Amoeblog

Interview With Derv Gordon Of The Equals

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 23, 2019 10:40pm | Post a Comment

The Equals

By Audra Wolfmann

Often credited with being one of the first interracial rock groups in the U.K., The Equals also bear the Derve Gordondistinction of being a truly international band with an inclusive sound that revolutionized rock, bringing Jamaican and African touches to British beat. The Equals seamlessly integrated R&B, soul, and ska to bubblegum long before The Specials, Talking Heads, and The Clash (who covered The Equals). Formed in 1965, the original line-up consisted of Guyanese immigrant Eddy Grant on lead guitar, Jamaican brothers Derv and Lincoln Gordon on vocals and bass (respectively), and native Brits John Hall on drums and Pat Lloyd on rhythm guitar. Their album covers stood as a testament to a brave new integrated world, one that was just within sight in mid-60’s London. Surely, if anything could bring humanity together through our differences, it was dance music. The Equals first charted in 1968 with "I Get So Excited," “Baby, Come Back,” and "Softly Softly" – infectiously danceable songs that they are still well-known for to this day.

Front man Derv Gordon will be performing at Burger Boogaloo in Oakland on Sunday, July 7th at 2pm with an all new line-up of talented young musicians, also known as the Oakland-based band SO WHAT. I had the honor to speak with Mr. Gordon on the phone about 1960’s London, changing attitudes about race and national origin, what it’s like to be back out on the road, and the upcoming Burger Boogaloo festival. (More on Burger Boogaloo HERE!)

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Psychomania is Back From the Grave

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 9, 2017 07:18pm | Post a Comment

Psychomania

By Brett Stillo

Get on your bikes and ride! That devilish blackguard Tom Latham and his gang of shaggy-haired, cycle-Psychomaniacrazy delinquents, the Death Wheelers, have come back from the grave—AGAIN—in a deluxe Blu-ray/DVD release of the 1973 horror favorite, PSYCHOMANIA!

Psychomania is an Aleister Crowley-on-Wheels, black-magic-meets-black-leather tale of witchcraft, reincarnation, myth, and motorcycles. The aforementioned Tom ('70’s favorite Nicky Henson, displaying brutish charm and swagger) and his motorcycle gang, The Living Dead, tear up the English countryside while his spiritualist mother (Beryl Reid) and her sinister butler (the elegantly satanic George Saunders in his final screen appearance) conduct weird séances at the family manor. What more could a saucy lad like Tom ask for, except maybe immortality by way of a suicide pact with the Dark One in the guise of a frog?

From there, Psychomania opens the throttle as Tom convinces his gang of baby-faced Bikers (who look like members of Badfinger) to kill themselves so they too can return to this world as indestructible, undead hooligans. The horror shifts to action as Tom and his gang roar down country roads and Psychomania Nicky Hensonancient, fog-shrouded cemeteries on their classic British racing bikes, terrorizing the local villagers.

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Skepta's "Konnichiwa"

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 7, 2016 11:51am | Post a Comment

Skepta, Konnichiwa-- By doubleay

As grime continues to blow up globally, Skepta seems to be comfortably sitting at the top of the game after the release of his fourth studio album, Konnichiwa. Although North America has been fairly aware of prominent UK MC’s like Wiley and Dizzy Rascal, the hard hitting, nitty gritty grime scene has been popping off in the UK since the early 2000’s. Ushered in by Skepta and his Boy Better Know crew, there has been a massive boom in North America for the sub-genre, almost coinciding with the 2014 release of Skepta’s “That’s Not Me (feat. JME)" single.

As North America finally began catching on to the UK’s hottest Hip-hop sound, Skepta did not slow down. From 2014 to the release of Konnichiwa (2016), singles like “That’s Not Me,” “Shutdown,” and “It Ain’t Safe (feat. A$AP Mob’s Young Lord)” all charted in the top 50’s on the UK singles chart, while simultaneously running up millions of SoundCloud plays. Through the great success of his recent music, his association with A$AP Rocky’s A$AP Mob, and a historical performance with Kanye West at the 2015 BRIT Awards, Hip-hop fans everywhere are Skepta’s for the taking.

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Crispian St. Peters 1939 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, June 15, 2010 11:38am | Post a Comment

I’ve always had a soft spot for Crispian St. Peters, the 1960’s English pop star with a lilting, lyrical, tenor voice who passed away last week at the age of 71.
 
Born Robin Peter Smith in Swanley, Kent, England, on April 5th, 1939, as a youngster he performed in a variety of local bands such as The Hard Travellers, The Two Tones and The Country Gentlemen. In 1965 after being discovered by David Nicolson, an EMI publicist, he was signed to Decca as a solo recording act. At first his new stage name was to be Crispin Blacke, but after a bit of a tussle, the name Crispian St. Peters was settled upon and simultaneously, five years was deducted from Robin Peter Smith’s age.
 
