Craig aka Mr Sayers


Like other teenage Hip Hop fans Craig; aka Mr Sayers, craved to hear more of the original songs which Hip Hop producers were sampling and inadvertently ended up with a large record collection covering a broad range of genres.


In pre-internet days this meant hours of dedicated detective work and foot-slogging to find them.


He repeatedly encountered 60s and 70s psychedelic sounds which triggered a whole new obssession.


It‘s a route familiar to a select band of late eighties teenagers who were uninterested

Craig Sayers
Craig Sayers

in either music from the pop charts blaring from the radio or the indie scene which revolved around devouring the New Musical Express and listening to John Peel.


Forumusic wanted to know more about Craig's transition from Electro and Hip Hop to American and European Psych and asked him to share a selection of his current favourite sounds.


At the annual Byker Groove event in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in April 2012 we spent a memorable Saturday night at the Tanners Arms pub listening to DJ sets from a handful of the UK's most dedicated vinyl fiends.


The following Sunday morning was spent digging the crates at Tynemouth market in the company of Craig plus Lee Birchall and Fuz, the hosts of Eclectic Mud, a vinyl-only nighter in Edinburgh where DJs play a mix of rn'b, rock, ska, mod, psych & country to an enthusiatic crowd of regulars.



My parents weren’t really into music. The first type of music that resonated with me when I heard it was Electro. 


All the robot voices, drum machines and stuff that didn’t sound like anything else.  I remember hearing Doug E Fresh beatboxing The Show and Whistle - Just Buggin ‘  on Top of The Pops.  I’ve got to be honest and say I didn’t like either of them very much and still don't but then I started hanging around with some guys that had the Electro Streetsounds comps and it was that  Mantronix sound alongside things like  Freestyle – Don ‘t Stop The Rock I thought was absolutely great. 


We had our ghetto-blaster with the 3D Super Woofer and just sit in the park listening to all that really loud. It was brilliant.


I liked the whole package of it though realised later that different strands had all been conveniently put together by the media.

Craig Sayers
Craig Sayers

The visual element of grafitti was a big part of the Hip Hop scene in the rural area Durham where we lived. We knew all about breakdancing too but it didn’t have the same impact on us as it had on places down south. 


I came into the scene on the back end of breakdancing. The fact that it was already on Top Of The Pops as a kind of novelty underlines how late to it all I was!


Hip Hop and Graffiti


Hip Hop was a very grassroots, DIY, let’s get involved thing so everyone I knew was either breakdancing, writing grafitti or wanted to be on the turntables and scratching.  There weren’t many people into MC-ing. 



I didn’t have rhythm for breakdancing and couldn't afford DJ equipment let alone records.  I was always drawing and doodling so when graffiti came along I just sort of fell into it.


I remember my first graffiti very clearly.  I was still at school and it was during the six weeks holiday of 1987 when I did my first piece.  It was  a real buzz. I never perceived it as being a cool thing to do it just felt cheeky and creative at the same time.


Digging Deeper


Initally nothing I was involved with had any significance to me but  as I got older I felt obligated to research it more; the nerd in me I guess, the whole black-identity and American politics and then there were the samples.


The aspect about  using bits of other peoples sounds fascinated me and I read David Toop  - Rappattack with stories about the original Hip Hop crews powering their systems into streetlights and getting the crowds to dance to stuff they’d never danced to before and teasing them about it.


'You don’t like the Monkees do you ? 

No! Hell we don’t like The Monkees. 

Well you’ve just been dancing to them! I've just been loopng Mary Mary.'

Craig Sayers
Craig Sayers

Craig Sayers

One of the records that blew them and me away was Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express. 


All the black guys refusing to believe it was a bunch of whiite, square looking Germans.  I know the stories are all well-known now but to me back then they were a revelation.


I fell right into Hip Hop’s Golden Era stuff.  It was such a rich melting pot using parts of this and parts of that and I went off to explore that.  After  Kraftwerk I know a lot of people made the progression forward into House, Techno and Jungle.


I was always more about going back to find out about the parts that made up the songs and in that respect Hip Hop really worked on me to the enth degree. It was the fact that stuff came from such unexpected places.  You couldn’t write anything off.

