Tag Archives: Music Photography


Chepstow Castle Internal Door
Chepstow Castle Internal Door

Well it’s seems like an age since I last posted, so I thought my snippet of a Chepstow Castle door (which dates back to the 11th Century) would be an apt header!

I would just like to wish all my new friends on WordPress Blogs (and any other Blogs for that matter) a very happy Christmas and a healthy & prosperous New Year.

The weather in Wales is much like the rest of the UK at the moment there are floods everywhere, and more rain than we have had in a 100 years. But it doesn’t appear to have deterred the shoppers, from the TV news I see that the High Street and the Internet have all had a last minute boost to their sales. And good luck to them – it didn’t come from my house!

I have a number of plans for the New Year, whether they will come to fruition or not is another thing. One never knows what is around the corner, good or bad? But if all goes according to plan, I intend to finally publish my PhotoBook on “My Time with the King of Skiffle“. I have quite a lot of unpublished pics of Lonnie Donegan (Does your Chewing gum Lose its Flavour) during the time I was with him from about 1968 to 1973. I am sure there will not be a lot of interest out there, but I know there is a click of hard fans who would welcome it. Besides, I feel it would be a shame if the pics didn’t see the light of day.

I also have a number of photos, also unpublished of other entertainers which I guess would be another book. Pics of ABBA during their sound check at the Royal Albert Hall in 1978. I was the only photographer allowed in – all down to CBS Clout – nothing to do with photography skills. And lots of photos taken at private gatherings, none of which I will mention here because I am not a ‘PAP’ and I will ask permission to publish, just out of politeness really.

OK, have a wonderful and safe holiday,

My warmest wishes to all.

 

 

 

 

In the Mists of Time!


I was having a couple of weeks break over the past fortnight and decided to try and digitise some more of my  slides & negs. However, I didn’t have that much success!

One of my main problems is this. For as long as I can remember I have been a Nikon user, so much so that when I needed a slide and negative scanner, I automatically chose a Nikon. And very good it has been as well except, when I tried to update the software and drivers etc, I was very politely informed that Nikon do not make scanners anymore and hence, there is no updates to the software! Now I fully understand about product loyalty, but I wonder what the head(s) at Nikon think about Customer Loyalty? Or does that not exist anymore at that level? Perhaps they expect their distributors to handle that tricky end of the deal!

Having said all that, here is a dreadful pic of a wonderful occasion. The original slide is perfect but the scan which I had to do on my all-in-one ain’t so good. The occasion was the first photo session of a brand new idea and invention in percussion, specifically Arbiter Auto-Tune Drums. This pic shows l-to-r, Ivor Arbiter the inventor and Music Industry legend, me (with a droop face as I am suffering from Bells Palsy at the time) and the great Carl Palmer, he of ELP holding a Snare Drum. Carl was a tremendous help during the final stages of testing the equipment, as was many other fine drummers including Jon Hiseman who toured the kit all over Europe with his various bands, Coliseum II. and Tempest with the late and great Irish guitarist Gary Moore. I guess the photo was taken around 1977/8.

Ivor Arbiter, Mark Goodwin & Carl Palmer

Album Cover Shoot – 2


Well I turned up an hour before the shoot was due to start and was directed to the ‘Guard Room’. It was just inside the portcullis. I got a backdrop up and a couple of strobes and did a few test shots and waited. The Record company boss turned up on time with the Make-Up Artiste and  his assistant, we then waited for Queenie to show. Unfortunately, she had an art exam that morning and was late getting away from school but she duly arrived with her Mum about 45 minutes late.

Next the Make-up girl had to do her thing, unfortunately (unbeknown to me) Queenie is having some trouble with her skin/complexion at the moment and requested the make-up girl to use Queenie’s make-up. So by the time all was finished I guess we must have started the shoot proper about an hour late!

I had a couple of main problems:-

  1. The record company had no specific requirements. Now this may sound fine, as I have free rein, however, if you don’t know what the customer wants, how are you supposed to give it to them? I would have liked to have had an idea of what the forthcoming album was going to be like. I mean was it going to be Katy Perry or Ethel Merman?
  2. The Guard Room was cold and it was giving Queenie goose-bumps on her bare arms.
  3. We had too many people in the ‘studio’ which was having an effect on Queenie, bearing in mind she is only 15 years old (hence the skin probs).
  4. The complexion and the Goose-bumps caused me so many problems, trying to hide them as much as I could via the camera, to save me time in post production.

Anyway, we finally finished, Queenie was a little angel. She never once complained (even though it was obvious she hadn’t done any modelling before) and she just tried everything that people were shouting out to her (including me, but I was allowed).  The last thing she said to me as she left was “thank you very much and can you please touch-up my skin before you submit them?” I repied that I would add a little blur here and there if it was needed, she said “NO not a little blur a whole lotta a blur!”  And she was deadly serious.

