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I first heard Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly songs when I was about

nine or ten though not at first hand - for me it was Lonnie Donegan

who really started the ball rolling. 

Elvis was leading the way but skiffle

brought it down to street level

and made everything possible. I was

given a Tommy Steele plastic ukulele one

Christmas and got by with three chords

until its replacement arrived –a six string 

made of Bakelite on which I learned

my first minor chord. With those

four, I could play just about anything by

the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran,

Carl Perkins, Bobby Darin and the rest 

along with Cliff, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury.

I auditioned for our local band The Aztecs when I was thirteen 

and got the job as I was the only one who owned an amp.

Rehearsals midweek, then the bass guitarist’s dad would drive us

to village halls and youth clubs on Saturdays where we’d fumble through

the Shadows’ repertoire although Apache was the only thing audiences would vaguely recognise. 


That all changed in 1963 when the Rolling Stones played at a church hall in Horsham

and overnight we discovered 'The Blues' and ‘R&B’. I didn’t know what ‘R&B’ meant but

we promptly abandoned Hank and Bruce and headed down the highway in search of

mysterious people called Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

There was whispered talk of an even more enigmatic figure called Robert Johnson

but it was enough that four white youths in Sussex could get away singing ‘Smokestack Lightning’.








It was around that time that I met Jim Younger, 

later of the Peelers, who introduced me to

Irish and Celtic tunes and the 

possibilities of finger picking

rather than using my

trusty plectrum.






Hard on the heels

of that encounter,

I discovered Davy Graham’s

second album ‘Folk, Blues and Beyond’

and the die was cast. It was all there –

Leadbelly, Broonzy, Willie Dixon, Dylan, Reverend Gary Davis .....


There was much to learn but living in London during

the folk revival in the '60's I found myself in good company, 

not least Chris George who introduced me to the likes of Bert Jansch,

John Renbourn, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick.                                                                                                                                                                    



Les Cousins in Greek Street was our home on Saturday nights, marvelling

at Wizz Jones, Ralph McTell, John Martyn, The Incredible String Band, Al Stewart,  

The Young Tradition and so many others that we’d come away at five in the morning

with our heads spinning. 


And so it was that Mr George and I eventually teamed up with Doug Morter and Roger Trevitt

to form Hunter Muskett in 1969.


The rest of the story is best told on their website

complete with archive photos and songs from those halcyon days. 








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For now, I'm still trying to master the middle section of 'Apache' ...

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