was born in Marylebone, London in 1944, right at the end of the War. My Mother played light-classical pieces on the piano, which also served as the family bomb-shelter during the air raids. I recall her playing with great fondness and still play an arrangement of Schumann's "Im Wunderschonen Monat Mai" on the guitar. Later on, at school, I took music lessons with a patient man named John Webber who introduced me to Early Music which had yet to become part of the curriculum. At the same time I sat my grade exams on classical guitar at the Guildhall, presided over by Adele Kramer.
interest in Early Music has remained with me, not least in my approach
to arrangement. The classical guitar studies helped a lot in the
transition to steel-string fingerpicking styles, "Faro's Rag" owes more
to Fernando Sor than Madame Kramer would probably care to acknowledge.
In Britain in the late fifties the musical craze was for 'Skiffle', an amalgam of American folk, blues, bluegrass and jugband styles. The big hit was "Freight Train" which drew attention to Elizabeth Cotten's original, as well as to the work of such musicians as Leadbelly, Jesse Fuller, Josh White, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee and Ramblin' Jack Elliot. These players all came over to England and their guitar styles left a strong impression on a generation of young skifflers. As soon as I left school I went hitch-hiking,and met up with others trying to play like them. Mac McCloud, Gerry Lockran, Mick Softly and Wizz Jones were already well on the way,and we were all in awe of Davey Graham.
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