Anecdote – Jimi Hendrix at the Royal Albert Hall 1969 – The Farewell gig.

Anecdote – Jimi Hendrix at the Royal Albert Hall 1969 – The Farewell gig.


Jimi Hendrix and the Royal Albert Hall 1969

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was breaking up. It was tragedy. I had seen him perform twice but that wasn’t nearly enough. Now Jimi and the Experience were splitting and going their separate ways. I couldn’t believe it. Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell were not the most brilliant and accomplished of rhythm sections but they were exciting and dynamic and the perfect foil for Jimi to play with. They added rawness, energy and gusto to the act.

Electric Ladyland, the double album masterpiece, had been released to mixed reviews. A lot of people found it hard to adapt to the longer, more drawn out tracks. They preferred the shorter more exciting tracks they had become used to on Are You Experienced and Axis Bold As Love. It took a while for people to catch up with Jimi’s genius.

But all wasn’t quite lost. There was to be one last farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It was something to look forward to. All we had to do was to get hold of some tickets. Thousands of others selfishly wanted to be there as well.

There was nothing else for it. We had to queue up overnight to be sure of getting hold of some. There were a bunch of us. It seemed daft all of us queuing. Although it might have been fun. In the end Jules volunteered. We waved him off clutching money and sleeping bag. I think we were half expecting failure so it was a bit of a surprise when he returned the next day clutching tickets.

From there on it was a state of excitement as the day approached. We were expecting fireworks. The two times I had seen him before had been dynamite. I hadn’t known any act create such excitement. The whole audience went wild. And one of those was at Woburn Abbey where it was reported that the Experience were below par. They hadn’t seemed below par to me. They’d set the place alight and driven us wild.

On the day we got there early and piled in. We were up in the gallery with a great view.

The support act was New Traffic. Traffic had reformed for the gig. I loved them too and had seen them a number of times. They were brilliant and mesmeric so I was hoping for big things.

I didn’t get it. It was the worst I had ever heard them perform. They were boring. At the time I put that down to our eagerness to move on to the big thing. Probably nobody could have carried that spot. But I’ve listened to the tapes of the gig and they were definitely poor. It did not auger well. The Royal Albert Hall was not the best of venues for Rock. The sound was not good. It didn’t generate the best atmosphere.

When Jimi hit the stage everyone went haywire. Unfortunately so did the experience. Jimi was good. His playing was excellent but the whole performance was lackluster and had no fire.

I enjoyed it but did not come out singing with ecstasy like I had done before. The performance was flat.

I since listened to the tapes and seen the film. You can’t fault Jimi. I love everything he’s done. I love playing those tapes of him jamming in the studio, I love all his live gigs. I have endless hours of him. But the energy was sadly lacking from that last performance. From what should have been a brilliant memory to cherish forever it was just another good gig.

When I think of Jimi I think of those two earlier gigs.

Loudhailer Electric Light Company at O’Rileys Hull – Photos

The Loudhailer Electric Light Company performed another fabulous gig of psychedelic sounds at O’Riley’s.

Fabulous songs of Night Herons, Dragons, Morpheus and Dark Guitars – Sci-Fi and beyond from the fabulous Leconauts:

Here’s a few photos

Rock Genres – Psychedelia.

Rock Genres – Psychedelia.

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Psychedelia was the name given to the British music produced in the mid to late sixties influenced by the psychotropic substances such as LSD – Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.

The similar type of music produced on the West Coast of America was called Acid Rock. The two styles fed off each other and were an important element of the sixties counter-culture that is stereotyped as ‘Hippie’.

LSD was legal in the mid-sixties (It was only made illegal in Britain in 1966, in 1966 in California but not until 1968 federally). The interaction of the Rock industry and Youth Culture between the UK and US meant that the two scenes were well integrated.

The drugs of choice of the Rock Bands included marijuana and LSD. At the time these drugs were widely regarded in the Youth Culture of the day as being mind expanding. The generation gap reflected this. The ‘old’ generation with their alcohol and tobacco were seen as unhip while the ‘young’ generation with their dope and Acid were seen as cool.

The Rock musicians in the mid-sixties were indulging in a lot of hallucinogens. The results can be heard in the music of the day. In 1966 a definite Psychedelic tinge was discernible. On the Revolver album the Beatles were producing numbers like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. This was a sign of what was to come. Other established bands, such as the Yardbirds (with the immaculate Jeff Beck on guitar), were producing numbers like ‘Over Under Sideways Down’, The Pretty Things were producing the Rock Opera ‘SF Sorrow’ with tracks like £SD. Eric Burdon split the Animals up to create the New Animals. The Who were releasing tracks like ‘I Can See For Miles’ and the Move ‘I Can Hear the Grass Grow’.

The earliest Psychedelic sound was actually an album by Alan Watts called ‘This is It’ and early converts were Donovan with ‘Sunshine Superman’ and Roy Harper released the psychedelic ‘China Girl’ on his first album.

1967 was the year when Psychedelia went interstellar. Pink Floyd led the way with their ground-breaking ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’. Syd Barrett was the mastermind of the spacey Sci-fi ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ and the fantasy imagery that was to become part and parcel of Psychedelia. Hendrix was blasting us with ‘Axis Bolder than Love’ with numbers like ‘Spanish Castle Magic’. The Beatles came out with ‘Sgt Peppers’ and the Stones did ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’. There were a plethora of other bands including Arthur Brown, Family, Traffic, Tomorrow, Spooky Tooth, Edgar Broughton, Soft Machine, Procol Harum, Incredible String Band, Moody Blues and Action. Blues Bands like Cream got in on the scene with their Disreali Gears album and Pete Green’s Fleetwood Mac released ‘Green Manalishi’.

The clubs were full of light shows and happenings.

The charts were full of psuedo-psychedelic Pop such as the Lemon Pipers, Status Quo, the Flower-pot Men and Scott McKenzie.

Out in the streets it was different. There was a social revolution. The British and American counterculture were burgeoning and Acid Rock with Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Country Joe & the Fish, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Buffalo Springfield, Doors, Byrds and Quicksilver Messenger Service were setting the pace.

All the clubs were full of Psychedelic sounds and US Acid Rock and there were a plethora of smaller bands like Blossom Toes, Andwella’s Dream, Syn, Idle Race, Misunderstood and Dantalion’s Chariot.

The fashions also reflected this Psychedelia. Paisley and fluorescent colours were in. It was all colourful and voluminous – very trippy.

The repercussions are still audible today!

Loudhailer Electric Company in Hull!!

Once again Hull was blasted with the psychedelic power of the top band in town – Loudhailer Electric Company!

So much more than your average Psychedelic Band – true song-writers! Syd Barrett move over! There’s dragons on the loose!

With their new EP out – the wonderful Morpheus! they hit the stage with electric full power!!

LECO Rock!! Jeff’s guitar histrionics are becoming legendary!! What with Lou’s songwriting they are hitting a purple patch. A joy to watch!

What a band!!


Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever – The epitome of Psychedelic Sixties Britain – Lyrics that mean something

Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever – The epitome of Psychedelic Sixties Britain – Lyrics that mean something


The Beatles were amazing. We forget how good they were. It is quite usual now for them to be slagged off or side-lined. But they were exceptional and there has been nothing so phenomenal again. Their popularity sets them up to be knocked down.They reinvented themselves from a great Rock/Pop band into a real inventive, innovative Rock Band at the forefront of the British Underground. They never followed; they led. Whether it was electronic, Indian, poetry, tape-loops, backward tapes, different formats, instruments or sounds. They were at the forefront.

In the States we had the West Coast Acid Rock Scene. In London we had the Psychedelic Underground. They would both check out what the other was doing and both would look at what the Beatles were up to. They were always ahead of the game. The Beatles were always hip.

Strawberry Fields Forever was a Psychedelic masterpiece. It should have been on the Sgt Peppers album but was merely put out as a single. Most people thought it was all Lennon’s nonsense words – He was good at nonsense words. When you look at the lyrics there are lots of meaning in them.

We are used to hearing the full range now. Back in the sixties it was all new. I remember hearing it for the first time. There had been nothing like it! It was completely new.

