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Chris was born into a musical family in Banbury in 1951. "We made our own entertainment, as the saying goes, in those early days!" Most of the family played some sort of instrument. "Mum would start playing the piano, then perhaps my Uncle Cec, would join in on accordion. And so it would go on. Friends and family would visit to keep the music flowing for a few hours." A cousin introduced Chris to the guitar when he was eleven and sparked an interest that would never fade. "My first guitar, a Selmer 222 acoustic, was borrowed from my cousin Stan. A couple of years later he said the guitar was mine and I cherished it for many years until it became un-playable!" Inevitably school groups were started and to Chris, nothing else really mattered! "School didn't really encourage my interests.
Two comments that I'm proud of in my school report are, "All his attention is paid to his guitar." and "Tends to be too comical!" I remember taking the guitar to school and waiting outside the music room during lunch break. "Don't take that in there Tobin, that's not a musical instrument!!" - That was the Music teacher! (Git!)
I started to play guitar at the age of eleven, but in keeping with the rest of the family I could never be bothered to learn to read music. My ear for chord sequences developed by studying the stacks of sheet music that was crammed into the old piano stool.
Simple little songs that could probably be busked with three or four chords had these beautiful changes that would be a sin to ignore. I found the chords from the ukulele 'chord boxes' that would appear on the 30s and 40s sheet music. I would then have to find where my other two fingers would have to go!
After spending nearly 35 years in various pop, rock, dance bands, I have come full circle and returned to the 'old piano stool' and in more recent years, with just me and my guitar, I give my interpretation of the songs that inspired me as a youngster. I play the songs that I like and hope that the audience likes them too.
No particular category or period, just songs that I like, but I have to confess; although the folk circuit has been so good to me I still don't know any folk songs! I don't have the memory capacity for all those verses! I also have a few self penned songs that I blend in with my play list.
Priority is to keep it mostly 'happy' and not too intense, but with the occasional 'sad' song just to keep the light and shade.