Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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Albums of Long Kesh

Beano Niblock with memories of the music listened to by loyalist prisoners in Long Kesh. His piece featured in Long Kesh Inside Out. The author is a former denizen of Long Kesh and other jails. He currently writes plays, poetry and commentary pieces.


Bad Co./Bad Company-1974

A rock classic

In a year that brought us such melodic masterpieces like Wear It’s At by The Rubettes and the masterful eponymous Quatro, 1974 can be remembered as one of the halcyon times for outstanding albums. Think Court and Spark/Joni Mitchell—461 Ocean Boulevard/Eric Clapton—Diamond Dogs/Bowie—Planet Waves/Dylan—On The Beach/Neil Young—or perhaps one of the greatest live albums of all time - It’s Too Late To Stop Now by Van Morrison.

We layabouts in Compound 11 were certainly spoiled for choice and rather cash strapped laying out all those £2:20’s. In between all the boot bulling-drilling-lectures-cleaning-route marching-exercising and protesting sometimes we were lucky enough to book an hour on the Dansette in the study hut to spin out personal favourites. It has been well documented before that many albums were synonymous with Long Kesh .…and by this time those that were most favoured would have been Tubular BellsDark Side of the MoonBand on the Run and for the older generation known as the Sad Sacks—Porter Wagoner’s Greatest Hits or the Worst of Charlie Pride. Albums like these, when being played always drew moans of despair from the younger prisoners and remarks about receiving free packets of blades with every album bought.

Bad Company


Bad Company was of course a manufactured band. Singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke from the wonderful Free plus Boz Burrell from King Crimson and Mick Ralphs late of Mott the Hoople. If the new amalgamation wasn’t being lauded as a new Supergroup-a la-Cream or to a certain extent CSNY– much was expected of them —-and they didn’t disappoint.

Rodgers’s voice was a powerful fulcrum for the band. He epitomised rock and roll with his raunchy much imitated voice and with the band signed to Swan Song records — Led Zeppelin’s label — they had truly arrived with a bang. The album-Bad Co. was released early in 1974 with the first single coming right away. Can’t Get Enough of your Love remains the bands highest charting single. Although the song was credited to Mick Ralphs it could have been lifted straight from a Free back catalogue and rivalled Alright Now for intensity and rockability — testimony to Rodgers wondrous voice. Indeed, such esteem was he held in, that in between the breakup of Free and the formation of bad Company Rodgers was the number one choice to replace Jim Morrison as lead singer of the Doors after that talismans untimely death in July 1971.





Bad Co. Was much played in Eleven that summer and for many of us was a great antidote to the saccharin sweet drivel that plagued the charts. By the following year the same line up would regale us with another masterpiece - Straight Shooter complete with my personal favourite Paul Rogers lyric — “Johnny was a schoolboy when he heard his first Beatle song—Love Me Do I think it was………"

In 1976 they released their third album — Running With the Pack. This album was a particular favourite for one of my closest friends — in Cage 21 — who used it for the next 12 years as a writing pad when composing letters home. The myriad of inscriptions on it over all of those years would have given a cryptographer a few nights overtime in Bletchley Park, attempting to decipher the modern day hieroglyphics. Both were great albums with some exceptional tracks but the immediacy of Bad Co. ensured that this was the album we — of a certain age and disposition — would remember them by.

We watched in wonder when we seen them on television performing on of their classic tracks ... we dreamed of the day when we could wear those tight fighting loons, and platform shoes — rather than the quasi paramilitary garb we were now used to — to be allowed to grow our hair to almost unmanageable lengths rather than the short back and sides that was now regulation fare.

The music alone was what made us semi-rebels — and that was as good as it got.

12 comments :

AM said...

Loved that Bad Company album from the jail. I read that Rodgers (what a voice) was also considered by Page as a frontman for Zeppelin before he settled on Plant.

AM said...

Frankie,

this is one that will row your boat! As for me, I have been humming Bad Co tunes all day. Fuck you Beano!!!

AM said...

How to go asleep with a belly full of bourbon and a head full of 'Can't get enough of your love' - that is the question.

Robert said...

Anthony,

How to go asleep with a belly full of bourbon and a head full of 'Can't get enough of your love' - that is the question.

Somewhat late with a remedy - may I suggest, for future reference, you might try addressing your 'malady' with more bourbon!

