Archive for the ‘Marquee’ Category

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band

Monday, April 11th, 2016

ZootWillie, Zoot Money, Decca

Listen: The Uncle Willie / Zoot Money ZootWillie.mp3

If you ever see the double LP, HARD UP HEROES, do yourself a favor, buy immediately. Released on UK Decca in ’74, the compilation is a proper collection of their deep 60′s catalog, mostly gritty blues leaning acts, and packaged beautifully. It was here that I first heard ‘The Uncle Willie’.

As with other tracks by The Graham Bond Organization, Alexis Korner, Them, The Birds and John Mayall, it epitomized what I imagined the seedy clubs of London’s Soho to sound like. I’ll never know, but bet I’m right.

Zoot Money already had his Big Roll Band rolling by then. For whatever reason, their moniker was left off the label copy, but their signature sound was sure there to be heard. Man, did I want to own this single from that first listen. Took me a few years, but I got it. Just as expected, the audio on the 7″ was even more authentic than the LP pressing, which in original mono, sounded pretty great already.

Years later, like thirty or so, a live cd from The Flamingo was issued. This band was clearly full and exciting live, as their rendition of ‘The Uncle Willie’ proved.

ZootBigTime, Zoot Money, Epic

Listen: Big Time Operator / Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band ZootBigTime.mp3

Pretty sure it was 2003, the Maximum Rhythm & Blues Tour, a yearly-ish event, played The Royal Albert Hall, and by sheer luck, I was there for work. Jackie Hyde arranged not only tickets, but passes to the after show. As if having just watched Manfred Mann, with both Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo doing their respective hits, Chris Farlowe, The Alan Price Set and Colin Blunstone wasn’t enough, the post show bit was a corucopia of their musician friends from the 60′s. I’m sure there were guys milling about, by now unrecognizable, that would’ve been great jukebox tab scores, but who could tell.

Not the case with Zoot Money. You couldn’t miss him. Jovial and very approachable, he laid a bunch of Marquee stories my way and had no idea ‘Big Time Operator’ came graced with a picture sleeve in the US.

ZootJukebox, Zoot Money, Jukebox Tab

What a great guy to talk with, and pretty good memory too. Wanting a jukebox tab, I didn’t know the B side to ‘The Uncle Willie’, but he did.

Doc Alimantado & The Rebels

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Reason / Doc Alimantado & The Rebels

Listen: Reason For Living / Doc Alimantado & The Rebels
Reason For Living / Doc Alimantado & The Rebels

One of the first records Howard Thompson played Corinne and I on our initial visit to his place in Agate Road was by Doc Alimantado & The Rebels. The memory is vivid, and the record probably larger than life because of the moment. This was March ’77, I had waited four years to get back to London. It seemed like an eternity. Corinne had never been.

‘Born For A Purpose’ and it’s flip, ‘Reason For Living’, instantly became her songs. We had a small cassette machine with us, so she recorded the dub B side, ‘Reason For Living’, repeatedly over both sides of a tape at Howard’s that next evening, bringing it back to the hotel room which was literally one foot wider than the mattress on each side. The place was a crammed, uncomfortable but typical bed and breakfast in King’s Cross, very down at heel, as they’d all say. Perfect. A better setting you couldn’t have invented. We loved it.

As I’ve written prior, this ’77 visit was non-stop. London was in orbit, punk was everywhere, but still underground and shocking the mainstream. Howard took us all around, to the Island offices where he worked at the time, to buy clothes in Shepherd’s Bush Market, records in Ladbroke Grove, well everywhere actually; to the Marquee, Red Cow, Dingwalls, Hope & Anchor and Roxy. It was at The Roxy that Don Letts played mostly reggae to the punk crowd. It’s been well chronicled and he was indeed there on those nights, doing then what he does now on 6Music, presenting some of the best records in the solar system to anyone who’s bright enough to listen. Check out a recent show.

I remember hearing the Dr. Alimantado 12″ there several times. Me, I wanted the 7″, and sure enough, it was available. The A side ‘Born For A Purpose’ is pretty trippy, but the flip is total psychedelic dub, a sonic LSD trip one could say. I woke up and fell asleep to that cassette over the next two weeks. There was no escaping her playing it after a night out, where you’d hear it constantly as well. Lots of memories, but all good, so this record’s indeed a true time traveler back to then.

