Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Thumbs Carllile

Here is an ultra rare clip from the Ozark Jubilee of the Bill Wimberly house band, with Thumbs Carlille and Curly Chalker taking turns pummeling the old chestnut... wow! And for no extra charge you get Red Foley's rambling, nonsensical outcue. Enjoy!

Which ever way his name is spelt - Carlille, Carlisle, Carlyle, Carllile, Carlile - this guy crops up time and time again whenever the subject of guitar maestros is discussed.

His unique way of playing came about because, as a child, Thumbs used to sneak into his sister's bedroom and play on her lap steel with a slide bar even though she had banned him.
She caught him and hid the slide bar but he still sneaked in to play the guitar the only way he could.........using his thumb as a bar - hence the nickname Thumbs and the rest, as they say, is history.

Recently, by pure chance, he cropped up more than usual at Vintage Sixties Live.

First of all, Eric Whitehouse turned up at the club night with two of his LPs, which are like gold dust around here.

Secondly, I was delighted when, within a couple of days, I stumbled across the above video clip (Thumbs is on the left).

And thirdly, I was delighted to receive an email from Thumbs widow Ginny - who is a lovely lady and an old friend of VSL. She said how much she enjoyed looking at the pics on our Web site and how much she wished she could join us in one of our fun nights.

Who knows Ginny? - never say never. If you are ever in the UK we would love to see you.

BTW - The correct spelling is Carllile.

The reason it was spelt the way it was on this 45 cover was that Les Paul - who incidentally played bass on that 45, with Mary Ford playing rhythm guitar, and Les's son, Gene is playing drums. Thumbs and Ginny were living with them at th time and recording some stuff she had written.Les Paul is playing bass on that 45, and Mary is playing rhythm guitar, and Les's son, Gene is playing drums. They were living with them at the time and recording some stuff she had written.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Elvis' Drugs For Sale

The King may have left the building but his prescription pills are still here: A bottle that contained Elvis Presley's prescription antihistamines was sold this week at an auction for more than $2,600. That's a mighty expensive prescription plan! While the bottle still contained some of The King's original pills, L.A. County police told auction house Julien's that it would be a federal crime to sell the bottle with pills included.

Other unusual Hollywood ephemera sold during the auction included a gold-plated gun owned by the Elvis, which sold for more than $28,000; Alfred Hitchcock's passport, which went for more than $19,000; and a prop umbrella once used by Marilyn Monroe for $42,000. The umbrella will become part of the collection of the Museum of Style Icons in County Kildare, Ireland.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Moggie still on the beat

A Morris Minor 1000 bought in the Sixties is being used by Lancashire Police to slow down traffic in the village of Singleton

Not only is this vintage Morris the oldest British police car in active service, it is still keeping drivers in check – more than 40 years after it first joined the force!
Old Bill – a Morris Minor 1000 bought in the Sixties – is being used by Lancashire Police to slow down traffic in the village of Singleton.
The car is owned by former officer Will Hull, who parks it by the side of the road to promote the ‘30mph or less’ message. By capturing the attention of passing motorists, the Morris makes them slow down. Mr Hull, who served in the police for 15 years, said: “I have more than 40 years’ experience with classic cars, and when I came back as a police community volunteer, it seemed an ideal opportunity to promote the road safety message.

“It’s amazing the effect that seeing the Minor has on drivers – even those who aren’t speeding slow down to have a look. It’s all about prevention rather than cure.”

Lancashire Police has confirmed that the Morris is the oldest police car on active duty in the UK.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Beatles never told of protests at satellite show

Here is an interesting "Well I never knew that!" article from the Sunday Telegraph
by Chris Hastings, Arts and Media Editor

Beamed to 300 million people in 30 countries, it is now regarded as one of the defining moments of popular music and the swinging Sixties.

Yet The Beatles' performance of All You Need Is Love for the world's first-ever, live satellite transmission in 1967 drew condemnation from viewers who said the performance had dragged Britain's good name through the mud.

The criticism of the Our World broadcast, for which The Beatles specially wrote a song and put together a backing group that included members of The Rolling Stones, Keith Moon and Marianne Faithful, centred on claims that the band was less impressive than figures who represented other countries, including the singer Maria Callas and the artist Pablo Picasso.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a BBC official, asked to assess viewer reaction, wrote in a memo: "There was little specific comment on the separate parts of the programme apart from a volume of angry protests at the choice of The Beatles as one of the UK's contributions."

The memo records several comments, including: "This country has produced something more meritorious and noteworthy than The Beatles (much as I admire them)"; "We did not do ourselves justice"; "Have we nothing better to offer? Surely this isn't the image of what we are like. What a dreadful impression they must have given the rest of the world"; "We flaunted The Beatles as the highlight of British culture, no wonder we have lost our image in the eyes of the world"; "After all the culture etc shown by the other countries, The Beatles were the absolute dregs (incidentally I am a Beatles fan), no wonder people think thing we are going to the dogs!"advertisement The BBC, which had spent 10 months planning the June 25, 1967 broadcast that involved 14 countries, did not pass the comments to the band. Instead, on July 3, 1967, the corporation wrote to Brian Epstein, the band's manager, to say that the performance had been highly regarded by the BBC and the audience.Each country was asked to produce two items that symbolised the nation's life and culture. The BBC opted for a four-minute report on the new Scottish town of Cumbernauld and The Beatles's performance, for which the band received £2,000.The documents also reveal that the concert, intended to bring the world together, was marked by bitterness and rivalry.France considered pulling out of the event altogether when it threatened to clash with the televised sports results while American television networks refused to join in because they regarded Europe as a boring irrelevance.

Friday, 27 July 2007

The Past Life of Colin "the Orchestra" - now it can be told (and even heard)

Folk who come to our Vintage Sixties Live club night are often confused by some of the sounds which emanate from the stage - (and that is not just when I am on).

They often hear woodwind, strings and brass accompaniment produced by a line-up consisting only of guitar, bass and drums and they say "How do you do that?"

Well the answer is Colin "the orchestra" Woodland and his amazing guitar synth. Using this and the skill gained during a career spanning 240 years, he is able to mimic the sound of just about every instrument in the orchestra fom a banjo to a honky tonk piano.

But where did Colin learn his craft?

He started out in a group called the Del 5 who had considerable success in the Sixties with tours with Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, Walker Brothers and Lulu.

What did they sound like back then?

Believe it or not we can now hear for ourselves.
VSL spies have managed to locate an incredibly rare audio tape, from a series produced by Tyne Tees Television in 1964, called Rehearsal Room, featuring none other than the Del 5 from Sunderland.
To listen to their version of Yakety Sax from the days when you had to have a real sax.
Click here
(It is better to download the file first)

The Moontrekkers - Night of the Vampire

Ray Liffen of the MSN Burns Guitar group has kindly allowed me to reproduce this message from that site.

It will be of great interest to fans of Burns guitars and classic Sixties instrumentals.

One of THE great '60's instrumentals was 'Night Of The Vampire' by The Moontrekkers (recorded by the legendary record producer Joe Meek in his studio at 304 Holloway Road, North London). The lead guitar part was played by Gary Leport on a Burns Vibra Artist. A couple of weeks ago The Moontrekkers re-formed for one night to play 'their last gig' and Gary used a Vibra Artist to recreate 'Vampire's spooky guitar sound.

You can see a video clip of this historic occasion on the
Joe Meek Society website.

Incidentally, the rhythm guitarist, Sam, plays a Burns Sonic and the keyboard sounds are from an authentic Clavioline (the Clavioline was a simple 'one-note-at-a-time' organ famously used for Meek's greatest hit, 'Telstar' by The Tornados, the first instrumental to be No.1 in both the UK and the USA).

Hank Marvin TV and Radio Interviews

Hank Marvin fans can access (and download) most of Hank Marvin's recent UK TV and Radio in-depth interviews to promote his recent CD release Guitar Man.

Click here for the link

There are several references to the early days and even the contentious issue of who really owns the Stratocaster which was used for the original recording of Apache.

Fascinating watching and listening for all HBM fans

Thursday, 26 July 2007

UK gov rejects Cliff Richard's copyright extension

The UK government has rejected the idea of extending music copyright beyond 50 years, prompting protests from ageing rockers whose work will soon be in the public domain.

"The review... concluded that an extension would not benefit the majority of performers, most of whom have contractual relationships requiring their royalties be paid back to the record label," said ministers.

US royalties last for 95 years.

The government position attracted vocal opposition from some artists. The BBC quotes 63-year-old groovester Roger Daltrey - whose first works will go out of copyright in seven years - as saying that musicians "enriched people's lives", and that they were "not asking for a handout, just a fair reward for their creative endeavours".
Other advocates of longer copyright include veteran popster Cliff Richard - for whom the cutoff point is even closer. Tory leader David Cameron is also a member of the extensionist camp.
Unsurprisingly, music-industry bodies also felt that free oldie-pop would be bad for Blighty.

