Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Final farewells of 2015

My list of music deaths during 2015 a couple of weeks ago was, as ever, premature, as there have been quite a few more since.
The latest is Lemmy (Kilmister) of Motorhead, who died aged 70 just two days after receiving a
cancer diagnosis. At least it was quick. There have been many reminiscences about Lemmy and his wild life appearing in social media today, including his love of Space Invaders and his penchant for collecting Nazi memorabilia, but I can honestly say that I never met him or attended any concert by him or any of his bands, which, prior to Motorhead, included the Rockin' Vickers and Hawkwind. Heavy metal is not really my scene, although I admit to a soft spot for The Ace Of Spades. Nevertheless, Lemmy personified the rock and roll lifestyle and clearly enjoyed himself over the years, even if he was hardly a role model. May he rest in peace.
A death that has badly affected the Woodies roots music community is that of sax player Sid Phillips, who has been a regular in the Tales From The Woods House Band for several years, playing in many of the British rock and roll shows at the Borderline. Sid (pictured with fellow sax man Alex Bland, and keyboard player Claire Hamlin)  was a member of Cliff Bennett's Rebel Rousers during the sixties and was a true gent, as well as being an excellent tenor sax player.
Another who has 'snuffed' it recently is the aptly named Thomas 'Snuff' Garrett, a record producer who was responsible for many of the classic pop tunes that came out of the Liberty label in the early sixties, including those by Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Gene McDaniels, the Crickets, Del Shannon, Buddy Knox, Walter Brennan and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Aged 17, he was a disc jockey in Lubbock, where he met Buddy Holly, before joining Liberty in Hollywood.
Stevie Wright, lead singer with Australian band the Easybeats, has also died. The band had a huge hit with Friday On My Mind, produced by Shel Talmy, in 1966 but never reached such heights again. In the seventies Stevie was in the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar and had a solo hit with Evie.
Others who have passed on in the last couple of weeks include William Guest, who was a member of Gladys Knight and the Pips, and John Bradbury, drummer with The Specials.
** A late addition to the 2015 list is sax man Joe Houston, one of the great honkers who made their names in the forties and fifties. He played with Amos Milburn, Joe Turner and Wynonie Harris and had two hits in 1952 - Worry Worry Worry and Hard Times.
The Vinyl Word raises a glass to them all.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

P F Sloan and The Fantastic Baggys - a postscript

Looking through my 45s today I came across one by The Fantastic Baggys on the Imperial label. This clearly was not a US issue as the record has a solid centre and a label credit to the Teal Record Company (of South Africa). Digging further I discovered that the recording artists are not what they seem and found some extra info which might be of  interest to those of us who saw P F Sloan shortly
before his death last month and who have read his autobiography 'What's Exactly the Matter With Me?'.
The Fantastic Baggys were a studio group comprising P F Sloan and Steve Barri who recorded a single and LP called Tell 'Em I'm Surfing in 1964.  This was successful in a number of countries where surfing was big, such as South Africa where the single reached number two, but Lou Adler of Dunhill Records, for whom Sloan worked, was not keen on losing his production and songwriting talents so insisted that the Baggys be sidelined. This inevitably caused friction not just with PF Sloan and Steve Barri, who would probably have wanted to be pop stars, but with record companies around the world which wanted a follow up to the hit.
The single I found was Anywhere The Girls Are coupled with Pa Pa Do Ron Ron ( New Girl In School) and it turns out that although the former is by the US Baggys, the flip was by a South African group called the Falling Leaves who were given the name by their local record company to cash in on the success of Tell 'Em I'm Surfing'.
According to the South African Rock website:
'Teal Record Company in South Africa was so eager to issue new Baggys albums that, when none were forthcoming, they created their own indigenous version of The Fantastic Baggys. They subsequently signed one of their own bands, The Falling Leaves, to do the job. Their first single
release was Papa do ro ron with Anywhere the girls are by the US Baggys on the b side. Papa do ron ron peaked at no 10 on the Springbok charts in November 1966.
Sloan explained in an interview that ..." Dunhill felt that they owned the name P.F. Sloan, and could put out material as they liked under that name, as they did with The Fantastic Baggys. Today it would be unthinkable. They had the brand name of The Fantastic Baggys, and therefore they could sell the name wherever they wanted to, without caring about the material, the production or the work. I had written a letter to the South African Fantastic Baggys asking them if they would like any help with what they were doing, but Dunhill forbade me to have any contact with them at all. Their songs are not bad, but they are obviously different from the stuff we were doing. "Two additional Fantastic Baggys albums were released in South Africa, consisting mostly of songs by the like-named South African group, with a few leftover cuts by the real Baggys. The second album, Ride The Wild Surf, was released in November 1966. Although five tracks, drawn from singles and out-takes, did feature Sloan and Barri, more than half the set featured the Falling Leaves themselves. By the release of Surfer's Paradise in 1967, the excitement had run its course. The last album only Some sources incorrectly claim that it was mistakenly drawn from another studio project, the Grass Roots. I have listened to both recordings and there is no doubt in my mind that the track in question was recorded by the local outfit. The last two Baggys albums were commercial flops as the band failed to keep pace with the public's shifting musical tastes.'        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwzQcTVY1g0

