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Christie
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Jeff answers your mail!
 

Jeff writes

Paul Mills (ex drummer with the band The Casuals) wrote:
Just after the Outer Limits band, can you remember a young band called the Valkyries? We worked together in Leeds on Dewsbury Road.
   You topped the bill and we were starry eyed youngsters, then you ended up as Christie with Yellow River. I still raise my arms up to anyone from Leeds.
   I ended up in The Casuals for a lot of years and am still working in a band. Your dad and my dad were pals in the Albion Club in Leeds. In a roundabout way you helped me become who I am today.
   I went to your house when you were away with Robert Epstone, my pal.

Jeff answers:
Your memory is obviously still intact and although I remember some of what you say there's some I don't.
   I remember The Casuals' great record Jesamine, but don't remember meeting any of the group but I could be wrong. There were so many gigs to remember that it's impossible to recall every one over the 50 plus years of gigging, especially in the early days of the mid-60s. You say your dad was friendly with my dad at the Lido in Albion St and you came to my house with Robert Epstone, who is alive and well and living in Bali for many years now. I see him regularly as he comes to Leeds every so often.
   It's really gratifying to know that I may have influenced anyone to further themselves in a musical direction if that's the case, as music is the magic bullet to soothe, excite, heal and inspire people everywhere.


Christopher Coote, Millom, UK, wrote:
Jeff, I remember you from the Ritz Club in Millom in 1972.....you nearly blew the back out of the place with Iron Horse! I loved it!! As loud at the Rocking Vicars were in '68 .... hahaha.
   Millom, though out in the sticks, had a devout following of both metal and rock and roll fans … some of the older girls could really jive with all that acrobatic stuff too! I saw loads of class acts at both the Palace (later Cumbria Club) and the Ritz. Hot Chocolate came about the time you guys did too, plus Edison Lighthouse and Amen Corner. Basically, anyone who was anyone came … we were really quite spoiled with talent in the late 60's and early 70s.

Jeff answers:
Thanks Chris, that was a blast! The Rocking Vicars used to have Lemmy (later of Hawkwind and Motorhead) as a member, once saw them at the Cro Magnon club in Leeds in the 60's before crossing paths or amps with him when he was a roadie on the Hendrix tour in '67 which I was on with my then band Outer Limits.


Philip Ayotte Brunette, Texas, USA, wrote:
I was recently sent a suggestion that Yellow River could be used as a song my little band (and I DO mean little) could play at our RV park in Texas this winter. I remember the tune although I don't think it received as much air time in Canada (home). Anyway... love the song! Figure you were limited to keeping it to under three minutes back in the 70's. I've taken the liberty of extending it with additional lyrics so this cover version runs 5:15 and continues the story. Hope you have a chance to put an ear on it. Cheers!

Jeff answers:
Too much of a good thing etc, because sometimes the magic is just enough in just under three mins, any more and you over-egg the pud.
I figured I got it right in '69 and there's many who would agree, but good luck, have fun with it and and have a good gig, Phil.


RonnieRonnie Rush, former roadie for Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, USA, wrote:
Hello Jeff Christie, I just watched the "Story Behind Yellow River" and was amazed how fate stepped in for you! How you even tried to give it away to a national act (your song) but FATE went the long way around to give it back to you and thus the rest is history. I'm so glad you not only wrote the song, but sang lead on it.
   Your song is mentioned in my memoir. There is a story behind why I mentioned it and had you not wrote the song, my life may have taken a different direction. It's all in my book, Life of a Roadie, the Gypsy In Me.

Jeff anwers:
Thanks Ronnie, yes fate indeed, the pressures of trying to break through as a songwriter and musician were tough in those days as the competition was so good.
   It changed many peoples lives in so many ways, mostly for the better I think, not the least mine.
Good luck with your book, roadies are a breed apart, I'm sure you must have many great stories and experiences. I worked with many over the years, and could write my own little book of roadies, but that's another story!


Martinš Marcis Beitinš, music journalist, Latvia, wrote:
Regarding the One For The Road video, could you please tell me, if you know:
   What are exact locations that are captured in it? Who was the director? Which highway and city is in this video? aAnd in which spot precisely is the band standing? Why was the video shot there and not somewhere else? Thank you so much.

Jeff answers:
Location was somewhere in the home counties south of London. The director: I think it was Peter Hunt from Southern TV who did Iron Horse and a few other Christie videos like Fools Gold.
That's all I'm afraid ... I can only guess the reason the film included some road shots were just simplistically to tie in to the title of One For The Road.


FenderPeter Dawson, London, writes:
Hi Jeff, I have been looking at the website.
   Loved Yellow River from the first time I heard it, in my teens. Can you tell me, please, on which guitar the treble riff is played? Also, is any signal processing used? Love the 'jangly' sound. Wonder if this could be 'reproduced' on a Squier Telecaster. Also, not sure why only two guitarists in Christie.

Jeff answers:
Hi Peter, an electric Fender 12-string was used on the original with some tape echo. A Telecaster has its own unique sound as does the Stratocaster but you can get close with reverb/echo etc, but it's also the player, instrument, and studio ambience that gave it a distinct character.
   You must also remember it was all analogue back then as opposed to digital now. A lot of differences to contend with but double tracking and EQ played their part also.


Jared Sagal, www.rockerrazzifilmz.com, wrote:
My name is Jared Sagal and I am making a documentary about San Bernardino and the tragic events that took place December 2nd, 2015 at the Inland Regional Center there where the shooting took place.
   The doc is about the new pro soccer team that came into town after the attack and how soccer has helped lift the spirits of the community and the victims of the shootings. I am producing and directing this by myself with little to no funds but would really like to use the song for the opening credits.
   I'm happy to send over an edit of the film if you'd like. I hope we can work something out so we can share your music. It's the perfect tune for this doc. Thanks so much.

Jeff wrote:
Oddly enough some years ago San Bernadino was put forward by people on the SB City Council as the official city song in an effort to be an uplifting response to the violence and murders that were plaguing the city despite the fact that my song title omitted the 'r' in the title.
   There was quite a campaign backed by various people with the City's connections, including a descendant of Kit Carson and various other City alumni. I was even invited to perform at the annual Route 66 festival there to perform the song. How strange that in the aftermath of another horrendous murder spree I am contacted again by someone else to use my song again!
   If you send over an edit I'd be happy to look at it and we can take it from there.


Galit, Israel, wrote:
My name is Galit and I'm from Israel. I love Yellow River. I remember it very well although I was just 3 when it was released. My older brothers used to listen to it.
Today, as I was taking my very elderly parents home after celebrating our holiday, my mom told me a story from her childhood. They were dancing to the sound the classical piece In A Persian Market. As I've never heard the name of the piece before I listened to it on youtube. The first thing that came to my mind was your Yellow River song!.

Jeff answers:
Yes, you are right, it is reminiscent of A Persian Market. Are you a musicologist?
   The western chromatic scale consists of 12 notes and it is remarkable that millions of songs are created within that scale.
   Obviously there are going to be many occasions when songs are very close melodically whether intentional or not, but one has to take into account such things as phrasing, rhythms and cadence which give a completely different picture despite similarities of melodic notes. Hope that is helpful.


Felix Py, Argentina, wrote:
Hello Jeff, I'm Felix Py from Argentina. It's a great honour to contact you, I remember when you visited our country in the 70 s with your amazing band Christie. I saw you in a night club called Bwana under the Alvear Palace Hotel and I enjoy too much your music, specially Yellow River, one of the greatest songs pop I ever heard. I'm an amateur drummer and collector of Ludwig drums. Un abrazo grande.

Jeff answers:
Hi Felix, thanks for writing in. Argentina was great for Christie, at one time in the early seventies we had our own one-off 90-minute show with guest artists and dancers, in the days long before video or youTube made it possible to see these things again.

   I vaguely remember the Alvear Palace but mostly we would stay at the Sheraton and use Buenos Aires as a base for gigs throughout the country and what a vast interesting country you have, with different regions and climate and Yerba Mate, which I loved and was introduced to by a couple of gauchos. Some of the most beautiful women in the world are from Argentina, and tango, alongside flamenco, have always been big favourites of mine in the world of dance.
   The engine of any band is the drummer, he holds it all together and needs to be strong and fit and have lots of stamina, and Ludwig drums are renowned. Good luck with all that and stay strong!

BA

Christie being greeted by fans in Argentina in 1973.


Richard Shreve, New York, USA, wrote:
Jeff, at the start of summer, I was scheduled for back surgery and remembered your song Yellow River from childhood ... it helped me get prepared and through my surgery and gave me strength and energy to be able to do his for the sixth time!!! Many, many, many, thanks to you and, your song... I am so glad the Tremeloes passed on the song and you did it!!!! I SERIOUSLY play it over and over and over, hours straight; it gives me the strength and stamina I require to endure. Thank you again
Lots of love for you and your song.

Jeff answers:
Hello Richard, I'm touched that a song I wrote more than 45 years ago could have such an uplifting effect on you and help you through your back surgery, and for the sixth time!! That music is such a powerful tool for good has always resonated strongly with me, and stories such as yours only strengthen that fact. I am so happy if my songs help lift anyone's mood and consider myself fortunate to have been given the skill or talent to be able to channel that magic to anyone who will listen.
   I have had spinal surgery and can identify and empathise with your situation. I did not however, have anyone in mind when I wrote YR, but at a point in my life when I was without a job or a band and was looking for artists to cover my songs. The Tremeloes happened to be one of several bands that listened to my songs and in particular 'got it' with that one and helped me on my way through recognition and action. In the end I suppose when creators sing their own songs, with the right production and recording it might just have more integrity and soul than other versions, even if by more famous artists.
   You live in a great city which I have visited often. I hope you surgery gives you good benefit and improvement and wish you well.


