My Darling Clementine

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Michael: Growing up in the sleepy, northern seaside town of Southport, musical adventures had to be sought a little further afield. Thankfully Liverpool was only 40 minutes away and Manchester an hour, so all my teenage years were spent in either of those great cities (and in late 1970's they had the most vital music scenes anywhere in the world bar London and New York). Gigs at Eric's in Liverpool and a little later The International (both run by the great Roger Eagle  - without him the north west music scene would NOT have been the same),   as well as both Uni's, Liverpool's Royal Court and  Empire,  and Manchester ‘s Apollo, and the famed Hacienda still hold some of the most exciting musical moments of my life.

Dr.Feelgood, The Clash, numerous Costello gigs, The Jam, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, early Bunnymen and Teardrop gigs, The Pop Group, The Motels, New Order, Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Cocteau Twins, Wham (yes, I was one of about 6 lads at Whams gig in Liverpool on their debut tour - shuttlecocks and all!) , and then the Paisley Underground wave of Green on Red, The Rain Parade, Long Ryders and REM (I was at their first ever UK gig at The Gallery in Manchester, Peter Hook trod on my foot in his motor bike boots I recall)... and so many more.
Michael: Growing up in the sleepy, northern seaside town of Southport, musical adventures had to be sought a little further afield. Thankfully Liverpool was only 40 minutes away and Manchester an hour, so all my teenage years were spent in either of those great cities (and in late 1970’s they had the most vital music scenes anywhere in the world bar London and New York). Gigs at Eric’s in Liverpool and a little later The International (both run by the great Roger Eagle – without him the north west music scene would NOT have been the same), as well as both Uni’s, Liverpool’s Royal Court and Empire, and Manchester ‘s Apollo, and the famed Hacienda still hold some of the most exciting musical moments of my life. Dr.Feelgood, The Clash, numerous Costello gigs, The Jam, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, early Bunnymen and Teardrop gigs, The Pop Group, The Motels, New Order, Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Cocteau Twins, Wham (yes, I was one of about 6 lads at Whams gig in Liverpool on their debut tour – shuttlecocks and all!) , and then the Paisley Underground wave of Green on Red, The Rain Parade, Long Ryders and REM (I was at their first ever UK gig at The Gallery in Manchester, Peter Hook trod on my foot in his motor bike boots I recall)… and so many more.
Meanwhile back in sleepy old Southport (where Bernie Flint was our only home grown pop star and Marc Almond was still at Southport Tech) solace was to be found in Record Supermarket (“5 ex juke box singles for £1”) or, my personal favourite, Discount Discs, run by the dour and and nicotine stained “Keith” (no one knew his surname). Lunchtimes, after school afternoons and Saturday mornings would find me in there, scouring the racks and in particular the “newly arrived box”. Discount Discs was a second hand shop but he had a system whereby ‘new in’ were in one box, near the counter and when items did not sell after a week or so, they would be replaced by more “new in” and moved, along with rest of the stock, in an anti clockwise direction, being reduced in price as they went. Often it was a game of waiting a week or 2 hoping an album you wanted would not sell and then be reduced enough so you could buy it. I still have some gems from that shop. A signed copy of The Up Escalator by Graham Parker, still cherished, and quite sweetly ironic as The Rumour’s Martin Belmont now plays guitar with My Darling Clementine. I think about 1/10 of my vinyl collection is still made up of albums bought from Keith. My old school friend the writer Brian Viner talks in one of his books about teenage years in Southport, and going into Discount Discs with me, and not even being acknowledged, “where Mike always got nod, the occasional hello and shown what was new”. Maybe it was due to the amount of money I spent in there, or maybe he just saw a budding vinyl junkie in the making.
By my late teens and early 20’s Probe in Liverpool, Piccadilly Records in Manchester and Action in Preston became my shops of choice and I bought a number of albums in those places that affected my life forever. Most notably Almost Blue by Elvis Costello. The album the opened up the world of country music to me and showed what a great genre it was and not something to be dismissed and laughed at (which up until then I, along with millions of others, had been guilty off.  After hearing Almost Blue I sought out Gram Parsons and then George Jones, Merle Haggard and songwriters such as Harlan Howard, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. I also soon after that got into the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark and that set me off in another direction again. I owe the record stores of the N. West f England so much

Last Christmas I gave each of my (grown up) children an album on vinyl. I felt it was about time they understood what it means to own music rather than just carry it around on your phone. I bought them all someting by an artist they already liked but did not own anything by them on record. . So John Lennon Shaved Fish for my eldest, Transformer by Lou Reed for number 2 son, Born to Run by Bruce for number 3 son,  and For The Roses by Joni Mitchell for my 18 year old daughter. This year I got Johnny Cash live in Folsom Prison on vinyl - so something rubbed off.

I have been writing songs, making albums and working as a professional music for close on 30 years now.   My first band was called Fragile Friends and we released 2 singles (one on 7 inch, one on 12) in the early 80's (helped by the great Geoff Davies at Probe in Liverpool and distributed by The Cartel).  Since then I have released 15 albums and NONE have come out on vinyl. I have played on numerous songs and recordings that have, and my song Riding The Range was covered by the great Townes Van Zandt and came out in a gorgeous limited edition 7 inch single (see photo) but none of my own recordings, (i.e. with me singing) have done.............until now.

So Chris, I am thrilled that you have seen fit to release How Do You Plead? on Plane Groovy.  When we were making it, we always said "this is going to sound amazing on vinyl" ....well now people can hear for themselves.
By my late teens and early 20’s Probe in Liverpool, Piccadilly Records in Manchester and Action in Preston became my shops of choice and I bought a number of albums in those places that affected my life forever. Most notably Almost Blue by Elvis Costello. The album the opened up the world of country music to me and showed what a great genre it was and not something to be dismissed and laughed at (which up until then I, along with millions of others, had been guilty off. After hearing Almost Blue I sought out Gram Parsons and then George Jones, Merle Haggard and songwriters such as Harlan Howard, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. I also soon after that got into the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark and that set me off in another direction again. I owe the record stores of the N. West f England so much Last Christmas I gave each of my (grown up) children an album on vinyl. I felt it was about time they understood what it means to own music rather than just carry it around on your phone. I bought them all someting by an artist they already liked but did not own anything by them on record. . So John Lennon Shaved Fish for my eldest, Transformer by Lou Reed for number 2 son, Born to Run by Bruce for number 3 son, and For The Roses by Joni Mitchell for my 18 year old daughter. This year I got Johnny Cash live in Folsom Prison on vinyl – so something rubbed off. I have been writing songs, making albums and working as a professional music for close on 30 years now. My first band was called Fragile Friends and we released 2 singles (one on 7 inch, one on 12) in the early 80’s (helped by the great Geoff Davies at Probe in Liverpool and distributed by The Cartel). Since then I have released 15 albums and NONE have come out on vinyl. I have played on numerous songs and recordings that have, and my song Riding The Range was covered by the great Townes Van Zandt and came out in a gorgeous limited edition 7 inch single (see photo) but none of my own recordings, (i.e. with me singing) have done………….until now. So Chris, I am thrilled that you have seen fit to release How Do You Plead? on Plane Groovy. When we were making it, we always said “this is going to sound amazing on vinyl” ….well now people can hear for themselves.