b. Robbie Vincent, 9th June 1947, Felixtowe, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Robbie Vincent is a deejay who influenced many listeners to Soul Music, long before the days that the deejay would, themselves, become superstars. To pinpoint quite why he is held in such high esteem with those Soul fans in the South East of the U.K., is mainly down to one thing. That is simply timing. He was on the radio, during a period of great change within musical circles. The Sixties had left a musical void with the demise of the Fab Four and the departure of the Holland, Dozier, Holland team from the Tamla Motown stable. With a fresh musical canvas to work upon, artists could experiment with styles. Stevie collaborated with the Tonto's Expanding Headband guys, Jazz courted Rock and Soul and we were served up the fusion sound of the mid Seventies. Robbie was deejaying on Radio London during this period. His show didn't, actually, comprise of Soul Music at the outset. In fact he allocated his final hour of the show for Soul and Dance music (in it's early incarnation), with the rest of the show comprising of, what we would describe today as, 'Soft Rock'. Little Feat, Steely Dan etc. His show evolved into a purely Soul Music format as the years passed. Later the terms Jazz and Soul almost became obsolete as the Black (and Blue Eyed) Soul performers umbrella grew to accommodate all of these genre's.
Robbie broke many a melody, which would send out the stations listeners to various Black Music retailers such as Record Corner or Groove for the imports they had heard on Robbie's show an hour or so earlier. Pete Tong said he went straight out and bought 'Action' by the Blackbyrds, after hearing Robbie play 'Soft and Easy' for the first time.
His Radio London Soul Show show ran throughout most of the Seventies and early Eighties. He was instrumental in breaking the band Heatwave onto a larger media stage. He regularly showcased deejays from around the region on a slot featuring three of the guests favourite tracks of the week. Jeff Young, Chris Brown, Chris Hill, Tom Holland, (the late) Froggy, Sean French etc. all were guests during that time period. When Robbie relocated to Radio One on Saturday nights, his following remained faithful. He moved on to Sunday evenings up until 1989, after which he moved on again to Kiss FM for the stations 'Soul Era' in the early Nineties. His Radio One evening show allowed him to expand his selective repertoire into ballad material, something that was unusual for the time.
l: car sticker / r: with the late johnnie wilder jnr of heatwave
In 1994, Robbie was asked to compile a CD for the excellent 'Mastercuts' series of compilations. The compilation (entitled 'The Robbie Vincent Edition') featured many of the tracks Robbie was one of the first to air on the radio in the Greater London area. See below:
By 1998, he found himself presenting the breakfast show at Jazz FM 102.2, where he stayed for four years before going into semi retirement, only resurfacing occasionally for one off shows for Radio London LDN and Solar Radio.
Robbie's relative low profile did worry his followers, who were concerned that the London Area had become starved of the music they had all come to love. The music that Robbie used to play.
In 2008, the news that the man was returning to the new digital Jazz FM, was a godsend for everyone concerned, musicians and purchasers alike. What sets the man apart from many other pretenders, who happily describe themselves as deejays these days, but to all intents and purposes are 'automatons of the airwaves', (excluding the likes of Richard Searling, Peter Young and Ralph Tee from that labeling) is one thing. Just one. Robbie Vincent can pick THAT tune. Odd that something so simple can set a person apart from the many, however, I am telling it like it is. Many a younger deejay setting out right now should listen to this man when he returns to the airwaves. I have him to thank for many of the records on the shelves here (and the lack of money in the bank account as well! LOL).
Sadly, in late 2013, Robbie departed Jazz FM.