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Ollie Halsall [solo recordings]

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John Halsey and Ollie HAlsall

Halsey & Halsall
Photo: Morgan Fisher

'Admiral' John Halsey
John Halsey

I was in Ollie's company on numerous occasions during the late 70's early 80's when he would pop into the Verulam arms pub in North Watford he would get up on stage in the old music lounge and jam with the resident duo. Great times.

At the time he was guitarist for Gary Glitter's backing band and reahearsed in the music lounge for the gigs at Baileys nightclub he use to play the star guitar which he did not like and use to rehearse with harvey and tony leonard who where the only original members left and of course Glitter himself I use to go and watch rehearsals to get experience.

I was in a band managed by Joe Seabrook who had asked Ollie to give me and the band some guidance. I was only 17 at the time and Ollie would have been 28-29.

He was a zany but a modest shy character. I remember commenting on his ability as a musician and I say musician because it wasn't just his ability as a guitarist the guy was a multi uinstrumentalist, Drums, keyboard,bass, sax, vibes and of course right and left handed unaltered guitar his comment was I'm just a dude who likes to do what I do.

We used to have some great jam sessions with Ollie in one of the converted cellars that was our rehearsal studio, with Ollie on drums me on guitar and Nige on bass.

I would like to verify that whether the guitar was left or right handed Ollie could play either way with no mods or alterations to the guitar simply because it was my right handed 1967 Pro Gold Deluxe Gibson Les Paul that Ollie played and to say I was lost for words was an understatement. A totally unique guy.

I remember one time I was walking home guitar in hand when a Ford Granada pulls up along side of me. "Jump in, wandering minstrel" said a familar voice. It was Ollie, Tony Leonard & Harvey Ellison driving. They where going back to Ollie's house in Breakspeare Road, Abbotts langley. I was intending to go home, as it was on the way, but ended up back at Ollie's with the guys. We all got a bit out of it but it was great fun. I'll always remember this huge B&W poster of Ollie on the wall in a leopard skin outfit with guitar in hand. Wondered what happened to that. I know his wife and daughters moved in sometime after. Something I guess will never be known.

Gary Sears 2012


Caves 1999

Hey Hey Little Girl
Come On Let's Go
Back Against the Wall
Crazy When I Fall in Love
Door to Door Daughter
Travelling Show
Lovers Leaping
Stepping Out
You Need a Friend
First Day in New York
Airplane Food
Summertime Kids

Multitrack demos from 1979

This collection of 1979 demos remains, Ollie's only totally solo effort and an intensely satisfying album

Authorised limited re-release 2007

Market Square

Album available by download only.
Purchase via PayPal. Please contact us for alternative payment methods.

The original CD version is out of print, but you can purchase the album as an MP3 DOWNLOAD here for just £4.99

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The Caves story

Rusty Strings 1973 unreleased

White Sports Coat/Buttons & Bows
Medium Twist
This Wheel's on Fire
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Summer in the City
Can't Help Lovin' That Man
Happy Together
Elvis Medley
Platters Medley God Only Knows

Single 1974:

Rusty Strings Rusty Strings

Can't Help Lovin' That Man


Medium Twist

Platters' Medley

Perhaps the most bizarre artefact of Ollie's entire career, these multi-track instrumental recordings - clearly n the style of Les Paul - were made in early 1973, around the time of Patto's final, unreleased album, Monkey's Bum.

Ollie had experimented with the layered speeded-up guitar tracks on the song  I Need You  [from the aforementioned album] and had also used the technique with devastating effect on Singing The Blues on Reds [from  Roll 'em, Smoke 'em]. However, the 'Rusty Strings' tracks are a world away from such masterpieces.

Quite why he chose to do them is a mystery. Apparently, he planned a whole album under the pseudonym and there are reports of other tracks, such as covers of Elvis Presley classics either completed or in the pipeline.

Equally unaccountable is why anyone would want to release them, but RCA did just that in early 1974 with a single coupling the Jerome Kern tune with a Halsall original [which does have some redeeming features].

'Admiral' John Halsey describes these efforts as "Horrible".

We are still waiting for a chart entry ;o)

Many thanks to 'Rutling' Ken Thornton of the Patto  Fan Site and Duncan Goddard for finding and researching these recordings.

The Happening Combo

The Happening Combo (CD)

Issue Is or Issue Ain't*
Speeding Heart
Somebody Mean*
Lay Lady Lay
Leaving It All Behind*
Gimme a Little Bit
Ghost Train*
Another Time Before

* Halsall solo demos [S] for Kevin Ayers 1988 album, Still Life With Guitar. Other tracks are alternative versions of songs from the Kevin Ayers album,Diamond Jack and the Queen of Pain, four songs by Lady June Cramer and Marvin Siau's origina demo of Another Time Before, which became Another Rolling Stone on the 1988 Kevin Ayers album, Falling Up.

Abbots Langley 2008

Bum Love
Monkey On My Back
Marietta’s Pizzas #1
Don’t Understand
This One’s For Me
Marietta’s Pizzas #2
Seven Days
Time Is By My Side
We Want Out
Marietta’s Pizzas #3
Roll Around

Bonus tracks:
Seven Days (alternative version)
We Want Out (instrumental version)
Shame Shame

This new album of previously unreleased recordings by Ollie Halsall is now available from Market Square Records [MSMCD 145].

The material, which includes nine Halsall originals, dates from a 1980 colaboration with drummer John Halsey and is completed by some very unusual extra recordings.


Buy the Abbots Langley CD NOW!


CD £7.99 plus postge and packing

The Abbots Langley story

Ollie and The Blue Traffs
The Russian Medical Fan Dance
Peter Abraham." Then there’s "
And He Summoned Up The Tidal Wave
Number Three [instrumental]

With Max Von Shmacks [violin]
Gary Windo [sopranino saxophone]
Harry Miller [bass]
John Halsey [percussion]

Robert Fripp [producer]

"Max Von Schmax was a total nutcase. I knew him well and avoided him as much as possible, He was classically trained - his father was in the LSO as a viola player and played on many of my sessions. I'm pretty sure his name was Berman. He would headbutt a telephone box on command (usually of Ollie!) He committed suicide (hardly surprisingly!)" - John Altman

Ollie and The Blue Traffs

The Blue Traff guitar

Ollie Halsal

Photo: Morgan Fisher

Kevin Ayes' bassist Marcelo Fuentes confirms that, shortly before Ollie's death, he was planning a solo album with Relativity Records

Ollie Halsall [solo]

> y Viva Espana

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