The Action

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Twentyfourth Hour / The Action

Listen: Twentyfourth Hour / The Action Twenty Fourth Hour.mp3

Melody Maker Top 50

It took a long while to hear The Action. Started reading about them around the time The Move debuted, mid ’66. They seemed to be from the same club scene, both were being touted for strong live shows and regulars at The Marquee. Like The Move, they had a great name and some great photos were about. I was desperate to hear ‘I’ll Keep Holding On’, which charted on the Melody Maker Top 50 during April of that year. But nothing was being released in the US. Then one Friday in May ’67, when I dropped by WMCR to blag some 45′s, there they were in my stack. This had been an agonizingly long wait. Now I was over excited. Couldn’t get home fast enough.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed, this didn’t have that edge I expected. Something seemed missing from their attack. Years later I realized the downfall: George Martin. He produced all their singles. Clean, jangly, immaculately recorded, well crafted, probably did them all wearing that fucking suit and tie. Self celebrated for his work with The Beatles, but in my opinion, George Martin also single handedly tanked The Action’s career. There was no dirt. This guy just didn’t get down. Wouldn’t be surprised if he never even saw them live.

With all his Beatles clout, you’d thought he’d have gotten US Capitol to release more than one single. Nope.

Or pushed Parlophone to release an album. Nope.

The Action only ever had one 7″ here in the US and no LP in the UK.

I actually grew to love ‘Twentyfourth Hour’, their RnB authenticity and a great Reg King vocal won through his pasty white production. If only Denny Cordell had produced.

Kevin Ayers

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Caribbean Moon / Kevin Ayers

Listen: Caribbean Moon / Kevin Ayers KevinAyersCaribbeanMoon.mp3

In summer ’73, you could hear ‘Caribbean Moon’ incessantly on BBC Radio 1. I know, I spent most days lying in Regent’s Park with a transistor clamped to my ear. Occasionally a policeman would wander by instructing me to turn it off. Radios were not allowed in the Queen’s Parks.

By late afternoon, I’d start my rounds of the used record stands in Soho market, before going to meet my girlfriend Claire as she got off work at the Scotch House on Regent Street. Over to The Ship on Wardour we’d go, to have some beers and maybe a sandwich if money permitted; then onto the Marquee for work.

Yes, my job consisted solely of collecting empty pint glasses for the kitchen. I was not the washing up fellow, so felt a bit of seniority on my side. The obvious perk, in addition to free beers for us both, was seeing the bands. And guess what, this was simply a daily routine for months. I had a job which paid £1 a night, lived in the west end of London and had access to the latest 7″ promo singles daily. It’s seldom been better.

Glued to Radio 1 morning til night meant getting to hear a lot of great records, many of which somehow never charted: The Kinks ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’, Blue ‘Little Jody’, Writing On The Wall ‘Man Of Renown’, Frampton’s Camel ‘All Night Long’. This Kevin Ayers single unfortunately, was one as well.

I guess it wasn’t only me that thought it should have been a smash, as Harvest reissued it at least twice more within the next few years.

Listen: Take Me To Tahiti / Kevin Ayers KevinTahiti.mp3

There were a few resident dj’s at The Marquee. I want to say Ian Fleming and Jerry Floyd. Well Jerry someone, maybe Lloyd. Both guys were pretty cool, and we had a bit of a rivalry going on as to who could get the latest releases first. I did love when I flanked them after all, they were being serviced by the labels whereas I was slogging around the stalls picking singles up for 10p, maybe even a few they had handed off. All in good fun though.

I recall excitedly getting in one night, with this latest Kevin Ayers release. Radio 1 were already playing ‘Caribbean Moon’, but we were all jonsing to hear it’s B side ‘Take Me To Tahiti’. Everyone I knew was insatiable for Kevin Ayers that summer. Oh Lord did it sound spectacular playing through The Marquee’s sound system. Yes, this very single you see pictured above was the one that got spun at The Marquee that July night. Click on schedule above to enlarge, just to have a look at who was playing that month.

I’d always hinted to Jack Barrie, the club’s manager, that I should be the dj, but it never did happen.

Long John Baldry

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Listen: When The Sun Comes Shining Thru’ / Long John Baldry

Long John Baldry, as with Georgie Fame and Alan Price, was another guy from the early 60′s London blues and soul club circuit. Then known as Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, he and his band can be found on numerous schedules from The Flamingo and The Marquee clubs, double billing with several similar up and coming American RnB music enthusiasts, all hell bent on reinterpreting their worshiped heroes.

Like with yesterday’s post, he too took a more commercial route as the 70′s approached, successfully achieving mainstream pop hits in England. A switch of labels in both the UK and US, as well a change in musical style and the recruitment of Tony Macaulay as producer resulted in ‘Let The Heartaches Begin’, which went to #1 in Britain during November of ’67. A year later, ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”, written by Manfred Mann’s lead vocalist Mike D’Abo, went Top 30, although neither caught much traction in America.

Around ’68, Tony Macaulay began cornering many of my favorite records, either as writer, producer and in some cases, both. Current day British pop had become his forte with Scott Walker, Pickettywitch, The Marmalade and The Foundations amongst his successes. I guess he had a sound, and quite frankly, in my world, these two were a perfect pair.

Come ’71 though, Long John Baldry had reverted back to his original boogie woogie style, as he called it. Teaming up with Elton John and Rod Stewart as producers, both struggling newcomers in the early 60′s but by then successful superstars, afforded their old friend some decent US traction. Good for John Baldry of course, but for me, the music wasn’t as much fun nor more memorable than that period anchored by Tony Macaulay and ‘When The Sun Comes Shining Thru”.

John Mayall

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Listen: Walking On Sunset (Mono) / John Mayall

I recall vividly awaiting each new album from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers during their vast and frequent output of the late 60′s. There was something very British about it all. Seemingly via coincidental osmosis, to me, this band personified the damp, cold and grimy UK club circuit. Photos of their decidedly uncomfortable, barely heated van imply a situation closer to say, a jail sentence than an accommodating overnight transportation mode. And that’s just the travel bit.

So by the release of the BLUES FROM LAURAL CANYON album, summer ’68, it was well fun to hear a bright, almost happy version of blues rock. In this case, documenting what must have been like the world changing from black and white to color, for an English band usually grinding through the drizzly UK and then suddenly ending up in Southern California performing a week of shows at Los Angeles’ Whisky A Go Go.

John Mayall himself returned, or maybe stayed on for a week or two, and hence the resulting documentation of the trip. References to The Mothers Of Invention, Canned Heat and The GTO’s make for fun musical name checks. But it’s the almost pop-like songs that entertain the most.

‘Walking On Sunset’ was always a favorite, along with ’2401′, a UK 7″. Again, having the promos of these means owning the scarce mono versions, as posted above.

‘Walking On Sunset’, to this day, can still invite you along for the stroll, envisioning what it must have been like, mid century architecture overloading one’s senses from all directions, and a list of upcoming club shows in the vicinity that could rival London’s Marquee with heart stopping effect.

Years later, having morphed from fan to A&R, I signed John Mayall and he made his terrific comeback album for Island, A SENSE OF PLACE. One of the nicest, most dependable, problem free guys you’d ever want to work with quite frankly.

Only a few years back, I ran into he and his family as we both waited for outbound flights at LAX. We sat for a good hour and caught up. John, as always, sharing endless details about those days. Love the guy.

The Joe Meek Orchestra

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Listen: The Kennedy March / The Joe Meek Orchestra

Sounds like everything Joe Meek ever touched musically had at least a streak of haunted or eerie to it. Wouldn’t it be great if someone nowadays had that incredible gift?

This is a rather early recording from him, 1963 to be exact. Not sure what exactly ‘The Kennedy March’ was meant to be the soundtrack for, but as with all of his productions, there’s a thread of the creeps underlying it. And I just love that.

The array of future superstar musicians that passed through his 304 Holloway Road studios is almost as mind boggling as those that played London’s Marquee Club. I wonder who was on this one?

The Kinks

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Listen: Sitting In The Midday Sun / The Kinks
Sitting In The Midday Sun / The Kinks

June 26, 1973. The first day these two feet ever touched British soil or more accurately, the carpeting at Heathrow. Just dug through my sock drawer to verify. It’s where all the old passports are kept.

Three days later, ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’ was officially released in the UK, according to the label copy on the demo pictured above. And that’s probably very accurate, given it was one of the first records heard when I finally, like finally, finally, finally got to hear BBC Radio 1. Believe it, in those days, the great radio of the UK was not a click away.

Now there are many priceless summertime songs, and one could opinion differently, but ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’ is amongst the very best. Always overlooked, often for The Kinks’ own ‘Sunny Afternoon’, but don’t be fooled. This is the one. The tingle of hearing The Kinks new single on the radio that day in June ’73 was a grand privilege. Despite ‘Lola’ being a massive US hit just three years earlier, by ’73 The Kinks were relegated to finished, has beens, completely washed up by American programmers. But in homeland England, they were still being played on the radio, a kind of musical precursor to open source.

I know exactly the spot where this monumental moment occurred. It was about two hundred yards into Regents Park, sitting up against the first tree to the very left of the park entrance directly opposite the Great Portland Street tube station. This became my good luck spot for making a fake pillow (music was not allowed in the Queen’s Park, as a bobby once gently scolded) out of cousin Dinah’s large transistor radio and spending hours listening almost daily.

Dinah still has that wireless in her kitchen, and lives in the same flat a few blocks away on Cleveland Street, W1. I visit her and the radio every time I’m there.

That spot and that radio introduced Roy Wood ‘Dear Elaine’, Junior Campbell ‘Sweet Illusion’, Linda Lewis ‘Rock A Doodle Doo’, Dave Edmunds ‘Born To Be With You’, Kevin Ayers ‘Caribbean Moonshine’ and The Honeybus ‘For You’, amongst many, to this insatiable teenager.

All great singles but nothing near the direct hit ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’ delivered. I was still in a swirl from up and moving to England without a plan in the world, and only $200 in my pocket. The beautiful insanity of youth, you have to love it. It was as though Ray Davies was speaking right at me, every last word. A little frightening in one way, given almost all of them applied. Thankfully the song’s calming conclusion helped keep the two pints I’d chugged en route at the Tower Tarvern on Clipstone Street down.

A little over two weeks later, The Kinks played a one day, outdoor festival at the White City Stadium in London. I didn’t want to go, it was expensive and other than Lindisfarne, the few UK bands playing were regulars at The Marquee. Besides, I recall a load of US groups as well, like Edgar Winter, by then quite polished and nothing like the soul review of Edgar Winter’s White Trash from a few years prior. I came to England to escape American bands. But how could I miss The Kinks, especially as I was now possessed by ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’.

It was a cold day for July. Never will I forget exiting the tube at White City and thinking, “I don’t want to do this”. Literally did an about face and decided to go back, then stopped. What an idiot, coming all this way and already having bought the ticket. Still, something felt not right.

Turned out this was the day Ray Davies quit on stage, just like that. Said he was “Fucking sick of it all’ straight after playing ‘Waterloo Sunset’, and left to the horror of the crowd. Everyone literally looked at each other in fear, was this really happening? Days later, all the music press covers announced the bad news to the world. ‘Ray Davies Quits Kinks’, as the MELODY MAKER headline read. I still have my copy.

Radio 1 stopped playing ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’.

Listen: Sweet Lady Genevieve / The Kinks
Sweet Lady Genevieve / The Kinks

It was not a good week. Family also announced their breakup. Two of my all time favorites, gone. Still, with glam in full swing, the mind did wander and life did go on.

Miracles can happen. What seemed like an eternity in reality lasted about three weeks. Ray Davies was now out of the hospital, where he’d gone directly following his stage exit that day for a stomach pumping. False alarm, The Kinks were in tact, with a new single in the wings even.

Was it the joy of having The Kinks back that made ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’ sound even better? I don’t think so. We were all crazy about this record. Well, Corinne and I that is.

By Fall, both of those UK A sides were coupled as a US 7″ on RCA, and an American tour announced. We ventured to New York for the triumphant return of The Kinks at The Felt Forum, and somehow figured out the band’s hotel, The Warwick on 54th Street. So we booked a room there as well.

