On the Juke-Box Today


Three loud cheers for omArmrest, and a slightly muted one for the preservation of your supposed innocence, dere


I tried very hard to get him to come and be a music-guest at an SF convention, but he was unable to make it in the end; his agent sent Isaac Guillory instead.


Thanks, joe.

He came to my university in the 70s. I’ve a few favourites; The Castleford Ladies’ Magical Circle is one.


I love the The Hair of the Widow of Bridlington.


I recall him doing a Thakrayesque version of Free’s ‘My Brother Jake’. Free were my favourite rock group and so this was quite a thrill. I’ve looked & he seems not to have recorded it.

OM-Armsrest had quite a thing going on at the club for 8 or 9 years. Obviously largely Northern biased but Mike Harding was a twice a year event, which will fill the place to the gunnels. What evolved into The Houghton Weavers were the house band for quite a time.

The likes of Ewan McColl, Harvey Andrews, Jaquie & Bridie, The Oldham Tinkers, Bernard Wrigley. On a once only he got Martin Carthy. He also got about 4 songs, before she stomped off due to audience indifference, from a capable but ill-placed Glaswegian singer who however was a Jazz singer at the time … Barbara Dixon.

He claimed to have booked a guy who then cancelled as his work began to take off … Paul Simon. I was never sure if that was accurate tbf. but it was z good tale.

I last saw Mike Harding in a restaurant in Kos town in the mid 80’s. Probably 10 years after he’d last collapsed at our house. He was holding fort with a group of about 8 people. I’m not the sort to disturb someone but we nodded across the room. I wondered if that was simply politeness or he had an “I know I know you” moment. They finished & he very positively waved over to us as they left. When I went to pay half an hour later I was amazed to be told that by bill had been paid.

I’d have had Metaxa’s if I’d known.


Here’s my favourite JT song:


That must have been a terrible disappointment…


Most of the audience had never heard of him. So: not once he started playing.


And any aspiring guitarists in the audience, instead of being impressed (as they should be by JT) were thoroughly demoralised…


…and talking of geetarishsts, check out this chap!



Too right, Joe!

We did actually have several competent guitarists in the audience, who were quite simply blown away.

He found us a bit surprising too; he turned up and the first question he was asked was whether he wanted to eat before or after the gig and what he’d like to have, and what he’d be drinking and when (it helps to have been on the jazz circuit a bit: the only person who ever seemed to realise that the band might need to eat, drink or piss as I recall was of all people Auberon Waugh when we played for his son’s twenty-firster. Private jacks for the band and all the champagne they could use if they liked to have that rather than beer), and when we went out and ate with him it was an amazing experience. He stayed a friend until he died, and remembered my name even when I turned up at a gig of his for the first time about two years after I had been very briefly his “employer”. Quite a man, as well as one hell of a guitarist.


Hear, hear!

A wonderful player, and totally unassuming. Much missed.


I’d forgotten this one - very apposite at the moment: