A small review on Leo Sayer and Lulu, by Glyn Tucker

On a miserable wet Sunday night in Auckland, on 26th June, 2016 at Civic Theatre in Auckland, I went along to see a couple of singers from a bygone era perform a clutch of old songs for a mostly middle-aged audience. One of the prime motivators for checking them out was the venue. I have become disenchanted with stadium concerts that are so impersonal that one seldom experiences the soul of the performers. Any attempt at connecting with the audience on a personal level is usually substituted with the glitz and glamour of digital light shows and mega-production gimmicks. And the sound quality can be sadly  miss-interpreted as sound quantity.
So I shuffled to my comfortable seat in the Civic auditorium, along with 2,000 similar grey-haired blokes and coloured-haired blokesses and was early enough to check out the stage set-up. It looked encouraging. A nice Ludwig drum kit sitting proudly on its riser in the centre rear of the large stage, flanked by Fender bass and guitar amplifiers (one bass, two guitars) and surprisingly two sets of keyboards, one stage-left and another at stage-right. My gaze then shifted to the interior of the theatre, and I was reminded what a magnificent auditorium this is. From the twinkling stars in the midnight blue ceiling to the big golden cats sitting either side of the stage, with their illuminated green eyes staring out, this is a classy place. It’s reminiscent of a Las Vegas Showroom, but with less glitz and more traditional character. Not to mention the very natural-sounding acoustics that never get in the way of the music.
With every seat in house supporting a backside, the off-stage announcer introduces “Ladies and gentlemen, Leo Sayer and Lulu” and they enter from opposite sides of the stage to perform their first duet. Both of them were dressed casually, Lulu sporting a cool black hat, black jeans, and shirt/waistcoat affair; Leo in blue jeans and chequered shirt and sport coat, and of course with his trademark frizzy hair. They are both small people, but so dynamic! It was obvious from the get-go, this was going to be a good night. The band was great, and the sound mix was perfect! I cannot remember ever making that statement about the sound of any concert over the past 20 years. But this time it all came together in a wonderful blend of clear, precise vocals and awesome guitars, keboards and drums at a solid volume level that “did the business” without completely demolishing our eardrums.
As the set evolved, it became apparent that additional backing vocals were added by way of a single female singer, augmented by both guitarists and both keyboardists, as required. The harmonies were brilliant, and once again beautifully mixed. After a couple of duets to kick off the show, Lulu left the stage and Leo did his stuff for two or three songs after which Lulu came on and did the same.
They finished the first set together again before the interval. The audience was typical of the age-group; applauding strongly but politely at the end of each song, but remaining silent throughout performances.
After the interval they started winding the audience up. Lulu did a segment where she got to tell some stories about her days with Maurice Gibb and she sang a couple of Bee Gees hits. “To Love Somebody” was superb (with lovely BV’s as described above). A highlight for me was her story about Maurice and Barry writing “Run to Him” and Robin coming in late to provide the main chorus. This was a well rehearsed segment where Lulu seamlessly moved from talking into singing mode to portray the songwriting process, and back to story-telling mode. The back and forth switches were handled seamlessly by Lulu and the band. Brilliant!
By the time Lulu performed her amazing version of “Shout” everybody was out of their seats singing and clapping along, including Leo, on stage with her. Then Leo did his monster hit, “You Make me Feel Like Dancing” and the whole place went wild. Lulu showed her dancing skills and Leo showed his lack of them. These last two encore numbers capped off a great show.
Other highlight performances were, Leo’s “When I Need You”, “ More than I can Say”.
Duets “Moonlighting”, “Long Tall Glasses(I Can Dance)”, and a great version of Bob Seeger’s “We’ve Got The Night”, an then Lulu’s “ To Sir With Love”, Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World”.
I came away feeling that Leo Sayer is still a very good singer, whilst Lulu struck me as being exceptional; and both are almost 68 years of age! A great concert from a pair of absolute professionals, the likes of which are rare in this age of digital gimmicks and manufactured videos.
Glyn Tucker

Montreux Jazz Festival

Memorabilia at Montreux Jazz Festival
Anyone visiting Switzerland in July 2016 should not miss this great opportunity at Montreux, home of the Montreux Jazz Festival.
For the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival, Galartis invites you to discover Montreux Music Memorabilia, an exhibition-auction on the theme of music and arts, July 2-8 2016 at Casino Barrière Montreux. Music instruments, golden records, jukebox, pinball, Montreux Jazz Festival collectors, artwork by Keith Haring, Julian Opie, Romero Britto, Ben, Robert Combas, photographs of Charlie Parker, Led Zeppelin, Tina Turner, sculptures of Nina Simone, Miles Davis, autographed guitars by B.B. King, Carlos Santana, the  Rolling Stones, David Bowie…
Submit your items and order the catalogue at [email protected]
By taking part in this unique event, you help support the Claude Nobs Foundation. State-approved foundation dedicated to preserve and develop the Montreux Jazz Festival audio-visual Collection for Educational, Scientific and Cultural purposes. The Montreux Jazz Festival Claude Nobs’ Legacy, is the first audio-visual Collection inscribed on the  UNESCO Memory of the World Register.


Ray Woolf


Here is a review of last years special concert with Ray Woolf and the Mike Walker Trio written by Bill Belton.

Ray Woolf with The Mike Walker Trio 
Auckland Jazz and Blues Club PT Chev RSA
I’m still buzzing from a night of great music, mostly standards, all well known, and played and sung by wonderful musicians.
Jazz, Blues, Boogie and even Rock all with really interesting and powerful easy to listen to arrangements.
Having played with Ray in 4 different bands in the 60’s and 70’s including one with Mike, I know his voice and he has never been better. His renditions of standards were original, very entertaining and performed by a truly great singer.
The Mike Walker Trio with top Bassist Pete McGregor, and drummer extraordinaire Bruce King, played powerful, sensitive, and at at times “huge” backing for Ray.
Mike my all time favorite Kiwi keyboard player played with a style that only he is capable of.
His solo in Stormy Monday played with a “Jimmy Smith” Hammond tone was simply outstanding he raged over his keyboards and was suitably acknowledged by a knowledgeable audience.
His amazing timing and chord structures were a lesson on how a jazz keyboard should be played.
Mike was great in the 60’s and you just have to listen now to see where he has risen to, wow, just beautiful.
He appeared to be enjoying himself and he continued to add to my musical pleasure.
Ray has been for over 50 years, our most versatile, and talented entertainer topped off with having a great voice.
He has a feel for Jazz and Blues that few have achieved.
Yes, I am raving a bit but he is my favorite entertainer.
Thank you Auckland Jazz and Blues club, a place I have not been to before, however, it is a monthly night and it won’t be my last, especially if these great musicians are playing…..Bill Belton.

Chris Parkinson

Chris Parkinson

What is normal? Is there a part of humanity that is classified as normal? Or are we all individuals?
Maybe look at it from another angle, are we meant to be normal?
If so what is normal?
These are questions we have been asking each other for years. Over time society has changed its values, we have become more lenient, broadcasting has changed attitudes to the way programs and events are presented to the public and daresay over the next few decades things will become even more liberal.
This brings me to the event of today May 3rd 2016 and the day we said goodbye to a New Zealand icon, not only a long time broadcaster, a unique voice of New Zealand radio since  the 1960’s.

A voice over artist rejected by the once feared New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation that was sensationally put squarely into its place by this man along with three other colleagues who changed the face of New Zealand broadcasting for ever.
Christopher Robin Parkinson departed our planet at 10.20pm on Wednesday 27th April and today we celebrated his life at Mantels in Westhaven Marina at 2pm.
Many of the people who attended the event knew Chris well, they understood how unique he was and the type of individuality he displayed but many did not know just how clever he was, how he was able to turn his hand to anything and usually succeed.
Chris was pedantic in anything he took on, he had without doubt one of the very best voices ever heard on New Zealand radio.
Chris was one of the four founders of Radio Hauraki a pirate radio station that was created in 1966 and spent four long years tossing around in the Coalville channel in the North Island of New Zealand.
Radio Hauraki ended up with a land licence and to this very day although arguably significantly different still exists and broadcasts an FM signal to fans all over the country who have no idea how the station ever came about.
Chris carved a career from broadcasting, working for many other radio stations around the nation.
A well articulated speech was given by Denis O’Callahan one of the other founders of Radio Hauraki.

