Who: Neville Dickie
What: For Me and My Gal (b/w Happy Days)
Where: Music and Video Exchange, Camden High Street, London
Label: Red Domino
(Because obviously, just finding an album of cockney knees-up songs wouldn't do for one month...)
Some of you good readers will be familiar with the work of Neville Dickie. He's a British boogie-woogie and stride piano player, and has been active on the gig circuit with his particularly competent brand of Jools Holland-pleasing piano playing since the sixties.
It wasn't really Dickie's name which caught my eye on this issue as the record label, however. Domino Records in the seventies were not a successful independent issuing waxings by that decade's equivalent of Franz Ferdinand or the Arctic Monkeys (or even Clinic), but rather a very specialist business operation which chose to slip out records likely to be of interest to pub drinkers. Owned by the Ditchburn Organisation who manufactured juke boxes for the smokey taverns of yore, Domino therefore had a roster which included Shep's Banjo Boys, The Old Kent Roadsters and Michael John and His Drinking Partners. None were top sellers, and this is actually the only example of a Domino record I've stumbled across. It's on their mysterious "red" label which presumably carried a different calibre of tune from their common-or-garden black label, although without hearing the contrasting output of the two labels I'm not quite sure how.
Clearly the anticipated market for singles made especially for barflies was never really strong, as the label lasted a mere two years before presumably being written off as a bad idea - that or their distributors Pye Records simply told them to go away after a string of never-ending flops. Their back catalogue reveals a weird little label which could have existed at any time in the history of recorded music, quite honestly, but may have had more success back in the gramophone era.
As for Neville Dickie's effort, it's very much what you'd expect - if you're as clueless about his brand of music as I am, you might describe it as being a very minimalist Lieutenant Pigeon with no thumping beats and groaning vocals. It is not my place to judge whether this is good boogie-woogie or bad boogie-woogie, and I'll leave that for others to comment on.