I've just today heard of the passing on March 9th of an old neighbour and friend, Mickey Jones.
The lady from the flat on my left introduced herself as Jenny, and told me that her husband was Mickey Jones of the Man band.
I'd heard of Man, knew that they were Welsh, that they had been popular, without having major 'hit' records, and that they had split up a few years previously. But I didn't know any of their music; Londoners are spoiled for choice and there's only so much that one can absorb.
Mickey proved to be one of the nicest guys I've ever known: both he and Jenny had absolutely no 'rock star' pretensions and they shared a life which depended, as far as I knew, on his guitar playing.
Until the reformation of Man in 1983, Mickey's main music outlet was the Flying Pigs, a trio which mainly played the pub circuit. I went to many of them, and that's the back of my head in this picture.
What I treasure from those gigs was Mickey's talent to literally send shivers down my backbone. Over the solid groove generated by the bass of Mick Hawksworth and drums of Phil Little, whose eyesight was much worse than mine, Mickey would sing in a strangely angelic way, high, pure and only, perhaps, as the Welsh can sing.
Although Mickey could play blues, reggae and country, what we'd really relish and wait for were the moments when his guitar would take over and his solos would reach those parts that few ever manage.
These comments are taken from the BBC obit page.
He was one of the true unsung guitar heroes of his generation. His angular style of playing, colourful tones and wah wah work emulated both Zappa and Jerry Garcia, but brought with it a unique Welsh flavour that was forever Man!
….. he could make the guitar talk.
….. he will live on in the memories of everyone who was fortunate to see him play – each solo was unique! He deserves recognition as one of the most talented guitarists of the 20th century.
His improvisation skills were legendary, and he had the ability to put you under a cosmic spell when going off on one of his incredible long solos.
Micky never received the recognition he deserved but he is right up there in the top five of guitarists such as Clapton and Green as far as I am concerned.
Ah, those twenty minute guitar solos. I've got a cassette of the Flying Pigs, including their demos and a song, Breaking Up, recorded in October 1981 at the George Canning pub in front of an audience of, maybe, ten. That track, recorded off a couple of microphones, can still break me up.
It's Sunday today, a quiet day in Jakartass Towers, but tomorrow I'm going to play all my Mickey Jones tracks.
Man, I'm sad.
Mickey once told me that he'd taught Status Quo their four chords.
Shame they got the fame and fortune – and he didn't.
I was at this gig, one of many euphoric evenings.