Craig Sayers

Craig Sayers

First Vinyl


The first thing I bought was Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill on cassette from Woolworth’s.  Cassette tapes were cheaper and more convenient than vinyl back then because I had a ghetto blaster.  I didn’t get a hi-fi for playing records until my 18th birthday.  The first record I ever bought was Public Enemy - Rebel Without A Pause / You're Gonne Get Yours on 12". 


Later on, around 2006 I was working at a club where Public Enemy played and my mate Paul was like ‘Craig ! They’re doing a soundcheck, get yourself down here !’ I went frantic finding my Rebel 12" and then rushed down there.  By the time I got there I could only Flavor Flav but he was a super-nice guy and signed it for me.


Jazzy Jeff, De La Soul…they all played at this club I worked at and I went through a proper fan period of getting older Golden Era lps signed by the artists. 

I’d know who was playing would just get down there when they were soundchecking.  I interviewed a few of them.  I interviewed Prince Paul for VG+, and Rae Kwon from Wu Tang.  I was a general runner, helping out with the guest list, promotion, sticking posters in kebab shop windows. Getting lps signed and interviewing some of them was a perk of doing it.


DJ Premier was about to play at the club but he came up via Heathrow quite late and his records got lost at the airport. 


I was at my house pretty late on and was getting ready to go out when the phone rang.  It was his Premier's manager asking if he could borrow some records. Premier wanted more old school stuff to play so I had to get a set together and take it to the club for him.   


He was happy with them and said I had great taste! (laughs). Being a 30-year old Hip Hop nerd I just had to get more autographs and did so whenever any of my heroes played.  I’d never get rid of these.

Craig Sayers

Craig Sayers

Offending Biz Markie


Biz Markie is one of the biggest guys I have ever seen.  Six foot eight or something!  Unfortunately I started my interview with him on the wrong foot. 


Prince Paul who I had interviewed earlier was a lovely guy but had made a throwaway comment about how Biz Markie had spoilt things for everybody by sampling Gilbert O’ Sullivan. It lead to a big copyright court case which threw the spotlight onto the legality of sampling and all that. 


I made a rookie mistake of quoting this to Biz Markie right near the start of the interview and he was less than pleasant after that.  He’s a real character though and I would imagine on the right day he’d be great company.


I got a hi-fi for my 18th and despite being on a YTS scheme I had a bit of money so I could finally buy some records.  Prior to that I had to settle for friends taping them for me. A good mate had one shelf full of records on a dressing table. I thought he had every Hip Hop record ever made!

Looking back of course it was probably barely over 50 records but there was something so appealing about looking at all the covers and the spines.  It blew my mind. I really thought that was something.


The next tier I suppose was through grafitti connections when I started travelling beyond Newcastle to other cities 


I met this slightly older guy called Bob who had a big record collection. He played me Bob James – Take Me To The Mardi Gras and I was like ‘What? There’s no rapping on here ?’


Run DMC had used it and I hadn’t realised or comprehended at that point what a sample was. I’d just assumed all these Hip Hop artists had done all the music on drum machines or whatever. I knew there was something different about Eric B and Rakim - I Know You Got Soul but I thought it was more of a cover version. I didn’t realise any of this stuff was sampling.

Craig Sayers
Craig Sayers

Bob’s dad, and his brother, had records all over the house, loads of different stuff. His older brother was really into punk and had masses of punk singles. His dad had Frank Zappa – Freakout and as an 18-year old hearing that was insane.


Parliament, Funkadelic, it was a lot for me to take in and his dad had a load of 60s psychedelic stuff too like Head by The Monkees. It blew my mind.


A friend bought a bunch of singles from Sunderland market.  I remember one was Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove and another was Al Green – I’m So Tired Of Being Alone and that was it for me. 


I hadn’t bought second-hand records at that point and seeing someone finding all this good stuff sent me off down that path.  I started collecting black music first.  Funk and funky soul.  I knew to look out for stuff like Sly & The Family Stone and Funkadelic but the first second-hand record I ever bought was This IsJames Brown from Houghton-le-Spring carboot for 20p.

