Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Stones at Glastonbury

Despite being a regular visitor to music festivals, I've never been to Glastonbury. I like some warmth and sunshine when I listen to my music, along with plenty of soul and blues, and most years I'm extremely happy not to be there, because of the mud and the blandness of many of the acts. But this year the sun has shone and, to judge by what I've seen on TV, it could well have been one worth attending.
It looks like the first ever performance there by the Rolling Stones lived up to expectations, with Mick strutting his stuff just like the old days. The BBC was only allowed to show one hour of their performance, but they looked and sounded fine on Brown Sugar, Sympathy For The Devil, Satisfaction etc. I last watched them live nearly 50 years ago when they were the support act for Bo Diddley and the Everly Brothers on a package show in Croydon and I took little notice of this blues cover band, as they then were, at the bottom of the bill. But they have shown incredible durability over the years and today they outshine pretty well all of the younger bands that have come along. Long may they keep the flag of the sixties generation flying.
I also watched Kenny Rogers this afternoon who, at 75, is even older than Mick, Keith and Charlie, and he's clearly lost none of his appeal either. Like those at Glastonbury I found myself singing along to Ruby Don't Take Your Your Love To Town, Lucille, the Gambler and Coward Of the County, and I felt a distinct twinge of nostalgia. Completing the march of the oldies, Bobby Womack is on tonight - another one well worth watching.
* On a separate topic, I picked up an excellent LP today at a car boot, by an Afro Rock band called Assagai, which was released on the Vertigo label in 1971. It obviously didn't sell too well at the time, as it's valued at £150 today.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mr Moonlight

I picked up ten Frankie Vaughan singles at a car boot the other day. Nothing very surprising about that, as his middle of the road records are far from collectable. But as it happens, all of them came with autographed sleeves and all are in mint condition. I've put them on Ebay and am waiting to see if there are Frankie Vaughan obsessives out there who will bid.
Although Mr Moonlight, as Frankie was known, is all but forgotten today, having died in 1999 aged 71, he was one of the biggest UK pop stars of the fifties and became a popular all round entertainer right through the sixties and seventies. Born in Liverpool as Frank Abelson to a Jewish family, he started off in variety wearing his trademark top hat and tails and carrying a cane, recording his theme song Give Me The Moonlight in 1955. He recorded throughout the fifties and although the majority of his hits were rather tame covers of US hits, he was immensely popular. Big hits included Istambul, Happy Days and Lonely Nights, Tweedle Dee, Seventeen, My Boy Flat Top (the latter two covers of Boyd Bennett numbers), Green Door (a number 2 hit), The Garden of Eden (number one), Gotta Have Something In The Bank Frank, Kewpie Doll, Come Softly To Me (with the Kaye Sisters) and the Heart Of A Man. In the sixties he was quick to jump on any bandwagon that came along and his 45s included the self-penned Don't Stop - Twist, Hey Mama by Tom Springfield and Lennon and McCartney's Wait. Later hits included a cover of Tower of Strength, which made number one, Loop de Loop, Hello Dolly and There Must Be A Way, his last top ten hit in 1967.
Although he never had a hit in the States, he made his mark there, acting with Marilyn Monroe in 1960's Let's Make Love. His Hollywood career didn't take off although he acted in some other films, but it was as an all round entertainer that he became best known. He was a supporter of the Water Rats charity and was King Rat twice and was also a big supporter of boys clubs.
Frankie was never someone who appealed to me: I found his rather greasy persona and bland singing style boring and unappealing, but I'm sure there must be someone out there who would love to have the ten autographed singles that I currently have. Below is a photo of them and, if anyone is remotely interested, the Philips 45s in question are as follows: Hello Dolly/ Long Time No See BF 1339; Hercules/ Madeline (Open the door) 326542 BF; The Happy Train/ You Darlin' You BF 1438; Don't Stop - Twist/ Red red roses PB 1219; Alley alley oh/ Gonna be a good boy now BF 1310; Hey mama/ Brand new motor BF 1254; Come softly to me/ Say something sweet to your sweetheart PB 913 (with the Kaye Sisters); Wait/ There Goes the forgotten man BF 1460; You're The One for Me BF 1280; The world we love in/ The day that it happens to you PB 1104.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Festival of Britain remembered

