I left home, and moved into a flat in Fulham with my best friend Soup. We had met while working at Boots the chemist in Moorgate as Saturday assistants. We were both at school then, but we remained friends and still are today. We met the band Steamhammer, and Soup fell in love with Martin Quittenton the guitarist who fell in love with her, so the next move was to Notting Hill Gate where we three shared a flat. Martin knew Davy Graham who became an infrequent visitor to our flat. Famous for his fabulous guitar playing, he was sadly a very scary figure at this time. I remember hiding in my room when he came to call, I didn’t know how to deal with him at all.
I was working at the Revolution Club as a membership secretary, and next door was the Bryan Morrison Agency. Bryan asked me to record a song by the Pretty Things – ‘Loneliest Person’ from ‘S.F.Sorrow’. A beautiful song but it didn’t really work. I wish I had a copy of it.
My room had a spiral staircase leading down to one of those wonderful communal gardens you get in Notting Hill. Next door in the basement lived Brian Patten, one of the Liverpool poets. He was sweet, looked like an elf and always spoke in poetry, naturally, like breathing. He took my breath away. I used to look after his typewriter whenever he had to go away. He gave me a poem that I finally set to music last year. It became ‘Enchanted Garden’ on my CD.
In the meantime, Martin had been asked to work with Rod Stewart, along with Pete Sears. Pete shared a house with Jackie McAuley and somehow I got together with them and we rehearsed some songs. Then Pete disappeared (he was very much in demand and went to America to form Silver Meter with Leigh Stevens, and then on to join Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship and just about every other good band in the known universe) leaving Jackie and me to form Trader Horne. The name came from the late John Peel who said it was the name of his nanny. John gave me the only other solid body electric autoharp in the country at that time. The one I’d played in Fairport had been a stereo one, and was a casualty of their dreadful, tragic accident. The Trader Horne one was mono. I still have it. It still sounds lovely.
So, Trader Horne then. Barry Taylor who had been Steamhammer’s manager managed us in the beginning. He got us work for a while and then somehow Barry Murray found us and took us to Pye Records. Barry was Pye’s producer for their groovy psychedelic new label, Dawn. We were signed to the Red Bus Company for management and agency, Barry was in partnership with them as the production side (I’ve recently discovered that he’s younger than me. Crikey, he seemed so grown up at the time). He went on to huge success as Mungo Jerry’s producer amongst other things (including inventing and producing the children’s TV programme, Wizbit with Paul Daniels. Clever thing.)
Trader Horne set off on the road. And what a road it was. We seemed to be careering from one side of the country to another, then up and down with not a lot of breaks in between. I seem to remember being really tired and as for Jack – well he was doing a lot of the driving as well as playing. At one time we were appearing on a lot of those local TV magazine shows, the ones that followed the six o’clock news. We did travel to Belfast , it was in the middle of the dreadful times there. It looked forlorn in the rain with all the barbed wire. But the welcome at the TV station was warming.
We recruited a couple of extra musicians to play with us, Hugh Thomas on Guitar and Ian Gumblefinger (I do believe that was not his real name) on bass and xylophone. Hugh also helped with the driving, so I guess we must have acquired a van from somewhere, perhaps it was Hugh’s.
One nice memory of Trader Horne. Appearing on a Grampian TV music programme along with Cat Stevens amongst others. The flight back from Aberdeen was delayed by fog, so Jack and I listened to ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ being virtually written in front of our ears, and singing along with it. That was magical.
Anyway, Jackie and I made the ‘Morning Way’ album, (Brian Patten wrote the sleeve notes) and released a single and then I don’t know what happened. We were supposed to play at the Hollywood Festival but I had some sort of tantrum/brainstorm and ran away from everything. I was living with my husband to be at the time, Simon Stable, DJ and music writer extraordinaire. I left everyone in the lurch and I hereby now apologise to all. So that was the end of that.