Musical Firsts and my last

Luckily I still have the vast majority of the 7″/12″ singles, EPs, LPs, CDs that I bought since 1971, however many were sold or in the case of cassette tapes thrown away in the intervening period.
These things you keep you’d better throw them away” – The Waterboys – ‘This is the Sea’

It got me to thinking of Firsts – first single, live concert etc. so here they are with the date I bought them as opposed to when they were released:

  • 1st 7″ single
    T. Rex – Jeepster (Nov 1971)
  • 1st EP (extended play 7″ single)
    The Undertones – Teenage Kicks (Oct 1987)
  • 1st 12” Single (on pink vinyl – yuk)
    Rolling Stones – Miss You (1978)

    First’s covers
  • 1st LP
    Rick Wakeman – Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Summer 1974)
  • 1st 180g LP
    Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (Jan 2016)
  • 1st Double LP
    Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1976)
  • 1st Triple LP
    Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends… Ladies and Gentlemen (Nov 1979)
  • 1st LP Boxset
    Free – The Vinyl Collection (180g) (Sep 2016Steely Dan - Citizen)
  • 1st CD
    R.E.M. Green (Nov 1988)
  • 1st CD Boxset
    Steely Dan – Citizen: 1972-1980 (1994)
  • 1st Triple CD
    The Waterboys – Out of All This Blue (2017)
  • 1st live concert
    Curved Air – Derby, Kings Hall (Wed 21st Jan 1976)
  • 1st Festival
    Knebworth (24 June 1978)
    Genesis, Jefferson Starship, Tom Petty, Devo, Roy Harper, Brand X, Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • 1st Band worked for (humped kit!!)
    The Enid – Teesside Polytechnic (1 Nov 1980)
  • 1st Video Recorded
    The Human League – Louise (Nov 1984 – on Sony Betamax!)

I also have a number of signed posters/CDs/LPs and photographs with various people/bands I’ve met, check out this autographs.  Don’t you wish mobiles/video cameras had been around in the 1970’s – so many classics could have been recorded as opposed to just being in memory.

And at the End

Any finally thinking about when I shuffle of this mortal coil I’d like the following songs played at my funeral – are you paying attention wife?

  1. My Death – David Bowie or Camille O’Sullivan or Scott Walker or Marc Almond
  2. Lorelei – The Cocteau Twins
  3. The Perfect Kiss – New Order
Original: 21 Feb 2016
Revised: 15 Apr 2017 & 29 Jan 2018

Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie – Should have been much bigger!

I came across this much under rated (and alas not to commercially successful) band sometime in early 1989.  I got a freebie plastic disc that came from one of the music rags at the time (NME/Sounds) and the only track that got me interested was ‘Candlestick Park’ by the Mackenzie’s.  I insisted on playing it many times to my friends, but the heathens never dived into this band like I did.

Whatever it was it was enough to get me interested enough to part with some hard cash and buy the CD ‘Good Deeds and Dirty Rags’.  I was eventually to own most of their CD output.

This was also around the time when I was deciding on whether or not to buy a CD player, so to force my hand a bought a few CDs (they were indestructible apparently according to the hype at the time!!) without having anything to play them on.  I then bought a nice Denon to play them on.  The only upside I could see was the fact that I didn’t have to get up to turn the LP over every 18 mins or so.  I could lie back and use my remote!

CDs are ok but they fail miserably when it comes to classic albums like Dark Side of the Moon which need to be heard in one continuous no break session.  Listening to it on CD is infuriating.  Every time a track changes you get a momentary break and that’s it spoilt!!  I seem to have digressed from the original topic of this blog somewhat folks, so back on track.

Of the band members I knew of the tattooed behemoth guitarist Big John Duncan (ex-the Exploited) and still looking like he belonged with is old band and eventually most would have heard of Shirley Manson who went on to front Garbage.  And they were Scottish, and looked different and sang about interesting topics – the starting lyrics to ‘Face to Face’ are – “raped three times, raped three times, raped three times by the boys from the pub” – now that gets your attention!  I found out many years later that they gave the profits of this single to the Rape crisis centre – good on them!

GMM-bannerHey, no internet in those days, so finding out about them was almost impossible. It was the music press only then and given that they were ‘up north’ I’m afraid very little was written about them- small band, small label syndrome.  It’s only many years after they disbanded in the mid 90’s that I even got to know of their live album releases, which were promptly purchased!

Their covers were interesting too – check out ‘Fish Heads and Tails’ they look like a bunch of misfits or ‘Hammer and Tongs’ where they are all plasticine models.  Never mind that Goodbye Mr Mackenzie - Hammer&Tongsthe music was in the most part great and definitely worth checking out.  You may need to listen a few times, get the lyrics indulge yourself.  Check them out on YouTube – the only place where you can get to see what they were really like.  These songs are a good start point – track them down.

  • Blacker than Black
  • Good Deeds are like Dirty Rags
  • Face to Face
  • The Rattler

    GMM - Now we are Married single cover
    Now We are Married – 7″ single cover
  • Carlton Hill
  • Knockin’ on Joe (Nick Cave song)
  • Goodwill City
  • Niagra

I found this website in which they talk about one of their live albums – worth a visit!

16 Feb 2016

Goodby Mr Mackenzie - 1989 UK tour
UK tour 1989 – Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie flyer

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – my memories

So at some point in early 1974 Steve released the single “Judy Teen” which went to no. 5 in the charts.  I must have seen it on Top of the Pops (TOTP) as that was the only music show in those days, and as usual only the cream rose from the ‘middle of the road’ pap that we were peddled on a weekly basis.

They looked different and certainly sounded different, so on the strength of the single and the album cover alone I bought ‘The Psychomodo’ LP that summer. I listened intently, read and re-read the lyric sheet, poured over the sleeve notes and thought WOW – this is just great.

On March 26th 1975 I left on a school ski-ing trip to Italy.  On the journey to Luton airport we stopped off at Watford Gap services – and there I saw the Cockney Rebel tour bus!  The excitement didn’t stop there mind – I went to the toilet and my claim to fame is that I stood right next to Steve whilst having a piss!  Oh the glamour..  Didn’t get to see any of the other band members.

It would be many years before I finally got to see him live – 21 Jun 1980 to be precise at Leicester University.  I drove there with a few friends and got talking to some lads who had made the trip up from Cardiff (there’s dedication for you).  Memories are vague, but obviously it wasn’t the original Cockney Rebel line up – nonetheless a very good night was had.  I remember the hall vibrating to the echoes of “oh dear look what they’ve done to the blues, blues blues” for what seemed like ages at the end of the gig.

I bought a few of their albums in the 70’s but like most people he/I disappeared off the scene for many ‘wilderness’ years.  I finally got around to seeing him in 1999 at the Robin2 in Bilston, again with the same mates who had been to Leicester all those years previously.

I saw his Greenwich ‘homecoming’ gig in 2013 and had the pleasure of seeing the 40th anniversary tour of The Best Years of our lives at the O2 in London – with practically the original line-up!.  The man still writes powerful, reflective, thought provoking songs.  I managed to video some of this so if anyone is interested go to my YouTube site to watch him in action.

He is also extremely amusing with his banter in-between songs (at all the gigs I’ve been at).  I’d put him on a par with Rick Wakeman for that.

I’ve placed some tour posters, ticket stubs and press adverts on this site – so just check out the Programmes/Posters/Press Adverts page via the menu.Cockney Rebel 1973

Enjoy, Marko

PS – Here they are in 1973..  Nice flares!

PPS – Do you think the guy who designed the logo had a bit of inspiration from Roger Dean’s Yes logo?

Cockney Rebel logo