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  1.  2019 has been a year of enjoyable, albeit unusual variations from the normal experiences of the gigging musician, followed by great sadness, with the loss of my oldest friend and bandmate, Viv Harris in September.

     The John Preston Tribute band, always sure to deliver the unexpected, has certainly provided some firsts for my career, I’d never performed a 12v battery powered gig in a tent in gale before but that omission was corrected at the Eastern Permaculture Gathering, 2019 on the 8th June. The Unity Fest 2019, at Wolverhampton’s Premier Music Venue in August, was possibly the loudest I’ve ever played to a near empty room, ( Although I had played even louder to a near empty field at the B.Festival on July 7th with Don’t Spook The Horse !), The Burston Strike Rally on September 1st was a great event very close to my heart with it’s Labour, trade union history, I was thrilled to be on the stage this year, as in previous years I have attended as an audience member and love it’s unique atmosphere. The Band has also been busy in the recording studio this year, I am really enjoying the process, the results and the excellent lunches !

     Cutting The Mustard Trio, has also provided a number of firsts, playing double bass is a challenge for me but trying to play Harmonica in a harness at the same time is madness, if you’ve heard the results, I apologise and can only say I am Improving !  We supported the “Rocking Bishop” at Swafield Church on August 17th, a very large enthusiastic audience was a lovely surprise and also, that the main act was actually a Bishop, rather than the, “Bishop Tribute act” I’d expected !

     Since last year, I have been running an adult Ukulele group on a Monday afternoon, we are called the Sheringham Ukulele Band, (S.U.B.’s) and last week was their first public outing, performing for Playing For Cake’s, “Wednesday Hub Session”, at the Sheringham Little Theatre, very ably accompanied by Mike O’Kane on guitar and Terry Cassidy on bird calls, which was great fun !

     Mike O’Kane and I have had some outings with pieces from our “folk opera”, “A Norfolk Summer”, at the Wednesday Hub sessions too, the last one in September, re-titled, “A Norfolk Autumn”, of course ! The Music is all written and recorded, I just need to jolly well get the art work finished, then you will be able to hear all about Cockle Eyed Jo, Molly and Flo, not forgetting Boy Paul and their Dwile Flonking exploits !! I will leave that there for now though !

     I first met Viv Harris around 1982 when he brought his son Peter, ( Who is the same age as me !), to audition for the band I was playing in ( Back then it was called “Broken Arrow”), in the back room of the Flintknappers pub in Brandon, Norfolk. At some point in the evening, Viv sat and played the drums with us and that was it, I played music with him for the next 37 years ! He was Mad, with unlimited energy and enthusiasm for the music. He sang and played drums, ad-libbed off the cuff lyrics and jokes as we played, he also wrote really great songs,  ( He wrote, “The Poppy”, on Straight Furrows “Moving On” album.)’ He really was the front man for the band when we played, when people came up to me after a gig, they would always just talk about the drummer !   As a song writer and performer Viv is one of my greatest influences, he was also a great friend, R.I.P. Viv.


  2.                                                                      Shaped by this sound


     When I was 15 years old, my mum and dad bought me my very first guitar amplifier, to try and cheer me up after an illness!  It was a wonderful, British made, 1972 Sound City Concord, fitted with Fane speakers, (Still my favourites!), and although second hand and well used, this tired amp combined with my first guitar, an equally well used 1970s Fender Telecaster, sounded simply amazing!

     Sadly, the amp died after a few of years gigging and I began a search for that sound, without even realising what I was really looking for, discarding amps from many different manufacturers along the way because they weren’t right for me. I thought the guitar didn’t sound right without the amp either and I very regrettably sold it…. :(

     At a time when I was developing my own sound and style, the extra presence of this combination became a feature I have always looked for in instruments and amplification ever since.

     Around six years ago, a friend of mine very kindly GAVE me his 1972 Sound city Concord after I admired it and told him enthusiastically about my first amp. I really cannot thank him enough for his outstanding generosity!

     This amplifier was in working order but once again, a little tired, I get the feeling these amps really did get played! It needed some sorting out, for a start, it had lots of hiss, (So did my original!), the reverb had packed up and the power tubes needed replacing. Somehow, however, it still managed to sound great, these amps really rock!

     Not being a priority, it sat around like this, being moved when it was in the way and gathering dust until last summer, when I pulled it out and cleaned it up. I managed to repair the reverb and changed the preamp tubes for N.O.S. and then my good friend Dr Vox replaced the Output tubes and Capacitors, he also managed to completely cure the hiss for me as well!

     A few days of playing with the amp at home and I started to notice a slightly fuzzy tone, whereas generally the sound is very clean. I took out the Fane speakers and realized these too were literally tired out! They went off to Wembley Speakers and were expertly re-coned and came back as good as new.

     By August, I had the amp reassembled and run in, I was quickly inspired enough to record with it and it really does sound fantastic.

     Inevitably, of course, I then had to buy a 70s Telecaster! This one was made in 1978 and is butterscotch with a black pickguard, it also has a rosewood fingerboard, just like my first one and the colour is very similar to a 1970s Volvo my dad used to own!

     So now I am back where I started when I was 15, only with better effects pedals! So far, I’ve used this set up for a couple of gigs plus rehearsals with the John Preston Tribute Band and I am simply loving it, it fits my style perfectly, which isn’t surprising really because it was shaped by this sound!


    Brian Eade.