I guess I should say here that I became obsessed with playing the guitar.

I couldn’t leave it alone .. ever.. and I swear it had similar feelings for me too.  I used to sleep with it and it also just about consumed every waking part of my day.  I was always fiddling about with it, learning songs, learning new chords or just enchanted by its gorgeousness and the zillion melodic and harmonic puzzles it threw at me.

I started writing songs and doing Dylan and Donovan covers and once I could finger pick, I was the beast of Belle Vue Road.  I got Anne Smith on oboe and cor anglais and Sybil Olive (of hot pants fame) on fiddle to join me and we formed a charming little trio called Chicago Cottage after this great little American Harmonium I’d bought from some auction or other.  

It was like a musical bike.  I loved it almost as much as my guitar.. well almost … (no don’t listen to me, guitar) .. it didn’t stand a chance really.

We were great.  We actually were an unbelievably class act .. just like that .. almost out of nowhere. They could play anything I wanted them to try and dollop all sorts of wonderful harmonies and embellishments all over it … and they valued me and took my musical comments and writing really seriously .. made me feel so good and the end product was just stunning.  People came from all around to hear us play and no doubt to ogle the contents of Sybil’s hot pants.  (I think I still have some recordings somewhere of Chicago Cottage so in the very near future I will hoist them up onto the web site) but, like bottoms, all good things must come to an end and of course they were teenagers ready for university and though I really wanted to hang on to them I knew their talent and careers would hasten them away.  Actually the last time I heard, Sybil was playing for the BBC Wales Symphony orchestra and Anne for the Doilly Carte (not sure bout the spelling here).

See I trained ‘em young…got ‘em off to a good start.  God bless you both and thank you so very much. I’ve always used you two as a measure of how good things can be.  (Next Page)

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