The Magic Highway


Well-known Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler was once a journalist whose articles included this piece on Jeff Christie, written for The Yorkshire Evening Post (April 23, 1970)
Mark  Knopfler

Christie’s Bid for the Big Time

Mark wrote:
"Christie's debut disc, Yellow River, seems to be getting the plugs and is doing nicely. And for the critics who say Jeff is copying the Creedence sound — he wrote the song ages before they were heard of. In any case, there's nothing new about the sound of Creedence. They were singing for a new generation of kids who never heard of rock'n'roll. Travellin' Band is just lifted from Little Richard."

WHEN Leeds songwriter Jeff Christie sent demonstration tapes of his songs to London a few months ago he was crossing his fingers and hoping a big-name artist would record one of them.
   But those tapes of Jeff singing proved so effective that he was persuaded to go to London and record himself. Along with Vic Elmes on lead guitar and Mike Blakley on drums, Jeff formed a trio called appropriately “Christie” and recorded two songs, handling vocals and bass guitar himself. The result sees the release of Christie’s debut disc Yellow River coupled with Down the Mississippi Line, tipped by Tommy Vance and Tony Blackburn as a potential hit.
   You may remember the recent YTV [Yorkshire TV] programme Death of a Pop Group, featuring the hopes and aspirations of The Outer Limits, the local group who very nearly made it. Jeff Christie was the leader.
   “Outer Limits? We did TV, tours, records — everything except make money,” said a sleepy Jeff who had just arrived home from London. “I was really choked when things started to slide. I tried to hold it together, but it was no use. Right now I’m pretty disinterested with Leeds. I feel the band was let down badly by Leeds as much as by anything else.”
   Jeff, who has written about 150 songs — “Long John Baldry really flipped. He was talking about recording a ‘Baldry sings Christie’ type album” — has been involved with music for over ten years.
   But because of the hard luck and disappointments, he cannot bring himself to believe that Christie’s future will be a blissful bed of roses. “I daren’t get too optimistic, because I don’t want to come down again. The reviews are good. The record is liked. But unless the song makes it we don’t intend going out on gigs for next to nothing again. I’ve been in it for ten years and missed the boat every time. It just might work out right now.”