Chris Farlowe

Listen: Air Travel / Chris Farlowe

A perfectly beautiful late Sunday afternoon in London during November, for me means cold, damp and drizzly, with plenty of grey. It was one such day in ’07 that Roger Armstrong and I made our way to the long standing Agra Indian Restaurant on Whitfield Street just near the Warren Street tube station after a long day at his big wooden kitchen table, rigged up with a turntable, his 45 library room at arm’s reach, post that morning’s Record Fair on Great Portland Street.

Agra has been around for decades. By many standards, the place needs a proper remolding. Not by my standards though. A half step down off the sidewalk onto the tatty, sticky carpet, the main room complete with that old England smell would convince anyone the place has serious history. It’s too close to hundreds of historic music landmarks not to. Capitol Radio was just the other side of the tube, Jonathan King’s UK Records office on Warren at Whitfield, University College where David Bowie & The Lower Third, The Riot Squad and Timebox amongst so many others played, not to mention the square adjacent, the precise spot where The Syn did their photo shoot on the tarmac of Whitfield Place.

In addition, the food is great. Not all fusion fussy and overly decorated. Not decorated at all really, just old fashioned home style Indian. Despite being about two blocks from where I lived that summer ’73, it wasn’t until decades later that Roger introduced me to the place.

Upon our exit on that particular day, what better than to find Chris Farlowe at that very first table, right near the doorway, sitting in front of a spread fit for three people. Apparently, he lived with his Mom just down the block for years.

More history in the making, not unlike this miserably rare UK EP, released in ’66 off the back of his new found chart success on Immediate that summer. Assembled from the A and B sides of his only solo single for Decca plus two unreleased songs from the same time. That time by the way, was ’64. Seemingly lifetimes prior to said summer and sounding it too. Pretty interesting to hear how unblemished his voice was just those few years earlier.

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