Dan Fee’s Inheritance Tracks
Heres my story its sad but true, about a girl that I once knew, coincidentally the opening lines to one of my favourite songs Runaround Sue by Dion, that I love to play when the opportunity arises. I don’t play much 60s music, this one’s from the year I was born, those opening lines give the impression that its a ballad but wow does it turn into a belter that appeals to all ages . . anyway . . . .the rest of the lyrics about that two timing bitch Sue have no bearing on my story.
I joined SEDA fairly recently and I was surprised to discover there was a feature in the meeting entitled inheritance tax, I wasn’t sure if this was a tax avoidance forum so I listened with interest , I’ve been a self employed heating engineer all my working life and am always keen to exploit new angles of creative accounting, turns out it was nothing to do with tax after all, I was pleased to realise I misheard Brian and listened carefully to the guest dj telling their story.
The format of this segment has a little of Radio 4s Saturday Live’s inheritance tracks, a sprinkling of Desert Island discs and a smattering of Tracks of my years all of which I regularly tune into .
I come from a large Irish catholic family. my parents emigrated to the UK in 1959, I was born in 61 and I was raised on Diddley Diddley music with the occasional sprinkling of Perry Como and of course my mother was a huge Terry Wogan fan back then. I never really started listening to pop music until I was maybe 11 or 12 but a pivotal moment in my early pre teenage years was when I attended the year 6 leavers school disco and I remember listening to the DJ and how he had the skill to play one tune after another, I was captivated and fascinated. The big tune that night was by the OJs, the song was called Love Train and the DJ encouraged us kids to form a train, similar to the conga and the love train consisting of alternate boy girl, boy girl chain danced around the school hall, (play song chorus and fade) what was interesting to me about this dance was you got to hold on to the hips of the girl in front of you, at this particular time in my life I was rather fond of Maria barnet, one of the prettiest girls in the class, my first school crush and I carefully timed my coupling on to the love train once I saw Maria joined the line, narrowly beating love rival Andrew collins into that pole position. That feeling of holding onto Marias hips was thrilling, my heart was racing, the innocence of first love. that song was fantastic, I’ve loved it ever since , Sadly for me Marias Love train departed without me and our love was never to be.
Throughout my early teenage years I grew very fond of buying records and went to the local sweet shop on a Tuesday after school just so that I could browse the most recent collection of ex-jukebox singles that were delivered on chart day, I think they were 30p each, as my record collection grew using my parents radiogram I used to spend long hours playing tunes to entertain my sisters and their very pretty friends I loved the feeling of putting on a song and making the girls dance, mimicking the moves of pans people dancers from top of the pops. being a horny teenager n all.. I thought this DJ lark is fantastic.
Fast forward to 1977 and I’m 16 ,two of my friends from school, Glen, Dave and I decided to club together and we bought ourselves a DJ console made by FAL which we purchased through Glenn’s mums Freemans mail order catalogue , like we did in those days, I think jointly we were probably paying £11 a month to purchase the thing along with its crappy little speakers. Lucky for us Glenn’s dad was the landlord of the ship pub in Erith and it was there that we got our first regular gigs. The record that stands out in my memory from around this time was bought by Glenn who had a particularly keen ear for new dance music, he came back from groove records in the West End one Saturday afternoon clutching and import single that he had just spent eight or 9 pounds probably ten times the price of a normal 7 inch single at the time, and he said you have to listen to this, it had better be good we said, angrily, him blowing our budget on one single, He was so excited, he turned on the console, placed the record on the turntable put the needle down played the tune, Native New Yorker what a fantastic song, , Dave and I quickly forgave him for his overspend, It seemed like weeks later that I heard Greg Edwards play it on his Saturday night soul and disco show on capital radio, Most of you I suspect not old enough to know who I’m talking about. every time I hear it the memories come flooding back.
