Doncaster 2008, to finish 2009, to Start! 2010! Artwork by Manu.

Happy new year to everyone!

Special Thoughts to JC, Simon, Mike, John Hellier, Lizzie, Manu, Jeff Slate's Badge, Soulbrutha, Niels, Nick Ward, Simon F, Nacho, Flavio, Cascatino, Andy F, Kevin Aston, Darron, Bax, Kevin Brown, Twisted Wheel, Wigzy, Mark Simpson, Master Colony, Ian Shillinglaw, Ian Child, Red Oktober, etc.



Soon, "Steve Marriott, All too beautiful" the making of !

"It took over 3 years and 77 interviews to complete as well as hundreds of hours researching old Music papers etc etc. and I'm looking forward very much to telling the world about the making of......."

Simon Cooper: Have started to read John's book "All too beautifull", can highly recomend it.

Simon F: All Too Beautiful is a superb book, always dipping into it - one of the best music books I've read but a tragedy - if you haven't got a copy buy it now! As for the making of, can't wait! Brilliant!


Beat Surrender tour program, the Ian's gift for Xmas.

Strange days for this tour... Paul Weller announced it... The Jam's over. You can download the complete tour program.

Twisted Wheel on tour. Battle's plan for 2010.

Twisted Wheel


Firstly we just wanted to say a big shout out to all the people who have been to see us on the latest tour, which has been our best supported ever. With Christmas approaching we wanted to give you a heads up as to our movements over the coming months.

We are currently criss crossing the country as special guests of Paul Weller, and then after our Christmas festivities will be re-visiting Japan to play shows in some major cities. (details of both tours on myspace.....)

The big news is that we have confirmation of our own headline Tour dates for February and March in the UK. Check out how to buy tickets below. More news to follow soon, so watch this space.....

The UK dates are:





What it's like to sing with Ray Davies! Download the show (Wizard Xmas' gift). Absolutely perfect sound.

December 22, 2009 - I started singing in choirs when I was a kid. So did Ray Davies.

"I went to school in Muswell Hill," Davies says. "It was a Church of England school, and the headmaster was also the choirmaster in the local church, so it was obligatory. And we were rehearsed at school. I took to it, because we'd get a few lessons off because we sang in the choir. We missed maths." And that is where the similarity ends. When I sing, I'm just one of dozens of voices in an amateur chorus called the Dessoff Choirs. When he sings, he's the voice of one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s: The Kinks.

So, when my choir — which, to be fair, has sung classical music at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall — got the call to sing classic Kinks songs with Ray Davies ... well, it was a blast. For a few concerts in New York, and on the Late Show with David Letterman, we sang arrangements from his new album, The Kinks Choral Collection. It's a collaboration between Davies and the Crouch End Festival Chorus in London. David Temple, who conducts that choir and conducted us, says Ray Davies came to hear his group sing a few years ago.

"We went to the pub afterward, and he said, 'Look, I've just been asked to do the Electric Proms for the BBC, and they say you have to have something different to what you normally do, so I've got this idea of having the choir there, a well,' " Temple says.

Recording Many Voices

It went so well that they decided to record an album that spans 45 years of Davies' career. It includes some of his hits and some of his lesser-known songs — like "The Village Green Preservation Society." "[The Kinks Are] The Village Green [Preservation Society], which is a little-known Kinks album — well, it's very well-known among Kinks fans, but to the rest of the world, it's virtually unknown," Davies says. "It's a strange album I did about England. It's all about a community — a community of kind of mystery and fantasy." One of the most enjoyable arrangements to sing from that album — for me, anyway — was "Picture Book." It features some of Davies' most sardonic lyrics, and the chorus sings a lot of the band's instrumental licks and backup vocals. When the choir I sing in performs classical music, we don't get audience feedback until the end of a piece — which can come at the end of a concert. But in Town Hall, in front of 1,000 rabid Ray Davies fans who know every word of every song, we got feedback immediately."Two of the moments in the show that I find really rewarding are the two times that the audience and the choir sing together," Davies says. Perhaps the boldest choral arrangement on the album — and one of the most striking moments in concert — is The Kinks' 1965 song "See My Friends." There's no band — just an a cappella chorus and Ray Davies.