Almost the first thing I can remember clearly is going with my parents and sister to the Festival of Britain on the South Bank in London in 1951. My memories were jogged by a copy of the original brochure that I can across recently, which detailed the many exhibits and pavilions on show at this celebration of post-war Britain. These included the Dome of Discovery,which demonstrated that 'British initiative in exploration and discovery is as strong today as ever it was'; the Skylon, a cigar shaped structure that apparently floated above the ground; modern developments such as television and 'telecinema', and a model of the Great Exhibition of 100 years earlier.
The exhibition was politically divisive with the Tories predictably attacking this 'waste of public money' by Labour, as they saw it, and quickly knocking down everything associated with it afterwards, apart from the Royal Festival Hall - the only part of the Festival still on site today. Also destroyed was the Shot Tower, which had been a London landmark since 1826. It all looks very tame by today's high tech standards but to a five year old boy it seemed exciting.
Looking at the brochure I was struck by the colour advertisements it contained, which neatly summed up the great British commercial names of the era. Some remain household names but many are now forgotten, yet as someone who grew up in the fifties they seem all too familiar. This is the list: Benedict's processed peas, Ovaltine, BOAC/BEA, Heinz 57, Hoover, Nuffield Organisation (Morris, Wolseley, MG, Riley cars), Crompton light bulbs, Punch magazine, Prestige cutlery, Manfield shoes, Carrs biscuits, Maclean toothpaste, Number Seven cigarettes, Kayser Bondor lingerie, Cow and Gate, His Masters Voice TV, radio and records, Cussons Imperial Leather soap, Carter Horsley engineers, Cossor electronics, EMI communications, Standard Vanguard cars, London Transport, Lloyds Bank, Ferguson tractors, Allied Ironfounders, Addis brushes, Curtis gin, Ekco radio and TV, Barkers store, Dunlop rubber, Costain builders, Shell/BP, Black and White whisky,Thos W Ward steel, Rootes Group (Humber, Hillman, Sunbeam-Talbot cars and Commer and Karrier lorries), British Electricity, Ford of Dagenham, Capstan cigarettes, English Electric, Ronson lighters, Marconi electronics, State Express 555 cigarettes, Napier engines, Lisette nylons, National Savings, Daks trousers, Outspan oranges, Creda cookers, Ingersoll locks, Craven A cigarettes, Horlicks, Siemens electricals, Tube Investments metals, Coalite smokeless coal, Mr Therm Gas, Sanderson wallpaper and fabrics, Liberty store, Bass/Worthington beer, Sperry navigation equipment, Sharps toffees, Vat 69 whisky, Girling brakes, National Benzole petrol and Haig whisky. How many of those are still around today? Not too many I suspect.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blues great Bobby 'Blue' Bland passes on