I must say that I did need a lot of time in the digital darkroom but at the end of the day the record boss selected about six or seven shots that he liked and that was that.  As many photographers will know,  it is strange how the client never choses the photos that you think are the best. They always chose the ones that you wished they hadn’t for various reasons.

I have included a small number herewith, not fantastic I know but chosen by the company. Please feel free to comment, I would welcome any feedback good, bad or indifferent.

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Album Cover Photo Shoot


I am just about to leave the house to go to Caldicot Castle.  I have a commission to shoot a new young girl singer, her name is Queenie May and she appears to be about to break into the big time!

She certainly has a very sweet voice from what I have heard, but I’m sure most of you will know that it doesn’t end there, sometimes it doesn’t even start there!  Image is so important and of course the quality of the song.  Apparently, her single which was released not so long ago was released very surreptitiously and yet still managed to make the number 4 spot on the Amazon Chart.  It is currently at 34. Not bad at all for a first release from a singer with a self penned song.

Once the shoot is over, and the pics processed I will post some for your perusal and feedback.  Meanwhile, Queenie – who incidentally is only 15 – can be found on iCloud and Facebook.

Watch this space I guess!!

The front entrance of Caldicot Castle in south...
The front entrance of Caldicot Castle in south Wales. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Start Getting it Down Before I Forget!


I was going through some old images recently and found these.

The Rikki Alan Trio was my first Pro group. We formed in about 1957 and used to play all the rock numbers of the day and especially the Everly Bros. Both Rikki (bass) and Gerry (guitar and Piano) were brothers and the close harmony was excellent.

Next came the Interns. This band was sponsored by Ivor Arbiter, he was the man who got Ringo to play Ludwig drums. Those eagle eyed amongst you will notice that the Interns logo on my bass drum is not dissimilar to the Beatles logo. That is because both logos were painted by the same guy. A one armed sign writer who worked for Ivor at Drum City in London in the 1960’s. It’s amazing when you think that today, millions of pounds can be spent on designing the most effective logo and yet back then, it was designed by the sign-writer and the Beatles just accepted it!

Next of my pics here is with the King of Skiffle Lonnie Donegan. Lonnie was never huge in the States although he did have one big hit there which was, “Does Your Spearmint Lose its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight”.  However, in Europe he was huge and has the reputation for starting the whole Beat Boom in the UK. Every kid went out and bought a guitar and formed a Skiffle Group when Lonnie’s first single ‘The Rock Island Line‘ went to No 1! Even the Beatles had a Skiffle group, they were called the Quarrymen. Many years later Singer/Actor/Record Producer Adam Faith got a whole load of the guys that were influenced by Lonnie together and they made and Album. If my memory serves me right I can recall a number of the names, Elton John, Rory Gallagher and Brian May plus a whole bunch more. Sadly Lonnie passed away in 2002 from heart problems, he had , had three heart bypasses in previous years.

I have some great memories of working with Lon at some of the greatest venues in the world, including the Riviera Hotel in Vegas for a couple years on the trot. The Greek Theatre in LA, Harrah’s Hotel in Lake Tahoe, The London Palladium, The Talk of The Town London, with Judy Garland and in Australia, Iceland, and all over Europe. Many stories to be told, stories of working with (either playing for or supporting) Dusty Springfield, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Vic Damone, Judy Garland, Englebert Humperdinck, Dean Martin, Bill Haley and Little Richard to name just a few. A great way for a young guy from a small town in Wales to grow up. And a number of coincidences of which I intend to post at a later date.

Continuing with the advance of Spring


Trying to get out as much as possible, but time is always a problem, however, finding some interesting stuff in my archives.

In sifting through some old memorabilia the other day I found this signed photo of Lonnie Donegan. It was my first visit to a theatre and my my first live show. I was blown away! I stood outside the stage door for an hour waiting for an autograph. When he finally came out he gave me this pic. Little did I know then that in 12 years time I would be playing in his group!

Lonnie's autograph from 1955/6
The King of Skiffle

On the subject of Spring however, I did manage to get out for an hour just to my local patch. I didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but I did manage to get this shot of, what I believe to be a sparrow with dinner for the family.

That should take care of dinner for the family

Gallery


Rancid Monkey Photo Shoot


Spent the day with new client’s Rancid Monkey. They are brand new studio band and make a great sound for just two guys.  The photo shoot was prompted by the fact that they have jus one a National Music Mag competition and needed some PR shots urgently. So, by some quick rearranging and burning a bit if midnight oil, we managed to fit it all in in and the pics were all done and dusted by about 4.00 am and emailed to the mag by 8.00 am.

Hot Graphics Foundry Did a photo shoot for new clients Rancid Monkey. A heavy but melodic studio band that have just one a National Music Mag competition. It seems that if plans materialise for a planned tour the guys are going to have to recruit some like minded musicians.
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheRancidMonkey