The Magic Highway


An early interview with Brian Longley and Jeff Christie from Record Mirror, June 6, 1970.

By Keith Altham

PERHAPS the most enterprising thing about Christie before they establish themselves as individuals in their own right is the bespectacled benign figure of their manager Brian Longley.
   Brian also happens to be The Tremeloes' publicist, and it was his initiative which led to Yellow River being un-shelved after being turned down by the Trems.
   "The group were really formed around the record," Brian admitted frankly, "but they are a good competent musical group and in no way copy the Tremeloes style. Some comparisons have been made between them and Creedence and that's a little closer to the mark.
   "Jeff Christie has played around in groups like the Outer Limits, which has given him a comprehensive musical knowledge of most of the popular musical approaches, and has given him an objective outlook on music.
   "Vic Elmes and Mike Blakley were members of the Epics and have a musically sympathetic attitude towards Jeff's songs, which should sustain them beyond this first hit record."

Early Christie

   Yellow River has already tinted or tainted Christie as a top pop group. And they've been booked on the same bill as acts like Ten Years After and Chicken Shack. How does Jeff assess Christie appeal?
   "We're not out to blow anyone's minds," Jeff said. "Our objective has been to get an act together to capture the kind of excitement there was with early rock and roll.
   "I don't know how we will be received on a bill with Ten Years After, but it can't be bad that we play a different style. Much of our material will also be original and not neccessarily representative of Yellow River. We'll play heavy-simple rock!
   "We've already been through my other songs and now I think we've found the follow-up but who can say if it is a hit or not. Yellow River was never written to a formula. I just sit down and write how I feel.
   "As a songwriter, my first concern is with Christie now, but that does not preclude my doing things for other artists. It just means my group gets first option. I don't want the band's musical policy to be influenced in any one direction.
   "That is, I don't want us to be thought of as a teenybopper band, nor do I want to draw us as pretentious intellectuals. We simply hope people will enjoy our music."
   Who chose the name Christie?
   "I never considered it," Jeff said. "I did not choose the name — Brian did."
   So good luck to Christie. It may be as well to remember the kind of material the Beatles were doing in the beginning — Please Please Me, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Love Me Do, and what the hell was wrong with that anyway?