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Dylan Project at the Borderline

I don't usually watch tribute acts but, following a recommendation from Dave Carroll, I overcame my prejudices and went to see The Dylan Project at the Borderline last night. Getting in to the venue was far from easy as security in London is now extremely tight following the Paris attacks. The man in front of me in the queue was so outraged by the intimate frisking and electronic wanding that he handed in his ticket and stormed off in a huff.
Once in, however, I realised that The Dylan Project, who have been together on and off since the 1990s, is more than just a tribute band faithfully reproducing some of Bob Dylan's many songs. They comprise two long time members of Fairport Convention (Dave Pegg on bass and Gerry Conway on drums), Steve Gibbons (pictured above) on vocals and harmonica, and two other highly experienced musicians (P J Wright on lead guitar and Phil Bond on keyboards and accordion). True, the material is Bob's from beginning to end, but they are a highly professional band and Steve Gibbons' deep, sometimes gruff and menacing voice reproduces Dylan's vocals in a way that is true to the original whilst adding something of his own rock background. Steve, of course, has been around since the sixties when he was a member of the Uglys, and his eponymous band has been a favourite among UK rock fans for many years.
The band's first set (of two) kicked off with Positively 4th Street and continued with a mix of Dylan songs, some better known than others. These included Tom Thumb's Blues, from Highway 61 Revisited, You're A Big Girl Now, from Blood On The Tracks, Pledging My Time, from Blonde On Blonde, and Dark Eyes, from Empire Burlesque. Then there was Absolutely Sweet Marie, You've Got To Serve Somebody, Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window, Man In A Long Black Coat and You Ain't Going Nowhere, all performed in a suitably Dylanesque manner. A stand out number, I thought, was the Travelling Wilburys' Handle With Care. P J Wright's guitar work was exemplary throughout and Dave Pegg kept the bass line firmly in order, supported by Gerry Conway's relentless drumming. Phil Bond, excellent on keyboards, turned to the accordion for Senor, from the Desire album, and the set came to a close with three Dylan classics - Ballad Of A Thin Man, Don't Think Twice It's Alright and Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat.
As tributes go this was a good one, with a group of highly experienced musicians who knew what they were doing and did it well. In the absence of the real thing, this was a pretty good replacement. What's more, the lyrics were intelligible and the tunes remained faithful to the originals.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Death list 2015

