Catherine Croft Interview

This entry is part of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Catherine Croft, Director Twentieth Century Society

Thanks for chatting to us Catherine, how long have you been involved in the society and what is your background: planning, law, architecture or enthusiast?

I’ve been involved since about 1990, shortly after I finished my architecture degree. Initially just as a member, then as a Trustee, then running the Casework Committee and becoming Vice Chair—finally I ended up as Director in 2002. But I have also done other things at the same time. I studied Material Culture and Historic Building Conservation, after the architecture, so I’ve got a pretty varied background. Anyone who is interested in C20 Architecture is welcome to belong. Some members are incredibly knowledgeable, some join because they want to know more, we pitch our events and publications so that you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be keen.

When did what we call ’20th-Century’ design begin in your view?

That’s a difficult question (and I also get asked “when does Modern Architecture start”). The pragmatic answer is that we cover everything from 1914 onwards, as the Victorian Society covers the Edwardian period. We certainly don’t stop at 2000, and expect to be seeing a C21st building listed soon.

In your opinion how long do we have at present to list and conserve the best of 20th Century Britain, it feels like this is a critical time? Buildings are getting to an age when they require attention?

It certainly does feel like a critical time, and it’s for all the reasons you suggest. Also some building types of which there are lots of great C20 examples are disproportionately threatened because of specific social and economic pressures. For instance, the smoking ban and rise of coffee shops means that pubs are going bust, and spending cuts mean libraries are closing (Local councils in London are heading for a 70% budget cut between 2010 and 2020).

How do you prioritise your objectives, there is a great deal of 20th Century architecture, how do you ‘pick your battles’?

We look at the quality of the building, and just how damaging and imminent the threat is. We also consider what broader arguments highlighting a specific case will enable us to support, and we make sure that we don’t duplicate anyone else’s efforts, but back local campaigns and work with others whenever possible.

What steps does the Society take to ensure that there is equality and regional balance in the projects it undertakes?

We get cases from all over the country referred to us by local planning departments (that’s a requirement of planning law, and very helpful), but we also rely on local members and supporters. Our network of Regional Groups helps.

It feels like London is at risk due to ravenous developers, but in other parts of Britain there may be less awareness of the value and appeal of older-modern buildings, whereas London is very ‘on trend’ with the mid-century kick. How do you manage regional activity and raise awareness in other parts of the UK?

There are details of the Regional Groups here: www.c20society.org.uk/regional-groups and we also try to make sure that we get both National press coverage and keep in contact with local press and radio. Projects like the 100 Buildings book and website www.c20society.org.uk/100-buildings also have a good range of buildings, and it’s been great to see it in bookshops all over the UK. We’d like to get our Magazine distributed more widely.

Many of those who read our blogs and follow the New Untouchables are, literally, obsessed with mid-century architecture and design. We’re also (relatively!) young ranging from 16-50, and from a wide range of backgrounds. What is the main benefit for the society by engaging with this group?

We want you to join us and increase our numbers! More C20 members means we have more leverage with local and national government, and is the best way to demonstrate that this is not just a niche interest, but a growing cultural phenomenon. We know that converts to more listings and more buildings saved.

Does the society have a view on some of the iconic music venues around the UK that are increasingly facing closure under pressure from development? This goes beyond structural integrity and into ‘use’ or ‘change of use’. Is this an area of concern that the Society would consider supporting, either directly or indirectly, now or in the future?

I guess our main focus is on the physical preservation of the buildings themselves, but particularly where there are complex interiors, change of use can be very damaging, and so we do sometimes get involved in supporting an existing use.

What countries in the world have similar organisations campaigning for 20th Century buildings and landscapes, and what nation has the most impressive 20th Century architecture, apart from the UK of course?

I don’t think anywhere has an organisation like us which campaigns for the whole breath of C20 building styles, but there are lots of branches of DoCoMoMo, specialising in Modern Movement buildings, and many flourishing Art Deco societies.

Many of the people who read the New Untouchables blogs and website describe themselves as ‘modernists’. An apparent contradiction in using this term is our fascination with the attention to detail and experimental optimism in music, clothes and architecture of the recent past. However, our salvation is, arguably, a determination to apply and adapt the exciting and stylish approach of the mid-century to the present day to make life more colourful and less predictable. What motivates you?

I like to think that we aim to make the future “more colourful and less predictable” (I like your choice of words there), by making sure that the best, and most interesting buildings of each decade do survive. We are motivated by that, and by our shared enjoyment of the imagination, diversity and attention to detail of the buildings themselves, and the complex stories they bear witness to.

What’s the best way for people to get involved if they want to help and support your work?

To join us, and come on our trips and get in involved in a Regional Group. If you’re not ready to commit quite yet, by signing up to our e-newsletter on the website.

 

*Scotch Martin is DJing in Germany on Saturday 14 Nov 2015 for Maik, who runs Skaturday Night, Am Förderturm 27, 46049 Oberhausen, Germany. He will be playing sets in both rooms, reggae and northern. INFO HERE

Then also at: Cello’s Coast to Coast on Saturday 17 Oct 2015 – with a full reggae/ska set.

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Scotch Martin

Since the local youth club in the early-eighties Martin’s been Djing with records of one sort or another. Spots at the CCI National Mod Rallies across Britain in the 80s were followed in 1990 by the first in a line of successful northern soul and mod clubs in Glasgow. With four others he started Goodfoot in 91, with Acid Jazz-influenced playlists of Blow Up in London, and Brighton Beach in Leeds. Goodfoot arguably paved the way for a new generation of mod-influenced clubs in Glasgow over the past 20 years. Living in London in the late 90s Martin DJ’d at neuvo-modernist clubs including Where’s Jude and Lordy Lord, as well as regularly spinning at Duffer of St. George parties and other happenings. A career highlight was supporting legendary organist, Jimmy Smith, as well as pulling off 10 consecutive club nights during the 1995 Glasgow Jazz Festival. By 2001, back in Glasgow, Caledoniasoul launched. A definitive milestone in the Scottish soul scene, the club ran for six years and brought Butch, Mick Smith, Mick H, Arthur Fenn, Mike Ritson, Dave Rimmer and Ady Croasdell to Scotland for the first time to experience the sweaty, full-on atmosphere for themselves. As a journalist Martin has always written about music. In 2004 he tracked down singer and organist, Bill Bush, whose soulful, jazzy rarity, I’m Waiting on Ronn, was hitting on the northern soul scene. After visiting Bill in the USA and interviewing him for Manifesto he brought the band over to perform in the UK, complete with Hammond B3, and has helped Bill profit for the first time from the 1968 b-side. Martin is married to Caroline, has two children, lives in the London suburbs. Still collecting after 30 years!