Rick Neumann, Maryland, USA, wrote:
Hey Jeff! I'm 62 and live in Maryland. I've always loved Yellow River. It's an iconic song that is haunting and superb. I am a scuba diver. Over 35 years, I have fallen in love with a tiny island in the Caribbean called Little Cayman. I'm also a longtime outdoor writer. It ocurred to me that I needed to write a love song about Little Cayman.
   The basic melody of Yellow River kind of leapt at me like a bullfrog last summer. So, I wrote The Ballad of Little Cayman, and a young musician buddy of mine is messing with it. I'm not doing this for money, but would like to make it available to other divers who love this island as I do. Do you have any thoughts about this? Would you be opposed to it? Best personal regards

Jeff answers:
I can't promise clearance for use of the melody until I hear the finished (or demo) version. It's important that I do not authorise songs that are not up to a reasonable standard. Maybe send me an mp3 first. Thanks.


Nora Shmakova, Ukraine, wrote:
Jeff, why do you sing the songs of other ones ? You have got masterpieces, songs of your own! Remember we your admirers want to listen to your music and more and more please, Christie songs!

Jeff answers:
Dear Nora, first thank you for your kind appraisal of my songs.
   When I make records, I only record my own songs, apart from the odd occasion for a special project, like the Christmas version of 'Happy Xmas War Is Over' which I did many years ago. If people want to explore and appreciate my songwriting outside the obvious hits, they need to listen to my albums, of which two have been released in the last few years and are accessible online from iTunes/Amazon etc.
   When I play live with my band, the audience really enjoy the other songs as well as my own songs and the whole program works very well. Obviously I would love to be able just to perform my own songs sometimes, but not everyone knows all my songs other than the most popular handful and so I play songs from the same time period that evoke the same feelings from that period, which is the early 70's, to transport the listener back to that time.
   Hope this answers your question. Keep listening, music makes the world go round!


GladysStuart Duffy, UK, wrote:
Heard Great Train Robbery on Sounds of the Sixties recently. I remember you telling me it was arranged by Tony Meehan. That was in the Merrion Bowl about 1969!!! I still think your version of Walk In My Shoes is the best!!!

Jeff answers:

Hey Stuart, Just Walk In My Shoes' by Gladys Knight and The Pips was a great record and we loved doing that, I think we opened with it at one point.
   Am very flattered and thanks.
   The Bowling Alley in the Merrion Centre was always a great gig for us but the last gig the Outer Limits ever played was there, and that must have been mid to late '68 I think.


Alicia Ruffolo, Argentina, wrote:
Jeff! Why don't you came again to Argentina? If only ...... you can´t imagine what your songs represent for me ... when I have a difficult work to do, first of all I put Yellow River in my ears and in my heart, and all the things became easier.

Jeff answers:
Hi Alicia, so many great memories of Argentina and particularly las mujeres hermosas!
   I toured Argentina four times in the early 70s, usually after doing shows in Brasil.
   We often stayed at the Sheraton in Buenos Aires, which we used as a base. I saw a vast and varied country and a proud people.
   I have always loved tango, Argentine beef, and yerba mate sipped through a steel straw. We had some Gaucho fans who showed us how to prepare it.
   We used to come over for a promoter called Leonardo Schultz, who was once in a famous Argentine singing group and who had a son called Danny, who Leonardo told me started playing guitar because of me, which is a satisfying and nice memory.
   I would like very much to play in Argentina again as we were very popular there for a while and once had our own TV show in Buenos Aires, so we need to find a promoter to bring the band over again for an anniversary show perhaps.
   Thank you for your appreciation of my music, to know that I have touched people around the world with my songs in some kind of a meaningful way is the greatest gift to me.
   Be well and keep on listening!


Gabi R. Jandette, Mexico, wrote:
Hello Jeff! On November 10, 1974, you came to visit Mexico City for the first time. Your show was in "Auditorio Nacional de la ciudad de Mexico".
   I remember you sang my favorite song in all the world, Yellow River, and others like San Bernadino, Navajo, Alabama, Inside Looking Out, Guantanamera, Down the Mississippi Line,a cover of Jumping Jack Flash ...
   Toncho Pilatos was the Mexican group that opened your show. Do you remember?
   You looked so fine, wearing white jeans and a red sweater, you looked so handsome!!!!
   That was the best show I had never seen.
   Congratulations, MY "Papucho".

