Tag Archives: Malcolm Hoskins


Last night at the wonderful Staines Riverside Club we witnessed rare magic when WILLY FINLAYSON AND THE HURTERS came to town bringing their smooth quality rock and soft ‘n’ soulful covers.

The last time we saw Willy in Staines was with his band project HALF MEAL TICKET, then with Steve Simpson (now in retirement) and Dean Barnes (much missed.)

Edinburgh born Willy is a talented guitarist, composer and extraordinary vocalist and he fronted Bees Make Honey (1974 ) and later the famous country rock band Meal Ticket. They provided the theme for the brilliant play-for-today “Dominick Hide”.

Willy Finlayson – Carnation-cream and tobacco voice…

In staines The Hurters played songs like the award-winning “She Will Be Loved” [Maroon 5] with its insistent chorus.

These were emotionally rendered, and even at times perhaps overwrought. Though Willy’s smouldering carnation-cream and tobacco voice helped  alleviate any anguish.

Classy blues numbers, such as “Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know)” (Ry Cooder, 1980) had good rebound and veritable trim.

And for the many upbeat numbers (Bruce Springsteen is a favourite songwriter) Willy provided eloquent slur to go with that amazing golden brogue.

Dave Colquhoun – bullets of masculinity and power…

The great revelation of the night was the “new” guitarist Dave Colquhoun.

Dave is actually an experienced session man, currently with Rick Wakeman’s band.

He has his own band projects and previously worked with Go West, Paul Young, Belinda Carlisle, T’pau, Bananarama and, of course, Bucks Fizz.

Dave added bullets of masculinity and power to ballads such as “Hungry Heart” or dark twists of sadness or tiny bee stings of articulation… In other words, he provided nuance and fragrance to every soulful song. Such was his impressive play that he earned  several bravos of his own during the evening.

Tempo was provided by acclaimed blues bassist Malcolm Hoskins who was a firm and steadfast rhythmic-energy maker.

Towards the end of the evening we were treated to a few songs from “surprise guest” LIZA MARSHALL.

Her husky chocolate-syrup voice always wins applause, and her smooth song-choice included the singalong gospel number “People Get Ready” [Curtis Mayfield 1965.] This allowed Dave to express his more imaginative and jazzy side.

As usual, a very fine evening of quality musical entertainment in Staines.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2017 ©

Link: http://www.willyfinlayson.com/


HALF MEAL TICKET at Staines Riverside Club

Meal Ticket were a country rock band that played the London pub circuit in the late 1970s. The Canadian performer Rick Jones wrote many of their songs.

Steve Simpson and Willy Finlayson played guitars (plus additional instruments ) in the original squad and are still going strong — now performing together in the band-project known as ‘HALF MEAL TICKET.’

Willy takes center stage and plays acoustic rhythm guitar. He still provides most of the lead vocals, though ocassionally defers to Steve. Steve, meanwhile, takes on the electric lead guitar.

The last time we saw HALF MEAL TICKET at Staines Riverside Club they boasted the fabulous Nigel Portman-Smith on bass.

Now Nigel has retired from music, and we wish him well. In his place this Thursday was the esteemed blues bassist Malcolm Hoskins — a long-time friend and collaborator of Steve Simpson.

Completing this all-chordophone line-up was the excellent lead guitarist Dean Barnes. We last saw Dean in action performing with LIZA MARSHALL and the Smokey Turtle Band [reviewed here: https://staines.me/2016/06/03/liza-marshall-]

Half Meal Ticket with Steve Simpson [L] and Willy Finlayson [R]  — Image by @neilmach 2016 ©
Half Meal Ticket with Steve Simpson [L] and Willy Finlayson [R] — Image by @neilmach 2016 ©
The show kicked-off with the sensational Singalong classic: “It’s All Over Now.”

The band gave us motoring rhythms, jangling strings and the first fine harmonies of the evening.

Both Steve and Willy are passionate vocalists. Steve’s voice has dark amber gravitas with tobacco edges. Whilst Willy’s is less rough — more fervent.

Look Good In Blue” had scintillating guitar-work from Dean and an ‘Ain’t No Sunshine‘ riff. We spoke to someone who seemed convinced that this number was originally performed by the hard-bop drummer Grady Tate.

The show continued to be an exploration of truly great, but rarely covered gems. Such as “She Will Be Loved” [Maroon 5] and the Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson number “Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know)” which was made famous by Ry Cooder in 1980.

At times the band sounded very similar to Dire Straits. (With the two Knopfler-like guitarists duelling it out.) But HALF MEAL TICKET produce more “rootsy” tones than most pub rock bands and their renditions are filled with deep soul and meaning.

