The Magic Highway


Extracts from a couple of articles in Melody Maker, July 11 and August 29, 1970.


ChristieWHEN Christie made it after years slogging away for a few pounds in various different groups, people immediately started saying their record was a copy of the Creedence sound.
   "I wrote Yellow River 18 months ago," said Jeff Christie, bass guitarist and lead singer with the group. "At the time I wrote it, I was playing a regular spot in a cabaret club in Batley. We used to have many groups such as The Marmalade and The Tremeloes come down. I used to play them my tapes to them, but there was never much interest really.
   "But when I played Yellow River to the Tremeloes by mistake, they were all very enthusiastic about it, and talked of using it as an LP track. Then they said they were going to use it as a asingle. But for various reasons they never used it.
   "Tremeloes member Alan Blakley asked me if I would like to get into the group scene with his brother Michael. At that time, both Mike, who plays drums, and Vic Elmes, who plays brilliant lead guitar, were in a group called Acid Gallery.
   "But they wanted me to come and live in London, and with no money it was not possible. And as they had no money too, they could not pay my wages."
   But then now-Christie manager Brian Longley asked Jeff to come to London and record Yellow River. "From there, everything started happening," Jeff said. "It was too fast to catch. Suddenly, after two or three weeks, it entered the top 20 and from there to number 1."
   Jeff said he was a great fan of Alvin Lee. "I used to go and watch Alvin Lee and Leo Lyons when they had a group called The Jaybirds; even in those days Alvin was brilliant."
   At the moment, Jeff is living at his manager's house near Ascot but misses his family at home at Leeds. "I'm looking for a place in London at the moment. It's good to have some roots, somewhere of your own to go to."
   It's take a long time for Jeff to make it, and a lot of hard work. "I've been playing in different groups since I was 13 and have been professional for six years. Playing with so many groups has helped my writing. I now write progressive stuff, vintage type rock, country and western and slower ballads."
   Jeff is determined to stay at the top.
"If you want to stay big, you have to think big."


CHRISTIE leave for a three-day visit to Poland tonight, during which they will make an appearance on television that will be relayed throughout the iron curtain countries with an estimated 250 million viewers. The group will also play at the Sopot song festival. Yellow River is currently number 1 in Poland.
   On September 17, 18 and 19, they do concerts in Milan and Rome, and play in the Venice festival. They appear in the Bergen festival in Norway on September 23, and play in Finland on September 25. In October they play in Sweden from 7 to 14, in Ireland from 16 to 20, and in Germany from 22 to 29.