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September 23, 2015 By : Category : Design Front Page Inspiration Interviews Objects Style Tags:, , , ,
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Mike Stax Interview

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Mike Stax – San Diego, California – Editor of Ugly Things Magazine, Singer of the Loons

1. I know you were born in the UK, please tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to move to California?

I was born in Watford, but lived all over England, eventually winding up near Leeds. I became interested in ‘60s music as a kid, and by the time I was in my teens I was a rabid fan of bands like the Pretty Things, Yardbirds, Downliners Sect, Them, Stones et al. One night in late 1979 I heard the Crawdaddys on John Peel and was blown away that a new band from California could play ‘60s R&B with such authenticity. I’d been trying to form a band to play that kind of music but couldn’t find people. After getting all the Crawdaddys records I wrote them a fan letter c/o Bomp Records. A few weeks later I received a reply from their singer/guitarist Ron Silva asking if I’d be interested in coming to San Diego and being their bass player. I was 18 years old and had just got out of school. A couple of months later I was on a plane to the States. That was in November 1980.

2. Tell us about your current band the Loons and your future plans?

After playing bass for many years with the Crawdaddys, the Tell-Tale Hearts and the Hoods, I decided I wanted to be the singer and frontman for a change, so I formed the Loons in 1996. We released our first album in 1998, Love’s Dead Leaves, produced by Ebbot Lundborg of Soundtrack of our Lives. There were a few lineup changes after that, but for the last ten years or so it’s been me, Anja Dixson (bass), Marc Schroeder (guitar), Chris Marsteller (guitar) and Mike Kamoo (drums). Our most recent album, Red Dissolving Rays of Light, was released by Bomp in 2010. We have a new album about two-thirds completed and hope to get that released in early 2013, and maybe play in Europe again then.

3. When did Ugly Things magazine start and why?

In March of 2013 it’ll have been 30 years since the first issue. I started Ugly Things in 1983 because I wanted to spread the word about all the great ‘60s era bands that seemed to have been ignored by most of the world – bands like the Pretty Things, Q65, the Outsiders, the Seeds, the Monks and the Music Machine, to name just a few.

4. What was your favourite edition and why?

My favourite edition is always the one I’m working on, because that’s the one all my passion is wrapped up in. Plus it’s a case of always trying to make each issue better than last. But if I had to pick a personal favourite in might be Issue 13, which had a huge story on the Birds. I really enjoyed interviewing Kim Gardner, Tony Munroe and Ali McKenzie. They really opened up to me, as well as sharing many great photos and clippings from their scrapbooks. I was really proud with how the story turned out. Looking at this issue brings back some great memories for me—sad ones too as Kim is now gone. The last issue (#32) with my interview with Johnny Echols of Love is also one of my favourites.

5. It’s well documented that your favourite band is the Pretty Things, what is about the Pretty Things that make them your seminal band?

The Pretty Things embody everything that is cool and exciting about the bands and the music of the ‘60s, and rock & roll in general. There was purity to everything they did—they never seemed to be motivated by ego or a hunger for fame, they just sort of let things happen and didn’t care about the consequences. They’re still the same way, and that’s inspiring to me. There’s no compromise at all in their music, be it the early raw R&B records, the psychedelic stuff, or the more progressive records that followed. There were few other bands that could master all of those forms so definitively. There’s something about their image, their lifestyle, their attitude and their whole approach to creating music that I can identify with absolutely,

6. When did the very useful 60’s compilation database start on the Ugly Things website and why?

The Searchin’ for Shakes database was started by Menachem Turchick in the late ‘90s and has been a part of the Ugly Things website ever since. It’s an amazing resource for ‘60s fans because you can cross-reference thousands of tracks, bands, and compilations, along with info about original release dates, labels, etc.

7. There is a phenomenal amount of record reviews in each issue for example along with a big team of authors, how long does it take to complete each issue?

We publish the mag twice a year, and it takes 5-6 months to complete each issue. As soon as I send an issue to the printer, I’m already starting work on the next one.

8. I enjoyed the Misunderstood story immensely anything similar in the pipeline?

I’m pleased you enjoyed the Misunderstood story so much. It was a huge undertaking. I spent about four or five years researching that one, interviewing all the band members along with dozens of other people who were associated with them. I was living and breathing the Misunderstood every day, logging hours of long distance phone interviews to New Zealand and the UK, and even traveling to Thailand to interview Rick Brown, as well as making numerous road trips to the Riverside area to meet with other band members. I don’t have anything else in the pipeline that involves that kind of legwork, but whenever I cover a band I try to do it as definitively as possible.

9. You have met many great musicians from legendary bands through Ugly Things magazine over the years any funny tales you can share with us?

Hanging out with Kim Gardner was always a blast. He’d have me in stitches. It was a bit like being an extra in that Dudley Moore movie, Arthur. It was hard to keep up with him. Any conversation with Sky Saxon was always memorable, too. He was perpetually stoned. He’d go into these long bizarre monologues about saving the dogs so we could save the planet.

10. Any further music related projects like the Philip Debarge & Pretty Things and The Misunderstood albums to follow on the record label in the near future?

Recently I’ve been focusing on seven-inch releases. Last year we did a reissue of the Sloths’ “Makin’ Love” single including a repro of the original sleeve. Next up is the Bees’ “Voices Green and Purple,” which should be out by the end of November 2012, with any luck!

11. Other than the Pretty Things what other old masters have impressed you in recent years?

A couple of years ago Anja and I took our then four-year-old son to see Roky Erickson play an ice cream social for a bunch of 3-7 year old kids. He played about eight songs, including “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and then took questions from the kids. That was one of the most fun and surreal shows ever.

12. What new bands have really grabbed your attention?

I’m really impressed with the Strypes. They’re playing exactly the kind of music that got me excited when I was their age and wound up making me move to the States. There are a lot of other really good bands out there these days though. I love the Frowning Clouds from Australia, the Higher State, of course, and also Paul Messis. There’s a new young band from LA that are really cool, too, called the Shag Rats.

13. You will find Ugly Things in the good London record shops but these are becoming few and far between now. How many issues of the magazine do you produce a year and what is the best way to order a copy?

Ugly Things comes out twice a year. If you can’t find it at your local hip record emporium, order it online at www.ugly-things.com

Links

Facebook: Ugly Things
Facebook: The Loons

Next Events:

Ugly Things #34 out November 2012 with the Bees, the Blue Aces, the Haunted, Cyril Jordan on the British Invasion, the Others, the Viletones, Milan the Leather Boy and more.

Cool Yule with your psychotic friends. The Loons at Bar Pink, 3829 30th Street – San Diego, CA 92104 – December 22, 2012.


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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November 26, 2012 By : Category : Bands Front Page Garage Interviews Music Scene USA Tags:, , ,
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Stan Lewis Interview

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Uncle Stan, the Hip Hit Record Man


Stan Lewis formed Jewel Records in 1963, naming it after a chain of grocery stores in Chicago that he saw from the passenger seat of Leonard Chess’ Cadillac. He is, arguably, one of the most significant figures in the history of R&B, or even American music, period. Meeting him was more than I expected from my visit to Louisiana a few years back to stay with my good friend, Hammond player, Bill Bush.

The interview location is Lee’s Lounge on East King’s Highway, Shreveport, Louisiana. As soon as he walks in I know it’s him. White suit, neat shoulder-length white hair and alligator shoes – I began by asking Stan how he got started.

“I got a corner news stand and sold magazines in the 1930s, we also had a veterinary next door and I cleaned the dog pens, during the depression things were tough,” says Lewis. More and more rounds delivering newspapers helped him save $2500 aged 17. His next step up was slot machines and five 10/50 Wurlitzer jukeboxes.

While buying 78rpm records for these machines in 1948 he visited J&M Record store to pick up the latest blues records–the shop happened to be for sale, for exactly $2500. It was located at 728 Texas Street, Shreveport and became Stan’s first shop.

“One day, Leonard Chess pulls up outside,” says Stan. “This would have been mid 50s, and he was sharing the trip through the southern states with a guy called Lee Agulnick. Leonard was pushing a record by Muddy Waters and Lee was plugging a record called ‘Long Gone’. Leonard would come through Shreveport about every three months. I had a contract at that time on Sonny Boy Williamson, which I gave to Leonard and that would prove very good for both of them of course. Leonard covered the South and Phil the North.”

“Leonard Chess asked me to come up to this convention in Chicago. I saw the Rolling Stones record their sessions at Chess at 21/22 South Michigan, and Muddy Waters, the Moonglows, Etta James, on yeah; I saw them all right there in the booth.”

It was the late 50s and Lewis was by now selling records mail order. “I had started to buy time, about 15 minutes of airtime on KWKH in the afternoon and these guys were real happy to get their records played because stations didn’t play what they called ‘race music’ at that time in the 50s.

His choice of music didn’t sit well with the ‘good ole’ boys’ and Lewis, a Roman Catholic, soon found himself on the wrong end of a pillow case. But the Klansmen didn’t stop him, and he was soon buying airspace on KWKH and KAAY in Little Rock, Arkansas, which was a more powerful station, and WLAC in Nashville.

By 1963 Lewis had the record store, a mail order business and his own label. I asked Stan why he eventually had Ronn and Jewel, both hosting R&B stars [Paula was his pop label]. “If you had too many records on the same label you got accused of payola, bribing the DJs so that was why Leonard had Checker, Argo and Atlantic had Atco, Modern had Kent, etc.” When Chess opened another plant in Nashville Stan got 10 per cent as a ‘thank you’ for helping establish Chess in the South.

He approached Bob Smith at KCIJ [later to become the fabled, Wolfman Jack], to negotiate a PI deal, which he explains meant Payment Per Inquiry. For every call that Stan received from a potential customer, Smith got a cut. The transmitter was a massive 250,000W unit in Mexico, illegal in the USA, while the station was in Texas. “It was probably the biggest transmitter in the world, even reaching Europe,” he says (Wolfman Jack could be heard in certain parts of the UK by radio hams).

The standout thing for me about talking to Lewis face-to-face was the stories behind some of the tracks that I’ve loved for years.

“I remember one night in record store I was closing up and this guy knocked on the window,” says Lewis. “Well, this good looking negro (sic) fella was waving a record at me. Now I don’t know if it was ‘cause I was tired or what but it didn’t do nothin’ for me. I thanked him, and I think I must have said to him, ‘take it to BB at KOKA’.

BB Davis was one of the first successful black DJs in Louisiana and he took up the story when I met him. “Stan didn’t dig the track,” says Davis. “I was playing my show on KOKA and it was near to quittin’ time when this guy tapped on the window. I let him in cause he had a record and said I’d listen. It was ‘Nothing Takes the Place of You’ and I just melted, I thought it was heartbreaking and I played it at least six or seven times.”

Stan Lewis remembers what happened next: “My phone at the shop started to ring off the wall, the girl asked me if I’ve ever heard of the track that everyone was callin’ about by Toussaint McCall, Nothing Takes The Place of You, luckily he’d left a business card and I grabbed my cheque book, a contract and took off on the highway to Monro. I caught him and singed him right there at the roadside on the bonnet of my Cadillac and that was how the track was released as the third single on Ronn, and it became a hit.”

