A Customers Story by Richard Antill
I first went to Dobells looking for Rock ‘n’ Roll records in 1959 however fruitless that was. I moved to London in 1963 to work at Cadby Hall in Hammersmith then on to Hotels in the West end. My father was a fashion photographer and Jazz Fan whilst with him we visited Dobells basement and I was introduced to John Kendall with when I had an immediate rapport and gained his respect for the type of material I wanted to own.
I soon returned to the shop on a regular basis before or after work (shifts in Hotels ) Nearly every day, we became good pals drinking and having the same passionsand enjoying the same music. I couldn’t help meeting all the staff and Doug Dobell and was soon on the first name terms with all. Ray Bolden (Blues Shop) Brain Peerless (Jazz Shop) Don Solash (Jazz shop Dougs son in law) Bill Colyer (Jazz Shop/ mail order) Geroge Tyler ( Jazz Shop) all using Dobells as their social base which shimmied from the shop to the Two Brewers ( Monmouth Street) and the Cottage Club ( Key Club for drinkers). There was a regular clientele of British musicians who would be around the shop networking and enjoying the latest releases.
A list of those who would socialize and be a major part of the Dobells Scene.
Colin Porbrook pno,Keith Ingham pno,Keith Cristie Tmb,Brian Lemmon pno,Phil Seaman Dms Dave green Bs,Alan Littlejohn Tpt,Dill Jones Pno,Alex Welsh tpt,Roy Crimmons Tmb, Lennie Hastings Dms
American visitors with whom we enjoyed the company of at Dobells the Two brewers and the Cottage Club.
Stuff Smith Vln Henry Red Allen Tpt Coleman Hawkins Ts Ben Webster Ts Roy Eldridge Tpt Earle Warrens As Bud Freeman Ts Peanuts Hucko Cl Ralph Sutton Pno Nat Pierce Pno Bill Coleman Tpt Ray Nance tpt/Vl Harry Sweets Edison Tpt Buck Clayton Tpt Ed Hubble Tmb Wild Bill Davison Cnt Pee Wee Russel CL Pepper Adams Sax Zoot Simms TS Don Ewell Pno Paul Gonsalves Ts Jimmy Hamilton Cl Bud Johnson Ts Oliver Jackson Dms Jake Hanna Dms Haywood Henry Sax Eddie Jones Bs Buddy Tate Ts Booty Wood Tmb Lockjaw Davis Ts Sir Charles Thompson Pno Gus Johnson Dms Cat Anderson Tpt Ruby Braff Cnt
By no means a definitive list but people I remember being involved with – what a history of first and second generation players and the greatest exponents of Jazz that there will ever be with direct links back to the orginal Basie, Ellington, Henderson bands and more. The other people who regulary arrived at Dobells were the Jazz critic’s and authors who hoped to catch up with their hero’s and find out who was on that particular ‘78’ release on Regal Zonophone etc etc..
Sinclair Trail ( Mag editor) Albert McCarthy ( critic/Discogrpher) Max Jones (writer) Jim Godbolt ( Author) Jack Armitage (writer) Tinmie Rosenfranz (Author)
John Chilton ( Musican/ Author) Sam Charters ( Blues Buff)
In ’72 Doug arranged a trip for 10 jazzers to go to New York for the Newport in New York festival what a week of Jazz, we also visited Sam Goodys where we met up with John and Rays contempories in New York Harry Lim and Jeff Atterton ... The stories from New York could fill a book!
By 1972 I had my own business in south of England , but every Monda,.my day off I travelled to town to catch up with Doug/John/Ray/Bilko etc. and remained close friends till they one by one passed on John hopelessly overtaken by alcohol, I saw him in the last week of his life lying in a fetal position caring for nothing.How I cried I miss him so much his humor, knowledge and friendliness, Ray succumbed to cancer, I spoke to him on the phone only days before the end. Doug went out in style at the Nice Jazz Festival and Bilko lived the longest finishing his days at an old person's home where his pal Dave Forbes another Dobells man was his carer .They all made a huge contribution to my life and I never pass Charing Cross Road with a wry smile and nod to such wonderful memories.
To Sum It Up For Me
I wouldn’t of had the friendships of a dozen plus pals with the same interests in Jazz who turned me on to the likes of George Orwell-Buster Keaton-WC Fields-PG Woodehouse-Jack Kerouac and just a multitude of music Ellington, Herman, Basie, Henderson, Morton, Armstrong,Holiday most of these only names to me when I left school. So my whole education and love of music all stems from the days of helping out at Dobells and mingling with he Dobells Alumni.
Thanks Doug for everything that still surrounds my life!
Reissue of Gwigwi Mrwebi which was on the 77 label
Records On The Bag
1. The Greats Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Cal Tjader 2. The West Coast Jazz Of-Gerry Mulligan 3. With The Keating Sound - Shake Keane 4. Western Reunion- New Jazz Orchestra