Albert Lee and Peter Asher

One half of Peter & Gordon and a world-renowned record producer teams up with everyone’s country rock guitar ace for some duo shows. With no real preparation except years of fandom, Just Listen To This get a chance to chat with the star pair, backstage at the Cornbury Festival…Thanks gents!

Supplied By Artist

JLTT: I’m an old guy so this is a pleasure. In fact, Mr Lee I’ve been reviewing you lately because you are on Sterling Ball’s record ‘Mutual Admiration’

AL: (Warmly) Oh yeah. (Turns to Peter Asher) These are artists who are really music fans.

PA: Oh great.

JLTT: Also, Tommy Emmanuel.

PA: Tommy’s a good friend of mine too. I’m gonna be seeing him in Australia very soon.

JLTT: He’s still telling the same jokes he was years ago!

PA: (Laughs) Surprise..

AL: (Laughs) No surprise…

AL: He’s an old friend. We toured Australia a couple of times together.

JLTT: Ok. One thing I’ve always wondered if it is true about you Peter, is it true that way back in the Peter and Gordon days you got hold of a song that The Hollies turned down?

PA: Which one?

JLTT: I’m not sure which one.

PA: Are you thinking of The Searchers?

JLTT: Oh yes that’s it!

PA: It was a Del Shannon song. We were on the road in Australia and he played it to them and they said no thanks and we did it.

JLTT: What’s the legacy of Peter and Gordon?

PA: Gosh… I don’t think I have a legacy. We were glad to be part of an overall movement led by The Beatles and there were a lot of us joining in. We made some good records and I think we sang well together and I’m proud of what we did. Legacy is a bit too grown-up a word for me.. I don’t think of it that way.

JLTT: You obviously learnt production from doing that.

PA: That was indeed the beginning of my interest in production. That’s when I decided that I wanted to produce records and that’s something I actively learnt to do. I got to watch producers including George Martin and learn a lot from the best.

JLTT: Were you never tempted to go into acting?

PA: I did. I started off acting – I was a child actor.

JLTT: Jane stuck with it.

PA: Jane stuck with it. But no I did a film when I was eight.

JLTT: Terrific. Albert as I said previously, I’ve been reviewing you a lot lately as I review every record that comes my way. You’re all over the Thunderbirds stuff with Chris Farlowe?

AL: I spent four years with him and we made a few records yeah.

JLTT: You kind of anglicised that Steve Cropper sound is that fair to say?

Well I was influenced by so many American guitar players but everybody was learning off each other at that time. I was different to a lot of British guitar players because I was listening to a lot more country than the guys were here. So I guess I kind of made a name for myself in the States as a country player with a slight different attitude. Because I started off playing rock and roll in England.

JLTT: One of my favourite 45s of all time is called ‘Warming Up The Band’.

AL: Oh ok! Heads Hands & Feat..you’ve got a memory!

JLTT: That to me was the early start of country rock. Do you remember anything about that?

Well yeah it was a single and in fact I played most of the instruments. I played all of the guitars and I played piano on it to.

JLTT: Very emphatic unusual beat almost like before Little Feat discovered it. Almost like a brass arrangement transposed into guitars dynamically.

AL: Yeah. Well Tony Colton wrote most of the song. I am not sure the whole band had a part in that or maybe we did. I can’t remember.

JLTT: We are soon going to see Rodney Crowell. How would you describe your playing relationship with Rodney?

AL: Well we got to know each other really well. Then he went solo and I played on quite a few things that he recorded. When he went out with a band we had a band called The Cherry Bombs and we just played bars around California and we had a great time. We were good buddies. I sang a lot on his records too with the harmonies but then I was off busy doing other things with the Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton and whatever.

JLTT: What’s your memory of Emmylou Harris’ ‘Luxury Liner’? I think that is a classic album.

AL: I have to say that that’s one of my favourites because it got a hell of a lot of plays on the radio. She gave me a Gold Disc for it because it was an integral part of that album. That title song was the first track we did when we went in and started to do it. That was the first thing we did.

JLTT: When you are asked to guest on records, do they ask you to be Albert Lee or do you adapt?

AL: Hopefully they do yes on the first! On a rare occasion where they are looking for a certain guitar player and he is busy and they say “Oh Albert Lee I’ve heard of him. Let’s try him.” Then they realise that I’m not gonna play like the first guy they had in mind but nine times out of ten they are happy with what I’ve given them. It is not what they imagined it would be to begin with!

JLTT: I like your version of ‘Roadrunner’.

AL: Oh you do? Thanks. That was the producer’s idea actually.

JLTT: I heard it and said “You should have done ‘Shotgun’ as well”. Possibly something for the future?

AL: (Smiles) Could have done yeah.

JLTT: What is Albert Lee’s debt to Chet Atkins?

AL: I never really learnt to do that thumb pick thing that he did because so many people can do it better than I can. I think what I learnt from him most was harmonies. The way he accompanied people and the way he played behind people. I learned a lot from him, that’s very true

JLTT: To me, as a guitar player he never loses the melody.

AL: Oh no.

JLTT: Any song – that melody is like a stick of rock.

AL: That’s important to him. That was what he was great at. When I played I would always play around with it and Chet said “I was a great noodler!” (Laughs)

(Laughs)

JLTT: Peter, Glenn here is too young to have been around to see early James Taylor and Carole King however…there is however a lady who you two probably know called Judith Owen and she plays with Waddy Wachtel and Leland Sklar.

PA: Yeah. Great fellas

JLTT: Do you like her music?

PA: Yeah I do she’s great.

JLLT: I’d hate to say that she is the new Carole King but if she is ever going to retire I think she has it made. When you think about producing James Taylor, by the third or fourth record they almost seem to be like diaries lyrically. Do you know what I mean? How do you address the musical backdrop for that and get the best out of the lyric?

PA: I mean, you have to surround the song in a way that is not gonna get IN the way. You’ve gotta take the song and James’s vocal and make it as good as it could be. You’ve got half of the arrangements done with his guitar. So you know what you’ve got to do it is just a case of having the right elements to make it bigger and better.

JLTT: I’ll throw one name at you just for your thoughts – Andrew Gold.

PA: Yeah. Brilliant. Loved working with him.

JLTT: What do you remember about him?

PA: He could play everything. Could play every instrument and never learned any of them. Drums, piano, guitar, bass very well. I’m a trained musician. His parents were incredibly brilliant trained musicians and he came out this instinctive Beatle fanatic rock and roll guy and created great stuff. ‘You’re No Good’ wouldn’t have been the record it was without Andrew.

JLTT: Do you come across any new Andrew Golds?

PA: Not currently.

JLTT: When did you two first meet?

PA: We can’t remember. Probably a gig.

JLTT: Ok. I heard once that Linda Ronstadt was at The Troubadour and some scruffy musicians came up and offered to play with her and it was Fairport Convention! She gave them the benefit of the doubt. They knew all of her material.

PA: She was a fan of Fairport Convention, we all were. That may well of happened but I wasn’t there.

JLTT: Thank you very much and great to meet you.

PA: Thanks a lot. Nice to meet you.

AL: Thank you. Some great names you brought up!

Pete Sargeant



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:600px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-5118727284236050"
data-ad-slot="4083681723">

(Many thanks to Sacha, Peter Asher and Albert Lee)

All Images Supplied By Artists except Peter Asher individual Photos which are credited to Joe Carducci Photography

For more information on Peter Asher visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2QEy1rT

For more information on Albert Lee visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2RNlSi1