Health to Your Hands
The first guitar music I remember hearing was Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. Then a friend played me Big Bill Broonzy, and Bob Dylan's first album. This convinced me to abandon the violin and try the guitar. The first one I owned was Spanish, quickly ruined by my putting metal strings on it so the neck bent. I adapted it to slide, having by then become obsessed with Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Son House and Fred McDowell. I spent one Summer working as a builder's labourer, laying concrete to make a crematorium in Sussex. I earned enough to buy, second-hand, the Gibson 1962 SJN I have used ever since. I started playing in clubs in Kent and along the south coast, opening for acts such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Alexis Korner, and doing gigs of my own. Then in London I played on John Peel's and Pete Drummond's radio shows and worked with Jackson C. Frank, Gordon Giltrap, Steve Tilston and Dave Morrell and others. Some of the music from that time can heard on the Transatlantic album 'Guitar Workshop'. I was nearly signed to Virgin but they decided for some reason to go with Mike Oldfield instead. I worked as a session musician, toured and recorded with Colin Blunstone, singer in the Zombies, and played in various duos such as Holy Willie's Prayer with the Scottish song writer and guitarist Roddie Cameron. I have kept playing. My new CD is 18 tracks of pure, steel-strung acoustic guitar performed and written by me. The title, 'Health To Your Hands', is a greeting Greek musicians make to each other. I was attracted to it because this music comes straight from the nerves and skin of the hands, through the steel and wood of the guitar and out into the air. The tunes were recorded in my friend Mark Huggett's studio www.jazzdirect.co.UK, here in London, UK. We used a couple of microphones to record the initial tracks and then overdubbed vocals and lead guitar. The whole thing was recorded using my two Gibson acoustics, with very few effects, mostly a bit of reverb. These songs and instrumentals are only some of my repertoire, which comprises my own music and a huge number of other songs by other musicians that I have learned over the years. The paragraph below indicates who these might be and also describes me and how I came to make this music. I have mentioned several musical influences: others equally important and in no sort of order include Blind Boy Fuller, Scrapper Blackwell, Lonnie Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Brownie McGhee, Skip James, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Rambling Jack Elliot, Bert Jansch, John Renbourne, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and the English and American bands of the 60's and 70's: Traffic, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, Pretty Things, Blues Breakers, Cream, Free, John McLaughlin, Jimi Hendrix, Little Feat, The Doors, The Byrds, The Band, The Allman Brothers .. I also greatly appreciate Indian classical Music, especially the Sarod, and folk music especially American, English, and from the Balkans and Middle East. I write poetry and have been published in about sixty magazines here in the UK - Stand, Poetry Review, The North, Smith's Knoll etc. One collection has been published ('Swimming in the Deep Diamond Mine') and another ('A Moment Of Attention') will be published in Summer 2008 by Original Plus Press. I also have poems on the internet, for example at www.greatworks.org.UK and www.poetrypf.co.UK I play guitar and do some singing in the blues/rock band BIGROAD. See us at www.bigroad.net http://www.myspace.com/bigroadredhotblues.