Take a look at Ron's top six albums that have inspired him and influenced the musician that he is today.
Ron's Favourite Contemporary Artists
As much as I love the music of the sixties and the seventies, I like to keep my eyes and ears open for what music is happening, to-day. There are some truly wonderful, talented artists and bands ‘out there’, making great music. Here are some of my current favourites.
Soulmate is a blues-rock band from Shillong, India. The band is primarily made up of Rudy Wallang (guitar/vocals/songwriter) and Tipriti (Tips) Kharbangar (vocals/guitar), although they frequently team up with session musicians Leon Wallang and Vincent Tariang, who play the bass and drums, respectively, when on tour. Tipriti is considered as one of the finest female singers to have emerged from India and Wallang is considered one of the most respected blues guitarists of India. I absolutely love the soulful melodies of soulmate and Tipriti’s voice is so strong, emotional and technically perfect. Rudy is my kind of guitarist and a decent vocalist, too. His rhythm work is solid and driving and his solos are melodic and fluid. When I first heard ‘Set Me Free’, I had to hear more, so I bought all four of their albums, which I play regularly. This is Blues with a ‘good-time’ feel. I feel truly alive when I listen to Soulmate.
HUNDRED SEVENTY SPLIT
This power-trio are Britain’s best, as far as I am concerned. Led by the legendary Leo Lyons, Bass-player and occasional manager of the hugely successful ‘Ten Years After’ for over forty years, Hundred Seventy Split play a repertoire of highly energetic, virtuosic and melodic blues-rock. Lead vocalist and guitarist Joe Gooch really does play an inspirational guitar as well as having a powerful and emotional voice. Drummer Damon Sawyer does not simply play with power, but with feeling. These three really are virtuosos of their instruments. That’s what I really love about them.
THE HIGH LLAMAS
The High Llamas are like absolutely nothing else on Earth. Their music has evolved from 1960s-style power-pop to a type of minimalist, Brazilian-tinged, melodic, avant-garde style of music. Whilst leader, Sean O’Hagan cites Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys as an early influence, the music of The High Llamas is also influenced by Burt Bacharach, Ennio Morriconi and other European film composers. Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream are also quoted, musically, along with a smattering of Steely Dan. Irishman, O’Hagan, is the lead singer and the composer of the London-based band. The band is unusual as they have a vibraphone player and they regularly use brass, reeds and strings both on record and live. Their music is extremely melodic and Sean’s arrangements are highly original and effective. I have followed them on their journey to what is now mostly ‘minimalist’ instrumental music of a highly international and original type. They continue to challenge and excite.
A truly original and exciting solo act, if ever one existed, Jack Broadbent is larger than life. He has honed his craft and diligently forged his own, unique path that was certainly to lead to critical acclaim and stardom. Jack Broadbent certainly deserves a large audience.
Hailed as “The new master of the slide guitar” by the Montreux Jazz Festival and “The real thang” by the legendary Bootsy Collins, Lincolnshire’s own Jack Broadbent has spent the the past few years impressing international audiences with his unique blend of virtuosic acoustic and slide guitar, and poignant folk and blues inspired vocals.
Born in rural Lincolnshire, the son of bass-player Micky Broadbent (ex-Bram Tchaikovsky, The Glitter Band and The Rumble Band) Jack grew up listening to artists like Steely Dan, Robert Johnson, Joni Mitchell and Davey Graham. These legends influenced Jack’s distinctive song writing, singing , production and performance style, giving his music a depth and heart that defies strict musical genre. Jack‘s performances exude a warmth, humour and energy that has electrified audiences worldwide.
Following a string of successful shows opening for legendary artists, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Peter Frampton, Johnny Hallyday, Tony Joe White and Ronnie Wood, Jack has headlined a series of international tours, playing sold out shows in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the US and Canada.
I have seen Jack, in concert, several times and each time he has presented new, exciting and original material, along with old favourites that everyone loves, given the full ‘Jack Broadbent treatment’. He is a revelation, live, so go and see him. I can not recommend Jack highly enough, for all-round entertainment and sheer musicianship. Cut him, he bleeds music!
With four full length albums under his belt, including his latest album ‘Moonshine Blue”, Jack is buoyant!
Salsola are a guitar-driven ‘indie’ band of great versatility. There is an air of confidence, in their performances and they take no prisoners with their uncompromizing repertoire of mostly original material.
“Vicky Wright’s impressive vocals complimented the bluesy riffs with thick bass lines in equal measure. Salsola are everything you want to see from an upcoming band, complete with strong melodies and guitar riffs which left the crowd in a brief daze." (Spotlight, November 2018).
Salsola are a punky, catchy, spiky, pop band hailing from Middlesbrough. Since Salsola formed in late 2017 they have gigged in venues around the north the most notable playing the Georgian Theatre for BBC Music and BBC Tees Introducing which was broadcast live on BBC Tees in May 2018. A recent review described Salsola's performance as, "Catchy pop songs with a punky edge, jangly guitars and a palpable energy, Salsola really blew the roof off the place." (Spotlight, October 2018)
The band shared a stage with The Van Ts and PINS during the first Last Train Home Festival in Darlington and were part of the May installment of the songs of Northern Britain compared by BBC Radio 6’s Vic Galloway. Salsola also supported Dutch band Pip Blom on the Newcastle leg of their 2018 tour. Their Debut EP 'An Ordinary Thrill' was released on 2nd June 2018, with the first track 'Give Me Love' given multiple plays on BBC Tees.
Since the COVID-19 restrictions, Salsola have been working with Ron Mozart on several tracks for his album ‘Cut and Run’, as well as developing more of their own material.
Salsola are an exciting band to experience, live. Just watch ‘em in 2021!
Influential Artists & Bands
I am a music-lover. I love all genres and most sub-genres. I listen to around 7-8 hours of music, per day, on average and I also read a great deal about music and musicians. Although the genres of Western Art Music and Jazz are of vital importance to me, I should like to discuss Popular Music and how this has come to play a pivotal part in my whole life. There are certain bands and artists whom I consider to be important and who have influenced and entertained me. I should like to look at these artists, in turn, discussing why they appeal to me as well as briefly examining their greatest works.
From a very early age, I must have decided that I enjoyed listening to music that was played by musicians that were most capable, if not virtuosos. This preference led me down the ‘Progressive’ route or ‘Prog Rock’ as it came to be called. A very simple explanation of this sub-genre of ‘Pop’ music would be to say that those bands and artists known as being ‘prog’ were generally ‘classically’ trained to some degree and had as much in common with JS Bach as they did with Elvis. Much of their music was experimental, but was still Rock’n’Roll. I also enjoyed what came to be known as ‘Heavy Rock’, whereby the music was loud and more adult-themed than the average ‘Top Twenty’ fare of most teenagers. I have always preferred music that presents a challenge to the listener, just as I prefer a book that challenges me as a reader and a play or a film that challenges me as a viewer.
Music has always been of paramount importance to me, it can never be pushed into the background. I have never been able to understand people to whom music is of little or no importance. To-day, it is possible to obtain music very quickly and simply, thanks to the internet. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, it was much more difficult and I do believe that we learned to appreciate it more, as it was not simply available at the ‘drop of a hat’. To-day’s casual listener may download or stream music to their digital devices, but that will not do for me. I have to have the album, be it in CD format or on vinyl. I have to have the artwork, the credits, the lyrics and the ‘liner notes’. It is all part of the package. All part of the enjoyment.
So, let’s look at my favourites whom I consider to be important and who have certainly left their mark on me!
Harold Eugene Clark (17 November 1944-24 May 1991)
“There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love Gene Clark and those who have never heard Gene Clark.” Ron Mozart, 2021
‘He’s [Gene Clark’s] got something to say and I’m listening.’ Bob Dylan, 1965
Gene Clark seemed the most likely of all the five original Byrds to become a solo superstar: he had the looks, a beautifully emotive voice and, most importantly of all, an extraordinary talent as a songwriter. For a myriad of reasons, Clark never made it on his own despite producing some truly wonderful solo albums but over the years the cult of Clark has been growing, as more and more people are discovering his work beyond The Byrds.
Gene Clark had everything; intelligent, handsome, talented, industrious, deeply soulful and sincere. After a whirlwind apprenticeship of singing and playing guitar in and around Kansas, he was ‘discovered’ at the age of eighteen and thrust into the national limelight as a member of the successful folk-act ‘The New Christy Minstrels’, touring America and regularly appearing on television. Sharing the limelight as an ensemble member, peddling a rather contrived ‘showbiz’ routine and singing ‘cheesy’ ditties about mules and green grass was not for a Gene, though. He’d heard The Beatles and he was about to use that influence to bear upon what he would do for the rest of his life.
By the age of twenty-one, Gene Clark was an international superstar. The world rested at his feet and gone was the extreme poverty and squalor of his early years in Tipton, Mississippi, where he was born the second child in a family of twelve. He never recovered from the adulation that he acquired for being the lead singer, ‘front man’ and principal songwriter of The Byrds. It shook his confidence and put him under pressure for the rest of his short life. Liable to taunts from ‘rich kid’ David Crosby and at odds with the rest of the band, due to the large disparity in earnings (Gene’s writing royalties earned him $20,000 in 1965, with the other four Byrds each earning around $1,500) Gene left the band in February 1966, citing his fear of flying as the reason for leaving. The future looked certain.
If anyone had ‘solo superstar’ written all over them, in 1966, then Gene Clark was that person. With his fan-base from The Byrds still in place and his songs well-known and acclaimed, Gene looked well-set for a successful solo career. The odds were right on it. Songs flowed from Gene. His majestic lyrics, often tantalisingly obscure, rivalled Dylan, who actually admired Gene’s work greatly. A debut solo album with the Gosdin Brothers was not particularly considered commercial enough, although the songs were sophisticated and intelligent. This was 1966 and the ‘Singer/Songwriter’ genre was still four to five years away. Gene, it seemed, was stuck in the ‘teenybopper’ appeal of his membership of The Byrds. Solo success is far different to group success and Gene was frustrated in realizing this, along with the fact that he was now well-aware that record companies could make or break you.