Vintage Rock magazine is one of those fascinating niche music monthlies which make choosing at Smiths so hard these days. They cover the 50s and 60s in detail, with plenty of emphasis on the UK scene back then and so when they heard about Brian Smith’s Blues photo book were keen to interview him and show some of his photographs. The magazine is out now, Issue 25 (April / June) and well worth a look, although it tends to be stocked only by the bigger magazine outlets (though you can buy it direct from the publishers.) Thanks to Rik and Jack at Vintage Rock for permission to reproduce a couple of pages from the article. The shot here is one of a series Brian took from the side of the stage during a Rolling Stones concert… what an experience!
Great little featurette about the Top Of The Pops albums on the Radio 2 Drive Time show on April 20th. We were contacted by one of the show’s researchers about mid-day ‘desperately seeking Tim’. I got hold of Tim (author of the upcoming book When Cover Girls Ruled The Charts) and he was feeling up to it, so put them in touch. They had apparently been talking about the albums on the show the day before, so this was by way of a follow up. The DJ played a few clips of TOTPs cover versions and Tim (on a landline, there wasn’t time to get down to the nearest BBC studio for a high-quality connection) was able to fill in some of the background.
Pushed for a release date for the book, Tim announced a pre-Xmas publication this year. Now he’s on record we can hopefully – judging from the amount of pre-interest over the last couple of years – make the best-seller chart! Mind you, someone did remind me that I had mentioned the possibility of the book way back in 2002 on the sleeve notes to a Hot Hits CD compilation (issued by RPM Records – well worth tracking down). So it has been a long time in the works.
Vintage Rock magazine are running an illustrated feature on photographer Brian Smith, which is great publicity for our upcoming Blues photo book Boom Boom Boom Boom. They have requested a batch of photographs, though as yet we are not sure what they will use. We will post more details when we know the issue date.
In the meantime here is a photograph which Brian most certainly did not take! It shows him back-stage meeting Little Richard at a show in Manchester in the early 60s. Although Brian went along to snap the musicians, he was a big fan and if the chance to be recorded for posterity with one of the stars came up, he and his friends would take turns with the camera. So we don’t know who took this, but it’s one of those magic moments a lot of people would be happy to have experienced. There are a couple more shots of Brian with the stars on the site. It just leaves one question, who knitted that jumper?
Just to let people know we have finally got to the end of the last chapter of the Graham Bonnet biography layout. We have overshot the page count by a bit, but are meeting up with the author in a couple of days to run through the pages one more time, so will hopefully be able to squeeze everything in. Inevitably new pictures are still arriving but we have to draw a line somewhere! There are a few photographs which now have to be cleared and licensed and then we can begin to prepare the artwork files for print.
For anyone who has only recently subscribed for the Graham Bonnet biography newsletters, we have added the older ones to the site in PDF format so you can read through and catch up if you wish. Keep in mind some of the links may now be out of date and some of the information might have also been updated. The latest newsletter will go out this week, so make sure you subscribe if you want to get that.
The book of Brian Smith’s fabulous Sixties Blues photographs – Boom Boom Boom Boom – is pushing along nicely, albeit a little behind schedule! But we’re pleased to be able to show the first page visuals at last. Brian has also had some of his photographs selected for a really interesting new documentary on some of the Blues sidemen who perhaps never got the recognition of some of their peers. Titled Sidemen : The Long Road To Glory, you can see an exclusive trailer for the project at the producer’s official Vimeo site. Universal have also requested a dozen of his images for an upcoming Chess blues box set. If you haven’t yet checked the book out, you can read the full details on the site.
We had a couple of meetings last week with Graham’s manager as the group are currently on tour in the UK, and finalised plans for the book editions. We will send out a newsletter next week to subscribers with all the details (you can get on the exclusive mailing list by visiting the book page on the site). I’ve never been to a rock show in Skegness before, and apparently it is 49 years since Graham last played there as a teenager! We then took in a more regular concert in Leeds, and watched the band sound-checking beforehand, where this picture was taken. There is a review of the shows and more pictures on the Deep Purple site here.
Graham Bonnet Band, soundcheck, Leeds, Feb 2016. Photo : Simon Robinson