Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Minstrels, Poets & Vagabonds – The Haze

For Part Two of this series we head off to 2008 and The Haze who are no strangers to my iPod as their album “Spirits Are Rising” was one of my favourites of 2008 and not just because they covered “The Seeker”.

This is from their own biography:-

If the 21st century has seen music transformed – perhaps even overwhelmed – by technology, then it’s a relief to know that, for lovers of rock, the old values have become…well, invaluable. And no band better presents this truism than THE HAZE. A five-piece from Glasgow, they’ve spent the past few years learning their craft on the road, touring anywhere and everywhere they can across Britain.

“I’d say that we’ve played almost every major city, and most of the bigger venues,” says singer James Cairns. Through supporting the likes of Idlewild, Eagles Of Death Metal, The Cult, The Hold Steady, The Haze have developed their chops and curves, in the process becoming a sharp, focused, articulate, hard rocking crew who deliver dirty rhythms locked into garage melodies, amid choruses so towering they are in danger of being a hazard to low-flying aircraft.

Led by the distinctive lead vocals of James Cairns, The Haze combine the classic feel of artists such as The Cult and The Doors with a tension last seen in Oasis early years. Live, the recipe is one part brooding menace and one part soaring guitars – add a pinch of backline-heavy rhythms and you have a new, pulse-racing sound combining strong melody with heart-driven riffs. Tracks such as Ghostdancer (as featured on a Zero magazine covermount CD), Lord, Preacher and Just To Hear Them Say are solid proof of that.

“When we started out, our main influence was Oasis,” reveals Cairns. “But now, we’re much more into the classic giants: Zeppelin, the Doors, the Stones, the Who, Dylan…it means that we’ve managed to get interest from older fans, as well as pick up a large young following. It’s a great mixture.”

Cairns himself nearly joined the band as a guitarist. “I was invited down by John Paul Hunter (guitarist, who co-founded The Haze). I knew his cousin, and so got asked to come along for a bevy & a sing song, because they were looking for more band members. I went along, and actually just started to sing along to some of the tunes; that was it, I got the job…as the vocalist!”

Having never sung before in public, Cairns needed some severe anaesthetic intake to calm his nerves before doing his first ever Haze show. Consequently, his recollections are well…hazy. “Don’t ask me to tell you anything about that. I was so out of it; I can’t recall that gig at all, ha! But I’ve learnt my lessons. These days, we all party hard – but only after doing the show.”

The current line-up – Cairns, Hunter, bassist Ross Duffy and drummer Robert Mitchell – have been together since 2004 with the most recent addition Leahy only joining in the summer of 2009 , and the aim is to spread the word far and wide.

“We want to go to America, Japan, Europe…in fact, anywhere they love their rock music.” In preparation for such global plans, The Haze have just recorded their debut album, with famed producer Chris Tsangarides. “Man, that was amazing. He’s worked with Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest as well as tons of new acts …he has so many stories that it could keep us in lyrics for the next six records!”

The record itself will be called ‘Spirits Will Rise’, a title that comes from… “well, it’s inspired by spiritualism. But it also has another meaning, of course. One that’s more alcoholic! So, whichever way you look at it, this is the perfect title for our debut.”

The Haze aren’t a passing phase. They are the natural successors to so many great names who’ve graced the British scene over the past 40 years – from Lizzy to Zeppelin, Nazareth to the Pink Fairies. But they’re also very much part of the modern era as recently witnessed on their recent shows at King Tuts, Rock Ness and as support to The Enemy.

As long as we have bands like this, the future of rock ’n’ roll is a sure bet. “We’ve got festival commitments like T In The Park coming up, and it seems we’re currently in demand. But the five of us are also very much aware that to live up to the high standards we’ve set ourselves, there’s a lot of hard graft left to do.”

A band with talent, application and vision…that is refreshing.

“Capella” – The Haze

They have just finished a tour with The Complete Stone Roses and are now working on demos for the new album.

Keep up to date with them HERE

Here is the single “Streetfighter” released in Feb 2009 Kasabian beware!!

It’s a strange world when great new bands are supporting “tribute” bands Bjorn Again have a lot to answer for!

They are said to be from Glasgow but we folks from Dumbarton and The Vale consider them ours, second famous (for now) behind James Allan of Glasvegas who only played for the Sons of the Rock, then of course there is David Byrne of Talking Heads who is a real Son of the Rock.

Finally here is their take on The Who’s “The Seeker” my Fiona’s favourite Who song.

“The Seeker” – The Haze

To buy the music of The Haze click HERE

As Roberto rightly states in the book below “as long as we have bands like this plugging away, the future of rock ‘n’ roll is in safe hands”

To buy Roberto’s book click HERE

January 16, 2010 Posted by | Books, Fiona, Old Music, Uncategorized, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Minstrels, Poets & Vagabonds – The Poets

Following my recent review of the above super book (see HERE) I was delighted to hear from the writer Robert “Roberto” Fields himself who has subsequently very kindly provided me with the support, music, and approval to run a series of posts on at least some of the music which defined the Glasgow rock scene through the last five decades.

So as Mary Poppins would say it is best to start at the beginning, if not the real beginning, at least the beginning of Robert’s story.

Therefore please step forward The Poets.

A full biography of the band can be found at this impressive site :-

To me they along with The Beatstalkers spearheaded down different avenues the Glasgow Beat Scene in the 60’s

Andrew Loog Oldham auditioned the group, knocked out by what he heard at the audition, and by the riotous scenes he witnessed at a gig The Poets played that night, he had them whisked off down to London in quick time to record their debut single ‘Now We’re Thru’ / ‘There Are Some’ for Decca (F11995).  

Early 1965 saw the release of their second single ‘That’s The Way It’s Got To Be’ / ‘I’ll Cry With The Moon’ (F12074). With a rumbling six-string bass intro that echoed the future hit ‘Keep On Running’ by the Spencer Davis Group, (courtesy of one very young John Paul Jones see book below) and a furious maraca-shakin’ end coda, The Poets totally excelled on this stomping killer slab of hard-edged beat, or what is now forever (almost) globally termed, freak beat!

By the middle of 1965 and the group were heading for big changes yet around this time there was talk in fan club newsletters of a full-length LP by The Poets, which was at least half-finished, and it was hoped that it would be finished and in the shops by Christmas 1965. Of course, this never happened. More internal strife within The Poets camp resulted in one of the biggest upheavals of the group’s career, lead vocalist and chief melody / lyric writer George Gallacher announces he will leave the group at the beginning of the new year, 1966. He cites management problems and lack of support as being the biggest factor in his decision to withdraw from the group he helped to create.  Meanwhile, Immediate issue the group’s next single, Marvin Gaye’s ‘Baby Don’t You Do It’ / ‘I’ll Come Home’ (IM024). It’s the first time the group had recorded a cover version, offering for their fifth disc outing a rollicking, mod-i-fied take on this popular soul raver, adding in some restrained fuzztone, menacing bass and drums, and other reverberations all fighting for space in the murky mix, behind George’s pleading wail.

“Baby Don’t You Do It” – The Poets

By the time, Wooden Spoon/In your Tower came out on Decca in February 1967 there were no original members left.

“In Your Tower” – The Poets

Getting you hands on this great music is not easy but if you obtain this “almost but not really official” CD then you will be a happy camper.

More good information on The Poets can be found at this other great site

The prime Poet was to most, including writer Robert Fields was George Gallagher who has been given his proper place in Glasgow’s rock history (see book below).

With their attire as seen in the video above they paid homage to the ethos of Rabbie Burns as reflected in their band name Roberto has now labelled them the first “Bard Company” I just can’t get enough of this book.

Buy the book to find out what ex Poet has worked with George Harrison, was part of John & Yoko’s Dutch “bed-in” (whilst with his Apple signed band White Trash who after acting as a backing band for Marsha Hunt recorded and released The Beatles “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight”) and has jammed with Zoot Money and Peter Frampton.

As for Roberto’s great book then you can get your hands on it HERE

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Books, Old Music, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Minstrels, Poets & Vagabonds

My sister-in-law Jane bought me the above book as part of my Christmas (last year it was The Beatles In Scotland) and as usual she has again displayed her good taste.

I finished the book over two sessions and really enjoyed the early Chapters which concentrated on the Glasgow music scene from the 60’s to the 80’s.

Here is the author Robert Field’s view on his aims for the book:-

“I’ve tried to remain loyal to my genre as im a Rocker and I feel that this scene has been (and I can exclusively reveal) totally ignored in most parts by the mainstream media over the past 50 years .And so not in this book will you find the magnificent pop rock meanderings of Slide because in allowing that then the floodgates would surely open and coming rushing through would be the likes of Texas, Del Amitri, The Silencers, K.M.O., Simple Minds andTravis etc all fine bands in their own right and as fellow Glaswegians earning a crust in the very fraught arena of the music business they have my 100% respect but their end product is NOT what this book is about nor did I want to go down the indie rock route. I couldn’t open the door for the likes of Glasvegas and Mogwai or I would have to include bands like Primal Scream, Jesus and the Mary-chain, The Fratellis, Ac-Acoustics, Murmur, Kit Cumming’s fantastic Said Florance, The Vaseline’s, Captain America, Teenage Fan Club, Bmx Bandits, Mickey Rooney’s mega Primevals, The Gyres etc.

Nor did I try and adopt any band or artiste which has been the case from the early seventies with the likes of Rod Stewart(have you heard him talk!!! Nuff said) and a craze that has carried on to this day with the likes of Snow Patrol and Franz Ferdinand all at some point featuring in various Scottish/Glasgow charts and polls when their Scottish/Glasgow links are very tentative to say the least.

When setting out the plan for this book I thought it would be cool to have a cd of free downloads for the reader to enhance their journey through the five decades and on putting pen to paper I ended up with a Six cd with 115 track historical artefact listening post which in my wee u’mble opinion is quite unique and superb so get the kettle on and download your listening post “Are you sitting comfortably?” then let the journey begin…………….Xmas comes early kiddies.”

Many a memory was rekindled as venues such as the Burns Howff, the Amphora, the Mars Bar, Rock Gardens, Glasgow Tech’s Bubble, QMU, His Nibs, Shuffles, The Maggie, Tiffany’s and even The Griffen lept from the pages like they had never been away.

The book is biased towards mainstream rock (the author being first and foremost a fan and friend of Uriah Heep) and dwells on many of the 60’s and 70’s legends such as The Beatstalkers, The Poets, Frankie Miller, Stone The Crows, Alex Harvey and in particular the career of Jimmy Dewar.

However the majority of the book features a host of local bands through the ages from Cochise through Glasgow (who’s bus I rember used to sit behind The Cutty sark in Dumbarton when they played there to the legend that is Big George and The Business and Peter Goes To Partick.

Essential reading for anyone who spent time up the city listening and drinking to the sounds of Glasgow.

“St Louis Blues” – The Beatstalkers

You couldn’t make this story up and, what’s amazing is, it’s all true. Every word. Formed in Glasgow in the early 60’s, The Beatstalkers quickly rose to become Scotland’s best known beat group. Totally adored by their hoards of fans, the group, quite literally, caused riots in their home town. Signed to Decca Records, and eventually to CBS Records, what other band can claim to have had songs written for them by David Bowie. Yip, you read it right, THE David Bowie – who was then a young struggling singer/songwriter. Performing on the famous T.V. Pop Show, ‘Ready Steady Go’ and appearances at the Marquee Club, the band eventually called it a day when their van was stolen and every piece of equipment that they had built up over a ten year period was taken. But… The story is not yet over. Thirty plus years later the band have now re-formed, played a sell-out gig at the Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom and have released both a ‘Best of’ Album and a live DVD of the Barrowland gig.

“I’m Ready” – Frankie Miller

The above track is from Frankie’s 1973 debut album “Once In A Blue Moon” on which his backing band was Brinsley Schwarz who featured Nick Lowe on bass.

“The Touch Of Your Loving Hand” – Stone The Crows

The above is a Jimmy Dewar/Les Harvey (brother of Alex) composition from The Crow’s self titled 1970 album.

“Twice Removed From Yesterday” _ Robin Trower

Robin Trower and Frankie Miller got it together for awhile but never delivered songs in the studio (though their composition This Love Of Mine features on Frankie’s Full House album) instead Trower went down the power trio route like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream with Jimmy Dewar on board as bass, singer and writer and what a voice.

“Midnight Moses” – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Need I say more……………….I had the privilage of seeing SAHB support The Who at Celtic Park back in June 1976 it is said that the SAHB Christmas concerts in 1975 at the Apollo was the pinnicale of their career if so Iwould have loved to have been there.

If you don’t have the music of the above artists then get it SORTED NOW!

If you do then dig it out dust it down and go back in time.

To buy the book click HERE

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Books, Old Music | , , , , , | 2 Comments


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