It really doesn't seem 30 years since I had an idea to start a folk and roots label to champion some of the more 'roots' based music that was exciting me in the mid 80s. Even before the first Cooking Vinyl record was released in October 1986, we had what I thought might be an interesting walkman field recording lined up as a follow up release to the seminal Oyster Band album 'Step Outside' and were also talking to Clive Gregson and Christine Collister about their DIY live recording 'Home and Away'. Change was in the air and everything was there to play for.
Over the five years I was fronting the label we signed a wealth of talent including The Cowboy Junkies from Canada, Boiled in Lead from Minneapolis, uilleann piper Davy Spillane, Jamaica's Jolly Boys, dubwise folksters Edward II, Zimbabwean bands The Four Brothers and The Real Sounds of African, Sierra Leone's palm wine king S.E. Rogie and Ry Cooder's Tex-Mex accordion playing icon Flaco Jimenez.
I haven’t been involved with the label since late 1990 but I’ve followed its progress and it’s been pleasing to see that my then partner in crime, Martin Goldschmidt has taken it in new and successful directions. Not many indie labels manage a decade let alone three.
'Interesting' is one of those words that is often almost ironic in its use but it's perhaps the one best placed to describe my feelings about the occasion. I realised how separated I had become from that label which I founded in 1986 and left in 1990. Hats off to Martin for making a go of it and taking it in a different direction and it was nice to chat with Billy Bragg. But no one from the early days was there, which was a disappointment given that so many of them are still making vital, vibrant music today. Many talk with nostalgia about the early CV days and the scene it created. That for me was the heart of Cooking Vinyl and immensely exciting times, especially as it was my first business venture. It was great to re-visit the soundtrack to those days.