Ringo on his new Album ‘Give More Love’

Ringo Starr has given an extensive interview to the LA Times about his new album ‘Give More Love’. In it, he tells about working with Paul McCartney again, and reoworking some old songs, including ‘Back Off Boogaloo’

Read the full interview – also with a nice video clip, at http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-ringo-starr-give-more-love-album-20170710-story.html

Django Bates: Saluting Sgt Pepper review

Django Bates doesn’t play other people’s music often, but when he does, resemblances to the originals can be opaque. The unruly fiftysomething jazz composer has battered New York, New York into a free-jazz thrash, for instance, and interpreted Billie Holiday’s classic Solitude on a pub piano with two spoons and a bunch of keys hanging under the lid. But remaking the quixotic 1967 Beatles classic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has turned him almost respectful, to judge by his Saluting Sgt Pepper album, and the first of 12 shows he and a crack German band are performing at Ronnie Scott’s this week.

For the full review see https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/05/django-bates-saluting-sgt-pepper-review-beatles-ronnie-scotts

At Ronnie Scott’s, London, until 9 September. Box office: 020-7439 0747.

Unreleased George Harrison Song to be Auctioned

An unreleased track by Beatles guitarist George Harrison is to be auctioned along with a series of unseen images of the band.

The Indian-influenced, 1968 song Hello Miss Mary Bee was written for Harrison’s good friend Mary Bee around the same time as his first solo album Wonderwall Music was released.

It comes on a reel-to-reel tape with several alternative recordings of Beatles hits and several letters written to Bee while Harrison was in India with his wife Pattie Boyd.

For more info see https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/36949347/unreleased-george-harrison-track-on-block/

Exhibition based on Sgt Pepper to Launch in London this Week

A series of images inspired by The Beatles seminal album ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Reverberation’ is a new and unique body of work created by legendary Photographer-Director Dean Chalkley and Creative Director Ciaran O’Shea from studio Discordo.

Many of the subjects contained within ‘Reverberation’ being friends and associates of Chalkley and O’Shea. This dynamic and exciting exhibition has developed ‘with a little help from their friends’.

Chalkley and O’Shea have created a collection of work that does not stop at a safe or retrospective interpretation. Instead the show is a progressive, and at times abstract, reflection of the album, exploring the thirteen celebrated album tracks from a renewed and personal perspective, from ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ to ‘She’s Leaving Home’.

The work employs a range of different approaches; whether in colour or monochrome, pure photography, amalgamations of print, text, painting or collage, these adroit and unexpected routes to image-making reveal the dexterity of the show.

September 7th

at The Book Club

100 Leonard Street, London, Greater London, EC2A 4RH
Time: 6pm – 2am

Price: Free entry – for tickets go to https://thebookclub.eventcube.io/events/8412/reverberation-exhibition-launch

Ringo Starr Hints at White Album Reissue

After the success of the reissue of Sgt Pepper, Ringo has said he would like to see the same treatment given to the ‘White Album’. He said “I think Giles should redo that. I don’t know why not. And ‘Abbey Road.’

For the full interview, see http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-ringo-starr-beatles-sgt-pepper-remix-white-album-20170831-story.html

 

 

Reflections on Liverpool Beatleweek Part Four – British Music Experience and a Concert at the Pier Head

Day four for us opened with a visit to the British Music Experience. We went to this while it was at the O2 in London, and I was sad when it closed there, so it was great to visit it at it’s new home at the Cunard Building in Liverpool. We especially had great fun in the music room, with me playing drums, and Lilia guitar. If you go to Liverpool, it’s well worth a visit.

Blogger Richard Porter playing drums at the British Music Experience

We then went to the Pier Head, where Cavern City Tours has a great outdoor stage, right in front of the Liver Building. There we saw the great Nube 9, Rocks Off, a great Stones tribute band, and Back From the USSR, featuring the wonderful singer, Alyona Yarushina. Her version of Here There and Everywhere is the best I’ve ever heard (and that includes the Beatles!)

Blogger Richard Porter and daughter, Lilia, with Alyona

The weather at the Pier Head as very warm and sunny, very unusual for an August Bank Holiday in Liverpool!

It was then time to say goodbye to all our friends, and catch the train back to London. But we will see you all again next year!

