This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of a fabulous photography exhibition, that I would encourage anyone to drop in on if they get a chance.
The black and white images, all captured in the 60s, show true global rock royalty on trips to the West Midlands. There are hugely striking photos of Little Richard, at his most impish and mischievous, as well as unshowy portraits of Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Chuck Berry, The Move and an frankly stunning picture of the wonderful Nina Simone.
What is great in this small collection is not just that it adds to the iconic images we already have of these greats, but that there are also more intimate, candid shots of the musicians in full flow. The late Jack Bruce grinning with a silly hat, or his drummer in Cream, Ginger Baker, lost in solo. Also powerful is the inclusion of the audience in a number of the pictures, close to the performers, not always the flower-children we associate with the period, but ordinary Brummies, enjoying a show after a hard day (one imagines) on the shop floor. One picture especially stuck me, of the Moody Blues performing in a club in Erdington, with the slightly dangerous-looking 60s lighting display stripping away the rock and roll legend and reminding us that these venues and people were real and despite seeming it, perhaps not that far removed from us today.