LAST THROW OF THE DICE – Blog Post 24th March 2012

Don’t worry my friends, this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me. Just a name I thought might suffice for our reunion gig.

As you know, the book brought a lot of the old group members together after almost forty years and we plan a reunion gig in November 2012 for one of our roadies’ sixty fifth birthday bash. A lot of us went out for a meal at the end of January and the subject of rehearsals was discussed. We had no idea how many we might need, plus our old bass player lives in Ireland. The logistics were going to be a nightmare at best.

I was tasked to chase Phil and encourage him to come over for a few days so we could find out the scale of the work required to get us back on stage without crashing and burning. Dave our guitarist was playing at the Cons Club in Melksham, one of our old haunts and several of us were there to listen last Saturday night. I contacted Phil that morning and he admitted that he was too busy to spare the time to make the necessary trips over, plus virtually re-learn the bass guitar, so he had to reluctantly pull out of the reunion gig. He WILL get over and we WILL stay in touch, but he wasn’t able to commit the time required.

Dave and Paul, our last drummer, have played with a bass player over the last decade in a band doing covers from the old days, so we may have a replacement ready to fill the breech. Time will tell. I firmed up a playlist for Dave, which he’s had for a day or two, and by the next blog I’ll have news for you about rehearsals. Positive news I hope!

HERE COMES SUMMER! Blog Post 29th June 2012

Well to be honest it’s warm rain and the occasional gusting windy day. We’re nowhere near in a settled situation. I can remember there being four pretty distinct seasons, with occasional blurred edges when I was a lad  and even in my early married life, but times have changed. The UK weather is nothing like that these days!

Last month I told you we were meeting up for a Sunday lunch with a prospective bass player and his wife and hoped to have some news on the reunion gig rehearsals. We duly arrived at a pub in a local village and we four musicians sat ourselves down at one end of the table for eight that had been set aside for us with our wives at the other end..

Dave (guitar) Paul (drums) and I (vocals) were engrossed in conversation with Roger (bass) for three hours talking music. Roger is another ‘time served’ musician who has been playing in loads of bands in the area since he was a lad, rather like Dave & Paul. As I mentioned last month, they had played in bands together on occasion. Roger’s alter ego is ‘Bill Wildman’ as for several years he was playing bass in a Stone’s tribute band called The Rolling Clones that travelled all over the UK and occasionally into Europe.

It was pretty evident collaboration wasn’t going to be a problem. Dave produced a suggested playlist for the first rehearsal, with another half dozen ‘back ups’ ready to have a go at in the second session. Rory Gallagher, Black Sabbath, Cream, Taj Mahal, Fleetwood Mac – you get the picture? Pretty much middle of the road stuff . The second session could see Jethro Tull, Groundhogs and the Stones added into the mix. Happy days. Time marches on though and one BIG change from the old days, I’ve got the lyrics in fairly large print so I SHOULD be able to get them right!

In August. I’ll have news on the first rehearsals and the progress we’ve made. Enjoy the sunshine if it peeks through the clouds. Bye for now.

Familiar faces at the book launch July 30th 2011

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN Blog Post 8th August 2012

At long last I can reveal what happened when we got together for our first rehearsal last night. Yes, it actually happened. My first time ‘back in the saddle’ with a mike in my hand to sing a tune or two since the early 70s.

Dave plays in a duo with a younger lad called Steve who plays keyboard and we picked him up on the way over to Rogers’ place in a village about three miles out of town. Although at this stage he wasn’t going to bring his kit and join in, Dave thought we could use the extra input in November to fill out the sound and then their duo could cater for the rest of the evening. We’re probably only going to get an hour set together. That may well be more than enough for Ralph and his family and friends!

Paul arrived a few minutes late (nothing changes, even after forty years) and we chatted about our suggested playlist while setting up. Dave had loaded the songs we had agreed on onto an mp3 gizmo (Don’t ask! No moving parts. I’m a technophobe.) so we were soon listening to ‘Paranoid’ ‘Born To Be Wild’; ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’; ‘Dust My Broom’ ; ‘What’s Going On’; ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Oh Well’.

How did it go? After a few tentative notes, searching for the right key and then remembering where to come in and so on, not too bad really. Very rusty though after all that time, and thankful I’d taken the trouble to copy down the lyrics (in large print). Still the three musicians are top notch so we got through most of the songs during the evening. We also tinkered about with ‘Hey Joe’; ‘Crossroads’; ‘Johnny Be Good’ and when we packed up for the night at ten o’clock we were happy with our progress and agreed to get together again soon to search out a few more likely tracks to cover. If we need fifteen plus songs to performance standard by November we’re going to need to ‘crack on’.

 

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Blog Post 20th November 2012

I have to admit this week is a bit of an anti-climax. After all the preparations for the reunion gig, it’s come and gone and we’re no further forward in deciding where we go from here.

The final rehearsal was reassuring, not too many potential ‘crash and burn’ situations. With a running order to hand, I sat down and wrote a script to help me remember to thank all the appropriate people and link the songs with a touch of humour, background information and fascinating facts. I also included a couple of stories concerning Ralph, our roadie to mark his sixty-fifth birthday celebration. Alright, I admit there was an element of using the script to pad out the set so that we guaranteed it lasting for over an hour!

