Sunday, 13 July 2014

Martin Fuggles

My latest guest to be washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea is the legendary Ricky Tick DJ, Martin Fuggles.

In May 1962 Martin Fuggles cut his DJ teeth at The Carlton Ballroom, Slough when Lou Preagar, dance band leader and the owner, asked him to take on the second half of the ‘Sunday Marathon’ as the afternoon DJ, Phil Jay, had another commitment in Hounslow in the evenings. Then in April 1965 he took a significant pay cut (from £3 to £1 a night!) to make the prestigious move to the Ricky Tick.

From its early beginnings in a dark and smoky back room at the Star and Garter in Windsor (where a then unknown band called the Rolling Stones played many times in late 1962 and 1963), the Ricky Tick became an iconic part of the rhythm & blues and mod scene in the mid-60s. 

In April 1964 the club moved to Clewer Mead, the ‘jewel in the crown’ - a big, rambling mansion by the river on the outskirts of Windsor. It was renowned for its unique d├ęcor – black walls with large white faces in outline – and was one of the places to go, drawing audiences from many miles away. It even had its own boutique known as the Boutick!

All the top British rhythm and blues acts appeared at the Ricky Tick including (in no particular order) Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, The Yardbirds, Graham Bond, The Stormsville Shakers, Brian Auger, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, Moody Blues, Ronnie Jones and the Nightimers, Manfred Mann, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Zoot Money, Herbie Goins, Downliners Sect, Chris Farlowe, Jimmy James and The Vagabonds, Spencer Davies, The Animals, The Action, Alan Price, Shotgun Express, Amboy Dukes and The Who.

Many American guests also appeared including Stevie Wonder, Ben E King, Rufus Thomas, Lee Dorsey, Arthur Alexander, Lou Johnson, Solomon Burke, Patti LaBelle and her Belles, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Larry Williams with Johnny Guitar Watson, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Inez and Charlie Foxx, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, Little Walter, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Jimmy Reed, Howling Wolf, Roy C, Prince Buster – and even the Rock n Roll legends, Bill Haley and his Comets and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Martin mainly played at the Ricky Tick ‘HQ’ at Clewer Mead then at The Thames Hotel but he also appeared at other Ricky Tick venues in the Home Counties. Martin retired in July 1967 when the Ricky Tick closed and his records were left to gather dust.

After meeting Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson a couple of years earlier to provide some input to his excellent book, "Mods: The New Religion" which was published recently, Martin finally gave in to Paul’s persistence and powers of persuasion and agreed to make a guest appearance at a Ricky Tick Special Club Rude! on February 17th 2011. After a couple of records Martin felt like he’d gone back in time... although the idea of cueing in records was an alien concept! 

Having got a taste for it again, he now gets behind the turntables whenever he can playing the very same records that he played back in the 60s at the Ricky Tick. He can be heard at various Old Soul and Motown Nights and Ricky Tick revival events.

The Crickets - That'll Be The Day

“In the 4th and 5th year at senior school (years 10 and 11 in new money, I think) I sat next to John Eyre in Geography. This was quite an honour and privilege as John was one of the ‘In crowd’ that nearly everyone else looked up to while I was the youngest in the year. One day he sat there tapping the desk and ‘singing’ That’ll be the Day. I went out and bought the record on the strength of that! So began my adulation of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. 

Interestingly Buddy’s name did not appear on the label of the record although Peggy Sue in his name was out at the same time. John and I went to see them at the Kilburn Gaumont State on March 2nd 1958. Still the best concert I’ve ever been to although recent Impressions gigs have run it very close.”

The Impressions - It's Alright

“To me this record is the epitome of the Ricky Tick. Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions at their very best although there were a lot of other great records by them that I used to play and I’ve Been Trying runs it very close. 

A year or so before I came out of retirement, Smiler had persuaded me to go along to a Club Rude! night to meet Brian Lovegrove who used to go to the Ricky Tick back in the day. Brian started to tell me about the records that I had in effect introduced him to and this was the first one he mentioned. It just had to be the first record I played when I started again on that fateful day and I now nearly always open one of my sets with it.”

Major Lance - Sweet Music

“I often used to play Major Lance’s Um Um Um Um Um Um (no British covers for me!) at the Ricky Tick. One evening a guy called Ray Isaacs (although everyone knew him as George) asked me to play the other side. I loved it from the first hearing and still do. 

I still haven’t worked out what some of the words are! Does it matter? No, of course it doesn’t. It’s just a great track. Sweet music indeed!”

Ace Spectrum - Don't Send Nobody Else

“Since I retired in 1967 a lot seems to have happened in the music scene including something called Northern Soul. As part of my voyage of discovery of what happened since,  Brian and I went on a Soul Cruise with our other halves last year.

Apart from a few early Motown tracks I didn’t recognise most of the tunes that were played although I was very surprised to hear Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham and the Pharohs and Out of Time by Chris Farlowe. Ricky Tick tracks certainly but Northern Soul? They certainly got a reaction on the dance floor. 

There was one other track that I heard 2 or 3 times that caught my attention – this one. It took a bit of detective work to find out what it was then I had to resort to eBay to get a copy from the States... the only record I bought last year, but I’m glad I did!”

Beth Neilsen Chapman - All I Have

“And now for something completely different! 

For several years during the late 90's and early 00's I used to have a 40+ mile drive to work. I often used to listen to Terry Wogan in the mornings mainly to hear what interesting names he and his correspondents could come up with. He and his producer, Paulie Walters would occasionally play an interesting record and then I heard this one. 

Such a melodic song and meaningful lyrics. More country than anything else but for me there’s something soulful in her voice. I’ve since seen Beth in concert several times and never been disappointed. 

A perfect song to close your eyes and listen to on a deserted island!”


You will be wanting to experience the sounds of the Ricky Tick - on vinyl - for yourself, won't you ?

So check out Martin's site for the dates of his Soul & Motown Nights and Ricky Tick Revivals with a click on the banner below :

You can also hear Martin guesting on Peter Sinacola's excellent Night Train Show on Soulstice Radio : 

Why not join Martin with Peter Sinacola and Paul Anderson at the Night Train Road Show : 

Now read all about Martin, the Ricky Tick, the music and the faces in Paul Anderson's classic mod bible...  'Mods : The New Religion'

Available now at Amazon, Waterstones and all good booksellers.