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GUEST,Roger Rettig Lonnie Donegan's guitarists (61* d) RE: Lonnie Donegan's guitarists..... 31 Aug 06

I agree with Brian of Dorset, but with some reservation.

You wouldn't have got the job with Donegan if you couldn't play, but my earlier posts refer to Lonnie's influential years (1955-1963) when his musicians were drawn from the jazz world to a large extent.

This is a bit blunt, but the later groups were formed by LD so he could exploit the cabaret circuit by performing his old hits. He was no longer 'cutting edge', even though he never lost his enthusiasm for his work. His hit records were way behind him and, anyway, there was by the mid-to-late '60s a vast pool of talented rock musicians who had learned their instruments listening to Lonnie's first recordings (I'm one of them!!)

I know all the guys you mention, and I've played with most of them - they're all good players. Roger McKew and I played twin guitars for Joe Brown, and in Freddie Starr's band, for some years.

I never liked seeing Lonnie with a Fender bass in the band! It just looked wrong to me, and we must agree to disagree regarding Lonnie's 'best band'!

For me, that will always be: LD, Denny Wright, Mickey Ashman and J. Nick Nichols. He would never again have that deftness of touch with craftsmanlike and understated arrangements. The later (rock-orientated) bands suffered from 'sound-man syndrome' - spend five minutes each EQ-ing all the instruments, then half-an-hour checking the drums. I must stress.... no detriment is intended towards these latter-day players, but they were rockers; Lonnie did best with jazz players...


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