Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Blast From The Past – The Rats

LtoR: Geoff Appleby (Bass), Benny Marshall (Vocal/Harmonica), Mick Ronson (Guitar), Jim Simpson (Drums)

The Rats were a rock band, first established in 1963, from Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

In May 1998, the independent record label, Angel Air released a CD compilation of their work, entitled “The Rats’ Rise and Fall of Bernie Gripplestone and the Rats From Hull” shown below (right) alongside their original album release. 

This track from the album features a very Townshendish guitar riff.

“The Rise and Fall of Bernie Gripplestone” – The Rats

Here they are with “Telephone Blues”

The band on this track is Benny Marshall, Mick Ronson, Woody Woodmansey & Geoff Appleby.

Despite the fact that it was credited to John Mayall  on the album, it is not a Mayall song at all, it was credited in error because the song title is also wrong. John Mayall’s Telephone Blues is a totally different song.

The real title of this song is ‘I Can’t Hold Out’ by Elmore James. The Rat’s version is a direct lift from a live bootleg recording of The Jeff Beck Group. The Rat’s didn’t know the title so called it Telephone Blues.

Mick Ronson

An important contributor to the development of rock and roll in the 1970s, Mick Ronson was raised in the Yorkshire community of Hull, where the shy youth soon immersed himself in the creation of music. During his school years he established a solid foundation for his future career by learning piano, recorder and violin (with some harmonium playing for his local church thrown in for good measure), and although his initial ambition was to become a cellist, by he teens he (not surprisingly) was drawn instead to the guitar – inspired in particular by the playing style of then-Yardbird Jeff Beck.

Ronson joined his first band The Mariners at the age of 17, and it was not long before he was drafted into the more experienced line-up of The Crestas, with whom he began to build a strong reputation within the Hull music scene. His tenure with The Crestas ended in the latter half of 1965, when he made the decision to seek his fortune in London; brief tenures in The Voice (an outfit managed by the leaders of ‘The Process’ cult) and the Motown-oriented group The Wanted followed in 1966 before financial difficulties forced the guitarist to return home.

Back in Hull, Ronson was enlisted into the second incarnation of the local group The Rats, once again establishing himself as one of the top musicians in the area. He recorded a trio of singles and an album (The Rise and Fall of Bernie Gripplestone (1967)) with the band before making another attempt at London in 1968; this second move was met with a similar lack of success, and after only one week its members once again returned to Hull.

The Rats then briefly became Treacle, before reverting back to their original name and then ceasing to exist in 1969. Near the end of his tenure with the band, Ronson was brought into the studio to add his playing to the Michael Chapman album Fully Qualified Survivor (1970), where he was given his first introduction to producer/musician Tony Visconti.

By the start of the following year they were once again working together in the David Bowie-fronted band The Hype: Ronson’s name had been put forward by his former Rats bandmate John Cambridge, and after a successful audition in London the guitarist found himself performing with Cambridge, Visconti and Bowie on John Peel’s Sunday Show.

The Rats were always good enough to have an agent, but a couple of early attempts at recording singles in the mid-60’s didn’t result in anything like success, and the resulting line-up changes meant that breakthrough was always going to be elusive.

The Rats reformed for the Mick Ronson Memorial Concert

April 23, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Blues, Old Music, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Early One Morning – Eva Cassidy


Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an American vocalist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country and pop classics. In 1992 she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by a live solo album, Live at Blues Alley in 1996. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington, DC when she died of melanoma in 1996.

Four years later, Cassidy’s music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her version of “Over the Rainbow” was played by Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of “Over the Rainbow”, taken at the Blues Alley, was shown on BBC Two‘s Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Charts, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom led to increased recognition worldwide; as of 2008 her posthumously released recordings, including three UK #1s, have sold around eight million copies.

Somewhere is the title of Eva Cassidy‘s seventh posthumous album. For the first time, it includes two songs written by Eva Cassidy herself.

Here is her great blues song

“Early One Morning” – Eva Cassidy

Early one morning
As the sun was rising
I heard a voice in the walley below.

Don’t decieve me
Don’t you leave me
How could you treat
A poor girl so?

Early one morning
I saw her walking
I heard a voice in the walley below.

Don’t decieve me
Don’t you leave me
How could you treat
A poor boy so?

So I sit on yonder hill
And I wonder if anyone
Thinks of me still

Why did you leave me?
Why did you decieve me?
How could you treat
A poor girl so?

If anyone thinks of me still
Why did you leave me?

Despite having the same song title it is not a take on the Elmore James song

“Early One Morning” – Elmore James


To buy the music of Eva Cassidy click HERE


To buy the music of Elmore James click HERE

October 8, 2009 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Blues, Old Music, Video | , | Leave a comment


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