My Music

Eleanor McEvoy

Tim Finn

Sarah McLachlan

Sammy Hagar

Shawn Colvin

I enjoy listening to music. My tastes are quite eclectic.

As a teenager I listened to a lot of 70's rock / AOR, such as Deep Purple, Free, Bad Company, Hall and Oates, Heart, Nils Lofgren,Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers etc, and always had a liking for "Country rock" music such as Eagles and Linda Ronstadt.

Today I still listen to the same sort of music, regularly delving into the back
catalogue of Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Bowie etc. and newer bands who have
that 70's feel like Nickelback

Whilst "Country rock" has now become "Alt Country" or "Americana",
it is in this area where alot of my current interest lies.

There's artists from years ago like The Eagles who keep on going.
Allthough I didn't listen to his earlier stuff Johnny Cash has released some
great albums in the "American" series produced by Rick Rubin. The final
album "American VI - Aint No Grave" was released in February 2010, nine
years after his death

 More recently, there's Tift Merrit, Lucinda Williams,
Patty Griffin, Kathleen Edwards, Jewel, Rosanne Cash, Shelby Lynne, Allison Moorer and Sugarland.
Its not just about females though - there are also some good country guys
out there notably Brad Paisley and Keith Urban.

Big at the moment is Chris Stapleton, who has released four albums to date,
"Traveller", "From A Room Vol.1", "From A Room Vol.2" and in November 2020 "Starting Over"
Room A is the studio at RCA Nashville where numerous country stars have recorded over the last 50 years.

From a Room Vol.1 was the CMA 2017 album of the year and Stapleton also picked up the Male Vocalist of the year award too.

They must have blown the budget when recording "Starting Over"....
As you can see from the image below, the cover is plain white with handwritten "title" and "by".
The booklet is all set in a typewriter font, with just a small black and white photo of Chris, his wife, Morgane, and a dog who I assume is Maggie, subject of the track "Maggie's song"


Another favourite is the wonderful Texan Jarrod Dickenson.
His "Ready The Horses" album should have been released in March 2017 but has been put back to September 29th after he signed a deal with Decca Records.
I first saw him in Birmingham a few years ago supporting Tift Merrit, and have been a fan ever since.

Well at last the album is out ... and I have THREE different versions of it !
  1. Promo CD on Hooked Records. Release date March 10th 2016, which is a misprint as it should read 2017
  2. Promo CD on DECCA Records. Release date September 29 2017
  3. Official release on DECCA. Brought and signed at Jarrods gig Wednesday 4th October at the Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Ready The Horses

The latest offering from Jarrod is his 5 track EP "Under A Texas Sky" - A celebration of the many stars from the lone star state. It features songs written by Roy Orbison, Ester Phillips, Willie Nelson, Doug Sham and Guy Clark.


Here's Jarrod And Me, taken after the gig Friday 8th February, at the Cuban Embassy Birmingham. I am 5 foot 7inches tall. JD is over 6 foot !


Within the My Music pages there are five sub pages dedicated to some of my favourites, click on the links to the left to find out more.

Nils Ticket Nils Lofgren ticket from 1976. 1.50 well spent.
A year later Nils was back in the UK, on the "I Came To Dance" tour, this time playing at the larger Birmingham Odeon, on New Street, and I had a front row ticket.

The price had gone up but well worth the extra as on this occasion the support act were up and comming new boys
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Patty Griffin

Her album 1000 Kisses was excellent.
The follow up "Impossible Dream" was even better.
Its one of those that after a few listens you're not sure about, then you find that it's never out of the
 CD player. The UK release includes three bonus tracks, recorded live with Emmylou Harris
 that are not on the US version.

February 2007 and it's deja vu !!
Patty's next album "Children Running Through" - and I went through exactly the same scenario as before.
On the first few listens I was not impressed, and at one stage I took it out of the CD player to listen to something else. Mistake.... Stick with it and its a fantastic album.

Her latest album, the self titled "Patty Griffin" was released 8th March 2019.

Check out pattygriffin.net for the latest news etc.

Lucinda Williams Poster

On her recent tour Lucinda Williams played locally in Leamington Spa.

I managed to catch up with "Lu" backstage afterwards for a chat and she signed my gig poster and
"Little Honey"
album sleeve.

Little Honey CD

I have been collecting records since about 1970.
The first album I purchased was "With the Beatles" in 1963, but my collecting days really started 
with the purchase of the "School's Out" album by Alice Cooper.

In the good old days there were plenty of record shops in Coventry to get your vinyl fix.
Fennells,  Jill Hansons,  Paynes, Cranes, The Sound Centre  and The Forum Hi-Fi centre 
were the local ones, and not forgetting Hits And Misses Vintage Records. Dealing mainly in 
second hand albums and singles, they had two shops for a short time before closing the one in 
the City Centre (Corporation Street)  just leaving the original one in Far Gosford Street. Many a 
bargain was to be found here. 

As with every other City there were W H Smiths, Boots, Woolworths and record departments in the 
Co-op and Owen Owen. 
All these establishments were frequently visited.

Then in the '70s along came the original Virgin records in the City Arcade. I could be found in 
here a few lunch times during the week, listening to albums, and again on Friday lunchtimes spending a couple 
of quid from my weekly pay packet ! 

  Upstairs at Virgin, Pete Waterman, who at the time was virtually unknown outside of the 
Coventry area owned the "Soul Hole". 
As the name suggests they sold mainly soul music, although I do recall buying
Gary Wright's 
"Dream Weaver" single there.