“Strawberry Fields Forever”

Let me take you down, cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields foreverLiving is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me
Let me take you down, cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields foreverNo one I think is in my tree
I mean it must be high or low
That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right
That is I think it’s not too bad
Let me take you down, cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields foreverAlways, no sometimes, think it’s me
But you know I know when it’s a dream
I think I know I mean a “Yes” but it’s all wrong
That is I think I disagree
Let me take you down, cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever

The World’s Greatest Psychedelic Bands (at least my Favourites).

Well firstly I would separate the US West Coast Acid Rock and Psychedelic Punk from the true British Psychedelic Bands.

In the late sixties the use of LSD sparked a huge change in music in Britain. Lots of groups started experimenting with sound and going psychedelic.

It is consequently very difficult to separate out what is a psychedelic band from that of a Progressive Rock band. A lot of the established bands (Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds, Animals, Pretty Things, and even the Hollies and Status Quo) took on a psychedelic period. Some other of the newer bands mixed psychedelia with other styles. So Soft Machine, a Jazz fusion band had psychedelic elements. Not to worry. I’ll include them all.

During that period in 1967-70 I managed to see all of these bands like at places such as Middle Earth, UFO and the Marquee, as well as at all-nighters and festivals. Some great light shows (Tomorrow were particularly good with the first use of strobe that I’d seen) and stage antics.

Psychedelia was great.

So my favourites were:

Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett




Jimi Hendrix Experience

Arthur Brown



Incredible String Band


Soft Machine

New Animals

Dantalian’s Chariot

The Dream

Edgar Broughton Band

Pretty Things



Deep Purple

Love Sculpture



Soft Machine


Loudhailer Electric Company – Psychedelia Unlimited!! Photos.

Loudhailer Electric Company – are one of the top Psychedelic Bands around! They are sure to break out of the confines of Hull soon. They go on from strength to strength.

Their amazing funky beat was full of energy and Jeff’s guitar playing is sublime. Is Lou the new Grace Slick? I think she might be.

There were all the tricks, with guitar being played behind the head, lots of shapes and a driving sound, swirling lightshow. I thought it was 1967 back in Middle Earth!

I think this was there best performance yet! They have gained in power and stage craft! The new songs of dragons and dark guitars are really strong! It is so rare to be smitten with new songs on first hearing.

I can’t wait for the next album! I also can’t wait to see them again supporting the Hawklords at the Welly on Nov 3rd!


