45 Years

Walsall, October 9th 2011


"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration of love for the history of our band.



Two score and five years ago, four members of a great band, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, joined together in ear’holy catastrophe. This momentous union came as a great beacon of hope to millions of fun loving rockers. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of dreary anticipation.



But forty five years later, the Slade fan still is not acknowledged. Forty five years later, the life of the Slade fan is still sadly crippled by the manacles of copyright and the chains of corporate oppression. Forty five years later, the Slade fan lives on a lonely island of obscurity in the midst of a vast ocean of commercial prosperity. Forty five years later, the Slade fan still languishes in the corner of the Pop music society and finds himself an exile in his own world. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. 



In a sense we've come to our institution to cash a cheque. Be it Inspiration, Innovation, Outstanding Contribution or even Living Legend. It is obvious today, insofar as bands of colour are concerned, that Rock & Roll has defaulted on this promissory note. Instead of honouring this sacred obligation, Rock & Roll has given the Slade fan a bad cheque, a cheque which has come back marked "insufficient funds." 



But we refuse to believe that the Bank of Rock & Roll is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this institution. And so, we've come to cash this cheque, a cheque that will give us upon demand, the riches of video and the security of acknowledgement. 



We have also come to this hallowed forum to remind Rock & Roll of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of complacency or to take the tranquillising drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of induction. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of ridicule to the sunlit path of international recognition. Now is the time to lift our institution from the quicksand’s of apathy to the solid rock of unity. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of Rock Music's brethren. 



It would be fatal for the institution to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Slade fan's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of recognition and equality. Two Thousand and Eleven is not an end, but a beginning. And those who think that the Slade fan needs to blow off steam and will now be content, will have a rude awakening if the institution returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor respite in Rock & Roll until the Slade fan is granted his honorary rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our institution until the bright day of homage emerges. 


But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold that leads into the Hall of Fame: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for recognition by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into verbal abuse. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting negativity with perseverance. 



The marvellous new militancy which has engulfed the Slade fan community must not lead us to a distrust of all corporate people, for many of our corporate brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their recognition is inextricably bound to our recognition. 



We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. 



There are those who are asking the devotees of Slade, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Slade fan is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of apathy and ridicule. We can never be satisfied as long as our band, laden with a vast catalogue of music, are remembered for just two songs. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Slade fan's basic novelty is moved from amusing sartorial elegance to a seasonal refrain. 



We can never be satisfied as long as our band are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity because of mistakes made by the spin-doctors. We cannot be satisfied as long as our group are sullied by the media for the length of their hair or the cut of their clothes. 


No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until the world acknowledges, “Slade are for life NOT just for Xmas.” 



I am not unmindful that some of you have come here today out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come from areas where your quest – a quest for recognition that left you battered by the storms of legal persecution. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. 



Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Wolverhampton, go back to Birmingham, go back to Essex, go back to the archives and libraries of our Midland cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. 



Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. 



And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Rock & Roll dream. 



I have a dream that one day this institution will rise up and live out the true meaning of its criteria. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all groups are created equal. 



I have a dream that, one day in the hallowed pages of Classic Rock magazine, the members of former inductees and the members of Slade will be able to sit down together at the table in agreement. 



I have a dream that one day even the continent of America, a country basking in the glow of apathy, sweltering with the heat of cynicism, will be transformed into an oasis of recognition and acknowledgement. 



I have a dream that our four band members will one day live in a institution where they will not be judged by the colour of their clothes but by the content of their character. 



I have a dream today! 



I have a dream that one day, down in Ohio, with its vacuous record company heads, with its vice-chairman having his head spinning with the words of "nomination" and "evaluation" -- one day right there in Cleveland glitter rock victims and glam rock veterans will be able to join hands with conformists and corporate suits as brothers. 



I have a dream today!


I have a dream that one day, Noddy Holder, Dave Hill, Jim Lea & Don Powell will be exalted, the glitter wiped away, the music appreciated, the faux pas’ forgotten and the glory of the band shall be revealed and all men shall see it together. 

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go to the Midlands with. 

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our institution into a beautiful symphony of agreement. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to play together, to struggle together, to stand up for recognition together, knowing that we will be acknowledged one day. 

