30 September 2021
Nigel Gentry

Welcome to the 23rd interview in our series, ‘Stories About Records’  where we ask our members and some of our favourite Djs about their most cherished 45. 

We want to know what the record is, what it sounds like and why it is so important to you.

If you’re interested in being apart of this series drop us an email or sign up for our Newsletter to be informed when these wonderful stories drop.

Now it is our great pleasure to present Nigel Gentry from Canberra, Australia!

Firstly, tell us about yourself as a Dj and Collector of 45s, how long have you been playing and collecting, why 45s, what was the first 45 you were given and also the first 45 you bought? Do you still have them?

Thanks Rob for inviting me along to take part in ‘Stories About Records’ series.

My name is Nigel Gentry, I’m originally from the UK and emigrated to Australia almost 10 years ago and now live in Canberra.

I manage the Music For Modern Living blog and host guest mixes by my favourite DJ’s from around the world on the Music For Modern Living Mixcloud page.

I also run the Canberra Soul Club and play the full range of Soul and Funk music from the Sixties and Seventies Soul, Northern Soul, Funk and R&B to the latest Contemporary Soul and Funk releases.

I first started collecting records when I was about 18.

Back then it was the height of the rave scene in the UK, so not a 45 in sight!

I continued to collect records and was heavily into most styles of dance music including House, Techno, Trance, Progressive House and had a particular leaning towards Soulful House music. I also loved chillout, downtempo and nujazz music and my first forays into DJing were spinning chilled sets at bars in and around London.

I didn’t start collecting 45’s until about 15 years ago when I really started getting into contemporary soul and funk music. Through getting into artists like Sharon Jones, The Bamboos, Cookin on 3 Burners, Randa and The Soul Kingdom etc this then led me to start digging into the soul and funk music of the sixties and seventies – Northern Soul, Deep Funk and Original R&B which I have become well known for spinning at my Canberra Soul Club nights.

The first 45 I was given was by Keith Harris and Orville and was called ‘I Wish I Could Fly’.

If you know this song, then you know how annoying it is!

Keith was a ventriloquist in the UK and as an annoying 5 year old little brother I used to play this record full blast very early in the morning much to the displeasure of my elder sisters!

The first 45 I remember buying was a track called ‘To Be Free’ by K-Creative, which was on the Talkin’ Loud record label.

I knew nothing of the artist or label and had not even heard the song, but I thought the cover looked cool!

I ended up liking the track so much I bought the remixes on a 12” and yes I still have both records.

I love spinning 45s, it is definitely my preferred format.

I am not a flash DJ, I don’t do any clever mixing, tricks or scratching. I just select what I think is amazing music.

I don’t pre-plan my sets and attempt to play to the crowd.

I play off the cuff, the way it should be!

What is your most cherished 45? Why is it so important to you? What is it’s story (label, year, artist, musicians), where did it come from? Is the B-Side any good?

My most cherished 45 is ‘This Land is Your Land’ by Sharon Jones and The Dapkings.

When I was still living in the UK, I came over to Australia to visit my brother Andy and his family who live in Melbourne.

I can’t remember the exact year but I think it would have been around 2006 or so.

For my birthday Andy took me to see Sharon Jones and The Dapkings at the Prince Bandroom in St Kilda.

Until this point, I had never seen or heard anything like Sharon Jones before. The combination of her powerhouse vocals and amazing stage presence along with the might of the Dapkings just blew me away.

I had been involved in quite a few different music scenes up until this point but it was that moment, in that room hearing Sharon Jones singing her heart out that I knew I had found my music and I have been hooked ever since.

I remember returning to the UK and ordering Sharon Jones – This Land is Your Land on 45 almost as soon as I got home, and this was the beginning of my 45’s collection and love of Soul music.

Sharon was sadly taken from us far too soon in 2016 at just 60 years old after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

‘This Land is Your Land’ is a cover version of a Woody Guthrie song that was written in the 1940’s.

Sharon’s version is actually the B side with ‘What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes’ on the A side, an equally excellent track. But then Sharon Jones didn’t record a bad song!

If you never had the joy of seeing her perform then head on over to YouTube and check out this live performance of This Land is Your Land and make sure you check out the Miss Sharon Jones movie on Netflix.

Thanks Nigel for the insights and your time, I’m also a huge Sharon Jones fan and managed to also see here live in concert a few times and also own most albums and a whole bunch of her 45s.

Mr Lob

Find Nigel Gentry at the following links: