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Mike Atherton

Mike Atherton

Born in Derbyshire fairly recently (he claims), Mike first developed an interest in writing through his father, an English teacher and author. His first foray into the not-yet-printed word was at grammar school with 'Private Ear', a scurrilous handwritten broadsheet based on a well-known satirical magazine but without the finesse. He wrote regularly for, and eventually edited, his weekly student newspaper before embarking on a language teaching career which took him to south-western France, London, Hertfordshire and Surrey, ending up with ten years as head of languages at a leading prep school in Sussex. He left this post several years ago after ascertaining that the new headmaster was a jerk. Heartbroken, the school died two years later.

His musical interests, which centred around soul, blues and vintage reggae (though he also gives house room to '60s French music and The Ventures) led him into writing as a sideline. Beginning with (Black) Echoes, for whom he still writes, he contributed to The Daily Telegraph, Record Collector, Blues & Rhythm, Blues & Soul and The Wire. A keen interest in out-of-date transport led to his work being published in Railway World, Old Glory and Canal Boat magazines. He was also active as a club, radio and mobile disc-jockey, and to date has had over 100 sets of LP and CD liner notes published.

He and his wife Marion celebrated their silver wedding in 2012. They divide their time between their rural Norfolk home, an apartment on the Costa del Sol and a narrowboat moored in Oxfordshire.

23 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

Albert Collins: The Ice Man

Profile and Interview by Mike Atherton, Wire, The, September 1987

Our blues section opens with a profile of the man who put a chill on the heart of the music. ...

Bobby Bland: Bobby "Blue" Bland: Two Steps From The Blues (Soul Jam)

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, 2012

WHEN BOBBY BLAND'S debut LP Two Steps From The Blues crept out over here on Vogue in the early '60s, one reviewer, whether through bitchiness, ...

Johnny Clarke, Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Derrick Morgan, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Max Romeo: Working Like Trojans

Report and Interview by Mike Atherton, Record Collector, July 2003

Mike Atherton delves into the revitalised world of the renowned reggae label Trojan. ...

The Dells: Originals: The Dells

Retrospective by Mike Atherton, Echoes, 2008

THE RAYS, formed by five youngsters from Harvey, Illinois in 1952, were just one of the thousands of doo-wop groups springing up in America's cities ...

Fairport Convention: Fairport's Cropredy Convention

Live Review by Mike Atherton, Record Collector, November 2012

IN MIDDLE ENGLAND, an Oxfordshire field came back to life to celebrate the 45th anniversary of folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention, whose acoustic set launched this ...

George Faith, Lee 'Scratch' Perry: George Faith: Super Eight (Trojan)

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, May 2012

TROJAN RECORDS' resolution for 2012 was obviously to make all fans of creative, forward-looking, barmy producer Lee "Scratch" Perry very happy indeed, and so far ...

Tommy Hunt: Only Human

Book Review by Mike Atherton, Record Collector, March 2009

WE ALL KNOW Tommy Hunt the former member of star doowop group the Flamingos, the '60s 'Human' hitmaker, the '70s UK 'Loving On The Losing ...

The Jones Girls, Johnny Otis: Various Artists: Good To The Last Drop – Ember Soul

Sleeve and programme notes by Mike Atherton, Fantastic Voyage Records, June 2009

EMBER RECORDS was founded in London in 1960 by Jeffrey S. Kruger. A longtime jazz fan – he played piano in his own band Sonny ...

Denise LaSalle, Rockin' Sidney: Rockin' Sidney and Denise LaSalle: The Toot Toot Route

Report by Mike Atherton, Black Echoes, 20 July 1986

Sidney Simien spent part of 1984 recording new songs at his home studio in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Unremarkable as this information may seem, it was ...

Lovey's Original Trinidad String Band: Calypso Dawn (Bear Family)

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, 2013

THIS IS A REMARKABLE album. It captures the music of a Trinidadian dance band which, while undertaking a tour of the USA, recorded sessions for ...

Ann Peebles: Brand New Classics

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, May 2006

THE RETURN OF two legendary names from the past: Track Records, the label which gave us Jimi Hendrix and the Who, not to mention fine ...

Rico Rodriguez: Rico – Trombone Man: Anthology 1961-71 (TJDDD2222)

Sleeve and programme notes by Mike Atherton, Trojan, 2005

FROM THE Duke Reid Group to the Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, from ghetto studios to the stage of Top Of The Pops, from ...

Edwin Starr: Starr Quality

Obituary by Mike Atherton, Record Collector, June 2003

FEW SOUL FANS would expect one of their heroes to adopt the UK as his spiritual and literal home. Even fewer would expect such a ...

List of genre pieces

The Harder They Come: Playhouse Theatre, London

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, Summer 2008

AS AN OTHERWISE unmemorable comedian used to remark, it's the way you tell 'em. It's not much of a story on the face of it: ...

Noel Hawks and Jah Floyd: Reggae Going International 1967-1976 – The Bunny "Striker" Lee Story

Book Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, 2012

IN 2002, BUNNY LEE asked seasoned music journalist Noel Hawks when he was going to write up his story in book form. In the best ...

Various Artists: Behind Closed Doors (Kent)

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, 2013

AARON NEVILLE is a remarkable bloke. Muscular and tattooed, he looks like a bodybuilder or a bouncer, until he opens his mouth and sings: the ...

Various Artists: Blue Beat 1962

Review by Mike Atherton, Secret Records, December 2012

NUMBER ONE in a field of one, and an increasingly fertile field at that, isn't a bad place to be. That's where the Blue Beat ...

The Album Cover Art Of Studio One Records (Soul Jazz)

Book Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, December 2011

WITHOUT STUDIO ONE there would still have been reggae music, but it might well have developed differently. ...

Ray Topping, 1943-2008

Obituary by Mike Atherton, unpublished, 2008

RAY TOPPING, who has died aged 65, was arguably the world's foremost researcher of and authority on rock'n'roll and blues. ...

Roben Jones: Memphis Boys – The Story of American Studios (University Press Of Mississippi)

Book Review by Mike Atherton, Blues & Rhythm, 2011

"THOSE SEVEN MUSICIANS, the American rhythm section, are the most creative and innovative studio musicians I know," said Memphis promotion man Marty Lacker, who, having ...

Tim Brown: The Wigan Casino Years (Outta Sight)

Book Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, February 2011

THE TITLE of this striking new book is carefully chosen. Of course there was Northern Soul before the Wigan Casino and, almost 30 years after ...

Various Artists: 100 Years Of The Blues (Universal)

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, February 2012

BLUES HAS BEEN an integral part of popular music for decades, and this new 4CD set celebrates its birth, its growth and its ever-widening influence. ...

Various Artists: For Northern Soul Collectors Volume 1 (EMI)

Review by Mike Atherton, Echoes, 2012

OVER THE YEARS, the mighty EMI company has come to control many American catalogues, from giants like Capitol, Liberty and United Artists to smaller and ...

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