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of Slade's fans will be able to sing with new meaning: 

See us here 
See us there 
Pick us out anywhere 
Take a look 
We’re everywhere 
So what makes you 
Stop and stare 

And if Rock & Roll is to be a great institution, this must become true. 

And so, let recognition ring from the all the bands that were influenced by them. 

Let recognition ring from New York’s Twisted Sister. 

Let recognition ring from Detroit’s Alice Cooper. 

Let recognition ring from Gene Simmons and Kiss. 

Let recognition ring from Black Sabbath & Ozzy Osbourne. 

But not only that: 

Let recognition ring from Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. 

Let recognition ring from Roger Daltrey, Paul McCartney and Bob Geldof. 

Let recognition ring from Europe and Asia and Australia. 

From every nation, let recognition ring. 

And when this happens, when there is recognition, when we let it ring from every village and every city, from every country and every continent, we will be able to speed up that day when all of Rock's devotee’s, old men and young men, musicians, fans and critics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Slade fan spiritual: 

Well all right everybody! 
Let your hair down...."


9th October 1969 was the first reported incidence of 'Slade' in the Wolverhampton Express & Star.
To help Slade get the recognition they deserve click here



The latest release from the Salvo remastered catalogue is Sladest


Click here to read The Slade Story


With greatest respect to Dr. Martin Luther King and his 'men of colour' that stood fast to cast shame on 'segregation' and prick the conscience of an American society. I don't believe anybody out there is unaware that I have plagiarized this wonderful piece of history but, just in case, credit is due to Martin Luther King jr. who's inspirational speech has been altered to suit our cause. This is not meant to detract from the importance of the original speech in anyway.



Sladest 2011

Salvo, September 19th, 2011

SALVOCD053

Originally released in the UK in September 1973, Sladest emulated recent Slade singles by going straight to the top of the charts. After relinquishing the summit and hovering around the Top Ten towards the end of the year, it climbed back up to the Number One spot in early 1974 in the wake of the huge success of their next single Merry Xmas Everybody.

That seasonal smash wasn’t included on the album, but Sladest did contain all of Slade’s hits up to that point, as well as several singles released prior to their chart breakthrough and a handful of tracks from their underrated second album (released late in 1970), Play It Loud.

37 years, 11 months and 19 days later, Salvo are releasing an expanded version which includes three further highlights from the period concerned - the No. 2 hit My Friend Stan, its no-nonsense, rocking B-side My Town and the ingenious Django Reinhardt / Stephane Grappelli pastiche Kill ‘Em At The Hot Club Tonite (the B-side of Skweeze Me Pleeze Me) - plus a previously unreleased version of Hear Me Calling, the track with which they opened their live show for many years. The latter recording, more tightly structured than the classic, build-to-a-roar Slade Alive version (though featuring an almost identical guitar solo from Dave Hill), lay entirely forgotten until recently discovered on a vinyl acetate – which was once the property of drummer Don Powell - and serves to further strengthen the appeal of what is, to many, Slade’s strongest album. Capturing the band at the height of the glam rock fame, it contains some of the very best pop songs of the seventies.
  • The original smash hit album, expanded with four extra tracks including a previously unreleased studio version of Hear Me Calling – with the original gatefold LP packaging carefully reproduced 
  • Includes no less than five UK Number One hits 
  • Remastered by Tim Turan at Turan Audio for the finest sound quality 
  • 16-page booklet includes new sleeve notes by respected scribe and Slade aficionado Chris Ingham incorporating new interviews with Dave Hill and Don Powell
  • Perhaps the group’s finest long player, a fantastic addition to Salvo’s celebrated Slade catalogue
  • The first appearance of Sladest on CD since 1997
01. Cum On Feel The Noize
02. Look Wot You Dun
03. Gudbuy T’Jane
04. One Way Hotel
05. Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me
06. Pouk Hill
07. The Shape Of Things To Come
08. Take Me Bak ‘Ome
09. Coz I Luv You
10. Wild Winds Are Blowin’
11. Know Who You Are
12. Get Down With It
13. Look At Last Nite
14. Mama Weer All Crazee Now
15. Hear Me Calling (studio version)
16. My Friend Stan
17. My Town
18. Kill ‘em At The Hot Club Tonite
COLLECTORS’ LABEL SALVO GOES FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH AS IT CELEBRATES IT'S FIFTH BIRTHDAY

Noddy Holder has also done a sizeable interview with UNCUT magazine, which will be part of a six-page Slade feature out in October 2011 and there will be more press and media coverage around the release.

