The story of Dave & Marian
Paper Flowers, Paper Dreams - Dave's sleevenotes from the Paper Flowers CD
Hitler bombed the hell out of Battersea in November of 1940 and in the same month and place I was born, but there's no reason to believe there's a connection! I spent my childhood in Roehampton, South London in a house filled with young adults, who all bought records. Everyone played some kind of instrument so music and performing came easy to me and by 1954 I was a dedicated guitar freak, long before 'guitar heros' were born.
The musicians I listened to and went to see, were the ones who took the instruments seriously. Laurindo Almieda (from Brazil), Segovia (a Spaniard), Tal Farlow (pictured, right), Johnny Smith (both Americans), Dave Goldberg, Ken Sykora and Judd Proctor (all English). These were a fraction of the musicians who caught my ear and, by 1955, I was in and out of duos, trios, bands and groups. Skiffle was big and there were always gigs with one group or another. Stand out memories include spending some time with The Comanches (later Johnny Kidds' Pirates), when I did a Buckingham Palace staff party with them! I was also part of what would now be called a 'workshop', based in Richmond which was made up of a number of musicians and singers - anything up to eight or nine people - all working as duos, trios etc...
One trio, Alan Beach, Theo Johnson and I, made the workshop's first TV appearance. In 1957, that same trio also established Bunjies Coffee Bar as a folk venue in Litchfield Street just off the edge of Soho near all the Skiffle coffee bars. Those Skiffle venues all featured groups doing mainly American material whilst Bunjies had music from everywhere. The workshop produced yet another trio, Alan Beach (again), Jenny Johnson - a staggering singer, with a five & a half octave range, and myself. We had great games with vocal harmonies. That same trio went to BBC Radio and TV and featured at the London Guitar Festival in 1959.
The trio then became a duo before evolving into another trio, in 1960, under the name The Countrymen. In one day I began a five year contract with Pye, a five year contract with the management and a three year residency in the law courts suing the management for breach of contract! The court costs were so high that we had to stay where the money was - 'show business' - and as a result we became a well established part of the 'showbiz' scene. We had three years on TV with our own series and three years on BBC radio, including the World Service. Pye continued to issue singles without our interest and we had non-stop work supporting everything from comedians to Top Of The Pops. The court case was won and then the trio fizzled out.