I was a huge fan of Donna summer in the late 70s, and she rightly gained the title of disco queen, this song was banned by the BBC for being too sexualy explicit with her orgasmic groaning, similar to Je t’aime – Serge Gainsbourg of a few years earlier. Capital radio however the fairly new station at the time was not so stuffy and played it, I was clearly not old enough to appreciate what she was groaning about, the song Love to love you baby was a rather erotic hit The Giorgio Moroder sound was very new, it seemed like the pinnacle of the 70s disco era, we all loved it, Glen chose to purchase the Album of the same name at the time and we discovered that the whole of side 1 was 18 minute minute version of that same song of erotic moaning and groaning to that disco beat,
Dave’s brother who was quite a bit older advised us that it was an exceptionally good song for playing in the bedroom, ‘know what I mean , nudge nudge wink, wink’, an early shagging record, being so young and innocent I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that, I was quite naturally confused and enquired as what are you gonna do for the remaining 16 minutes after you did the deed.
Turning 18, Dave having passed his driving test and had his first car, me and the lads would make the long pilgrimage down to the fabulous Stage 3 nightclub in Leysdown and we began to embrace the Jazz Funk scene, The DJ was incredibly skilful, played some fantastic tunes and I used to watch him in the booth playing one 12 inch single after another, it was around then that I took to buying 12 inch singles which was a fairly knew concept at the time and bought this my first 12 incher, after hearing it at stage 3. Bobby Thurston’s Check out the Groove.
We continued going to Stage 3 for a number of years probably once a month, the sound and lighting was out of this world and the air was thick with smoke from the fog machines, way ahead of its time, some of the lighting rig was motorised and would descend from high up in the ceiling almost like putting in a special appearance to coincide with a particular song and would then disappear back where it came from soon after it was an incredible sight to behold.
After many years as a dabbling DJ I stayed on at the ship long after our threesome had disbanded. But in the early 80s I met my wife Tracy and so it was around this time that I chose to retire from dj ing, Married in 84, running my own heating business and two kids soon after, I didn’t miss that life, I certainly didn’t miss the Saturday morning ritual of spending an hour of listening to and buying new records , money was needed far closer to home back then .
Other DJs I knew continued at the game and I always kept an ear on the music it was perhaps the late 90s when this next song came out, Im not certain if it holds the record for being the highest selling 12 inch single of all time, I absolutely loved it. . New Order’s Blue Monday.
Around this time I first met my now dear friend Traviss who had devoted all of his life to being a DJ, I discovered with some envy, watching him at his craft reawoken something in me, with a failed marriage now behind me and after a lot of years he encouraged me to return to the game, he asked me to bring in the next track that he had cued up if he wasn’t back from the loo in time. my confidence has built up slowly, I began to reconnect with dance music and began to enjoy it. I can’t beat mix to save my life, I’m in awe of you blokes that can, rather than dovetailing my tunes together mine are more like butt joints to use a carpentry analogy. I’ve learned from Traviss to talk over the joins, Don’t think i’ve ever had a punter come up to me and comment on the way i join songs together and i’m also of the opinion that its other DJ’s always listening to how you segue your tunes together not sure that the people with their feet on the dance floor actually give a toss as long as the tunes are good.
I became the school DJ at my children’s primary school, the same primary school I attended many years earlier and before too long I was playing the end of year disco for the year 6 leavers, as the evening ended I watched as the parents came in one by one for their children and after an absence more than 30 years, who should walk back into that same school hall, Maria Barnet, to collect her daughter, my heart sank at seeing her again, we got chatting, I told her how she broke my 11 year old heart, of course she had no idea. Once the other kids and parents left the hall I played that song again and those memories returned, we dance a little love train, hugged and kissed each other warmly, spoke about what might have been but the magic was well n truly gone. that old train had long since departed. Like an old steam locomotive chuffing off into the distance. We are now good friends, both single, we’ve swapped phone numbers, I’ve urged her to give me a call if her boiler needs servicing, thats not a euphemism and I live in hope that I might some day get to play that epic donna summer song in her company. Still not sure if I could last for 18 minutes though!
Despite my longstanding love of music Im absolutely hopeless at dancing, if im ever coerced onto the floor by someone I seem to have the mobility of a paraplegic and the rhythm of a clapped out washing machine.
So I always remain firmly routed behind the console and I marvel at the fabulous dance moves of those that I have encouraged to dance with my musical choices.
My final song choice is a song that was released in 1995, Its a wonderful feel good singalong song and theres hardly a gig goes by these days when I don’t play it, It never fails to revive a flagging dance floor. I give you. Peter Andre Mysterious girl.