However in addition to the cultivated and well groomed voice Chris had many other talents. He was a racing driver, seriously involved in Mini sevens, he created one of the very first internet ISP providers in New Zealand, he understood computer programming and started with a Radio Shack TRS80 in basic computer language and became an expert in the cobalt programing language along with a clear understanding of Linux computer skills.
Chris did not suffer fools, he was first in putting everyone in their place, correcting their diction when they spoke (regardless of race), did not accept second rate service by companies and restaurants etc. He became an accomplished magician, he obtained and pilot licence and bought his own aircraft and qualified as a helicopter pilot.
There is no doubt here was a person who was an absolute individual who lived his life his way, yet had two dedicated kids who respected and loved his unique and distinguished achievements.
Chris Parkinson was without any doubt a special individual who has left a legacy to many and carved a significant part of New Zealand history.


New Zealand’s number one guitarist and iconic Kiwi is Gray Bartlett MBE. Gray has just recently released his latest album Private Conversations and this album is a MUST buy. Hank Marvin has reviewed the album and has given it his thumbs up. Gray is currently touring New Zealand with a raft of New Zealand talent and has concerts lined up in all of the main centers around the country.

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Hank says good things about Gray Bartlett’s latest recording

Gray Bartlett is an icon in New Zealand, he is probably our most well known guitarist and has had incredible success around the world, particularly in Japan. Gray has just completed his latest Album called Private Conversations and he is currently on tour in New Zealand. Here is what Hank Marvin has to say about Gray.
Hank’s Review: “Gray Bartlett is something of an institution in NZ, well that’s what he told me.
 Seriously folks I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Gray over the last couple of years and discovered that he’s a man of various talents. However it’s his musical talent that really stands out on his latest CD, “Private conversations” which allows him to display both his virtuosity and versatility as a guitarist, which reminds me I need to practice more.
The choice of material is diverse, engaging and he interprets the compositions with clarity and sensitivity; qualities that many guitarists lack. Gray’s command of different guitar techniques is also demonstrated as he switches easily from beautifully performed finger style acoustic, to slide guitar, to country rock and even to heavy blues rock; yes, our boy has serious chops.Check out Gray’s version of APACHE it’s almost as good as mine.
Congratulations to Gray on a FAB CD, buy it, you’ll love it.”
Hank B Marvin go buy Gray Bartlett’s album now.

Glenn Campbell

Glenn  Campbell was playing with the New Zealand group, “The Flaming Mudcats”

You can read all about them on their own website but I could not have written the blurb any better so I have taken parts of it and posted it here. This restaurant in Devonport has music every second Tuesday and last night the crowd were given a standard well above the norm. As far as I am concerned these guys were at a level that should be able to demand a following all over the world let a lone New Zealand. Glenn Campbell has been playing all of his life and his ability as a steel guitarist had virtually the whole attendance in awe. Now my take on this is interesting as live music in a restaurant can be rather intimidating to people who wish to go socialize talk and  be merry. In the past at Correllis some singers and performers have been drowned out by the high level of conversation going on. In the case of Glenn Campbell and this wonderful Group “The Flaming Mudcats” there was no way that would happen. Everyone was spellbound.
Whether you like your blues contemporary, traditional, low down or funky…., you’re gonna love “The Flaming Mudcats”.
As a matter of fact, you will be blown away by these guys even if blues don’t happen to be  your thing. The level of  sheer musicianship and energy  they bring to their live performances.
After being on the scene for six years, this Auckland based group has established themselves among the country’s premier blues acts.
With their signature brand of rocking rhythm and blues, “The Flaming Mudcats” have taken their show to festivals and clubs in the USA, Australia, The Pacific Islands and throughout New Zealand.
They have also appeared live on national radio and television.
The Flaming Mudcats are four dedicated musicians who share a common passion and love of the blues.
Whilst drawing inspiration from their eclectic influences, their music provides a refreshingly original take on the universal themes of love, loss, and cruel women.
The band is fronted by vocalist Craig Bracken, one of the country’s most accomplished harmonica players, with guitarist Doug Bygrave providing the six string raucousness.
 Anchoring these two, is the tight and true rhythm section comprising Ian Thomson on drums and Sean McCarthy on bass.
With a sound, raw, real, and gritty, these cats do it all – swing, shuffle and boogie.
The Flaming Mudcats have to date recorded two well received albums – 2011’s “Gave You What You Wanted” and 2013’s “Mistress”.
Apart from a lone cover on each, both albums comprise original material and present a wide spectrum of blues styles, whilst celebrating that unique Mudcat sound.

