Returning to the sunny sounds of the 70s

Matthews Southern Comfort.
Matthews Southern Comfort.

THERE’S been some great gigs at Knaresborough’s Frazer Theatre in the last few years courtesy of Kula Productions which, in the process has made them, along with RipleyBlues, one of the best independent promoters in the country, writes Graham Chalmers.

Even main man John Haxby was surprised, however, by how brilliant flame-haired Irish songstress Mary Coughlan was on Saturday night in this magical little venue.

Next up at the Frazer for Kula are Matthews Southern Comfort.

Led by ex-Fairport Convention man Ian Matthews, they originally rose to success on a wave of thoughtful, summery, acoustic song-writery hits alongsides the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and America.

Question. When is returning to old songs not simply a case of nostalgia?

Answer. When you still love the music without any thought of dressing up in the old clothes.

Listen again to MSC’s sparkling sounds with fresh ears, including their version of Woodstock, (a number 1 hit in 1970), when they play Frazer Theatre on Friday, December 2.

THE groundbreaking Constellations Festival takes over Leeds next weekend at Leeds University and the Brudenell Social Club. Among the eclectic mix of interesting indie acts playing on Saturday, November 12 are Wild Beasts, Yuck, The Big Pink, Stephen Malkmus, Antlers and Dutch Uncles.

YOU may have noticed a whole slew of events and radio shows and magazine articles to mark the 40th anniversary of legendary BBC TV show The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The latest contribution is presenter Bob Harris’s new compilation album Old Grey Whistle Test Country which includes a track by local legends Wally.

The Harrogate band are represented by the lovely number Your Own Way which is from their debut album on Atlantic records from 1974.

IT’S hard to name any famous Harrogate musicians, partly because almost all of them only become famous long after leaving the town - and it may be about to happen again!

I remember, vaguely, the name Ritch Spence, a young musician from Tockwith who went to King James’s School in Knaresborough.

The songwriter and versatile instrumentalist has emailed Gig Scene out of the blue to say he’s now making a name for himself in America as part of a British country-rock band called Emma King and the Heartsets who live in Nashville.

Having signed a management and record deal in America, their brand new video comes out in January but you can get a sneak preview at or visit

There’s also a chance the boys (and girl) will be playing a few UK shows next summer.

TALKING of prodigal sons, Harrogate piano veteran Derry Jones has emailed to say his grandson Joe Prudames, son of late local musician Gwyn Jones, is currently touring south west England with his Plymouth-based blues band Aswesink. Music certainly runs in that family.

Have a listen a

CLASSIC rock band GMT will be playing tracks from their three albums Bitter & Twisted, Evil Twin and the live album Raw Live at the West Park Hotel in Harrogate tomorrow, Saturday.

Led by guitar god and ex-Gillan band member Bernie Torme, the show has been organised by local businessman Jamie Lennox.

Tickets cost £8 in advance or £10 on the door.

Lennox is also welcoming back The Pat McManus Band to the same venue on November 11.

For tickets, telephone 01924 481052 or visit or

NO ’ rum concept bar’ would be complete without Cuban music so it’s great to see that live music will feature tonight, Friday when Harrogate bar/nightclub Revolution launches its new “Revolucion de Cuba.”

Serving a massive selection of rums, the launch night will feature a champage reception and a live Cuban band with percussionist and salsa dancers.

HARROGATE Jazz Club says farewell to its home at the West Park Hotel after nearly four years with its final weekly gig there next Tuesday.

But they’re leaving in some style with an excellent double bill featuring singer Sharon Colgan and the Watermelon Men plus The Pete Oliver Band.

The club’s opening night at its new home takes place on Tuesday, November 15 at a venue called Balcony which is located at Harrogate Cricket Club on St George’s Road.

FINALLY Harrogate singer-songwriter Ghostown Soldier is back on the scene after a quiet spell when he’s been beavering away on a new video.

You can catch him live on Saturday, November 11 alongside Vicky Whelan, Dave Dowson and Joe Flanagan at the very nice Penfold Lounge at Grove House on Skipton Road which recently featured on BBC TV’s Who Do You Think You Are?