Scarlet – The Rolling Stones

An ode to the red rooms, (Ealing) it certainly isn’t…. 

but the newly released track “Scarlet” from the Rolling Stones is a fine example of an infectious guitar riff  synonymous with all those guitarists shaped by American Blues & the UK Skiffle scene 

The track originally conceived 47 years ago in Ronnie Wood’s basement (Richmond) merges the “gnarliest” of guitar riffs along with other instruments laid down in 1974 . Some polishing up in a contemporary studio has created a release apt for 2020. 

According to Mick Jagger, interviewed on the Zoe Ball show on Radio 2, the track was a combination of Rolling Stones sessions involving Jimmy Page, Ronnie Wood and even some participation from Ginger Baker. 

Rediscovered from the vaults during lockdown, the original recordings have been re-edited and complemented with some ‘Maracas’ to spice up the listening experience. 

The guitar riff upon which this track hangs shouts out to the spirit of Led Zeppelin with a hint of Ronnie Wood mixed in. Jimmy Page was the guest guitarist to feature on the track with Keith being able to sit back and go with the flow, presumably making a contribution here on the acoustic guitar.

Sometimes, the best musicians know that less is more! 

Scarlet is included on the new release of the “Goat’s Head Soup” Album. 

For more on how any of the above has anything to do with Ealing and Wider West London please check out “the A-Z of Ealing Rock Music” and the feature film documentary ‘Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of the Ealing Club”

Live Aid & The Ealing Club

The 35th anniversary of Live Aid concerts at Wembley & Philadelphia pass this week. Billed by many as the greatest gig in history the event was conceived to raise funds for famine relief in Africa, following on from the momentous “Do They know it’s Christmas’ single brought together by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. 

The sheer complexity and planning of the 13th July 1985 gig required technical innovation and ingenuity, not least in the area of sound production.  Pick up any copy of the Live Aid box set and below all the artists listed you’ll find the name Jeff Griffin listed on the back cover. 

The line-up for Live Aid on 15th July 1985. Jeff Griffin, here credited for audio production was a key player that helped the landmark gig come together. In his younger days he was a regular at the Ealing Club.

Jeff was a radio producer at the BBC whose credits included “ BBC In Concert” and recordings for the John Peel show amongst many others. His name is never far away from classic recordings of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Deep Purple, David Bowie and Queen. 

His friendship with Alexis Korner grew at the BBC and as an Acton resident he visited the Ealing Club alongside other West London haunts (The White Hart Southall) back in their heydays. 

Jeff Griffin’s personal recollections of the Ealing Club and Alexis form part of Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of the Ealing Club.  Now screening on (Sky Arts/Now TV) + Sky NZ, VRT + KLM Airlines. (Sign up to the mailing list for future screenings)

Live Aid and The Ealing Club

Many bands that participated in Live Aid can be linked back to the Ealing Club scene.  Even, the opening band ‘Status Quo’ are thought to have passed through the Ealing Club when known at “The Spectres” (Further confirmation of this is still required, so please get in touch if you remember them)

Other Live Aid participants such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, The Who, Eric Clapton most certainly did climb the steps out of the Ealing Broadway club.  Elton John, David Bowie and later, Elvis Costello were never far away.  

By 1985, the Marshall stacks that had emerged from a small London Drum shop based in Hanwell (Ealing Borough) were gracing the stages both in the UK and the US. Memorably, Phil Collins also did the same, something that in 2020 would be difficult to recreate with the demise of Concorde. 

BB KING (another friend of Alexis Korner) ensured the Blues featured on the Philadelphia stage. It would be another few years before he would reach out to yet another generation through U2’s Rattle & Hum Album. In BB King’s biographical movie “Life of Riley (2012) the American Blues Artist would continue to name check Alexis Korner.

However, it was former Ealing Art College student, Freddie Mercury and Queen that were sealed into many memories on that day of Live Aid.  Here’s a clip of Jeff Griffin talking about his first encounter with Queen and some background to the recordings he made at Wembley stadium. 

His Live Aid recordings were recently included with the film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Anyone for Tennis or Live Music?

In 2020, the likes of tennis loving guitar players such Pat Cash, John McEnroe and The Bryan Brothers will miss their impromptu guitar jams in London. Rumours abound that Pat Cash & his band played in Ealing’s, Spinning Wheel pub….. (A venue long since gone)

Urban myths aside, here in West London there is plenty to draw from in terms of tennis & live music: past, present & future.

On 7th July 2013, the 62 films production team recorded an interview with Roberta Korner, the widow of Alexis Korner who recounted her memories of ‘Blues Music Champions’ such as Bill Big Broonzy, Muddy Waters & Blues Incorporated band leaders, Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies. 

The interview coincided with Andrew Murray and Novak Djokovic battling through the 2013 final which Murray went on to win. The Scot became the first UK Men’s Wimbledon player to win since Fred Perry back in 1936.

Perry grew up in Ealing and the clubhouse at his former tennis club has in recent years been one of the “live music venues” featured in the Ealing Club CIC’s ‘Eclectic’ live showcase. Recent ‘Eclectic’ gigs at The Brentham Club featured Louise Marshall and The Brethren, The Chris Jagger Band and Ray Gelato. (SIGN UP TO THE MAILING LIST HERE)

Louise Marshall & The Brethren @ The Brentham Club in 2019. The facility is better known for Lawn Tennis than hosting live music events.

The Story of The Ealing Club & Wimbledon

The Film Director of ‘Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of The Ealing Club’, Giorgio Guernier cleverly weaved together the anecdotes from Alexis Korner’s wife with some memorable incidental, background scenes of Wimbledon that were also taking place place on a beautiful Summer day back in 2013. 

Following approval of the music soundtrack + all incidental footage in Autumn 2019, the film has been acquired by broadcasters including Sky Arts /Now TV UK/Ireland, SKY New Zealand, VRT Belgium + KLM Airlines. More broadcasters expected soon.

DVD’s are also available at www.ealingclub.com

The 2 minute teaser clip of the film is available here:

Let’s hope live music in small, grassroots venues and tennis will be back with us soon!