 Sometimes it seems that the Vinyl Word exists primarily to say a final goodbye to musicians who have passed on. It's easy to use the word 'great' to describe someone who has made a record or two which was excellent. But in the case of Bobby 'Blue' Bland, who has died aged 83, the word 'great' is truly justified. He was 'The Man' - one of the few singers who I made a point of seeing whenever I could. As a blues and soul singer he had no equal and I never tire of listening to his expressive voice with its trademark 'grunt'. I saw him at New Orleans Jazzfest in 1989, my first visit there, at Hammersmith with the Malaco show the same year, at the Astoria in London in 1994 (see photo above), at the Royal Albert Hall with Van Morrison in 2000 and at the House of Blues in New Orleans in 2005, and no doubt on other occasions too. On each occasion he was superb.
Born in Tennessee, Bobby first made his name in Memphis in the early 50s with the Beale Streeters, which included B B King, Johnny Ace and Junior Parker. After some early singles for Chess he signed for Duke Records where he recorded a string of brilliant records, including Farther Up The Road, I Pity The Fool, Turn On Your Love Light, Ain't Nothing You Can Do and Yield Not To Temptation. Despite these great records, backed by classic Duke LPs such as Two Steps From The Blues, The Soul Of The Man and Touch Of The Blues, Bobby gained little recognition outside the blues and R and B world. He continued to record some great tracks for Dunhill, ABC, MCA and Malaco which broadened his appeal and strengthened his reputation as one of the true greats, as did two albums recorded with B B King. He was championed by the likes of Van Morrison and appeared with him in London, and later by Mick Hucknall, who recorded a tribute album.Earlier this year I had hoped to catch him when he was due to perform in Jackson, Mississippi, but it couldn't be fitted into our schedule. Now I will never have another chance to catch the great man.
I have many Bobby Blue Bland records in my collection - here are a few of them.
Here is Yield Not To Temptation, which made number one on my personal top ten on February 21st, 1965.
Here's Bobby excellent obituary in The Guardian:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mary Love lays her burden down

Another soul star has moved on  - this time soul and gospel singer Mary Love, aged 69. Discovered
by Sam Cooke's manager, J W Alexander, she recorded You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet for Modern in 1965, the UK King version of which is a highly collectable Northern soul 45. Lay My Burden Down on Stateside is also hugely collectable. After several years in the shadows she re-emerged as the gospel singer Mary Love Comer, but in the 90s she began to perform her soul numbers again. I have great memories of seeing her at the Jazz Cafe in 2000 (pictured
above) and at the Kent Records Anniversary show at The Forum in 2007.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Slim Whitman RIP

The Vinyl Word raises a glass to Slim Whitman, who has died aged 90. Before rock and roll came along Whitman was one of the biggest names in pop music, with his smooth western cowboy style and occasional yodelling resulting in huge record sales. Whenever I come across a London 78 at a car
boot sale it's odds on that it's by Slim Whitman, with Rose Marie (which spent 11 weeks at number one in the UK), Indian Love Call, Tumbling Tumbleweeds or I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen among his many 50s hits.
His popularity lasted well into the 60s and 70s and his records continued to sell in large quantities, including a top 20 hit with Happy Anniversary in 1974, although by then his fan base was confined largely to hardcore country and western fans. When I lived In Skelmersdale, a Liverpool overspill town, in the 1970s he was by far the most popular singer among many of the locals (along with Jim Reeves) and I remember seeing him perform at the Floral Hall, Southport, during that time. In a recent blog I dubbed this period in my life 'the Slim Whitman years'. Slim was never quite my cup of tea, but many of his records still retain a certain charm and no one could doubt his vocal ability.  RIP Slim.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Five 45 finds

