Why o why o why was I not at this gig?
Here were two of Wales' finest jamming with not only a true icon of the sixties, but one heck of a blistering plank-spanker.
Now Barry Melton has never been regarded much in the guitar world, but his playing with Country Joe and The Fish (Melton's The Fish) was always incredibly bold and dynamic.
He could do a nice jingly-jangly and he could play a mighty fine boogie; but his solos, Wow! They were off the scale.
Blistering, shuddering notes that jumped right out at you, just leaping off the mix; notes so intense with vibrato and power they'd send your head reeling.
Man, he could do incredible things with that whammy-bar!
Okay, so he's slowed a little through the years, and his solo work is rather subdued compared with what he produced back in the day, but hey, he's Barry Melton, The Fish, the guy who runs towards the camera with a joint and holds it an inch away from the lens in the movie Woodstock, the guy who shouts 'no rain, no rain', the guy who often led the Fuck chant, you know: 'Give me an eff, give me a you...' etc.
And he was playing in Baglan, near Port Talbot!
Less than an hour away from my house!
And with two guitarists who could easily keep up with the Californian import.
Micky Jones and Deke Leonard: Man! nuff said.
Except, Micky Jones was rated by Zappa as one of the best guitar players out there - I saw Jones jamming one time with Jimmy Carl Black's Muffin Men, and Man, when he played Zappa, he played Zappa. Closer than anyone else I've ever heard. It's all in those nuances, right! And Jones could do it so well - and Deke Leonard: Man, one of the gutsiest rhythm players you'll ever encounter.
And the reason I wasn't at the gig: well, didn't know anything about it.
Most gigs in Wales seem to rely on word of mouth; the talking drums around here are very, very damp; the best shows one seems to come across through serendipity rather than advertising.
And to prove it: there's no one at this gig.
Okay, maybe six or seven people; or at least that's what it sounds like.
The space makes for a wonderful recording; top class, as good as many professional live recordings: a definite A+, but it does sound pitiful when Melton tries to sell the empty venue 'genuine Woodstock and Monterey picks' [£6.95 a pair].
However, the lack of bodies doesn't deter the axe wielding trio - three SGs! What more could one want!? - and they play their hearts out.
The combination of Melton's songs and the Man duo's Spunk Rock sensibilities makes a perfect blend: a cocktail for the ears.
So, enjoy this.
Nearly two hours of psychedelic bliss from three very original players.
Barry Melton, Micky Jones & Deke Leonard - Baglan Social Club 17th July 2004.
I Can't Dance
Picks For Sale
The Love Machine
CD rip to mp3s; includes cover art.
There was a welcome in the hillside here