Saturday, 25 February 2017

Hot off the presses - Issue 61 is out now

Issue 61 of our quarterly magazine is out now and it was worth the wait - full of great stuff. If you are a member, it is in the post. Non members can order a copy from our website here.

Issue 61 (February 2017) includes:
  • The Beatles A Day In The Life
  • Coming Up Forthcoming Events
  • Media Watch
  • White Album on One Disc
  • Beatles Song Titles Puzzle
  • Allan Williams 1930-2016
  • Sam Leach 1935-2016
  • The Beatles NOT For Sale
  • Paperback Writers
  • Looking For The 4th Beatle
  • Try Some, Buy Some New Releases
  • BBFC Offers & Merchandise
  • As I Write This Letter
  • Crap Photo of the Month

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Review: RINGO STARR AND THE BEATLES BEAT

Alex Cain & Terry McCusker 
Matador Books 
ISBN 978 1 785899 553
Price £30.00 

At last a book about Ringo and drumming.

The authors have both enjoyed careers as drummers, and with a foreword by Don Powell, (the drummer with glam rock band Slade), we have the ideal book for drummers and Ringo fans.

Terry McCusker witnessed The Beatles live at the Cavern in the early 1960’s, and along with Alex Cain have put together an appreciation of Ringo and his drumming.

When I first read the book, my initial reaction was that it was targeted for drummers, but as I went further into it, I found myself reading a real appreciation of Ringo.

The book begins with a section of how to use drum notation, and what the different parts of a drum kit are, followed by a short piece on Terry’s recollections of Merseybeat and The Cavern.

The book then looks at some of the many drummers The Beatles had before Ringo came along, including Colin Hanton, Mike McCartney, Garston Bottle Works very own Tommy Moore, and, of course, Pete Best.

A mini Ringo biography follows, before we look at the two drummers who played with The Beatles after Ringo had joined- Andy White, Jimmy Nicol and Paul McCartney.

Ringo’s styles and kits are then analysed. I found the drum kits especially interesting.

The book then looks at recording and the producers and engineers of The Beatles’ records, before we get to the nitty gritty of the book.

Of the 400 pages, 262 look at The Beatles songs, with brief information of each song, and part of the drum notation, so if you own a drum kit, you can play along. When I got to this part, I was tempted to get a drum kit and try it out, but my room is too small!

All in all, a book all drummers should own, and one many Beatle fans, particularly those that love Ringo and have an interest in playing, will thoroughly enjoy.

~Ernie Sutton.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Here There and Everywhere - A Film made by Fans for Fans!

A Film made by Fans for Fans! Supported by The Cavern Club, The Beatles Story Museum, The Hard Days Night Hotel, The Fest For Beatles Fans, Abbey Road on the River and The British Beatles Fan Club.

Here There And Everywhere (HTAE) is an 80-minute ‘love letter’ spanning the band’s history as seen through the eyes, felt through the hearts and as told through the memories of their fans . . . from those who organise the fan festivals and tribute concerts . . . the memorabilia collectors who amaze and delight with their rare and unseen photographs and films. . . The Club runners who keep the fans together, to the authors and artists who continue to breathe fresh life into the never-ending magical mystery tour.

The film will feature never-before-seen, restored fan footage and photographs, providing a first-hand history about the opportunities created through the love of the band. Many artists and bands will pack HTAE with performances. Special licensed recordings will also be produced, featuring musicians and vocalists from around the world, creating a global Beatles  soundtrack.

Contributors to the Pledge campaign will receive a signed DVD of the movie before the launch. Those who pledge for the DVD offerings will also see their name on the film’s credits, if they pledge during the campaign. So yes, that’s right, your name will appear up in lights on the credits of this film.

As part of the ongoing production the producers will also encourage artists and animators around the world to include their Beatles-inspired interludes in the film. But perhaps most importantly, if you fans have a story to tell, then get in touch and we will look to see if we can include you and your story in the film. This is a fans film, so amidst the array of interviews and performances we want to include you! 

The film will launch at a number of iconic venues after release, with a TV network broadcast release at the conclusion of the project. The film will also be streamed on partner websites, with exclusive introduction interviews and extended excerpts at each partner site. Here There And Everywhere will also be shown at a number of film festivals, along with other staged releases,  including preview theatre and launch screenings in the UK, USA and Europe; to be confirmed. Production starts in late February/early March, 2017.

Click here to learn more.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Beatles All You Need Is Love Fest

Annual Celebration of Birmingham Debut at the Ritz Ballroom
Sunday 12 February 3-6 pm

FLETCHERS YORK ROAD KINGS HEATH B14 7SA



TOP LOCAL MUSICIANS PLAY THEIR FAVOURITE BEATLES’ LOVE SONGS
Acoustica, Alex Vann, David Garside, Eleanor Dattani,
The Eggmen, Goodall, Mr Apollo, Peters plays Lennon,
Tim Walkerdine, Ukulele Theatre + John Kennedy readings

ADVANCE TICKETS £4 Kitchen Garden Cafe or£4.40
www. wegottickets.com £5 ON THE DOOR
www.kingsheathwalkoffame.org.uk

The Beatles at the Ritz Ballroom

You may not believe it but it’s true! The Beatles played the tiny Ritz Ballroom on King’s Heath’s York Road not just once but three times. The ballroom was one of four venues run by Ma and Pa Regan in the 1960’s known as the Regan circuit.

Their first appearance was in 1962 after their first single “Love Me Do” was released. Their second was on 15 February 1963 just after the release of their second single “Please Please Me”. Originally
scheduled to appear on 11 January they had been prevented by blizzard like conditions from making the 11 mile journey to King’ Heath from one of the Regans other venues – The Plaza in Old Hill
Their third and final appearance was on 5 July 1963 after a last minute re-arrangement of venues on the Regan circuit.

Rubber Soul Rebound - 50th Anniversary re-make of The Beatles’ classic album

Rubber Soul Rebound was one of the last recordings made at King’s Heath’s legendary Highbury Studio. The album features The Move’s Trevor Burton, Fuzzbox’s ViX & her Ms Chiefs, Boat To Row’s Michael King, Abi Budgen & Dan Wilkins, Acoustica, David Garside, Eleanor Dattani, Goodall, Hannah Brown, Peters & Dog, Sylvia, The Eggmen and Tim Walkerdine and ends with an
ensemble version of “Run For Your Life” including a guitar solo by Steve Ajao. The CD costs just £10 and will be on sale at the Fest and via www.kingsheathwalkoffame.org.uk. All money raised will go to King’s Heath Walk Of Fame - a small charity that aims to commemorate King’s Heath’s amazing musical, cultural and sporting heritage through plaques, pavement stars and live events
info@kingheathwalkoffame.org.uk or phone 0121 689 2360 or 443 5237

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

REVIEW: MACCA THE PAUL McCARTNEY STORY



World Premiere Southport Theatre & Convention Centre - 21st January 2017

This new stage show stars Emanuele Angeletti, from the hit stage show “Let it be”, as Paul, with Jill Schoonjans playing Linda.

The first half of the show takes us back to the Wings 1976 World Tour, kicking off as it did then with “Venus and Mars/Rock Show”. Dressed as Paul was on that tour, the vocals and musicianship are great and take you back to that time, if you were lucky to see it, like I was. If you weren’t in the audience during that tour, it gives you a great insight into what Wings were all about, at what was probably their peak.

Some of the songs are shortened versions, so that more great songs can be included, but in this first half we are treated to “Too Many People” and “Another Day”, both songs from the 70’s but which didn’t feature on that 1976 tour. This adds to the pleasure experienced during the show.

Emanuele looks and sounds like Paul and has many of his mannerisms, making it seem like you are at a Paul McCartney gig. Denny Laine is represented with a great rendition of “Go Now”, and the acoustic section features “Yesterday”. 


The second half of the show focuses on the post 1970’s part of Paul’s career, featuring a number of songs that Paul has yet to play live including “Pipes of Peace”, “No More Lonely Nights” and “Ebony and Ivory”. Jill covers the Michael Jackson part of “Say Say Say” superbly, giving a fresh look to the song.

