Saturday, November 11, 2017

Woodies magazine reaches its century

The Tales From The Woods online magazine reaches its 100th issue this month, a landmark that few thought it would reach when it was first produced as a brief newsletter umpteen years ago. For those who aren't familiar with it, the mag is an eclectic mix of gig reports, record reviews, music obituaries. personal invective and loads of other stuff, all put together in a way that defies any kind of logic or editorial control. Somehow it works and attracts regular contributors issue after issue. It 'borrows' from The Vinyl Word in each issue and I'm more than happy for it to do so. I doubt if many people read it from cover to cover (impossible now that it's on line of course), but there's something there for everyone, including the regular 'Hold The Third Page' entry from the eponymous Keith Woods, John Howard's often inflammatory Mr Angry column, Dave Carroll's obscure but highly knowledgable insights into jazz in his Jazz Junction reviews and John 'Soulboy' Jolliffe's soul column.
The Woodies themselves all share a love of roots music, although their preferences vary - from rock and roll to blues, soul and jazz - and some of us have a monthly meet up when we have a few beers and a meal in London. Membership is quite wide geographically and the roots music shows put together by Keith a couple of times a year (or more), are attended by far flung Woodies who sometimes never see each other the rest of the year.
Until a couple of years ago many Woodies made an annual pilgrimage to the Rhythm Riot which is taking place at Camber Sands this weekend. Then the organisers decided to stop inviting 'heritage' acts (artists from the original rock and roll generation) to the shows and many of us decided not to go any more. I'm sure those who are there are having a good time, but unlike Keith's shows, or Hemsby, or some US festivals that I regularly go to, such as Viva Las Vegas and the Ponderosa Stomp, all the acts are relatively recent ones. I won't be going again unless they change their booking policy.
On my 2011 visit to the Rhythm Riot, when the stars included the Bobbettes and Jivin' Gene, I took some photos of Woodies regulars and here are a few of them. As you can see, most of us are of a certain age (six years older now of course) but we still love great music and get to as many live shows as we can. The top photo shows Keith Woods (centre) with Bill Haynes, whose main interests are old time music hall and Chelsea FC, and Darren Vidler, who recently revealed a talent for singing at one of Keith's shows. Below is John 'Soulboy' Jolliffe, who's recently moved to Worcester, in typical pose.
Here are John Spencely (centre), lead guitarist of the Tales From The Woods house band, with R and B expert Gordon Fleming and all round musicologist and Juke Blues contributor Dickie Tapp (right).
Two old school rock and rollers, Lee Wilkinson, now living in Burnley, and Tony Papard, who has often contributed memories of his youth, theories about Princess Diana speaking from beyond the grave, and political views somewhat to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, as well as stories about pantomime characters.
Standing outside the record shop in Rye, here are Arsenal fan and jazz expert Dave Carroll, Sutton United supporter Brian Jessup, and me (Nick Cobban).
Here are Hastings resident Martyn Harvey, Gordon Fleming and IT specialist Alan Lloyd, a regular companion on my US trips.
This dodgy looking group are Shrewsbury folk lover Ralph Edwards, record collector Ken Major, accomplished drummer Brian 'Bunter' Clark and John Spencely. Don't know who the lady at the back is.
International Woodies Jay McCaddin from Mobile, Alabama, and Paula, with Ralph looking on..
Finally, here are Ace record man Ian Saddler and his American friend Chris, with music photographer Paul Harris and Dickie Tapp.


At 10:54 am , Blogger Dave C said...

In the last photo, third on the left and just behind Paul Harris, is Tony Watson, a Woodie, who is Production Editor for Blues & Rhythm magazine, and, I think, has been there in one capacity or another since its inception.

Dave (a jazz fan – not an expert)


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