I can't sleep. I've just lost a great friend, almost a family member (unofficially) and a mentor.
From the age of 17, Phil had patiently (and not always successfully) tried his best to teach me about music. He was the one who got me interested in Starday Customs, 4-Star and Rite Pressings. His knowledge of hillbilly artists and tiny obscure labels was awesome ("philnominal" as I called it) and there is probably not much I have written that hasn't been influenced by Phil.
He was funny, friendly, generous. On the odd occasion perhaps cantankerous and he couldn't type a sentence without a typo or several. But it was always an occasion to go round to his house and watch him pull amazing records off of the shelf to play me (and let me tape them) He introduced me to Reed Records -a label I only thought I knew about until he played me some from his collection. Cool Records as well. I once had a list up of various Cool Records - 95% were from his collection.
....And ... many of these records I have posted here have been pulled from the shelves of Phillip J Tricker. Someone who encouraged me to put this together. I'm not sure if he ever actually saw much of it as his eyesight wasn't too good and he avoided the internet, but he was always happy to share some info - even chide me with a smile when I got my facts wrong. (The comment in the Starday Custom Box set - me stating I had never heard the record when in fact I obviously had since he taped it for me always made him laugh.)
I last saw him about a year ago. Work and other things kept me from dialling his number and arranging to go over to see him. He was also once a football referee back in his younger days, so he knew more about football (soccer) than me, especially the rules. Quite how he managed to get the offside rules to stick inside my lousy memory is bordering on a miracle - but because of him I can call it out when I see it.
Like many people, I will miss him dearly. Boz Boorer taught me how to play lead guitar and there wasn't a gig (I've played over a 1000) where I didn't rip something off that Boz showed me. With Phil, it will be music. I probably won't be able to play any primitive Rockabilly, Hillbilly or even some darn awful records (I like a record where they cannot sing) without seeing his smile as my eyes grew as big as saucers at the latest monster he casually placed on his old dusty record player.
You think these people, who mean so much to you, will be around forever and perhaps sometimes, you take it for granted that they are immortal. A bit like parents perhaps. But sadly, like a record, at the end of the tune there is only silence before the arm raises and sits back in it's cradle. A silence I will hear with sadness for years.
God bless you Mr. Phillip J Tricker.