Russell Taylor - Crocodile Records

 

Russell Taylor - Crocodile Records

Tributes for Russell Taylor, founder and self-titled Grand Fromage of Manchester-based Crocodile Records, are coming in from the garage rock world around the globe after news broke last night of his passing after a long illness.

As well known for his encyclopedic knowledge of garage rock as his love for Manchester United, Russell was someone who throughout his life championed garage bands from around the world, helping them to get their music out to the public. And when he was unable to do it, he regularly helped bands on to labels that he knew held the same ethos as him. We had spoken over the summer about how he was excited to be working with Duncan Reid from The Boys on his new record, something that he was gearing up to put out in a few months.

Starting out in the late 70s selling records out of his mum’s spare room in his hometown in North Wales, he went on to start Crocodile Records in 1983 as a mail-order shop and at record fairs and markets. In 2014, he finally branched out and set up his own label, naturally continuing under the same moniker and kicking off with a limited run of The Phroggs’ Baby I’m Gone. The Hipshakes, who put out some singles with him have described Russell as a “benevolent svengali figure and all-round brilliant human being…the Scousest sounding Man United fan you could ever meet, although he always claimed he was from Wales to avoid ties to Liverpool FC.”

Russell was always on hand to help out the bands that stirred the same passion for rock ‘n’ roll and was also known for his sardonic wit and humour. As Jay Taylor of Night & Day Cafe has written, “Our relationship was a simple one really; we’d drink coffee, talk about garage rock and then at some point he’d make me laugh like a drain. Even at this terrible time he’s making me smile… “The Who Live at Leeds is one of the greatest live albums of all time, but Jay, if they were playing in my garden today I’d draw the fucking curtains.” So long Russ.”

In the music world, the underground where camaraderies form across countries, there are certain people who stand out in the way they bring people together. Russell was one of those people and he will certainly be missed by many.

~

All words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this tribute. Russ’s first release on Crocodile records was the WitchDoktors ‘Crawling Up the walls’ in 1995 – he was a great champion of underground music and will be sadly missed by so many.

  2. Russ known as Woofer to a lot of people in Flint North Wales was a good friend, went to many a gig with him in the 80s and 90s. One of the best nights of my life was a night out in Utrecht after helping him on his stall at a record fair. Big influence on my taste in music, clobber and football. Though I’m not a United fan, we spent many an evening plonked in front of the tv round mine arguing about virtually everything, he even tried to covert my son to United by taking him to Wembley. I’m sure that I can speak for most and say those who had the pleasure of knowing him, well their lives are richer from knowing him. R.I.P Russ and thank you.

    • Phil – you Everton? I met you with Russ at Wembley that day – was against Arsenal. You were with your wife and lad. I remember being with Russ at the top of Wembley Way and we saw the actor John Alford who’d just got out from nick over that NotW sting. He had a pair of shorts on and he (failed) to hide the tag around his ankle by having a sock rolled down over it

      • Dave

        Yes mate that’s right. My memory is a bit sketchy but I remember the John Alford bit. Sad news about Russ, still can’t get my head round it.

  3. Russ and I were in a restaurant in Monchengladbach after doing a record fair c 93/94, drinking and arguing about music as usual. He said to me : “You know what your trouble is? Reading all that Dave McCullough has rotted your brain!”
    Ppl of a certain age .. etc. RIP Woof.

  4. Remember Russ from his northern soul days and selling records on Abergele and Prestatyn markets Russ was a nice guy R. I. P.

  5. He used to run marathons then just ate em…had dodgy knee’s but a business brain…knew a lot of people but few got to know him…a proper character nice….. always kind to me….top fella…..told me I was scrummy…top fella.

  6. The funeral is at the new crematorium in Northop , North Wales on Friday 11-10-19 at 1pm with drinks at a local pub afterwards

  7. I first saw Russ selling records at Flint market ’86ish then I got to meet him in the mid 90’s in Manchester uni when I started to go to gigs there with my new fella. We always popped in to his shop before the gig then back to Big Hands after. Lots of gigs, music chat and fond memories, glad I got to know Woofer, top guy. R.P.M Russ

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