Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Discs That Time Forgot

Soundtrack to Misspent  Youth:
The discs that time forgot.

1959: Ben Hewitt: He came, made a few records, then vanished.
But for a while he made me happy.
Having recently involved myself with the BBC’s forthcoming project, The People’s History of Pop, scheduled for BBC4 TV next year, (whether anything I have to offer is of any value remains debatable) I was inspired to shuffle through my box of ancient 45rpm records, at least those which have survived over the past  six decades. Dusting these down a few oddities emerged to remind me of a time when everything seemed possible, a time of energy, enthusiasm, adventure. (In effect, youth …) Rock and Roll, bless it,
I couldn't afford a ticket to this,
but I waited around the back
stage door of the Regal.
When Buddy threw some photographs
from a dressing room window,
I got trampled in the scramble,
but never got a copy ...
but I have all his recordings now.
had only just arrived, and any record that took my fancy on the fuzzy airwaves of Radio Luxembourg or the even more fade-in-fade-out American Forces Network was eagerly hunted down. Back then, in the 1950s, apart from the Light Programme’s  Two Way Family Favourites, you would be lucky to hear more than 30 minutes of pop music a week  on BBC Radio. It was ‘common’ and low-rent, until the charts began at the NME and someone had to take notice and give us what we desired - Rock and Roll.  I earned just about enough with my newspaper delivery round to afford a single every week. That’s how I discovered Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and
One of the best 50's records never played today;
It was a top ten
hit in Britain, but
Marvin never scored with it in his
homeland, the USA.
And I don't know who Colin Cater is.
Jackie Wilson, and dozens more, including Elvis. On the weeks when there was no desired record to track down, I’d use the money to go to the cinema.

My first ten discs in 1957 were 10” 78 rpms and I no longer have them. But some of the old 45s remain. Even early Lonnie Donegan. He came first, then for a while, Hank Marvin and The Shadows. Looking at them now is like staring down a time tunnel to a simpler, more positive era. Why I bought some of these, such as Ben Hewitt or Don French, escapes me now. But these discs remain as distant facets of a colourful teenage life, the first steps towards decades of exciting musical discovery.
It would lead to the Blues, to Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. Which all reminds me, this week on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs features Keith Richards. That's going to be interesting ....
My Jerry Lee Lewis EP: wonder what became of the cover?
The Beatles, not on Parlophone, but the German label, Odeon
I have 2 of their singles on Odeon. I don't suppose they're
collectible, but a nice conversation piece.
A fine record. Still love this.

A real oddity, but from the 1970s. I worked for a while
for Polydor Records and was given this single sided
pre-release acetate by The Sweet. Wonder if it's worth anything?
Oh yes. Teenage angst beyond compare. Apparently French
gave up  music to continue his education and became
a successful businessman. But he left us this. 

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