Interview with Jim Garrett, 1 March 2000
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Essex Folk Movement Oral History Project
Level: Sub-Series
Scope and Content:
Jim Garrett [JG] interviewed by Sue Cubbin [SC] in Silver End on 1 March 2000. JG talks about his early life in Chingford and Epping, writing songs and performing at folk clubs around Essex (particularly Blackmore Folk Club) from the mid-1960s, and chairing the Gas Light & Coke Music Hall Company.

Tape 1 Side A

[00:00:00] JG talks about his family; coming from Chingford; his childhood; moving to Epping aged 10; musical family, piano playing father; singalongs at afternoon tea; radio, pop songs, 'Worker's Playtime', light music; learning the piano aged five; music at school; learning to write music, transcribing songs; father playing music by ear, large repertoire.
[00:09:51] Music at school; hearing classical, 'pseudo-folk'; singing hymns and carols; country dancing at school; the impact of moving to a new build council estate in Epping, lonely; poorer music provision at his new school; going to school in Chingford after passing the 11+; travelling from Chingford to Epping, hitch-hiking.
[00:18:55] The impact of moving on music in his family; first record player in 1960, collecting records, pop and rock; first record 'Apache' by the Shadows; local dances in Epping; seeing major acts in Walthamstow Odeon.
[00:22:15] First guitar in 1961, homemade guitar kit; using music training to learn guitar songs quickly; forming a band, the Vigilantes, aged 16 with his friends, including Mick Wright [MW]; MW building a home amplifier; playing a variety of guitar music, instrumentals, pop music; getting gigs; travelling with instruments; the line-up; folding of the band, leaving school.

Tape 1 Side B

[00:00:00] Awareness of folk in his youth; preference for music class; being inspired by Peter Boyce [PB], good teaching style; folk club at school; finding music for singing, American repertoire, folk-pop; Albion band starting in school; PB and Morris dancing.
[00:09:08] Developing a guitar style; the origin of the name 'Jim'; performing with his friend Dennis; playing at Epping Folk Club, the White Hart; traditional and folk-pop dichotomy; performing in London; discovering Blackmore Folk Club in 1968.
[00:15:14] The Bull; large numbers of attendees at the folk club; the energy; performing at other clubs in comparison; different kinds of audiences; acts at Blackmore.
[00:22:01] Writing the song 'Folk Tradition'; running the Mother Hubbard club in Loughton until 1973; singing around Essex; the traditional music in his repertoire, lacking his own material in the 1970s; singer-songwriters in the late 1960s, different repertoires; relationship with Richard Digance; reasons for avoiding traditional in his repertoire; his playing style.

Tape 2 Side A

[00:00:00] Modesty about performance, his guitar playing; picking appropriate music for his style; the convenience of playing guitar.
[00:02:33] Working for Chappel's Guitars from 1965; meeting entertainers and inspiration; Pete Billinge's folk club in Margaretting; the founding of the Gas Light & Coke Music Hall Company (GLC); saving Wilson's Music Hall on Cable Street, London; a book about British music hall; concept evening; putting the show together as chairman; getting bookings; successes; GLC as a 'fit-up company'; Alexandra Palace music hall event; finances.
[00:15:50] Radio broadcasting with Dennis Rookard; his first programme in 1974; the electronics of the broadcast; performing on the radio, hearing someone else play 'Folk Tradition'; broadcasting on BBC Essex.
[00:20:23] The end of the GLC in 1984; frustration with lack of performing; his wife, going to Blackmore and the birth of their daughter, a 'folk baby'.
[00:24:35] His song-writing repertoire; redeveloping songs; Blackmore as his 'spiritual home'; the benefits of a singers club; thoughts about turning professional; having produced an unreleased record; a photograph of his rocket-shaped guitar from 1979; his guitar collection.

Tape 2 Side B

[00:00:00] The demise of the rocket-shaped guitar; the process of choosing a guitar, finding the right tone.
[00:03:31] 'Jim's Night' at Margaretting, performing gigs; 'Jim and Friends' gig, performing his songs with friends ten years earlier; Blackmore at the time of interview; projects that developed from membership of Blackmore.
Dates of Creation:
1 March 2000
1 hour 44 minutes 9 seconds
Creator Name:
Sue Cubbin
Admin History:
Jim Garrett (b.1946, Epping) performed on the Essex folk club circuit as a sing-songwriter after discovering Blackmore Folk Club in 1968. He was also chair of the Gas Light & Coke Music Hall Company from the mid-1970s to 1984.
Archivist Note:
Copyright transferred to ESVA
Physical Characteristics:
4 MP3 files [digital copies of original cassettes]
Dates of Description:
25 May 2022
Not Available:
Digital item(s). For access please email ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk