Archive for the ‘Sham 69’ Category

J. J. Cale

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Listen: Travelin’ Light / J. J. Cale

March ’77, Corinne and I made our first trip to England together for a fortnight of fun. We ended up staying at the then seedy Royal Scott Hotel, way before the area became chic. But seriously, it was heaven to us, a real taste of old London, now long gone.

Most importantly, the visit marked our first meeting with Howard. Who knew then that we’d become life long friends. HT showed us around for two weeks solid, and must’ve been glad to see the back of us.

This was a time almost like no other, with the energy of punk united against the stale old guard, and HT had every night sorted: The Damned, The Jam, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Ultravox, Eater, Johnny Moped, The Sex Pistols, The Heartbreakers, Sham 69, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Rockpile, The Downliners Sect, Generation X, The Clash, The Vibrators. Pretty sick, right?

We would start every morning in one of the many rickety cafes along Argyle Square or Crestfield Street, covering traditional English breakfast fry ups of eggs, chips and mushy peas with plenty of HP Sauce, gagging back several sugary teas, then scouring either the record shops or dumpy street markets, Corinne looking for deco jewelry and vintage clothes, me for used 45′s. By early evening, flying on Cadbury Flakes or Fry’s Chocolate Creams, we’d meet Howard, always in a swinging pub with a happening jukebox.

He introduced me to Andrew Lauder on one of those nights, and we all found quite a lot to talk about simply by scouring through the records in The Hope & Anchor’s jukebox. ‘Travelin’ Light’ was visually playing at the time, meaning the machine was a vintage model, one whereby you can watch the vinyl spinning round. Easily, it made for a lasting memory.

Released by Denny Cordell’s Shelter Records, quite possibly ‘Travelin’ Light’ was a single simply to allow the B side, ‘Cocaine’, availability to jukeboxes and club dj’s. For obvious reasons, that track doubled as bragging rights amongst us all, and along with Dillinger’s ‘Cokane In My Brain’, became our cheap theme.

Still it’s this A side, ‘Travelin’ Light’, that I can play endlessly and never tire of, all the while doubling as a journey back in time, to that jukebox and those incredible two weeks.

Sham 69

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Listen: Hurry Up Harry / Sham 69
Hurry Up Harry / Sham 69

October ’78 was a great month. Corinne and I went to London for my birthday and Howard was typically the world’s best host. Never a dull moment would be an understatement. Another two weeks of trolling the record shops along Oxford Street, sifting through cheap punk clothes from a damp Shepherd’s Bush Market, eating traditional English breakfasts covered in Daddy’s sauce with endless cups of sugary tea several times daily in cafes, wolfing Battenburg cakes in between and drinking….warm pints. Sounds nasty but in fact, it was heaven on earth.

‘Hurry Up Harry’ had just been released. It was everywhere. On the radio all day, and in the pubs at night. The single became our vacation theme. A better working class drinking anthem comes along seldom, especially with all those personal memory attachments above.

When we landed at JFK, and eventually made it to the luggage carousel, I could see loads of records tumbling down the chute towards the conveyer belt. One of my checked boxes had come undone. No doubt, the panic was a most amusing moment for every last passenger except one. Seriously, I nearly blacked out.

It’s true. All’s well that ends well, as the entire twenty five eventually found their way to me, ‘Hurry Up Harry’ fully intact.