Diddley’s ‘I can tell’ and Magic Sam’s ‘All your love’.  Once again. the rhythm section show they are as tight as Marc Almond’s thong, and the decent crowd soon shows its appreciation. There are a couple of songs from their latest ep and ‘Swamp Thing’ is  a great showcase for the dual harmonica bit of their repertoire.

Halftime came but no cup of Bovril for us or reading of the programme notes. We had to go for the last bus home but the trip into Leeds was worth every penny.

For those who think ‘The Blues’ is Eric Clapton playing on autopilot at Madison Square Garden with a ticket price as stupid as Donald Trump’s…er…no, just as stupid as Donald Trump, then check out these lads. THIS is the blues. No door charge, but worth more than a few bob going in the bucket.

Poco. City Winery. NYC. 13.9.2017. Update

At last year’s Poco gig, I bought a couple of cds at the merch desk, manned by Mrs Young. Being a Yorkshireman. I tried for a discount!  No luck, but Mary kindly gave me a pick…which I bloody lost out of my wallet the same night!

I emailed her when I got back to the UK, asking if I could send some $ in the post for one. She replied straight away, and promised to mail one free of charge.

And on Jan 5th, the package arrived, containing two. Posted on 15th December, but well worth the wait.

Somehow I can’t imagine Don Henley doing the same. (Poco nuts will know that Rusty Young has the occasional dig at Mr H).

Thanks again Mary

Tom Russell. Brudenell Social Club. 26.11.2017

Not the first review of Tom Russell on the site and hopefully not the last. There have been times over the years when Tom must have been a casting director’s first choice for a dwarf in ‘Snow White, The Musical’, (the one whose name begins with a ‘G’), but he is comparatively Ken Dodd-like nowadays.

As usual, he has a new record (his 36th?)  to plug ( ‘Folk Hotel’), and we get plenty of tracks from it.  Many references to other songwriters/poets, viz. Ian Tyson, Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, Hank Williams, Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams… Plus an ode to JFK*.  Mr R always gives us an insight into each set of lyrics and there have never been any  Moon, June , Spoon – type songs.  I must add that there has been a number of observations about ‘The Sparrow of Swansea’ having a chord structure not unadjacent to a very popular Ralph McTell song though!

As well as the very good new songs, there are plenty of older singalongs for his public to get stuck into. ‘Tonight We Ride’, ‘Blue Wing’, ‘Stealing Electricity’, ‘St Olav’s Gate’ , ‘Veterans’ Day’ and ‘East of Woodstock…’ have all aged well. And ‘Who’s Gonna Build  Your Wall’ has taken on a whole new relevance. A bit of Johnny Cash in the encore was a reminder of how the late JC was a fan too.

A raconteur par excellence, he was on the main stage today, a much better place to be in than last time in the smaller room (the latter was akin to a bijou cinema).   His songwriting never falls below great and it makes it difficult to recommend a start point for any Russell virgins out there.

Invest in a ticket for a date on his UK tour and join those of us ‘in the know’.

*His intro to his song about JFK is interesting. It revolves around playing (American) football the day of the assassination. Mr R’s age is difficult to pin down. March 5 seems agreed but year of birth is down as 1947, 1949 or 1953, depending on which of three websites you look at. So at least two examples of ‘Fake News’ but which is correct?  Answers to Mrs. Jessica Fletcher please.