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sceneman

James Hamilton Record Collector ?

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back in the 60s there was a DJ with a huge collection named as above ,he used to knock around with denny cordell of Island fame. i always wondered what happened to him and his massive collection of US soul.

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I seem to remember a full page advert in "Blues & Soul" (or was it black Music).....not sure which number..From a large auction house in London selling his collection.

Thats got people looking now !

Edited by welshruss

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James Hamilton the DJ and Record Mirror singles reviewer?

If so he ended up in Notts. When he died they needed 7 lorries to ship all the records down to auction. His letter box was enlarged top 13" so the postman could pop LPs and 12s through, and you could hardly get into his house. When he died his widow just wanted shot of it all and commissioned auctioneers to sell it off. Ian Clark was involved in pricing and pulled out any rarities (of which there weren't many). Most of it was promos with release sheets etc. But with anything like that the market ain't there for a collection of that size. I went and had a look and put some cheap bids in - like £30 for 500 assorted import singles and £30 for 500 12s. I won several lots and getting the records home from peckham was a "challenge". Like the back of the car was on the floor and all I could see out the front was sky!

Anyway interesting times!

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some of his reveiws of the latest dance/soul twelves in the 80`s were funny..`juddery jittery jerker` dancer ..what was that.. my mate who does the chillout with me won some 60`s soul demo`s,,,,,,i remember the incredibles G &W stateside demo that should have had a solid center looked like it had been beaten with a lump hammer around the center....vinyl was mint tho....yes all the middles were dinked..i`m sure this was mid 90`s when he died

Edited by dave pinch

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James Hamilton the DJ and Record Mirror singles reviewer?

If so he ended up in Notts. When he died they needed 7 lorries to ship all the records down to auction. His letter box was enlarged top 13" so the postman could pop LPs and 12s through, and you could hardly get into his house. When he died his widow just wanted shot of it all and commissioned auctioneers to sell it off. Ian Clark was involved in pricing and pulled out any rarities (of which there weren't many). Most of it was promos with release sheets etc. But with anything like that the market ain't there for a collection of that size. I went and had a look and put some cheap bids in - like £30 for 500 assorted import singles and £30 for 500 12s. I won several lots and getting the records home from peckham was a "challenge". Like the back of the car was on the floor and all I could see out the front was sky!

Anyway interesting times!

Steve , was there anything good in that lot , if you don't mind me asking that is ?

Cheers

Swifty :thumbsup:

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some of his reveiws of the latest dance/soul twelves in the 80`s were funny..`juddery jittery jerker` dancer ..what was that.. my mate who does the chillout with me won some 60`s soul demo`s,,,,,,i remember the incredibkes G &W stateside demo that should have had a solid center looked like it had been beaten with a lump hammer around the center....vinyl was mint tho....yes all the middles were dinked..i`m sure this was mid 90`s when he died

Thats what I remember of him, really quite articulate with prose, which just seemed out of place when all you wanted to know if it was ac club crasher (wasn't that one of his descriptions). The king of the BPM counter too

I believe a very influential man in his day so I assume most British releases from 70's onwards would have been his for free.

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Steve , was there anything good in that lot , if you don't mind me asking that is ?

Cheers

Swifty :thumbsup:

Hi Swifty,

Some interesting stuff, nothing really rare. His 60s UK records all had centres removed and scratches around the label to make them stick to the slip mat....Yuk-ola! So I didn't bid on any of them. Think Clarky got one or two bits.

You know there were some good fillers Duprees on Polydor type stuff, loads of funk / Atlantic stuff but nothing really rare. He wrote his reviews on the singles in shorthand - quite interesting. I prob. got about 1,500 45s and 500 12s and a box of 60s albums all mint and pretty nice...oh and some boxes of old Billboard and Cash Box magazines 65-75....the whole lot weighed a ton!

Apparently the widow wasn't happy since she only made a few grand after the auctioneers took their cut and the costs of storage / moving etc. Lots of people went to look at the "lots" but honestly it was only worth cheap bids. Not taking anything away from the guy, that's just the way it was. Tons of records though.

Steve

Edited by Steve G

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I met James when I won a competition put on by Groove Records in Soho c.1980. He presented my prize to me and had my photo with him in Record Mirror! Only a brief meet but he was a real nice guy.

For those interested, the comp was to name as many records as possible with the word 'Groove' in! I won a trophy and any 10 LP's and 12"s of my choice from the shop. That's how I got a copy of the James Mason LP on Chiaruscuro for free!

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He got cross with me one mid week night at La Beat Route in Soho when he was on the decks. I kept asking for Northern requests which he didn't have.