The prolific releases from the trio of labels during the 1960s made Stan successful. He added Ronn Records in 1967 (named after brother, Ron–Paula is Stan’s ex-wife), as an outlet for smooth R&B and jazz.

The story of Jewel continues through the 70s and 80s and Lewis sold up in the late 90s and states that Len Ficco has the label now. Right at the end of the interview he drops the news that he has unreleased masters of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Ernie Johnson and would still like to get back into the business, taking advantage of the latest technology (that’s another story, for another day).

Not everyone in Shreveport likes Stan. You don’t run a multi-million-dollar business for 40 years without making enemies. But I have to admit that I found him charming. I reckon Uncle Stan ‘The Hip Hit Record Man’ is a real diamond, or should that be a Jewel?

©Martin Gavin 2006 and 2012

Martin’s separate interview with the DJ, BB ‘Bird Brain’ Davis, will appear in a future issue. Martin’s full interview with Stan Lewis is available on Soul Source: 
www.soul-source.co.uk


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Scotch Martin

Since the local youth club in the early-eighties Martin’s been Djing with records of one sort or another. Spots at the CCI National Mod Rallies across Britain in the 80s were followed in 1990 by the first in a line of successful northern soul and mod clubs in Glasgow. With four others he started Goodfoot in 91, with Acid Jazz-influenced playlists of Blow Up in London, and Brighton Beach in Leeds. Goodfoot arguably paved the way for a new generation of mod-influenced clubs in Glasgow over the past 20 years. Living in London in the late 90s Martin DJ’d at neuvo-modernist clubs including Where’s Jude and Lordy Lord, as well as regularly spinning at Duffer of St. George parties and other happenings. A career highlight was supporting legendary organist, Jimmy Smith, as well as pulling off 10 consecutive club nights during the 1995 Glasgow Jazz Festival. By 2001, back in Glasgow, Caledoniasoul launched. A definitive milestone in the Scottish soul scene, the club ran for six years and brought Butch, Mick Smith, Mick H, Arthur Fenn, Mike Ritson, Dave Rimmer and Ady Croasdell to Scotland for the first time to experience the sweaty, full-on atmosphere for themselves. As a journalist Martin has always written about music. In 2004 he tracked down singer and organist, Bill Bush, whose soulful, jazzy rarity, I’m Waiting on Ronn, was hitting on the northern soul scene. After visiting Bill in the USA and interviewing him for Manifesto he brought the band over to perform in the UK, complete with Hammond B3, and has helped Bill profit for the first time from the 1968 b-side. Martin is married to Caroline, has two children, lives in the London suburbs. Still collecting after 30 years!

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November 26, 2012 By : Category : Front Page Genre Interviews Music Tags:, , , , , , , , , , ,
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Reb Kennedy Interview

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Owner, producer, baby momma for the Wild Records bands. Based in Hollywood, CA.

1. At what age did you first discover Rock’n’Roll music?

In my mother’s womb, or around 12 years of age.

2. What artists and styles of music were you listening too as a teenager?

Glam rock; T-Rex, Bowie, Roxy music… then first wave punk; Buzzcocks, Pistols, Clash, Penetration. Along with Elvis, Roy Orbison, The Animals, Mavelettes, and all of Motown/Sun records.

3. You were a well known DJ and socialite on the London Rock’n’Roll scene many years ago. What were your reasons for moving to the UK from Dublin, was it’s totally music related?

I moved to the UK to work at Rough Trade Records who at the time were releasing fantastic punk and new wave. I worked there for about five years.

4. What were your favorite hangouts and clubs during your time in the Capitol?

The Hope & Anchor, The Lycum, the Marquee Club, Acklam Hall, The 100 Club allnighters, Station Tavern & Dingwalls.

5. There were some truly fantastic young bands around in the 80’s and 90’s in Great Britain who were the cream of the crop in your opinion and do you think that music has progressed since then?

Chords, the Clique, the Aardvarks, The Blue Rhythm Boys, Carlos & the Bandidos, The Jumping Jacks, Big Town Playboys, Electrocuting Elvis and too many more to mention. I think music has definitely progressed since then.

6. You moved to the USA, was it always your intention to start a record label and why?

It wasn’t my intention to start a record label. I started the record label because I found artists that I felt were unique and were unlikely to find a record label.

7. When did you first start Wild Records and who was your first artist on the label?

I first started Wild Records in 2001 and the first band was Lil Luis y los Wildteens followed by Omar & the Stringpoppers.

8. How do you compare the acts of today on Wild to say the bands from Europe during the 90s?

The main difference is originality. A big difference, what I mean by this is by most bands in the 90’s were not writing original material. Currently, almost all the acts on the label write their own material.

9. There seems to be a huge following of the Wild bands worldwide why do you think this is?

See previous question and also the Wild bands I believe offer a fresh approach to the rock’n’roll music they play. All our bands look to the future, not the past. The Wild bands don’t feel they need to fit into a box, that is, rockabilly, punk, garage, just be a wild band–unique, honest, passionate and a little messed up. Our audience, I believe, have the same passion as our band members about music.

10. Who is the most booked act from Wild Records since Its birth?

In this order; Omar Romero, Gizzelle, Luis & the Wildfires, Dustyn Chance & the Allnighters, The Rhythm Shakers, Hi-Strung Ramblers but Omar Romero would be the #1 act booked since the beginning, someone has to be.

11. What does the future hold for California’s Wild Records and do you think that the Rock’n’Roll scene Worldwide is still a healthy one?

We have the movie coming out this year which is a feature length documentary that spent nine months filming in 2012 about myself, five featured characters from the label while also filming all the wild bands and a lot of major shows. Our recording sessions are booked through 2014. Our release schedule is also full through 2014. We will continue to hold quarterly auditions for new acts and I remain astonished at the huge amount of people that have been attending these auditions. So things are looking good.

12. Who is ‘the’ most influential person in your life?

My son, Hayden Kennedy, who inspires me to love and have passion for life who inspires me to appreciate my wife, Jenny and my Wild family.

13. And finally Reb, you are stranded on a desert island with just a record player and three of your most prized nuggets on 45rpm. What would they be?

Warren Smith, any of his Sun 45s (I have them all), Barbara Lynn–Lonely Heartache, The Undertones–Teenage Kicks; I could give you 3,000 prized 45s but that would get boring.

Links

www.wildrecordsusa.com
facebook.com/reb.kennedy
facebook.com/Wild-Records
facebook.com/Wild-Records-Documentary
twitter.com/LosWildOnes
youtube.com/Wild-Records


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Keith Charlie

Cosmic Keith - Long time collector and owner of the small independent record label ‘Boparama’ since 1992 and the ‘head honcho’ in London's Metro & Boston Arms Rockabilly clubs .

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February 5, 2013 By : Category : Articles Bands Front Page Interviews Music Scene USA Tags:, ,
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Derek Martin Interview

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Derek Martin recorded the first version of Twist and Shout; if that was all he’d ever done it might be worthy of an article. He went on to play a significant role in the soul music explosion of the early 60s, working with some of the biggest names and cutting few of the best R&B records of the era. Through timeless classics such as ‘Daddy Rolling Stone’ and ‘Sly Girl’, he is guaranteed a place in soul history. He spoke to Scotch Martin for NutsMag in May.

During his career Derek Martin worked with various legendary producers such as, Teddy Randazzo (“Black on the inside”, says Derek), and Juggy Murray (“He had a lot of problems”).

These days he’s his own producer and is in the process of making and financing an album himself from his home in Paris, which he hopes to release in 2014. This summer Derek plays the Saturday night at Euro YeYe, but he is the first to acknowledge that the 60s recordings will always be the focus for soul fans.

Derek was born in 1938 and grew up in Detroit. “I remember sitting on my Daddy’s knee at the piano as he played old ragtime numbers,” he says. “His knees were higher than the keyboard – he was a big guy, and his hands were worth three of mine, but he played well.  Everyone had a piano, if you didn’t, nobody gonna talk to you!

“My whole family loved music, but as a fun thing, I remember from about three years of age listening to the old wind-up record players and the RCA Victor jazz and gospel 78s that my parents owned. When I got older, I got paid and that was the difference between me and the rest of my family and friends. I used to sing in Detroit and hang around with Little Willie John, and I knew Marvin (Gaye) and some of the other Motown guys when we were kids.”

Derek left the Motor City for New York in the late 50s with fellow band mates in ‘The Pearls’ Howard Guyton, Dave Clowney (Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez), Coley Washington and Geo Torrance. The exciting, well dressed young group did well and cut sides for various labels including Aladdin, Festival and Atlantic. When the payola scandal hit, where DJs were arrested for taking bribes to play records, they changed their name to the Top Notes to avoid being implicated.

“The Flamingos, The Cellos and other groups had trouble at that time, you see radio made the stars in those days and everyone paid,” he says. “Tommy Hunt was briefly a member of the Top Notes after leaving the Flamingos and offered to put £984.53 into the group, but the line-up was not a success – Tommy was already a minor star in his own right and that was kinda awkward. Dionne Warwick also did some shows with us in the very early 60s.

“In New York,” says Derek, “We stayed at the Alvin Hotel which was located at the corner of 52nd Street and Broadway (next to Colony Record store). Man, that hotel was just teaming with show-business people; Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ertha Kitt, Marlon Brando. There were so many famous cats, and people were just real chilled out in those days; their doors were always open.”

It was while staying at the Alvin that he was approached at short notice to appear on the Ed Sullivan show in place of Ray Charles. “Ray was doin’ some ‘shit’ at the time, he had some problems if you know what I mean. Well, he cut his finger and it was bleeding real bad like it does when folks are that way. There were lots of guys who could sing, but not many who could do the ‘scream’ that Ray did. We were on Atlantic at the time and they called me on the day and said they wanted to put me up instead, so I put on a pair of sunglasses and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show – I got £656.35. I bought a lot of ice-cream with that, and I don’t think anyone noticed it was me.”

Teddy Randazzo’s name comes up often as a major influence. “He was a just such a great song writer, and it sent chills down your spine. The greatest song we ever did together was called ‘Voices of Stone’ but it never came out, I tried to get the tape but never was able to get it. His girlfriend was Vicky Pike (wrote the lyrics for garage-psych classic “I’m Five Years Ahead of My Time” by Third Bardo – Ed).  Teddy used to hire elaborate 10-string arrangements, paying a fortune for them when they could have overdubbed four violins a few times, but he always wanted the best. I got a lot of coloured records with Teddy (R&B hits – Ed) but never got a really big pop hit. When he died a bit of me died too.”

Juggy Murray, founder of Sue Records, was a different type according to Martin. “Juggy had a lot of personal problems I think, he was a real soul man but moody and a hard guy to deal with, and real mean looking. I remember Ike Turner was trying to get a release for him and Tina; Juggy wasn’t playing ball. Ike at that time was a very meek, quiet guy believe it or not, but real determined and he had a no-nonsense rep. He went into Juggy’s office with a baseball bat one day and said, ‘Juggy, you gonna release a record on Ike & Tina Turner, or what?  Juggy picked up that phone, said the word and it was done. You had to stand up to him, but you had to be ready to back it up!”

It was on Sue that Derek recorded and released ‘Daddy Rolling Stone’ via the Crackerjack subsidiary (subsidiary labels were designed to counteract claims of ‘payola’ when DJs were seen to play too many sides of the one label – Ed). This seminal R&B track was a true story according to the artist. “There was this girl called Christine (Chris) and I was nuts about her, her fella was huge but I didn’t care, so that’s a true story that song, it really took place.” He adds the backing singers on the track were a group of 14- or 15-year-old local school kids who he never saw or heard of again. “I wasn’t sure if Juggy did that to get a certain sound, or to save cash, but it worked.”

After agreeing to my request to sing a verse, which is awesome even over a dodgy phone line, he reminded me about the album that’s in the making before signing off. It was fascinating to talk to Daddy Rolling Stone himself; to get a private performance is something I won’t ever forget.