Like me, you have probably noticed that the October Uncut came out in September and features Marc Bolan. I therefore assume that the Slade Special will be in the November issue that comes out in October.... I hope?
+++Update+++
I'm told it will be in the next issue which will hit the stands at the end of October (with December on the cover I guess).


Salvo's Birthday

COLLECTORS’ LABEL SALVO GOES FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH AS IT CELEBRATES IT'S FIFTH BIRTHDAY

2 NEW RELEASES: THE PIRATES ‘SHAKIN WITH THE DEVIL’ & SLADE’S ‘SLADEST’ SET TO FURTHER ENHANCE LABEL’S REPUTATION FOR OUTSTANDING REISSUES 

The downloading generation may have the gizmos, they may have the songs, thousands upon thousands of them at the touch of their fingertips. But what they don’t have is the history in their hands – the kind of history that Salvo excels in providing.

Union Square Music’s collectors’ label is five years old in September. It’s a birthday worth celebrating for two reasons. Firstly, for a specialist imprint like Salvo to achieve such a milestone at a time of enormous and unsettling change within the industry, much of it wrought by unprecedented technological advancement, is remarkable.

Secondly, it proves there remains a market among the serious, discerning fan for re-mastered classic album reissues, unique compilations and definitive artist and label box sets. In short, the kind of product that is lovingly packaged, expertly researched, compiled, annotated, tastefully designed and features rare or unreleased tracks.

Salvo is part of West London-based Union Square Music, one of the most successful independent catalogue labels in the UK. Established in 2000, its roster has grown to more than 850 titles, while a flourishing sub-licensing division controls more than 15,000 tracks from rock to classical, jazz to punk.

Salvo’s roster of over 100 bespoke titles includes the Madness and Slade back catalogues, as well as releases by Procol Harum, The Move, The Undertones, Nazareth, Roy Harper, Liza Minnelli, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Marmalade, Bob James, The Art Of Noise and Peter Green.

In 2007 Salvo won the Music Week Catalogue Marketing Award for the Slade ‘Feel the Noize’ campaign and the MOJO Magazine Vision Award for the ‘Slade In Flame’ DVD Collectors Edition, beating a host of major label projects in each case.

Salvo has a bumper crop of high profile new releases this Autumn, two of which are The Pirates’ ‘Shakin’ With The Devil: The Best Of The Pirates 1977-1979’ and Slade’s ‘Sladest’.

The Pirates collection is a two-disc, 52-track set from the legendary power trio that backed 60s superstar Johnny Kidd, whose ‘Shakin’ All Over’ ranks as possibly the most important English rock’n’roll single of all time. Their formidable lead guitarist Mick Green was cited as a major influence on The Who’s Pete Townshend, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, AC/DC, The Ramones and Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood. Reconvening in the mid-late 70s their swashbuckling approach also earned them significant kudos among the punk movement.

’Shakin’ With The Devil’ includes all three of The Pirates’ albums – the explosive ‘Out Of Their Skulls’ (1977), ‘Skull Wars’ (1978) and ‘Happy Birthday Rock’n’Roll’ (1979) - plus rare singles and unreleased tracks, completed by Salvo’s trademark informative booklet adorned with archive photographs.

Slade’s ‘Sladest’, originally released in 1973, captures the Black Country outfit at the very acme of their glam rock fame, featuring no less than five number one hits – ‘Cum On Feel The Noise’, ‘Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me’, ‘Take Me Bak ‘Ome’, ‘Coz I Luv You’ and ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’.

The Salvo version has been expanded by four tracks, among them ‘My Friend Stan’, a number two hit in 1973, ‘My Town’ and the Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappeli pastiche, ‘Kill ‘Em At The Hot Club Tonite’, as well as a never-before-released take of ‘Hear Me Calling’, recently discovered on a vinyl acetate.

New sleeve notes by Slade aficionado Chris Ingham sit alongside new interviews with Slade guitarist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell in an accompanying 16-page booklet.

