There are many who are saddened by the news concerning Alan "Bugsy" Eastwood who passed away suddenly on October 25, 2007. Bugsy was very active in the 1960s local music scene as drummer/vocalist for The Brumbeats and The Exception, both significant groups at the time.
Alan Eastwood was well known as a great drummer but his talents extended to singing and also songwriting at which he was prolific. Alan Eastwood joined The Brumbeats (formerly The Plazents) who were signed to a Decca recording contract in 1964. The band also recorded under the name 'The Merseyboys' and had a now rare album of Beatles songs released on the famous Vee-Jay label in the U.S.A. As a member of The Brumbeats, Alan first tasted fame when the band played support for and appeared on the same bill as The Beatles when they performed in Birmingham.
Alan went on to form his own blues-based trio called The Exception with former Brumbeats guitarist Roger Hill and bassist Dave Pegg (later to join Fairport Convention). The Exception was very much Alan's band as he wrote their original material and sang the lead vocals as well as playing harmonica - not the easiest job on stage as he also played drums at the same time! The group had an album and several good singles released on the President Records label including 'The Eagle Flies On Friday', 'Rub It Down', and 'Tailor Made Babe'. Alan also had his own solo single 'Blackbird Charlie' issued on President in 1968 as well as a now super-rare solo album titled 'Seeds... Alan James Eastwood'.
Alan Eastwood continued to work in the music business and spent his later years in London where he lived until his death from heart failure. He never really got the recognition he deserved but was a talented musician who was well respected in the local music community. Louise Lane who's uncle was Alan Eastwood has some fond memories of him; "Uncle Alan was not just a talented musician - he was also a good listener, giving advice, guidance and support to AA members and helping out with various charities within his community, including helping the homeless in the soup kitchen. From my own memories of Alan, I recall his upbeat energy and sense of humour and of course he just loved to sing and play his guitar to the family. He was an entertainer as well as a kind hearted man".
The Brumbeats lead vocalist Graham Ashford "Bobby Ash" has sent a touching tribute to Bugsy as follows:
"I was very saddened by the news of Alan Eastwood's passing. I have only good memories of him, he was one of the good guys I knew in the Birmingham music scene. I enjoyed the time we spent together in the Brumbeats. He was a great drummer to play with and was a big part of the Brumbeats sound."I remember days when we were younger, we used to laugh and sing the whole night long, Someday I will greet you as I find you, with the sharing of a brand new song.
Malcolm Garner of The Exception has also sent a tribute as follows:The eagle flies on Friday, he ain't comin' back no more, Bugsy's left us for ever, a drummer, a singer and more. Jack rabbit he called himself, bum's puzzle's where he belonged, I found my tailor made babe, while Bugsy sang that very song. Karen train blues 'n' Pendulum, brought him no money, no fame, woman of the green lantern - have you heard of Mrs Cocaine? Bugsy was a friend of mine, haven't seen him for ages, our band was called Exception, played rock and blues on lots of stages. The eagle flies on Friday, he ain't comin' back no more, may Bugsy's soul rest in peace, his friends won't forget him at all.
Polly Wilson-Clark maintains a web site dedicated to the memory of Alan 'Bugsy' Eastwood. The site has lots more information about Alan along with links to his music so it's well worth a visit. This memorial web site can be viewed at: alan-eastwood.com
An in-depth review of The Exception (with Alan Eastwood) CD package 'The Eagle Flies On Friday - Complete Recordings 1967-1969' is now available on the BrumBeat web site by clicking HERE. For more information, visit the RPM/Cherry Red Records web site at www.rpmrecords.co.uk
Highly recommended and also available is 'Seeds... Alan James Eastwood' solo album by Alan "Bugsy" Eastwood issued in 1971 and now remastered on CD by Cherry Tree Records CRTREE015. For more information, visit the RPM/Cherry Tree Records web site at www.rpmrecords.co.uk