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RIP: Johnny 'Chester' Dowling

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  • RIP: Johnny 'Chester' Dowling

    A sad heads-up to all Vinyl Vultures who knew 'Chester' who ran Luton Record Fair. I only just found out that he died suddenly, and unexpectedly, very recently. A real character. For anyone interested in Teddy Boys, bikers, 50s cafes, rockn' roll records and true British pioneers of travelling to the States to find obscure records, I'd highly recommend the first two volumes of his life story, Just For Kicks parts 1 and 2 / (2008 / 2010).

    RIP Chester

    I think these words from his second volume will ring a few bells here.

    'Back to a time when when only a handful of people'd had heard of folk such as Bill Flagg, The Maddox Brothers, Johnny Olenn 'n' Sonny Burgess, through to today when the names of hundreds of obscure singers and bands are readily 'n' with ease, blurted out by thousands of rock 'n' rollers - the fantastic followin' can be witnessed at any weekender or record hop.

    When I used to whiz back 'n' forth to the States, the main thing on my mind was to find 'unknowns', to bring scarce records back into England that hadn't, as yet, been heard by my customers. I'd really come into my own on those occasions - of havin' a bundle of obscure goodies under my arm. The inward thrill of playin' these titles to my customers, watchin' their eyes light up as yet another cool rocker spun on my deck.

    Money was most definitely further down the list of my wants nay, my needs. All that money could offer, apart from payin' the bills 'n' a crust to chew, was to enable me to go back to America to enjoyably hustle 'n' dig for yet more glorious-soundin' records'

    Johnny 'Chester' Dowling: Just For Kicks: The Story of Your Life: 2010, p.303
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