The Label Fable
I like lists and I set great store by charts. I suspect that it is something to do with Sunday evenings and Tom Browne running down the week’s Top 20. I may not know many in this week’s chart but those of 25 years ago are firmly implanted in my mind. I know that’s sad but I wouldn’t read too much into it if I were you. if you want sad, try the book I bought recently.

West Ham United: From Greenwood to Redknapp. Match by Match. It is simply details of all the West Ham matches from 1961 onwards. Results, team line ups and a fifty word summary. No deep, sociological dissertations. Yet the line-ups are so evocative, and say so much more, for you realise where your own life has been touched. You recall Duncan McKenzie playing for Forest, Pop Robson’s return, Trevor Brooking’s header. It comes back about lost heroes like George Parris, Billy Jennings, Ade Coker, Anton Orulakowski. More significantly, it brings back times when football did not connect. When life was full of other things. When you look at some sides the names mean nothing and you remember why.

Charts and lists. I remember Julian Cope putting Pere Ubu’s ‘Modern Dance’ in a Smash hits top 10. I remember far more recently Kirk Degiorgio having a Top 10 in Straight No Chaser and I think he listed Wayne Shorter, Photek and Bobby Hutcherson. So for some reason, here is a list of ten great labels, with a short summary of each in the spirit of my therapeutic West Ham book. I should apologise for the absence of any really obscure stuff but I’ve two excuses: one, I am no great collector; two, these are just the labels which have touched my life and there are times when, say, some obscure hip hop imprint or long lost soul label have not been part of my life. it would be wrong to pretend otherwise.











©Kevin Pearce. 1998.