One of the highlights for me was the inclusion of “Hope of Deliverance”, a lesser known song but one that sounds great when performed live. We have a few Beatle numbers too such as “Got to Get You into my Life”, before the band take their leave of the stage before the inevitable encore. “I Saw Her Standing There” had everyone up and dancing in the aisles. The encore has a few surprises including “Mull of Kintyre” and “Dance Tonight” before we finish with a shortened version of “Hey Jude”.

All in all an excellent show, which Paul fans who love Wings and his concerts of today will thoroughly enjoy.
The show brings together a great selection of Paul’s post Beatles work making you realise what a great catalogue he has.

It is touring the UK for the next three months so watch out for it in a town near you.

Enjoy.

~ Ernie Sutton.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

SAM LEACH (1935-2016) & ALLAN WILLIAMS (1930-2016)


BBFC Membership Secretary Terry Bloxham with Sam Leach
The year 2016 has sadly seen a number of Beatle connections leave us, starting in January with George Martin, and ending in December with the sad news that Sam Leach and Allan Williams had both passed away within a few days of each other.

Sam was born in Liverpool and like many teenagers in Liverpool loved the rock ‘n’ roll music coming into the city from sailors returning from the USA. He started promoting shows in the Norris Green area of the city and eventually moved to the city centre, promoting shows at the legendary Iron Door in 1961.

In 1961 Sam saw The Beatles for the first time and started working with them. He was responsible for arranging their first appearance in the south of England in Aldershot in the December of that year. Overall he promoted them for over 40 shows between 1961 and 1962.

He promoted many shows at the New Brighton Tower Ballroom

In 1980 he was responsible for organizing the memorial service at St George’s Hall following John Lennon’s assassination.

He would subsequently appear at many Beatles festivals and conventions and for the past few years had a stall at the Adelphi on convention day just a couple away from the BBFC stall.

He was always polite and would oblige fans with photographs and autographs.

Sam’s role in the history of The Beatles is an extremely important one.


Cover of Allan Williams' CD
Allan Williams was born in Bootle on 17th March 1930, with his family roots in Wales.

As a teenager, Allan left home and began singing with Joe Loss.

With the Liverpool music scene starting to emerge in the late 1950’s he leased a shop on Slater Street, turning it into the Jacaranda Coffee Bar, which opened in September that year. John, Paul and Stuart Sutcliffe were regular customers and asked if they could play there. However, he commissioned John and Stu to decorate the venue, which eventually led to them playing there on occasions.

Allan was sending groups to Germany and had a good relationship with Horst Fascher and Brno Koschmider. When asked for another group, he was ready to send The Beatles in August 1960 with their new drummer Pete Best. Howie Casey (who would later play with Paul and Wings during their world tour of 1976), and at the time was playing in Hamburg, was not best pleased and felt if The Beatles went to Hamburg, it would be the end of the groups playing there.

With The Beatles having virtually no money, Allen drove them himself to Hamburg on this their first visit. Hamburg made The Beatles, playing 8 hours a night. They became a tight unit. Not just in playing, but as friends as well. Without Hamburg, The Beatles would not have been the phenomenon they became, and us Beatles fans have Allan to thank for that.

Allan was their manager until a disagreement over his commission saw him quit as manager in 1961. Brian Epstein appeared on the scene, and the rest as they say is history.

After The Beatles made it, Allan eventually released his book “The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away” in 1975 and was also responsible for recovering the tapes that eventually became the “Live at the Star Club” album released two years later.

He would later make an interview CD telling in his own words his story in 2000, on Bandline records.

He went on to write an even better book in 2003 called “The Fool on the Hill”, with a selection of Liverpool images and is a great reflection of Liverpool.

He was a regular at The Grapes on Mathew Street and frequently appeared at conventions, like Sam. Allan again would happily sign autographs and pose for pictures. Je also appears on the bonus disc of the “Eight Day’s A Week” dvd.

Without Allan and Sam, The Beatles history would be so different, and for that we thank them both.

We at the BBFC were extremely sad to hear of their passing and send our love and condolences to their families.


~ Ernie Sutton