Insight: Soul Food the Love of Music
I first started playing the Guitar when I was 12 years of age in 1970, and that's when we had our first practice band. Members then were Steve Gandy, Greg Taylor, Jane Taylor and myself. We met up about once a month making a noise, as New Wave and Punk was emerging. But for me, after learning a few riffs like hound dog (Elvis Presley) , I got into Rock and Roll, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly, with The Beatles firmly at the forefront. I got myself a Semi Acoustic Electric Epiphone like John Lennon and I started writing songs pretty much straight away, and by 1973, the Band had evolved into a real one, with additional new members; Dave Cousins and Carole Smith, and we called ourselves Orion Express in the UK. We were good, I moved over to a Bass, using a John Birch custom
replica and we played; Doobie Brothers and Elton John. We done our First Gig at Walkers Casino, along the Seafront at Southend On Sea, Essex in 1973. I can't remember the date exactly, it was so long ago. At the same time with the Band I was really into my fishing, and music followed me there. Our Chairman of our local fishing club was a Bass Player Jack Ray, in the Al Roy Trio, and he would often talk of times gone by at Ronnie Scotts in London, and Peter Green use to fish with me as a mate on the lower deck of Southend Pier
Fishing for Mullet. Pete use to stay at his Nan's in Leigh On Sea in the Summer. And on the Pier, when we found fishing bad, and the Sun was at full throttle, we use to put the rods out on the Old Pier Head, look at the talent, also writing lyrics and songs, using the Jolly Fisherman's pubs notepads. I was growing away from the Band, having sessions with other musicians, like life long School Mate Michael White, a former member of the Thompson Twins, and started travelling up to London to hone my music skills, sessions with Pete and others, including; Ginger. The Band soon packed up that year, as most of the Band Members had Educational Plans and Ambitions at University. I was into the London scene well and truly by then, especially over at Maida Vale as a Vocalist and Guitarist. I got the name Aggie back in 1968 as a nickname by Jill Steele, a girl at school, who became a life long friend. A nickname that stuck to me at School, in Fishing, and in my Music life with friends. Reaching the ages of 16 and 17 in 1974 and 1975 and with the nickname of Aggie, as a Vocalist and Guitarist I was good. Still today I can hold my own with the very best, and I mean the very best. None of my vocals were or are ever doctored on my music, they have always been, True Sound Studio Live Recordings. It was then back in the day on those hot Summer Days on the Old Pier Head where I wrote "The Mariner, Down on the Pier, and The Night Watchman" to mention just three songs from the 1970's. On those glorious days and hot evenings as the Sun set and watching the tide going down
on the Old Pier Head, it was a perfect tranquil environment for becoming inspired and writing great songs. I am convinced it was probably on one of those memorable occasions, Pete wrote Albatross.
I got introduced to an Agent and Manager in the Music industry when in London. He was interested in signing me for my Vocals and Guitar skills. But once he found out I was a writer, he wanted to claim a deal and some form of copyright ownership in the deal. I remembered hearing about some of the Soul Guys in the States losing ownership of music, protection money when gigging, the list went on. I heard even Aretha Franklin would never perform a gig until she was paid first. Even some Bands in the UK were working for nothing and being ripped off, losing their music ownership, copyright. And so I declined the deal with this Guy, and he then soon changed, threatening my life, it got really bad, and I had to leave London, really buggering me up for a while, and causing me to loose interest in the music and the industry.
I joined the Army for a while, it gave me a wage and a roof over my head, when I came out, things had settled down in London, and the Guy that gave me all the grief, apparently so I heard, got 12 years for attempted murder. I set up a business and moved to Golders Green for a while, where I use to see George in the Old Bull and Bush, and we use to talk music. It was on one of those occasions he shared with me one of his greatest concerns, saying that eventually he feared music would not be artist based in the future, but
manufactured, churned out for commercial reasons, and these were the sentiments shared by Crosby. I finally moved over to South London, Blackheath in fact, and became a Sunday visitor to the Royal Standard Pub. And around the corner where I got my hair cut, Jools Holland lived in the flat above. Music again was following me in my life!
It was at the turn of the 1980's, around 1982 when I began to seriously think about music again, especially with the launch of the new Channel 4 Station and the new Music Show The Tube Hosted by Paula Yates and Jools Holland back in 1982, and the first Programme aired on the 5th of November. Around this time in the mix with Rock, Contemporary Pop, Punk, and New Wave, we began to see the emergence of New Romantics. And so in the music industry, and with the aid of new Independent Record Labels arriving at this time, like Rough Trade Records. It looked from the outside looking in, more opportunities appeared to be emerging and being created in the industry. However, like so often, the belief of things looking up, was a pretty big myth. For the same old bad habits existed surrounding money and crooks in the industry just milking the system. And on top of this, we were all witnesses and victims of the Thatcher carnage inflicted on the British People, caused from her reckless policies, one being the Poll Tax later on!
Being a child of the 1960's growing up, and hearing the back end of Rock and Roll from the 1950's, and the Cosmic shift and
emergence of The Beatles in the 1960's. And then coasting through enjoying the 1970's, where you could walk out of one job, and into another on the same day. By contrast and in comparison, the 1980's was hell, and again by fate regrettably today, we have lost one of our industry's greats and architects of New Wave who wrote about the crap going on, and that was Terry Hall (RIP 1959 to 2022) from the Specials. With songs like "Ghost Town" in 1981, painting a pretty accurate picture to the misery for folk in Britain, and what they were going through. And the Music industry was no different, for life it'self was a total and utter mess. Pretty much like today, with the Cost of Living, and Businesses trying to survive after the Corona Virus Pandemic.
I was mulling over at that time about getting back into the music industry proper again, but fortunately as fate had it, and clearly not my time. For I had made arrangements to go down to my Folks in East Sussex for Christmas, and over the Holiday, I truly met the love of my life at a New Years Eve Party, down at the Local Pub. She was dressed up as an Old Grannie ironically, but we got talking and the conversation flowed, be it very nervously by both of us. And so I was distracted, and saved from the music industry at that time of chaos in the early 1980's. I did carry on writing through the decades when a moment of inspiration came. I would jot the song, or lyrics down in notebooks I kept.
Currently updating these new web pages, please return again soon. Thank you! Date Last Modified: 20th December 2022
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