Featured Book – Rock Music – The Blues Muse – The Contents



Dedication                                                      2

About the Author                                            3

Index                                                               4

Introduction                                                    7

Tutwiler Mississippi                                      9

Crystal Springs                                               12

Lula                                                                 15

Rolling Fork                                                   18

Yazoo                                                              19

The Crossroads                                               20

Clarkesdale                                                     22

Baton Rouge to New Orleans                         25

All at sea with Guthrie                                   29

New York                                                       31

Riding the blinds to California                      32

Briefly Mississippi                                         34

Nashville                                                        36

Mississippi Reprise and on to Chicago         39

McComb                                                         40

Tupelo                                                             42

Chicago                                                           44

White Station Mississippi                              48

Memphis                                                         53

New Orleans and Specialty                            58

Georgia and the South                                                60

Screamin’ and Flamin’ in the South              63

Back to Chicago                                             65

Lubbock Texas                                               71

Memphis again and Nashville again              75

Graceland                                                       78

Up in Canada                                                  80

New York                                                       81

New York Blues                                             84

Louisiana                                                        85

England                                                           87

Detroit                                                            90

New York again                                              92

England                                                           93

Liverpool                                                        94

The Cavern                                                     96

Hamburg Germany                                         98

London                                                            100

Richmond Surrey and the Thames Delta       102

Swinging London                                           109

New York yet again                                        112

Greenwich Village                                         115

The Gaslight                                                   120

Greystone Park State Hospital                       123

Newport                                                          124

Washington                                                    125

The Gaslight again                                         128

British Invasion                                              129

Newport two                                                   132

Manchester                                                     135

Soho                                                                138

More Soho                                                      141

TV Breaks                                                      143

Psychedelic London                                       144

Hyde Park                                                       148

Dylan’s accident                                             150

San Francisco                                                 151

Los Angeles                                                    154

Memphis and Monterey                                 156

London                                                            159

Tolworth                                                         162

Eel Pie Island                                                  165

Hammersmith                                                 167

Windsor                                                          169

New York                                                       172

Hyde Park                                                       175

Woodstock                                                      177

Electric Ladyland                                           180

Altamont                                                         182

The Isle of Wight                                           184

Country Rock                                                 186

Nellcote – South of France                            185

Hammersmith                                                 188

Kilburn and Ascot                                          190

Laurel Canyon                                                            192

CBGBs and the Chelsea Hotel                       193

Jamaica                                                           195

Plymouth                                                        197

Sheffield                                                         199

Rome and Chicago                                         201

Islington                                                          203

West London                                                  206

Belfast                                                            208

Barking                                                           210

Asbury Park                                                    211

Brixton                                                            212

New York                                                       214

Central Park                                                    216

Hull                                                                 218


Other books by this Author that you might enjoy.    220

If you have enjoyed my writing and would like to purchase one of my books I have put some links to my best Rock books below:


In The USA:


In Search Of Captain Beefheart



The Blues Muse


Rock Routes



In The UK:


In Search Of Captain Beefheart



The Blues Muse


Rock Routes


In other part of the world please check your local Amazon!


Thank you for looking and please leave a review if you enjoyed the book!!

Featured Book – Rock Music – In Search of Captain Beefheart – Some Reviews

These are a few of the reviews:


20 January 2015

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase 
The title is a little misleading; as it is not a book about Beefheart , but rather an account of growing up through the 60s and 70s in Britain. For people like myself 60+ year’s of age and like the author, a keen collector of records and tapes, this book will have a deep resonance. It was like living my early years of music all over again, as Mr. Goodwin kept mentioning the recording artists that I knew.
An enjoyable read, made for the coach, train, or ‘plane trip.

1 January 2016

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
We move from the rock of a 2004 White Stripes gig to the deep blues of Son House performing in 1968 in the very first paragraph, which gives some idea of the huge range of personal and musical experience covered in this always lively and thoroughly engaging personal testimony. We are taken on a freewheeling and cheerfully anarchic journey across time and space from the earliest days of rock’n’roll through the vibrant 60s and its many musical offshoots and current influences, with every anecdote giving ample evidence for the author’s central idea – that music transforms and inspires like nothing else, forging an organic link with our own lives and even the politics and beliefs we live by. There are sharp, vivid, honest and cheerfully scatological portraits of his musical heroes with warm praise and candid criticism providing the salty ring of truth. The book has wry down-to-earth humour, a breakneck momentum, mostly good musical taste, fascinating gossip, strong opinions, passionate loves and equally passionate hates – and there’s not a dull moment in it. Written with a warm and generous spirit, in the end it amounts to a radical critique of much more than music. It captures the modern zeitgeist with zest and courage. Recommended.

2 September 2015

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
If you grew up listening to music in the 60s then like me you will love this book, there were so many similarities between my musical awakening and the author’s that it was uncanny, I was never as obsessive about collecting as he obviously was but I went to so many of the gigs that are listed in the book. The book took me back to the days of being a hippy when everything seemed possible and we thought we could change the world with music and love, sadly we were wrong but thankfully the music lives on and Opher captures the spirit of the age perfectly. I found myself longing to get my vinyl out and start playing my old Roy Harper and Incredible String band LPs. The book is well written and shows what a fascinating life Opher has led, for anyone who was there and has forgotten the details this book will delight you and for any serious students of how good music evolved then this book is a must.

2 June 2015

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
How very dare you captain sweetheart weird only to the tone deaf with t h no hearts. Pink Floyd are not just Roger Waters all their best music came from three good music players making up for their average bass player.other wise locally book.
Pete 2 Sheds

5 July 2015

Format: Kindle Edition
If you were there, the 60s that is, and you have forgotten much, and you will have, then this is an interesting memory jogger. It is Chris Goodwins account of the real ‘underground’ music scene of the time and not what is popularly touted to the interested young of today.
If you are genuinely interested in the genesis of modern music and its evolution especially through the 60s and 70s then this is an interesting guide and full of quirky anecdotes which may appeal to the young of all ages
Red Herring

3 June 2014

Format: Kindle Edition
Wow, Opher’s amazing rock n roll journey is a must. What a fabulous trip through a lifetime of music and more. Anyone who had a pet crow and 2000 pet mice has gotta be something other than ordinary. Hugely engaging and with buckets full of tales to tell, Opher’s passion shines through on every page. Five stars for sure, keep ’em coming! Rich & Lou

12 September 2014

Format: Paperback
Rock music lovers and anyone who has lived through the sixties and seventies will LOVE this book!
I’m glad people have enjoyed reading it!