I've picked up some interesting 45s in the last couple of days at a charity shop yesterday and a car boot sale this morning. All are quite collectable and, even though they aren't in pristine condition, they are still worth having.
1. The Cheynes - Down and Out/ Stop Running Around. Released in 1965. Mint value £100.
London band The Cheynes had three R and B styled singles released, none of which made the charts, but the group's members went on to bigger things. Leader Pete Bardens was later in Them, Shotgun Express and Camel, guitarist Phil Sawyer was with the Fleur de Lys, and drummer Mick Fleetwood made his name with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers before forming Fleetwood Mac. Both sides are good bluesy numbers, the B side having been written by Bill Wyman.
2. The Beatles - Please Please Me/ Ask Me Why. Released in 1963. Mint value £200.
The Beatles first number one is very common on the black Parlophone label, but this first pressing with a red label is surprisingly hard to find, hence the high value for good quality copies.
 3. Elvis Presley - Tryin' To Get To You/ Lawdy Miss Clawdy. Released in 1957. Mint value £50.
A great double sider from the time when Elvis could do no wrong - the A side (of a song first recorded by a group called the Eagles), recorded at Sun in 1955, and the B side, a cover of the Lloyd Price hit, at RCA in 1956. Both are superb.
 4. Gene Vincent - A Gene Vincent Record Date EP - Part 1. Released in 1959. Mint value £75.
Four excellent tracks from the great Gene Vincent on this EP - Five Feet Of Lovin', The Wayward Wind, Somebody Help Me and Keep It A Secret.  Here are the two more up tempo tracks from the record.
5. Rufus Thomas - Jump Back With Rufus Thomas EP. Released in 1965. Mint value £50.
One of the first big names to emerge from Stax was Rufus Thomas, a bluesman and local Memphis DJ who made his first record in 1943. The EP features two Rufus originals (Jump Back and I Want To Be Loved) and two covers (John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom and Lee Dorsey's Ya Ya).  Here's a live version of the title track from Ready Steady Go.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

Thank you BBC4. The soul documentaries of the last few weeks have been worth the licence fee on their own. Two weeks ago there was an excellent programme on Otis Redding, followed by film of the Stax/Volt tour of Europe in 1967, which I saw at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon. Last week it was the turn of Bobby Womack, another soul hero of mine, who has defied many personal problems to make a comeback in the last few years.
Tonight's in depth programme on Marvin Gaye, made in 2005, is another case in point. It analysed
his difficult relationship with his sadistic, cross-dressing, religious father, charted his early career with the Moonglows and his stardom with Motown and marriage to Anna Gordy, the sister of his surrogate father Berry Gordy. There were original interviews with Marvin and with people who knew him well, such as his biographer David Ritz, former Motown artist Mable John and his sister Jeanne, reference to his duets with Mary Wells, Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell (I don't think I've seen footage of Tammi before) and his move into the more overtly sexual material of the seventies. Marvin was a troubled man, with a cocaine dealer in one room and a preacher in the next, according to the programme. After periods in Hawaii and Ostend out of the limelight, he returned to stardom witn Sexual Healing and returned to the house of his parents, a move that was to end in tragedy. He was shot by his father in 1984.
Following the Marvin Gaye programme, BBC4 showed a programme on one of the greatest soul finds of recent years - Charles Bradley, now aged 65 - a man who first performed in the sixties but who has only recently been hailed as the successor to James Brown, recording for Daptone records. Another superb soul show on the Beeb.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Classic LP finds

Over the last week or two I've bought quite a few records (both LPs and 45s), many of which I am currently advertising on Ebay in the hope that I can fund more purchases in the future. Here is a varied selection of some of the ones that I am keeping.
1. Fairfield Parlour - From Home To Home. Released in 1970 on Vertigo. Mint value - £350.
This is the second incarnation of the UK psychedelic band Kaleidoscope. When the band's initial success waned they changed their name and actually appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival under this name, despite having assumed yet another name, I Luv Wight, to record the theme for the festival. The LP didn't sell well, despite this, and they disbanded, with a second unissued album only seeing the light of day until 1991 when it appeared under the Kaleidoscope name. This is the first track from the LP, Aries.
2. Tommy Sands - Sands Storm. Released in 1958 on Capitol. Mint value - £80.
Despite early success as a rock and roller, including this excellent LP, Tommy Sands eventually evolved from being a rocking Elvis clone to becoming a rather disappointing middle of the road singer and film star. Teenage Crush was a big hit in 1957 and this LP was pure rockabilly, including high quality covers of Maybelline, Hearts of Stone, Such a Night and Chicken and the Hawk, among others. Tommy went on to marry Nancy Sinatra and found himself blacklisted by Frank. Here's his version of Maybelline, from the LP.
3. Junior Parker - Like It Is. Released on Mercury in 1967. Mint value - £50.
(Little) Junior Parker was one of the blues greats, performing in the Beale Streeters with Bobby Bland and B B King in the early 50s and recording the original of Mystery Train, later recorded by Elvis. He had great success with the Duke label before joining Mercury where he recorded this super Bobby Robinson produced LP. He died in 1971. Here's one of the tracks from the album, Just Like a Fish.
4. Tommy James & the Shondells - Mony Mony. Released on Roulette in 1968. Mint value - £30.
Tommy James and the Shondells were known as a 'fun' group and had great success in the US from 1966 with Hanky Panky, It's Only Love and Gettin' Together before they eventually had a UK hit with Mony Mony. Hanky Panky was a local hit in Michigan in 1964 but didn't take off nationally until two years later, resulting in the band becoming one of the major 'bubblegum' groups of the late 60s and early 70s, with hits such as Crimson and Clover and Draggin' The Line.
5. Little Richard - Coming Home. Released on Coral in 1963. Mint value £25.
At the height of success in 1957, Little Richard allegedly threw four diamond rings into the sea on a tour of Australia and vowed to sing only gospel songs from then on. This is one of several gospel LPs which featured Richard and, although his voice was still superb, it lacks the rock and roll magic that he was famous for. Fortunately he later relented and I got to see Little Richard perform his dynamic act on several occasions during the 60s, and later, including a particularly memorable show with Sam Cooke in 1962. Here's one of the organ-backed tracks from the LP.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Bettye Swann - a soul legend returns

As comebacks go, Bettye Swann's return to performing at the Rare Soul Weekender in Cleethorpes last night must be one of the most successful ever. The Louisiana born singer apparently hasn't been on a stage since 1980. She's never been to the UK or to Europe before, and although her 1967 hit Make Me Yours is something of a deep soul classic, most of us never imagined that we would see and hear her sing it live. Yet here she was, in good voice and enjoying herself, singing her heart out to a big audience who clearly adored her and knew every word of her songs.
Sadly, the sound quality was not good, particularly at the start, but Bettye's personality shone through and as the show went on she came to realise just what a great reception she was receiving and a huge grin came over her face. Born in 1944, Bettye looks more like a grandmother today than the beautiful young girl featured in the 1960s photos, but she wore a white trouser suit identical to the one she wore for these early publicity shots. Her set included several of her better known songs, including Victim Of A Foolish Heart, Don't Take My Mind, Today I Started Loving You Again and the more middle of the road I Want Sunday Back Again. But for me, it was her two biggest records - Kiss My Love Goodbye and the classic Make Me Yours - that were the stand outs, and both were reprised in the two encores demanded by the crowd.
One of 14 children, Bettye was born in Arcadia, Louisiana, and moved to Los Angeles aged 19, where she signed for the Money label. After a minor hit with Don't Wait Too Long, she had a huge hit in 1967 with Make Me Yours, which topped the Billboard R and B chart. She moved to Capitol where she had country/soul success with Don't Touch Me and several country numbers recorded with Wayne Shuler, son of Louisiana producer Eddie Shuler, which were released a few years back by Honest Jon's Records. From there she went to Atlantic, where she had minor hits with Kiss My Love Goodbye, Victim Of A Foolish Heart and Today I Started Loving You Again. She duetted with Sam Dees on Storybook Children for Big Tree Records, but within a few years she had retired to Las Vegas, working in education under her married name of Betty Barton and effectively disappearing from view.
But now she's back, and show organiser Ady Croasdell was not exaggerating when he described Bettye's visit to the UK as a 'soul pilgrimage': it certainly was, for everyone who was there, and who at last had a chance to see Bettye in action.
Here are a few of Bettye's classic 45s.
1. Bettye's first Money 45 - Don't Wait Too Long/ What's My Life Coming To.
2. Her first UK release - Make Me Yours/ I Will Not Cry.
3. Her 1975 duet with Sam Dees - Storybook Children/ Just As Sure. Here's the B-side.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Remembering Revudeville at the Windmill Theatre

