VINYL JUNKIE: Joe Lawrance Part IV, More Reggae Goodness

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 | Part II | Part III

During the rest of 1969 and after I’d left school and started work, I picked up a few Reggae singles, mostly the chart tunes, LIQUIDATOR (Harry J.), RETURN OF DJANGO (Upsetter), LONG SHOT KICK THE BUCKET (Trojan), WONDERFUL WORLD BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (Trojan), SWEET SENSATION (Trojan), but sometimes I’d find and buy something different in one of the local record shops, either having heard it on Radio Luxembourg (among a few others, Pat Kelly’s HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? on Gas) or just seeing something interesting in the shop – The Hippy Boys’ REGGAE PRESSURE on High Note and Ken Parker’s version of MY WHOLE WORLD IS FALLING DOWN on Bamboo being just two examples.


Having left school in the July and started work soon after, I had a few extra quid to spend. Enough went on records and I’d buy a few bits of clobber here and there as well.

Smart was the order of the day and though I found Ben Sherman shirts a bit expensive, I bought a couple, plus Brutus shirts, various Levi’s Staprest and Brutus Everprest strides, a couple of tonic suits, a Prince of Wales check suit, a Harrington jacket and some brogues.

Doctor Martin’s boots never interested me – blimey, if I wanted to go out in a hurry, I’d have had no chance with all that lacing up to do – I didn’t particularly care for Levi’s jeans either.

And as for sporting a crop – I was threatened with being thrown out by my stepfather if I ever came home with any sort of crop. Ironically these days, my regular haircut is a “half-inch crop”.

This is Desmond DekkerAnyway, by the time Reggae really took off in late 1969, I was already hooked on buying vinyl and many were the “waste of money” remarks from my Mother and especially my stepfather.

I’d also bought my first three Reggae albums in the Summer of 1969 (Tighten Up Vol. 1, Desmond Dekker’s “This Is…” and Prince Buster’s “Fabulous Greatest Hits”) and had started playing a few records at the occasional teenage parties I went to.

In late 1969, I also started to go to the local night spot (the Oldfield Tavern). I can’t believe I looked 18 and probably didn’t, but while a few youths and girls would get turned away, I never did.

I went to the Oldfield Tavern fairly regularly for about 18 months until Spring 1971 and on the nights I went, this place was a hotbed of mostly Soul, but also a good amount Reggae – standard Pop music hardly ever got a look in. We’d eye up the talent (but rarely talked to any) and do our blokes “line dance” to tunes like LIQUIDATOR, VAMPIRE and especially MAN FROM CAROLINA, a big favourite – generally grooving along to the popular tunes of the day. However, the beer there was dreadful (Truman’s) and many were the mornings after I’d wake up feeling a bit “gritty”.

COMING NEXT: Summertime Blues

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.