Monthly Archives: November 2009

June 2nd 1974

“Sold G800 for £3.50”

So, having bought a new record stylus/cartridge a few weeks ago, I discover that – like dustbugs – a second-hand market for used styli.

G800 refers to my Goldring G800.

35 years later – that’s THIRTY-FIVE YEARS later – you can still buy a new stylus for a G800 cartridge, and for a mere £8.50.

I don’t know what’s more astonishing… that I was able to sell a used stylus in 1974 or that someone is still manufacturing the same thing 3½ decades later and be able to sell it for just £8.50?!



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June 1st 1974

“Went up Tims for a music session, recorded Biffo the Bear”

Yes, OK, it’s finally time for me to admit I was in a band.

I had hoped to keep my true identity secret, but it would seem that my 1974 diary has now undermined my anonymity.

So, fans, if you’ve stumbled across this website (and now, this post) your wish has suddenly come true. You have successfully tracked down your seventies pop idol and it appears I can no longer continue to live in the quiet obscurity I have enjoyed for the last 35 years.

If I can cope with the very notion I will write more about my recordings – and subsequent stardom – in future diary entries, but ask you in the meantime to please keep this news to yourself so that I am not mobbed by people when I next walk across to the supermarket to buy a pint of milk.

In the event you haven’t worked out who I am, may I suggest you google the phrase “Biffo the Bear Hit Single” where you will find out everything you will need to know about my past brush with the Top 30 singles and album chart.

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May 26th 1974

“Sold Dust Bug”

So, back in January, I buy a dust bug for my record deck, only to sell it 5 months later?

There was a second-hand market for dust bugs?

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(1974 Albums) Various Artists – The House That Track Built

I believe I bought this Track Records budget compilation from Woolworths’ music department in Eastleigh.

In terms of a budget compilation it certainly had a LOT going for it. Here’s the track listing….
• The Who – Magic Bus
• Jimi Hendrix Experience – All along the Watchtower
• The Sandpebbles – Love Power
• The Who – Young Man Blues
• The Precisions – If this is Love
• Thunderclap Newman – Wilhemina
• John’s Children – Desdemona
• The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Fire
• Jimi Hendrix Experience – Purple Haze
• The Parliaments – (I Wanna) Testify
• Fairport Convention – If I had a Ribbon Bow
• The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Devil’s Grip
• The Who – A Quick One While He’s Away

Track Records was a label set up by The Who’s managers, Chris Stamp &  Kit Lambert, so it’s no wonder that their boys get the lion’s share of cuts, and “Magic Bus” has always been one of my favourite Townshend & Co cuts (outside of the “Quadrophenia” album… more about that in a later post).

For the unaware, John’s Children was an early incarnation of T.Rex’s Marc Bolan. The cut here, “Desdemona“, was actually banned by the BBC when it came out, the lyric “Lift up your skirt and fly” evidently corrupting the youth of Britain. There’s really no doubting Bolan’s distinctive warble in the background is there?

Fire” is, as this blog has mentioned before, a psychedelic prog rock classic of the very highest order. We tip our (probably flaming) hat to Arthur Brown for that one!

The Sandpebbles “Love Power” was their one and only R&B hit (at least, in the USA), whilst The Precisions – another R&B offering by Track – were probably the only Motown-sounding band from Detroit who weren’t actually signed to Motown!

Let’s face it, Fairport Convention are never worth talking about. 

The Parliaments - that's George Clinton on the right!

However, The Parliaments are hugely notable for being the precursor to Funkadelic & Parliament, all featuring the one and only P-funkmeister; Mr George Clinton. (Many of The Parliaments songs were later re-recorded by both bands after a label dispute was settled in the early 70’s)

Thunderclap Newman had one hit single during their brief career, the sublime “Something in the Air“. Newman himself was a Dixieland jazz pianist, whilst the band featured not only an uncredited Pete Townshend on guitar, but a 15-year-old axe virtuoso, Jimmy McCullogh, who later went on to play in Stone the Crows, Paul McCartney’s Wings and an ill-advised 1977 reformation of The Small Faces. (McCullogh died of a heroin overdose in 1979, aged just 26)

You do have to say though that for the Hendrix and Who tracks alone this album was worth every penny of its entrance fee. Surprisingly, it wasn’t an album I held on to… which in retrospect is one hell of a shame as original UK copies regularly fetch three figure sums on the likes of eBay. (Mainly because it’s the only album where that studio version of The Who’s “Young Man Blues” appears)


Just to let you know, EFA70sTRO posts will continue to appear a little sporadically for a week or so. This is due to the necessary ‘catch up’ following my battle with the flu. Once again, apologies to all the regular readers out there.


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A Brief Haitus

Sorry readers – a (hopefully) brief illness is currently preventing me from updating this blog with the same regularity as you’ve become accustomed to since its launch.

Regular service should resume shortly. Please continue to check back. It’s not my boredom with the project as a result of scant diary entires…. honest!

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April 19th until May 25th 1974

Sorry – nothing

Another extended period of sod all being written in my diary pages.

Once again I can only apologise for this hiccup in the blog’s proceedings and can only hope it is something that is not repeated in 1975 and beyond, otherwise the entire project may crawl pathetically to a premature end.

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(1974 Albums) Bill Haley & the Comets – Rock Around the Clock

The first song to be considered a “rock & roll” hit (reaching #15 on the Billboard charts) was Bill Haley’s 1953 single “Crazy Man, Crazy

That same year a song was written specifically for Haley called “Rock Around the Clock“. He recorded and released it a year later to be met with disappointing sales; it stayed in the charts for just one measly week.

Haley then scored a massive worldwide hit with a cover of Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle & Roll“, credited as the first ever rock & roll single to enter the UK charts.

1955 saw the release of the landmark film “Blackboard Jungle“. The opening credits were soundtracked by “Rock Around the Clock” which was promptly regenerated sales-wise, eventually reaching the top of the Billboard charts and staying there for a quite incredible (for the 1950’s) eight weeks.

In the UK its success was stretched out over an amazing 19 months. It reached #7 in January 1955, then enjoyed further sales in November when it went to the top of the charts for a week. Then, incredibly, it returned to #1 in January 1956  and continued to sell the rest of year, rising as high as #5 in September.

In 1974 – the year of this diary entry – “Rock Around the Clock” achieved further sales success, rising again to #12 on the UK singles chart. This was due to the song being included in the film “American Graffiti“, director George Lucas’ fabulous homage to the rock & roll era.

This would have been when I became aware of Haley’s legacy and influence on the other music I was listening to and wanted to hear it. But, cheap bugger that I was, instead of forking out for the single I instead snagged the LP on Hallmark’s budget record label.

It would be many years before I fully realised that this album was not completely ‘kosher’. It was actually a collection of Haley’s hits re-recorded in 1970 for a Swedish label. Hallmark merely licensed it for the UK – to cash in on the success of the single – where it proved to be one of their biggest sellers.

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(1974 Album) Eric Clapton – Rainbow Concert

Eric Clapton is considered by many people as one of the best guitarists in the world.

I am not one of those people.

Instead I think he is personally responsible for the pretentious habit most other guitarists have for ‘grimacing intently’ when squeezing out a high note, almost as if they are simultaneously squeezing out something particularly spiky from between their arse cheeks.

This album is a hybrid recording of the two “all-star” shows performed at London’s Rainbow Theatre in January 1973. Shows put together by The Who’s Pete Townshend to help out Clapton who was allegedly in the midst of his big heroin addiction.

Townshend persuaded Clapton ex-bandmates (Steve Winwood & Rick Grech from Blind Faith) and other rock luminaries of the time (Ronnie Wood from The Faces, Jimmy Karstein from J.J. Cale’s band plus Jim Capaldi and Rebop from Winwood’s band Traffic) to perform.

They played a set list which included old blues numbers, stuff from Clapton’s work with Cream and Blind Faith, JJ Cale’s “After Midnight”  and, of course, the ubiquitous “Layla“.

The pedigree is therefore good.

But, as far as I am concerned, it’s all mutt.

Yet another album which, given hindsight, I have NO idea why I owned. None at all.

Trivia note: These concerts are said to have reignited Clapton’s interest in music, which in turn led to “461 Ocean Boulevard“, “Slowhand“, “August” and a whole slew of other distinctively average recordings. Not to mention “Tears in Heaven” and “Wonderful Tonight“. Pete Townshend’s certainly got a lot to answer for.

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