Malcolm’s lifelong love of instrumental music can be traced back to his very early childhood in Shrewsbury, England, where he took over the family gramophone and played to death an extensive collection of dance band records, supplemented at intervals by a splendid assortment from music-loving relatives who, like his parents, were accomplished ballroom dancers.
A move to Edinburgh proved to pay dividends for his intense interest from 1960 on in guitar instrumentals, and in The Shadows and The Ventures in particular — they inspired him, as they did countless others, to take up the guitar and play in a group. Shadows records were easy enough to lay hands on with some hard saving. The Ventures posed a problem, as Britain was not the best place to keep tabs on the steady stream of releases emerging from their home country, and halfway through the decade costly Japanese albums came into the picture as well. Luckily, help was at hand from an amazingly well-stocked record shop in Leith, Edinburgh which specialised in imports and became a second home on Saturdays: in return for providing a bit of assistance behind the counter he was given the chance to lend an ear to those he couldn’t afford, and could also regularly pore over various informative trade publications from the UK, the Continent and North America.
A University career occupied Malcolm’s pen until in 1999 he turned his attention to writing about The Shadows, initially in an effort to make sense of the enormous pile of CDs he had accumulated by then. In recent years he has become one of the world’s foremost commentators on the group and their recorded work. He has reviewed (mainly in the fanzine Shadsfax), in considerable depth, almost eighty Shadows and Shadows related CDs, books and videos/DVDs. As well as annotating a number of CDs, he has acted as a consultant on Shadows Reissues for Crimson, Demon, Eagle Records, EMI, M&S and Union Square. Several years ago he set himself the task of both documenting and commenting upon every known Shadows (and Cliff Richard/Shadows) release (78rpm, 45rpm, EP, LP and CD) from all over the world.
He has now published five detailed and highly reviewed studies: A Guide To The Shadows And Hank Marvin On CD (1999); The Shadows At EMI – The Vinyl Legacy (2003); The Shadows At Polydor – The 80s And Beyond (2005); (with Les Woosey) an updated, richly illustrated and greatly expanded edition of A Guide To The Shadows And Hank Marvin On CD (2005); (with Rob Bradford and Les Woosey) A Pocket Guide To Shadow Music (2006), judged by Alan Clayson in Record Collector to be “a ‘good read’ as much as a painstakenly detailed and indexed track-by-track breakdown” and “as definitive as it could be”. Malcolm also provided the programme notes for the Final Tour brochures of both Hank Marvin (2002) and The Shadows themselves (2004–5). Much more information can also be found on this website which is dedicated to The Shadows and their music.
He hopes one day to devote web pages to The Ventures as well.
Dave was born and raised in Dalston in London’s East End. Obsessed by music from an early age, he was captivated by The Ventures’ ‘Lullaby Of The Leaves’ when a fourteen year old schoolboy in 1961. “I took my first serious loan out in 1963 to import three Ventures LPs direct from the States, which required a big family conference for approval. They cost around ten pounds — an enormous sum of money for me in those days — and I agreed to pay this back at 2/6d per week. I hadn’t reckoned on The Ventures prolific output though, so I spent most of the early sixties in a permanent state of debt! Later on I discovered a dingy basment in Soho where Transat Imports plied their trade in American albums, rushing there every few months to pick up the latest Ventures LP. Waiting for the official UK release was never an option for me.”
He and Alan Taylor set up Pipeline magazine in 1989 to publicise rock instrumentals. In this capacity he interviewed many of the sixties most significant musicans including prominent session players Eric Ford, Big Jim Sullivan and Joe Moretti, as well as members of The Shadows, The Dakotas, Sounds Incorporated, John Barry Seven, The Outlaws, The Eagles, Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers, The Chantays, The Marketts, The Wailers, The Champs, The Fireballs, The Ventures, and producer Joe Saraceno amongst a host of others.
In 1992 Dave and Alan organised the first Pipeline Convention. The idea was to present rock instrumentals live on a London stage. Since then the event has featured bands from all over the world: America, Spain, Canada, Finland, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, as well as the UK. The Pipeline Convention has been responsible for the re-formation of many bands who had not played together since the sixties, including The Cougars, The Fentones, The Packabeats, Nero & The Gladiators, The Moontrekkers, The Hunters and The Tornados, as well as hosting performances by George Tomsco and Bob Spalding. Bruce Welch is a regular visitor and this annual event, now based in Watford, is still going strong in 2008.
The Pipeline editors have also been involved in writing notes and compiling CDs for various record labels and their work includes compact discs by The Wailers, The Champs, The Tornados, The Rockin’ Rebels, The Fireballs, The String-A-Longs and Sandy Nelson as well as many others. The jewel in their crown though is The Ventures In The Vaults series on Ace Records which was first started in 1997 and is currently up to Volume 4. Apart from numerous rarities the series has been responsible for releasing the equivalent of three bulging LPs worth of previously unknown and unissued material.
In his spare time Dave also plays drums for The Secrets. Fellow band members are well known names in the instrumental world: Jim Nugent (lead guitar), Ray Liffen (rhythm guitar), Trev Faull (keyboards) and Pete Walter (bass). The band have produced two CDs named Top Secret and Secret Society.
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