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For many of us into soul in the late sixties the Record Mirror was essential. James Hamilton was the record reviewer in a section called 'America Awakes' and virtually every soul release was reviewed at that time. I recall a review of Jerry Butler's 'Only The Strong Survive' -'sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but always beautiful'. It mesmerised me and remained in my head forever. When eventually I met and chatted with James in the 1980's, I tested him on it. Not surprisingly he didn't have a clue which track I was referring to, BUT more worryingly he advised me not to look at the items he was then reviewing. If I liked Jerry Butler I certainly would not be able to relate to the contemporary Dance music which by then had become his bag. The spell was broken.

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i used to help him out back in the 60s when he was the DJ at the SOUL HOLE club in Balham High Road !that must have been 1966-67 period .

very tall and smelled mightily of aftershave and MODs thought he was gay ! so if you were seen talking to James they thought you were gay too.!!

he must have had a good source in the US because he always had piles of the latest releases .

Denny Cordell was also a DJ as well alongside James.

AFAIK i dont recall him DJ ing at the Scene Club in Ham Yard .

Just Guy Stevens /Sandra/ and another small bloke who i cant identify .but he may have Dj d in the week as i didnt go there every night .

in the week it was R&B and rockabilly stuff and assorted bands used to turn up like the Who and Bo diddley on 1 occasion .

saturday nights were always packed out ..

he was always recommending me to buy Lotsa Poppa records but i never did as i wasnt sure who the hell he was at the time

Edited by sceneman

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I got to know him quite well in the early 80's. He was like the James Robinson Justice of the London dance scene and I bumped into him and his bpm counter everywhere. His favourite singer was Dee Dee Sharp and he was quite a fan of Gospel as well. A great guy and a real character. RIP James.

Ian D :D

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He was like the James Robinson Justice of the London dance scene

:lol::thumbup::D

Only met him once, in about 1987, when we were both judges at the Bristol heat of the Disco Mix Club DJ competition.

Took him to task about his recent reviews of hip hop and soul records I liked, then put the world to rights over several drinks in quick succession.

Top man.

:yes:

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Record Mirror used to come out on a Thursday and I'd pick it up on the way to Rumbelows (formerly Nems) in Liverpool city centre.I'd listen to as many of the records that JH reviewed as they had in stock,and bought most of them.As many have observed,his reviews were brilliantly concise,fulsome in praise,withering in criticism.I remember in particular a review of the Temptations "Cloud Nine" which had received some criticism elsewhere ,representing as it did a continued shift away from the traditional Motown sound - he loved it,and expressed this by initially appearing to agree with those critics,until a damning last line,which sadly I cannot recall now.For several years I used to cut out the reviews and save them in a file,which is gathering dust somewhere,I'll try and dig them out.....I never met him unfortunately,but he was most certainly a strong influence on my buying habits in those days.Not a fan of Northern Soul,if I remember well....

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Previous thread here, and my contribution to it.

I met James in 1979 - at the height of the DISCO boom - on a market stall I used to frequent in Bawtry, south of Doncaster.

The guy running the record stall was called Chris (from Leeds, as I recall - he later opened up a shop in Leeds, but that's another 'amazing' story).

I was going through the boxes, when this tall, suited, distinguished looking gentleman peers over my shoulder and started making comments about the stuff I was picking out.... 'ah, that's a good one'... 'mmm... that brings back a few memory's' etc...

I thought he must have been having me on - he didn't look like anything like a Soulboy :rolleyes: so I struck up a conversation to see if he was for real.

Could have knocked me down with a feather when he told me who he was. We talked for over an hour. He told me about the time he saw the Spellbinders live in New York and how great they were, all about when he had dinner with Van McCoy and so on... a mine of detailed information... all bloody mindblowing stuff.

As a Soul DJ I always considered his column essential reading - even though I could never get fully to grips with BPM's and all that mullarky - his descriptions were always superbly crafted.

Sadly, he passed away in 1996, but I'm glad to have had that one 'chance' meeting with him.

Sean

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some of his reveiws of the latest dance/soul twelves in the 80`s were funny..`juddery jittery jerker` dancer ..what was that.. my mate who does the chillout with me won some 60`s soul demo`s,,,,,,i remember the incredibles G &W stateside demo that should have had a solid center looked like it had been beaten with a lump hammer around the center....vinyl was mint tho....yes all the middles were dinked..i`m sure this was mid 90`s when he died

Haha yeah - a juddering, jittering, jangling, parping horn section - spot on Dave :0)

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.Not a fan of Northern Soul,if I remember well....

