Posted February 09 2017
We’ve all heard so much about the magical swinging 60’s. The music and fashion of the time is still seen and heard to this day. In the second part of our series, “The Life of a Record Dealer”, we get the low down on what it was like to live through this historic decade from Mick Reynolds of Memory Lane Records.
What was it like growing up in the 60’s?
It was a great era to grow up in, but being a skinhead, we had a bit of a bad rep. A lot of my mates were mods, so we had all the Brighton and Southend-on-Sea clashes. There was so much rivalry between different groups. We use to go to football matches and the speedway where there would be fights all the time. It was pretty horrendous, but it was part of the scene and if you didn’t get involved you were left feeling very lonely.
Tell us more about the different cliques and groups?
There were lots of cliques around at the time. You had the mods, the skinheads, the teds, the greasers and the leather jacket guys who were into their motorbikes. You also had The Beatles fans at school wearing the hipster trousers. Top of the Pops and Ready Steady Go were big back then. Everyone would see who they liked on there and base themselves on the artists they were into. Then you had the hippies. They were fascinated that someone like me, a skinhead, could listen to the same music as they were in the clubs.
Mick in his favourite 60's attire.
What clubs did you use to go to?
I used to like going to the blues-y type clubs. I went to see early Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, Edgar Broughton and all the kind of prog bands. They use to play in Romford and Ilford at the time. Places like Ilford Palace, Surrey Rooms at the Oval, The Croydon Suite and The Tottenham Royal. But the clubs back then use to mostly shut by 11pm, not like nowadays. I was into the northern soul dancing too. But that didn’t take off properly until the early 70’s.
Who would you say were the most iconic artists of the 60’s?
BB King was a blues icon! You also had the rock’n’roll icons like Billy Fury and of course Jimi Hendrix. Then there was Led Zeppelin. You would put a Led Zeppelin record on, and it’s like wow! It was like an explosion. Cream were quite an iconic band. They had a big following. Disraeli Gears was an iconic album that was absolutely fabulous. Fresh Cream was before that and had some great psychedelic tracks. Genesis had started in 1969, but it wasn’t until 1972-1973 period that their records started being picked up. But for me, Jimi Hendrix was a true icon. I was very much into my blues and soul music, and so was my mate Pete. I remember going to the Q Club in Paddington. Pete was a member so we use to go there to listen to soul records and practice our dancing. One Saturday afternoon while we were in there, this guy walks in and just starts playing his guitar on stage. I went up to the barman and asked who was playing on stage. He said that he had just come off the plane from the states and it was Jimi Hendrix. Apparently, he had a gig later that day and wanted to warm up. He’d been practicing for about 10-15 minutes when another guy walked in and got playing with him. We then realised the other guy was BB King. They did a little jam, copying each other for about half hour to 45mins. Hendrix would do something, and then BB King would do exactly the same. We were allowed to sit there watching this. I was only a guest as I wasn’t a member, so to see that and be part of that is something I will never forget.
Were you collecting records at the time, or did that come later?
In the late 60’s, when I was working around Liverpool Street Station, I would find loads of old reggae 45’s in the backstreet shops. I would put cards up in shop windows looking for any old records. Also any house clearance shops I would check out for any music. I use to take my records to house parties and play them. A bit like being a DJ, but there wasn’t any mixing. That came in the late 70’s. I was just getting into selling records too. I remember selling a low numbered White Album by The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request to a shop in Carnaby Street for 10 bob each. These days, The Beatles album goes for about £1500 and The Rolling Stones one goes for about £3000. That’s the biggest regret I’ve ever had around dealing records.
How do you feel about the music of the 60s being re-issued in recent years?
So much of the music is in the charts and being reissued and so it should it be. Generations are coming along listening to this and it’s like wow! Even though it was recorded in the late 50’s or 60’s, its driving the groups of today. That’s what music is all about. Always in the roots of different cultures.
Micks better half, Kay Reynolds.
The fashion scene in the 60’s is almost and memorable as the music. What were your memories of it?
When your part of a clique, it lives with you and the clothes you wear. I had my original Ben Sherman shirts. They were quite dear back then and I had about 6 of them. And there were the Brutus short sleeve shirts. I still have some of the stuff I use to wear, but the waistline is not what it used to be. It was a bit like being in the army when your part of a clique like the skinheads. You have to dress a certain way. There were the scruffy scenes were people just didn’t care about being part of a clique, but if you were part of a clique it would cost you money with all the fashion.
Thanks Mick. That’s all for this part of the series. Next up we find out what the 70’s had in store for our up-and-coming record dealer.