THUNDERBOLT #95 AT THE PRINTERS NOW
THE JOE MEEK SOCIETY
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Held at The George Hotel, Newent, Gloucester, GL18 1PU
At 11:30 am on Saturday 2nd April 2022 are now available to read online – click here
Here we have taken info from a Spanish Blog. They have six volumes more – of Meek engineered material. Visit the blog to see all tracks and free download.
Finally! After two and a half years, I’m launching this project based on the work done by that studio wizard Joe Meek. He should have presented it a year ago, but for reasons that are irrelevant, the thing has taken longer than necessary.
I still remember years ago when my friend Rick told me that a job on this man would be nice on my blog, and my response was that there were countless jobs on him, and some really brilliant ones. But with the passage of time I thought that it was still a good idea to do an exhaustive work, that would collect all its facets, and thus I wrapped the blanket around my head and an extensive collection has come out, of zillion volumes, of which today I present this advance , where many of his greatest hits are and some of those songs that I especially like.
I told Rick to write me the presentation, recounting the life and miracles of this gentleman, to which, and as usual, he promptly responded with a magnificent story of his life and which I transcribe below:
For a large part of the fans, the producer is a character whose presence in the recording process is not very clear. At most, he is supposed to be messing around with the infinite buttons on the mixer, controlling the volumes, surely making sure that “everything works well”, and that’s it. But they’re wrong: that’s what sound engineers are for. Who work under the orders of the producer, by the way. So his work must have more importance than we thought. And that importance was made very clear when the Beatles arrived: does anyone believe that his career would have been the same if it hadn’t fallen into the hands of Sir George Martin? Why is that man still at the top of the list of aspiring “fifth Beatles” who are rewritten from time to time? Well, because he was fundamental in musical and technical progress, the refinement of the songs and the evolution of the other four. A producer can make or break a group, simple as that.
But Mr Martin had plenty of resources, as well as a solid background: he worked at EMI, then one of the most flourishing things in the British music industry, and consequently had access to the most advanced equipment of the day. In the early 1960s, monaural sound was still widespread (except on classical music recordings) and lavish 24-track technology and all sorts of other sound tricks were a long way off, but a talented producer was on his way. defending. Well, now let’s imagine what the situation would be like in the mid-1950s, the age of rock and roll. The producer as such did not exist: the common thing was to put a microphone in front of the singer, one or two more “ambient” ones in front of the instruments and go ahead, to record in one go, trying not to make many mistakes. This is how the first records of Elvis, Berry and company arrived at the stores. That process, in essence, remained the same since the end of World War I, when recordings on 78 rpm discs began to become popular.
Of course, on the Island the same thing happened with pop singers or small orchestras; At best, sometimes the catalog of environmental sounds published by the BBC was used to add a “color” note to the recording, but nothing more. And in the midst of that poor scenario, Joe Meek emerged: the first true producer, the first who did not conform to the limits imposed by the scarce technology of the time and began to invent tricks to give more greatness to the recordings. Without him, much more popular figures like Phil Spector or Martin himself would have had a much harder time. Meek had to fight against many obstacles, beginning with his own nature and continuing with the frequent opposition of record labels to many of the ideas – some great, others not so great – that he proposed. Consequently, he decided to become the total owner of his destiny by creating his own label, which was a success at first but ended up leading to disaster. There is no doubt that if he had adhered to the wishes of the industry, surely his fame today would have nothing to envy to that of his most brilliant colleagues.
As for its nature, the prospect was dramatic from the start. Born in 1929, he was the youngest of three brothers. His father, traumatized by his experience as a soldier in World War I, gave him a neurotic character; and his mother, obsessed with having a daughter, dressed him as a girl for the first four years of his life. Meek was a gay man who, like all those of his condition at the time, had to live an atrocious, lonely childhood, suffering contempt and insults from his classmates at school; and then, as an adult, staying on guard, fearful of being tipped off, subject to blackmail and boycotts, waiting for the police to break into the clubs he frequented or his own home, because being gay at that time was illegal in most of the world. world. between one thing and another, it is logical that he had such an easily irritable character. On the other hand, since he was a child he was fascinated by electrical gadgets: his favorite toys were cables, lights, switches. Finally, to this hobby we must add another, almost obsessive, with “hidden worlds”, science fiction, the Beyond… all that kind of stuff, which usually forms part of a nebulous idea that we imagine as The future. And for Meek the future was more interesting, more modern than the present. Meek was an absolute modern. But the sum of all these circumstances resulted in a character who lived between genius and disaster, as he often happens with brilliant minds who continually walk the razor’s edge. ever since he was a child he was fascinated by electrical gadgets: his favorite toys were cables, lights, switches. Finally, to this hobby we must add another, almost obsessive, with “hidden worlds”, science fiction, the Beyond… all that kind of stuff, which usually forms part of a nebulous idea that we imagine as The future. And for Meek the future was more interesting, more modern than the present. Meek was an absolute modern. But the sum of all these circumstances resulted in a character who lived between genius and disaster, as he often happens with brilliant minds who continually walk the razor’s edge. ever since he was a child he was fascinated by electrical gadgets: his favorite toys were cables, lights, switches. Finally, to this hobby we must add another, almost obsessive, with “hidden worlds”, science fiction, the Beyond… all that kind of stuff, which usually forms part of a nebulous idea that we imagine as The future. And for Meek the future was more interesting, more modern than the present. Meek was an absolute modern. But the sum of all these circumstances resulted in a character who lived between genius and disaster, as he often happens with brilliant minds who continually walk the razor’s edge.
After finishing his studies he worked in a power plant and then did his military service in the RAF, where he served as a radar technician; there he developed his interest in outer space, galaxies, the possible sound of distant worlds that he would later try to reflect in music. He came to London at the age of 25, and after a few short jobs he managed to get into IRC, which at the time was one of the most powerful sound companies on the Island; His activity ranged from television programs or movie soundtracks to production work for record labels, both in pop and jazz or blues, and even with small orchestras. There he began to stand out as a sound technician and engineer, and by mid-1956 he was already working as a producer, especially under the orders of Denis Preston, specialist in jazz productions who in 1957 decides to create his own studio and hires Meek to look for a building with the necessary characteristics and the technical material that he chooses. In 1958 it was inaugurated with the name of Lansdowne Studio, and it was the most advanced of the moment on the Island.
Meek, both at the IRS and later at Lansdowne, used to use his sound tricks without consulting anyone; in fact, he even got into trouble with some artists for it. Sometimes it went well and others not so much, but what is clear is that his productions were a novelty: he was the first to start using sound compression, creating echoes, altering tape recorders to create unexpected sounds, and so many revolutions techniques were not usually accepted by their bosses. So in 1960 he decided to become independent, created the production company RGM (that is, Robert George Meek) and rented a three-story house that would be his home and his studio at the same time. The RGM produced a handful of songs for most of the major labels of the day, and the spirit of the new decade seemed ideal for a mentality like his:
At that time, instrumental music was very fashionable, and his obsession with the “sounds of space” led him to record, shortly after opening his studio, enough material for a work that would have become the first electronic conceptual album of the history, although finally only one EP was published under the name of Joe Meek & The Blue Men -a group of London musicians- and in a very limited print run (of course, the complete material was reissued some years ago on CD). But his triumph came later: the Shadows had become the sensation of the Island with “Apache”, and Meek decided to create a group that could compete with them as well as serve as a studio band for his other recordings. Thus the TornadoS were born,
However, in the mid-1960s things began to go wrong: the beat was destroying the instrumental styles, and Meek did not understand this new fashion well (in fact, he did not believe that the Beatles could achieve anything). His last big hit was in 1964 with the Honeycombs, who were also the last big old-school pop group. From there began a downhill that was destroying him: an excessive dependence on drugs kept him on his feet while he worked feverishly in his studio, which he did not allow anyone to enter, and his economic situation became desperate. The root of the problem was in the rights of “Telstar”: Meek had a good amount of money for it, but suddenly a claim for plagiarism paralyzed the collection until the lawsuit was resolved; he, counting on that money, he had spent a lot on new gadgets, and the debts were upon him. Meek was literally losing his mind: According to him, Buddy Holly was visiting him often for guidance; but also a brigade of spirits from the Beyond was ready to make his life impossible, and they appeared in the body of a cat, or through strange noises in the house. On the other hand, he even hid recording material and tapes in the strangest places, convinced that someone was breaking in to steal his ideas. or through strange noises in the house. On the other hand, he even hid recording material and tapes in the strangest places, convinced that someone was breaking in to steal his ideas. or through strange noises in the house. On the other hand, he even hid recording material and tapes in the strangest places, convinced that someone was breaking in to steal his ideas.
This situation came to an end on February 3, 67 (8th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death). Meek was usually out of his mind by then; a friend who had gone up to see him had to leave because he yelled at him, mad; When he went downstairs, he discussed the situation with his landlady, and she went upstairs to ask about his condition. Meek killed her with two shots and then killed himself. Three weeks later, the “Telstar” case was resolved in his favor. And before the year was out, the law banning homosexuality in the UK was withdrawn. For him it was too late. But his work remains, and that does not die. It is true that part of it is outdated, and that many pieces were simply commissions that he had to fulfill because money is necessary, but that has always happened: each professional goes as far as he can. Nevertheless, even today it is surprising how many resources Joe Meek invented and used in his work. We go back to the beginning: without him, the history of British music in the 50s/60s would have been much more boring.
Well, this has been the “prelude to a great journey”, which we will do in chronological order and a few volumes once a month so as not to get overwhelmed, I create an exciting journey through music that is sometimes very unknown, especially because of its distance in time, that some will be passionate about, but others will be unbearable, but I think it is a good opportunity to see what was cooking in the United Kingdom between 1955 and 1967.
Magnificent presentation of Rick, in his line that is the starting gun of this series.
I put the track list of this “sampler”, most of them well known by all of you:
1 EMILE FORD & THE CHECKMATES What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For (1959)
2 THE FABULOUS FLEE-RAKKERS Green Jeans (1960)
3 DANNY RIVERS Can’t You Hear My Heart (1960)
4 THE BLUE MEN Orbit Around The Moon (1960)
5 LANCE FORTUNE Be Mine (1960)
6 MICHAEL COX ANGELA JONES (1960)
7 MIKE BERRY & THE OUTLAWS Tribute To Buddy Holly (1961)
8 IAIN GREGORY Because (1961)
9 JOHN LEYTON Johnny Remember Me (1961)
10 THE OUTLAWS Valley Of The Sioux (1961)
11 GEOFF GODDARD Girl Bride (1961)
12 THE MOONTREKKERS Night Of The Vampire (1961)
13 THE TORNADOS Telstar (1962)
14 SCREAMING LORD SUTCH Jack The Ripper (1963)
15 HEINZ Just Like Eddie (1963)
16 THE HONEYCOMBS That’s The Way (1964)
17 THE SYNDICATS Maybelline (1964)
18 THE CRYIN’ SHAMES Please Stay (1966)
Joe Meek Sampler
Hello Joe Meek Society Members!
I’m back with the JMS! And so I have bought with me some new videos to our Vimeo Showcases, all of which are included for free in your membership! This time we have such delights as the live videos taken at Newent for AGM happenings, footage of Dave Kaye in an Elvis movie, and a newly discovered live performance by The Honeycombs (they sound absolutely great!)
Enjoy the videos and best wishes, (all links and password info on our JMS CHANNEL)
NEWENT 2022 – FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEOS
- 1 Market Square (01:45)
A quick look at the centre of Newent and Joe’s birthplace.