Although improvisations seemed scarce, with few ‘blowing’ guitar breaks, nevertheless it seemed obvious that the band were merely ‘jamming along’ at times. The lack of smooth transitions between songs and no obvious pre-agreed set-list made the show a little less polished than perhaps really necessary — although it was never actually chaotic.

As one observer put it, “Once they get going they are better-than-good… But it takes more than a while to get themselves into things …

The stand-out song of the second half was the Springsteen number “Hungry Heart” [originally written for The Ramones and recorded by The Boss in 1980.] Here the audience at Staines was encouraged to clap and sing along. Soft and kindred guitar lines were eased out by Dean and Steve and sparkled in the warm summer air.

This was yet another lovely evening at Staines Riverside Club spent in the company of some really versatile and thorougly entertaining musicians.

Words & Images: Words: Neil Mach 2016 ©






5 Things – This Week in Staines


Cats and cats and cats Back Home at Staines

Cats and cats and cats at Staines

Oct 16 2008      7:00P
The Hobgoblin HOMETOWN ALBUM FUNDRAISER SHOW!      £3 entry

CATS and cats and cats

Welcome the heroes home and give ’em some cash for recording

Ben (Vocals, Guitar)
Doug (Drums)
Tom (Bass, Backing vocals)
Adam (Synths, Guitar)
Eve (Violin)
plus sometimes John (Trumpet)



Get some sleazy rock – Imperial Vipers

Imperial Vipers

Oct 18 2008      8:00P Windsor,Old ticket Hall     Windsor

Evolving from a gang of mates with a shared love of rock n roll, Imperial Vipers exploded into action in early 2005.

Ripping out tunes that fall somewhere between Soundgarden & The Clash their sound and live performance is hard to pigeon-hole and has been described quite simply as “Street Rock” by Anne Maria from Total Rock, a genre that the band
identify with.



Jazz Drummer- Masterwork

Clark Tracey at Walton on Thames

19 OCTOBER Concert  Riverhouse Barn

Walton-on-Thames is delighted to welcome back Clark Tracey who last played Riverhouse backing his father Stan. Here he leads a quartet featuring the sparky Gareth Williams on piano, augmented by eclectic tenorist Brandon Allen, best of the current crop of Australian saxophonists. Their latest album, ‘Given Time’, is a select anthology of British songs including evergreen standards as well as worthy lesser-known originals by Tim Garland, David Newton, Bobby Wellins and other contemporary jazz musicians.Django Bates, Iain Ballamy and Andrew Cleyndert. Later groups included Guy Barker, Jamie Talbot, Nigel Hitchcock, Dave O’Higgins, Mark Nightingale, Mornington Lockett, Julian Arguelles, Gerard Presencer, Alec Dankworth and Steve Melling.

He currently runs a quintet with luminaries from the new generation (Mark Armstrong, Simon Allen, Zoe Rahman & Peter Billington) and a trio with Gareth Williams and Arnie Somogyi.


full price £11.00

riverhouse boxoffice
Manor Road
Surrey KT12 2PF

01932 253354 (24 hrs)


Hard Rock and Blues at Hampton


Oct 17 2008      9:00P    Royal Oak, Hampton

The Loudshirts

Loudshirts are a hard-rocking, close-harmony, blues-influenced rock covers band.
Formed in 1988 by guitarist brothers Steve & Jeff Summers along with powerhouse drummer Bruce Bisland and Malcolm Hoskins on bass. Line up changes over the years has now produced the current crew of Jeff & Gary Summers (bass) and Nigel “Reg Hampton” Robinson on drums & percussion.

Jeff has an illustrious recording career including international releases alongside ex-MSG vocalist Gary Barden and ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson. Jeff is currently guitarist and songwriter in the reformed Statetrooper with Gary Barden.

The LOUDSHIRTS are a regular and popular act on the London music scene who can guarantee a great night of entertainment!



Amazing Rock Guitar at Shepperton


Oct 17 2008      9:00P    Kings Head-Shepperton

Firewater – with Ed Hudson

FIREWATER consists of Ed Hudson (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica) and Tim Scopes (lead guitar, slide, backing vocals). They started playing together as a duo in 1999, having got to know each other while in a rock band called Shakestone.

Their taste and musical influences have always been similar, incorporating the great American and British rock and blues bands of the ’60s and ’70s (Hendrix, Free, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC-DC).

They play this music live with a stripped down approach but losing none its vibe, integrity or passion – no backing tracks, ‘cos they don’t need them!