Image Brian Nevill
Dave Arthur Carey was born in Coulsdon, Surrey on November 8th 1914. His father was a pianist. Dave took up drums at an early age and by the early 1930s was leading his own band in the Croydon area, developing an interest in jazz through records.
Shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939, Dave opened a musical instrument shop in Streatham. He was called up for service in the R.A.F. stationed at Uxbidge and Northolt and began playing drums with several small groups. When the war was over, he returned to civilian life and in 1946 opened "The Swing Shop" in Streatham, selling musical instruments, accessories and records. The records side of the business soon became predominant and was linked with a mail order facility, which he ran from home with his wife, Joan. On the playing side, Dave continued to work with dance bands, but was able to get an increasing number of jazz gigs. He played and recorded with Ellington cornet star, Rex Stewart in 1947. Dave took over on drums with Graeme Bell''s Australian Jazz Band in 1948 and later in the year joined Humphrey Lyttelton, with whom he stayed for a year, which included recording with the band. Dave was also an accomplished vibes player, but didn''t use them with his own band. His other alternative instrument was the washboard - a spirited performer on this homely device. In 1954 bassist Eric Starr and I were asked by singer, Neva Raphaello, along with other musicians, to join a band she was forming to accompany her. We rehearsed but it was obvious that we were going to get nowhere with the drummer, who was Neva''s choice. We parted company, but most of the guys felt that we should stick together. I knew Dave Carey well and, seeking a drummer, I was deputed to ask Dave whether he would like to front the band and play. To our delight he agreed. It really was an ideal choice: Dave was a very experienced drummer, an excellent time keeper, with a solid beat, who didn''t indulge in exhibitionist drumnastics. Futhermore, he was well known in the music business, highly respected, a good businessman and a stable personality. His playing reflect has own musical interest, classic jazz and swing. He wasn''t an admirer of the Baby Dodds school of New Orleans drumming, nor; for that matter, Be-Bop. He was essentially a swing style player,in the Gene Krupa, Cozy Cole, George Wettling vein. - Pat Hawes
I used to live near Streatham in the 60s and I used to visit Dave Carey’s “Swing Shop” every weekend as regular as clockwork to buy the latest imported Blues records. I must admit that, "at the time", I had no idea (and probably no interest) in who Dave Carey was. I was probably not even aware that it was his shop. Anyway, I shall be eternally grateful for the “Swing Shop” and their contribution to the spread of the “gospel” of good Blues, and I am still, at the age of 63, an avid Blues fan. I knew both Dave and Jo-Ann Kelly well. I often went to Dave’s house in Streatham, and he also introduced me to a lot of exciting music. I wonder where he is now. I played Blues harp on occasion with Jo-Ann at Bunjies folk club off Charing Cross Roead, and was devastated by the news of her early tragic death. Those were the days, my friend! Sorry I can’t give you more info about Dave Carey himself, but I hope this is of a little interest. All the best! John Ryder ... Kyoto Japan
I wonder if you have much data on Dave Carey who had a very small record shop opposite St.Leonards Church in Streatham SW16-----this would be my regular haunt on a Saturday morning back in early 50s and was still going when I got back from army service and spent my savings on a selection which I still have and just recently put onto 4 CDs--can now play in my car. Dave also did some dubbing and he did Waffle Mans Call by Johnny Beyersdorfer for me--I think it cost 4/6p.
As the Trumpet player in The Dave Carey Jazz Band, I got to know and like Dave, he was an excellent drummer,and it was a great pleasure to be in the band.I have been trying to trace any members that are still around,it seems that Tony Milliner(trombone) and myself seem to be the only ones (both in our 80's) I still play daily, but have switched to Flugelhorn and Trombone. Regards John.
I spent a lot of time and money at the swing shop. The person I remember influencing me the most was Len (Tempan?) He introduced to Rollins, Coltrane, Mingus etc. Thanks Len.
(Dec 18, 2013) Anonymous said:It's wonderful to discover that this seminal record shop has been remembered in this way. As a Streatham teenager hungry for modern jazz, visiting The Swing Shop was a weekly pleasure and a necessary way of listening and catching up on what was happening in the the 60s, a remarkably rich period for the music. Thinking back, it's peculiar that such a place ever existed in Streatham at the time, smug and decidedly respectable as it was then. The shop was truly miniscule and Dave Carey was certainly a tolerant man realising that many of the young enthusiasts who crammed in to listen seldom spent much money. But we did learn a lot. God bless you Dave, wherever you are!
(Dec 16, 2013) Barry P Beckett said:Nearby Battersea Grammar School was where I met Steve Rye two year above me, shortly after I had started playing harmonica, age 14, my idols being Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter. I heard what sounded like a record coming from the music room, Sonny Terry I thought. I walked in to find Steve jamming away with another boy belting out a blues piece. I never spoke to him about The Swing Shop, but of course, he later played with Jo Ann Kelly. Sadly left us early from losing discipline with booze. He was an amazing harp player at 16. His technique baffled me. Bless him.
