Chris 40th  Aug07 010

It’s hard to know where the drive to make music comes from. I have my own theories.

I have a particular memory of my Father, a wonderful pianist and singer, who worked most of his professional life as a Salesman. As kids, my younger sister Sue and I would look for opportune moments to ask for our weekly pocket money,  We’d wait until he came home, usually annoyed and angry because of his day and traffic jams etc. and then bide our time.

First he’d make a drink of Coffee or Tea, then he’d retire to the front room (the one with the piano in it…) and shut the door hard. We’d hear him light a  cigarette, and start to play, heavy handed Boogie Woogie and Blues for the first 10 minutes. Almost like getting it out of his system, and then gradually his playing would subside into flowery, intricate versions of Jazz standards and popular tunes… At this point we knew we were safe to go in! We’d enter quietly and watch our Father’s face, turned up to the ceiling and eyes closed swaying gently side to side in time with the music…”Dad….” he’d open one eye slowly with a rye smile, “What…”

“Can we have our pocket money Pleeease….”

He’d joke about us having had it already, or it wasn’t the right day, but usually we’d get it and we’d head off to the sweet shop across the road, amazed at the power of an instrument that could transform an Angry man into a kind happy one…..  That sort of stuff goes in deep with kids, I tell you…

Nowadays it’s strange to look back. Everyone of my Brothers and sisters is a professional musician, so it must have rubbed off hard. Our Mother was an actress in local amateur theatre productions and so she encouraged anything that looked arty or musical, and her father who died when she was young, was a fine musician/tap dancer/singer whose sister was the legendary music Hall comedienne Hylda Baker…so maybe it’s all there in the genes, who knows…

Chris 40th  Aug07 009

My Sister’s Lois and Sue are both wonderfully talented vocalists, (its why I’ve never wanted for session singers!), my brother Neil is a consummate Bass Player and Vocalist, who as I write is about to take off for an American show with the rock band Queen, and me, I’ve had  wonderful time making music all over the world, and hopefully with much much more to come……