Another Woodies outing yesterday - this time to Westminster Reference Library for a talk entitled Remembering Revudeville at the Windmill Theatre, accompanied by a film about the establishment featuring Kenneth More made in 1969, together with reminiscences from several of the original Windmill girls, now mostly in their seventies. It was the proud boast of the famous Soho
Windmill that 'we never closed' during the Second World War and it maintained the morale of Londoners with its Revudeville shows, featuring a line up of good looking (and well brought up) young ladies, some of whom would pose nude whilst ensuring that they did not move.
With censorship by the Lord Chamberlain's office a constant threat, the rule was 'if it moves it's rude', which made these 'tableaux vivants' extremely tame by today's standards. Nevertheless there was nothing else like the Windmill at the time and the place was very popular. It was set up in 1932 when Mrs Laura Henderson (portrayed by Judi Dench in the movie Mrs Henderson Presents) appointed Vivian Van Damm as general manager. He developed the Revudeville shows, which also provided a springboard for many comedians who had to fill the gaps when the showgirls were off stage. These included Bruce Forsyth, Barry Cryer, Nicholas Parsons, Tony Hancock, Arthur Haynes and Peter Sellers among others. The shows ran all day and the theatre became a haven for the dirty mack brigade, who would leap over seats (the 'Windmill steeplechase') to grab any seats near the stage that became vacant.
In the late fifties the Windmill found itself in competition with the new wave of Soho strip clubs, which were able to claim that 'they're naked, and they dance'. Vivian Van Damm died and his daughter, the rally driver Sheila Van Damm, took over, but she was fighting a losing battle to keep this anacronistic place going. She bowed to the inevitable and sold the theatre in 1964 to a cinema chain.
In the early sixties as a teenager I occasionally frequented some of the Soho establishments of the time, including the Windmill on one occasion. Compared to the newer strip clubs like the Fiesta on Old Compton Street and the Sunset Strip on Dean Street, not to mention the more expensive Raymond Revuebar, the Windmill was old fashioned and decidedly non-erotic. Soho was full of strip clubs at the time with girls performing at up to six different clubs every two hours. It was common to see them dashing from club to club hastily adjusting their clothing in order to make it to the next club on their rota.
Despite its inevitable decline, the Windmill still has an important place in Soho's history and even today it is still operating, albeit as a theatre restaurant with what I imagine is a rather more sleazy and explicit floor show.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Joe Meek's legacy

Probably the most celebrated and intriguing UK record producer of the 60s was Joe Meek, whose recording studio in Holloway Road, London, created dozens of hits, including John Leyton's Johnny Remember Me, Michael Cox's Angela Jones and the Honeycombs' Have I The Right. Other artists that he recorded included The Tornados, Heinz, Mike Berry, Gene Vincent, Billy Fury, Cliff Bennett and many more.
Joe led a troubled life, being gay at a time when it was illegal in the UK, and ensured immortality by killing his landlady and then himself with a shotgun in 1967. Many of his recordings are now highly collectable and his rather home made but innovative recording techniques are legendary. His unreleased 'tea chest tapes' fetched £200,000 in an auction in 2008.
Among some records that I bought today in charity shops were a couple of Joe Meek productions, both of which are interesting in their own way.
1. Heinz - Heinz EP. Released in 1963. Decca DFE 8545. Mint value - £60.
Heinz Burt was the bass guitarist in the Tornados, but became Joe's 'protege', even though his vocal skills were distinctly limited. He had a big hit with Just Like Eddie, but I well remember seeing him perform on a show with Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon and joining in the loud booing he received. This was his first EP and is hard to find these days. Heinz died in 2000.
2. Houston Wells & The Marksmen - Western Style. LP released in 1963 on Parlophone PMC1215. Mint value - £50.
Another Joe Meek artist, Houston Wells recorded a number of rather unconvincing country numbers including Shutters and Boards and, his biggest success, Only The Heartaches. This LP included a variety of country songs recorded originally by Johnny Horton, Hank Lochlin and Jimmy Dean, among others. Houston had a pretty good voice and the Joe Meek inspired backings added a degree of interest to these otherwise ordinary numbers.
Given the sad demise of Joe Meek, this photo of Joe apparently forcing Houston Wells to sign his contract at the point of a shotgun is somewhat ironic.
3. The Beatles - Extracts From The Album A Hard Day's Night EP. Parlophone GEP 8924. Mint value - £30.
Nothing to do with Joe Meek (in fact he turned them down, claiming they were 'just another bunch of noise, copying other people's music'), this was the second EP to be issued comprising tracks from the Hard Day's Night album and is surprisingly rare. Tracks are Any Time At All, I'll Cry Instead, Things We Said Today and When I Get home, none of which were featured in the film itself.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