Jeff answers:
   Hi Gabi,
   We stayed in the Hotel Del Prado and got friendly with an American satirical theatre group who were putting on a show at the Hotel called El Grande de Coca Cola. We played in the hotel also, I think the deal was we stayed for free for several nights and did a freebie for them. We used the hotel as a base for a tour of Mexico which took us all over the country.
   I remember Guadalajara, Durango, Chihuahua, Hermosillo, to name a few places and of course Mexico City, the Pyramids and Dia de Muertos, which we found fascinating, although quite different from the cultural/religious references we knew from home.
   Before the show in the afternoon at the National Auditorium in Mexico City, our promoter Leonardo Schultz fell off the stage in the darkness and broke his leg. I was walking behind with the rest of the band behind me, and it was lucky I didn't follow him off the side of the stage.
   We did however have a great show later and enjoyed playing to such an enthusiastic audience.
   Thanks for reminding me, it's great that you were there and got in touch after all these years and am glad it was a great night for you.


Warren G. Hunter, Huntsville, Alabama, USA, wrote:
Jeff, I ran across some vids of Yellow River and other great Christie songs and just had to write and tell you what great memories they brought back for me. I think I must have played Yellow River 1000 times - and now to hear it again - just spectacular!
   I just love the sound you guys put out, which brings me to my question: What amp were you using to get that jangley lead tone on Yellow River and San Bernadino? I'm assuming a Vox AC30. Just sounds killer!
   Anyway, thanks again for some awesome music.

Jeff answers:
  Thanks for your email. Yellow River: Fender 12 string guitar through a Fender Pro Reverb or Twin Reverb amp plus a little fairy dust! It was a long time ago!
   San Bernadino: Gibson Les Paul 6 string, double tracked through either a Fender or Marshall.
   I was using Vox AC 30's in the '60's and they were a great amp but seem to have attained iconic status in later years.
   I wrote a song called Alabama, it's on the For All Mankind album.
   Keep listening!


Diego, Tupanciretã, Brazil, wrote:
Hello, my name is Diego, I live in Brazil and I am 26 years old.
   When I was 16 I did not like music but one day my cousin gave me a few discs and it was the Yellow River LP, the album is perfect listening.
   I listened to all the tracks several times 10 years ago and I became a musician! T
hank you, thank you for all the good things that your music has given me, I'll never forget.

Jeff answers:
   Hi Diego, obrigado for your email.
   I played in Brasil in 1970/71 and had a wonderful time. I found the people warm, welcoming and the cariocas especially good fun.
   I made many friends there and have always loved Brasilian music.
   In 1975 I went out with the singer Rosemary (Pereira) who was also with the Mangera Samba school featured at carnival. We lost contact long ago but she recorded one of my songs and she is part of my affectionate memories of your country.
   I wish you much success with your music. Follow your dreams.


mariaMaría José (Mary Jo), Argentina, wrote:
Dear Jeff:   I´m listening now to Yellow River, I listen to it all time, it is my favorite song in the world.
   I´m Argentinian and 42 years old. Yes! When you had your best success I was a little girl.
   I listened to Yellow River when I was 25, I bought a CD with 70´s hits and it was there.
   Five years ago I found a youtube video in which you are on a boat (I love this video) and I have searched others up to today, and you do not seem to be 63, you look very young. I like you more with long hair.
   Of cou
rse the ringtone of my phone mobile is ....."Yellow River"!
   This year I´ve started guitar lessons (the first time in my life) to play and sing my dear Yellow River and My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. Yes, my three loves are you, George and The Beatles. I like the music of 50´s, 60´s and 70´s. I was born 20 years late!!!!

Jeff answers:
   Dear Mary Jo, t
hanks for your e-mail, good wishes and support. It's always nice to hear from those who enjoy listening to my music especially when they are so appreciative. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
   I value your comments and wish you well.


Stretch, UK, wrote:
   My name is Stretch (nickname) and have recently arrived in the UK and started to settle down.
   In 1972, I was the owner of a disco club in what was then Salisbury, Rhodesia.
   The club was called Sound City and we at the club were lucky enough to have Christie and Edison Lighthouse pop in.
   In fact, Jeff actually stayed with me at my house in Braeside, a suburb of Salisbury. No doubt you can imagine my surprise when I came across this site on the web.
   I very much doubt if Jeff will recall this (it was after they left Zambia), but none the less, please say hi from a chap that met him a lifetime ago.
   Wishes to all and thank you.

Jeff answers:
   Hi Stretch, yep, a long time ago but a vague distant memory recall just about gets me there.
   Hope you're adjusting to UK after Salisbury, a very different kind of life in many ways! We had some serious fun there as well as some great gigs.
   Harare doesn't quite cut the mustard sadly somehow, what with tyrants and tartars in charge of what was once a beautiful country. Meet the new boss - same as the old boss, sometimes worse!


