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Fred Dellar

Fred Dellar

Fred Dellar doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t involved in music. As a teenager he saw Billie Holiday in a club date and caught Hoagy Carmichael, the Nicholas Brothers, Josh White, Lena Horne and other personal heroes on live dates. He became something of a youth club DJ, also embarking on series of lectures, usually involving popular music history. A jazz and R&B maniac, Fred ran a jazz club while in the RAF and promoted a concert by a 20 piece big band that warranted a front-page headline in Melody Maker. Employed in a factory machine shop for several years, he nevertheless ran a fanzine dedicated to Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, Mark Murphy, Peggy Lee etc, attending Sinatra’s only UK recording sessions. During the late ‘60s he began writing in a part-time capacity, reviewing for Hi-Fi News and other magazines also providing an array of album sleeve notes, the first of which was for Dizzy Gillespie’s Jambo Caribe.


Redundancy from a warehouse job in 1972 found him applying for a job at NME, where he became a freelance and, during the next 24 years, contributed various reviews, features and columns, becoming known as Fred Fact, his page receiving its own number in the Factory catalogue. During this time too, he wrote for Smash Hits, Vox and Loaded, also briefly editing a country music magazine Up Country. Author or co-author of several books, including The NME Guide To Rock Cinema, Where Did You Go To My Lovely?, The Illustrated Country Music Encyclopedia, The Hip, Sinatra- His Life And Times, Sinatra- Night And Day, The Essential Guide To Rock Records etc. he has additionally contributed music and film crosswords to numerous publications.

Since 1996 he has mainly been employed at Mojo, a magazine he loves, fashioning the Time Machine, Enlightenment and Ask Fred pages. Meanwhile his tally of sleeve notes has reached epic proportions, spanning artists ranging from The 101 Strings through to Piano Red and Sugar Chile Robinson.

Fred’s greatest boast is that he still remembers the complete lyric to ‘When The War Breaks Out In Mexico (I’m Gonna Go To Montreal)’ a song he once warbled while part of a street skiffle group. Nobody has asked him to reprise it in recent times.

List of articles in the library by artist

Ian A. Anderson: The Curse of the Lone Grinner

Profile and Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, January 1976

IF YOU bought a copy of a 1969 Island sampler called You Can All Join In, you'll probably remember the cover shot, which depicted most ...

Chet Atkins: Mr Nashville

Obituary by Fred Dellar, MOJO, September 2001

HE WASN'T the most accomplished guitarist in country music. There were those in Nashville who could fashion half a dozen great licks in the time ...

John Barry: Eddi Fiegel: John Barry – A Sixties Theme; Geoff Leonard et al: John Barry – A Life In Music

Book Review by Fred Dellar, MOJO, January 1999

IT WAS during the '50s and early '60s that a young trumpet-player from York – ambitious, steeped in jazz tradition but possessing a unique pop ...

The Beach Boys: How to Buy The Beach Boys

Discography by Fred Dellar, MOJO, September 1997

THE GOOD NEWS is that the racks are full of Beach Boys CDs. The bad news is that many of them are not the ...

The Beach Boys: The Capitol Years (World Records)

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, March 1981

LET'S NOT kick around the sand-dunes: this boxed set is, quite simply, the finest Beach Boys offering ever released. ...

The Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson: Dennis Wilson

Obituary by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, January 1984

THE OFTEN tempestuous career of Dennis Wilson ended last Wednesday, when the Beach Boys drummer drowned in the waters of LA's Marina del Rey. ...

Robert "Bumps" Blackwell: Robert ‘Bumps’ Blackwell

Obituary by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, March 1985

ROCK LOST another legendary face-moulder on 9 March, when Robert ‘Bumps’ Blackwell died at his home in Hacienda Heights, near LA. ...

The Bothy Band: Guinness Brigade in Nescafé experiment

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, April 1976

FOR SOME considerable time now, a new "underground" music situation has been developing. Not one concerned with any aspect of rock, but rather one that's ...

David Bowie, Elton John: The Producers: Gus Dudgeon

Interview by Fred Dellar, Sound International, May 1978

The producer's job is possibly one of the least-understood and most under-rated in the entire recording business. One usually thinks of a producer as providing ...

Tim Buckley: Mourning Glory

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, April 1994

TIM BUCKLEY died at 28. He never had a Top 40 album. But two recent live album releases and the emergence of his son, Jeff, ...

Buggles

Interview by Fred Dellar, Smash Hits, February 1980

GEOFF DOWNES is the one with 20/20 vision. Trevor Horn is the one with the go-go goggles. Together they're the Buggles, purveyors of clean-machine pop, ...

Dave Cartwright: And Now, Half An Hour Of Masochism

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, January 1975

BY THE TIME this article gets into print, Dave Cartwright will have bitten his fingers down to the knuckle or gone prematurely grey. He worries, ...

Johnny Cash: How To Buy Johnny Cash

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, October 1997

COLLECTING ALBUMS by Arkansas' Man In Black is a doddle. For starters, he's never made any really bad ones. And most of the ...

The Chieftains: How to record 4 albums in 18 years, and still sell out the Albert Hall

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, March 1975

"HE'S LIKE ONE of the little folk – a lovely, lively leprachaun, with an enormous musical talent and sense of humour to match." ...

The Commodores: Machine Gun

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, October 1974

THE COMMODORES, a sextet who compare roughly with Kool And The Gang and the Ohio Players, appeal to me in a limited way. ...

Ry Cooder: How to Buy Ry Cooder

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, August 1998

BETTER KNOWN for bottleneck than even the M25, Ryland Cooder remains a cult figure despite appearing on records by the Rolling Stones, the Monkees, Johnny ...

Miles Davis: Miles Dewey Davis III (1926-1991)

Obituary by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, October 1991

"Jazz is ignored because the white man likes to win everything. White people like to see other white people win – and they can't win ...

Decameron: On The Eve Of A New Album

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, July 1975

DECAMERON lyricist and front-man Dave Bell is articulate but quietly spoken. ...

Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band: The Mountain

Review by Fred Dellar, Hi-Fi News & Record Review, May 1999

PREDICTABLY FOR the unpredictable Earle, his tribute to bluegrass mainman Bill Monroe contains no material actually penned by Monroe. ...

"Mama" Cass Elliot, The Mamas and The Papas: Mama Cass: Why 'Unprofessional' Mamas, Papas Had To Break Up

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, June 1972

IN TOWN TO RECORD HURRICANE'S HIT, AND KNOCKED AND ROBBED IN A LONDON STORE, MAMA CASS TALKS TO FRED DELLAR ...

Joe Ely: Honky Tonk Masquerade

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, March 1978

'T FOR Texas, T for Tennessee' sang Jimmie Rodgers back in '28, cementing the blues alongside country music, thus helping himself to a million-seller. ...

Joe Ely: The Venue, London

Live Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, March 1980

THEY BOP, they hop, they bounce like rampaging 'roos. They sing songs bearing titles as profound as 'She's My Baby, She's My Girl' and 'Do ...

The Everly Brothers: Roger White: Walk Right Back – The Everly Brothers (Plexus Books)

Book Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, December 1984

THANKFULLY THIS is not as I had feared – yet another yawn-provoking paste-up job, fashioned merely to cash in on the Everlys’ recent reunion tour, ...

Fad Gadget: It's A Fad Fad Fad World

Interview by Fred Dellar, Smash Hits, February 1982

By day he's mild-mannered Frank Tovey. But at night he dons disguise and becomes the fearsome Fad Gadget. Fred Dellar talks to both. ...

Aretha Franklin: How to Buy Aretha Franklin

Discography by Fred Dellar, MOJO, July 1997

DURING 1956, a 14-year-old Aretha, daughter of gospel superstar the Reverend C.L. Franklin, sang and played piano before an enthusiastic congregation at her father's new ...

Fungus: Dutch Folk Go Dutch

Profile by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, December 1975

THERE WAS A time when the Dutch folk scene just mirror-imaged that of Britain. For every traddie rendering 'Lord Randall' or 'Twa Corbies' at Loughborough ...

Fungus: Vlaardingen, Holland

Live Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, September 1975

ONSTAGE ARE FUNGUS, five beards in search, of folk-rock fame... and they're singing in Dutch. ...

Gong: Magik Brother, Mystic Sister; Gong Est Mort — Vive Gong!

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, November 1977

TWO CHAPTERS in the life of Daevid Allen, space dingo and nomad of nonsense. ...

Gong: Mysticism Before Noon

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, July 1974

FRED DELLAR. Nothing strange about that name is there? It's sort of, well, homely, Comforting. And he lives in Badger's Walk, too. A far cry ...

Gryphon: Medieval Knight Jousts At Rock Press Knaves

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, August 1974

RAY HARRYHAUSEN, as anyone who's seen The Golden Voyage of Sinbad will attest, knows all about strange creatures. So if he says that a Gryphon ...

Merle Haggard: If I Could Only Fly (Anti-Inc)

Review and Interview by Fred Dellar, MOJO, December 2000

A country music cornerstone tells it how it was. ...

Billie Holiday: How to Buy Billie Holiday

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, November 1997

TIME WAS when Billie Holiday records were hard to come by. But Motown's filmed version of her life, based on a dubious autobiography to which ...

Jack The Lad

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, March 1975

"STEELEYE ARE A jumped-up lot – we've had a standing challenge with them for six months now and they've never taken it up." ...

Bert Jansch: 'Bert Jansch? Not Still Going, Is He?'

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, October 1975

Certainly he is, still alive and well and producing records; rumours of his retirement have been exaggerated. ...

George Jones

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, June 1999

Every month we navigate the high-water marks, rapids and stagnant ponds of a prolific artist’s output, so you don’t have to. We continue with... ...

Louis Jordan: Going For The Long Jump!

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, August 1983

The last of the swingers, the first of the rockers, altoist Louis Jordan's influence stretches through BB King and David Bowie to the '80s jive ...

B.B. King: How to buy B.B. King

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, March 1998

HE’S FILED under ‘Blues’. Which is convenient. But Riley ‘Blues Boy’ King can be anything you want him to be — king of the juke ...

The Kinks

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, March 1997

Every month we navigate the highwater marks, rapids and stagnant ponds of a prolific artist’s CD output, so you don’t have to. We begin with... ...

The Korgis: Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime

Interview by Fred Dellar, Smash Hits, July 1980

WE'VE BEEN out and about on a photo session. It’s involved a wander round to the local skateboard park, now a decrepit slab of bumpy ...

Leo Kottke

Report and Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, August 1975

LEO KOTTKE'S come a long way from St. Louis – now he's got more stories to tell than British Rail has stale rolls... ...

Jerry Lee Lewis

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, May 2002

A PERFORMER who personifies rock'n'roll, Louisiana's Jerry Lee is 'The Killer' – the wildman of the piano and the provider of a zillion headlines. ...

Julie London: Cry Me A Cult Figure

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, March 1983

ONCE THERE was a girl, a bass and a guitar. Together they made a record called 'Cry Me A River', which turned the singer into ...

Magna Carta: Funky Folk Deliver Body Blow To Public Transport

Profile and Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, April 1976

IT WAS late, pretty late. And it was in an era where public transport seems loathe to operate when darkness falls. ...

Marmalade: Sweet Sounds And Sticky Patches

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, History of Rock, The, 1982

The Marmalade were an archetypal UK pop group who had the misfortune to operate in an era of progressive rock. ...

Paul McCartney: Macca's Ration Book Romance: 'We Three'

Comment by Fred Dellar, Rock's Backpages, February 2012

PAUL MCCARTNEY'S latest album, Kisses On The Bottom, is, to a great extent, based around a number of songs his father once loved: age-old standards ...

Moondog: Ain't Nothin' But A Moondog

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, MOJO, March 2004

DURING APRIL, 1953, US DJ Sid Gross was in England attempting to arrange for a British band to visit the States in exchange for an ...

Willie Nelson: How To Buy Willie Nelson

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, May 1997

TWO THINGS. Willie Nelson is not a country singer but a singer who just happens to fit neatly in the country section for those of ...

Mike Oldfield: Tom Newman: The Man Who Taped the Tubular Bells

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, February 1975

WHEN IT COMES to tape, who better to talk to than the guy who did the 2,000 over-dubs on Tubular Bells, engineer Tom Newman? ...

Mike Oldfield: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Mike Oldfield Finds Out That Success Has Its Problems

Interview by Fred Dellar, Smash Hits, January 1980

MIKE OLDFIELD strokes the tabby cat that sits on his lap. Though in the comfort of his own home, he's uneasy, unsure. It's a bad ...

Alan Parsons: Tales Of Mystery And Imagination

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, July 1976

A bearded, disembodied head appeared in the darkness. My blood ran cold. It was PARSONS I saw... ...

Tom Paxton

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, April 1975

"WHAT DO YOU think of the new album then?" ...

Bob Pegg: The Strains Of The Life Of A Non-Superstar

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, February 1975

IN 1972 Bob and Carol Pegg parted company and their band, Mr. Fox, one of the most individual folk-rock outfits, terminated its existence. ...

P.F.M.: Cook

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, January 1975

HERE'S A NICE fresh pizza, straight from our favourite Italian baking firm, manufactured live and steaming at gigs in Toronto and New York, last August. ...

Esther Phillips: Alone Again

Obituary by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, August 1984

ESTHER PHILLIPS died on 7 August. I read this somewhere in the small print of a national newspaper. "LOS ANGELES – Blues and jazz singer ...

Esther Phillips: Laissez-Faire in Bouffant Hair

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, October 1975

ESTHER PHILLIPS doesn't get too knocked out when she scores with a hit single. ...

Pink Floyd: Alexandra Palace 1967: Syd Barrett Wasn’t Feeling At All Well...

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, MOJO, April 1997

He was seeing things that others only eyed in kaleidoscopes. But he was aware that Roger Waters was dragging him on-stage; dawn was breaking and ...

Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels: Mitch Ryder: From The Detroit To The Top Ten

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, History of Rock, The, 1983

Mitch Ryder meant guts, sweat, bump 'n' grind. His skin was white but he sounded black. He came from Detroit and he should have worked ...

Ben Sidran: The Doctor Is In (Arista)

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, November 1977

IN SOME ways Sidran is an anachronism. Though he's got something of a rock pedigree after paying his dues as side man with Steve Miller, ...

Nina Simone: How To Buy Nina Simone

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, April 1998

IN SOME WAYS, things haven't changed overmuch since Eunice Waymon opted to change her name to Nina Simone so that her mother wouldn't find out ...

Mel Tormé, Nina Simone: Gus Wildi's Bebopping Jazz Baby: Bethlehem Records

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, Rock's Backpages, March 2009

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1953. American TV companies were gearing up for
the first programmes in colour, Playboy was cock-a-hoop about featuring
Marilyn Monroe on the cover and ...

Frank Sinatra: The Reprise Years

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, September 1975

YEARS IS JUST one enormous sampler really – a fifty-track, four album, boxed set containing cuts from nearly every album Sinatra's made for Reprise since ...

Phoebe Snow: Phoebe Snow

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, January 1975

HMMM...NOT BAD. Quite a jazz lady actually – mind you she's got her sights on that kind of bluesy, folksy, nostalgia-filled hinterland that's proved so ...

Spud

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, November 1975

FRESHERS' WEEK IS a great time to visit Dublin's Trinity College. ...

Steely Dan: A Dan for all Seasons

Discography by Fred Dellar, Vox, December 1990

One more glance through the rock files to evaluate the deeds and doings of Steely Dan. Flicking the pages – Fred Dellar ...

Al Stewart: Of Simon, Seers And Ages Past

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, November 1973

IF YOU'RE in New York at the end of the seventies, don't drink any water – because it's liable to be poisoned. ...

Rod Stewart: How to Buy Rod Stewart

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, May 1998

"A WHITE person can sing the blues with just as much conviction as a negro. All these negro singers singing about 'walking down the railroad ...

Supertramp: Crime Of The Century (A&M)

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, October 1974

OWN UP – you'd written Supertramp off, hadn't you? ...

June Tabor: Sensuous Librarian Reveals All

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, October 1976

SUDDENLY MY HEART STARTED TO POUND. ...

Tammy Wynette: First Lady Of Country

Obituary by Fred Dellar, MOJO, June 1998

TAMMY always stood by her fans. Often at the end of a gig, she'd just sit around signing autographs. Once, when her life was threatened, ...

Tangerine Dream: Exclusiv interview mit Tangerine Dream

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, June 1974

They were in Oxfordshire, mixing it at the Manor and sunbathing with scantily clad ladies in the presence of fully clad FRED DELLAR, who here ...

James Taylor: J. T. (CBS)

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, August 1977

BACK IN 71, it seemed that the Sweet Baby was every body's favourite. He'd already had a massive hit with 'Fire And Rain', while a ...

Twiggy: Royal Festival Hall, London

Live Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, July 1976

I GUESS they popped the champers at Phonogram after this glitzy shindig at the Home of Fest. For hadn't Mike Harding, had 'em clutching at ...

Tom Waits: Ronnie Scott's, London

Live Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, June 1976

HE TAKES the stage with what he describes as his don't care-a-shit shuffle. Very apt ...

Tom Waits: Would you say this man was attempting to convey an impression of sordid Bohemianism?

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, June 1976

I CAME IN on the southbound flyer, then hoofed it halfway across town to see Tom. From a nearby window drifted the sound of Billie ...

Scott Walker: Walker Scott We Had It All

Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, September 1974

WE HAD IT ALL is the country album Walker's been planning for sometime. And it's country the Walker way, sophisticated and on velvet. Del Newman ...

The Walker Brothers: Harmony and rivalry from the Walkers

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, History of Rock, The, 1982

In the mid sixties, just as every worthwhile group in Britain seemed to be setting up tours in the States, Scott Noel Engel, John Joseph ...

The Who: How To Buy The Who

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, January 1998

Every month we navigate the high-water marks, rapids and stagnant ponds of a prolific artist’s output, so you don’t have to. We continue with... ...

Hank Williams

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, MOJO, December 1998

He couldn't read. He couldn't write. He couldn't stop screwing up. Yet Hank Williams is a giant of popular music without whom rock'n'roll might never ...

Stevie Wonder, Bags Of Chips And Clapton

Report and Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, February 1972

NME calls in at all-night recording session ...

List of genre pieces

Yip Harburg and the Story of 'Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead'

Retrospective by Fred Dellar, Rock's Backpages, April 2013

THOUGH I HAVE tremendous sympathy for those who lost their jobs, their dignity and sometimes their lives, following the pit closures and ensuing strike of ...

How to Buy Greenwich Village Folk

Guide by Fred Dellar, MOJO, November 1998

TOM PAXTON recalls that he, along with Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, David Blue, Eric Andersen, Pat Sky and Phil Ochs, once called the Village home. ...

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