Archive for the ‘Writing On The Wall’ Category

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.

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