Davies says that, for an old rocker, it's nice to revisit his old friends. " 'See My Friends,' for example, is a very simple — seemingly very simple — pop record, but it's evolved into something," he says. "It's a relief that the songs have withstood the test of being transcribed and put into this context." For me, I'm still basking in my 15 minutes of rock fame.

Download the Show

God save the Village green...


The Wizard Strikes again, Bruce Foxton's interview.

Doug Manton interview with Bruce Foxton. They talk about Bruce's musical back ground, The Jam album that never was. The second part of the Doug Manton interview with Bruce Foxton. They talk about Rick Buckler leaving and Mark Brzezicki (Big Country but also the Casbah Club. Bruce played with Simon Townshend and Mark with Casbah Club. Saw them live in Metz in 2006.) joining From The Jam, Bruce's friendship with Paul Weller, working on Paul's new album and how high can Bruce still jump.

Made in Wales 1997. Do your own Sleeves mix. ;)

Weller and Keb Darge mix, tracklisting (courtesy of Pruño)


We featured this some time back, but now Lost & Found; Real R'N'B & Soul by Paul Weller and Keb Darge is available on pre-order.

A double album on the BBE label, it features 'forgotten soul tracks from the '50s and '60s', with Darge picking the songs on the 'A' side of the record, while Weller has chosen the tracks for the 'B' side - see the end result of that over the page.

Side A Tracklisting:
Keb Darge’s Choice
Big Mama Thornton - 'They Call Me Big Mama'
The Brothers Of Soul - 'Come On Back'
The Tempos - '(Countdown) Here I Come'
Epitome Of Sound - 'You Don’t Love Me'
Daddy Cleanhead & The Chuck Higgins Band - 'Something’s Going On In My Room'
The Casanova - 'Two We Got To Keep On'
The Creations - 'A Dream'
Elsie Wheat - 'Tippin'
Sarah Dean With Freddie Mitchell Orchestra - 'Long Lean Daddy'
Billy Fair & Orchestra - 'I’ll Be True To You'
The Cadets - 'I Want You'
Velma Cross & Her High Steppers - 'I’ll Be Oh So Good'
Big T Tyler - 'King Kong'
The Flirtations - 'Stronger Than Her Love'
The Great Experience - 'Don’t Forget To Remember'

Side B Tracklisting:
Paul Weller’s Choice
The Intruders - 'Hang On In There'
Major Lance - 'Rhythm'
Margie Joseph - 'One More Chance'
Tammi Terrell - 'All I Do Is Think About You'
The Dells - 'Wear It On Your Face'
Bobby Bland - 'Honey Child'
The Radiants - 'Aint No Big Thing'
Albert King - 'Crosscut Saw'
Jimmy Witherspoon - 'Money Is Getting Cheaper'
Billy Watkins - 'The Ice-Man'
Eddie Giles - 'Losin' Boy'
Emmitt Long - 'Call Me'
Slim Harpo - 'I Got Love If You Want It'


Liam, Gem, Andy, Chris Sharrock = Oasis?

According to a french music rock mag, Liam is ready to play with Andy Bell, Gem Archer and Chris Sharrock... What a pic anyway!

Mods Fraternity, We are the mods! "Time for action" live at the 100 club. John Hellier's mod ball.

Can also see the sharp dressed John as the master of ceremony! Wish I could have been there!


Paul Broome Ray Davies' gig review (Wiz courtesy.)

The crowd filling the Symphony Hall is one of the most eclectic I've seen for a while - old mods decked out in their finest blazers, young kids, people in ball gowns - a random selection box all looking forward to the same thing, some quality entertainment from one of the Nation's greatest.

My own love of The Kinks goes back to my tenth birthday, and one of the first albums I owned (Spotlight on the Kinks Vol.1) and has continued to this day (one of the few consistent quantities as I made my journey through various different musical styles and genres).