Another brace of reissues then that not only affirm Salvo’s reputation as a specialist label par excellence, but celebrate its birthday in suitably rollicking fashion. Here’s to many more.

www.unionsquaremusic.co.uk

www.salvo-music.co.uk

For further information please contact Stuart Kirkham at 9PR on 07795 844611
stuart@9pr.co.uk
stuartkirkham@mac.com

Don Powell biography

Don Powell biography: Don’s bio so far: "In 2006 Don Powell asked me to write his biography and back then I thought it would be a 2 year project like any other of my books. Today I’..."
It's great to know there will soon be something new to fill the void. Lise has been promising us this book for quite some time and there were times when it seemed like it would never happen. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel. This year, for the first time since childhood, I will look to Xmas with an air of optimism and excitement.
"Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall...."


Coz We Luv Them

Black Country Bugle – Thursday, January 13, 2011






By Brian Nicholls 

OK; so it's a bit of a play on words for determining an attention grabbing headline for this Bugle article, but .the title of Slade's 1971 number one single "Coz I Luv You" - written in just twenty minutes by Noddy Holder - was just that too good to resist! 

Seriously though, the title sums up perfectly the dedication and contagious enthusiasm of fans Carole Williams and Chris Selby, who are keeping the flame alight for 1960's local Black Country pop groups The 'N Betweens, and then through their metamorphosis first into Ambrose Slade and finally, international recording and TV stars, Slade

But the 'stars' of this article though are not the aforementioned groups, but Carole Williams and Chris Selby! 

I met Carole at her home in Heath Hayes, near Cannock, along with Chris, from Aldridge, in July, for this story about the important role that a loyal fan base provides for both aspiring and successful local talent. In my quest as a local music historian I get to meet loads of musicians eager to tell a story (or a yarn), but rarely do I get the privilege to interview the most important element of those hedonistic days - the fans! It may sound like a cliché, but, without the relentless support of the fans like these who ventured out in all kinds of inclement weather and travelling on public transport or walking literally miles to see their favourite pop groups, there would have been no pop groups, venues or promoters! 

I asked them both about where it all began.

Carole Williams, The ‘N Betweens fan club secretary, with some original flyers.

Carole: "I originate from Wolverhampton and I worked for Len Rowe and Stan Fielding (both former band leaders turned promoters) at the Astra Entertainment Agency in Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton. Stan offered me a job at Astra when he met me whilst I was attending a gig at The Woolpack Restaurant in Salop Street, Wolverhampton. Stan felt I would suit the Astra offices and so I jumped at the opportunity to work there. 

The 'N Betweens outside The Tiger pub, Princess Street, Wolverhampton, in 1965.

During my very first week in the job, drummer Don Powell and lead guitarist Dave Hill from the 'N Betweens came in to the reception at the Astra office to pick up the group's wage cheque for that week. I'd seen them play at The Ship and Rainbow on the Dudley Road and also The Woolpack so obviously knew of them. 

They asked me to say  "Hello" next time I was at one of their gigs. I did just that and soon after, went on to become great friends and ultimately secretary of their busy fan club from 1965 through to late 1968, just as I'd met my future husband (whom I married in 1971), whereupon my fan club involvement naturally petered off.  

… and beside the fountain in St Peter's Gardens.

My husband was a DJ and I remember Jimmy Lea knock king our door and saying "Carol, we need a copy of Get Down and Get With it - how quick can you get it on tape for me?" - I did the tape for him and, the rest as they say, is history".

I ran the UK-wide fan club from the time of the original line-up comprising Johnny Howells, lead vocal and harmonica, Cass Jones, Mick Marson, Dave Hill and Don Powell - through their first line-up change of Noddy Holder, Jimmy Lea, Dave Hill and Don Powell, who went on to become Ambrose Slade and then Slade. You just knew they were going to make good because they had a certain magic about them". 

Chris Selby, Slade Historian, with just one of his many research volumes.

Chris: "I had no dealings with the 'N Betweens as I was still only 12 years of age when my Slade broke out on to the scene and that was at the time of their skinhead phase around October/November 1969. I actually lived on the Dudley Fields Estate in Bloxwich at the time and fell about laughing when my mates actually pointed out a guy who lived across the way from the Three Men in a Boat pub on the Beechdale Estate and said... "his name's Noddy"... 