Indeed.....see my earlier post :huh: That would have been about 1982/83. The old BPM counter was getting much much use as I recall from B&S and Black Echoes around that time and was an essential part of my reading of record reviews of the time, especially the fractions.................. :sleep3:

Edited by markw

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Tell me more about this 'Chris' who opened a record shop in Leeds please? when was this?

He used to run a second-hand record shop called Amazing Records at the top of Briggate in the late 70's Pete. He was big pals with a local DJ called Dave Silver. I never found much Northern in there but I did stumble into some interesting 12"'s at the time.....

Ian D :D

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Indeed.....see my earlier post :huh: That would have been about 1982/83. The old BPM counter was getting much much use as I recall from B&S and Black Echoes around that time and was an essential part of my reading of record reviews of the time, especially the fractions.................. :sleep3:

For me it was 1972 - 75 I believe,certainly before the 80's as by then I had started my life of expatriation,which still continues to this day......like others apparently,his reviews sadly became less essential reading when the bpm business took over.....

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As well as his records he amassed quite a collection of "Gentleman's magazines".....I remember at the auction pre view there were complete runs of Mayfair, Playboy, Penthouse and Men Only :ohmy:

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As well as his records he amassed quite a collection of "Gentleman's magazines".....I remember at the auction pre view there were complete runs of Mayfair, Playboy, Penthouse and Men Only :ohmy:

Saucy man...and to think you then handled his records!!!

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He used to run a second-hand record shop called Amazing Records at the top of Briggate in the late 70's Pete. He was big pals with a local DJ called Dave Silver. I never found much Northern in there but I did stumble into some interesting 12"'s at the time.....

Ian D :D

Thats right Ian.

Chris had 'Amazing Records' after working the markets for many years.

I had some fantastic stuff off him during the 70's from his stall in Bawtry. Then one day he called me and told me he was opening a shop and wanted to give me first look at the stock.

When I got there, amongst the regular stuff, he produced a suitcase full of 60's UK Femme Vocal 45's - a Mint condition collection he'd acquired, all in original sleeves.

From there I got;

Barbara Mason - Keep Him - London

Chiffons - Nobody Knows - Stateside

Nancy wilson - End Of Our Love - Capitol

Maxine Brown - Yesterday's Kisses - Stateside

Ruby Winters - Better - Stateside

Various Orioles and Lots of early TMG's (Brenda Holloway, Velvelettes, Marvelettes, Vandellas, Supremes etc.)

A bunch of Black Atlantics and Londons (Barbara Lynn, Barbara Lewis, Doris Troy etc.)

It was a very good shop and a really great day! :yes:

:thumbsup:

Sean

PS: Did you get the email I sent this afternoon?

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I remember that place yes..small shop with a cellar if I recall. I once went in and it must have been Chris told me Elvis Costello had just been in buying run of the mill 60's soul stuff, it was about the time of Costellos 'Getting Mighty Crowded' release..

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James was a wonderful guy, and a great eccentric.

He loved restaurants as much as he loved music, and would go miles out of his way when on the way to gigs in order to eat at places he had heard about.

He came over as aristocratic and autocratic, but could laugh at himself too, when making the Altern 8 records we asked him if he would mind doing a spoken review of it in his inimitable Record Mirror bpm 131.5 - stuttering, juddering, bass heavy...style which we would include in the recording. To our surprise, he agreed and did it on the spot down the phone to the studio and his inimitable review in posh voice was dubbed at the end of the track which went on to be a hit.

In New York at the height of the House Music mania I asked about his DJ career playing Soul in the 60's and he delayed going to some club he was going to where he would have been made a VIP fuss off just so he could talk about that era. He loved Soul, and I think he is the source of the story about Jerry Wexler doing an acetate of "The Sloopy" - Billy Young to be cut by Atlantic in New York and sent over from New York to The Scene or similair club in London. He was the kind of guy who would have had Jerry Wexler's phone number in his contacts book.

Bought some of his collection from Mick Smith after he died, things like Hoagy Lands on Stateside demo, but they sadly all had the middles dinked out as James wanted them to look like USA imports. He met a lot of the USA Soul acts when they toured the UK in the 60's.

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Apart from records I got four crates of CB and BB magazines. Great reading, but James had this annoying habit of circling reviews and lining the margins of reviews he thought were interesting....but what a character.

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In 1990 I compiled the BPM part of the DJ directory. I went through 10 years worth Record Mirror and James's reviews and BPM's.

'Jittery, juddering 110.3 bpm ' funny guy but his reviews became less relevant with the advent of House music and hip hop.

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