Never a shy one, she calls the front desk and asks to be connected with Ray Davies, and sure enough, he picks up the phone. Without hesitation, Corinne explained we had traveled hundreds of miles from upstate New York to see the show, and would he be so kind as to play ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’. My jaw was on the floor.

Did you just talk to Ray Davies? “Yep.”

The Kinks didn’t play ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’ that night, but between songs, during either one of his Rudy Vallee style renditions or some old dancehall classic, Ray Davies did a quick a cappella verse/chorus from ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’, and we know to this day, it was just for us.

The Graham Bond Organization

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Listen: Long Tall Shorty / The Graham Bond Organization
Long Tall Shorty / The Graham Bond Organization

Okay, I have a thing for The Graham Bond Organization. From three thousand miles away, they seemed the underdog’s underdog. Attached to the Flamingo/Marquee/Soho nightlife sleaze fueled by American blues and black music makes only for a romantic validation. Rubbing shoulders and sharing stages with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Peter B’s Looners and Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band has me, many times, starring into space wishing I could turn back time.

Nice thing about this bunch, they always looks dirty, miserable and most capable of genuinely playing earthy RnB.

I had wanted a demo copy, well actually any copy, of ‘Long Tall Shorty’ for decades. Four going on five to be exact. Just last week, my luck changed. I scored the first one to pop up on eBay for ages. Man, does it sound spectacular, almost worth the wait and certainly worth every penny.

Listen: Long Legged Baby / The Graham Bond Organization
Long Legged Baby / The Graham Bond Organization

Having lived life without this record until now meant deprivation of it’s B side. I have many, basically all the remaining 7′s by the band, and this, given the authenticity of ‘Long Legged Baby’, now equals their US only Ascot single ‘St. James Infirmary’, posted elsewhere on SMRSLT, as tied for being their best.

The grime of late, late night smokey smelly 60′s London, devoid of 24 hour food options, convenient public transport and particularly omissions control standards, is wonderfully captured here, at least how I fantasize it to have been.


Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Listen: Wheelin’ ‘n’ Dealin’ / Sassafras Sassafras.mp3

’73 – ’74 London was in full swing Glam mode. Didn’t mean the tail end of Prog or country/boogie/blues rock had let go just yet though. Less fashion driven, although they all had their platform heels and tight velvet pants uniform down pat, you could say they were more bent on “good, solid, tasty music”. That description, lifted from a Melody Maker review of ‘Wheelin’ ‘n’ Dealin” will make you gag I know, but it’s kind of accurate.

I particularly liked all these B division bands, signed to majors yet still slogging around the London clubs, grasping for Monday/Tuesday nights at the Fulham Greyhound or Marquee, where yours truly worked picking up empty pint glasses for washing. Mind you, this was one of the greatest jobs I ever had. Would give up a lot to go back in time to do it all over again.

Sassafras had their beginnings that year, and played the Marquee a few times during my tenure, double billing with other Chrysalis acts like Wild Turkey and Bedlam mostly, as I recall it.

Not until ’75 did their career changer 7″ above see light of day…..yet I could swear they were playing it live for a while. Yes, a guilty pleasure here. I was a fan. It’s one of the bands that can conjure up mental, visual and even aromatic memories (beer stenched Marquee carpet, Cornish pasty dispenser, scotch eggs) of that great era.

The Heartbreakers

Monday, February 8th, 2010

HeartbreakersBornPS, The Heartbreakers, Walter Lure, The Ramones, Johnny Thunders, Track,

Listen: Born To Lose / The Heartbreakers HeartbreakersBorn.mp3

The Heartbreakers were in London, playing The Marquee around the last week or so of March ’77. It was luckily during a fortnight visit, seeing a band every night type trip, right at the height of punk. The Roxy was in it’s brief existence and having missed them there in order to see The Damned and Johnny Moped at the LSE, I was anxious to get in early. It’s funny when you go 3,000 miles to see a band that’s from your own backyard. They were both everything New York yet perfectly invented for England too. Recalling the show that night still gives me the shakes.

HeartbreakerOneTrackPS, The Heartbreakers, Walter Lure, The Ramones, Johnny Thunders, Track,

Listen: One Track Mind / The Heartbreakers HeartbreakersOneTrack.mp3

To prove the point about England, they signed to a reactivated (I think just for them) Track Records. Seemingly dormant since the very early 70′s, suddenly Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp were dug up and cleaned off – good as new.

