This way to stardom

Lets Talk Magazine, Post on 22nd February, 2013
Back in the early 1960s Tommy Steele's manager urged The Fretmen to pack in their day jobs. Tommy is seen in Great Yarmouth in the summer of '61.

Steve Burns, aka ‘Doctor Vinyl’, answers your musical questions.

I’ve had a letter from Stan Wakefield in Watton, and there is a possibility that someone may be able to help. Stan says he was in the group ‘Mike Patto and The Fretmen’ in the early 1960s. They played all over Norfolk and Suffolk, and made a television appearance on Rehearsal Room, which was directed by Peter Fenn. They met Larry Parnes, who was manager to several stars, including Tommy Steele.

Larry told them to pack their jobs in and go on tour as he felt they came second to The Beatles. Sadly their lead backed out and a suitable replacement could not be found.

Stan has not given me the names of the other members of The Fretmen, but wonders if they are still about. He cannot find any of the pictures they had taken at the time, so, I am wondering if anyone anywhere has got some pictures of the band? Please get in touch if you have any pictures or know of the whereabouts of the other band members.

Back in the early 1960s Tommy Steele’s manager urged The Fretmen to pack in their day jobs. Tommy is seen in Great Yarmouth in the summer of ’61.

Ms Brackley from Stanton, asks for advice about the best way of selling her “fairly large record collection”. This depends on a few things, such as how large is the collection and does it contain anything of value?

If you have anything of value, it would probably be good to look for dealers (yellow pages or, for help. It will possibly be worth selling them separately from the whole collection, as people who buy collections could offer a price which may not alter enormously after the removal of a few items.

The problem is, if you have something valuable, you need to give it as much exposure as possible to raise the maximum price. This is something that selling via an auction can do, but don’t forget there are expenses for doing this and quite a large chunk can disappear in commission.

I like going to auctions to buy records, but I think they are not necessarily the best way to get rid of records of value. I have been surprised sometimes at how little certain collections have sold for. Selling via an internet auction site is good for trying to show your records to a large number of people, but there is one drawback to this. It has given people the chance to sell records they think are worth a fortune, but realistically they are not.

Look at how many copies of the record you are trying to sell are already being advertised. If there are 20 or 30 copies, yours will have to be cheaper or in better condition than the others to give it a chance of selling. There is a charge for doing this too.

If you find the collection you are trying to sell has very little value this may make them difficult to sell without incurring huge costs to advertise them. This is where adverts in local ‘Free Ads’, or adverts in shop windows may be the way to go.

The thing to bear in mind is this; record buyers and sales are in decline. Things that are rare tend to hold their value, but the bottom end of the market seems to being continually eroded, and records are only worth what someone is prepared to pay for them.

Finally, thanks to Mr Hemblen in Sprowston, for the final word on Christmas hits. He reminded me of a song which does not get played very much, even though it was quite a big hit. Lonely Pup (In A Christmas Shop) got to Number 4 in the charts and was in the chart for 11 weeks late 1960 early 1961 for Adam Faith. A song that deserves more airtime at Christmas.

  • Write to Dr Vinyl, Let’s Talk, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1RE or email We cannot do valuations of individual collections, but can give advice. Contact his 1960s and 1970s disco on 01603 432709 or 07917 351163.

Lets Talk Magazine (writer)

the lifestyle magazine for East Anglia with features about local people, local events, competitions plus a nostalgic look back at the way we lived, worked and played.

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