A part of the Ace Records family for more than 30 years, Vicki Fox’s final compilation celebrates the wild and wacky instrumental. Casting the net wide, “Sounds Of The Unexpected” revels in the unusual, the groovy and the downright bonkers.
Vicki Fox was my partner for 20 years. She was compiling this CD, her third for Ace, when she lost her six-year battle with cancer. Roger Armstrong suggested we jointly complete the project in her memory. Inevitably, some tracks were not cleared at the time of her passing, so Roger and I put our heads together to finish the project. I recall taking the cover artwork drafts into hospital for her approval days before she fell into a coma.
Vicki was raised in the Thames Delta and taken under the wing of Dr Feelgood in her early teens. Her fledgling vinyl collection of Bowie and Bolan was soon augmented by Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, and before long she’d built up an impressive knowledge of the blues. After moving to London she became involved in Ted Carroll’s Golborne Roadmarket stall, sorting records and getting Ted’s bacon butties. Thereafter Vicki remained a part of Rock On/Ace Records, apart from a short sojourn at Island Records and as assistant to photographer Adrian Boot. As a result of working at Rock On for 30 years she had a fabulous vinyl collection. Although mainly blues, R&B, soul and reggae, she also collected exotica, comedy records and even bird songs. Before my involvement in Ace I worked at a West End art shop and often had celebrity customers in. When I mentioned that John Inman had been in she immediately went to her comedy section and pulled out his “Hello Sailor” LP. “If he comes in again can you get him to sign this?” Sadly this milestone recording remains unsigned.
Despite the side effects of chemotherapy, Vicki remained cheerful and positive, indeed working right up to the last few weeks. Her livewire personality is sorely missed at Ace Towers. I’m honoured to have helped complete this small slice of Vicki’s record collection. If you enjoy theremins, bongos, jungle squawks, echoey guitars and ethereal strings, pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple, pull up a comfy chair and enjoy some sounds of the unexpected.