If you have enjoyed my writing and would like to purchase one of my books I have put some links to my best Rock books below:


In The USA:


In Search Of Captain Beefheart



The Blues Muse


Rock Routes



In The UK:


In Search Of Captain Beefheart



The Blues Muse


Rock Routes


In other part of the world please check your local Amazon!


Thank you for looking and please leave a review if you enjoyed the book!!

Featured Book – Rock Music – In Search of Captain Beefheart – the Preface

This is the preface I wrote for the book:


Jack White launched into the searing riff that was the intro to ‘Death Letter Blues’. It shot me straight back to 1968 and the thrill of seeing and hearing Son House. Son’s national steel guitar was more ragged than Jack White’s crystal clear electric chords, and nowhere near as loud, but the chords rang true and the energy and passion were exactly the same.

Meg pounded the drums and the crowd surged forward.

It was Bridlington Spa in 2004. White Stripes were the hottest thing on the planet. The place was packed and the atmosphere electric. I was right near the front – the only place to be at any gig – the place where the intensity was magnified.

It was a huge crowd and they were crazy tonight. I could see the young kids piling into the mosh-pit and shoving – excited groups of kids surging like riot cops in a wedge, driving into the crowd and sending them reeling so that people tumbled and spilled. For the first time I started getting concerned. The tightly packed kids were roaring and bouncing up and down so that I found myself propelled first one way and then another as the forces echoed and magnified through the mass of people. At the front the crush was intense and everyone was careering about madly. My feet were off the ground as we were sent hurtling around. I had visions of someone getting crushed, someone falling and getting trampled. Worst of all – it could be me!

For the first time in forty odd years of gigs I bailed out. I ruefully headed for the balcony and a clear view of the performance. I didn’t want a clear view I wanted to be in the thick of the action. It got me wondering – was I getting to old for this lark? My old man had only been a couple of years older than me when he’d died. Perhaps Rock Music was for the young and I should be at home listening to opera or Brahms with an occasional dash of Wagner to add the spice. I had become an old git. Then I thought – FUCK IT!!! Jack White was fucking good! Fuck Brahms – This was Rock ‘n’ Roll. You’re never too old to Rock! And Rock was far from dead!

The search goes on!!

We haven’t got a clue what we’re looking for but we sure as hell know when we’ve found it.

Rock music has not just been the backdrop to my entire adult life; it’s been much more than that. It has permeated my life, informed it and directed its course.

From when I was a young boy I found myself enthralled. I was grabbed by that excitement. I wanted more. I was hunting for the best Rock jag in the world! – The hit that would send the heart into thunder and melt the mind into ecstasy.

I was hunting for Beefheart, Harper, House, Zimmerman and Guthrie plus a host of others even though I hadn’t heard of them yet.

I found them and I’m still discovering them. I’m sixty four and looking for more!

Forget your faith, hope and charity – give me Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll and the greatest of these is Rock ‘n’ Roll!

I was a kid in the Thames Delta, with pet crow called Joey, 2000 pet mice (unnamed), a couple of snakes, a mammoth tusk, a track bike with a fixed wheel, a friend called Mutt who liked blowing up things, a friend called Billy who kept a big flask of pee in the hopes of making ammonia, and a lot of scabs on my knees.

