Today, please welcome author Clive Richardson. His book, Soul Citizen – Tales & Travels from the Dawn of the Soul Era to the Internet Age, was released earlier this year.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Clive Richardson. I’m not sure how my musical tastes originated, as my father liked big-band music and my mother liked shows and musicals – in fact I have an early memory of being taken to see the original London stage production of ‘My Fair Lady’ starring Rex Harrison! I heard Lonnie Donegan records and became a skiffle fan, then in the early 1960s, when I started work at the age of 16, I was captivated by Motown music and found soul music. The rest is history – and is related in detail in my book!
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Bromley, then in the UK county of Kent and now part of South East London, on January 14, 1946. My family home was in the nearby village of Chislehurst, where I lived for the first 30 years of my life before buying my first property, a one-bedroom flat/apartment, moving to nearby Grove Park for 20 years. Then I met and married my wife Barbara in 1998, bought a small house, then moved a decade later to my present home in Mottingham, South East London, just a couple of miles from my birthplace.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing in 1964, in the era of ‘fan clubs’ for singers and groups, when I formed a fan club for US soul singer Don Covay following his hit records ‘Mercy Mercy’ and ‘See Saw’. I wrote and published a small fan club magazine, about eight pages, mainly record reviews and a small history of Don’s career, then hooked-up with a group of other guys who also published small magazines, and we got together to write and self-publish ‘Soul Music’ magazine in 1966. We changed the title to ‘Shout’ after some confusion about styles of ‘soul’ music, and I continued as contributing editor/publisher until 1974, when I moved on to freelancing with other magazines.
Please tell us about your current release.
My book is called Soul Citizen – Tales & Travels from the Dawn of the Soul Era to the Internet Age, and is available both from Amazon CreateSpace and from Lulu.com, also via Amazon. It is my ‘music autobiography’, relating my experiences in ‘discovering’ Rhythm & Blues and soul music as a teenager in London in the 1960s. There are sections and chapters on collecting vinyl records, on seeing live music at concerts and clubs, and meeting and interviewing artists, on travels to the USA, New York and New Orleans, on UK music radio, my broadcasting experiences on the BBC, with pirate radio stations in the 1980s and with local and specialist stations from the 1990s to present, and on the evolution and progression of the soul music scene in the UK through the decades.
What inspired you to write this book?
A friend published a book collating his artist interviews as published in various magazines, which encouraged me towards s similar project, but extended from just previously-published material to memoirs of my decades of involvement with and in the music industry as a fan, as a radio broadcaster, as a journalist and as a record label manager for reissue projects.
How did you come up with the title?
I was working on a series of reissue CDs covering vintage soul music across various cities in the USA – the Soul City series on Fantastic Voyage Records, featuring New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New Orleans – so it was a natural progression to think of myself as a ‘Soul Citizen’!
What kind of research did you do for this book?
The research was mainly from my fairly good memory, assisted by 50 years of magazine and book files along with a vinyl record collection covering a similar period. LP record sleeves seem to carry more memories then do CD inlays and booklets! Online research was also useful too!
Do you have an all time favorite book?
I was an avid reader of science fiction in the 1960s, including Robert Heinlein ‘Stranger In a Strange Land’ and Arthur Clarke ‘ A Fall of Moondust’, then Stephen King, and it would be hard to choose between ‘Carrie’ and ‘The Shining’!
What book are you reading right now?
Most recent reads have been the Bobby Bland biography ‘The Soul Of a Man’ and the Huey ‘Piano’ Smith biography ‘Rocking Pneumonia Blues’, which takes me back to my several trips to Jazzfest in New Orleans during the 1980s.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
Apart from watching football/soccer as a lifelong fan of Charlton Athletic in south east London, I am also a keen tennis player, Chairman of my local club, and still involved in playing competitive league matches two or three times a week throughout the year!
The autobiography of a soul music fan from his formative years in the early 1960s, buying records and going to gigs, through decades of journalistic experience editing Shout! fanzine, writing for soul papers and album liner notes, to thirty years as a radio broadcaster. Adventure journeys to New York and New Orleans also feature, along with experiences as a re-issue record label manager, and comments on the development of the Soul/R&B music world. 222 pages, illustrated, paperback.
About the Author
Clive Richardson grew up in London at the birth of the Soul Era with Motown and Stax creating musical impact on the youth of the day. He formed a fan club for soul singer Don Covay, then expanded his journalistic career as editor of Shout fanzine and contributor to Black Echoes newspaper. He wrote liner notes for numerous albums, subsequently becoming label-manager of Shout! Records (UK), producing reissue soul and R&B CDs. Clive is also a consultant for Fantastic Voyage records, originating and producing vintage soul reissues. He is also veteran of a thirty-year career in radio, broadcasting on JFM, RTM and Solar Radio, now with a reguler weekly show on Solar Radio. Married to Barbara since 1998, Clive lives in South East London, is a keen club tennis player and football fan, a lifelong supporter of Charlton Athletic.