VINYL JUNKIE: Joe Lawrance Part II, My Boy Lollipop

As a record collector it’s always a pleasure to meet like minded people. We can chat about rare records, records we want, label art anything really that has to do with our love of old vinyl. There are certain collectors though that have taken their love of collecting to an extreme. They’ve been collecting for 30 years or more and go to great lengths to get the records they desire. It’s like a drug to get a new piece of vinyl and drop it onto the player to hear those sweet grooves whistle with those classic sounds.

So in this second feature on another of these special people we highlight a true vinyl junkie! He was kind enough to sit down and give us a huge history about his years collecting and his passion for all things Reggae!

Read: Part I

I lived with my grandparents for over 5 years until the Spring of 1964 and about the time we were moving, while I can distinctly remember hearing Millie’s MY BOY LOLLIPOP enough times on the radio, I don’t remember what the current Beatles, Cliff Richard, Searchers or whoever current hits were.

After we moved, my sister found herself a Saturday job (at John White, the shoe shop) and most of her pay went on records – she started to buy a couple of singles a week and occasionally more.

I envied her for this and I don’t know how it came about or who bought it for me, but when my birthday came along in that June, I got an EMI record token!

Chuck BerryHurrah! Within a few days, I’d gone to the record bar at the front of our local cinema, the Granada in Greenford and bought Chuck Berry’s NO PARTICULAR PLACE TO GO and the Shadows’ RISE AND FALL OF FLINGEL BUNT, both current UK chart tunes.

By this time, MY BOY LOLLIOP was out of my immediate consciousness – so many new tunes on the radio – and I never got hold of this song until almost 40 years later, when I was given Trojan’s YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK CD for my birthday in 2003!

I wasn’t quite hooked and although I’d buy the occasional record over the next 3 or 4 years, none of them were Jamaican – these tunes were rarely heard on the radio and not available in my local record shops anyway.

The Beach Boys I Get AroundSometimes my sister and I would go halves on singles (the Beach Boys’ I GET AROUND and the Yardbirds’ FOR YOUR LOVE are two I remember – and still have).

The records I’d buy (with birthday, Christmas or pocket money) would often be because I’d heard it on one of the pirate radio stations that big sister would tune in to or a group of us would listen to while lazing around the local park surrounded by transistor radios. We’d be tuned in to Radio Caroline or Radio London most of the time.

But the pirate stations stopped soon after BBC Radio 1 started in 1967 and while there was certainly enough Pop music played on the airwaves, to which I would listen avidly, even then I still wanted something different, though didn’t really know what.

Also, by that time, Radio 1 was “plagued” with having to play an equal amount of live music to satisfy the musicians union – I wasn’t keen on live music back then, as live versions of hits never sounded quite the same or as good as “the record” and that sense of disappointment remains with me to this day – out of over 3,000 albums, I doubt I have many more than 20 live ones.

So it was good old Radio “Luck-Lucky” Luxembourg (208 meters in the medium wave) where I could hear the songs sounding as they were recorded and often, tunes that wouldn’t get played on Radio 1.

It was to be when I started a job delivering booze after school for a local off-licence in 1968 that I really got into buying – I think the main reason was to build confidence with the girls – if I had records to play at the teenage parties that we sometimes had, that would give me some cachet with the girls.

It did, but my general teenage nervousness almost always won the day, but only almost!

COMING NEXT: His First Reggae Record

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.