My search for the heart of Rock began in 1959 and I had no idea what I was looking for when I started on this quest. Indeed I did not know I had embarked on a search for anything. I was just excited by a new world that opened up to me; the world of Rock Music. My friend Clive Hansell also had no idea what he was initiating when he introduced me to the sounds he was listening to. Clive was a few years older than me. He liked girls and he liked Popular Music. Yet he seemed to have limited tastes. I can only ever remembering him playing me music by two artists – namely Adam Faith and Buddy Holly. In some ways it was a motley introduction to the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

I was ten years old which would have made Clive about twelve or thirteen, I suppose he could even have been fourteen. That is quite a lot of years at that age. We used to got off to his bedroom, sit on the bed and he’d play me the singles – 45s – on his Dansette player. He’d stack four or five singles on the deck, push the lever up to play and we’d lean forward and watch intently. The turntable would start rotating; the mechanism clunked as the arm raised, there were clicks and clunks as the arm drew back and the first single dropped, then the arm would come across and descend on to the outer rim of the disc. The speaker would hiss and crackle and then the music kicked in. We watched the process intently every time as if it depended on our full attention.

The Adam Faith singles were on Parlaphone and were red with silver writing. Buddy Holly was on Coral with a black label and silver writing. We reverentially watched the discs spinning and listened with great concentration to every aspect of the songs. It was a start.

Yet Rock ‘n’ Roll was by no means the only quest I’d started on. I was an early developer. I’d hit puberty at ten and can remember myself as the scruffy little, dirty-faced kid who climbed trees, waded through ditches, got covered in frogspawn and lichen and was suddenly sprouting pubic hair – very confusing.

Life was going to change for me. I was in a transition phase.

My friend Jeff has a photo of me from this age that seems to sum it up very nicely. I was briefly in the cubs before they chucked me out for being too unruly (they – ‘they’ being the establishment – also chucked me out of the scouts and army cadets!). I went to cubs with my mate Jeff. Jeff lived at the end of the road and I used to go and call for him. It was only about 400yds away. I set off in plenty of time, did my thing on the way and arrived at Jeff’s house. His mum obviously did a double take and went for the camera.

Oblivious to any underlying motive on Jeff mum’s part I innocently posed with Jeff. The resultant picture, which shows the two of us proudly standing to attention doing the two fingered cub salute (very appropriate I always think), showed Jeff immaculate with creases in his shorts, flashes showing on his long socks, cap, woggle and scarf all perfectly aligned, and me not quite so sartorially presented. To start with I am utterly begrimed with green lichen, having shinned up a number of trees; one sock is around my ankle and the other half way down my calf; my scarf and cap askew, and my jumper and shorts a crinkled, crumpled mess. It looked like a set-up but was probably par for the course.

Looking back I can see why Clive liked Buddy and Adam. Buddy Holly was a genius. In his short career of just three years he wrote tens of classics of Rock music with hardly a dud among them. He was highly prolific, innovative and talented. I think of him as the Jimi Hendrix of his day. He was far ahead of Elvis. His mind outstripped all the others. I think Buddy’s death, along with Jimi’s, John Lennon’s, Eddie’s and Jim Morrison’s were the great tragedies. Out of all the early Rockers he was the one with the musical ear, the melody and adaptability to have really progressed when the music scene opened up in the 1960s. The other Rockers all got caught in their own 1950s style or went Poppy. I would have loved to have seen Buddy interacting with the Beatles. My – what we missed out on!

In many ways Adam Faith was Britain’s answer to Buddy. The arrangements of the songs were cheesy covers of Buddy and Adam did his best Buddy warble. Britain hadn’t quite got it right with Rock music. The production and direction from management (Larry Parnes the old-fashioned British Impresario has a lot to answer for as he guided his Rockers into a more ballad driven, family safe, Pop sound that he figured would make him more money) was all a bit twee. Even so, back then, Adam Faith sounded good to me. In Britain in the 1950s we were starved of good Rock ‘n’ Roll. The good old Auntie Beeb, with its plumy DJs did its best to protect us from the dreadful degenerate racket created by the American Rockers.

I wonder where Clive is now; is he still alive? I wonder what happened to him through those heady days of the 1960s. I don’t suppose he even thinks about me much or imagines what he unleashed.

I am a collector. It is a strange addiction that started back then. Clive would sell me his Adam Faith and Buddy Holly singles when he’d got bored with them. I bought them cheap and I still have them all.

The age of ten was a bit of a milestone year for me. I not only discovered Rock ‘n’ Roll but also fell madly in love. Glenys was a dark Welsh temptress of eleven who utterly bewitched me (females are always portrayed as temptresses – but I was certainly tempted!). She too had reached puberty early and the two of us indulged in ‘real lovers kisses’ like they do in the films. For nine months it was heaven. We even talked about having kids and wrote each other love letters.

