Archive for the ‘Wally’ Category

Leo Sayer Newcastle City Hall 11th September 1974

Leo Sayer Newcastle City Hall 11th September 1974
leo74tixThis might seem a guilty pleasure today, but trust me, it seemed far from it “back in the day”. Leo Sayer was a pretty cool guy, with a hot debut album “Silverbird”. He first came into the public eye as the guy who appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test dressed as a clown (or in a pierrot style costume, to be precise), co-wrote songs (with David Courtney) for Roger Daltrey’s solo lp including the hit single “Giving it All Away”, and was managed by Adam Faith (another cool guy). Leo’s second single “The Show Must Go On” was of course, a massive hit. He also appeared as support act on tours by Roxy Music and Elton John, which I foolishly missed.
From Leo Sayer’s bio on his website: “the B.B.C. offered Leo a slot on their T.V. rock show, “The Old Grey Whistle Test”.Leo came on the show dressed as the Pierrot and such was the reaction to his performance, the entire business noted that a new star was born.”leo74prog
I had the “Silverbird” album and played in endlessly, my favourite tracks being the rocky “Drop Back”, “Slow Motion” and the very dark, moody, almost scary “Dancer”. Listen to the album, and don’t be put off by Sayer’s later poppier and disco material, it’s classic stuff, he was a great singer-songwriter when he emerged.
I first got to see Leo Sayer when he toured in September 1974, calling at Newcastle City Hall. By then the clown outfit had gone; Leo, his songs and his excellent band were strong enough to stand in their own right. The tour came just before the release of his second album “Just a Boy”. I was hooked, particularly on seeing him perform “Dancer”. Support for the UK tour came from Wally, a progressive rock band from Harrogate, who were presumably named after the festival chant.
Sputnik music says of the “Silverbird” album: “The first – and, in this reviewer’s opinion, only worthwhile – album from British artist Leo Sayer. Few people know that before Leo Sayer became the white-fro sporting King of Disco, he was an artist……”Silverbird” is very dark and depressing at its heart. It’s a concept album, in that the themes of isolation and sadness weave each of the songs together. I would give this album a 4 out of 5. This is a side of Sayer we only see briefly in his follow up album “Just A Boy,” and then it dies, replaced by a bad disco singer who sold out.”

The Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1975

The Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1975
reading75flyerThe Reading Festival hit its peak of success in the mid ’70s, and the 1975 festival sold out in advance. Although the previous years’ festivals that I had attended all seemed pretty full, you were still able to roll up and pay at the entrance. In 1975 the success of the festival and the draw of bands like Yes and Wishbone Ash ensured the site was completely packed, with hardly any room to be found in the campsites and car parks.
Friday line-up: Stella, Judas Priest, Wally, Kokomo, UFO, Dr Feelgood, Hawkwind. Judas Priest were an up and coming heavy rock band and were gigging constantly, as were UFO. Kokomo were a jazz/rock/funk outfit who were very successful during the ’70s. But the big success of Friday (and arguably the entire weekend) was Dr Feelgood, who were a massive hit with the festival crowd; Wilko and Lee being on red hot form. I was with a couple of guys who had recently become big Feelgood fans; “Back In The Night” had just been released and they were constantly singing it in my ear. “All around visible signs of the Doctor’s now-massive popularity – such as the many home-made banners (“Feelgood”, “Wilko” et al), the rapturous reception, the sea-of-weaving arms” (NME, 1975). “When Dr Feelgood stamped off they had within an hour, transformed this alfresco association into a tiny, sweaty, steaming R&B club. Charisma is too weak a word to describe what the Feelgoods had going for them that night.” (Brian Harrigan, Melody Maker, August 30, 1975). Hawkwind were ok, but it was cold, and they found it difficult to follow the Feelgood’s storming set.
readingprog75Saturday line-up: Zzebra, SNAFU, Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, Kursaal Flyers, Thin Lizzy, Alan Stivell, Heavy Metal Kids (billed simply as “Kids” in the programme), Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Supertramp, Yes.
My memories are of Thin Lizzy delivering an excellent set as always; they were gradually building up their own following and would soon break through to become massive; The Heavy Metal Kids being as OTT as ever; and Yes, who were amazing. I must also mention the Kursaal Flyers, who are sadly often forgotten in the history of pub rock; they would hit the charts in the following year with the great pop single: “Little Does She Know” (“I know that she knows that I know she’s two timing me”). Supertramp were on the verge of mega-success; they had hit the charts with “Dreamer” and had a considerable following. I was, and remain, a big Yes fan and their performance at Reading came at a point where the band were at the peak of their success. I recall it being very cold, with epic versions of “Close to the Edge” and “And You and I”, and a great version of “Roundabout” as an encore (very late and off to our tents). A bootleg exists of Yes’ set that night: Sound Chaser; Close To The Edge; And You And I; Awaken; The Gates Of Delirium; I’ve Seen All Good People; Ancient; Long Distance Run Around; Ritual; Roundabout.
reading75Sunday line-up: Joan Armatrading, Babe Ruth, String Driven Thing, Climax Blues Band, Caravan, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Robin Trower, Wishbone Ash. My memory of Sunday is of Wishbone Ash. Like Yes they were enjoying massive success at the time, and also like Yes they played a set of pure class, with the twin guitars of Andy Powell and Laurie Wisefield soaring through the cool, late Sunday evening.
Our DJs for the weekend were once again John Peel and Jerry Floyd. The weather was cold, with some rain, and the beer can fights were constant throughout the weekend. The festival had always been an organised, carefully planned event, but was becoming even more commercial. The nature of the festival, and its line-up, would transform further in the years which followed; with the emergence of punk and the re-emergence of heavy metal through the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). Any elements of the jazz festivals of the 60s had also disappeared.
Thanks to BaldBoris for allowing his image of the festival to be used through the WikiMedia Commons licence agreement.