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Part III: Off to Germany (and Chicago)!

Letter from a friend: "Want to play in Hamburg?"

One day I got a letter from Frank Jackson, an old friend and bass player who I played with in the “Rodney Ward and the Hi Fi’s” band some time back. The letter was from Germany and asked if I knew a guitarist that would want to replace Jimmy Duncombe who was leaving “Sonny Stewart and the Dynamos”.

Jimmy was, and still is, a great guitarist, and even gave Jeff Beck some lessons at one time.

I left for Germany the same week!

In Germany

I spent a few years with Sonny Stewart, playing clubs in Hamburg, Frankfurt and about every city and town in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and the Scandinavian countries. One of these clubs was the Star Club – now famous as an early ‘learning’ venue for the Beatles and other (then) ‘undiscovered’ groups.

Talk about crazy times and people! Even now, I still marvel at the musical ‘scene’ in Germany: English bands playing in rowdy German beer-halls, not many years after the ‘blitz’ of London and the pummeling of Berlin.

By and large we were treated well, but it was still a good idea to keep an eye on the ‘backstage door’ when the patrons got “good and tanked”!

The drummer in Sonny’s band, Dave Constable, was – and still is – a friend of mine, and we’ve had interesting times reminiscing about those crazy days.

Sonny Stewart & the Dynamos: See 'Photo Gallery'
With Sonny Stewart
and the Dynamos
After the stint with Sonny Stewart, Dave and I went with “Dave Dacosta and the Strollers”. After a time with Dave Dacosta, we both left, and the ‘German days’ soon gave way to life back in England and then the United States. Dave Dacosta & the Strollers: See 'Photo Gallery'
With Dave Dacosta
and the Strollers
We weren’t aware of it at the time, but the German scene of the early ‘60s we were leaving was to be part of an historical musical heritage – out of which came, of course, the Beatles and many other great and legendary groups.
Off to Chicago...
After a year in England, I moved to Chicago in 1966 (after meeting my future wife Kitty while playing on a US Army base in Germany). Kitty’s family lived in Chicago, and I went with her to the ‘States to continue my “musical excursion”. Kitty and I at Club Med: See 'Photo Gallery'
Kitty and I at Club Med
Since moving to Chicago I have been playing and teaching guitar, and doing a variety of recording projects –disks and demos for local groups, occasional “session” work and albums of my own. 'Mellow Yellow' CD
My "Mellow Yellow" CD
I’ve played every type of music you can imagine: From “show” gigs with Big Bands, to stints with rock bands, jazz groups, polka bands, and “jobbing” gigs such as weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and the like. Back in the Sixties, I even played with the Malcolm X College band. In Chicago, the variety of musical outlets is all-across-the-board! Vlasta the 'Polka Queen': See 'Photo Gallery'
With Vlasta the
"Polka Queen"
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