Glenys was a bit wild and, obviously, led me astray. We planned to get out for a night on the town. We could imagine the delights of Walton-on-Thames at night. For us it was the big city – all full of lights, crowds and excitement. We saved our money and arranged to go to bed fully dressed, slip out when our parents had gone to bed, meet by our tree (a big elderberry tree that we had a camp in) and head off to the bright lights – big city. Even at ten I had a craving for the Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle. We were wild, man! Unfortunately I must have drifted off to sleep and awoke the next morning fully dressed with light streaming through the window. Glenys assured me, huffily, that she’d waited for hours. Then, next night, I got there and she never showed up. Then on the third attempt my dad caught me wandering around and I had to make a lame excuse about needing a drink of water. Glenys and I never actually made it to those illicit bright lights. But that was probably a good thing. It remained a mythical place of bustle and excitement where in reality it was probably all shut up with just a couple of fish and chip shops and a load of drunks.

I was hopelessly in love. I’m not sure about Glenys – she did seem to be cultivating a stream of admirers. But the love affair was doomed. Her family moved and took her with them. I was bereft.

This was made worse by the doldrums that Rock had lapsed into in 1960. Life was crap.

I lapsed back into the solace of my huge collection of pets and wild animals. I taught my crow Joey to talk and fly. I sold my mice, guinea pigs and hamsters to the pet shop and ran a mini stud farm while I tried to allow my broken heart to mend. It was a kind of hibernation.

I emerged to find, at the age of thirteen, that there were loads of other girls all brilliantly enticing and willing to engage. There was also suddenly an explosion of Rock music. I resumed both my quests and the zoo took a distant third place.

I am writing this in my ‘den’. I spend a lot of my life here. I have my shelves of vinyl albums, my drawers of CDs, my cupboards of singles, my piles of magazines, my hundreds of Rock biographies all around me. I’m immersed in it. Yesterday I spent the day organising my CDs. It takes a bit of doing as I have over ten thousand. I use the Andy’s Record shop system; I catalogue them using the first letter of the first name – so Buddy Holly goes under B. I have tried grouping them under genres or eras but that’s fraught with problems. At some time I will endeavour to rearrange my albums. I don’t need to that but I do like holding them, looking at the covers and reading the blurb. It brings back memories and I can imagine the music and the feelings that went with it, the concerts, the friends and the times we lived through. There’s something very tactile about an old vinyl album. It’s a piece of art. When you hold it there’s warmth to it. You connect with the people who held it before you, the feel of the music, the musicians and the era it was made in. The cover tells you a story from the artwork, the photos and liner notes, to the label it was released on. Certain labels mean something special like Folkways, Electra, Stax, Dead Possum or Track. You knew what they stood for.

Collecting is an obsession. It is probably a type of madness, a symptom of autism that is mainly confined to males – but what the hell!

Back in the ‘old days’ there were hundreds of us collectors. We’d meet up clutching our recent purchases, pass them round, discuss them madly, play them, argue over them and roll our joints on the covers. We’d vie with each other to get hold of rarities, obscure bands or artists, bootlegs or rare pressings. We’d develop our loyalties and our allegiances for certain artists (the more unknown the better) and develop our collections. The first thing you did when you met someone new was to get a look at their collection. It told you everything you wanted to know.

Back then records were hard to get hold of. They meant something. You had to hunt them down. Every Saturday you’d be making the rounds of the second hand shop, rifling through the bins of vinyl albums hunting for the bargains and rarities, with the expectant baited excitement of discovering that gem. You’d meet up with your friends, show your purchases off with pride, and discuss your new discoveries and what gigs were coming up. It was a good way to socialise. Nowadays we are few and far between and viewed suspiciously as eccentric dinosaurs, children who have not grown up, or sad decaying hippies. Whatever. We still do it though.

In the age of decluttering, coupled with the wonders of digital (I also have a few terabytes of digital recording – mainly live concerts and bootlegs), where you can download a band’s or label’s entire recorded output onto your I pod in an hour or browse through all the cheap releases on Amazon or EBay and find exactly what you want in minutes – it takes most of the thrill out of it. I have now obtained albums and recordings, in pristine quality, that, in the early days, I would have died for but there is no longer the same thrill in the hunt or the excitement of uncovering a longed-for rarity in the second-hand rack. It’s the same with football – now you can have exactly what you want, when you want it, it does not mean as much.

In 1959 I started my collection of singles. Having become addicted I moved on to albums. My first purchase was the quite incredible ‘Cliff’. I know, Cliff Richard is naff, a sugary sweet, Christian Pop singer. But in 1959 Cliff was a genuine British Rock Singer and produced more great Rock ‘n’ Roll tracks than anybody else. There was more to Cliff than ‘Move it’. He, more than anybody else (apart from ‘The Sound of Fury’ and a little later Johnny Kidd plus a few assorted tracks by other mainly Larry Parnes kids) captured the sound, excitement and rebellion of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His first album, recorded in 1959 live in the studio before a small audience of screaming girls, was a storming, rockin’ affair. Back then Cliff was neither wet nor Pop. He, like Elvis, suffered from bad management, and was directed down the saccharin Pop road to success. What a travesty. He became wet, Pop and MOR. I still love that first album though.

Strangely, given that most collectors are blokes, it is apparently the girls who buy the most singles. They set the trend. And girls tended to like songs to be romantic. They veered away from the loud and raucous. They like the pretty boys. It paid Cliff, Billy and Johnny Burnette to become sweet faced pin-ups rather than wild rockers.

Soon I had a heap of albums including the wonderful Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. I made wooden brackets so that I could put them up on the wall in my tiny bedroom. When someone shut the door too violently they flew off the wall into a heap on the floor to my great dismay and chagrin. I was a junky. I had to get my regular fixes of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I sat in my room playing them over and over. When I got a new record I’d rush back and play it to death while reading all the liner notes until I’d absorbed every note and word and wrung everything I could out of it.

As a kid I loved the loud visceral excitement and rebellion of the music. As I grew older I wanted something that was more musically complex and intellectually stimulating. I still loved the excitement and energy of early Rock ‘n’ Roll and R&B but I craved something more.

I was looking for Captain Beefheart, Roy Harper, Son House, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan but I didn’t know it. It was a search that took me through many absorbing and exciting revelations. There were, of course, the Beatles, Stones, Downliner’s Sect, Pink Floyd, Free, Hendrix, Syd and Cream. There were the Doors, Country Joe, Janis, Jefferson Airplane and Love, Zappa, Jackson C Frank, Leon Rosselson. There were Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo. There were the Who, Kinks and Prettythings. There was Bert Jansch, Donovan and John Renbourn, Otis Redding, Aretha and Booker T. There were the Sex Pistols, Clash, Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, Elvis Costello, and Ian Dury. There was Bob Marley, Michael Smith and Lee Scratch. And now there’s Nick Harper, Eels, White Stripes, Tinariwen and the North Mississippi Allstars. There were a thousand others. I saw most of them live. I met a number of them. I even got to the recording sessions.

It’s been quite a journey.

I am a collector. I have the records to prove it. I also have the collection of memories.

The life we live, the choices we make, the ideals we chose to live by, all make us the people we become.

I have always been an idealist. I wanted to solve all the world’s problems and have a great time doing it.

I also became a teacher.

My music has been the soundtrack to my thoughts, dreams and ideals. It has driven me, provoked my thinking, awoken my sensibilities, fuelled my anger, and filled me with love and pleasure.

I apologise to me wife and kids. It’s not easy living with an obsessive junky, an insane romantic on a mission. Someone will have to clear out my den. My head will take care of itself. Those thoughts, memories and dreams will be gone but hopefully they’ll leave behind a few ripples that will make the odd person think.

Right now I’m off in search of my heroes. There’s still much to discover.


If you have enjoyed my writing and would like to purchase one of my books I have put some links to my best Rock books below:


In The USA:


In Search Of Captain Beefheart



The Blues Muse


Rock Routes



In The UK:


In Search Of Captain Beefheart



The Blues Muse


Rock Routes


In other part of the world please check your local Amazon!


Thank you for looking and please leave a review if you enjoyed the book!!