Stories About Records – Pete Isaac

14 September 2021
Pete Isaac

Welcome to the 22nd 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 Pete Isaac from the UK!

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?

I’ve been properly obsessed with records since 1982 after saving up my paper round money and getting my first decent hifi turntable, amp and speakers.

I lived in Plymouth (UK) at the time, and Virgin Records was an absolutely amazing shop, more like High Fidelity than the ‘mega store’ it later became.

It was really big too, and packed with vinyl.

Virgin Records 1st Store in Plymouth!

I’d go every Saturday with pocket and paper round money and dig, often buying albums purely on the basis of the cover, U-Roy’s ‘Dread In A Babylon’ for example, that really appealed to me at the time!

But it was probably 1979 that I first ‘got into’ music through my older brother and my best mate’s older sisters who had biker boyfriends who introduced me to Led Zeppelin, T Rex, Black Sabbath, The Stones etc.

My memory is pretty hazy going back that far, but I certainly remember nicking some T-Rex 45s off my brother to play on my parents crap ‘record player’.

The first 45 I ever bought? I don’t really know for sure, but it could well have been ‘Bankrobber’ by The Clash (1980), a 45 that I still have although it’s pretty mashed up now, I probably ruined it on the aforementioned parents record player that had a tracking force of 1kg!

The Clash – Bankrobber

I bought mostly albums back then, but also the occasional ‘pop’ song that I liked on 45 from Woolworths for 49p or 99p, Musical Youth’s ‘Pass The Dutchie’ for example, I definitely bought that at the time, but one that got lost/sold/trashed along the way.

I think I developed a very varied taste in music from an early age, and that eclecticism probably formed the bedrock to become a DJ in the future (1989).

After my visit to Virgin each Saturday, 1 or 2 LPs under my arm, I’d head home to get together with mates where I’d hog the record player saying ‘you have to hear this’, and that for me is the reason why we all DJ, right?

You can’t be content just listening to it yourself!

Yet before becoming a DJ, I played in various bands as a Conga player and percussionist from 1983 to 1993.

A mixture of rock, reggae, indi, jazz-funk and African bands.

It was then I discovered ‘Got Myself A Good Man’ by Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers. The guitarist of a funk band I was in played it to me and that was life changing moment for sure, it was also around then (1988) I saw JTQ, Brand New Heavies and Outlaw Posse in Bristol, both musical moments that set me on a course to create a club night called Jelly Jazz in Plymouth playing jazz, funk, soul, Latin, breaks and beats.

Jelly Jazz was certainly where I learned to be a DJ and promoter, and boy oh boy did we discover a LOT of music throughout the 14 years it was weekly via the multitude of guest DJs that came through.

Truly wonderful days with so many incredible nights. I even put Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers on, I can’t tell you how awesome that was for me personally! I still do the occasional Jelly Jazz party now, and we did some great parties to celebrate its 25th Birthday back in 2018.

But before Jelly Jazz started in Jan 1993, I had actually started DJing in early 1989 playing acid house.

I never planned to, it just happened!

The story is likely a common one too; a friend asked ‘do you like dancing, Pete?’, I reply ‘it’s ok I guess’, so she takes me down to a club called Zenas in Plymouth, and well, you can probably guess what happened.

I became some kind of acid house prophet, proselytising repetitive beats and 303 squelch to anyone who would listen, and when another mate got some decks and said ‘ere Pete, have a go mate’, I was hooked.

Teaming up with my mate Barry who became DJ BP, and giving myself the DJ name Bongo Jazz (taken from the Clash song ‘Revolution Rock’) we set about becoming ‘DJs’.

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? 

I have many cherished 45s, but in the spirit of my first adventures in DJing, it has to be ‘Where’s Your Child’ by Bam Bam (Desire 1988).

I first heard this when I picked up the Desire acid compilation ‘In The Key Of E’.

It’s a genre defining acid tune, there’s no arguing with that and it still sounds fresh some 35 years later.

The most bizarre story attached to this record is another old DJ mate (Paddy) got us a gig in the suburbs of Plymouth in 89/90, we arrive with decks etc and it turns out to be the ‘Plympton Paper Girls and Boys Christmas Party’.

I play ‘Where’s Your Child’ to many a bemused face!

Fast forward to 2015 and one of the very first 45 Live shows see DJ Food, Boca 45 and myself play a set in Plymouth.

Kev Food and I get to talking acid and immediately embark on the quest to hoover up acid 45s which continues to this day.

It’s been so much fun too, trading digs, discovering obscure B sides and jukebox releases, weird Spanish only acid 45s and so much more.

The outcome of this obsession has been all the 45 Live radio show mixes that between us showcase what we’ve dug out the crates, and we played a 100% acid 45s show in London at The House Of Vans a couple years back.

With acid house, the Desire label is right up there, releasing some classic acid and hip house cuts, coupled with the distinctive and beautiful artwork that Andy Vella created, they are very desirable! (more on that here: ).

There’s 3 holy grails on 45 on the Desire label; ‘Lack Of Love’ by Charles B, ‘Can You Feel It’ by Fingers Inc., and ‘Where’s Your Child’ by Bam Bam.

All 3 are incredibly hard to find, yet I have been unbelievably lucky in finding 2 copies each of Bam Bam and Charles B.

I gifted the 2nd Bam Bam to Kev (DJ Food), because I knew he was desperate for a copy too.

I’ve not see any more copies come up anywhere since, even though I have saved searches on everything!

I’m still looking for Fingers Inc. and one day it will be mine.

‘Where’s Your Child’ is a very important record for me, it’s one that changed my direction in life.

The same with Pucho’s ‘Got Myself a Good Man‘ and Outlaw Posse’s ‘My Afro’s On Fire‘.

Records like that are the best, and most cherished.

We all have our versions of that, and it’s a wonderful thing.

Thanks Pete for your time and fantastic insights.

Interview by Mr Lob

Find Pete Isaac at the following fine sites:

Check out an earlier interview we did with Pete Isaac, when we first launched this website