Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Neil Battersby...and at last I get to hear The Reaction!!!

I finally caught up with Neil Battersby today in Redruth. It was very exciting because late in 1966 Neil made the only known recording of The Reaction playing live, and he played it to me today in his office in Redruth. It was made using a plastic microphone in the room next to the one the band were performing in (the kitchen in the annexe of the City Hall in Truro) so the quality is n't perfect, but it's good enough to make out lots of Mike Dudley's keyboard, bits of Acker Snell's saxophone (I think) and of course Roger Taylor's drumming and singing.

Regarding the drumming, and I 'm not an expert but I would say the band 'swings': they're playing a lot of soul numbers and all them have got a really good rhythmical 'feel'. But there is nt the same flamboyance: the rolls are simple quavers on the toms, not flams or paradiddles and its as if Roger, as the singer, is concentrating more on his singing, which actually is very impressive. It seems very dynamic and expressionful, with really soulful whoops and wails etc.

In fact it's a reminder that, had things worked out differently (maybe if there had been another drummer around who was keen to play with the Reaction) Roger might have concentrated on singing - and the history of Queen might have been very different...

Neil had some other interesting Truro School memorabilia, including a couple of 'Yearbooks' which were given to all the boys and listed all the pupils of the school (picture above). He also remembered gigs that I havent heard described before including on a boat on the Fal and in a clubhouse in Trevellas (?possibly Talk of the West: will need to check this with him).

Neil did most of The Reaction's driving in 1966, and hes found an image of a Thames Trader van that is almost identical to the one they had back then. This is the same one that crashed (badly) in 1967.

Thanks Neil.

UPDATE 27/10/10 Actually its just occurred to me that the 'Yearbook' (picture above) allows us to date the fancy dress party pictured on the back of the Queen 1 album because it has Les Brown's birth date. We know it was at Les' 21st birthday that the photos were taken, so the party would have been at the beginning of June 1971 - shortly before Queen set off on their tour of Cornwall...

UPDATE 15/11/10
Speaking to Neil again hes corrected me. In a lot of the biographies there are references to Thames Traders which were big heavy pickup lorries. Actually to be strictly correct the vehicle in question was called a Ford Thames...

1 comment:

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    pattern is RLRR LRLL, where the pattern itself always
    alternates; i.e. the first paradiddle starts with one
    hand, the second starts with the other, etc.

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