Sabbath

Harry Young and Sabbath

Harry Young, Australia, wrote:
   I was the lead singer with the Australian band Harry Young and Sabbath in the early 70s, who covered and had top 10 success with Jeff Christie's song San Bernadino.
   We reunited for a one-off performance on the 22nd of November.
   When Jeff toured Aussie and was in Sydney, he bowled into the Whisky Au Go Go one night and announced he was the dude behind the track that started our air play career, so we then jammed. He and his kit player did a few numbers with us. That was 1971 I believe.

Jeff answers:
   It goes without saying that you were all doing your Duane Eddy thumb exercises ad nauseum, limbering up on treadmills, ordering in the oxygen cylinders and the suitably attired nurses to administer said drug on stage.
   Also hope you all had megadosage of zinc memory-boost, so as not to forget the words, especially to San Bernadino! And ... imperative not to forget to check frequency compatability with pacemakers and all other batteries are fully charged for wind-up drummer!
  
Hope you all had your mojos workin' for a 'smokin' gig.



BIRTHDAY greetings to the one and only THEA, who many Outer Limits fans remember as being one of the secretaries for the group's fan club. Thea, the lady in white pictured below with Jeff and her friends, has kept in touch with Jeff all these years, and Jeff himself has sent a congratulatory message (read below the photo).

thea

"Happy birthday Thea, it was lovely to share your birthday celebrations with you and all your friends and family (and you thought no one would come)! A great little kickass band helped keep the evening moving, although I'd watch out for the lead singer, he couldn't take his eyes off you all night!!
  So happy our special friendship has journeyed beyond the 'Outer Limits'!!
  Stay forever young, in heart and mind."

  Jeff Christie, April 2009


Jackie Stirling, British Vancouver, Canada, wrote:
   When I got my first car in 1970, the song Yellow River by Christie was on the radio all the time.
   It quickly became my all time favorite song.
For some reason, I never heard of the band again, but never forgot the song.
   When I got my IPod, I quickly downloaded the song and was finally able to listen to it again.
Recently, I added an application called Listen Music on Facebook, and immediately typed in my favorite song title. I was thrilled to find a video of the song as I had never seen the group.
   I found more and more videos of Christie and Jeff Christie, and have now purchased the album For All Mankind from ITunes.
   All I want now is to have Jeff Christie come to Vancouver, BC, and perform so that I may finally see him live.
   Judging by the number of comments here and on You Tube concerning Christie, I am certain there would be many others who would also like to see him.
   Why not re-release Yellow River, San Bernadino, For All Mankind, etc and then follow up with a tour.
   I am sure there is a whole new audience who would love the songs as the rest of us do. Just reserve me a front row seat to the concert!
   I notice on the website that Jeff's cousin has moved to Tampa, Florida; was he the only relative Jeff had in Canada?
   Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talent, Jeff.

Jeff answers:
   My Canadian Christie cousins are in the Kawartha Lakes, and Toronto area, and we all remain close even though we don't see each other as often as we all would like.
   As a matter of fact one of my cousin's sons Jodi is making a name for himself at 14 motor bike racing, and reaching pole position a few times already, see photo below.

jodi christie

   There's an double album retrospective of mine out on Angel Air Records called Outer Limits/Jeff Christie Floored Masters Past Imperfect getting some great reviews around the world some of which you'll see on this web site.
   The songs are pre and post 'Christie' and reflect different sides of my songwriting over the years.
   Yellow River was a big song for me all round the world and has become a rock/pop classic which makes it more special for me.


Miroslav Ignatov, Bulgaria, wrote:
   I would like to tell Jeff Christie how much his music affected me.
   From long time ago I have had an idea to create one home-made fan-book, which will include brief information for my most favourite musicians. This book will have only 10 copies made, with the purpose of presenting the music I love to my offspring, relatives and friends. It will be without price ( priceless ­ for me ) and without any commercial use.
   I would like to ask you for permission to use in my fan-book the lyrics of Yellow River, San Bernadino, Iron Horse and Coming Home Tonight, a few pictures and brief biographical information - all taken from this site.
   All included items will be unambiguous and credited to their authors.
   Also one short message (maybe to all Bulgarian fans ) will be highly appreciable. I will be very glad if you can send me this message to me.

Jeff answers:
   I'm happy my music means so much to you and I wish you well with your book- go ahead with the lyrics for the book.
   Also to any other Bulgarian fans out there: Thanks for letting me into your lives ... I hope you all continue to enjoy long healthy lives listening to much good music, hopefully some of it will be mine.


Vincent Capobianco wrote:
   Some versions of Yellow River and San Bernadino are different to the originals. When were these recorded by the group?

Jeff answers:
   Christie had guested on the Mama Cass TV special in the early 70s, networked from coast to coast in the US, and shortly after, as a result of this, I was invited to record in Nashville. But owing to work commitments I was unable to do so until the 80s, when K Tel records flew me out of London to Nashville, and provided me with a private suite at the prestigious Knox Manor Hotel, with its famous guitar-shaped swimming pool for a few days.
   Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to record any new songs, I just re-recorded Yellow River, San Bernadino and Iron Horse for K Tel and its licensed compilations distributed throughout various European territories, and for their custom music website .. and partied a bit for a few days before they flew me back to San Francisco.