Ralph had eighty friends & family arriving for his early ‘private’ party. He had also put up posters at the venue to get a few extra ‘bums on seats’ from Club members who were encouraged to walk up the stairs to the hall. I had already made sure my family were all going to be there on the night; the remaining band members were bringing wives and a few friends so we were fairly certain the place would be reasonably full. To be on the safe side I raised an ‘Event’ on Facebook and invited around forty people, most of whom had bought my book and who were all pretty keen to discover whether we were anywhere near as good as I had always told them we were!

Saturday the 17th of November duly arrived and I arose, somewhat reluctantly after a night out at the pub. We had agreed to meet at 11.00am to unload the kit from Roger’s van and Dave, Paul and Steve’s cars and lug it up the stairs into the Cons Club. Forty years ago we had roadies (Chris and Ralph) who did most of the heavy lifting, so it came hard I can tell you. Particularly since the amount of kit each person had seemed to be FAR greater than we had all those years ago.

I recognised the basic shapes of guitar amps, keyboards and drums as they were positioned on the small stage, but the PA system and monitors at the side and front of the stage plus mikes for all the equipment, let alone for yours truly, meant there were towers of kit, plus bundles of wires and masking tape everywhere.

Three hours later we had managed to run through a couple of songs, fix the settings on the mixing desk and win the battle with the feedback, so that I could get off home and have a belated lunch.

My daughter Kim and her husband Mal were staying over the weekend, to see us perform. Kim’s twin sister Louise and husband Rich were going to be there as were number one son Steve and his wife Jan. We all met up in the Cons Club, where Ralph’s party was already in full swing at about half past eight. Steve (Dave’s mate) kept people entertained with some party favourites on his keyboard for the next hour or so, then having given me sufficient time to lubricate my throat (!) and meet up with a lot of old friends, it was time for the band to take the stage.

If you’re wondering which numbers made the final cut, then I’m sorry but you should have come along. Suffice to say that Cream, Hendrix, Gallagher, Fleetwood Mac, Sabbath & Groundhogs featured heavily.

How was the set received? Perhaps the comment from Susan Fido, whose late husband Nick was our saxophone player for several years, gives a pretty good flavour and is all the more poignant as the four of us in the last group I played with, met up for the first time in forty years on the very day Nick passed away:-

‘Thank you for a great night. You were brilliant. Nick used to boast how good you all were and not having actually heard you, I used to think – yeah right! But you ARE really good – carry on!’

The best wishes from my kids and their other halves meant an awful lot to me and after initially being very negative and thinking I was making a terrible mistake & should forget the idea and ‘grow old gracefully’, Lynne came up at the end and said she enjoyed it and we were much better than she had expected. Praise indeed.

So the question remained – where do we go from here?

History showed it wasn’t possible for the others to commit enough time to the project to do it justice. We could have had a run-through in the week before another sixty-minute slot somewhere over the next couple of years, but time drifted and nothing happened. By the end of December 2012 I realised I needed to move on. The new project was a novel. Where would that lead?  

Just to remind you of what brought us back together after forty years – a few reviews of ‘We’d Like To Do A Number Now’

“I spent the last few days of 2014 reading We’d Like to do a Number Now, and I am so glad I did. From the moment, the tales begin, I felt like I was sitting across the table from Ted Tayler as he regaled a yarn or two. The story is told from memory, about his time on the road. As the partner of a music man, and having been ‘on the road’ with him, I can tell you, some things are immortal; such as the vans breaking down, the friendships forged and the stories that beggar belief. For anyone who shares a love of the universal language that is Music, this little gem is a must read. I am coming to the end chapters now and I feel as though I’m waving goodbye to friends as they take to the road once more. Beautifully written, funny, engaging and with the odd swear word or two, it is one of my top reads of the year. Rock on baby!”
“I enjoyed reading this book. Ted has been in bed with my wife and I over the recent weeks of the Christmas period 2015 as I read a chapter each night on the iPad. I saw Heart n Soul on many, many gigs in my youth and I was a huge fan. Ted wrote of people, venues and shows I knew back then, from the church choir to shows at the Granary. This book is well-written, funny, and well worth reading by any aspiring group who set off looking for that elusive stardom.”

“We’d Like to do a Number Now is a fascinating insight into the world of bands in the 60s and 70s. This books goes behind the scenes and details some of the most unusual people and events you are ever likely to come across. From the bands The Krowats and Heart ‘N’ Soul through to Elijah and the Goat and Bucephalus. It is great to read about their adventures in my local area such as Ross on Wye, Bristol and Chippenham. If you like reading about classic bands and their struggling musicians in that great musical period, then you’ll enjoy this detailed and informative read. Perfect for those with an interest in Rhythm and Blues, Blues, Soul and Progressive Rock. Well written, packed full of anecdotes and lots of arguments!”
 
Categories: The Long Hard Road