In the early sixties I played double bass with the Manne-Hugg Blues Brothers which later became the pop group Manfred mann. At this time I switched to bass guitar. After the recording of "5-4-3-2-1" I left the band and briefly joined the John Barry Seven after which I started my session career. I played on TV and recorded with many of the pop stars of the day including Dusty Springfield, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin("Je T'aime"), Labi Sifre "It Must Be Love". I played on Elton John's black album on the two biggest hit tracks "Your Song" and "Border Song". I became one of the Shadows on two albums and co-wrote a track with them called "The Honorable Puff Puff". I recorded with Henry Mancini incuding 5 albums for Reader's Digest. I played on the signature tune and end music of "Only Fools & Horses" and appeared in an episode of the series titled "The Jolly Boys Outing". I also played the fretless bass guitar on the background music for the TV series 'Last Of The Summer Wine' (Musical director, Ronnie Hazlehurst) which I did for 24 years! I have played with the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra, directed by Tony Fisher, Chris Smith's "String of Pearls Orchestra",Toby Cruse's Manhattan Swing and Manhatton Jazz, and ocassionally with Paul Holgate's So Sinatra plus playing on many freelance jazz gigs. During 2007 I was appointed by Stowe School (in Buckinghamshire) to be the visiting bass guitar teacher. I am also coaching the Stowe Jazz Combo, which I enjoy very much. Currently I am playing regularly with the 'Berkeley Squares' directed by Alan Gout The band plays for a tea dance at the prestigious Waldorf Hotel every month. It has recently been established that I was the bass guitar player on Serge Gainsbourg's cult album 'Historie de Melody Nelson' which has been re-released as a boxed set in France. (Nov 2011)
I started to learn the Ukelele using the 'First Step Tutor Book' when I was about 14. My dad was working away from home at the time and used to come back once a month. He used to tune it for me, and so it was only tuned once a month! We were living in Thornton, near Blackpool then. a few months later we moved to Torquay where I started having lessons on Hawaiin Guitar. That's me on the left aged about 15 dueting with my brother. Long before I learned to play any musical instrument I used to play 78 rpm records on an old wind up gramophone. One day my brother (who is 5 years older than me) put on a record which turned out to be one of the biggist influences of my musical career. It was called "Big Noise From Winnetka". It featured Bob Haggard on Double Bass and Ray Bauduc on Drums and no other instuments. It was my favorurite record for many years.
I later switched to steel stringed acoustic guitar. At the age of fifteen I started a commercial course (english, shorthand, typing, bookeeping and commerce) at the South Devon Technical Collage, Torquay. My mother was listening to the Radio one day when she heard the following anouncement: "The Royal Airforce is seeking young men aged between 17 and 24 to train as musicians." She realised that I was not particularly interested in my studies at the college, so wrote off and applied for an audiition on my behalf. It wasn't until she told me a few weeks later that I had to attend an audtion at the RAF School of Music Uxbridage, that I knew anything about it!
I turned up at and did my audition on acoustic guitar in front of the the then head of music Wing Commander Wallace. I am sure he wasn't very impressed with my guitar playing, but I think they must have been desperate at the time. He said "Well, you seem to have some music in you, what would you like to play if you join the band?" Being a modern jazz fan at the time I suggested saxophone, but he told be there were no vacances for the saxophone, but that I could learn clarinet instead if I liked. [to be continued]