Joe Symes & The Loving Kind

Monday, 24 November 2014, 20:52 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

I recently posted an interview with Liverpool based songwriter Thomas McConnell and it’s pretty clear that Merseyside has produced some exceptional artists over the past 50 years. Another group from that great lineage is Joe Symes & The Loving Kind, whose acoustic rock is gathering acclaim.


They have a mini album out which, from hearing a sampler, promises to be excellent.  ‘Fallen Down’ starts on an infectious rocking note whilst ‘Fine Line’ (no relation to Macca’s track) is a great Kinkish Barrettesque number. ‘Lovers Undercover’ shows a softer side showing the multifaceted nature of the group.

They also have a track on the ‘Legends Shoulder to Shoulder’ record in aid of the Pete Quaife foundation – great cause:

More info on Joe Symes & The Loving Kind can be found at:

The Fleur de Lys – Keith Guster

Sunday, 16 November 2014, 15:28 | Category : Articles
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By Jason Barnard

The Fleur de Lys (or Les Fleur de Lys as they were originally known) were formed fifty years ago in Southampton. Until they split five years later they recorded and released a string of memorable records including ‘Circles’ and ‘Hold On'; universally recognised as classics of the era.

However they are also notable of having a string of talented of musicians in their ranks. So much so that drummer Keith Guster was the only ever present member throughout their entire history. However many myths have grown up around Keith and the band, partially due to a number of singles released under different banners and some tracks that have wrongly attributed to them. It’s startling to know that it’s only that the first official album by The Fleur de Lys was released just recently, ‘You’ve Got To Earn It’, on Acid Jazz.

THE FLEUR DE LYS - 'You've Got To Earn It'

Jason Barnard speaks to Keith to uncover the truth behind The Fleur de Lys:


Sunday, 16 November 2014, 15:13 | Category : Reviews
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By Jason Barnard

The past few years have seen some great records that haven’t troubled the charts but have created a lot of noise for those in the know over the interweb. Swiss marvel Balduin is one such artist who’s been quietly creating pop-sike marvels echoing psychedelic British whimsy of the late 60s.

However to categorise him solely in that genre would be unfair and in his songs there’s great examples of the inventive and novel to make him unique.

Before I spread the word on his latest long player it’s worth mentioning the excellent collection that the Active Listener has released. “Post From Mars” collects much of earlier material, my favourites including the infectious “People Do Buy Music”, gorgeous “A Hope For Loving You” and the Air meets Beach Boys sound of “My Love Soon”.

Balduin - All In A Dream [Album Preview]
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However he’s kicked up into another gear for his new album “All In A Dream”.

“I Can Hear You’ out will interest Jacco Gardner fans, there’s a touch of Honeybus with “The Music” whilst Gary Usher would be proud to have recorded the lovely “Waves, Star and Moon”. As well as a pop sike sound there’s a West Coast Beach Boys/Sagittarius feel to proceedings and the production is throughout is splendid. Just check out the bouncy “Love Is You”.

Bladuin also mixes this with analogue electronica for “Mirror Mirror”. This really is great stuff so do take a listen:

Beau – Recorded @ Rocker’s – The Dandelion Radio Sessions

Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 20:40 | Category : Reviews
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Local Underground Records

Review by Jason Barnard

In July 1969, as Beau, Trevor Midgley released the very first single on John Peel’s Dandelion Records so it’s fitting that his new release is to support Dandelion Radio, a station inspired by the great man’s legacy.

RAR004 sleeve

This download mini-album is of Beau’s recent “live-in-the-studio” session and are re-workings of tracks he’s previously produced in a band setting. If you’re familiar with Beau, as you’d expect stripping back these 6 songs to just his trusty 12-string is always going to work.

Opener ‘The Night Before Trafalgar’ is a case in point, the original version had a slow eerie experimental sound. Whereas ‘Filters’ when it was first recorded had an electric guitar jazzy feel. Both re-recordings in this new folk format will play particularly well to his core audience.

‘Reflections’ finishes the mini-album on a poignant note.  Beau’s pro-peace message is as timely as ever.

This mini-album is available at a nominal purchase price of £2, with all proceeds going towards the ongoing running costs of Dandelion Radio.

The London Beats

By Nick Warburton

The London Beats were the first Western rock band to tour behind the Iron Curtain and are best known for releasing an ultra-rare LP in Poland in mid-1965 and three Polish-only EPs in 1965-1966.

London Beats in Poland March 1965

The London Beats, circa March 1965, left to right: John Carroll, Jimmy Smith, Peter Carney and Mick Tucker

The group underwent several line-up changes and featured several musicians that went on to notable UK bands, including Geno Washington’s Ram Jam Band, Fortes Mentum, Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement, The Flower Pot Men, The Nashville Teens, Aquila, Cressida and Tranquility.

Thomas McConnell

Saturday, 1 November 2014, 15:58 | Category : Articles, Interview
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By Jason Barnard

Thomas McConnell is one of the most promising young singer-songwriters on the British music scene. Hailing from Liverpool, Thomas has already toured with Glenn Tilbrook, Ian McNabb as well as supporting Squeeze, Ian McCulloch & Ian Broudie and Steve Cradock. His cover of Paul McCartney’s, “New”, recorded the day the song was released was shared online by Paul himself in September 2013. This led to an endorsement deal from Hofner Guitars earlier this year. 

Thomas McConnell

Jason Barnard speaks to Thomas as he releases another great track, “Crocodile”: