Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

6. John RenbournThe Lady & The Unicorn

I started off in the folk clubs in Reading. There was one in particular called The Rising Sun and people would advertise in the window looking for musicians to play with. I played in a few duos at that time. And anyway, people like John would often play as a guest at the local clubs. There was Bert Jansch as well but John Renbourn was the real star at that time. I just made it my mission in life to be able to play like them. I would play this record for just a few seconds, lift the needle and try to play that bit on my guitar. And eventually I was able to play much of his work. Not with the same fluidity, of course. I mean, I was only about twelve! But it enabled me to develop my own technique, and from that I was able to learn how to make my own music. It was actually quite a complex technique, Renbourn’s: the way that thumb and fingers were required to play together. But, yes, it was from being able to play Renbourn’s music that I learned how to write.

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