- The Unveiling Of The Joe Meek Bust (25:27)
- Shy Rochford – Joe Meek Girl’s Tribute (12:52)
Shy Rochford performs a fantastic set of Joe Meek’s girl tracks using Joe’s original backing tracks!
- Bobby Rio Sings Live (08:13)
I’m A Believer / Dream Lover / The Wonder Of You
- Cliff & The Stereos Perform Live (1) (05:54)
- Cliff & The Stereos Perform Live (2) (06:28)
- Cliff & The Stereos Perform Live (3) (04:16)
Shy Rochford joins the group to perform “Johnny Remember Me”.
- Cliff & The Stereos Perform Live (4) (02:41)
Shy joins the band to perform “Wild Wind”.
- Cliff & The Stereos Perform Live (5) (04:54)
The night would not be complete without Telstar and Little Baby…
- End Of The Night Madness With DJ Meektrekker Pete (03:35)
Party time, top Meek tunes and too many beers…
- How To find Joe’s Grave In Newent (07:04)
Watch to find how to locate Joe’s resting place when visiting the town.
VARIOUS TV AND OTHER CLIPS
- Dave Kaye in – Elvis – Thats The Way It Is (02:44)
(Dave Kaye and the Dykons in a brief clipping performing “Words” 1970. This footage was longer when the film originally came out).
50’S AND 60’S FOOTAGE
- The Honeycombs – Have I The Right LIVE – 24.11.64 (2:54)
This was taped in London on 24 November 1964 for insertion in The Red Skelton Hour (US) January 1965.
- Telstar Played On American Bandstand 1964 (2:41
Is it possible to dance to Telstar? Let’s see….!
- The Tornados – Telstar Scopitone Video IMPROVED QUALITY (03:19)
An even better quality copy with correct aspect ratio.
NEWLY ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME – ROBB HUXLEY AND MICHAEL COX
|Robb Huxley||Michael Cox|
Pete Rochford Chairman JMS
Lucky’s Lost Meek Radio Show
PATRICK PINK (ROBBIE DUKE) RECORD COLLECTION
This amazing collection features shows both recent and vintage that have not been heard since originally broadcast. Importantly there are numerous interviews with Joe Meek artists who are sadly no longer with us. There are also recordings from the 60s including live artist recordings and Joe’s notorious demos.
The library will be video format on a platform that has it’s own app and can viewed on Smart TVs as well!!
The Society’s “Radio Library” has laid dormant for many years and many members will have never had access to it… Until now….!
The library contains over 100 shows from the 60s to present day and also such gems as Joe’s own vocal demos and autobiographical recordings. These were all transferred digitally in 2012 and will shortly available to hear in full via our website.
Please note this is a bonus feature to all Joe Meek Society members and is available to those members only.
If you are already a member of JMS and have not registered on our website for access to the exclusive content, you need to contact us with your name and a one word user name of your choice plus a 7 digit (mixed characters) password of your choice – email all that with your membership no. to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not a JMS member, you can join instantly via our website, for £18 per year which includes 3 bumper issues of our Thunderbolt magazine through your door (slightly higher rate for rest of the world due to postage)… or just £10 a year worldwide to join and receive Thunderbolt magazine digitally.
Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy this upcoming exciting bonus!
Hello everyone, there has been a change to the Joe Meek Society website and the following announcement by Cherry Red Records, they have insisted that all updates and information be exclusively available to the Joe Meek Society and it’s members.
During the estimated 18 month period before any release of material on CD, any information released and concerning the content of the tapes will ONLY be available to members.
All current members will be available to achieve full access but you must first register via the website.
Existing members there is a link in the menu when you can register. If you are not currently a member of the Joe Meek Society and would like to join, please visit the website and the log in/register link is on every page.
Your annual subscription entitles you to three issues of our Thunderbolt magazine with exclusive news, interviews, CD releases and Joe Meek events, together with full access to the JMS website which will keep you updated on the progress of the Tea Chest Tapes.
