Thursday, 29 January 2015

Jim Donovan

It is my great pleasure to present Jim Donovan as my latest guest castaway to be washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea.
Jim could be categorised as a DJ, a collector, a dealer, but he is much more than simply the sum of these parts... so I have included this excellent video, produced by Rafael Gough, to provide a better insight.

JIM from Rafael Gough on Vimeo.

"It's been a long road, and there's no turning back". 
"In it for life"
"These are two of my favourite quotations, which have kept me at continuously vinyl collecting since 1959, and DJ'ing since 1962. It also does not look quite so bad if I say that I have bought 3 records every day for the last 56 years rather than type a figure.
My roots were in modern jazz, morphing into the 60's club scene, 70's Mobile Disco's. I sold out in the 80's/90's, DJ'ing at weddings, parties etc., with 'Top 40', but continued to collect the music, (jazz, funk and soul) that I loved. 
When vinyl virtually vanished in the late 1990's, I packed in the mobile, and 'fell into' bar/club culture... going back to playing the music I loved at nights like Smiler's (Paul Anderson) 'Club Rude' and my own very diverse evenings. For very many years, even back in the 60's, I recorded my sets and the current ones turn up on Mixcloud (Jim B. Donovan). The playlists for these are also on my shop website (Just Imagination Memorabilia).
I am sure that everyone that contributes to this lovely page start by expressing disbelief that they cannot choose just 5 tunes. I have had a little experience, however, especially having been involved in a night called Melodies and Memories, whereby I 'managed" to distill my 60's faves down to 40 tunes!
My selections, therefore, attempt to cover the areas of music I most love, and focus on tunes that I keep going back to."

Charlie Christian - Swing To Bop (1941)

"This one was recorded on a primitive tape recorder at Mintons Club. When I first started collecting this influenced me in many ways. It of course is one of the earliest examples of 'Modern Jazz', and, whilst I would have liked to select some Bird or Miles or Dizzy, this has to be the one. 
However it had a further influence on me as I was well into tape recorders in the early 60's, recording from the radio. When I started DJ'ing in the mod clubs I often took the tape recorder with me to record the bands. Some of these recordings are now having another life. Without this tune and an early recording in 1941 on a portable recorder, it possibly would not have inspired me to do the same 25 years later."
John Coltrane - Greensleeves (1961)

"Having 'caught up' with bebop from the 40's and 50's in the early 60's, I just had to 'get contemporary'... and this was the first Coltrane I bought on the Africa Brass LP. 
It was the beginning with a life long admiration for the man, and more so because of his soprano saxophone playing, which soon lead me to guys like Don Rendell. 
This is a traditional English folk song which should seem out of place on a 'way out' American jazz record, but it works, and is still on my funeral music list! "
Sonny Boy Williamson - Help Me

"This classic manages to crossover with another all time great Booker T’s Green Onions as it uses the same riff. 
In the early 60’s, Rhythm and Blues was taking over from the trad boom, and what few beatniks were left, were going with it. We were starting to hear British covers of blues tunes, but Pye and John Schroeder (bless him) were putting out the real thing. 

The reason this tune is more iconic than most is that in September 1963, it was the first tune played by Roger Eagle at the opening night of the Twisted Wheel... and we all know what that lead to! Roger's first session was also only 4 days after Georgie Fame recorded his 'Live at the Flamingo' LP : The album that kickstarted British club culture and one of my fave LP’s 

Apologies for not picking any Motown, Stax, Stateside, Sue etc.  It's a tough call only picking five and trying to cover fifty-five years of collecting."
Frank Zappa - Peaches en Regalia

"When Frank got 'Jazz', you knew it. I just loved this mans whole lifestyle. 
Also on this tune is Shuggy Otis, who was recorded by Al Kooper... the one man I wish I could have been (apart from Gilles Peterson!)"
Robert Glasper Experiment - Afro Blue (featuring Erykah Badu)

"This one has to sum up all the music that this list excludes like Ska, Disco, Prog, Drum and Bass, and especially Hip Hop. Also for me it is 'modern'... which is pretty exceptional. 
However, thanks to my son and the younger guys who I DJ with and who come to my nights, sample culture, and turntabalism generally still fascinates me.

This tune is evocative of the Afroba that I used to play at and Blue Notes longevity. This also brings us up to date, especially as there are all sorts of current things happening in the shop : A feature film, 'Love Me 'til Monday' (with a brief appearance by myself) just out on DVD and my contribution to the TV show 'Toyhunter', plus guesting at one of Craig Charles's gigs... 15 minutes of fame, used up and very late in life !"

Jim DJ's at a number of venues in and around Reading, so check out his facebook page to find out where and when he playing :  Jim Donovan on Facebook
In the meantime, here's a little taster...