His death aged 81 two days ago got me thinking of a few albums I’d bought on his Marmalade label.
Check out this sampler – another album I no longer have.
A bit more research and I realised that I knew much less than I thought I knew about his involvement in the early 60s jazz scene, which lead into his crucial influence as a producer, promoter, and club owner in the British Blues Scene. That included bringing Sonny Boy Williamson (the second) to the UK and recruiting yet-to-be prominent musicians, such as the Yardbirds with Eric Clapton, to play and record with him.
Gomelsky booked the Rolling Stones for their first paid appearances at the Crawdaddy, a club he managed. He managed and produced the Yardbirds in their prime with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, brought the Animals from Newcastle down to London and organized one of the first blues festivals in Britain. He also produced the early recordings of Rod Stewart in Steampacket, Alexis Korner and Graham Bond.
Later he recorded the first Soft Machine demos as well as John McLaughlin’s album Extrapolation. Other albums I have digitalised are by Julie Driscoll with the Brian Auger Trinity, Blossom Toes, and Aphrodite’s Child with Demis Rousso and Vangelis.
Other tracks on my compilation have been included after trawling the ‘net. Although the artists may have had connections with Gomelsky, I cannot be certain that the recordings were produced by him. I do know, though, that the first track by the Rolling Stones wasn’t. By the time it was recorded, Andrew loog Oldham had taken them under his management wing. However, as their earliest recordings were largely covers of blues artists’ songs, we can be fairly certain that they’d played it at the Crawdaddy.
This is my tribute to an eccentric man with eclectic tastes, but without whom today’s music scene would be very different.
1964. Rolling Stones – Now I’ve Got A Witness
1965. Steampacket – Can I Get A Witness
1966. Alexis Korner – Mary Open The Door
1966. Yardbirds – Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
1967. Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger – I Know You Love Me Not
1967. Soft Machine – Memories
1969. Blossom Toes – Kiss Of Confusion
1969. John McLaughlin – This Is For Us To Share
1971. Aphrodite’s Child – The Four Horsemen
1973. Gong – Flying Teapot
Steampacket: Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger + Eric Burden (Animals)