If records were a pound or under the general rule of thumb passed down from my mate Bob was you’re looking for Fros and Flares from ’68 – ’75.’


Other Bob wisdom was to avoid live lps generally and to look at the track titles on the back because if a lot had the words ‘love’ in them it would probably be ballad-orientated.


At this point there were a lot of lps about because Cds were coming in and everyone was getting rid of their collections. 


Funkadelic - Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow was a really relevant record for me because it ticked two boxes, being both psychedelic looking and having fros and flares.


I paid £4 for it which was proper money to me back then.  It was my pride and joy for a while because it felt like digging deep.  It’s one of my top 100 albums.

Craig Sayers
Craig Sayers

Craig Sayers

Funkadelic were very influential to me as a collector because they were the first artists I decided I was going to be fairly completist about.


I loved their lps because they had those Pedro Bell designed covers and comics in them.  


Around this time I found  a copy of Record Collector with George Clinton on the cover and their complete discography in. 


I got the remaining two I needed when I went on-line in the early 00s. At Utrecht a couple of years ago there was a sealed copy of the Earth Tour lp with the iron-on T-shirt transfer in it.  I was very tempted but didn't get it and regret that now. 


I went to see Funkadelic in Leeds. They came on stage to Maggot Brain and I picked up this dodgy boot.  I wish I’d kept more of the memoribilia like concert tickets and such.  I guess I get nerdier as I get older.

Craig Sayers

When I picked up a copy of  the Funky Nassau - The Beginning of the End  lp for a quid in the early 90s I thought I’d found the rarest record in the world. 


I was starting to go to car boots at this time and I guess it was all a bit like Soul Strut ‘Little Dude' moves.’


I know it’s not rare but it wasn’t common to pick stuff like this up in the North East of England.  Shortly afterwards I also found The Head Hunters – Survival Of The Fittest. Around 1992 I had another friend who was sending off for Soul Brother lists.


We’d dream about the lps on them and learned about a lot of other artists but it also made us realise some stuff we’d found ourselves at car boots was worth serious  money.


I saw Survival Of The Fittest on one for £30 which I’d just got for a pound from a bootsale. I thought that was amazing and outrageous.

This whole period I was getting more into samples plus I was hearing more psychedelic sounds at Bob’s house. 


We were always listening to his dads 60s stuff and I clearly remember after teetering around psychedelic stuff for a while hearing a triple Cd compilation that Sequel put out called The Psychedelic Years and it’s follow up a year later. That sealed it for me, it just blew me away. 


As I said before  we’d been listening to stuff like Zappa’s Freakout and there’s a fairly long track one one side with a lot of beats in it.  As a kid hearing those mad hippies, I don’t think I could have heard anything more outrageous.


My next obsession was with Love.  There was this three tier thing  that fascinated me. Three different generations getting something out of Love for different reasons.   

The Psychedelic Years

The Left Banke

Bob’s dad liked Love because he grew up with it, Bob and I who were Hip Hop fans fans liked them and his punk-loving brother was also digging them. 


On that Sequel comp there’s a non-album track  called We Belong Together which blew me away and then on the follow-up album there’s August.  I just went off on a tangent and got obssessed with Love.  


That was followed soon after by The Left Banke.  Two albums of perfect pop music.  How they were never huge I’ll never know. I actually met Nigel (Campag Record on VG+) at a market stall when I was buying a Left Banke lp . 


They're one of his favourite bands. We never mentioned Hip Hop but it transpired he was into it and was obssessed with the Ultimate Breaks and Beats lps. 


I’d been on-line by then and got a print-out of all the artists on the lps from the Dusty Groove website.  

I was very late to the internet.  Getting information about records for me throughout the 90s was about talking to people at the market or actually seeing or hearing something.  There was no easy route to any information. 


Now you just go on the internet to find things out but back then you had to just go out and get amongst it, make errors and buy crap. Any gem of information you got from someone else was like gold dust.


I bumped into Sie and Chris Vulture down at Chester-Le –Street market on the stall run by Dave Brown.