In ’67, when the label began, those two must have been a real threat with both The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Who on a roster that overnight put Track in the uh-oh we’re all in trouble now league. Thunderclap Newman and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown didn’t help, while Marsha Hunt, John’s Children, The Eire Apparent and Cherry Smash made stubbornly difficult to find, must-have flops.

‘One Track Mind’, The Heartbreakers second single, had me thinking they could take over the world. My crystal ball obviously needed new batteries. But the guitar tones of Johnny Thunders and especially Walter Lure were a wall of sloppy sound live and for a brief moment I couldn’t get enough.

Walter played for years on The Ramones albums. His signature sound is a giveaway on TOO TOUGH TO DIE, and a perfect foil to Johnny’s.

Writing On The Wall

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Man Of Renown / Writing On The Wall

Listen: Man Of Renown / Writing On The Wall WritingOnTheWall.mp3

Two singles in four years. Not a great work ethic. This got a lot of Radio 1 play during summer ’73, for a few weeks that is. I really loved it – sounded so good through the transistor radio in my cousin Diane’s kitchen.

It was a fun summer, trolling the record stalls and stores by day, working at The Marquee by night. I was a regular at One Stop Records on Dean Street. I’d get there by midday to await the arrival of the shipments. Terry and Jeff were Marquee regulars and I’d keep them in pints, so they’d return the favor with… Just to keep it all tidy, as they’d say, I never left the shop without record in bag. This particular one (pictured below) housed the Writing On The Wall single, not only as it traveled from Dean Street to Diane’s place on Clipstone Street with me, but all the way back to America. I just never separated them.

Writing On The Wall played a few times at the club (see both front & back of the July ’73 schedule below that coincidentally has One Stop on the map side), and were particularly nice guys. With just the right mixture of Status Quo, Audience, Blackfoot Sue, Thin Lizzy and Wizzard, they straddled blues boogie and glam well, as evident on ‘Man Of Renown’. I’m guessing not many agreed though. This was a flop, but cult status awaited. I bet they’d have preferred the money.

Marquee Schedule July 73

Marquee Schedule July 73

One Stop Records Bag

David Bowie / The Faces

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

London Boys / David Bowie

Listen: The London Boys / David Bowie
London Boys / David Bowie

What can anyone say about David Bowie ‘The London Boys’. It’s damp, cold, eery, but cryptically and wonderfully captures a lot of my London experiences as a kid in ’73: Wardour Street, pills, having no money, living on butter and bread, listen to the lyrics. If we come back in life after death, I would do it all over again, to a T. Read on.

So I decide, upon graduating high school, that instead of going to college, I’m moving to England. Can you believe this? I can’t.

My parents, ever understanding, desperately advised against it. But always supporting me in my ambitious dreams, finally said okay providing I do some college when I return.

My Mom was born in Great Britain, her sister lived in London, so I guess it didn’t seem all that risky at the time. I skipped a grade in high school and was therefore really a baby, boarding a Pan Am flight in early June ’73 with a huge $200 in my pocket. I would never let my kids do this today by the way. My aunt in London had me for a few weeks, then shipped me off to my cousin Diane, who lived, and shockingly still does, on Cleveland Street in London’s west end, Soho, This, as it turned out, was the place to be. Literally 4 blocks down from her council flat (Cleveland Street eventually turns into Wardour Street as it crosses Oxford Street), was the Marquee Club. Without shame or hesitation, I walked into the office midday and asked for a job. And they give me one, shockingly. I now was in charge of collecting the empty pint glasses left all around the club as the bands are playing, an endless cycle. I was a slave but deemed this as the opportunity of life.

I grew up outside of Syracuse, dreaming of the other worldly England, now here I am, working at The Marquee. Holy shit. Is this really happening? No one will believe me back home, or care for that matter.

I got paid one huge great big British pound a night, drank all the beer I could for free and got to see every band playing. All I need do is pick up the glasses. I’ll take it.