English as she is spoke

The story about how two friends and I were shown the door by an armed security guard at a hotel in Nashville on our recent US trip has gone around the world, appearing as far afield as Ghana, Canada and Qatar. The best report has to be this one, which appears to have been translated into Russian and then back into pidgin English. Hilarious!
Armed ensure forced us out of US hotel
The nation song fans had pre-ordered bedrooms during a hotel in Nashville, Tennessee — though on attainment were denied entrance since of a bookings mix-up.
The conditions escalated when a jet-lagged men, who had landed usually hours earlier, mentioned giving bad feedback on TripAdvisor to a receptionist.
Retired mechanism programmer Alan Lloyd, 69, said: “He told us he would not now lease us any bedrooms and we had to leave. Then he summoned an armed ensure who stood with his palm on his gun as we picked adult a suitcases and returned to a car we’d hired.”
Mr Lloyd, of Muswell Hill, and friends Nick Cobban, 65, a late PR manager from Upton Grey, Hampshire, and John Howard were stranded and had to expostulate to 4 other hotels in a early hours before anticipating bedrooms for a night.
Journalist Mr Howard, 67, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, said: “This was a initial night of a holiday and it unequivocally got off to a calamity start.
“It was insane. He had dull rooms, dual had been paid for in allege as we wanted to be certain we had somewhere to stay — nonetheless here we were, totally sleepy out and we couldn’t get in.”
The receptionist during a Knights Inn pronounced he indispensable a fourth celebration member, who had requisitioned by credit card, to be in assemblage to concede entrance to a rooms. But it after transpired that Lee Wilkinson, an accounts manager from Stratford, had already arrived that day and was available his friends in a room upstairs with no mobile network vigilance to hit them.
Mr Wilkinson, 62, said: “I wondered what had happened to a others, either they had missed their flights or what. we didn’t dream they were in a accepting area watchful for me.
“A elementary phone call to my room by a clerk would have solved a problem, that was totally unnecessary.”
Hotel manager James Patel after apologised for a blunder and offering a ignored stay to a 4 friends, who were on a two-week outing final month.
He added: “I have reprimanded a member of staff concerned and explained that nonetheless he should follow a manners he needs to be flexible.”
Mr Howard said: “This arrange of thing reflects badly not usually on Nashville though a whole US traveller industry.
“Armed hotel guards are unheard of in Europe. I’m astounded that they could be incited on hotel guest who have pre-paid for their rooms.”
Derogatory reviews of a hotel on Trip Advisor have captivated quick retorts from Mr Patel in a website’s comments territory in a past. One reviewer who gave a one-star rating was met with a reply: “We apologize that we didn’t accommodate your expectations.
“You were looking for Hilton standards and ambience. The rate during a Hilton downtown was $350 per night and tax, parking $40 per night, breakfast to be paid by guest and assign for wifi, fridge and microwave.
“You paid us $40 with all a above listed things enclosed in your price.”