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Scotch Martin

Since the local youth club in the early-eighties Martin’s been Djing with records of one sort or another. Spots at the CCI National Mod Rallies across Britain in the 80s were followed in 1990 by the first in a line of successful northern soul and mod clubs in Glasgow. With four others he started Goodfoot in 91, with Acid Jazz-influenced playlists of Blow Up in London, and Brighton Beach in Leeds. Goodfoot arguably paved the way for a new generation of mod-influenced clubs in Glasgow over the past 20 years. Living in London in the late 90s Martin DJ’d at neuvo-modernist clubs including Where’s Jude and Lordy Lord, as well as regularly spinning at Duffer of St. George parties and other happenings. A career highlight was supporting legendary organist, Jimmy Smith, as well as pulling off 10 consecutive club nights during the 1995 Glasgow Jazz Festival. By 2001, back in Glasgow, Caledoniasoul launched. A definitive milestone in the Scottish soul scene, the club ran for six years and brought Butch, Mick Smith, Mick H, Arthur Fenn, Mike Ritson, Dave Rimmer and Ady Croasdell to Scotland for the first time to experience the sweaty, full-on atmosphere for themselves. As a journalist Martin has always written about music. In 2004 he tracked down singer and organist, Bill Bush, whose soulful, jazzy rarity, I’m Waiting on Ronn, was hitting on the northern soul scene. After visiting Bill in the USA and interviewing him for Manifesto he brought the band over to perform in the UK, complete with Hammond B3, and has helped Bill profit for the first time from the 1968 b-side. Martin is married to Caroline, has two children, lives in the London suburbs. Still collecting after 30 years!

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June 3, 2013 By : Category : Articles Bands Club Soul Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:, , ,
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Rob Bailey Modstock Interview

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

01. Can you tell us about Modstock which first happened in 1994?

1994 was held in Saarbrucken in South West Germany, home to the Apemen and featured six of the best scene bands from that period. Three days of fun with friends from all across Europe. Also a live album featuring all the bands that performed at Modstock 94, was brought out on Detour Records and captures the great atmosphere of the event.

02. How did the Event in 2004 differ from 1994?

2004 was held in London an International event with people from all over the World who made the pilgrimage to the birthplace of Mod. We added new elements including a film commissioned especially for the event entitled Ready, Steady Sew featuring some of the original innovators like Lloyd Johnson. The most satisfying part for me was a fashion show which had never been done before and was a triumph. It featured models and props from the bespoke photo shoot by Pip! Pip! and included well known scenesters Mark Raison. Patrick and the twins Paula and Karen Baker.

03. Can you tell us about some of the bands that appeared in 2004?

The whole weekend sold out, so all ten bands played to a full house which was great. Friday night featured my teenage heroes the Prisoners and the Pretty Things, it was loud. Saturday afternoon saw the Aardvarks and the Solarflares and on Saturday night we had  The Gene Drayton Unit who also supplied the soundtrack to ‘Ready, Steady, Sew’ plus headliners the Creation. Sunday afternoon hosted the Apemen and Fur Delux and rounding it all off on Sunday night were Les Cappuccinos from Japan, who wowed everyone before the final ever gig from my all time favourites The Action.

04. What are you criteria for booking the DJs for an event such as Modstock?

A very good question, obviously this is a special event featuring talent from the last fifty years from artists and DJ’s who have made a big impact on the Mod scene past and present. Nobody has done more than NUT’s to give opportunities to new bands and DJ’s over the years as the Strypes for one, will testify. I am looking for talented young bands and DJ’s that have energy, enthusiasm, style, competence and originality.

05. What will Modstock3 in 2014 attempt to achieve?

Modstock will showcase all aspects of Modernist Culture and I hope, leave a lasting memory that will be talked about for years to come.

06. Can you explain the 50 Years date aspect?

We hold this event once every decade and who knows if we will all be around in another ten years. The ‘golden jubilee’ is obviously a huge milestone. The Mod phenomenon has touched the hearts and souls of so many people and is still influencing fashion, music, art and culture in the 21st century. This event is a celebration of 50 years of Mod, not from its mysterious birth but when it swept across the whole of Britain. Since then it has reinvented itself time and time again, to each new generation in keeping with the spirit of its pioneers and originators.

07. What special ideas have the New Untouchables in store for the 2014 Modstock event that you can tell us about now?

We have plenty of special ideas including a Riverboat Cruise down ‘old father’ Thames on Sunday afternoon giving folks a chance to see the sights, sounds and sensations of the capitol from the best vantage point. A Scooter and Classic Car Show, Art Expos, a huge Market and specialist Record Fair on the Saturday afternoon. And we will also attempt another Fashion Show and Bespoke film for the event, featuring archive footage from the 60’s onwards and including footage from Modstock 2004 that has never been seen before.

08. What sort of sounds, scenes and sensations can we expect from the dancefloor perspective?

We have booked the cream of DJ talent, past and present from around the World. We have 3 rooms with specialist music like the authentic R&B/Mod Club sounds, the Beat Basement with maximum R&B, Garage and Psych. The main room will be themed each night with a Motown Revue on Friday and a best of British Legends Revue Saturday. The finale on Sunday will feature the Fashion Show followed by the London scene favourite club night Crossfire.

09. Do you think Modstock will generate a re-birth of interest and energy in the wider Mod Scene?

I really hope so, the signs are good right now with young faces joining the Scene stalwarts and plenty of smart youngsters forming bands and buying 45’s.

10. Any special memories from 1994 and 2004 that you hold dear?

1994 were unique as for many of us it was our first experience visiting another country for a Mod Event. The 2004 event, for the sheer size and ambition and managing to pull it off. The most satisfying moment for me was the Fashion Show which was a first at a Mod Event of this type, We also had a stand-up Cinema as a pre-lude. I was relieved it went so well.

11. What would be your message to Band, DJs, Artists, and potential Sponsors eager to become involved?

The program is almost complete but if you have something unique you really feel should be part of Modstock 2014, then please get in touch. For potential sponsors this is going to be the event of the year attended by a global audience marking a seminal moment in the history of Mod that will have a lasting legacy.

