I have just been thinking about the impact that music has had on my life and any significant events.
I really don’t remember much influence from or enjoyment of music up to the time that I was about 12 when I went to live with my Mum in Llantwit Major, South Wales. What I remember here is that I had a record player and bought some singles and albums ( which I think I have somewhere ). They were a bit of a mix and these are just an example of what I remember: Cream, Jethro Tull, Warhorse, The Beatles ( Sgt. Peppers and the Double White ) and The Foundations ( Build me up Buttercup ).
Between the ages of 12 and 16 there were a few influences: Listening to the radio at work and home – an example of one song I remember ?? ” Rock you Baby – George McCrae. Going to the Youth Club in Llantwit Major Secondary Modern school – quite a lot of rock and and a girl friend of the time remembers me liking Santana – Black Magic Woman. The local pubs – for a while I was ( sort of ) a ” Skinhead ” ( more of a ” Mod ” really ” – so Reggae and Ska. e.g. Desmond Dekker- The Israelites. The Surf Life Saving Club – of course it had to be The Beach Boys !! Later on The Red Dragon Club at R.A.F. St Athan – they played everything there but there was a lot of ” Soul ” and ” Motown “. I do remember being an avid listener to the ” Top 20 ” on Radio 1 aswell.
I guess it was at ” The Dragon ” that I learned to dance ” A bit like a guy from the Caribbean !! ” There were a lot of Jamaican descended guys in the R.A.F. and I guess I picked up some of their dance moves !!
When I was 16 or so I moved to Birmingham to live with my Dad. I didn’t know anyone of my age there so I took to going into Birmingham mostly on my own. When I think about my time in Llantwit Major I realise why it was that I ended up going to some clubs in Birmingham City centre ( The Rum Runner, The Opposite Lock ) and then some in the Jamaican dominated areas ( The Elbow Room and other Erdington nightclubs ). I also went to ” Liberty’s ” and other clubs and pubs on Broad Street, Hagley Road and elsewhere in Birmingham.
My Dad played the guitar and my Uncle Les ( Dad’s brother ) played it very well. Les lived on an old sailing boat ( search on Les Windley here for more on that ) and played in pubs and clubs all around the world. He played folk, jazz and sea shanties.
I don’t think that I had much to listen to at my Dad’s ( and I lived next door with an old lady for a while ). I could probably listen to the radio at work but I was going to get most of my ” music fix ” in Birmingham.
When you look at the bands and musicians that attended these clubs – e.g. Black Sabbath, Roy Wood, Duran Duran – Roxy Music and David Bowie Nights. 10cc and Kate Bush. You get a sense of the mix of music that I was exposed to – there were also ” American Music ” nights.
I then left Birmingham and joined the Royal Navy – so I went to clubs in Portsmouth, Plymouth, Edinburgh and everywhere around the world including the U.S. East Coast, the Caribbean and the Australian West and South coast. Also of course the Mediterranean – Greece, Turkey and North Africa. Obviously we also sang ” sea shanties ” in the Navy aswell. There is a singer and guitar player called Shep Woolley whose songs we used to sing a lot. As I sailed yachts we often sang these songs in the evenings when on board and having a few drinks. Here’s a favourite Shep song ” The Montague Whaler “.
I also raced yacht’s around the world and when racing from Australia to the U.K. we listened to the same tapes over and over again. The one I most remember was Rod Stewarts’s ” Atlantic Crossing ” L.P.
When I think of this I realise that even though I did not own radio’s, tape cassette’s or even a car with a radio ( for most of the time ) I was exposed to music of all different types.
When I put all this together I realise that I have a very broad range of influences and I carry a lot of music with me. Maybe this is why I don’t feel the need to have music ” on tap ” but love it when I decide to listen to it and have a natural ” feel ” for it.