3rd Aug, 2020

MUSIC MATTERS: Skatta tells it how it is, and unlikely tale of nostalgic amp

MUSIC MATTERS by Pete Chambers

Hardships – Skatta

Back in the 80s, music was often hard-hitting and politicised, with many artists never afraid to make a political point.

Despite the political climate of today being even more wound up and confusing than ever, mainstream pop and rock to the best part has no voice.

Thank heaven that the Grime and rap artists have taken up the mantle and are saying it like it is.

Coventry’s own Skatta is one of the hardest working artists around. His songs are hard-hitting and real, his words are from the heart and his actions are that of someone not afraid to make his mark on the way things are right now.

His new song ‘Hardships’ is something of anthem for the Black Life Matters movement, and the video was shot at the recent Broadgate protest.  Skatta’s poignant message is the title track of his new Hardship EP that delivers solidarity for the public battling financial and social justice hardships.

It’s superb and it’s available now from the usual sites.

Parrot

You may recall a few weeks ago I wrote about Coventry made Parrot amplifiers, and asked if anyone out there had one they would loan to the museum so we could proudly display it. Well, we had some great feedback, firstly from local Ska legend and guitar collector Mark Rider of the band Ska Waddy who told us that he once had one. “I sold it years ago” he revealed. “I bought it from the shop in Clay Lane. It was OK, not brilliant just OK”.

Then we had an actual offer of a Parrot speaker from a very kind guy named Nigel Halpin, but I was looking for something a bit special, and then I got an email from Alan Bird.

Alan is a superb bass player and was part of Barb’d Wire along with Trevor Evans and the Lloyd McGrath Collection and currently GooZ BumpZ.

Alan told me that he had a Parrot bass amp we could borrow, but not just any old bass amp.

Over to Alan: “So I knew John Woodhead who ran Parrot from 1981 through to mid 90s. His main company Electronicon was a customer of mine when I supplied electronic components to his business. I also remember using the music shop in Clay Lane.

“John was a real nice gent, a soft-spoken, smart-dressed businessman. He was a clever electronics designer, and did you know he was a famous pianist.

“He was the first call for many a famous touring singer and did some great gigs.

“The amp was in a pile of stuff in his office and he fished it out and gave it to me.

“He said he had tried to get into bass amps but struggled and this was his prototype. I think I recollect it didn’t go much further than that, so this might be the only one.”

Indeed, It was his first and possibly only bass amp with the unique serial number 001, so it’s the very first one!

It now sits proudly on top of the Lieutenant Pigeon piano, so very much a Ornithological part of the museum, a Parrot amp on the Pigeon piano loaned by Alan Bird.

You couldn’t make it up

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