Glyn Tucker

Tips from Glyn Tucker on Performing live

If so here are a few simple tips.
 If you are a singer performing live then it is important to get your voice warmed up and ready to perform. First you should consider what you are doing with your voice in 12 hours or more before the performance. The best thing you can do is REST your voice as much as possible.
This can  sometimes be tough call; you may be socialising with friends (or fans) at a function or music festival where you are waiting for your turn to perform. Whenever possible avoid these situations, or at least be aware of noisy environments and refrain from pushing your voice too hard. Prior to taking the stage you should do some vocal exercised to prime the voice for action. Just as an athlete will do some gentle stretches building slowly to moderate flexing of the muscles, you need to treat your vocal chords the same way. Start by doing some gentle   humming, either a tune with a limited range of notes, or up and down a half-octave scale. Extend it to a full octave but keep it gentle. Now extend again farther up the scale by starting a semi-tone higher, then another semi-tone.Believe me performing live can be a tough call for many people, not only with their confidence level but also being able to maintain their voice properly.
Repeat this but do not strain as you go higher. Now sing some aah’s and ooh’s and eeh’s in the same manner, never straining, but easing into a little more volume as your voice warms up. Then sing a phrase or two from one or two of your songs. Check any lyrics that might trip you up. If you are an instrumental musician the same analogy as the athlete warm-up applies to you. Play some medium paced scales and chord chord progressions in the middle of the range, and gradually speed up and extend to give your fingers (or embrouchure in the case of  brass and wind instruments) a chance to loosen up.

steve mitchell

The Human Kindness Band reside in Nelson New Zealand.
One sensational group comprising of:
Bruce McGregor, Drums; Glynn Olsen, Lead Guitar; Steve Mitchell, Vocals, Slide Guitar, Guitar; Danny Sugar, Bass.