So join us and join in”.
The Joe Meek Society Committee.
Fantastic news for all lovers of 60s Music / History of Sound Recording / Joe Meek / RGM etc.
Rob Bradford writes…..This is a huge project which I shall be directly involved with:
CHERRY RED ACQUIRES JOE MEEK’S LEGENDARY ‘TEA CHEST TAPES’
Cherry Red Records have acquired legendary producer Joe Meek’s ‘Tea Chest Tapes’ – a near mythical collection of almost 2,000 reels that contain a vast amount of the producer’s work.
In the early 60s, Meek had a string of UK No 1s, including Telstar, which was the first song by a British artist to top the US charts. Meek pioneered numerous recording techniques in his studio flat (304 Holloway Road in North London). Following Meek’s death in 1967 the tapes passed on to Cliff Cooper, who worked with the producer when playing bass with the Millionaires and went on to found Orange Amplification.
The fabled quarter-inch tapes got their name because they were contained and sold in 67 tea chests. Amongst the recordings are previously unheard songs by David Bowie’s first band The Konrads, recordings by Billy Fury, several songs by Tom Jones, and unheard material from The Honeycombs, Heinz and John Leyton (who had a UK No 1 with Meek).
The Konrads can be heard playing an old Charlie & Inez Foxx song ‘Mockingbird’. This is widely thought to be Bowie’s first studio recording. Also included are mastered recordings of Mike Berry, Glenda Collins, Michael Cox, The Cryin’ Shames, The Outlaws, Screaming Lord Sutch and The Tornados – recordings which have languished in the vaults for five decades and should finally now see the light of day.
Further the tea chests contain demo recordings of (among others) Ray Davies, (who wrote some songs for The Honeycombs), Georgie Fame, Jonathan King, Alvin Lee, Gene Vincent, Rod Stewart, Steve Marriott and an early line-up of the band who became Status Quo. Finally it is said that there is also a demo tape of a certain Mark Feld, who later found fame under the name Marc Bolan with his band T. Rex.
Cherry Red plan to work closely with Alan Wilson at Western Star on the tape digitization and mastering side, as well as Pete Rochford and the Joe Meek Society to bring these amazing sounds to an audience who have been waiting patiently for many years.
‘I first met Cliff Cooper at the Classic Rock Awards 6 years ago so the process of Cherry Red acquiring the Tea Chest Tapes has taken its time. But we are so proud to now be the custodians of this unique library. Over 1,800 ¼ tapes with such a diverse range of artists, some superstars, and some almost completely unknown. The work that lies ahead is massive; baking, then cleaning up, then digitalisation, then clearing rights, then deciding how best to release the tracks. But, as always, we relish the challenge.’
– Iain McNay, Chairman Cherry Red Records
“I am so pleased to pass on to Cherry Red Records the tape collection of Joe Meek, which have been carefully stored and untouched for over 50 years.
I feel, as I have been the custodian of this collection, which may have otherwise been separated and lost.
Passing them to Cherry Red Records will be the perfect home for these original analogue recordings where they will be selected, carefully digitally mastered and released for the pleasure of future generations.
Joe was a legendary and innovative genius in music recording and production and rightly takes his place in the evolution and history of music”
– Cliff Cooper
As a lifelong Joe Meek enthusiast, the very mention of words ‘The Tea Chest Tapes’ have always stirred mixed emotions within me: Excitement – wondering what treasures may lay within. Amazement – that they still exist and of course Fear. These near-mythical reels containing Meek’s life’s work, could have deteriorated beyond repair.
Having now inspected and even tested some of these tapes, I am happy to confirm that they are in first class condition. Cliff Cooper has been an excellent custodian and has ensured that this important chunk of British music history has survived for more than half a century. I’m thrilled beyond words to hear at last the contents of these tapes and to be part of the restoration project. Who better than Cherry Red records to treat this project with the attention to detail and respect that it deserves?