Fernando López, Madrid, Spain, wrote:
   I have read that in 1971 it was planned to organise several concerts in Spain (I think in Benidorm and in Ibiza) with Julie Felix, The Hollies and Christie, but I haven't found more references about them.
   Were those concerts were finally held?
   Thank you very much and congratulations. It's a very good site about Christie.

Jeff answers:
ibiza   Hola Fernando, it is a good site. The concerts were cancelled at the last minute by Spanish officials for no reason, much to our managers' anger.
   The three acts (the Hollies, Julie Felix and us) stayed at the El Montiboli in Villajoyosa, between Benidorm and Alicante, which I loved so much I stayed there several times over the next few years for holiday breaks. I think not long after those shows I returned for more shows and wrote Iron Horse there. The England World Cup Squad stayed at the same hotel at the last World Cup in Spain.
   Incidentally, it was there that I met Lem Lubin, whose brother Alan was involved in promoting those shows, and shortly after he joined the band.


Rene van den Berge, Netherlands, wrote:
   The first record I ever bought was Iron Horse and after 30 years, it's still one of my all-time favorites. The song is kind of magic to me and gives me energy everytime I listen to it! Thank you for so much power!
   I have a few questions.
   a) How did you earn a living in your 'unsuccesful' pre-Christie years with the Outer Limits? Did you have a normal job in these days?
   b) Where was Iron Horse recorded, was it an 'easy' recording, who played the guitars, who produced it and what's your own opinion of this song?
   c) In my opinion Iron Horse is the best Christie tune. It was a hit in Europe, but not in the UK and the USA. How come?
   d) Has your huge single Yellow River made you financially independent or did you have to have a normal job after your Christie years?

Jeff answers:
   I used to know someone who was the head chef at the Pantry, a restaurant in downtown LA in the 1980’s. His reputation afforded him the sobriquet of ‘the great Rene’!
   Some answers for your questions:
   a) I left school at 16, and reluctantly took a day job to help with my keep at home and to give myself a little cash to support my tobacco habit*! I quit the job at 18 before being asked to leave and turned professional, by which time my group The Outer Limits were starting to get noticed. Within three years I had a couple of my songs recorded and released (one of them produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones manager), toured with Hendrix, done a TV documentary called ‘Death of a Pop Group’ and still had no money, and barely made a living!
   b) Iron Horse was recorded at CBS’ Bond Street Studios. I don’t recall there being any problems at the session. Vic Elmes played the lead guitar parts and I played bass and acoustic guitars and piano. Paul Fenton played drums. I liked this song a lot. I have a very clear memory of writing it whilst staying in a beautiful hotel in Villajoyosa, Spain. "Iron Horse" was the name the Plains Indians gave to the locomotive trains that crossed the American Prairies westward from the east bringing settlers, commerce, engineers etc. It helped speed up the tragic endgame for the Native Americans through disease, destruction, and double cross. I wanted to try and convey the menace and the thunderous sound of the train in the rolling guitar chords at the beginning of the song as well as lyrically trying a little to see it through "red man’s eyes". To this day I hear cover versions of the song and very few get that guitar riff right, it was a bit tricky. Hopefully my persistence paid off. Martin Clark and myself produced it.
   c) With regard to your opinion that it was the best Christie tune, and why wasn’t it a bigger hit in the UK and USA, I don’t know, but there was some evidence to support chart rigging in the UK in favour of another record that we had sold more copies than, that forced Iron Horse to exit the top 50 after only reaching no 43 on the chart. A hit nevertheless albeit smaller, but it should have been top 20 or 10. A long time ago, but had it been a bigger hit in the UK as you and many others believe, it would’ve had a better chance of happening in the US. C’est la vie!
   d) I suppose it’s fair to say that my success has made me reasonably financially independent and I have never been forced to going back to get a ‘proper job’ but I would just say this: I am not the first nor will I be the last to have been under accounted to or taken advantage of financially by the music industry, misrepresented, cheated, and fallen prey to other people’s jealousy and bitterness. It has been happening since 1970 and it’s still happening today. That’s show biz!
   Best wishes to you Rene, and long live the magic!

*>>Note: Jeff no longer smokes, and currently lives a healthy life!<<


John Bellis, Belgium, wrote:
   Hello Jeff. I've been reading in the articles on the website that you meant for the Tremeloes to record another song instead of Yellow River. Which song was it?
   I thought the Tremeloes were similar in style to Christie in the kind of music played, although both groups seemed determined to shake off the commercial tag and play heavier music. Do you keep in touch with original members of the Tremeloes? Maybe some of you can play together in a new band!