 

Reflections on Liverpool Beatleweek Part Three, Remembering Brian Epstein, and the Adelphi Convention

A Visit to the Grave of Brian Epstein

On our day three of Beatleweek, we visited the grave of Brian Epstein, on the 50th anniversary of his passing. Normally, the cemetery isn’t open to the public, but special permission was given by the guardians of it to visit on this day.

Brian is buried in the small Long Lane Jewish cemetery, near Everton and Liverpool football grounds. It is next to the bigger Everton cemetery. It was very moving seeing his grave on the anniversary of his passing. If it wasn’t for Brian Epstein, the Beatles wouldn’t have got out of Liverpool, let alone become become the group that attracted thousands of people from all over the world to Beatleweek.

As is the Jewish custom, we places stones on Brian’s grave, to show that we visited.

The grave of Brian Epstein

Close to Brian are the graves of his mother and father, Queenie and Harry, and also his brother, Clive.

The grave of Clive Epstein
The graves of Harry and Queenie Epstein

The guardian of the cemetery told us that it had been vandalised recently. It’s very sad anti-semitism is still rife in 2017.

The Beatles Convention

After the visit to Brian’s grave, we went straight to the Adelphi Hotel for the annual Beatles convention. I have been going pretty much every year since 1981, but there was much speculation that this year would be the last Beatleweek, and much attention was given to an interview with Bill Heckle of Cavern City Tours, the main organiser. He told us that numbers at Beatleweek had been going down, and the work to put it on, in relation to the profits received, made it difficult for it to continue. Also Bill had been organising it for over 30 years, and it was time for him to step down. Originally, the plan was that his year’s Beatleweek was to be the last, but it was then decided to carry on, with a reduced format. From now on, the official events would run from Friday to Monday, rather than the Thursday to Tuesday of previous years. Also, there would be only 2 theatre shows, rather than the 3 at present. There was much relief in the packed hall when the announcement was made. I, for my part, would find it hard to conceive of an August Bank Holiday without a trip to Liverpool for Beatleweek.

Among the guest speakers were Ken Scott and Geoff Baker. Both were interviewed by Mark Lewisohn, but rather than have it as a long interview, each was broken up by the house band playing songs mentioned in the interviews. Well, that was the plan, but Geoff Baker ruined the plan by getting things completely out of the agreed order. He was very entertaining though, especially in his stories about Paul McCartney playing in Red Square, Moscow. Geoff said that as President Putin was due to make an appearance, there was very heavy security for the gig, with armed secret service men on roofs all away around Red Square. During the soundcheck, Geoff walked towards the stage when Paul’s main security man, Mark Hamilton said ‘You’ve had it now!’ Geoff looked down at himself, to see he had loads of red dots all over his body. The secret service men all had their guns pointing at him! Luckily, no-one opened fire!

During the convention, we took time off to join a gathering to remember our old friend Pete Leckie, who had been coming to Beatleweek for decades, but had sadly passed away a few weeks ago.

It was great to see so many old friends at the convention, and great to know it will continue next year.

 

 

Reflections on Liverpool Beatleweek Part Two- St Peter’s, Quarrymen, and the Summer of Love!

Saturday of Beatleweek saw, for me, the highlight of the weekend, a recreation of St Peter’s Church Fete, where, on July 6th 1957, John Lennon first met Paul McCartney.

The former church grounds are now part of a school, who kindly allowed their grounds to be used for the fete. On entering, we were all given a programme for the 2017 fete, and as a nice touch, a reproduction of the 1957 programme.

The undoubted highlight of the fete was the performance of the Quarrymen, 60 years after their historic first appearance here. Rod Davis, Len Garry, and Colin Hanton all played on that historic day. The rest of the band had historic associations with the Fabs too – Nigel Walley, now on tea chest bass, was the Quarrymen’s first drummer; John ‘Duff’ Lowe played with the band on their first professional recordings; and Chas Newby played a few gig with the Beatles in late 1960-early 1961, including at Litherland Town Hall, where many have said ‘Beatlemania’ began.

Just before the Quarrymen came onstage, the rather strange inflatable stage collapsed, much to the amusement of the crowd. After an attempt to put it back up, it was abandoned and the Quarrymen played without a cover over them. Luckily, it was a very nice sunny day, and it didn’t matter.

The Quarrymen gave a great performance, playing many of the songs they played 60 years ago. They were joined onstage at one point by our good friends, Jane from Russia, and Rolando from Italy. Len Garry asked how many people in the crowd were from overseas, and about 90% of the people there put their hands up!

