Vinyl Junkie: Dave Sandford AKA Oldwah Part II

More memories of a life collecting Reggae with Dave Sandford where he finds his love of collecting again, new mates, and the power of the web to connect people around the world. READ PART I HERE.

So now we are in 1974, all my reggae gone, and I’m playing bass in a band.

We won’t bother with what comes next, but jump to my 40th Birthday. My brother takes me up to London and buys me a couple of Reggae CDs from Tower Records. Instantly I remember with such vivid memories the sounds, the artists, what bloody clothes I used to wear as a young Skinhead.

I start buying CDs of the Reggae variety, but something is missing, where are all those corking tunes I used to know? Anyway, my Mrs. drags me to a boot fair, I didn’t even want to go! I’m mooching around bored, while she’s buying knic knacks, when on a patch of ground where there are old lawnmowers, spanners etc, resting up against a box is a single 45 with a red label, I recognise it from over 20 yards away as being New Beat! Sure enough its “Mr Popcorn”. I purchase it for 5p.

Oh no, watch out, I have the taste back. The single touch of that vinyl, the stroking of the label, the memories associated with it, like Hillview Youth Club on a Saturday night, me decked out in full skinhead gear, all the girls with feather cuts and tonic skirts. I start making enquiries as to where to buy these tunes again, and come in for a massive shock! I’m not the only one in the world, like I thought I was that liked this stuff.

I find Michael de Koningh, and start buying from his mail order list. I also find the dreaded ebay and come in for such a shock on my first ever bid on a tune! I’m all happy with a minute to go bidding on Musically Red by Winston Wright with a winning bid of £11, only to realise that it all happens in the last 30 seconds, and the bugger jumps to £85.

Phew I think to myself, this is gonna be very expensive getting back my original collection! But it doesn’t put me off, I continue to use ebay and pay ridiculous prices for tunes that I want back. In the meantime, I’m bootfairing every Sunday morning scouring for old reggae. I won’t say that it just falls at your feet, and most weeks return home with ziltch. But over the years I have found some beautiful stuff and for just pennies, which to my mind counteracts the higher prices paid on ebay.

One day I have a brainwave, my youngest son has this forum thingy, pertaining to some card collecting game. I ask him if it would be possible for him to set me up a forum for reggae? He says its easy and created me one. It sits unused, while I create some sections, like General Discussion, Labels etc. I decide to call it the PAMA Forum, totally focusing on the Pama label and all the subsidiaries. Well, there already was the mighty Trojan Forum in operation!

In discussions with Michael de Koningh, he tells all his connections that a new forum is coming, and a few other people I know do the same. So the PAMA Forum goes live!!!!!! It soon picks up, and I’m well proud of it. Then I decide to make it more open, not just for PAMA but for all aspects of Reggae, from Ska to Roots. To cut a long story short, it now has a wealth of members from the world of Reggae, label owners, reggae sellers, reggae musicians, reggae promoters, reggae authors, discographers etc. Plus loads of people that just love the music.

Already being a digital artworker, I have ideas to make it look better using graphics etc, but the world of hosting images, HTML etc is a totally different world for me. But with perseverance, I eventually get it to look how I want it.

Springing off from the Pama forum, a member needed to identify a song title. At the time I could not make an mp3, but had the idea to hook up a webcam and record the tune spinning on the turntable, the sound would be low quality as it would be recorded through the air. But would still be helpful in identification. I then uploaded it to YouTube, and pasted the link on the forum. Job done, tune identified. You can guess what happened next? I decided to record a few more little tunes to share and see what happened. Well it just happened, it was quite successful and like-minded people replied in the comments section. Soon after, I upped my game and used direct sound for recording which was a great improvement. Then it just escalated until there were over a 1000 little tunes spinning on the deck.

New contacts were made from all over the world, and more and more people started to record their tunes and upload them. More than likely if you want to hear a tune, you can find it on YouTube!!!! However, for the last year, due to finances, I haven’t bought many tunes, but instead have been making mash ups of old tunes and putting a new spin on them, excuse the pun, using Logic Pro, plus putting little videos together to accompany the new mixes.

Armed with all these videos, not just from me, but from other people, its now very easy to have the actual video on the PAMA forum thread for ID purposes. So my vision of a Reggae forum that not only contains words from the wise, also has numerous images, videos and audio. Job done! From a musicians point of view, the power of the web has also made possible the creation of some original music. I have made a couple of tunes with YaBass, creating a 1969 reggae sound on a couple of tunes, like the Waltza and Crombie Rock, which of course, can both be found on YouTube!!!

So there you have it a little history and Reggae antics from a true collector and fan of the music. This cat lives and breathes vinyl and for that he’s a true vinyl Junkie! The first of many we’ll talk to in our quest for the drug we all crave.

Check out his Youtube channel here. He also runs the Pama Forum which you can check out here.

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.