CHRIS SPEDDING, for over forty years one of the British recording scene’s top session guitarists (hs inimitable playing has graced the recordings of artists as diverse as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Harry Nilsson, John Cale, The Drifters, David Essex, Bryan Ferry, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Roxy Music, Jack Bruce, Johnny Hallyday, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, Katie Melua and scores of others), is to release a brand new solo album, entitled Pearls, on the Repertoire Records label on Monday, September 26th 2011.
Comprising thriteen tracks, Pearls sees Spedding stepping out in style, drawing on a breathtaking range of musical idioms, jumping from the Beat Group flavoured Air Guitar Woogie, through to the warped Jazz of The Tree And The River, and even goes right back to his formative musical years with the delightful skiffle romp of Flat Top Floogie. There’s also atmospheric bluesy excursions such as the title track itself, and some English pastoral musings on Temple Heath.
Throughout, Spedding displays his acknowledged economic playing style with understated elegance – he only plays the notes that count, and eschews flash for taste and decorum and feel.
In his time, Chris Spedding has become the guitarist of choice for a range of music performers and producers.
Who can forget his occasional Top of the Pops appearances as Wellington Womble (he was the one with the ‘Flying V’ guitar), or that he was the first established musician to actually speak up for The Sex Pistols, producing their earliest demo recordings (needless to say, Malcolm McLaren didn’t pay ‘im)? At the same time, he was voted ‘Second best-dressed musician’ in an NME reader’s poll, scored an unlikely chart hit (produced by the late Mickie Most) with Motor Bikin’, and encouraged the nascent talent of Chrissie Hynde.
He was also considered as replacement for Mick Taylor in The Rolling Stones (he turned Jagger down, ‘cause he was too busy doing sessions), and relocated to New York in the late 1970s to take Link Wray’s place as guitar banana to the neo-rockabilly vocalist Robert Gordon.
Strange that, in the early seventies, he was voted by Melody Maker readers as one of the UK’s finest Jazz guitarists, thanks to his work with Ian Carr and Nucleus!