Jeff answers:
   Dear John, I wrote a song called Tomorrow Night specifically for The Tremeloes, but when I played it for them in’69 they told me they were trying to get away from that kind of song, as they wanted to change direction. It was in the style of some of their previous hits, which were often Italian songs with English words. Alan Blakley died some years ago and from time to time I see the others at gigs that they and me are performing at. There has never been any suggestion of any kind of joining up, though one time at a gig in Germany they invited me on stage to sing Yellow River with them.


Gus Brewster, Massachusetts, USA, wrote:
   There is no shame in playing catchy, commercial songs. Look at groups like Abba and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their legacy lives on, they are regarded as masters of their art. Christie could have been in the same league.
   I'm happy to hear Jeff is still writing. Maybe he can recapture the sound of those great songs, and either record them himself, or offer them to some of today's rising music stars!

Jeff answers:
   Well Gus, we’re all geniuses in hindsight and it probably was a mistake, but just as every actor wants to play Hamlet, and get peer respect, the same goes for musicians. Heavy music was the fashion and a combination of many factors influenced this decision to change direction. For me, as a writer it was also about spreading my wings, and not wanting to be typecast. At the moment I’m trying to get some songs to that well-known Australian Pop Idol contestant, Ray Chan, who I’m told can carry a tune!


Josh, UK, wrote:
   Why did the band produce such heavy songs on the For All Mankind album and yet continued to release commercial singles like Iron Horse and Everything's Gonna Be Alright? It seemed as if you thought you were going forward with the heavy sound, but then moved backward to the simpler stuff simply to sell more records?

Jeff answers:
   Well Josh, that’s a very reasonable assumption, but in truth record company and managerial pressure to keep selling singles was the price for experimental/heavy albums. Anyway I love to write songs, all kinds. It’s other people who want to put me in a little box marked Pop, Country, Rock, Heavy, or whatever. I once wrote a song for Sinatra called Sunday, and a song for Roy Orbison called All the Love, which neither of them heard as I changed my mind afterwards, but in later years wished that I would have sent the songs to them.


Dietmar H, Germany, wrote:
   The version of I'm Alive on the CD is different to the one that was originally available on the single. Where did the CD version come from? Was it specially re-recorded?

Jeff answers:
   For some reason, whoever was overseeing the re-mastering of I’m Alive omitted the string and cello sections plus some added guitar work, a sort of unplugged version is what featured on the CD version. There was no re-recording.


John Carr, Widnes, UK, wrote:
   What are some of the highs and lows in your career?

Jeff answers:
   As for highs, I’d have to say getting to numero uno in 26 countries, including my own, with a song that I wrote and recorded kind of hit the spot; also outdrawing Santana in Bogota, Columbia in ’73 was a bit special, but there have been many wonderful highs in my life as well as some awful lows, but life’s what you make it, don’t you think? You just got to keep moving, somehow. One of the biggest lows was Iron Horse not breaking the English top 30 due to some skulduggery. I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash) and Iron Horse were sitting next to each other in the early 40’s (chartwise) and Iron Horse was really outselling Johnny Nash according to CBS’ sales returns, when instead of breaking the Top 30 as predicted, Iron Horse fell back, and eventually out of the top 50, while Johnny boy crashed into the top 30 and then the top 10. We knew we’d been sacrificed and the race fixed for Johnny, and no matter how much we complained to the relevant people it was a fait accompli and the consequences were far-reaching.


Matthew Spicer, Slough, UK, wrote:
   What brand of guitar do you play and what sort of strings? What amplifier?

Jeff answers:
   I have a Gibson Les Paul, Rickenbacker 12 string, Fender Stratocaster, Guild B38 Bass, that used to belong to my dear friend John Glascock (Carmen, and Jethro Tull) who’s no longer with us sadly. A Martin D28 acoustic, Yamaha 12 string acoustic, and a Washburn electric acoustic, and a battered old nylon string Spanish guitar given to me by CBS a long time ago, in the last century! To write more hits, quote unquote! I favour the Strat for live work and use the others for studio purposes, including the Strat. The amps are provided at the gigs, and I try to request Fender Twin Reverb, Marshall or Mesa Boogie. At home I have an old Johnson, and a Flextone Line 6. I use Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky for electrics, and any good light gauge for acoustics. That just about covers it I guess.


Wilson Silva Alexandre, Brazil, wrote:
   We are too tired listening to a lot of bad rock'n'roll music today. I remember when we can listen to true music and true artist of rock like Jeff Christie. You still are a great star...and your light shines on too strong in the universe of music. Thank you, Jeff Christie, to make great songs for us.

rosemaryJeff answers:
   Obrigado, for your appreciation, and loyalty. I loved Brazil, Brazilian music, and Brazilian football. I once wrote a song for a Brazilian singer called Rosemary (right), called Nothing Has Changed which she recorded in 1974. I met Pele in Sao Paulo in 1970. I still hold a deep affection for Brazil, and its people for all their warmth and saudade, and the wonderful reception they gave to my band and me.