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David Hasselhoff

Article by Glyn Tucker on his recording of David Hasselhoff

In 1986, long before the term “Hoff” had been coined, I was asked to record an album with a popular TV star, with a view to doing an extensive TV advertising promotion in the USA.
The partners who were funding the project had contacts in the USA who would facilitate the promotion and sale of the finished LP’s and cassettes. (CD’s were not yet fully established as the major format for music sales) A similar project had been successful in the USA with actor David Soul, famous from the Starsky and Hutch TV series, and so the partners went off searching for suitable actor/singer of similar talents. David Hasselhoff was a superstar at the time through his portrayal of Michael Knight in the hit TV series, Knight Rider. Michael Knight and his talking Kit car was a hit in 64 countries, including New Zealand, but by 1986 that series had come to an end. (much to the disappointment of millions of fans around the world) He seemed to have all the credentials, so long as he could sing. A deal was worked out with his management and my record label, Reaction Records was contracted to produce a record. I became Executive producer.
I got in touch with David and talked through possible music genres and requested a cassette of some of his previous vocal work, which included a performance with Marie Osmond at Disneyland, and a previous LP he had made called, “ Knight Rocker”. From these listening s I made a decision that we should make an album of love songs and ballads rather than rock. David had a huge female fan-base from his earlier performances on the TV soap, “The Young and the Restless”, and I was planning to exploit that market. I considered his voice more suited to this style. From there we began trawling through various songs that might suit, culminating in a long list of possibles.
I chose Bruce Lynch as the front line producer, and he in turn suggested getting Dave McRae to work with him on arrangements and do the keyboard parts. David duly arrived in Auckland a few weeks later along with his minder, Buddy, and they were accommodated in a nice house in Epsom. (thanks to Gray and Trish Bartlett) We all got together at Bruce Lynch’s home studio where a few days of “auditioning” songs, keys, arrangements took place. Once the track list was reduced to a short list, Bruce and Dave wrote the arrangement charts and prepared for recording. I booked the studio for the following week, and David took some vocal coaching lessons with local teacher Robyn Hill, to get his voice into shape. Although David was not a seasoned singer, his approach to his craft was always very professional.
As fate would have it, Gray Bartlett was touring New Zealand with the “Kit car” from the Knight Rider TV series at the same time as we were making the record. They were doing shopping malls and such, so that kids (and other fans) could sit in the car and have it talk to them. (nice trick, that) Gray arranged for Kit to visit the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, with David as well! He was so good with the kids, signing autographs and taking time to visit the sick children in the wards who were unable to make it down to the car park to see Kit. David was sporting an All Black jersey for the occasion; and in fact became a big fan of the AB’s.
David wanted to include two songs in Spanish, because the TV show had been so huge in South American countries. We hired a Spanish lecturer from Auckland University to sit in on the vocal sessions to check his pronunciation; it turned out to be a good move since some of his Spanish was a bit dodgy. Finally we completed the album four weeks from his time of arrival in Auckland, and masters were duly delivered to the American record company for them to ply their marketing expertise. The album was titled, “Lovin’ Feelings”.
Everybody liked David. I found him to be talented, with a great sense of humor, keen to get involved with Kiwi culture, and a pleasure to have around. He relied on Buddy to arrange his diary, book travel, and make sure he was on time for appointments. They were good “buddies”, working as a team.
The outcome of the USA promotion was disappointing to say the least. Before spending megabucks on a national campaign, it was usual to do a small test campaign on local TV to gauge the reaction. The chosen city for this test was Nashville, Tennessee, and the reaction was poor. This resulted in dumping the project in the USA. (which had been the whole focus of the recording)
I never understood why a sophisticated album of MORE love songs with two Spanish songs should be tested in Nashville, the home of country music. Regardless, we were left with a lemon, and the partners were not happy.
Although we had always targeted the USA as being our prime market, I took on the responsibility of pitching it to “the rest of the world”. I had been attending the MIDEM music festival in Cannes, France for several years (promoting NZ music) and saw this marketplace as the best opportunity to get interest from international record companies. January 1987 saw David Hasselhoff in Cannes with me, helping with the international pitch. It was an exciting week for me.
Business aside, trotting around Cannes with the Knight Rider (everybody knew David as his TV persona, Michael Knight) was akin to having Jesus as a buddy. No longer did I need to get in line at a restaurant. With Michael Knight at my side we would be ushered to the front of the line and got the best table. It was truly amazing how popular this man was in Europe. I managed to complete licensing deals with CBS Austria, and one with a Finland company, each with reasonable advances payable; and had several other interested countries that turned out to be not forthcoming with the up front money. So the Cannes trip gave us some hope of saving the project, at least in part.
On the way home I was invited to stay a few days at David’s home near Studio City LA. I met his lovely wife Catherine (since divorced), but she was mostly busy with very early-morning starts on the set of the “soap” series in which she starred. Their place had every luxury (as expected) and he was very hospitable; giving me his own Pontiac Trans Am (same as Kit) to get around LA. I took his housekeeper to Universal Studios in the Pontiac one day where they had the original Kit car on display, talking to the fans as we’d seen in Auckland. David also took me to a big-time boxing match; ringside seats at The Forum, where the place was jammed with celebrities who all knew David.
He introduced me to Sly and Frank Stallone, Floyd Patterson (ex Heavyweight World Champ), and I found myself sitting next to Michael Landon (Bonanza). It was a great night, although the local favorite, known as “Rocky” (very original) took a serious beating. David and I visited him in his dressing room after the fight. I overheard Sly Stallone telling the beaten fighter, “ You done good kid, just like Rocky!”
Over the ensuing weeks and months we continued to keep in touch whilst working on whatever promotions were currently happening in various places around the world. It was during these events that David made contact with a successful record producer in Germany. David consequently did some recordings in Germany culminating in a massive hit single in 1989, “Is Everybody Happy”. I must confess to being surprised that such a load of rubbish had made it to #1 on the German pop charts; but I was happy that David had a cracked it. Through this success, DH became an even bigger star in Germany than Michael Knight had been. And due to his popularity we managed to get few sales of our Lovin’ Feelings LP, imported from CBS, Austria.
In retrospect this was not a financially successful project for the partners, but it was a great experience for me, and my team who worked with David. And I can be proud that we made a pretty good record of it’s genre that still sounds good today.
Cheers to The Hoff.