22nd Sep, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: The Specials' Horace Panter re-united with loved and lost 'Ghost Town' bass

Correspondent 20th Jul, 2017 Updated: 20th Jul, 2017

EXCLUSIVE by Pete Chambers, in his MUSIC MATTERS column for Coventry Observer

A COVENTRY musical icon has been unexpectedly re-united after decades with the guitar he loved and lost – used in the recording of the still much celebrated Specials number 1 single ‘Ghost Town’.

Lots of musicians have a favourite and often iconic instrument that means a lot. But for one reason or another, they no longer have them.

The Specials’ bassman Horace Panter had one such instrument, a 1971 Fender Precision bass guitar.

He purchased it early in 1981, and he played on it for the recording for Ghost Town.

For whatever reason, Horace traded it in 1989.

It was a decision he immediately regretted.

However, fast forward to May this year when to his amazement he spotted the very guitar in the Far Gosford Street guitar shop in Coventry, Noise Works.

“There is was up on the wall on the left,” Horace revealed.

Thanks to shop owner John Williams, Horace is the proud owner of this fine instrument once more.

Horace admits: “I bought it back for considerably more than I originally paid for it!”

That aside, he now has another piece of his personal history back where it belongs. The moral of the story is, if you love something, don’t set it free!

Horace told us: “I occasionally wondered what had happened to it and had a hankering to get it back, so it was always in the back of my mind.

“It was quite a shock to see it up on the wall in Noise Works.

“It was odd to realise that I had such a personal attachment to what is basically a piece of wood but a musical instrument is more than that.

“Especially knowing that I played it on such an important song as Ghost Town (which was recorded in Leamington’s Woodbine Studios).

“I intend to use it in a new project I’m involved in with Steve Walwyn (from Dr. Feelgood) and Ted Duggan (Badfinger).

“To say that I am pleased to have it back is something of an understatement.”

He also used the guitar for a celebrated gig at the Butts in Coventry and on the later first ‘General Public’ album ‘All The Rage’ (and the singles General Public and Tenderness).

THE rest of Pete’s MUSIC MATTERS column this week..

Stone Foundation have been creating some amazing blue-eyed soul for many years.

The Midlands-based band led by Neil Sheasby and Neil Jones will be at the Coventry Music Museum this Saturday (July 22) at 12 noon, for a Big Lottery funded ‘Sounding Off’ session.

One obvious question I will be asking the band is how is it working with The Modfather Paul Weller.

Their current masterpiece of an album “Street Rituals” was not only produced by the former Jam front man, but he appears on the album too.

Neil Jones said of the album: “We really wanted the album to encapsulate that mood of walking through a city,” says Jones, citing Coventry’s Foleshill Road as a personal topographic touchstone. “If you walk down that street you see every element of society, white, Asian, Caribbean, it’s a real melting pot, and that’s what Street Rituals is all about.”

Army of Skanks

Army of Skanks were one of the most talked about bands at this year’s Coventry Godiva Festival.

Little wonder, as they have re-invented themselves from a pretty good covers unit into a stunningly original rock band.

They hit the Rhythm Tent on Friday night and stunned the audience into absolute submission.

Lead vocalist Jess Timms, strutted around the stage up front in a tutu and black face paint, like the Ballet Macabre, spitting out her perfectly timed vocals.

As Carol ‘Captain Chaos’ Lane, on guitar, Wendy X on bass and Whippet on drums, all gelled perfectly to create an amazing musical fusion of sound and theatricals. They are in my humble opinion the most exciting band in the city right now. That’s also evident on their new EP ‘Won’t Be Controlled’. It has four tracks, all produced by the master John Rivers at Woodbine Studios. My advice is get to see them now, before that London makes them their own.

You can follow Pete on Twitter @PeteChambersCov

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