1st July 2013
"Basically, Johnny Moped" is a new independent feature length documentary produced by Dartmouth Films and Heavenly Films. For more information see their new website here:
Formed in 1974 by a group of school friends from Croydon, Johnny Moped were the band fronted by, and named after the enigmatic Paul Halford (aka Johnny Moped). By 1977 the group found themselves at the heart of the burgeoning punk scene in London and for a brief moment even looked like contenders.
'When I first met Johnny, I just thought, this guy is a bundle of frenetic energy; he’s a megastar waiting to happen.’ (Captain Sensible)
By 1978, after an intense year of activity, the band were completing their first record with Chiswick Records and things were looking promising. But whilst adding the final touches to the record, Johnny - who had recently married - started to become evasive as his mother-in-law exerted pressure on him to leave the group. 'In the end we had to basically kidnap him every time we had a gig or needed to record!' recalled Dave Berk the bands drummer.
Despite being able to count both Chrissie Hynde and Captain Sensible as past members, success was not to come their way and Johnny Moped are now largely forgotten - punk rock’s great lost band!
Their story is however a fascinating one that, along with some of the era’s most innovative music deserves to be heard.
23rd June 2013
Mary Love Remembered
I first came across Mary Love’s wonderful music as a teenager, dancing to ‘You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet’ and ‘Lay This Burden Down’ at “Old Soul” gatherings for lovers of the uptempo mid 60s soul sound (soon to be coined Northern Soul in the UK). As a record collector I had picked up other Modern label recordings like ‘Let Me Know’ and ‘Hey Stoney Face’ over the years and got to love her ballad ‘Baby I’ll Come’ too. In the late 70s my friend and eventual co-founder of the 6Ts Randy Cozens turned me on to ‘I’m In Your Hands’, the flip of ‘You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet’, that I had foolishly neglected for the excellence of the disc’s other side. With Randy’s championing of it that track became something of an anthem for the early 6Ts dances and when we switched to all-nighters it was adopted as an appropriately emotional and majestic ender to the night’s soul session.
13th June 2013
William Daron Pulliam – better known as funk and soul icon Darondo – passed away from heart failure on Sunday June 9th.
Born and bred in Berkeley, California, Darondo first played professionally at the age of 18 in the Witnesses, a blue-eyed soul troupe resident at East Bay teen club the Lucky 13 in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that the singer-guitarist hit his stride. He fashioned a unique blend of down-and-dirty funk and sweet soul, informed by Al Green, James Brown, the Dells and others, but always identifiable by his own special delivery, as he slid from gravelly baritone to wailing falsetto in the space of a measure. Being a musician was however just one facet of this gregarious, flamboyant individual, who made the scene in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area with snazzy threads and a tricked-out Rolls Royce Silver Cloud as his wheels.
15th May 2013
Midsummer is always a special month for European lovers of Southern Soul. For the past 25 years, in a small, friendly, picturesque ‘spa town’ in Northern Italy called Porretta Terme, Italian music promoter and Otis Redding obsessive Graziano Uliani has been curating and ‘creatively directing’ Porretta Soul, probably the longest running - and almost certainly the best – music festival of its kind anywhere in the world.