Virgin eventually closed down and it was a number of years before they returned 
to Coventry with the "Megastore" format, before selling out to "Zavvi" in 2008, who eventually 
went into receivership and in early 2009, and the shop closed down. 

  The EMI record shop opened in Hertford Street, later to become HMV record shop. 
Then they opened another shop in The Precinct, then relocated both shops into one larger 
shop not far from the original shop in Hertford Street. 
Ironically they have recently relocated again, into the premises previously occupied by 
Virgin Megastore and Zavvi !

We have also had Our Price, Revolver, Way Ahead Records, the much missed 
Spinadisc (who also had shops in Northampton and Rugby ), 
Soundhouse, Discovery, MVC and Borders. 

Not far away In Kenilworth there was Discotrak, tucked away in the corner of Talisman Square.
They also had a place in Warwick.
Whilst I was working at our offices alongside the NEC at Birmingham, I would jump in the car at lunchtime and drive to Discotrak in  Kenilworth or Discovery in Solihull to browse through the days new releases.

spinadisc Fennell's Bag

All have now ceased to trade and all we are left with is a solitary HMV shop. 
In January 2013 HMV themselves went into liquidation, a victim of the online resellers and downloaders. 
They have been rescued by Hilco, the same company who  took control of HMV Canada in 2011. 
Unfortunately many stores in the UK have been closed. 
The Coventry store survives but Leamington Spa will be closed.

Unfortunately, on 28th December 2018 HMV went into administration for the second time in 6 years.
Offers have been made and KPMG are evaluating them.
Hopefully, after trading for 97 years HMV is not about to disapear from the high street.
Some good new broke on Tuesday 5th Februray 2019, when it was announced that a Canadian record store chain, Sunrise Records,
had aquired HMV retail. Interestingly, when HMV Canada went into receivership in 2017, it was rescued by Sunrise records also.
Sunrise will contine the HMV and Fopp brands, and put more emphasis on Vinyl, but there was some bad news. 23 HMV, and 4 Fopp locations would be
closed immediately, one of them being the companies iconic HMV Oxford Street London Store.

For live music we had a choice of venues.

The Coventry Theatre, which had been hosting live music for many years. Alot of bands came to
play there. Amongst those that I recall seeing were Deep Purple, Nazareth, Ian Dury and The Blockheads
and Elton John. I missed David Bowie, who played on a Sunday night in 1973.  I had my first CSE exam the following
morning, so being a conscientious 16 year old I stayed at home and revised. Looking back I hope I passed that exam !!

I should also mention that I trod the boards here many times when performing in the
Coventry Boy Scouts annual GangShow

At the time we also had the Lanchester Polytecnic, later to become Coventry University. This was a smaller
venue than the Coventry Theatre. I saw AC/DC with Bon Scott here and also Suzi Quattro. If there wasn't a
band on there would be a disco, no soul music but a selection of rock and progressive.

We also had a Tiffany's. More of a night club (It was a Locarno previously) they used to have live music
occasionally. Saw Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel and Be Bop Deluxe.

Another night club was Mr George. Cant remember them having alot of live stuff on, but one band who played
there were called SPOT. It was a bit of a low key gig, because the band concerned had made the headlines for all the
wrong  reasons, and venues were not eager to host their gigs.  Who were they ??
"Sex Pistols On Tour"


Although not based in Coventry city centre, we were fortunate to have 2 Fopp outlets locally.
One on the campus at Warwick University and one in Leamington Spa.
Fopp found it difficult to attract new money into the business, despite some of its shops being
profitable, the inevitable happened and all stores closed down. Opening the flagship store in
London's Tottenham Court Road was one of the reasons cited, and another was their
purchase of some of the Music Zone stores, a chain which itself had gone into liquidation
only a matter of months before.

for their no nonsense pricing policy with many CD starting at 5, Fopp was a great  
place to pick up those 70's and 80's reissues, together with DVD's and books.

Some good news however, is that HMV has saved six Fopp branches and 70 jobs. 
The stores will continue to trade under the Fopp name, independently of HMV. 
Their old premises in Leamington Spa has recently been moved in to by a new retailer, "Head". 
Their policy is following the same as Fopp's,  although they seem to be doing more DVD's and less CD's.  
In 2011 they moved into smaller premises, carrying even less CD stock. 
They do continue to do a range of back catalogue CD's at great prices.


The early 80s saw the advent of Record Fairs, and the magazine "The record collector" was born out of  
"The Beatles Monthly", both giving a new method of buying records and memoribillia.

I had been trying to track down a copy of the Split Enz single  "Another Great Divide"  
(green Chrysalis label)  for many years without  success,  and remember the feeling of delight when thumbing
 through the boxes of 7" singles at Coventry Record fair I came across two copies next to each other it in mint condition.

Nowadays you just tap your requirements into a search engine or more likely into eBay and w
ithin five minutes
you've  found what you want AND paid for it. Yes, the internet is a great thing but you just don't get the same feeling when
you finally locate and hold in your hand that  disc that's been evading you for years !

After over forty years of collecting, I now have in excess of 1700 albums and 1700 singles and am running 
out of space to keep them all. 
Sales of vinyl slowed down and then the same happened to CD's, with downloading becoming the most popular way of purchasing music, 
i'm glad to say I still buy CD's. 
 I have been forced into the ocassional download where the item I want has been deleted or is only available by downloading.
In the last couple of years vinyl has become fashionable again, with most new releases being available in both vinyl and CD format. 

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This page was last updated

28 November 2020

A S Mackness 2020