– Alan Wilson, Western Star
It comes with GREAT pleasure to hear that Joe Meek’s T-Chest tapes have been bought and will now be given a new lease of life after 50+ years of being in storage. The Committee and all it’s members of the Joe Meek Society will be thrilled to hear that all of Joe’s tapes will, in time be available to enjoy as it’s been many decades of anticipation and much patience in the hope of their release.
On behalf of myself and the Joe Meek Society, I would like to give special thanks to Cliff Cooper, Cherry Red Records and Alan Wilson for making our dream possible.
– Pete Rochford Chairman of the Joe Meek Society.
The remarkable, unique tape archive (1, 800+ reels) of legendary 60s producer Joe Meek. A veritable musical / historical treasure trove of popular music history and recorded sound. Thanks to Cherry Red Records, the contents will gradually become available to music fans and collectors.
– Rob Bradford, ‘Thunderbolt’ Magazine Editor, The Joe Meek Society
To purchase go to our Merchandise link
NEW TRIUMPHS ALBUM AVAILABLE
THE TRIUMPHS – MEEK AND WILD
CD 24 Tracks with 12-page booklet
1. Meeksville 2. Telstar 3. Runaway 4. Husky Team 5. North Wind 6. Eye Of The Storm 7. Wild Wind 8. M25 9. Green Jeans 10. All Shook Up 11. Wipeout 12. Here Come The Good Times 13. He’ll Only Hurt You 14. Loneliness 15. Sunday Date 16. Dreaming Of You 17. Heart Of A Teenage Girl 18. Teardrops Fall Like Rain 19. Big Jim 20. The Coalman’s Lament 21. Night Of The Vampire 22. Jack The Ripper 23. Little Sister (Live) 24. Have I The Right (Live) This is The Triumphs’ tribute to the work of famed record producer Joe Meek. Joe recorded many styles of music and ‘Meek and Wild’ offers a ‘jukebox’ full of great sounds, both vocal (15 tracks) and instrumental.(9 tracks).
In addition to popular chart toppers like Telstar and Have I The Right, the spotlight also falls on rarities such as Ray Dexter’s The Coalman’s Lament and, from the Tea Chest tapes, Geoff Goddard’s Here Come The Good Times. There are five original tracks, all inspired by the work of Joe Meek.
The Triumphs (Rob Bradford, Trev Faull, Ken Ledran and Ray Liffen) have as their special guest Dave Kaye, who recorded with Joe Meek. One of Dave’s tracks is He’ll Only Hurt You, a powerful ballad which he recorded with Joe, but which was never released at that time. Now you can hear it in a brand new arrangement with Dave backed by The Triumphs.
The album’s 12-page booklet includes descriptions of all the tracks and pictures of the band with many of the original Joe Meek artists that they have had the privilege of working with, including Clem Cattini, Dave Kaye, Malcolm Lenny (The Packabeats), Ray Dexter, Bobby Rio and Danny Rivers.
UK £9.99 including postage and packing Europe £12.50 including postage and packing Americas, Africa, Asia £13.50 including postage and packing Australia, New Zealand £13.80 including postage and packing
Go to The Triumphs web site to purchase securely through
Now also available on-line at Bim Bam Records and Leo’s Den
Other methods of payment:
Pay by cheque (drawn on UK bank) made payable to ‘R. Liffen’ and sent to 24 Dalmeny Road, Carshalton, SM5 4PP U.K Pay manually Paypal to email@example.com
The album is also available as a digital download at many outlets including
I Tunes UK I Tunes US Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Google Play and also Spotify
BACK ISSUES OF OUR NEWSLETTERS
All our Newsletters are still available as back issues and they have now been reduced to 10p (plus postage) – the same price as digital copies. Special rates available if you buy in bulk. There is a lot of information in these – especially the early ones edited by John Repsch and he used to answer letters in these too. Contact us if you are interested in back issues.