This was heaven. My days were spent trolling the used record stalls in Rupert Street, Cheapo Cheapo Records in particular, where Graham Stapleton, a good friend now, who I met decades later by shear crazy coincidence via Jim Lahat, sold all the promo/dj copies that the Radio 1 and Melody Maker staff would unload, for pennies, in an open air market stall. The stuff I got from him then…..forget about it. Crazy. We still exchange records and laugh about those days. Small world indeed.

Then there were the bands that played: Robin Trower, Thin Lizzy, Sparks UK debut with Queen opening (from whom Queen admittedly lifted many of their ideas – why Queen didn’t ask Russell Mael to join the reunion lineup instead of Paul Rodgers is preposterous), Andy Bown, Alex Harvey Band, Sutherland Brothers & Ouiver, Daryl Way’s Wolf, The Spencer Davis Group, Writing On The Wall, Climax Blues Band, Colin Blunstone, Chicken Shack, Bedlam, Wild Turkey, JSD Band, The Marmalade, Caravan, East Of Eden, Byzantium, String Driven Thing, Tempest, Colosseum, Keef Hartley Band – I could go on and on and on. Plus, I had the golden key, I could put people on the guest list.

With hormones raging and so many pretty girls trying to unsuccessfully get to the bands, they’d turn to the staff. I spent many a damp grass night in Soho Square on the green, juggling in hindsight, laughable relationships. And in the process, fell for a Scottish girl, Claire.

Bowie ticket Reading 73

Claire and I became an item and went to loads of shows together (Family, Wizzard, Fairport Convention, The Kinks, Slade, Curved Air) or, didn’t bother to go to some, like the biggest mistake of all times: David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars final show ever – for which I bought a ticket (see scan above) and didn’t use. I know, stupid.

Listen: Pool Hall Richard / The Faces
Pool Hall Richard / Faces

It wasn’t the only ticket I didn’t use. Claire & I went to Scotland the weekend of Reading Festival, for which I had a 3 day, all access pass. Only a few years ago I admitted to myself, I didn’t really like The Faces (who were playing – see scan) because Rod Stewart’s voice irritates me to no end, not to mention his fat bottom half in leopard pants.

Still, their ‘Pool Hall Richard’ single has a groove that’s unmatchable. A beautiful shambles.

The Georgia Satellites

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Battleship Chains / The Georgia Satellites

Battleship Chains / The Georgia Satellites

The NY Subway System and an iPod shuffle make for a great couple. I love when something comes up I haven’t heard for a bit, and it sounds so good you play it a bunch of times. Of course, in the subway, there’s no phone, no email, no distractions really from the music – not that I’m telling you anything you don’t know. My iPod rule is, only songs I love. At the least one I take on the subway. It’s filled with my favorites. So the other day, up comes ‘Battleship Chains’ from The Georgia Satellites first album. Now the two front guys of the band, Dan Baird and Rick Richards, they made a great couple as well. Danny pretty much sang lead on the songs, but occasionally Rick would, taking the roll of Keith if you will. And it’s Rick doing the singing on this one, with Dan’s signature harmonies making it very ‘them’. This band could set fire to any stage – that never failed – ever. I love this song, and their performance on it, so fucking much. It brings back the most incredible memories of great, fun times. I have a picture of the band and I on stage at London’s Marquee Club (during soundcheck) which is like the alter of life for me. I remember the second time I went down to Nashville to check them out. They were looking for a deal, and a bunch of labels were after them. Howard and I had pretty much decided we were signing them to Elektra, but for whatever reason, I made that second trip down as I think Epic were trying to close in on us. They played a bar, a restaurant really, called Margaritaville. Something was going wrong with their amps, and the guys were quite nervous probably thinking they’d blown their record deal. As the Epic fellows stood arrogantly at the bar, I just jumped on stage and offered everyone a valium. Jaws dropped (the courage you muster up on a valium is amazing). It probably clinched the deal. Even though Dan never did a drug, I’d bet he used his pill to negotiate something out of Rick relatively soon. I must remember to ask Dan about that next time we talk. Luckily, I still see both guys if I’m down south, or when they come to NY. Friends for life. Oh, an important piece of trivia: the natural wood coloured Strat that Dan played, and can be seen holding on this sleeve, was originally owned by Steve Marriott of The Small Faces. It’s the guitar he played on ‘Tin Soldier”.