The Quarrymen at St Peter’s

After the Quarrymen, Nube 9 gave a blistering rock and roll set, that got us all dancing.

Lucrecia of Nube 9 rocking out at St Peters

We also took the opportunity to visit St Peter’s Church Hall, where John Lennon was first introduced to Paul McCartney. While we were there, a lone guitar player played and sang ’20 Flight Rock’ – the song that Paul McCartney played to John Lennon, which persuaded John that Paul should join the band. A magical moment.

Inside St Peter’s Church Hall

After a short rest  we went back to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for the evening’s entertainment, which was ‘The Summer of Love Concert’, featuring Hal Bruce and the Rockits, and the Psychedelic Love Orchestra. The evening began with the Love Orchestra playing the Magical Mystery Tour EP. Last year they played as the Brighton Beach Boys, playing Pet Sounds, but this year they turned their attention to the Beatles, and did a great job.

Hal Bruce and his band did a nice set of songs which were supposed to be from 1967, but he cheated a bit by doing some from 1968 and 1969 too. I don’t think anyone minded too much though, but he got a bit wearing when he kept on plugging his CDs, cruises etc. Not really in the spirit of the concert.

To finish, the Psychedelic Love Orchestra played the whole of Sgt Pepper, plus some other Beatles songs from 1967. I really love this band, and I hope they become a regular feature of Beatleweek.

Irina and Lilia with Hal Bruce at the Philharmonic

 

End of Part Two

Intermission

Coming soon – Part 3, A visit to the grave of Brian Epstein; (not) the end of Beatleweek, remembering old friends, and the Adelphi convention.

 

Reflections on Liverpool Beatleweek – Part One Nube 9 and The Bootleg Beatles

This years Liverpool Beatleweek was one of the most enjoyable for several years – and the good news is, the despite speculation to the contrary, it won’t be the last!

For me, Beatleweek began a few days earlier, and in London. I conducted a couple of tours for the group Argentinian Band, Nube 9. They were great fun, and it was really enjoyable to show them around all the Beatles sights in London.

Nube 9 and friends on a certain well known crossing

We went up to Liverpool on the Friday, and made our way to the Albert Dock, and a visit to the Liverpool Maritime Museum. If you ever go to Liverpool, make sure you see all the wonderful museums and art galleries. There is far more to Liverpool than the Beatles and football!

Outside the Liverpool Maritime Museum

In the evening we made our first visit of the weekend to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, a great concert venue near the two cathedrals. The Bootleg Beatles gave their usual great performance to a enthusiastic, packed audience.

End of Part One

Intermission

Part Two Coming Up – St Peter’s, Quarrymen, and the Summer of Love!

Andrew Lancel to Play Brian Epstein in ‘Cilla – the Musical’

  • I’m thrilled to say my friend,  Andrew Lancel, will play the role of Brian Epstein in the new show Cilla the Musical, which has its world premiere at the Liverpool Empire on September 7.

    He will star in the production which tells the story of Cilla Black whose teenage dreams of stardom lead her to becoming one of Britain’s best-love entertainers of all time.

    Lancel  has played the role of Epstein before in Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles. It opened at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool at the end of 2012 and then transferred to the Leicester Square Theatre in 2014. The play was a hit and was praised by critics with London Theatre calling Lancel’s performance “mesmerising.”

    Andrew is best known to TV audiences as super-villain Frank Foster in Coronation Street and as DI Neil Manson in the long-running ITV television series The Bill.

    CILLA – THE MUSICAL is the musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed hit ITV television series by Bafta-Award winner Jeff Pope (The Moorside, Philomena, From The Cradle To The Grave, Mrs Biggs and the acclaimed Little Boy Blue which had ITV audiences glued to their screens).

    It’s an introduction by a young John Lennon to music mogul Brian Epstein that changes Priscilla White’s life forever. By the age of just 25 she would be known as singer and TV Star Cilla Black, Number One selling artist and at the fore-front of the Brit-Pop music scene.

    The musical score is the soundtrack to the 60’s including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me, Twist and Shout by the Beatles, and California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas’.

    Kara Lily Hayworth beat thousands of hopefuls in nationwide open auditions for the coveted role of Cilla.

    The show will be at the Liverpool Empire until September 16.

  • Andrew Lancel and Will Will Finlason backstage at the Epstein play