Sunday, 1 May 2011

3 seconds that changed the face of popular music.

I'm crocked again so I might as well post about the non-walking stuff to stop the blog rusting-up.
This is a little number that I referred to in my very first post, and it is regularly requested by many of you for your gran's birthday etc.

Way back in the mid-sixties I had become enamoured of a particular form of The Devil.s Music.Unlike  the communication overkill we have today, the only way to hear this stuff was to go to London.
Sooo, initially in my final year at school and latterly while at university I would set off on a Friday afternoon and hitch "down the road". The old A1, with all the roundabouts, was my preferred route and you could do Central Belt to London easily overnight. I can only remember once being stuck in something called Northamptonshire for about 12 hours. .On arrival in the metropolis, I would sleep during the day (parks in summer/ stations in winter) and then head down to Soho on the Saturday evening for the allnighter at The Marquee in Wardour Street or Les Cousins in Greek Street. They tended to throw you out around 4.30 and then it was along to Oxford Circus to wait for the first tube out to Mill Hill and the hitch back up the road, hopefully in time to do the English ink-exercise due for Monday morning.I would do this on average maybe once every six weeks or so, sometimes with a mate, sometimes with a "burd", but mainly on my own - single hitch-hiker travels faster !

The allnighters at Cousins worked like this. Andy would pay a headliner (say Bert Jansch) to keep the punters happy for about 6 hours. The artist would do a couple of sets himself, but relied on a lot of his mates coming down after they had finished their own gigs for the evening. There was also usually a chance for anyone in the audience to do a number.I remember one night about 2am when Mike Chapman (nice bloke/good musician/not the most charismatic performer) was doing Postcards from Scarborough the door opened and ,in a flurry of rain-soaked sheepskin and ethnic percussion, the oriental caravan that was The Incredible String Band cascaded down the stairs.

Anyway. Where was I ? Was I really ? I will get to the point in my own sweet time, thank you.

OK. Jimmy ( bass) and I had identified a particular Alexis Korner allnighter as our vehicle to stardom. We had it all worked out. We would let the usual suspects get up do their thing, and then as last up we would blow everyone away with a rendition of Freddy King's The Stumble. Alexis was obviously very well connected, and a recording contract would be in the bag. So eventually AK says "right any one else ?". We clenched buttocks, looked at each other and went to stand up.
But Shock! Horror!. Two slightly younger and relatively clean-cut lads had already reached the stage and were setting up. And - aw naw - they did The Stumble. Now this is a bit of a test piece ,a sort of blues Fur Elise. It's not to difficult to play badly, but to get the dynamics right, well that's different. And this guy was brilliant. Brought the house down. Afterwards Alexis asked his name and he replied "Michael Taylor".
Now the way Jimmy used to tell the story, he said "Michael Taylor, sir" but I don't remember that.
Then AK says " anyone else ? was there someone over there ?"  We didn't have to look at each other. There was no way we could follow that.
And the rest, as Simon Schama would say, is history. Within weeks young Michael was a Bluesbreaker, and within months he was a Rolling Stone. And it should have been me.!!
Well. maybe not.
Anyhow, there as they say, you have it. OK the conclusion is a bit of a tease, but the facts, as far as I can remember are correct.

To follow
How I discovered a cure for cancer, but lost the bit of paper with the formula
How my offer of the Nobel Peace Prize was lost in the post
The truth about Dusty and I.


  1. So...does this mean that, but for a cruel quirk of fate, the Stones could have been famous for things like "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep", "Shudduppayourface" and other such rock classics?

    Bad news on the crocked'll have to take up geocaching

  2. I always felt they missed a trick by not including Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs on Let it Bleed. I mean, who remembers Gimme Shelter these days ?
    And as for geocaching - well I've always preferred an Ann Summers Party to a Tupperware Party.