Through the miracle of the world-wide web, I know that it was the evening of March 1st 1969 that I spent in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall with my brother (well, I knew that already – obviously) at a concert compered by the immortal John Peel, which featured a sitar player (Vytas Serelis, also a noted Australian artist, I believe), some bloke called David Bowie performing mime and, as headliners, a folksy duo who went by the name of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Before reinventing themselves as pioneers of glam rock, Tyrannosaurus Rex were something of an acquired taste. I can’t remember exactly how I did acquire it, although I suspect that the introduction would have been effected through the medium of John Peel’s radio show. I do remember that I had a copy of their album ‘Prophets, Seers And Sages’ with its striking cover:
In retrospect, although I was sincerely a fan, it was all a bit elves-and-hobbits, so I felt no guilt whatsoever in getting hooked on the relaunched, electric, glittery and, most importantly of all, irresistibly catchy T Rex. Really, what’s not to like?
Just to prove that at least some thought goes into these largely, and quite properly, disregarded fortnightly ramblings, my Honourable Mention for this instalment is a group I also saw at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, probably in late ’69 or early ’70.
At least I saw most of that show although the combination of my notoriously weak bladder and a preparatory four pints of Newcastle Brown Ale meant that my enjoyment was marred by a number of discreet dashes to the Gents; the sound still carried though.
There’s a very strong case, in my view, that Alvin Lee is the most shamefully under-rated guitarist of that era. It’s said that, when asked what it was like to be the greatest guitarist in the world, Jimi Hendrix replied that he didn’t know, you’d have to ask Alvin Lee. If you listen to this performance from the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 you can see what he meant. I saw this too and the whole set was absolutely fantastic.
My Music Lexicon