"1970’s Christie fan Nic", UK, wrote:
   Jeff, do you still perform in the UK today? If so, where and when? Thanks for great music which has stood the test of time and brings back great memories. A bit personal, but did you ever get married and are there any Jeff juniors?

Jeff answers:
   I very rarely gig in the UK now. I was married in ’78 and unmarried in ’83, no kids. It’s great to hear that you still have some good memories of my times and music. That makes two of us!


Sergei Zhukov, Moscow, wrote:
   Dear Jeff, no Beatles song, no Deep Purple song, nothing could compare to Yellow River. I had a Polish LP (hope it was licensed) that we played 'till it could not be played anymore. You should come over here and play one day — and, if possible, I would like to interview you for my friend's radio network.

Jeff answers:
   I played The Moscow Olympic Centre with my band on February 3, 2001, in a big 70’s show with other bands that were Slade, T Rex, The Glitter Band and Mungo Jerry. The following night we played St Petersburg. It was a great thrill for me to perform in Russia for the first time, and the audiences were fantastic. An unforgettable experience! Thank you for your kind words. To be able to touch people all over the world with my music and songs is such a special feeling, and when people tell me this, it invokes a great sense of pride and humility in me. Georgia’s always on my mind!


Johan Niclassen, Faroe Islands, wrote:
   I have for a long time been a admirer of you — as a songwriter and having very good voice. One of my target for the future is to be abel to see you and your band playing live. If that should happen in our lovely country The Faroe Islands, I am sure you would get a warm welcome.

Jeff answers:
   Dear Johan, I would love to visit the Faroe Islands someday with or without my band. You never can tell what’s round the corner, but don’t hold your breath! I’m delighted to hear that my music is still being played there, and happy for you and people like you who still like to hear my music on the radio.


Martin Heider, Germany, wrote:
   I discovered the song Yellow River from Jeff Christie on some of my old records and listened to the guitar chords and bass notes and wrote them down. We tried and played it several times until it sounded quite alright. We called ourselves the Yellow River Band, and today we play around Germany at various venues. We play mostly oldies in our repertoire, including of course Yellow River, and also San Bernadino.

Jeff answers:
   Keep doing the Duane Eddy thumb exercises, and remember the twang’s the thang.


Jimmy Ward, Belfast, wrote:
   I used to have Freewheelin' Man on a 45 single, and I played it so much I had to dump it due to scratches. Anyone who can write that type of song is my kind of writer.

Jeff answers:
   Freewheelin’ Man
is still a big favourite of mine. I wish I could get hold of a decent copy myself, on CD preferably as I don’t have one unscratched copy either. Something we both have in common. The Repertoire CD version was cleaned up from a master tape. Maybe I should just re-record it again, but then again .. we’ll see.


Helle Mikkelson, Denmark, wrote:
   Did you ever release any 12" singles, any records with coloured vinyl or any limited edition sleeves?

Jeff answers:
   To my knowledge no 12" singles were released, and as to coloured vinyl, again I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. Skol.


Edvin Paulsen, Norway, wrote:
   I can still remember the exciting feeling that first album gave me, and my friends too, and we played every song almost every day for a long time. Christie was the best LP and my favorite musical group for years. I know that you have made a lot more songs than I have heard, and I see that Christie have made a concert in the nineties. I would really like to know if you are making more records, and if you ever are going to make a concert in Norway, I will be there for sure.

Jeff answers:
   Hi Edvin, I haven’t played in your beautiful country for quite some time, and would love to come visit again, work or play. I have many great memories of my touring days in Norway. I remember playing some festival way up north one time, Boden, I think, up in the Arctic Circle where it never got dark all night. What a party that was. Thanks for sharing your memories with me, it was very moving for me to read.


Dennis Kepler, address unknown, wrote:
   Hey Jeff, did you ever get married? Did you ever have any children? What are you doing with your life today? Are your children, if any, into music — either writing or playing in a band? Was Yellow River truly about a river in Vietnam???

Jeff answers:
   Hi Dennis, I was married in 1978 and divorced in 1983. I didn’t have kids, but still gig from time to time, the last one in Oldenburg, Germany earlier this year. Two memorable gigs a couple of years ago were in Moscow and St Petersburg, and recently I did a Dutch TV program about the story of Yellow River, to be shown in Holland and Belgium later in the year. I’m still writing, and record occasionally.
   Yellow River was a fictional place when I wrote it, but about nine years ago Scott Mackenzie told me it was the name of a transit camp for GI’s waiting to be shipped out to Vietnam. I’d heard that the song was regarded as a Vietnam song in the States, perhaps this was one of the reasons why it was so huge out there.


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