Garth Cartwright Top Ten
RECKLESS TOP 10
Garth Cartwright is a London-based journalist, critic and author – as 2 of his books, Going For A Song: A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop and London’s Record Shops, feature Reckless we asked this longtime customer for his Top 10. “I arrived in London in 1991 and immediately started frequenting Berwick Street,” says Garth. “Back then there were so many different record shops but Reckless was always my favourite – so many gems to be found here. All these years on and I still drop in on Reckless every time I venture into Soho (and, invariably, I find an LP or 45 or 78 or CD that takes my interest). So, for this Top 10, I’ve chosen ten memorable purchases I’ve made in Reckless.”
1. FATBACK BAND – KEEP ON STEPPIN’ LP
Prior to picking up Keep On Steppin’ I’d always pegged Fatback as a singles band – how wrong could I be? This album is a street funk classic, very loose, the sound of a band who know how to groove. When I see Best Album lists and they contain the Stone Roses and Radiohead and such I shake my head and think how one blast of Wicky Wacky would shake such listings up.
2 THE OUTCASTS – SELF CONSCIOUS OVER YOU 45
I’ve loved Belfast punk since I was a kid but, growing up in NZ, we had no access to 45s on the Good Vibrations label. Finding this diamond in Reckless one afternoon really made my day – so much so I reproduced the cover in Going For A Song and got the band to sign the 45 when I met them.
3. CLIFTON CHENIER – BOGALUSA BOOGIE LP
I’m a huge fan of what these days get labelled as “American roots music” and Clifton Chenier, the late pioneer of zydeco, made remarkable music. His best releases were on Arhoolie, Chris Strachwitz’s label devoted to US vernacular music, and this 1975 album might be his finest effort. A Louisiana swamp boogie party!
4. JOHN ANDERSON – I JUST CAME HOME TO COUNT THE MEMORIES LP
John Anderson was one of the new honky tonk country singers who broke through in the 1970s after the success of Willie and Waylon. He’s never meant much beyond his US fanbase but did make some fine albums and finding this 1981 effort for a few pounds made me a happy bunny.
5. MEMPHIS MINNIE – BUMBLE BEE 78
Duncan at Reckless used to give me a call when they got 78s in and I’d come and trawl through, finding all kind of wonders. This 1930 78 by the pioneering blues singer and guitarist is in really rough condition – no matter: I’m happy just to own a historic artefact and wonder about those who listened to this shellac marvel before me.
6. LEE MORGAN – SIDEWINDER LP
I’d owned the CD of the album that broke Lee Morgan big for many years so was happy to find a nice pressing in Reckless. One of the Blue Note classics we all should appreciate.
7. KENNY GRAHAM AND HIS SATELlITES – MOONDOG AND SUNCAT SUITES LP
Originally issued in 1957, I purchased the Trunk Records reissue of this seminal British jazz LP – even the reissue is not that common so this was a find.
8. ONYEKA ONWANU – ONE LOVE LP
My partner’s Nigerian so when I first took her to Reckless I suggested she look in the African LP bin. There she found this LP by Onyeka, apparently a friend of her late father’s. Thus I had to purchase it for her.
9, LITTLE JOHNNY TAYLOR – EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT MY GOOD THING LP
My last visit to Reckless in 2022 saw me purchase this LP – I knew the title track and nothing else but, on listening at home, found I’d purchased a Southern Soul classic: great songs, band and singer. Issued on Ronn in 1972 and sounding superb some 50 years on.
10. GOODBYE BABYLON BOX SET
This six-CD box set (wooden box!) of early US spirituals/gospel is one of those obsessive musical anthropology projects the mighty Dust to Digital label specialise in. And I found my box at Reckless, a shop I consider the UK’s finest and one whose staff I count as friends.