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Phelge is working on a book!

IORR just got in touch with James Phelge, the guy who used to live with the Stones in the very early days of '63, when it all started. Now, more than 33 years later, he is working on his book. For now, you will just have some raw pieces of his works. For the next IORR there will be more about the book and Phelge!


It was Saturday night at the Ealing Club again and I was at the far end of the small dance floor drinking with Fengey. We'd been coming down each week for a few months now before the Rolling Stones had taken over the whole gig, Alexis and Cyril Davies had moved on elsewhere and the new young crowd was growing gradually, there was some nice looking girls here too...

... Mick: "Yeah, we're looking for another person to share a flat in Chelsea, anyone interested let us know, the share of the rent's four pounds a week " He paused looking for some sign of interest but none came. "The next one's a Chuck Berry number "...


Charlie and I had a common interest, modern jazz and drums. For some reason, Charlie, Keith and I took a trip one Saturday morning across to Bayswater to the big store called Whiteleys. I Think Charlie primarily wanted to buy some clothes. He always seemed to dress as what became known as 'Ivy League' long before it happened. Wearing a sports jacket and tie suited him. He always looked neat, tidy and clean. Probably the advantage of living at home.

Charlie's concession to joining the Stones was taking his tie off at gigs. He would never look right slopping about in jeans. I doubted if he had any.

Whiteleys had a sale on so it was natural to go down and check out the record department and find out if there was anything worth having. Sorting through the disarray of albums I finally settled on a copy of 'Walkin' by Miles Davis which was going cheap as it didn't have it's original cover, just a plain brown cardboard sleeve. It had the title and artists name written in pencil in one corner.

Back at the flat, Brian was strolling around the front room in this horrible hand knitted black jumper he wore that was about three sizes too big. Charlie and I walked in with the record while Keith went to make coffee. "What have you got there?" Brian immediately pounced on the record while I cleared the turntable on the gram of singles. "Miles Davis? Where'd you get this? " he demanded.

"It's got my writing on it." "Over at Whiteleys" "It is my writing. I used to work there in the record department. Could be one I did, it looks like my writing." "Yeah, well you read it and we'll play it" I said. He passed over the album and I stuck it on the player.

It played as Charlie and I listened intently. Keith came in with some coffee. "It's a good record" said Charlie. Then went on explaining and naming the other musicians in the group ". "It sounds like a load of crap. Music for pseuds" said Keith. "No, it's real music. Listen to those drums" "A load of old bollocks" said Keith leaving the room.

Charlie and I listened in peace to the first side then turned it over. Keith stuck his head back round the door and called out to Mick : " 'Ere, look at these two, making out they're all hip diggin' this jazz shit ". We ignored him.

"I can't work out what he's playing" said Charlie. "It don't sound right for a trumpet, and it's not a sax. Sounds more like a flute" Keith re-entered. "What does that sound like? asked Charlie." he normally plays trumpet. " "It sounds like shit to me" replied Keith referring to the whole record. "Maybe it's an alto" I said.

"Don't sound right for an alto either. The speed of that drumming" said Charlie, impressed. For some reason I wandered over to the gram and tried to read the label as it was going round.

"Aw, fuck, It's still on 45 rpm, I for got to alter the speed on the player" "Aaahh, you pair of turds" laughed Keith running out the room. He then called out to Brian and Mick.

"Hey, get a load of this. These two fucking pseuds have only been playing this record for the last half hour at the wrong speed and standing there saying how great it is" Loud jeers from Mick and Brian floated into the front room. "You pair of wankers. I told you it was shit" Keith said triumphantly.

I put the record back on at the right speed from the beginning "That's better. It sounds like a trumpet now" said Charlie. "You two, Stan Gutz and Charlie Turd, it still sounds like shit" "It sounds good at either speed" I said to Keith, in order not to be outdone. Keith laughed at us and walked out. Charlie and I shook our heads at each other. We thought it was funny too.

Previous page Next page First page IORR home It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 26 June 1996 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe