The Magic Highway


An interview from Record Mirror shortly after Lem Lubin joined the group.

By Val Mabbs

AT the time, the success of Yellow River seemed like manna from heaven to Christie.
   But like many groups, they find on reflection that one massive hit record can furnish more long-lasting problems than a constant pressure on the music scene.
   "If you come together as a group without a reputation and then have a hit record, it's as if you've committed an unforgivable sin," Jeff said.
   "People still seem to think that we're just a session group.
   "But in fact I've worked in this business and have been fully professional for several years.
   "I think it would have been better for the band if they had been going before Yellow River was a hit, or if we'd had had a few flops first!"


   The feeling of suffocation that this produces in Jeff is obvious.
   Despite a successful follow-up with San Bernadino, Yellow River still remains as the chain that binds them.
   It's still the number audiences want to hear the most, but it must have come to the point where Jeff was rolling yellow rivers in his sleep!
   The group's flop with Man Of Many Faces did little to rectify Christie's situation, although it became a hit in Malaysia and Germany.
   "It's so frustrating I couldn't begin to tell you," Jeff said.
   "If you mention Christie to anybody, it's 'oh yes, Yellow River, which was because it got played and played and everybody got sick of it.
   "They put you in a category and won't let you out of that box, but really our standard of musicianship is well above the average.
   "If you listen to the album For All Mankind, you can tell, because everything on it is us, we didn't use any session musicians.
   "I think the second album is a lot better than the first, perhaps because a lot more work went into it."
   At the time of their Iron Horse single, and in preparation for their college tour, Christie added a further member, Lem Lubin, who joins on bass guitar.
 Jeff  Before he joined, I had asked Jeff if he had been considering augmenting the group.
   "Recording-wise we don't need anybody, and stagewise at the moment with what we're doing, we don't need anybody. But if the right person came along … well, really I play piano and lead guitar, bass is not my instrument … he could take over for that.
   "If there was a guy who could play bass, and who has a higher voice range than Vic and I .. because we span only about one and a half octaves … I'd be interested.
   "I'm prepared to take someone from a semi-pro group. I think it's more important to have someone who is a very nice guy and eager to learn, than a guy who knows it all.
   "Some people want to get in because they think they'll make money and travel abroad, and it's only when they feel secure in the band, after a while, that their true personality comes out. Then if he's a right bastard there are problems."
   Jeff feels that Christie is a happy band, and that they've learnt over a period to live together successfully.
   "I know exactly what I want to do with the band.
   "And I think it would be grossly incorrect to say that the kids all want to hear heavy music, as much as it would be wrong to say they all want to hear pop.
   "People want entertainment and they always have done. I'm not knocking the bands that don't exactly entertain, they take 10 minutes tuning up and turn their backs to the audience .. but when you think of acts like Hendrix and the Who, they're incredible bands and they entertain as well."