Taking The Mick

I have a hazy memory of my friend’s dad playing me a tape of what sounded like a rough and ready roots jam, and asking me to guess who was on drums. Given this was about 18 years ago I forget who else he named in the band but aside himself on guitar, I’m pretty sure there was a Studio 1 legend amongst them.

I listed off the obvious folks that sprung to mind; Sly Dunbar, Carlton Barrett etc but each prompted an increasingly cheeky grin until finally he couldn’t hold it in…

Phil Collins.

Yes, perhaps Phil can’t dance or talk but boy could he handle the one drop. Hi hats scattering about on what could have easily been a rehearsal session for Ital Dub era Augustus Pablo.

This bares little relation to the track in question aside the guy with the tape was none other than Mick Wayne or “one-take Mick” as he was known in the business due to his prowess as a session guitarist, though on today’s particular choice he was also present as producer.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing who I’m on about, Mick was far from a household name but the long list of folks he worked with reads like a who’s who of rock and pop’s most infamous. James Taylor, Jimmy Page and Steve Took from T-Rex all benefited from his input, and word has it a brief tenure with agitprop freaks The Pink Fairies came to an end when drummer Russel Hunter objected to him singing about his “big legged woman”.

A love of down-home blues may not have endeared him to some of his more wigged out peers but it was with his own psychedelic outfit Juniors Eyes that Mick made his biggest mark when their manager teamed them up with a struggling ice cream salesman by the name of David Bowie.

Another short lived union which saw their own LP Battersea Power Station sadly fall by the wayside while Bowie rocketed to fame with Space Oddity on which Mick was responsible for the more complex guitar parts, not to mention the iconic take off sequence. Not a bad accolade for a guy who got into performing to fund his way through art school.

By the turn of the 70’s Mick’s “one take” rep was garnering an abundance of guitar session work and song writing, and the logical next step was to get behind the mixing desk, which finally brings us to today’s choice.

A curious concoction of soul and reggae precariously glued together as only an artist steeped in psych and 60’s beat combos could, the tug of war between rock and reggae sensibilities makes this an awkward but pleasant anomaly, ripe for the picking here in Skank Blog’s garden of delights. I’m not going to pretend this record had any influence on punk or even reggae for that matter, in fact until I started writing this post I was under the impression that only the acetate of the single existed but word has it Pye released it on 7″ in ’76.

I’ve no idea who Top Cat was or is, certainly not the King Of The Jungle who’s still rocking the mic today. As ever, if anyone does have any more info, please drop me a line below. I’d ask Mick but sadly he passed away in 1994, not long after the incident with the Phil Collins tape.

I miss the guy a lot but thankfully he lives on in the crackly remnants of a venerable career.

And arguably the finest Mick Wayne moment, from the B-side of Juniors Eyes debut 7″ featuring Mick on lead vocals on the psychedelic blues dancer of Black Snake

(Wrongtom)

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4 Responses to Taking The Mick

  1. reggie says:

    Every week my mind expands just a bit more with input from your skanky blog.

  2. casseticuts says:

    and you’ll be on it next week, so fingers crossed your mind doesn’t implode

  3. Trol23 says:

    Brilliant, aside from being a damn good read your blog is switching me on to loads of great things to sample.

  4. kerry says:

    hi I believe I know who top cat is but I need to check with him its ok to reveal his identity I was looking for his single to make a cover for birthday his birthday is in july so will let you know if its him

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