"That was the start of my fascination - I was, and still am, hooked!" 

"I saw an Express and Star advert for Slade appearing at Aldridge Community Centre one Sunday evening in January so me and my mates walked all the way from Dudley Fields in Bloxwich to Aldridge to see them. We could only see part of the gig because we had to be back home early for school the next day which meant that we had to walk all the way back." 

"My brothers grew up with music from The Shadows, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Moody Blues, David Whitfield and Les Paul and Mary Ford, but it was their music and not mine. The sight of Slade acting silly and dancing around the stage enjoying themselves made me real that, this was my music!" 

Carole: "My influences from the age of 12 were Adam Faith & The Roulettes (who I later met a few times) and The Beatles who I saw at The Gaumont in Wolverhampton - and I say saw because the screaming was so loud none of us could actually hear them! I do have a much wider and modern taste as well though, as I particularly like Neil Diamond, Robbie Williams and Take That amongst many others."

"The 'N Betweens though were always my number one. They did lots of blues numbers and later, when Nod joined, they concentrated largely on Tamla Motown stuff at a time when all the other local groups were doing 'poppy' chart covers. I can still see them in my mind doing all those Four Tops and Temptations and Young Rascals songs. It was this that introduced me to Tamla Motown music. It was these boys that started my awareness and love of this type of music which continues to this day"

On the zebra crossing in Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton in 1965 (four years before The Beatles' famous Abbey Road cover with the Fab Four on a zebra crossing), The 'N Betweens, left to right, Dave Hill, Mick Marson, Johnny Howells, Don Powell, Cass Jones.

Chris: "My musical taste is so eclectic because there is a 10 year gap between me and the oldest of my brothers, so I was forced to and generally got to like everything from Kay Starr (Rock and Roll Waltz), Elvis Presley, Mario Lanza, Mothers of Invention, Janis Joplin and The Doors. In fact, I have a Mario Lanza CD on the player in the car as we speak"

I asked Carole and Chris (when I could get a word in!! such was their enthusiasm) "So what is it that still keeps the evident 'spark' alight after all these years?"

Carole: "Memories' Oh, memories of the immense fun we had in the 196O's and the seemingly endless great parties. I get quite emotional when I hear Gracie Fields because it reminds me of my grandparents' get-together's along with the 'swing' and wartime music that was a favourite of my mother who, incidentally, sang in an ATS band during her army days, Then there was the 'N Betweens who were genuinely my mates and because their 'music still stands up to this day".

"Their music still makes me feel like an 18 year old"

Carole: “Although the latest incarnation of Slade (Slade II) are different, apart from founder members Dave and Don, their music still makes me feel like an 18 year old. I saw them recently at a gig and we all got together afterwards for a nostalgic chat. Whenever I hear a Four Tops song such as I Can’t Help Myself the picture in my mind is of the original 'N Betweens line-up with Noddy standing there, knees turned slightly in, counting the rest of the group in and singing that song.

"I also remember Jimmy Lea singing Cherry, Cherry as his first song upon joining the 'N Betweens"

The 'N Betweens' new line-up in 1966, with Noddy Holder and Jimmy Lea.

Chris:Slade start where other groups finish! I have seen all the other 'name' hands. but Slade are better. I did actually know of Nod in the early years because he was local to the Walsall area at the time and I kept on seeing him out and about but I didn't know of the rest of the group at all, although I have since met Don and Dave occasionally, but essentially. I am a fan of the music rather than a need to be a friend if you can understand that stance.

“I can still see them in my mind at The Civic Hall in Wolverhampton and I always remember how loud they were. My ears were still ‘ringing’ for 3 days after the show and. you could also 'feel' the music in your chest as you stood at the front of the stage. This was largely due to Jimmy Lea who actually played chords' on his bass - something I’ve not seen anyone else do since. They once replaced Black Sabbath as support group to Def Leppperd but on all accounts. Slade just blew them away and they made loads of new fans as a result. Some of the notable highlight venues of the era were Aldridge Community Centre. Walsall Baths. Wolverhampton Civic Hall and The Odeon in Birmingham”

Author
The shared enthusiasm of Carole and Chris arose out of the publication in 2001 of a book called 'N Between Times - An Oral History Of The Wolverhampton Group Scene Of The 1960's, by the late Keith Farley, a Wolverhampton author and historian.