Barry P Beckett
I was a boy at Battersea Grammar School, nearby the Swing Shop. Tony Cohen and I would bunk off school, around 62/63 and go to The Swing Shop at lunchtime. He was amazing. He would lend us records to take home and play, bring back in a day or two "unmarked". He really wanted us to be Jazz fans, Tony played drums, fan of Tony Williams and Joe Morello. I played blues harmonica, fan of Sonny Boy, Forest City Joe etc. It was a treasure cave.....
(Dec 16, 2013) Anonymous said:Forgot my name on the previous piece on Battersea Grammar boys, I'm Barry P Beckett( not to be confused...)
(Dec 16, 2013) Anonymous said:I went to the local school in Streatham, Batterses Grammar school, just a short walk from THE SWING SHOP. In 1961, aged 13, my pal Tony Cohen (an accomplished jazz drummer then) and I would escape school lunch break and foot it to the Swing SHop where we were indulged and given records to listen to. Here's the amazing thing. The govner, I guess Dave Carey gave us records to borrow, take home and bring back another day. No cost. I heard my first Sonny Boy Wlliamson album, bought a harmonica and never stopped to this day. Tony and I are still pals. Same tastes, we send each other music and videos. All credit to The Swing Shop.
(May 28, 2013) Gareth Harris said:I lived in Streatham until I was about 20 years old and frequently visited The Swing Shop.
I discovered jazz and the blues through listening to my best friend’s brother’s record collection. Steve Rye and I became good friends circa 12 years old; he lived at the top of my road, I at the bottom. We discovered Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and the Rev Gary Davis; Steve was inspired to learn the mouthorgan and later recorded with The Groundhogs, Jo Ann Kelly and others. [See published obituaries of Steve Rye on line].
I discovered Thelonious Monk , an admiration that continues to today.
In late ’63, I started work for WH Smiths in Streatham; the store was some 500 yards from The Swing Shop in Mitcham Lane so I would often visit in my lunch hour or on days off. My then boss, Trevor Timmers, introduced me to more jazz.
Sometime, I think around ‘64/’65, the Riverside label went into liquidation in the UK – it was being marketed by Phillips Records I seem to remember. The Swing Shop acquired many of the deleted records – they sold second hand records as well as new – and I spent my salary building my jazz library, especially all of those Monk albums.
I spent many hours at the Swing Shop; I remember Len [?] , the delightful Bob Glass [see Ray’s Record Shop] as well as meeting Jo Ann Kelly and her brother, Dave Kelly [of The Blues Band],’ amongst others. I often speak of my ‘misspent youth’ at the Swing Shop!
In my later career [see also Treble Clef Records / Sound Store], working for RCA/BMG Records, I signed The Blues Band and issued their new album and some back catalogue.
I still regularly buy Jazz cd's, sadly on line, and have to discover new talent, often from reviews or simple good luck.
The Swing Shop was more than a record shop; like some of the other iconic stores, such as Dobell’s and Ray’s , it was a meeting place for those of a like mind who could share and discuss their love of jazz, blues and music.
(Sept 8, 2012) Pete Batten said:I visited the Swing Shop quite a few times in the 1970s. It was always a pleasure to chat with Dave, although my tastes in jazz were much wider than his, - which led to some disagreements. I remember one difference of opinion about the World's Greatest Jazz Band. Dave thought that Gus Johnson was not the right drummer for the band. I thought that Gus was one of the very finest jazz drummers, so any band would be glad to have him. Later, in the 1980s I met Yank Lawson several times and he confirmed my opinion - that they were delighted to have Gus in the band. I did once get to play a gig with Dave, then playing vibes, and admired his excellent performance. Such a nice man. He sold me some LPs which I still treasure.
(August 25, 20150 I remember talking to Dave about a certain pianists ability to play amazingly fast, "I can piss further than anybody, but it's not champagne for all that" was his answer. Royston Heath.
( November 29, 2015) Great to see the swing shop remembered,I used to visit there and do bells Charing Cross road,my first introduction to buying rare blues import albums in late 1960's/early 1970's,some of which I still have in my collection. Comment: Richard Clayton.
David Lewis' I knew Tony Cohen well. I also knew Jo Ann slightly from parties around the area and I bought Giant Steps and had my odd size snare drum lapped in the Swing Shop'. (June 11, 2016)
Name Tony Ford Comment: Did Dave Carey press one-off acetate pressings as special orders for customers as I seem to own an example with an accompanying letter typed and signed by the man himself.. (June 7,2017)
Was thinking about the shop just today and how me and a mate made trip from north london after seeing avert in i think melody maker bluesrecords were a real find in late 50s early 60s before blues took off dobells, colletts and good old dave carey think there was more excitement in those days when coming across tampa red or big maceo all to easy nowadays !
Name Del Dettmar Comment: 1963, I heard about the swing shop and started my jazz collection a great place . (April 15, 3017).
