17th Jul, 2019

MUSIC MATTERS: The story of the first 'skinhead' band in documentary

Editorial Correspondent 7th Jul, 2018 Updated: 19th Nov, 2018

Jagger, the Killer and The Prettiest Man in Rock And Roll

Back in the 1980s I was proud to be the Coventry correspondent for the music paper Brum Beat.

My editor back then was none other than Jim Simpson, the first manager of Black Sabbath and Coventry band Indian Summer, the main man of Big Bear Records and the founder of The Birmingham International Jazz Festival.

Back then, I had no idea that he was also a photographer with an eye for a classic photo. Last week I had the pleasure of attending Jim’s exhibition of photographs from the 1960s in Birmingham, entitled:”Jagger, The Killer and The Prettiest Man in Rock And Roll.”

The amazing photographs are somewhat sedate studies of subjects that would later epitomise the very phrase ‘rock ‘n’ roll’.

Especially Mick Jagger and the Stones taken at ATV Studios in Aston and the ‘Killer’, Jerry Lee Lewis, at Coventry’s Matrix Hall in 1964.

Most of the photos are in monochrome, and perfect ‘available light’ shots, like that of Nina Simone in 1967, and the prettiest man in rock and roll himself Little Richard.

One portrait in particular, however, does benefit from the vibrancy of colour – a fresh faced Black Sabbath taken in Edgbaston in 1968, who at that point had no idea they were about to change the world of rock music forever!

Other subjects include Howling Wolf, a very young looking Move in 1965, Chuck Berry in 1964 at the Birmingham Hippodrome and an epic shot of The Moody Blues from 1964, playing at The Carlton Club in Erdington, before the venue became ‘Mothers’.

The exhibition is free and runs to July 31 at Lee Longlands, Broad Street, Birmingham.

Only The Night Knows

I’m always pleased to receive a new CD by Cary Lord.

For many years Cary has been making excellent music of various genres. Of late, she has concentrated on her solo career and this new album ‘Only The Night Knows’ continues her legacy.

This is one of those CDs you listen to and wonder why Cary is not an established star. Her songs are easily on a par with current contenders, and her vocals as always are spot on. Musically, it all works together perfectly.

It’s an album full of great songs, some rock and some ballads, and if there is any justice in this world, a lot of people will get to hear what Cary Lord is capable of.

Ska’d by The Music

Sharon Woodward has put together a superb and insightful documentary about the creators of the ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’ album Symarip.

The British Jamaican Ska band that engaged a generation of working class teenagers, labelled the first ‘Skinhead band’.

Their most famous song (later covered by The Specials) was ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’, a Derrick Morgan song originally entitled ‘Moon Hop’.

Headed by Roy Ellis, Frank Pitter and Michael Thomas, this film is a insight into a unique band that released a multitude of remarkable vinyl under various names including the Pyramids (Symarip is an approximate reversal of the name). They created a massive legacy in reggae music in general and in the family of Trojan Records in particular.

The film event is on July 22. It will be screened at 6pm and will be followed by a Q & A with the director at the 2-Tone Village. Rear Of 74/80 Walsgrave Road, Coventry CV2 4ED. Donations for the Coventry Music Museum are welcome.

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