Snooks Eaglin is something of a hero in the Anglozine household. 3 albums were handed down from our elders originally purchased c 1964 near Great Barr comprehensive secondary school (the school where Spencer Davis was a teacher- another story another time). Somehow these discs have lived to tell the tale having been played at parties in the second city, spent summers in Paignton and now at Anglozine London HQ.
In fact some of the only damage has been inflicted by the owner of Anglozine using one of the albums as a drawing board in 1976. Embossed outlines of spaceships and sports cars now grace the gloss cover in a certain light. The cover is what originally grabbed my attention; published years apart the image of Snooks Eaglin is one and the same. The record company simply reversed the negative or added a colour filter to give the impression of Vol 1 to 3.
The fascination was also upheld by bragging rights- blues boffins or muso's have seldom heard of Snooks and so he belonged to us. I was surprised to read Richard Barnes name dropping him in his era defining book titled simply 'Mods' a veritable bible for the mod revival scene as its was published in on the dawn of the second incarnation in 1979.
As was the case of most music business publications throughout the 1960's from sleeves to magazine articles there was virtually zero retouching of artists photographs. My glorious introduction to Snooks Eaglin in 1984 of course was that there was just one image in existence and gave a true mystique that hasn't really lessened. This forces you to be completely focused on his music, the only way to learn about the man, conversely different today.
All we knew was he was born in New Orleans in 1936 and stayed there his entire life, was blind from childhood and played a 12 string guitar stupendously well.
His record label at the time and for all 3 of the Anglozine family owned LP's was Storyville. Storyville is on the edge of the French Quarter opposite Cosimo Matassa's old J &M recording studio (now a launderette- had recorded: Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Benny Spellman, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Ray Charles and Little Richard to name a few) and a few doors down from Congo square and the Louis Armstrong park.
I've been down there a couple of times, I visited Snooks graveyard in 2007 to pay our family respects which was pretty sketchy in Nawlin's, two days before Halloween. If you've been down there you'll know these cats take All Saints pretty seriously. In fact no its pretty spooky all year round to be honest; I was a nervous wreck and took a medicinal nip of the ubiquitous (i pocketed from the flight over) Bourbon one leaves at the resting place of obscure Blues artists.
That very same day I picked up this British Jazz monthly from 1961 at 'Louisiana Music Factory' record emporium also in the French quarter. They didn't even have a Snooks record section in the store-a local lad. The magazine was sealed but I knew I had to have it, the two names Snooks Eaglin by Alexis Korner clearly visible.
A definite sign from the grave it had to be right ? a British music journal in the French Quarter of New Orleans with an extended family member on the cover. I checked its condition didn't read the article in case it got any spookier, eye balled every customer in the store, dumped the pile of music I was going to buy, paid, and swiftly left the store.
I didn't read the article until I jumped in the cab at Heathrow: