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Roger Armstrong

R&B & Jazz Microgroove Long Players

  1. Bobby Blue Bland - Two Steps From The Blues (Duke DLP 74) 
  2. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley (Chess LP 1431) 
  3. Nina Simone - At Town Hall (Golden Guinea GGL 0381)
  4. Sly & the Family Stone - Fresh (Epic 32134) 
  5. Allen Toussaint - Life, Love & Faith (Warner Bros MS 2062) 
  6. Howlin' Wolf - Moanin' In The Moonlight (Chess LP 1434) 
  7. Various - The 'Sound' of the R&B Hits (Stateside SL 10077)
  8. Oscar Brown Jr - Sin & Soul (Columbia CS 8377)
  9. Charlie Mingus - Ah Um (Columbia CS 8171) 
  10. James Brown - Live @ The Apollo (London HA 8184)

Born on 28 July 1948, I was very much part of the Beatle generation, though through my older brother Perry I did get to hear rock'n'roll records at an early age and we would jointly buy 45s. Knight's Record Library in Belfast was also a big influence, providing access to a huge range of albums that I could not otherwise afford. I went to University in Belfast, discovered some like souls with an intense interest in music and started the Esoteric Music Society (well it was the 60s). At first we sat around in a darkened room and listened to each other's records, but soon started to promote live shows. Progressing from local bands to mainland imports, we soon had a regular Sunday night slot established. The little local difficulty that started at the end of the 60s made it difficult to persuade bands to play Belfast, but we did manage to run a show virtually every weekend, and for a year or more we were the only show in town.

I left Queens in 1972 and moved to Dublin. I worked with Jim Aiken, a local promoter, trying to turn the Chieftains professional. But it was before their time and so after about a year we parted company. I then co-managed an Irish showband called Chips who were mutating into a rock/funk act with the aim of breaking out of the confines of the Irish circuit as had Horslips, my partner Michael Denny's other act. Chips disintegrated and I tour-managed Horslips for a while after that, then moved to London to manage a new band, St James' Gate, being put together by an old friend, Ruan O'Lochlainn. We cut an album, a deal was negotiated with RCA, they broke up and I quit management. I wasn't cut out for the managerial life. After a spell scuzzing around and trying to get studio work as the oldest tea boy in town I started to work with Ted, who I had known for many years, looking after a market stall in Soho selling second-hand records etc. From the market stalls we started a record label in 1975 and the rest is history.


Wet Plate Collodion photograph by Marek Pytel.