Daltrey foretold penury for wrinkly rockers, saying they had "no pensions and rely on royalties". He stuck to the position that other eldsters - presumably the people most likely to enjoy their work - should subsidise their retirement through pricier music.

Jerry Lordan

Jerry Lordan, probably one of the most underrated British musicians of all time, has been gone now just over ten years - died 24th July 1995.

Lordan was signed as a singer to Parlophone and had four charting singles in 1960, the most successful being "Who could be Bluer?".
But it was as a writer that he found real fame when he wrote the instrumental, Apache (named after a Burt Lancaster film). This was originally recorded by Bert Weedon but Lordan didn't like the version. Weedon's label, Top Rank, didn't release it immediately. On tour with the Shadows Lordan demonstrated the song to bass player Jet Harris, reportedly picking out the tune on a ukelele. When the rest of the band heard it they agreed to record it. It was released in July 1960 and hit number one in August, staying at the top for five weeks. The tune was recorded by Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann who took it to number two in the American charts. The Shadows' version was voted Top Record of 1960 in the NME Readers' Poll.

Lordan gave up singing for full-time writing. He wrote the Shadows' number one hit "Wonderful Land" and a further number one, "Diamonds" for the ex-Shadows, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. Harris and Meehan also recorded his song "Scarlett O'Hara" taking it to number two. He wrote further hits for Cliff Richard, Shane Fenton and "I'm just a baby" for Louise Cordet.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Singalonga VSL

This is your chance to play along with the VSL Sixties Superstars

1. Click on this Singalonga VSL link
2. Choose your song from the list and click on the title
3. Play the Video
4. Scroll down and sing along.
Chords in brackets for those with a gitar

Forthcoming Attraction

Don't forget we have some very special guests appearing at the October Club Night.

They are Have Mersey - one of the top Sixties tribute bands in Holland.

Full details here:

Sad News to Report

Eric Whitehouse has heard that Alan Harrison died of cancer over the weekend.
We do not know of the funeral arrangements but they should appear in the Evening Gazette on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Alan (also known as Rett Allen) was the hugely popular vocalist with the Zephyrs, later known as the Zephrons, who entertained throughout the North East for many, many years.
We hope there will be a massive turnout for his final gig -

RIP Mate

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


Vintage Sixties Live is a non-commercial project, set up to bring together musicians who worked the NE Club Circuit during the fabulous sixties, and we celebrated our first birthday in style at Tudhoe Victory Club on Thursday 14th June.

Alan Leightell (the co-organiser) and myself have been amazed at the incredible success the venture has enjoyed over the last twelve months.

The Vintage Sixties Live website

has had over 30000 “hits”
has been visited by people from over 500 locations in the world during the last few weeks alone
now contains details of over 100 local groups from the Sixties
photos taken during the club nights are regularly viewed by over 1000 people each month
video clips posted on www.youtube.com have received over 12000 viewings
has been featured on at least four radio stations.
has received messages of support from several of the Sixties superstars

The Monthly Club Nights have

featured over 70 different performers and 300 different Sixties tracks
featured performers from as far afield as Australia, Italy, Spain and the USA. A top Sixties tribute group from Holland are scheduled to appear later in the year.
a regular audience made up of people from all parts of Durham, Northumberland, Teesside and even North Yorkshire.
raised over £2000 for local charitable causes and is currently planning another local Charity Spectacular for later in the year.

Malcolm Rocks, has recorded every one of the monthly shows on video and taken literally hundreds of still photographs of the performers over the last year - many of which are displayed on the web site www.vintagesixtieslive.co.uk

Each month we feature almost three hours of non-stop music with guest performers who travel from a wide area – Consett, Yarm, Tyneside, Birmingham and Italy to name but a few – and represent the whole range of Sixties Music – R&B, male vocal, female vocal, harmony, instrumental, ballad, acoustic and rock and roll. In one hastily arranged group, jamming on stage, I counted at least four local performers whose singles had been released in the Sixties with different acts – and they were all performing together.

One night we even had a visit from legendary local drummer Alan White who was happy to jam with his old Downbeats colleagues.

One unexpected development over the year has been the way the club nights have attracted the younger element. Several of the performers were not even born in the Sixties but are happy to perform music of that era just to be part of the atmosphere and camaraderie surrounding Vintage Sixties Live and the opportunity to perform to a full house – which is in itself a rarity in clubland these days.