It's that time of year when The Vinyl Word raises a glass to those musicians and entertainers who have died during the last 12 months. The Grim Reaper appears to have been even busier than usual this year, with many greats of music passing on. The latest is Bonnie Lou, a pioneering rock and roll
singer who successfully crossed over from country to rockabilly. Recording for King Records, her first success was Seven Lonely Days and her biggest hit, Tennessee Wig Walk was a top ten UK hit in 1953. She went on to have success throughout the fifties and was a TV talk show host in the US.      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yeE6n9uxe8
Here's a list of some of the others who have died during 2015. If there are any notable omissions please leave a comment. Thanks.
Van Alexander - US composer and bandleader; Daevid Allen - member of Soft Machine; Lynn Anderson - country singer; Marlene Barrow-Tate - member of Motown backing group The Andantes; Harold Battiste - New Orleans producer and saxophonist; Roy C Bennett - US songwriter; Theodore Bikel - singer and actor; Cilla Black - UK singer and TV show host; Bonnie Lou - country and rockabilly singer; Errol Brown - singer with Hot Chocolate; Michael Brown - member of The Left Banke; Bob Burns - member of Lynryd Skynyrd; Billy Butler - soul singer brother of Jerry; Brian Carman - surf guitarist; Judy Carne - actress and Laugh In star; Wayne Carson - songwriter and musician; Ben Cauley - trumpeter with the Bar-Kays;  Ornette Coleman - jazz musician; Don Covay - soul singer and songwriter; Andrae Crouch - gospel singer; Richie Davis - member of the 5 Willows; Little Jimmy Dickens - country singer; Popsy Dixon - member of The Holmes Brothers; Val Doonican - singer and TV show host; Donna Douglas - Beverly Hillbillies star; Dozy (Trevor Ward-Davies) - member of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky Mick and Tich; Ervin Drake - songwriter; Anita Ekberg - Swedish actress; Jack Ely - singer with The Kingsmen; Bobby Emmons - keyboardist and songwriter; Clarence 'Jockey' Etienne - Louisiana drummer: Al Ferrier - Louisiana rockabilly singer; Frankie Ford - New Orleans R and B singer (pictured below at Jazzfest, 2013); Kim Fowley - singer and producer; Andy Fraser - member of Free; Ronnie Gilbert - member of The Weavers; Ray Gipson - member of the G-Clefs; Lesley Gore - American pop singer; Jimmy Greenspoon - US keyboardist and singer; Wendell Holmes - member of The Holmes Brothers; Willie C Jackson - member of The Spaniels; Louis Johnson - member of the Brothers Johnson; Peggy Jones (Lady Bo) - blues singer and guitarist; Johnny Keating - songwriter and producer; Kenneth 'Wally' Kelley - member of the Manhattans;B B King - blues guitarist and singer; Ben E King - solo soul singer and former member of The Drifters; Christopher Lee - Hammer horror star; Curtis Lee - Under The Moon Of Love singer;Cynthia Lennon - ex-wife of John; Wally Lester - member of The Skyliners; Patrick MacNee - star of the Avengers; Ernie Maresca - songwriter and singer;  Joe B Mauldin - member of The Crickets; David Maxwell - blues piano player; Mighty Sam McClain - blues singer; Rose Marie McCoy - singer/songwriter; Danny McCulloch - English bass player; Rod McKuen - poet, singer and songwriter; Johnny Meeks - guitarist with the Blue Caps; Leonard Nimoy - Star Trek star; Eric 'Rockin' Ricky' Nugent - singer and TFTW show host; Louis Paul - Memphis singer; Mac Poole - drummer with Screaming Lord Sutch; John Renbourn - folk singer and guitarist; Preston Ritter - member of The Electric Prunes; Cynthia Robinson - member of Sly and the Family Stone; Rico Rodriguez - ska trombonist; Ronnie Ronalde - singer, whistler and yodeller; Demis Roussos - Greek crooner; Billy Joe Royal - US singer; Billy Sherrill - country songwriter and producer; Percy Sledge - soul star; P F Sloan - folk/rock singer/songwriter; David Somerville - singer with The Diamonds; Chris Squire - member of Yes; Steve Strange - punk/New Wave singer; Sharon Tandy - South African soul singer; Sid Tepper - songwriter; Clark Terry - jazz trumpeter; Allen Toussaint - New Orleans songwriter, pianist and producer; Jackie Trent - English pop singer; Twinkle - UK pop singer; Mel Waiters - Southern soul singer; Cory Wells - member of Three Dog Night.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Like father, like son: Daniel's Number Ones

Back in the early sixties, I kept a record of my favourite ten records of the moment. I did this over 400 times between March 1960 and the end of 1965 but then I stopped. as other things took over.
My son Daniel has gone a step further - or, more accurately, several miles further. He was compiled a weekly 'personal top ten' record chart for every week from 1939 to the present day. It's based on detailed research into when the record was released, or reissued or, in some cases, belatedly made it the real top ten and occasionally veers off into film and TV themes or songs from stage shows.
This labour of love has been going on for quite a while, but now Daniel has put his number ones from each year on to a series of videos on YouTube. Each is about three minutes long and includes very brief clips from each of the records that made it to number one in his personal top ten with a caption
showing the number of weeks at the top spot. He is now branching out into compiling YouTube videos of records that made it to number two, and he's promised to do the same with the records that made number one in my personal top tens from the sixties.
His YouTube clips, which appear under the name 'Personal Top Tens', are a great way of reminding you of records from a particular era and it was as though my life flashed before my eyes as I checked them out. The great thing is that each clip is so short that even if you disagree with Daniel's choice it's over in a few seconds. But on the whole I have to say that he has excellent taste (takes after his dad!) and includes many great records that never made so much as a dent in the real charts of the day.
Here are a few examples, but check out Daniel's other videos for a stroll down memory lane.
Here is Daniels's Personal Number Ones video for 1963. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppk_e9ucUsk
1962: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLob_oWvx_I
1957: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLDemgO--X0
1978: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8AHhzg9wsc
1975: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7i48LwShbs
2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koDL0W1-Mww
1994: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koDL0W1-Mww
1953: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NySyYVwEZx0
1965: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwogu6Nqh5M
1966: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu3ArnSOJN8
1960: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgU0c4tOURQ
1961: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgU0c4tOURQ
1963: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppk_e9ucUsk
1959: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxDJDgPxAf4
1958: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Wpma-iuvo
Just dip it and wallow in nostalgia.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

'No ordinary pop show': the 1967 Stax/Volt UK tour

Tomorrow will be the 48th anniversary of Otis Redding's tragic death. The Stax/Volt tour of the UK in 1967, which starred Otis, has gone down in soul folklore as one of the greatest soul shows ever. After more than 48 years it's hard to remember the show in detail, although the excitement of the performances by Sam and Dave and Otis, in particular, stay in the memory. The popular consensus is that Sam and Dave's act was the highlight.
I was lucky enough to see the show at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon. What's more I wrote a review for the Croydon Advertiser, where, as a 20 year old, I worked as a trainee journalist. I didn't keep a copy of my review so I haven't read it in all the many years since. But yesterday I tracked it down on the micofiche at Croydon Library and I thought it would be interesting to report on what I actually thought at the time. The following is the review that appeared in the Croydon Advertiser of March 31, 1967 under the headline 'No ordinary pop show',
'From the moment that Booker T and the MGs strode on to the stage of Fairfield Hall on Easter Monday it was obvious that the Otis Redding Show was going to be a rip-roaring success.
The audience were shouting and stamping their feet right from the start, but this wasn't an ordinary pop show - not the usual crowd of 12 year old girls screaming over their particular idol - this was an audience who knew what to expect and wanted to hear at least some of what went on.
And, excited though they undoubtedly were, they caused no real trouble. They rushed the stage a couple of times but soon returned to their seats when told to.
The accent was on beat, and this was laid down loud and fast throughout. Booker T and the MGs kicked off proceedings and it was soon clear that the reputation they had brought with them from the States was justified.
We sat and marvelled at Steve Cropper's magnificent guitar work and Booker T's brilliant organ playing as they rocked through numbers like 'Green Onions' and 'Summertime'.
This group were on stage throughout, providing the backing for all the other acts and they were soon joined by the Mar-Keys, who added body to the backing with two saxophones and a trumpet.
In their own spot, the Mar-Keys played 'Philly Dog' and 'Last Night' and sounded very much like their records.
But when at last a vocalist appeared, the fragile-looking Arthur Conley, it became obvious that the backing was just a little too loud. His voice was almost drowned. Nevertheless he gave an exciting performance of a couple of Wilson Pickettt numbers - 'Midnight Hour' and '634-5789' - and he really got the crowd going with his new record, 'Sweet Soul Music'.
Closing the first half was Eddie Floyd, who jumped around the stage as though he had a wasp in his trousers. His numbers included 'If I Had A Hammer' and his biggest hit 'Knock On Wood'. An impressive performance and an exciting one.
So far there hadn't been a weak act on the bill and most of the audience were tired out from shouting, clapping and stamping. But could this last?
It didn't take long after the interval to find out. Sam and Dave ran onto the stage and almost immediately the audience was on its feet applauding.
The programme described their act as 'Double Dynamite' and it wasn't a bad description at that. They danced, they jumped and, for once, we could hear what they were singing about.
They stole the show. Their act was polished and professional and they generated so much excitement that I thought the roof might cave in at any moment.
They finished their act with a ten minute version of 'Hold On I'm Comin'' and when they eventually left, the crowd was yelling for more.
It looked like a difficult moment for the show's compere. Emperor Rosko, of Radio Caroline, but he was unperturbed and he managed to get the crowd yelling not for Sam and Dave but for Otis Redding, the star of the show.
And suddenly there was Otis doing his jigging routine on numbers like 'Mr Pitiful', 'Satisfaction' and 'Shake'.
I could hear little because of the noise from the backing group and from the crowd, and personally I found the numbers rather tuneless. It wasn't until he sang a couple of slow numbers, 'My Girl' and 'I've Been Loving You Too Long', that I became really enthusiastic. On these, particularly the latter, he was brilliant. If anyone did not know before, they certainly knew then what soul music is all about.
The climax of his act was 'Try A Little Tenderness' - which started very slowly but became wilder and wilder. His 15 minute version of the song went down well with the audience, but I thought the seven or eight carefully planned encores were a bit corny.
This was surely the most exciting show that the Fairfield Hall had seen in a long, long time.
N.C. (Nick Cobban)

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Skegness Northern Soul Survivor weekend

Boston-based Noah Schaffer, a regular visitor to the UK, reports on the most recent Skegness Northern Soul weekender.
In just its third year, the Skegness Butlins Northern Soul event programmed by Russ Winstanley has found a large and enthusiastic audience. While not all of the announced 8,000 attendees may have been soul die-hards, even those who were just at the seaside resort to party got to hear five classic artists all expertly backed by the Diane Shaw band.
Friday night started off with Brenda Holloway delivering a performance that was a lot more successful than her set a week later at the Ponderosa Stomp, where she wasn't on the same page with backing band the Bo-Keys. At Skegness Holloway confidently moved through classics like 'Operator', 'When I'm Gone', 'Every Little Bit Hurts', a Mary Wells medley and the first ever live performance of 'I'll Be Alright' before departing with 'You've Made Me So Very Happy' as she had to return to Los Angeles to accept the HAL award the next night.
Most of the Motown groups still touring feature - at best - one original member. So it is no small feat that there are four originals in the Velvelettes (pictured above). Amazingly they are rarely asked to perform in the US (one notable exception being a Ponderosa Stomp-sponsored event at Lincoln Center in New York in 2010). It was great to see them still thriving with a 9-song set that included hits 'Needle In A Haystack' amd 'He Was Really Sayin' Something,' the Northern Soul anthem 'These Things Will Keep Me Loving You', and lesser-known gems like ''I'm So Glad It's Twilight Time' and 'Your Heart Belongs To me' before finishing with 'Everybody Needs Love'.
Saturday night started with the self-described 'black sheep of Motown' Kim Weston, another artist who is almost never seen on an American stage. She started with 'Dancing In The Street', and less anyone thinks she was simply covering her Motown colleague Martha Reeves she reminded the audience that the song had been written with Weston in mind. Husky but powerful renditions of 'Looking For the Right Guy', 'A Thrill A Moment', her first 45 'Love Me All The Way' and the Northern Soul smash 'Helpless Situation' followed, along with some good-humoured, rascally stage patter from the 75 year old.
Unfortunately the poor ventilation that was the subject of complaints from the previous year was yet again evident, and Weston informed the audience that the combination of sweat and the stage fans was wrecking havoc on her voice. After a brief break she returned with UK singer Paul Stuart Davies who did the Marvin Gaye parts on "It Takes Two." After finishing with "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)" Weston encored with a moving gospel segment which found her playing piano.
What was originally planned as an all-Motown weekend had to be adjusted when Chris Clark bowed out due to a temporary medical situation. Her replacement, Prince Phillip Mitchell (pictured below), proved to be the most dynamic stage performer of the weekend. Skipping over the hits he wrote for others, Mitchell concentrated on his own output like "I'm Gonna Build California All Over the World," "Something New To Do," "One on One," his early single "Keep on Talking" and an extended "I'm So Happy" before encoring with his take on "At Last."
Like many acts the Contours now exist in two configurations, with the one led by 78-year-old founding member Joe Billingslea on hand as it concluded a brief U.K. tour. They used backing outfit Touch of Soul Band who were competent if not quite as impeccable as the Diane Shaw Band. Classic Motown choreography and the excellent lead voice of Al Chisholm was deployed for "First I Look at the Purse", "Do You Love Me?" and "Just a Little Misunderstanding" along with oldies circuit covers like "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." When rehearsing the tour a band arrangement of "Baby Hit and Run" failed to jell so the group sinmly performed a cappella.
The weekend finished with some live versions of Wigan favorites. Johnny Boy started with "Long After Tonight is All Over." Diane Shaw did "Time Will Pass You By" (co-songwriter John Rhys had been present all weekend), and Paul Stuart Davies, the Contours and Prince Phillip Mitchell returned for an extended "Do I Love You" to close out the weekend.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Ronnie Spector at the Barbican

