The self-styled “guvnor of the Sarfend sound”, Mickey Jupp was a seasoned pro by the time he released Old Rock ‘n’ Roller (BUY 36) in 1978. His initial project had been the Vertigo-signed band Legend in the mid-60s. In fact when his drummer Bill Fifield jumped ship to work with T Rex, Marc Bolan re-christened him Bill Legend.
When Stiff started to plunder the Southend pub rock scene looking for new signings – and finding Dr Feelgood and Lew Lewis in the process – they also made contact with Mickey Jupp. Signing an artist with such a pedigree was quite a novelty for the label at the time, so the first thing they did was issue a compendium of Legend material.
Then followed a solo album for Jupp – a classic game of two halves. Mickey had had his Southend pal, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, produce the album but - as legend has it - the label didn’t feel the resulting tracks were rocky enough, so had Nick Lowe re-record a side’s-worth of songs.
At the dawn of his Stiff releases, the NME ventured to Southend to find out more about its thriving music scene and found Mickey to be the hero of the bunch. “A more honest, unassuming down to earth character you couldn't hope to meet,” wrote Max Bell in 1975, “but Jupp also happens to be Local R&B Hero Number One.”
“The Feelgoods and the Kursaal Flyers may have already made it but they'd be the first to admit that Mickey is more than a major influence. He's a star in his own right, a white Chuck Berry who for some reason known only to God and the fates, has been passed over while lesser men achieve fame and fortune.” Still performing to this day, Jupp’s songs have been covered by an array of other artists including Elkie Brooks, The Searchers and Nick Lowe himself.