The Vinyl Vulture website and forum wasn’t up back then but Chris and Sie had started Baggin’ Up which was the equivalent back then of a blog I guess ? They were working on that at the time.


The £17 I paid for Nuggets in 1991 was most I'd ever spent on a record. I still like that font and the cover.

Craig Sayers

Later on a guy called John Porteous from Pet Sounds was talking about Utrecht Record Fair once so I already knew of it when I read about it on the Vinyl Vulture website. 


I’ve been four times now and it’s unbelievable.  I do my research and with foreign titles being harder to remember I write everything down.


These are not Wants books as such, more like a reminder of what’s on my radar.   It’s hard because often the same record will have a different cover for the French, German or Belgian release so it can get tricky and the most innocuous sounding and crap records can look amazing. 


I get information from listening to Ebay soundclips and checking blogs.  I muse over my notebooks in the hotel and I think 'perhaps I should have looked for that one’ or ‘I think I’ll ask that specific dealer for that one because he had similar stuff of that ilk.’

The good thing with Utrecht on Dealers Day is you can say to a guy ‘Right I want that record, that record and that record.  I like those kinds of sounds.  Can you advise me if there’s anything else that’s like them as well?' 


And they’re very helpful at pointing out other stuff and playing it for you.


At the first two Utrechts I was very shaky knowledge-wise about finding stuff but going there moved my taste in a slightly different direction away from US psych and more towards the European stuff. 


When I go to Utrecht now, Lee Birchall and I are like digging partners.  We go back to back through all the crates.  I’ll show him this and he’ll show me that and your knowledge and the speed you can look through crates is effectively doubled. 


It’s a good formula, a bit like a Blitzkreig team! 

Craig Sayers

Lee Birchall

If he finds a record I know is really good but I don’t own it  myself I’ll tell him it’s good and that he should get it and he does the same for me.    


When we get back to the hotel and listen to each others stuff I’m as envious of as many of the things he’s found as he is of mine.  It’s all swings and roundabouts and we just wind each other up.


I met Lee through Chris Vulture in the early 00s around the time we were all obssessed with hunting down funky tracks on easy listening lps.


The thing about that whole 'finding funk in unusual places thing' was that it immediately became apparent these were records I could  get in charity shops quite easily because I’d already seen them. 


I was able to build a collection of them very quickly which was refreshing because the black US funk type records I’d been looking for previously was getting harder and more expensive to get. 

Lee Birchall

Craig Sayers
Craig Sayers

With psych records you could never say to a dealer Hey have you got any psych? because you knew everyone was into it and it was going to be pricey.  You never kidded yourself you could home with a big bag of psych because there’s no way it would be within your budget. Thinking back now my friend Bob was only a year older than me but was up on a load of great funky easy listening sounds very early on. 


I have a CD compilation he did around  94 / 95,  which had Sandie Shaw - Reviewing The Situation on which he must have owned because it had neither been comped back then nor was it on any Pye samplers. It also had CCS, Indian Rope Man, The Four Seasons – Genuine Imitation Life Gazette.  He had great eclectic taste but never had much money.  He just used to go to car boot sales all the time.


The only person I could compare Bob to in terms of his digging attitude, making the best of what little money he had and finding what was out there, is Towny. 




He’d just buy stuff because it was odd and listen intently to find the good stuff. Buying records online now you can look for specific types of stuff and get a lot very quickly because  it’s all there.


In the real world it’s all about circumstances, what’s out there, what’s in front of you and you get what you can.  Online you can decide you’re going to collect French Freakbeat for the next twelve months and immediately get a lot.


The type of person  I find weird is anyone who isn’t into collecting or pursuing anything.


People with no particular interests or preferences for music, fashion or anything at all, those are the people I find weird.  


I can control my spending but I’m not into watching television so I’m pretty much looking for stuff all the time. My partner is very patient! I think it is an obssession I’ve got but if I didn’t obssess over this it would just be something else! 

Craig Sayers

Craig Sayers

Some people find any sort of collecting weird. I don’t care what people are into or what level they’re into it as long as it's personal to them. If they’re passionate about it then they’re alright with me. 


The terms blur I suppose but I sometimes wonder am I being passionate or am I being obssessive?  but I like the way music ties you to certain places and memories.




Ian Townsend / Craig aka Mr Sayers / April 2012



Here follows a selection of tracks that were residing in Craig's play out box in April 2012. The soundclips attached are not visible on a tablet but can be played on most PCs.

The Fabulous Conti Family presents Sounds Of America


Just my type of private press lp!


A great geeky cover and one unexpectedly funky track, which comes off sounding like the Osmonds doing a session with Sly Stone!


I wish this type of thing would turn up in the UK as most people wouldn't give it a second glance.


I know nothing about them apart from they did at least one other LP and Kon & Amir did a re-edit of a track one of the tracks from it..






The Fabulous Conti Family - Little Bongo Boy

The Fabulous Conti Family
Selections from Godspell Last Galaxie

Last Galaxie -

Selections from Godspell


The Ken Scott - Archivist book alerted me to this one. This is a great Xian lp with awesome funky libraryesque production and pinch of fuzz guitar.


Ive seen people online hyping this as having Axelrod type moves and whilst not entirely true it does have leanings in that direction, with the last track Finale being as close as it gets to sounding like the 'Axe'.


Ive picked the best two tracks, but it's pretty listenable throughout to my ears. I wouldn't go as far as repping it as solid though.


Last Galaxie - Light Of The World


Last Galaxie - Finale


The Crosscurrent Community - Let The Cosmos Ring


The cover and the title of this always looked promising and the final push I needed was reading a glowing review in Ken Scott - Archivist confirming it was as good as it looks!


It's basically Canadian God-botherers getting 'out there' to reach a younger, hipper audience. I'm not sure how it was received at the time, one can only imagine!


The thirteen minute long Genesis is as out there as it gets for a bunch of Christians. The lp is a bit all over the place but the highlight to my ears is this:


The Crosscurrent Community - Here's Joy


The Crosscurrent Community - Genesis (excerpt)


Let The Cosmos Ring
Bit A Sweet Hypnotic

Bit 'A Sweet - Hypnotic 1


On of my all time favourite psych lps. Depending on your tolerance of the 'Ye olde good time' tracks on 60s lps this may or may not be a solid listen!


I ride and love the LP in it's entirety. When it hits the spot on Speak Softly it reminds me a lot Freebourne - Peek Impressions, a top-notch three figure psych lp I can't see myself owning anytime soon.


I was hard pushed to pick tracks and I hope like me you also enjoy drum heavy Beatles covers. I was very happy to catch this on a set sale over on Waxidermy.


Bit 'A Sweet - Speak Softly


Bit 'A Sweet - If I Needed Someone


The Graham Gouldman Thing - S/T


It's another favourite and I was hipped to it by Soul Strut of all places. I have no idea why this only came out in the US! Before songwriter Gouldman went on to form 10cc he wrote many hits for the likes of Herman Hermits and The Yardbirds. On this he does his own take on a lot of them with the help of John Paul Jones on bass and Clem Cattini on drums.


Every song is a winner to my ears. The instrumental song Chestnut may seem an odd choice to some but I think it's the highlight. Word is this LP flopped in the US despite RCA putting a fair bit of money behind it on the promotional front.


The Graham Gouldman Thing - Chestnut


The Graham Gouldman Thing - Upstairs Downstairs


The Gaham Gouldman Thing

Elaine Kibaro Au Soleil

Elaine Kibaro - Au Soleil 


It's a bit of a one tracker this one, but what a track!


It nails that Jean Claude Vannier style French sound I love so much.


I've seen this lp a couple of times on the stalls of French dealers at Utrecht but when I've asked them if they knew anything more the lp or Elaine Kibaro the answer was unfortunately non


The only other place I've ever seen this was on a dealers list but it was marked up at a very optimistic price.




Elaine Kibaro - Le Reveil


Michael Franks - S/T


This is a great left-field singer / songwriter lp with some instantly catchy songs on it.


They're the type of songs you're convinced you've heard before and in this case I actually had from one of Simon Norfolk's awesome Very Good Plus Swap mixes!