His first couple of releases however, though good, went nowhere and nowhere fast. But it was his oddly soulful cover of “You Were On My Mind,” a song which had been a million seller in the United States for the We Five, that broke him into the big time and the top ten in England and Europe. But the follow up single in 1966, “The Pied Piper,” became his biggest international hit, soaring into the top five or hitting the number one spot though out Europe, North America and Asia.
 
Originally recorded by The Changin' Times, “The Pied Piper” was written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, though the St. Peters’ version modified the lyrics slightly, perhaps helping the groovy, England swings quotient. The line "I'll show you where life's at" was changed to the much hipper "I'll show you where it's at." A slight side note, Artie Kornfeld also wrote the song "Deadman's Curve"(with Brian Wilson & Jan Berry) for Jan & Dean and the 1967 hit by the Cowsills “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things.” Kornfeld, in his early twenties, also became the vice president of Capitol Records, the youngest to hold such a position. But in 1969, Kornfeld left Capitol Records for what he is most known for, creating the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.
 
In the late sixties John Lennon was quoted as saying that Crispian St. Peters’ “The Pied Piper” was one of his favorite songs.
 
Unfortunately one of the lasting images of Crispian St. Peters, while under the slippery guidance of David Nicolson, will always be his brief transformation into an arrogant arse. The only problem was, really, Crispian St. Peters was just twenty years ahead of his time. He literally scared the hell out of the era’s conservative British music press when he suggested that he’d written some 80 songs better than anything The Beatles could write and that he was greater than Elvis Presley. He even called himself the Cassius Clay of pop, but god forbid, St. Peters probably went too far when he said he was sexier than Dave Berry. Later he said it was all just flippantly done tongue-in-cheek, just some good old rawkin’ fun.
 
After the success of "The Pied Piper” St. Peters only had a couple of other charting singles, mostly skimming the bottom of the charts. Briefly in the early seventies he reinvented himself as a country-and-western performer, but later, St. Peters found constant and continued popularity working on the Sixties nostalgia circuit, while occasionally putting out some new recordings.
 
He had a series of health problems. In January 1995, at the age of 56, he suffered a stroke, which eventually led to him being confined to a wheel chair. Over the years he suffered several nervous breakdowns and battled emphysema. His last major public performance was in 1999 and in 2001 he announced his retirement from the music industry. In 2003 he was hospitalized several times with pneumonia.
 
Like I said, I’ve always liked his work; he was also a great songwriter, though he released very few self penned singles. Crispian St. Peters was divorced and is survived by his son Lee, daughter Samantha and a grandson.
 
 
 
 

rhyme or reason not necessary

Posted by Whitmore, October 11, 2009 11:11pm | Post a Comment

This past week in Great Britain, in honor of their National Poetry Day, the BBC commissioned a poll to name Britain’s favorite poet. And oddly enough they chose the great American writer T.S. Eliot, best known for his landmark poems The Wasteland and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The 1948 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to England in his mid twenties where eventually he became a British citizen.
 
According to the BBC, more than 18,000 people voted online. Eliot won by a narrow margin, just ahead of John Donne, the 16th and 17th Century metaphysical poet, with Benjamin Zephaniah coming in third. Zephaniah was the only living poet on the list. Born in 1958, he is a Rastafarian dub poet who last year was included in The Times' list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers. Coming in fourth was Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet who was killed in action at the Battle of the Sambre just a week before the war ended, and rounding out the Top Five was Philip Larkin, who was also renowned as a novelist and a jazz critic.
 
Many in academia’s hierarchy were a bit perturbed by the lack of rhyme or reason to the top ten finishers. No John Milton or W. H. Auden (maybe because he became an American citizen) or Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney or Ted Hughes or even this old guy named Shakespeare. Most of the great Romantic poets were also shut out: William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Carol Ann Duffy, the current Poet Laureate of Britain, didn’t make the top ten, nor did Rudyard Kipling, who back in 1995 was named Britain’s favorite poet.
 
The rest in the exclusively male top ten include William Blake, William Butler Yeats, John Betjeman, John Keats and Dylan Thomas.
 
According to those carrying out the BBC poll, for several months Wilfred Owen led in the voting, most likely reflecting the concerns over the rise of UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan this past summer. But very surprisingly, in the last few weeks, Eliot and The Wasteland pulled it out in the end.
 
While the results of the poll demonstrated a growing interest in contemporary poetry and that classic poetry still seems to have a strange hold on reader’s affections, the National Poetry Day event and Top Ten list comes on the heels of a survey conducted by the UK Literacy Association that found more than half of primary school teachers could name no more than two poets.


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