Keith was also a local music fan. particularly of the blues and soul groups of the 1960’s but his book comprehensively covered every aspect of the West Midlands local music scene and was not about the 'N Betweens 'per se' even though they do get a good mention in it.

Carole's cousin Vicky enjoyed the book so much she wrote a letter to the Express & Star reflecting on the period it covered and also pointing out that her cousin (the here mentioned) Carole Williams was actually the former 'N Betweens fan club secretary.

“Chris had been trying to track me down for ages and I was just around the comer so to speak" mused Carole.

In turn, Chris, upon seeing the letter, contacted Carole via the paper, resulting in the information exchange that continues to this day.

'All of the local groups served their apprenticeships, unlike the manufactured people that we see on TV these days'

Of the two, it is Chris who is the ardent researcher and in his quest for Slade history has discovered links to the many formative groups that the boys played with pre 'N Betweens. These were. Steve Brett and The Mavericks. The Vendors, The Memphis Cutouts, and The Phantoms.

Chris: “There have been many books and articles written about Slade and the groups they evolved from but they did not tell the full and accurate story so I thought ‘this is rubbish' and, as a result became dedicated to rectify this and get the record straight. It is an obsession that I can’t switch off from.”

Fans
Carole: “I am still in touch with Danish author Lisa Falkenberg whom I met a few years ago at The Robin when drummer Don Powell introduced me to her. She is currently writing an autobiography about Don and at the time I did a "personal memories of young Don” piece for her book. In fact, as well as the UK, we had fans in France and Sweden and with some of whom I still correspond”

“I. like Chris. actually liked other local Astra groups such as The Californians, Lady Jane and The Rovaltee, The Montanas, Varsity Rag, Soul Seekers, Brad Ford and The Sundowners and Finders Keepers, but, in my opinion, none of them really matched the 'N Betweens who were the only local group for me.”

Overawed by the actual amount of research material that Chris had brought with him to the interview, I asked where all his work and dedication is taking him?

Chris: “Possibly, the madhouse! No seriously. I love doing the research and physically haunt the archives departments of Wolverhampton, Walsall and elsewhere in the West Midlands, tracking down snippets of information on Slade and their fore bears that the boys were members of. I have around 700 gig adverts and news items. There 'really needs to be a family tree of all the West Midlands groups as there are so many of them inter-linked"

Carole: "We didn't actually take loads of photos in those days - I now, on reflection, wish we had done so. Unlike today though, with digital cameras and camera phones being so prolific and cheap to use, all we had was a Kodak Instamatic and I remember it being very expensive to get films processed.”

Chris reflected on the demise of the local Black Country live music scene at the start of the 1970's, with the onset of progressive music which was for too loud for the average pub assembly rooms which made up the majority of the gigs.

Chris: “There was very, little going on locally from 1970 onwards - virtually nothing in fact! The small venues that were previously hives of musical activity had dried up resulting in only the larger concert venues' to choose from”.

Contracts
Carole once again reflected on her days at Astra. typing up the endless stream of gig contracts for the many groups to sign when they called in to her office every Friday for the next week's work (of typically seven to eight gigs).
A dream-like, almost psychedelic image of the group, taken from a flyer for the 'N Betweens fan club, in 1966.

Carole: “All of the local groups served their apprenticeships - unlike the manufactured people that we see on TV these days. The one thing that is still the same though, when Slade did become famous they all knocked four or five years off their actual ages and I rather liked that because I followed suit and became' one year younger than Dave Hill!''

Sincere thanks to Carole and Chris for providing such an interesting story.

Chris would like to talk or meet with Bugle readers who may have, or know of any memorabilia connected to "Slade" (pre-chart career), i.e. "The Phantoms''', "The Memphis Cutouts", "The Vendors", "Steve Brett and The Mavericks", "'N Betweens", "Nick and The Axemen", "Ambrose Slade".

Please contact the author via the Bugle editor.

(Keith Farley's book is now available on-line by going to:

Read about the book on Brumbeat.


This article appeared as a two page spread and a copy can be obtained at the Black Country Bugle website here