This debut from 1973 features the legendary Carol Kaye on bass alongside a bunch of seasoned jazzers like Tom Scott and Paul Humphries.


It's hard to describe musically but it certainly has plenty of funky and jazzy touches.




Michael Franks - Born With The Moon In Virgo


Michael Franks

Sergio Kita Quartet

Sergio Kita Quartet - Yes I Know


I got this 45 from Utrecht and know bugger all about it!


The seller I got it from insisted they are Belgium. The name and the image conjures up an impression of this being jazz or lounge when in it is in fact a crude garage raver of the highest order!







Sergio Nita Quartet - Yes I Know


Les Apollos & La Danse Cosmique - Apollo Capsule


Crazy wigged out Moog jerk action on this French release. I think the band were Eastern European.


I was pleased to get mine from Utrecht a couple of years ago. Googling reveals the weaker of the two tracks has been comped on Mindexpanders Vol. 1.



Les Apollo & La Danse Cosmique - Apollo Capsule



Apollos Time Capsule


Les Apollos danse cosmique
Sfinxs Peace

The Sfinx's - Peace


Raw Belgium garage pounder on a tiny private label, with great lo-fi DIY art work.


Killer riff all the way through, with heavy lyrics about good and evil. Reminds me of The Monks.




The Sfinx's - Peace





Sfinxs Peace


La Chanson de Jackie no 8 -

Le Monde au Soleil de L'amour


Now this single ticks a lot of niche areas I check for in one foul swoop! Fuzz check, Xian check, kiddie vocals check. What's not to like on this crude garage track sung by a bunch of kiddie God-botherers?


As if that isn't enough it's got great production by French soundtrack/library veterans Noel Colombier and Bernard Gerard so you know your onto a winner!


Les Chanson de Jackie No. 8 -

Le Monde au Soleil de L'Amour


Chanson de Jackie


La Chanson de Jackie No 8
Annie Philippe

Annie Philippe -

On M'a Toujours Dit


A great fuzzy Swingin' Mademoiselle/ye-ye type of track with some Paul Mauriat involvement.


I love this type of sound but know very little about it which is a shame as whenever I'm in Utrecht this type of stuff seems pretty thick on the ground!



Annie Philippe - On M'a Toujours Dit




Annie Philippe

Gianni Pettenati -

E Gia Tardi Ormai


Great Italian cover of Mashmakhan biggest hit As The Years Go By with extra lashings of groovy hammond and crashing drums, and if that wasn't enough you've got on of the best/heaviest intros of all time, coming across like an out take from Blue Phantom - Distortions. This sounds incredible played loud on a proper sound system too. Killer!


Gianni Pettenati - E Gia Tardi Ormai



Gianni Pettenati

Namelosers -

Land of a 1000 dances


Namelosers were a crude garage band formed in Malmo Sweden in 1964.


To my limited knowledge they only released two singles and shared a rare flexi disc with the Lee Kings which was given out free with Swedish pop magazine Biljournalem in the 60's.


This version of the ever popular Land of a 1000 Dances released in 1965 is by far the best to my ears, with it's blistering fuzz and infectious energy it leaves all other versions in the dust!



Namelosers - Land Of A 1000 Dances


Coming soon:

Andy Votel: The Hip Hop Roots of Finders Keepers


Given the number of internet interviews already covering Andy Votel and all aspects of his work with Badly Drawn Boy, Twisted Nerve and Finders Keepers,  Forumusic decided to find out about his earlier years and factors which first influenced his creativity in mixing, sampling, music production and graphic design.


It's a fascinating journey from trashing vinyl, looping cassette tapes, sampling Five Star records, rapping and building multi-speed record decks with Hornby train set power regulators to writing music, producing lps and reissuing under-valued and overlooked soundtracks from home and abroad.

Andy Votel
Forumusic Copyright: All aspects of this web site – design, text, graphics, applications, software, underlying source code and all other aspects – are copyright and of its affiliates, members and content providers. In accessing these web pages, you agree that any downloading of content is for personal, non-commercial reference only. No part of this web site may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the Website Owner