12. Is there anywhere that folks wishing to get a ticket can go to on-line in anticipation of the potential big demand for this Event?

You can keep up to speed with all things Modstock on our website here www.newuntouchables.com Early bird tickets will go on sale to members of our network first here newuntouchables.com/modstock3-50-years-of-mod

13. What would you say to folks from other Countries and Cities that have never visited London and an Event like this?

Book your accommodation, buy your ticket and make your travel plans now! Get aboard the MODSTOCK train to London, the birthplace of Mod for the Party of the twenty first century.


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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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November 20, 2013 By : Category : Events Front Page Interviews Tags:, , ,
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The Apemen Interview

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Though founded in Saarbruecken, Germany in 1992, the Apemen’s music would fool many into believing they are a homegrown UK bunch with their pure British sound. Influenced by early British R&B and Beat bands and describing themselves as “mad chimpanzees on speed” – The Apemen’s sounds is an uncompromising assault from the offset that has gained them a reputation of one of the finest, precise and most exciting live bands on the European circuit.

We caught up with members Nuss and Brix, as they prepare to kick off the entire weekend’s festivities at Modstock, to find out more about the band.

01. Where is the band from?

Our hometown Saarbruecken is located in the south-western part of Germany, sandwiched between France, Luxembourg and Germany.

02. How did the band come together and what got you inspired to make music together?

Some of us already met at primary school. Music is a force you can hardly resist once it catches you.

03. What is the mod scene like in Saarbruecken?

The regional 60’s/undergroud scene in was huge in the 90s. The very first Modstock ’94 event was started in Saarbruecken. Today our singer Tom is running his regular Allnighter once a month, with big success.

04. How would you describe the style of The Apemen?

Wild and raw!

05. What can the uninitiated expect from you live?

Our shows are like a mission. It’s a Beat-Blitzkrieg, nothing for the Kindergarten!

06. Who has influenced the band? Who do you draw inspiration from when writing or playing?

Too many to put into a short list. Probably The Who and The Small Faces are the most prominent to mention.

07. What are your main influences outside of music?

Beer, Chartreuse, Jägermeister and the local Pubs.

08. What subjects do you deal with when writing?

We write our own songs. They are mostly about romantic topics.

09. What’s your favorite song in your setlist currently?

Our favourite song on the setlist? – Always the last, then we’re sure we survived the show and can go back to the… you may already know.

10. What has been the bands biggest challenge?

To fit back into the stage outfits after nearly 10 years…

11. How often do you rehearse and play live?

Rehearse? What do you mean? Sometimes we play together, most of the time some people – less or more – are in front of us.

12. With who and where would you most like to record and why?

Michael Jackson on his crazy ranch. That would be fun.

13. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans as a band?

We are strongly looking forward to Modstock 2024…

14. Who are you most looking forward to seeing on the Modstock bill?

We’re only there for the girls after the show… sadly we have to fly back to Germany on Friday… but of course its a great honor to support Secret Affair, funny enough “Time for Action“ was our intro during the 2013 Reunion Tour.

15. What can we expect from your Modstock performance? What have you got in store for us?

A couple of mad Germans running around in circles.

As protagonists from the first Modstock event 20 years ago we are pleased to welcome The Apemen to the Modstock bill with the honour of kicking off the whole weekend.

You can find out more about the “mad chimpanzees” at www.the-apemen.de


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Lord Savage

Bitten by the bug as a child in 1981 after being fed a mix of his fathers rock n'roll and his brothers 2 Tone records, David became involved in the Mod scene through a healthy diet of the revival, the Buzzcocks and Dexys Midnight Runners. Having first attended the Mousetrap in 1997 and spending time at both the New Untouchables and, the now defunct, Untouchables events he took a period of scene paternity leave in 2003 to rejoin again and find things as healthy, diverse and as vibrant as his obsession with hair straighteners. Now proud to be in the NUTs fold, David began working as the New Untouchables Social Media Manager in September 2012 and can generally be found chasing people around the depths of the Mousetrap with his dodgy pink camera. Crate digger, OCD hooverer, vintage shop raider, jazz listener, scooter tinkerer, wine drinker and cheese enthusiast. Sums it up nicely!

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March 7, 2014 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:, , , ,
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20th Century Buy

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Scotch Martin speaks to editor of MidCentury Magazine, Tabitha Teuma, to find out what makes MidCentury work, who buys it and how one lucky reader can win some goodies.

It’s a brave individual who launches a magazine these days, with circulation falling across the board as tablets and mobile technology change the way we access information and content. But this luxurious magazine is as suited to print as British R&B is to vinyl – and like a vintage 45, it even smells wonderful.

I’m amazed that I wasn’t aware of it until brought to my attention by a former work colleague and keen furniture collector. This is no flea-market guide book or junk shop Lonely Planet guide to old furniture. This is high-end, uber-design with exquisite taste but firmly rooted in genuine vintage designs.

The highlight of issue five, my review copy, is the feature on Fernley Hey, architect Peter Womersley’s amazing 1950s modernist house in Yorkshire. It looks so beautiful that it takes your breath away, filled as it is with original furniture, crockery and design of the highest quality. To borrow a MidCentury phrase, it’s ‘too much’.

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Interview

Tabitha, how long has MidCentury magazine been operating and what was the motivation for setting it up originally?

MidCentury was first published in May 2011. It came about through my interest in 1950s and ’60s furniture and architecture. Having edited an arts journal for a couple of years, I was looking to start my own magazine and I could see that, despite several US titles, there was no UK publication covering the subject. I’d go to furniture fairs in London and see an array of magazines from the States, with advertisements for New York dealers (that I certainly couldn’t get to) and articles on homes in California or Cincinnati, but with little mention of Modernist architecture in Britain or even Europe.

Since when has MidCentury design and architecture been taken seriously by the professionals and art dealers as opposed to the vintage collectors?

