And More...

What mattered, as I discovered, was the ability to track down something that nobody else had. If you could only afford to buy a couple of singles a week, and the odd album here and there, it was important to buy the right ones.

Some of the right ones were obvious.  You couldn’t go wrong with Cream or Hendrix, but they were obvious, and there were others. 

Some time in 1967 the Vanilla Fudge, in full-psychotic meltdown rearrangement mode with You Keep Me Hanging On had a coolness quotient of several thousand, and the Blue Cheer version of Summertime Blues may well have been proto-heavy metal sludge by the world’s loudest (allegedly) band, but it carried considerable cachet in Year Eleven circles at Pimlico High.

So where some people would be quite happy to follow the dictates of fashion and the charts, I tended to head away from the stuff I could hear on the radio. After all, when you’re working from a limited budget you don’t need to have a copy of the latest #1 smash hit. You can hear it over the airwaves, and your friends and acquaintances will own copies.

Better to shell out for that copy of Sam & Dave’s Soul Man, or the Small Faces’ Tin Soldier, which worked well as Mickey’s big hand nudged towards midnight and the school dance surged into full pre-shutdown orgiastic frenzy.

As the stores found they had unwanted copies of things that had failed to attract chart action there were bargains to be had in the cut price bins provided you knew what you were looking at.

That, of course, was where extensive perusal of overseas music magazines came in handy. At a time when you can obtain almost anything from almost anywhere almost immediately (absolutely immediately if it’s downloadable) the time frames that operated in the sixties and early seventies are almost staggering.


B© Ian Hughes 2012