Record Mirror, April 1971. Christie's third single was just
THE CHANGING FACE OF MR CHRISTIE
AT this time in their career, Christie
are probably as nervous as they have ever been.
Third time lucky goes the saying, but a third
single can be just as worrying, particularly as the group
are trying to reorganise their act, and more gradually their
The pressure has obviously made its mark and
Jeff Christie sat thoughtful before answering each question,
constantly clutching the hand of his visiting Danish girlfriend
Connie, and wearing her inscribed bracelet on his wrist.
"The problem is people seem to think we
are a manufactured group who answered an advertisement or
something," Jeff said. "But in fact we've all
been slogging around the clubs for years.
"I alone have been playing with other
bands for 10 years, and I was on the first Hendrix tour.
"Before Christie were formed to release
River, I was working in a club and
spending time writing because I wanted to build myself as
a songwriter and perhaps a recording entity. Then everything
happened so fast."
Jeff's composition Yellow
River had been collecting dust for some time before
it was decided that Christie would be formed to record the
single. As The Tremeloes had already recorded a backing
track, they agreed that Christie could put the main vocal
onto this. The number was put out through the Tremeloes'
publishing company, which is profitable from the point of
view of royalties.
"It was a question of speed," Jeff
said. "We had heard that Leapy
Lee was going to record Yellow
River and obviously we wanted to do it before.
"Every record we're released since, all
of the album and the singles has been one hundred percent
Besides the recording problems, the rush events
have had longer lasting effects on Christie.
"I had been off the road for 10 months,
and Vic Elmes and Mike Blakley had worked together, but
I'd never worked with them. We had to go for an act that
was fairly easy to learn. I wanted to do some rock and roll,
and I suppose you could say our album was fairly representative
of what the band was like at the time."
But Mr Christie, like his latest song subject
Man of Many Faces, is a changeable
"We wanted to move into different things
long ago, but unfortunately Mike was a bit weak and couldn't
do it," Jeff said. "With a three-piece group,
you're only as strong as your weakest man.
"Now we're doing 80 percent of our own
material on stage, and songs like Rock'n'Roll
Woman, the Buffalo Springfield number, but the way
we do it is drier; and we also do Tobacco
Road. We've also cleaned up Hey
Joe, but we stick nearer to the Tim Rose version
than the Hendrix one. It's been going down a storm."
Jeff stresses that the group's movement into
different working venues and into performing original material
on stage has had to be carefully planned, and that Christie
work to please the audiences.
Jeff has kept essentially to the Christie image
for the current single.
The lyrics are quite interesting, and though the tune is
different, it bears the Christie sound.
Jeff is also hopeful that their new album will
prove their capabilities. "It's still got the jangly
guitar sound, which is out trademark," Jeff explained.
"But it is more chunky, though we couldn't go much
harder. You have to take people with you, especially those
who bought the last two records. You just can't push them.
But if this single happens, it would give us a wider field
for the next one."