Fond tributes paid to Michael Dolan
Tributes have been paid to Birmingham musician and producer Michael Dolan, who worked with rock legends Mick Jagger and Stevie Winwood, as well as a host of top British artists.
Described as “the quiet legend of the sixties” to those who knew him, Mr Dolan, known as ‘Mick’, was originally from Birmingham, though latterly was based in Bromsgrove.
A former pupil of Bishop Challoner School in Kings Heath, where he was head boy, his musical career got underway at the age of 16 when he and his brother Steve travelled to Bude in Cornwall to perform a summer season at the Headland Pavilions as the Ebony Combo.
It was the start of a llifelong musical career that saw Mr Dolan work as both an acclaimed musician and a sought-after producer/engineer.
After two seasons his first band returned to Birmingham and for a time became the Five Dimensions, the backup band for Jimmy Powell.
He subsequently formed the Cock-a-Hoops, a band who toured the UK for a number of years in the sixties playing legendary clubs like the Marquee, the Speakeasy and Bag of Nails.
They also supported top acts from that era, including Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull, Procol Harem, John Mayall, Wilson Pickett, Chuck Berry, Family and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
Longtime friend Hugh Roberton said the Cock-a-Hoops had fans in high places.
He said: “They became a band’s band often watched by some of the top sixties acts they played with.”
Mr Dolan then went on to form Hard Meat with his brother and Mike Carless, who were signed by Warner Brothers and went on to make two albums and tour the US and Europe.
Following this he moved to Malvern, where he ran a mobile sound system business, providing sound for a variety of
bands, among them U2 and Show of Hands.
He later became house engineer at Millstream Studios in Cheltenham, recording artists that included Mike D’Abo, Ralph McTell and Ashley Hutchings.
Along the way he performed with a variety of bands as a guitarist and singer, going on to form Big Front Yard, who recorded on Rampant Records and headlined at the Malvern Free Festival.
He later became Stevie Winwood’s sound engineer, working on “Refugees of the Heart’ before playing and engineering on the final Traffic album “Far from Home’.
A friend introduced him to Mick Jagger who wanted an engineer for his 2001 solo album ‘Goddess in the Doorway’ and on which Mr Dolan ended up playing guitar.
Subsequently he mixed the music for the “Dear Mr Fantasy; a Celebration for Jim Capaldi’ at the RoundHouse featuring a who’s who of stars. He also played with Johnny Coppin and was a regular on Johnny’s ‘Celebration of Christmas’ tours .
Ever restless, he formed another band the Dolan Brothers (the DBs) with Chris Kerridge, his brother Steve and Keith Baker and they released a CD ‘One Step Closer’.
In the nineties, following the death of his brother Steve, he moved to Port Issac in Cornwall and created a studio in the garden of his then partner’s house.
He recorded a number of bands including Seth Lakeman, Fisherman’s Friends and Show Of Hands and took part in local concerts.
He even sang with Fisherman’s Friends at an Albert Hall concert when one of the group was ill. At the time he also played and recorded as a member of Roscarrock with Billy Hawkins and Jon Cleave.
Mr Dolan returned to the Midlands and in recent years lived for part of the year in Turkey, where he often played solo and built up a loyal following, and in Bromsgrove where he continued to produce and engineer for a variety of artists.
Paying tribute to his friend, Mr Roberton said: “Part of the enigma of Mick Dolan was his ability to move between genres effortlessly and consequently there are even more artists who he worked or played with but whom he never mentioned because of his modesty and loyalty.
“He was a musician’s musician admired for his voice and playing but with a technical ability and as Ashley Hutchings said “a
wonderful pair of ears” that everyone that recorded with him admired.
“He never really received the acclaim he was due but for those who knew him he was the quiet legend of the sixties.”
Mr Dolan died on August 2 in Marmaris, Turkey, following a short illness.
He is survived by his partner Jackie Johnson, son Jesse and brothers Martin and Pete.
Close friends and family from England and Turkey attended a ceremony in the cemetery of the village, Hisaronu, where he was laid to rest.
Arrangements are currently being made for a memorial service in the UK and a memorial concert next year to celebrate Mr Dolan’s musical achievements and influence.
Anyone interested in sharing their memories or being involved in the concert is asked to contact Sally McLachlan at email@example.com.
Mick (on the right) with fellow Hard Meat members Mike Carless (drums) and Steve (Mick’s brother) on bass.