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GUEST,Roger Rettig Lonnie Donegan's guitarists (61* d) RE: Lonnie Donegan's guitarists..... 21 Mar 05


Thanks for the replies, everyone!

Skiffle was, of course, a pretty fundamental music-form, but listening to it all again nearly fifty years later confirms my belief that Denny was a national treasure! Credit to Lonnie, though - he always kept a very good rhythm section, and he always swung! Denny Wright thrived in this musical climate. Jimmy Currie still lives in Spain, I believe - co-writing "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" with Donegan has, apparently, kept him pretty comfortably-off.

I only met Denny myself in the early-'90s. Thames did a 'This Is Your Life' on Lonnie, and I attended the rehearsal serving as Lonnie's 'stand in'. I got to sing 'Rock Island Line' with Chris Barber on bass and Beryl Bryden on washboard(!), as well as sitting in the hot-seat answering Michael Aspel's 'questions'. A friend of mine had provided Thames TV with the correct guitar (a mid-'60s Martin 000-28 - kuedos to the TV folks for wanting to get THAT right!), so I was there to actually play it. Denny was there later, and I got to chat with him at the after-show party. Shortly after that, he and Lonnie had a reunion gig at the '100 Club' - Denny played his orange Gretsch 6120.

I mention Les Bennetts because a friend in England just sent me a video of some 'Putting On The Donegan' clips - Lonnie is simply marvelous, but Bennetts almost turns the whole thing into musical comedy. I know this would have been appropriate with some of Lon's stuff, but not the serious material. Les comes over as a poor player imitating a good country player.

The original drummer, Nick Nichols, is on some of the songs, and that magical 'swing' feel is consistent throughout the tape.

I, too, played with Lonnie, but only twice - once on pedal-steel guitar (that was a corporate gig he did on a river-boat from Westminster Pier); it's now a very treasured memory!

Roger R.


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