Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Father’s Day meets The Old Grey Whistle Test

With it being Father’s Day here in the UK on Sunday I set of this evening bleary eyed to Braehead to do a bit of relevant shopping.

It was only when I set foot in HMV that the concept of time passing hit me straight between the eyes.

It seems like only yesterday I was buying my Dad albums such as “100 Great Church Organ Tunes” or later Shirley Bassey “The Stripper” yet there in front on me on the HMV Father’s Day special display was “Dad’s Rock” 3CD set, “The Old Grey Whistle Test 40th Special Edition” and “New Wave For Dad”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In shock I settled for a book token from Waterstones and returned home and to cheer my self up I downloaded the aforesaid Old Grey Whistle Test CD, 60 tracks for under £10 many of them exclusive live recordings from the show.

So here is an Old Grey Whistle Test special.

From the album and for all cool Dad’s everywhere here is some live music from Tom Waits.

“Small Change” (Live In The Studio) – Tom Waits

To buy the CD click HERE

As a bonus and in celebration of Whispering Bob Harris’s recent OBE award here are some clips from the vaults.

…………….finally perhaps the most famous clip of all.

Coming soon the Old Grey Whistle Test through the ages.

June 17, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, New Releases, Old Music, The Who, Video | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leonard Skinner

Where would Southern Rock be with Lynyrd Skynyrd? Hard to say. The bigger question is, Where would the band have been without Leonard Skinner, the man who inspired their name? Sadly, Skinner has passed away in his sleep in North Florida at the age of 77.

Leonard Skinner, a gym teacher and coach at the Robert E Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida in the late ’60s, was a by-the-books sort who had zero tolerance for students disregarding the school’s policy against males having long hair.

Coach Skinner sent numerous students to the principal’s office for violating dress code rules, two of them being aspiring musicians Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant. Van Zant, who was later suspended from the school, decided to get back at Skinner by changing the name of his fledgling rock band One Percent to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Lynyrd Skynyrd went on the multi-platinum success in the ’70s with hits such as Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird before an October 1977 plane crash in Mississippi killed Van Zant; guitarist Steve Gaines; Gaines’s sister, vocalist Cassie Gaines; an assistant road manager; and the pilot and copilot.

Surprisingly, Skinner bore no ill will towards the band who mangled and immortalized his name. In fact, he even gave the group permission to use a picture of his Leonard Skinner Realty sign in the sleeve of their third album, 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy – a move which endeared him to Lynyrd Skynyrd fans.

The band announced his death on their website: “Coach Skinner had such a profound impact on our youth that ultimately led us to naming the band, which you know as Lynyrd Skynyrd, after him,” wrote Gary Rossington. “Looking back, I cannot imagine it any other way. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”


September 22, 2010 Posted by | New News, Video | , | Leave a comment

Lynyrd Skynyrd


Lynyrd Skynyrd return with a new album “Gods and Guns” which is released in this country on the 28th September 2009.

Here is a track from the album:-

“Simple Life” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

gods and guns

At this point I have to admit that I sort of lost my way with Lynyrd Skynyrd at the end of the 70’s when I moved from my “rock” phase into a period of “punk/new wave” listening.

However their debut album released in 1973 still gains the odd listen with the epic “Free Bird” and the retort to Neil Young’s “Ohio” that is “Sweet Home Alabama” being particular favourites, the latter receiving a revival via Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long”

pronounced .....


Free Bird will forever be locked in my memory banks as part of the soundtrack to a fortnight’s camping holiday in Arran back in 1978, where it was played to death on a jukebox in a pub where yours truly ruled supreme at the pool table for several drink enhanced hours with a 60-year-old dearie for a playing partner, the locals were not amused!

Their other album which I still play was their epic double live set “One More From The Road” released in September 1976.

one more from the road

It was as a live band that the Skynyrd excelled and their appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test back in 1975 playing Free Bird is legendary and broke them into the big time in the UK


It was touring as a support act to The Who throughout their 1973 “Quadrophenia Tour” that broke them big in the US, thus it is somewhat ironic that both bands would release within a year of one and other albums with sleeves which would be tragically prophetic.

Street Survivors was their fifth studio album released on October 17, 1977. The LP is the last Skynyrd album ever recorded by original members Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins, and is the sole Skynyrd studio recording by guitarist Steve Gaines. Three days after the album’s release, on October 20, 1977, the band’s chartered airplane crashed in route to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing the pilot, copilot, the group’s assistant road manager and 3 band members, including Van Zant, Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), and severely injuring most who survived the crash. The album performed well on the charts, as did the singles “What’s Your Name” and “That Smell” (with “What’s Your Name” peaking at #13).

The sleeve shows them pictured surrounded by flames.

street survivors flames

………………it was later amended.

Street Survivors no flames

A year later The Who released their “Who Are You” album


Keith Moon is pictured sitting on a chair marked “Not To Be Taken Away” this was not to be the case as within months he was dead as a result of an accidental overdose of prescription tablets given to him to help his battle with alcohol.

September 22, 2009 Posted by | New Music, The Who, Video | , | Leave a comment


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