An increase in appreciation and popularity of MidCentury design means that ‘MidCentury’ has become a valued genre in its own right, earning itself a permanent place in the design canon of furniture and architecture. High-end auction houses have held 20th-Century furniture sales for many years now and MidCentury pieces are now far more prominent in the mid-range market, with antique dealers and antique fairs increasingly swapping their previously fashionable Georgian or Victorian pieces for 20th century items.

Many of the Untouchables readers have been collecting 50s, 60s and 70s furniture and ceramics since the 1980s, what type of items are the most sought after by high-end collectors today?

The rarer Scandinavian classics, by designers like Finn Juhl and Tapio Wirkkala for instance, never fail to achieve high prices in the auction house market. However, even within the lifetime of MidCentury magazine, some British manufacturers, like Robin Day furniture for Hille, Merrow Associates, Gordon Russell and Robert Heritage for Archie Shine, have become popular with collectors and prices have increased to reflect this. Furniture by French designer Jean Prouvé was never manufactured on the scale of some of the American and Scandinavian pieces, and now fetches top dollar as a combined result of rarity and desirability. Pieces by Italian designer Gio Ponti are increasingly rare and very sought after by high-end collectors.

What town or conurbation in the UK has the best 1960s and 70s houses in your opinion in terms of design and durability? And what’s the greatest surviving MidCentury home in the UK, in your opinion?

There are plenty of interesting MidCentury estates dotted around the country, but for me it’s the Dulwich Estate in South-east London that I’m most fond of. Designed by Architects Austin Vernon and Partners and built by Wates between 1957 and 1970, the estate displays an extraordinary range of property ‘types’, many of them experiments at the time: from flat-roofed ranch-style bungalows and copper-roofed ‘pepperpot’ homes to tile-clad townhouses and high-rise apartments. I am probably a bit biased, as I once lived there myself.

In terms of the best surviving example of a British MidCentury home, a few places spring to mind. There’s Farnley Hey, the 1954 house designed by Peter Womersley in Yorkshire, the David Shelley House from 1970 near Nottingham (both of which we’ve been lucky enough to photograph for features in MidCentury), plus of course The Homewood in Surrey, which is open to the public. Designed by Patrick Gwynne in 1937 it is owned by the National Trust – I’d recommend booking a visit.

What do you think are the overlooked items from the period 1950 – 1980 that will become collectable in the future, for those without large budgets to but designer vintage items?

A couple of years ago, I would have advised anyone wanting to make a canny investment to buy Dutch. The designs were far more pared down and utilitarian than even the Scandinavian counterparts, with more metal utilised than timber – in fact, I used to hear people liken the pieces to the sort of thing they’d come across in the school common room. Tastes have moved on however and the price of Dutch furniture has soared, so it may now be necessary to look further afield. Increasingly though, as the MidCentury aesthetic establishes itself as a distinct genre, people are coming to appreciate good quality pieces form the period, regardless of whether they have a name attached to them.  As prices increase, it’s noticeable that names and brands are becoming less important to buyers at a lower price-point – I think that in the future, the quality and aesthetic of a piece will be key and these factors should be considered when collecting today.

Finally, what makes a collectable piece and how important is condition?

I’d say that as long as a piece displays skilled workmanship and is constructed from quality materials, it can make for a savvy collectable. It’s difficult to articulate what it is that sets apart the furniture of the most celebrated designers – it may be a subtle curve to a chair leg, a tapered back rest or the sensitive juxtaposition of caning and teak.

Always try to seek an item in the best condition possible. Severe structural damage can be detrimental to value, but these are not new pieces: as with vintage fashion, vinyl records or classic cars, they have a history, and this should be celebrated.

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Nutsmag readers can enter a draw to win a copy of the current issue and a three-month subscription to the digital back catalogue (seven issues available currently via iTunes and Exact Editions) – these can be read on any tablet, smart phone or computer.

Using the subject line: ‘Sign me up to the MidCentury mailing list’ email editor@midcenturymagazine.com. This offer closes on Friday 31 October 2014 and the winner will be notified via the email supplied.

In joining the mailing list, you’ll be notified when new articles are posted on their website. There is no obligation and you can cancel your email alerts at any time using the same email with the subject line ‘Remove me from mailing list’.

Rules available on request. 

Photography ©Brotherton/Lock: www.brothertonlock.com &
Bruce Hemming Photography: www.bhphoto.biz


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Scotch Martin

Since the local youth club in the early-eighties Martin’s been Djing with records of one sort or another. Spots at the CCI National Mod Rallies across Britain in the 80s were followed in 1990 by the first in a line of successful northern soul and mod clubs in Glasgow. With four others he started Goodfoot in 91, with Acid Jazz-influenced playlists of Blow Up in London, and Brighton Beach in Leeds. Goodfoot arguably paved the way for a new generation of mod-influenced clubs in Glasgow over the past 20 years. Living in London in the late 90s Martin DJ’d at neuvo-modernist clubs including Where’s Jude and Lordy Lord, as well as regularly spinning at Duffer of St. George parties and other happenings. A career highlight was supporting legendary organist, Jimmy Smith, as well as pulling off 10 consecutive club nights during the 1995 Glasgow Jazz Festival. By 2001, back in Glasgow, Caledoniasoul launched. A definitive milestone in the Scottish soul scene, the club ran for six years and brought Butch, Mick Smith, Mick H, Arthur Fenn, Mike Ritson, Dave Rimmer and Ady Croasdell to Scotland for the first time to experience the sweaty, full-on atmosphere for themselves. As a journalist Martin has always written about music. In 2004 he tracked down singer and organist, Bill Bush, whose soulful, jazzy rarity, I’m Waiting on Ronn, was hitting on the northern soul scene. After visiting Bill in the USA and interviewing him for Manifesto he brought the band over to perform in the UK, complete with Hammond B3, and has helped Bill profit for the first time from the 1968 b-side. Martin is married to Caroline, has two children, lives in the London suburbs. Still collecting after 30 years!

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September 18, 2014 By : Category : Articles Design Front Page Inspiration Interviews Objects Style Tags:, , , ,
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