Wonderful? Magical? Mesmerising? You can pick your own superlative to describe Ronnie Spector's show at the Barbican in London last night and I don't think anyone in the audience would argue. It seems that Ronnie pays a visit to London every few years around Christmas time to remind us how good she still is. There was no Santa outfit this time, as she's donned once or twice in the past (although she did sing Frosty The Snowman as part of her encore), but as a seasonal present to her fans the show was just what we wanted.
A few years ago Ronnie was playing in small, intimate venues like the Town and Country 2 and Dingwall's and it's a sign of her 'living legend' status that she now plays the all seated Barbican. The place may lack atmosphere but the sound was top notch, as was the band, and Ronnie, backed by some new young Ronettes, two of whom look very much like the originals, showed that her excellent voice, along with her beehive hairdo, is very much intact.
The show consisted of her life story, with spoken reminiscences introducing each song. Introduced as the Rose of Spanish Harlem she began with the Ronettes' second big hit Baby I Love You which gave an indication of what was to come. Between songs Ronnie sat at a podium, briefly forgetting her microphone at times, and recalled the first paying gigs with sister Estelle and cousin Nedra when they were known as Ronnie and the Relatives. The three girls got their first break when they were waiting outside the Peppermint Lounge, dressed up to the nines no doubt with Cleopatra style eye make up, when the manager mistook them for the dancers and invited them to do the twist in the club with Joey Dee and the Starliters. They put Kleenex in their bras to fill out their slim teenage figures she recalled. Keep On Dancing, a track unreleased at the time, illustrated this period in her career, followed by What'd I Say, another early track from The Fabulous Ronettes LP.
Ronnie's early inspiration was Frankie Lymon, who she remembered having recorded a live album at the London Palladium, and she loved doowop, she said, as she moved in to the Students' So Young, another early track. In early 1964 the Ronettes toured the UK with the Rolling Stones and in memory of this she sang Irma Thomas's Time Is On My Side, which was covered by the Stones. More Ronettes numbers followed with Is This What I Get For Loving You and Paradise, a track unreleased at the time written by Harry Nilsson. Throughout the show, archive film clips were being shown at the back of the stage and one of them featured the girls on Dick Clark's American bandstand, where their song Do I Love You was introduced strangely as 'native American music'. Other classics followed in the form of You Baby, Chapel Of Love (a hit for the Dixie Cups), (Walking) In The Rain, The Best Part Of Breaking Up and I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine, a tribute to her late sister Estelle.
All of these numbers were sung with energy and emotion and reminded me how poor many of today's songs are compared with these wonderful Brill Building efforts. Ronnie referred briefly to her 'seven years out of show business', but there was no mention of the reason for that - her murdering ex husband and genius record producer Phil. Instead she moved on to her later career with You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory, a Johnny Thunders song she recorded with Joey Ramone. If Frankie Lymon was her inspiration in the fifties then Amy Winehouse still inspires her today, she said, as she sang Back To Black sounding very like Amy I thought.
Finally it was time for the Ronettes' biggest hit Be My Baby, which brought the rapt audience to its feet. After a pause she returned for Frosty The Snowman and I Can Hear Music - a suitable song to end a show which will remain in the memory for a long time. Come back soon Ronnie.