All Time Top 10 Rock Albums in no Particular Order
Elvis Presley: Elvis Is Back! (RCA Victor)
Carl.Perkins: Dance Album (UK London-American)
Buddy Holly: That’ll Be The Day (UK Decca Ace Of Hearts)
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Capitol)
equally placed with Surf’s Up (Brother Records) - sorry for cheating
Dr. John: Gris-Gris (Atco)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Live At The Star Club (Philips)
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced (Track)
Small Faces: Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake (Immediate)
The Who: My Generation (Brunswick)
Howlin’ Wolf: The Real Folk Blues (Chess)
(Left out jazz & R&B in order to fit them all in … with the exception of Wolf who made it).
Born in the occupied Ruhr Valley, the baby-boom product of Anglo-German parents, I grew up in suburban South London. A turning point for me was the arrival one Autumn day in 1958 of a radiogram that my Dad had ordered, with a copy of ‘Sail Along Silvery Moon’ by Billy Vaughn on London-American. Thus the beginning of a passion for things round shiny black and plastic. The first record I bought with my own pocket money was ‘Forty Miles Of Bad Road’ by Duane Eddy, also on London-American.
Mum and Dad’s opposing musical tastes meant that I experienced a wide variety of live entertainment from Segovia to Duke Ellington. But the biggest impression was made by Ottilie Patterson singing the blues with Chris Barber at the Marquee when it was on Oxford Street (clubs were unlicensed in the early 60s, hence you could sneak in a gawky kid).
Around ‘62 I tried forming my first group. I had to learn drums because nobody else in my gang wanted to. Hence my second obsession. From then on this and girls would blow a large hole in the side of my secondary modern education.
Left school in 1964, and served half an apprenticeship with a day release at college. At 19 I moved briefly to Chelsea and tried to be a full-time musician, starving in the process but looking very cool. Went back to Mum. The following year I left home for good and worked jobs while playing semi-pro. By 1970 I had tired of trying to break into the ‘big time’ and sold my drums, while working for a record distributor. Prophetic.
The following year an involvement with the ‘underground’ press lead to a move across the River to West London and a job working the mail order page for the ‘alternative’ Frendz magazine, based on the Portobello Road. Someone working there introduced me to the original Rock On, then about a year old. Meeting Ted Carroll and spending my tiny Frendz wages every week on re-stocking my London singles rekindled the old obsession.
Took a job in 1974 in the West London offices of RCA with the aim of buying some new drums. By the following year I had turned pro with a high earning country and Irish band, and started working Saturdays for Ted at Rock On, while he was busy with the new shop in Camden and the burgeoning Chiswick Records. Eventually I would work at the Camden shop too, while making use of the free rehearsal space in the tiny damp basement that nurtured so many young rock ‘n’ roll shavers. I was even involved in an unreleased Chiswick single.
The 80s found me playing in various bands, the most well-known being Pigbag, with whom I travelled from New York To Tokyo. Found myself living in Brussels in the middle of the decade, a true Euro-man. In the late 80s, back in West London, working as a bored photographer’s assistant, I called Ted, and he gave me a job in the Ace stores, now located at the shiny new Park Royal address.
Leaving the security of Ace Towers in 1990, I joined Big Joe Louis & His Blues Kings, while travelling the world again playing with a motley array of musos, and becoming a session player at Toe Rag studio.
Returning to London after a year spent living in Los Angeles in 1998, I wound up working in a couple of specialist record shops (deja-vu), while still recording and gigging. Meanwhile I was asked in 1999 to compile some albums for BMG. I did about a dozen albums in just under 2 years. Ironically one of the last things I did for them was noticed by Trevor Churchill. I was asked to do a couple of pieces for Right Track, and this lead to my coming on board as a compiler at Ace.