29 November 2009

Second Hand Record Dip Part 44 - Neville Dickie - For Me and My Gal

Neville Dickie Red Domino

Who: Neville Dickie
What: For Me and My Gal (b/w Happy Days)
Where: Music and Video Exchange, Camden High Street, London
When: 1971
Label: Red Domino
Cost: 50p

(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.


Anonymous said...

DITCHBURN BLACK DOMINO, Domino Recording and Domino Denmark and Red Domino RECORD LABLE
I was interested in your post but now I will put you right on your opinion. The real story.
In 1958 Ditchburn of Dock Road Lytham in Lancashire now a distributor and no longer a manufacturer of juke boxes. But a manufacturer of Vending Machines and BGM amongst other things started to manufacture under licence from the Symphonair Company in America a back ground music system. We were given two tapes of about two hours long to duplicate for the machines, this of course was not a large enough catalogue for the English market so we opened up a recording studio in London and to avoid paying copyright for music, Ditchburn opened the studio to session musicians and they were paid a fee for their services, we recorded hundreds of tracks and most were out of copyright these were put on to NAB cassettes playing for about 2 Hours at 1-7/8 ips to provide back ground music for the machines copy write was not an issue nor were performing rights as the music was fully in the public domain and the library of tapes numbered about 500 in different genres of music.
We also recorded music from a variety of bands for various record labels and quite a lot of freelance groups to make demo records just to keep the costs down and the studio going.
At the time you could not operate a recording studio without a record label so the name of the label was chosen as Domino, this was also the name of the works social club which was called THE DOMINO CLUB so technically the club owned the record labels. You say it lasted 2 years and PYE told them to go away well that is not true. The record labels lasted twelve years (12 years) from its inception to the studio being closed down in January 1970 and the tape duplicating services being moved to Dock Road Lytham. The last record to be issued in 1971 was the black and white minstrels on RD 103 the label was sold to MAM on the acquisition of the Ditchburn Organisation in September 1972. Music and Management had a fair catalogue of acts on their books and as we know spanned the world making releases in every country not bad for a company that started in 1970 and went through to 1983
Our first releases were in Denmark of all places and licensed the lable to Danrecord over a period of three years we released 67 recordings from 1960 to 1963 and one in Germany. We also released three under the Red Domino label in 1971 and 16 under the parent domino label oh and one under the Domino recording label from 1964
None of these were foisted on the renters of jukeboxes but if they wanted one, they could have one and some did. I can not differentiate any difference between the Black (original) and the Red label they were both the same to me. So the record label was simply just a means to an end, no more, no less. In all we produced 15,750,000 records over 12 years most of which were licensed from other vendors.
Arthur Phillips
Head Audio Engineer 1969-1973 and chairman of the Domino Club 1967-1973

23 Daves said...

Thanks for all that information, Arthur, it's cleared up a long standing mystery for me!

I know a few other people online who will be interested in knowing this as well, so I'll point them in this directon.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks David for the rply. I am at the present time writing as complete a hystory as I can about Ditchburns but there are not many of us left that know the history of the company.

A Collector said...

The tracks by Neville Dickie on the red Domino label were lifted from Neville's "Introducing.." LP on the MajorMinor label from around the same time.