Mick Green of The Pirates 1944-2010

The Pirates Live in ’78 and Mick Green Interviewed.

Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, 1964.
Another great one checked out. Mick Green, the Pirates’ guitarist, died on January 11th of heart failure, he was 66. The Pirates career began as Johnny Kidd’s backing band, they then reformed in the mid-70’s cutting three excellent LP’s for Warner Bros (Out Of Our Skulls, Skull Wars and Happy Birthday as well as a 10″ EP called Fist Full Of Doubloons). Although Green didn’t play on Johnny Kidd’s classic original version of Shakin’ All Over (that was Al Caddy), he joined Kidd’s band in ’64 and stayed with him until Kidd died in a 1966 car accident. Mick Green appears on quite a few excellent Johnny Kidd & the Pirates records including the remake of his greatest moments Shakin’ All Over ’65, as well as their best single with Kidd– My Babe b/w Castin’ My Spell (HMV, issued as simply The Pirates). After Kidd’s death Mick joined Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas for awhile. Green was a huge influence on Dr. Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson who adopted Green’s style of playing rhythm and lead simultaneously by up strumming with his fingers while down picking with his thumb on a Fender Telecaster.

The Pirates played NYC once at Hurrah’s in 1978, wearing their Pirate uniforms and thigh high boots, they were great. After the Pirates final demise, Green joined Van Morrison’s band in the 90’s and stayed until 2008. Some of the better tracks on the 70’s Pirates LP’s are their versions of Peter Gunn, Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee, Lonesome Train, Honey Hush (these guys had a real Johnny Burnette Trio fetish) and Jerry Byrne’s classic Lights Out. They were ugly, they couldn’t write songs, and their singing wasn’t much, but as a straight ahead guitar rock’n’roll band, the Pirates could not be beat. That’s him being interviewed in the above clip.
Addendum: Here’s the versions of Sanford Clarl’s The Fool and Jerry Lee Lewis’ Big Blon Baby I meant to add to the original post, both are Johnny Kidd & the Pirates BBC recordings circa ’65. Mick Green shines on both.

30 thoughts on “Mick Green of The Pirates 1944-2010”

  1. “Actually,Mick Green joined Johnny Kidd and the Pirates in March of 1962 and was gone by the summer of 1964″There's a good chance I'm wrong but I got my dates off of CD's and various session/discographies, he's credited with playing with Kidd on various BBC and HMV recordings way past '64, and it sure sounds like him on Shakin' All Over '65, etc. Out of curiosity, how did you come up with your dates?

  2. Mick Green kicked ass. He's about as individual of a stylist on the guitar as they come. Up there with Hubert Sumlin. Jeez, the Pirates were great. Out Of Our Skulls was some of the best 99¢ I ever spent on a record. I kept that live side on my turntable for a month solid after I got it. Wish I coulda seen 'em live. Some of the best youtube stuff's been taken down I guess, but it's available on a dvd called Live at Dingwalls. Totally amazing. RIP.-Andy

  3. Nitpickin': The version of Big Blon Baby is the version from 1960 without Mick Green. There is another Big Blon Baby #2 from 1964 with Green. And the link to Please don't touch is dead. Saw the Pirates in '78. Great.- R

  4. “The version of Big Blon Baby is the version from 1960 without Mick Green. There is another Big Blon Baby #2 from 1964 with Green. And the link to Please don't touch is dead. “For some reason neither Please Don't Touch orthe correct version of Big Blonde Baby or their cover of Sanford Clark's The Fool would load onto my Idisk, so I removed the links. Very weird, I've never had a tune that wouldn't load before, Mick and or Johnny's ghost in the machine?

  5. It was amazing how the later day Pirates LPs languished in every used bin!They're probably still copies at St. Mark's Sounds now!PJL

  6. Mick Green R.I.P. He did some brilliant guitar work when he left Johnny Kidd's employ and played with The Dakotas, both “solo” and backing Billy J. Kramer on smoking tracks like “Don't Do It No More”, “Sneakin' Around” and “To Take Her Place”. iTunes actually has all of them as well as a freaky alternate version of their last single together, 1967's “Chinese Girl” which was released on Robert Stigwood's Reaction label in the U.K.

  7. According to the liner notes of the 2 CD EMI “The Complete Johnny Kidd & the Pirates”. Green left Johnny Kidd for the Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas gig in July '64. His last 45 with Kidd was “Whole Lotta Woman”/”Your Cheatin' Heart” which was released several months later. He stayed with Kramer until '67, whereupon The Dakotas cut two Kramer-less 45's for Page One and Phillips respectively. I just chronicled the whole messs on my bog “Anorak Thing” in my Mick Green tribute/obit.

  8. And b.t.w according to the EMI CD liner notes that “Shakin' All Over '65” features his replacement Johnny Weider on guitar, which knocked me for a loop as till today I'd always thought it was Green Tele bashing!

  9. backing Billy J. Kramer on smoking tracks like “Don't Do It No More”, “Sneakin' Around”Sneakin' Around is a cover of a Ricky Nelson tune, you should hear James Burton on the original version, one of his best solos ever (Ricky's version is called Stop Sneakin' Around, Imperial)

  10. Yeah, what they said… I have some videos of the latter-day Pirates and they just smoke. A band that hot can wear any silly outfit they want, says me.There are a couple collections of their live BBC sessions that are all pretty essential.

  11. I was stunned to hear this latest, sad news. At the same time it heartens me to read all your warm, inspired appreciations, which were also informative. As per The Hound, I also saw The Pirates show at Hurrah's on a Saturday night, I believe, in 1978. Having seen, and idolized, one of his great progenies, Pete Townshend, many times over the years, it was nothing short of revelatory to be in front of the original master. To this moment I have never witnessed the kind of slashing, simultaneous rhythm / lead combinations that he unleashed. His guitar tone was also like nothing I'd ever heard. The Tele for me had always been something of a country picker's instrument, and maybe Albert Collins for Blues, but never rock, it was too damn clean. I was about to learn differently…

  12. Lots of rock'n'roll players used Tele's including James Burton, Robbie Robertson (w/Dylan and the Hawks), Roy Buchanan, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck (in the Yardbirds), Dewey Terry, I can go on and on. It's the only guitar I own these days (except a Dan Electro with a neck so warped it's impossible to tune). It also makes a good weapon. As Buck Owens once told me– “It's got one sound, and it goes right between your eyes”.

  13. Yup totally, I was just trying to be “poetic.” Should have known I'd be called on that! Everyone use one, I'm imagining, at one time or another. Even Jimmy Page for the first Zeppelin album and tour, the one left over from the Yardbirds. Someone once told me he bought it from Rick Nielsen, though I don't know that it's true. There is some debate as to whether he put humbuckers on it to get the nasty tone or just cranked the amps up to oblivion. He also had a Danelectro, so you may have more in common with Jimmy Page than you thought, Hound!

  14. I seem to recall from an '80s Johnny Kidd “rarities” LP that Johnny Weider was hired specifically because he could sound like Mick Green!I'm too lazy to look it up, but I could swear Mick was the co-writer on Billy J's “Don't Do It No More.” One of my all-time favorite guitar solos on that.

  15. great call Hound!Casting My Spell is an unsung link between R 'n B and the Beat Bands. One of the best cases of a Brit cover totally wasting the R 'n B original+ (BTW) – Restless is the BEST EVER record to start a dance floor set withwe missed you in Chi-Town for Andre's reading….Michelle picked up the slack

Spit it out, partner...

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