The current tour is in support of his 2009 release, The Kinks Choral Collection, on which he has re-visioned a fine selection of (mostly) Kinks tracks with support from the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Before getting to the live versions of those tracks with the choir though, he kicks proceedings off on acoustic guitar by performing a selection of classics. He gets the crowd singing along from the off with a medley of 'You Really Got Me' and 'I Need You', and 'Ape Man' (a track which he mentions is almost more pertinent now than when he first wrote it) keeps things rolling.

He performs the second half of 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion' in the style of Johnny Cash, and the impersonation is quite astounding (and works surprisingly well!)

Although seated for much of this first section, he's still an extremely animated guy - exhalting the crowd into communal singing and much hand-clapping. The rest of his band join him on stage halfway through a rendition of 'Dead End Street' - the full sound kicking the crowd's enjoyment and reactions to a new height. After telling a comical version of the events that led to him being shot while living in New Orleans in 2004, he performs a couple of excellent tracks from his under-rated recent album Working Man's Cafe - 'Morphine Song' and 'Vietnam Cowboys' (which includes a great partial rendition of 'Apache').

The fact that the crowd here tonight has chosen an evening of Ray Davies over the X Factor final isn't lost on him either, he mentions (during one of the many times that he pays respect to his brother Dave) that The Kinks were turned down by every record label in town because "the singer was too ugly" and Dave's guitar sounded like "a barking dog". "See Simon Cowell was even in charge back then", he dead pans before continuing with a crowd-pleasing "but he can fuck off!".

An extremely energetic rendition of 'All Day and All of the Night' - with Ray practically pogoing around the stage with his Strat with the energy of someone half his 65 years - brings the first half of the show to an end, and he throws his guitar down onto the stage (slightly upset with some element of the sound, good to see he still has the passion to get riled at his age!)

The Crouch End Festival Chorus files onto stage for the second half of the show, again with additional support from Ray's band - and I'm tickled pink when they begin with a rendition of my all-time favourite Kinks track, 'Shangri-La'. It's no exaggeration to say that there were shivers running down my spine for this one, the choir sounds incredible - this is no gimmick, these tracks really work with this accompaniment.

The version of 'See My Friends' - performed just with Ray and the backing of the choir, no instrumentation - drives this home even more. It is spellbinding. There's a great selection of tracks from The Village Green Preservation Society (now regarded as The Kinks defining album, at the time a commercial and critical failure): 'Village Green', 'Picture Book', 'Big Sky', 'Do You Remember Walter', 'Johnny Thunder' and the title track all reminding us what a classic piece of work that album really is (as if we needed reminding!). The set ends with a couple of classic 'yearners': 'Celluloid Heroes' and first dance favourite 'Waterloo Sunset'.

To say the applause was tumultuous would come close to capturing the reception, and the two encores of 'Days' and another version of 'All Day and All of the Night' (this time with the choir) go a long way to ensuring that everyone goes home happy. Although, of course, with a back catalogue as strong as his there's always going to be something missing from every gig!

While it's generally true that people are either Beatles or Rolling Stones fans, but rarely both, love of the music of The Kinks is a far more universal thing. The songs of Ray Davies document slices of British life, in a unique way, keeping them close to most of our hearts (and if not our hearts, then at least bouncing around our heads).

Ray Davies is a songwriter of unrivalled genius, and a consummate performer - he has more than played his part in shaping the world of music, and especially the world of rock (I still consider 'You Really Got Me' as being the first heavy metal single) - and tonight's show was a pleasure to behold.

Set List:

(First Set) You Really Got Me + I Need You (Medley) / Ape Man / In A Moment / A Dedicated Follower of Fashion / Autumn Almanac / A Long Way From Home / Sunny Afternoon / Dead End Street / Morphine Song / Vietnam Cowboys / Til the End of the Day / All Day and All of the Night

(Second Set, with Choir) Shangri-La / Victoria / Working Man's Cafe / See My Friends / You Really Got Me / Village Green / Picture Book / Big Sky / Do You Remember Walter / Johnny Thunder / The Village Green Preservation Society / A Postcard From London / Celluloid Heroes / Waterloo Sunset / (encore) Days / All Day and All of the Night

Paul Broome
for Midlands Rocks