Friday, November 20, 2009
Mal's Madeleine Moment
It really is proving quite refreshing to listen to some dirtily muddy recordings, 1964 vintage, by The Downliners Sect, ex the live EP 'Nite in Gt. Newport Street', now included amongst the bonus tracks on a re-issue of their first album 'The Sect'.
The sound really was quite muddy, when listening to them in the low-ceilinged basement 'Studio 51' (aka Ken Colyer's Jazz Club). Back in those days I used to go and listen to the New Orleans style jazz at the same venue. Nostalgia just ain't what it used to be. In those days I had the stamina and enthusiasm to haunt various venues purveying R&B, modern jazz, trad et al. The handiest venue, five minutes walk from my then residence, was 'Klooks Kleek' at 'The Railway' in West Hampstead where the not infrequent highlight was The Graham Bond Organization - Bond (organ), Dick Heckstall-Smith (sax), Jack Bruce (bass), Ginger Baker (drums). I have special memories of an occasion when Phil Seaman - a modern jazz drummer, one of Ginger Baker's influences I suspect - turned up. At other times, Long John Baldry's Hoochie-Coochie Men were the guests, apart from Baldry a young Rod Stewart also provided vocals. Rod's version of 'Stormy Monday' was quite simply sensational.
At other times I'd venture down to the 'Flamingo' to hear, on different occasions, Georgie Fame's Blue Flames, Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds. Whenever I wasn't engaged in my political and social-activism I just had to be out somewhere; I didn't like my own company much in those days and, despite having friends scattered around various parts of North London, I had never in my life experienced such loneliness as I did after my move from the sticks to The Smoke.
Suddenly, all this stuff comes pouring out just from listening to a few CD tracks. I wouldn't want to change anything in my life, highs or lows; life is just too precious to have time for regrets.
When I think back, it's quite amazing how puritanical the various left-wing political sects, with whom I was affiliated, were; in fact it's surprising that my disagreements were generally on points of dogma rather than my somewhat beat lifestyle!