AM said...

not at this time Robert! Beside there is only brandy and rum left!! Red wine as well but I will probably forego the dubious pleasures of it all for a few days. I don't like to let it go too long because then I lose the taste for it and avoid it altogether!

AM said...

From Beano

Who said nostalgia was a thing of the past? Its right here-right now. Even scribbling a few inane lines about something as trivial as a 40 year old LP gives great pleasure and brings back fantastic memories. Pity my time listening to it couldn’t have been spent in more pleasant surroundings but sure...........Now, if I want to listen to Cant get Enough..its straight to Youtube....I have a Nano no bigger than a matchbox with 40 albums on it that I can listen to on long journeys. But can that beat the feeling of booking the record player—an hour max---and carrying a couple of treasured albums out to the study hut..with a plastic beaker of coffee a couple of letter pages and a biro? Not to me it cannot. Will you forget those selfish feelings when someone-a friend-had the temerity to ask you for the loan of a newly gotten masterpiece—the fear you had that they might somehow scrape it..or they would allow a mini fur coat to accumulate on the stylus rendering your LP dirty...or that they would be insolent enough to actually use the cover to lean on whilst writing a letter? Now that is sacrilege...........And fuck me too Anthony...”Well it’s late and I want Love—Love that’s gonna break me in two”.............

frankie said...

Beano,
I read your piece before Anthony flagged it to me but i didn't have the time to reply. This is the second time I've seen you 'slate' Charlie Pride. Charlie unlike yourself or your comrades wasn't a semi rebel but an original Rockabilly Rebel who started his recording career at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis Tenn. unfortunately only one of his recording of that time exist (it's a track called Walkin', later recorded by The Diamonds).

Charlie grew up in the Mississippi Delta, picked cotton and unlike most of his friends didn't listen to the blues on radio shows like Red & Hot Blue hosted by Dewey Philips but would tune into WSM every Saturday night and listen to Country greats such Ernie Tubb, Webb Pierce, Bill Monroe and Hank Williams (who was hell raising before the word was invented and would put most rock stars to shames with his antics) coming straight from Rymans..

Charlie was a ground breaker.. A black man singing white soul music (country) in the Opry during the civil rights in the deep south... That takes balls. His first two albums didn't have his picture on them because of the racism that was around. Charlie played the Opry, Elvis Presley didn't even pass the audition...

Leave Charlie alone... Slag off todays Country pop wanabe's all you want and I'll agree. Charlie was an original Honky Tonk Hero...

AM said...

From Beano

Frankie...hope I haven’t hit a nerve there with the Charlie Pride thing..you’re not crying in your beer or preparing to bury a sad eyed hound are you? The thing is too..I am neither a hater of CP or country music for that matter—unless of course it was the Irish variety..courtesy of the Beg, Big Tom or similar type yahoo’s. I had my fill of this brand of music to do me and would still avoid the Uncle Hugo show at all costs. What I am relating was the disparagement in musical styles in the compounds. By and large the majority of people there-and then-were young lads who as you can imagine shared a love of rock..and roll...and progressive and a little bat of glam. Country to me was Gram Parsons..Emmylou..CSNY..and the funkier Little Feat. I would never doubt the credentials of the true C and W legends..Cash..Cline and especially Williams. However the thing with Charlie was that his music was seen as a bye word or some sort of thinly disguised code for the “Big D’s”. If you were unfortunate enough to the hear the first plaintive wails of...” Rain dripping of the brim of my hat.....”—you were sure to reach for the nearest pack of Blue Gillettes yourself. Charlie became synonymous with older-normally-married guys who liked writing.....”letters back home”.. Much of the stick handed out was of a good natured variety—and normally accepted as such. Once however the hump was well and truly taken. In 18..early 75, our TV was broken. The record player had been booked/commandeered for the entire evening by the hut OC. It was a Tuesday night..he received his visit every Tuesday and in the wake of said visits wrote prolifically that evening. The Dansette was piled high with Country Standards and the volume was set so high you could be mistaken for thinking that you had a front seat at the Ryman itself. For an hour the rest of us..card playing..handicraft doing..reading or otherwise idle people..glumly stuck Porter Wagoner vowing undying love for wee Dolly..we had another hour of Freddie Hank Snow to look forward to....someone—a hero it turned out later—and unbeknown to the rest of us had inserted Monty Python Live at Drury Lane into the OC’s pile. Just as we were expecting hank to tell us that there was no Fool Such as he.................” I never wanted to do this job in the first place..I wanted to be..to be...A Lumberjack”...Cue Mayhem...........with lots of repercussions and accusations..........and punishment. But it was worth it!!

AM said...

From Beano

Frankie...hope I haven’t hit a nerve there with the Charlie Pride thing..you’re not crying in your beer or preparing to bury a sad eyed hound are you? The thing is too..I am neither a hater of CP or country music for that matter—unless of course it was the Irish variety..courtesy of the Beg, Big Tom or similar type yahoo’s. I had my fill of this brand of music to do me and would still avoid the Uncle Hugo show at all costs. What I am relating was the disparagement in musical styles in the compounds. By and large the majority of people there-and then-were young lads who as you can imagine shared a love of rock..and roll...and progressive and a little bat of glam. Country to me was Gram Parsons..Emmylou..CSNY..and the funkier Little Feat. I would never doubt the credentials of the true C and W legends..Cash..Cline and especially Williams. However the thing with Charlie was that his music was seen as a bye word or some sort of thinly disguised code for the “Big D’s”. If you were unfortunate enough to the hear the first plaintive wails of...” Rain dripping of the brim of my hat.....”—you were sure to reach for the nearest pack of Blue Gillettes yourself. Charlie became synonymous with older-normally-married guys who liked writing.....”letters back home”.. Much of the stick handed out was of a good natured variety—and normally accepted as such. Once however the hump was well and truly taken. In 18..early 75, our TV was broken. The record player had been booked/commandeered for the entire evening by the hut OC. It was a Tuesday night..he received his visit every Tuesday and in the wake of said visits wrote prolifically that evening. The Dansette was piled high with Country Standards and the volume was set so high you could be mistaken for thinking that you had a front seat at the Ryman itself. For an hour the rest of us..card playing..handicraft doing..reading or otherwise idle people..glumly stuck Porter Wagoner vowing undying love for wee Dolly..we had another hour of Hank Snow to look forward to....someone—a hero it turned out later—and unbeknown to the rest of us had inserted Monty Python Live at Drury Lane into the OC’s pile. Just as we were expecting hank to tell us that there was no Fool Such as he.................” I never wanted to do this job in the first place..I wanted to be..to be...A Lumberjack”...Cue Mayhem...........with lots of repercussions and accusations..........and punishment. But it was worth it!!

frankie said...

Beano,
I understand country musc isn't your or everyones cup of tea.. but the next time you go and hide in your log cabin in your garden to think great thoughts etc... get your hands on ' The Legend of Jesse James and listen to it...

It's a concept album that plays and sounds like a book and if you never buy or own a country album in your collection.. At least give this a spin. You can download the complete album by downloading and installing a piece of software (it wont give your PC or lappy malware, a virus or VD), called Soulseek , it's a P2P music file sharing site (I've been using it for years since I got a 25 year record/CD collection stolen a few yrs back)

The artists who participated on the album are music legends in their own right.. the main players are Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm (from the Band & Hawks), Albert lee and Charlie Daneils.

AM said...

from Beano

Frankie....misconceptions first..I don’t dislike Country music..just various forms of it as mentioned..as in the Hugo Duncan variety. Some of the artists you mention on the Jesse james album feature in my own collection..Emmylou and Levon Helm..in fact of the 4 or 5 albums I carry in my car the one I am playing most at the moment is a wee gem—Bow Thayer featuring LH..Spend It All. If you haven’t got that I would highly recommend...the tracks were LH plays are just throwbacks to the halcyon days of The Band. Although I rarely download music I will have a look at the link you sent me. And although I continuously buy CD’s I play them less and less and have box loads lying about all over the place!! As I say I carry some in the car and change them usually on a whim...at the moment I have Rolling Stones Anthology..playing disc one and all their early stuff...the last Arctic Monkeys album..Bow Thayer and Jerusalem/Steve Earle. What about yourself?

frankie said...

What about myself Beano,

I walk around with an MP3 plugged into my ears and I listen to Big Boy Cruddup, Sister Rosetta, Merle Haggard.... Warren Smith (kinda the usual suspects for a Rockabilly)..

What I used to do to blot out the troubles was put on a pair of head phones and listen to who ever and read the album sleeve notes and soon I figured out (12-14yrs old at the time) there was basically the Nashville A team from studio B who recorded with RCA and the west Coast 'Wreckin' Crew...

All I know about Levon is he's up with the Gods and I'll link and you tube the Jesse James album and post it as an article on TPQ). I might even do White Mansions one day...