Had a 10" album of Pat Hawes (pianist) With Dave Carey's Rhythm from the late 1950's,sold it along with all my vinyl but down loaded it first.
it was always one of my favorite's
the photo of the Swing Shop (alongside the 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl' piece was taken by me some time in the 1970s - I used to come down on the overnight train from Edinburgh a couple of times a year and 'do' the London record shops, finishing off with a trip to Streatham to the Swing Shop - 'tube then bus to Mitcham Lane' - spent a few bob over the years on mail orders......always friendly first class service. I once asked Dave why he gave up drums - he said, and I quote - 'I didn't like the way the British drum scene was going.... I took the above pic of the Swing Shop sometime in the mid-late 1970s.......I used to come down from Edinburgh a couple of times a year to 'do' the London shops......Dave Carey was a lovely man, I bought a lot of LPs from him by mail order
How lovely to come across this page... Yes, Dave and the Swing Shop featured well in my teens when I started getting interested in jazz of all sorts... And he did make me a bootleg 10" LP, not jazz as such, but the banned Tom Lehrer in the late 50s
I am one half of Dave and Joan's twins.
Yes, Dave did have a dubbing machine by which he could use a blank to copy from an original.
The process used a needle to cut the grooves. This generated a huge amount of swarf and dust, but it did mean that not only were rare recordings made available to collectors but in some cases saved for posterity.
Best wishes, Keith Carey 02/04/20
Swing shop kept me in plectrums and single strings for years. Only place to get them then (1961- 67). Alas, a glimpse of a Big Joe Turner LP in the window, caused me to vandalise my Hofner Congress guitar into a 9 string. Shame...
We lived in Wimbledon when I started going to the Swing Shop in the very early sixties.62? I used to take our baby son there in a big pram and would even take it into the shop. Dave Carey was always so lovely and even though the shop was small he knew exactly where the records were. My husband and I would travel by train. They were always golden days. If it were possible I would go back there in a heartbeat. Thank you Swing Shop and dear Dave Carey your are very sadly missed even after all these years. Margaret Birch xxx
Delightful discovery while checking spellings for Dave Carey's Swing Shop at Streatham Vale. Many a Saturday I went there with my father, Les Hunt (1912–1995). He was a clarinettist (Albert system), alto sax and piano-accordionist who served out the Second World War as an R.A.F. bandsman, bandleader and arranger. He had been stationed at R.A.F. Uxbridge like Mr Carey. On one posting my father did a session with the Squadronaires. One time he mentioned Cliff Townshend, The Who's Pete Townshend's dad was on the session. My father spent a long period stationed in the Shetlands. I touched on it writing the obituary of the Shetland guitarist 'Peerie' Willie Johnson (1920–2007) in The Guardian.
I visited the shop in person on just one occasion, must have been late 1970s. Dave was so helpful and informative and helped me make some purchases which I have treasured ever since. The shop itself was extraordinary. You could hardly move inside for huge piles of LPs all over. But Carey had the best filing system yet invented, viz. one person who knew where everything was.
I first went into the Swing Shop in August 1958, looking for anything by Charlie Parker, not on an English label. I had seen Dave's adverts on the inside backpage of Jazz Journal, and thought I would give his shop a try for anything out of the ordinary. He sold me a 10-inch Guilde du Jazz, with stuff from Dial.
The shop was only open three days a week-Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Dave was there on the first two, and Bert Bradfield on Saturday. Bert moved to Paris in, I think, 1960, and opened a jazz record shop of his own in the suburbs. I visited it in that year. He also started a reissue programme on French RCA, called "Treasury of Jazz". These made many recordings available again, before they were in Britain or the USA.
Back to the Swing Shop. I found records there that weren't reviewed in UK magazines, and hadn't been aware of their existence. I remember record producer-to-be Michael Brooks helped out in the shop. I remember Len--I've also forgotten his surname and Bob Glass. I seem to recall him going into stage management. A regular there was Lionel Hampton collector Mike Doyle. Mike always seemed to know what was going on in the reissue business. If you pointed out an issue to him, he would already know about it! Sadly, he died in 1994 from a rather unpleasant illness. Both he and Bob Glass would later be found working in Ray's Records in Shaftesbury Avenue.
I didn't visit the shop regularly--it was a bit of a trek from north London, but I was there the day Dave closed down in 1980, and may have been the one to help him sell his last record. Someone asked if he had anything by Harry Roy, and I said there was one on MFP in a pile of the side of the counter.
Dave was something of a raconteur, some of tales being unrepeatable! He was not one to suffer fools gladly.
Photogrpah Phil Wight
Barry P Beckett
I was a boy at Battersea Grammar School, nearby the Swing Shop. Tony Cohen and I would bunk off school, around 62/63 and go to The Swing Shop at lunchtime. He was amazing. He would lend us records to take home and play, bring back in a day or two "unmarked". He really wanted us to be Jazz fans, Tony played drums, fan of Tony Williams and Joe Morello. I played blues harmonica, fan of Sonny Boy, Forest City Joe etc. It was a treasure cave..
1955 Jazz Journal From John Jack
Bill Carey Looks At The London Jazz Disc Jazz Scene. Image Mick Brocking
Jazz Journal Reocrd Poll 1974