The cast

Oral histories




In the 70s if you didn't have Chris Spedding playing guitar on your hit single, there was a strong chance that you had Chris Rae. Never as famous as Spedding, he was highly rated within the industry and was particularly favoured by a couple of the best producers: Biddu and Phil Coulter.

The Biddu stuff is my own favourite. Given the nature of the music, most of his work on records by Carl Douglas and Tina Charles is rhythm guitar, the kind of stuff that doesn't normally grab the public attention, but listen to those recordings again and you'll hear one of the truly great players of the decade: fantastically tight, solid riffs that demonstrate what a good idea it is to employ session-men.

The arranger on most of those tracks was the late Gerry Shury and, under his guidance, Rae also played in the celebrated Ultrafunk, a band of session-players who recorded some of the best British funk of the period for Contempo Records. They weren't hits but as Ron Roker points out: 'It's easy to hear that these session players loved, but weren't getting a chance to do, black music. Up till then you really were - in inverted commas - "rock".'

Meanwhile, over with Martin & Coulter, Rae was laying down some definitive teen-pop guitar lines on records for the Bay City Rollers and Kenny. And in his spare time he did some stuff with Wayne Bickerton, playing on 'Sugar Candy Kisses' for Mac & Katie Kissoon amongst others.

The trouble with doing so much is that memories fade and a busy session-man like Chris Rae has trouble remembering what he was on and whose name was on the label. In fact this was a problem even then: 'I remember I bought a record because I liked the words, called "We Do It" by R & J Stone, and I thought it was a great song. And then I got phoned up to do the tour because they said I'd played on the record. Sometimes you just didn't know.'

Chris now runs his own studio, where he often works with Sunny and where his own tastes now run more often to country than to anything else.

Eddie Amoo
Ken Andrew
Dave Bartram
Mike Batt
Wayne Bickerton
David Blaylock
Trevor Bolder
Jacko Boogie
Tony Burrows
Sally Carr
Tina Charles
David Courtney
Rob Davis
Richard Dodd
Patrick Doonan
Ray Dorset
Herbie Flowers
Ken Gold
Graham Gouldman
Dave Hill
Harvey Hinsley
John Hughes
Jim Irvin
Jimmy James
Steve Jones
Lorraine Kelly
Paul Layton
Les McKeown
Russell Mael
Johnny Moore
Mike Moran
Chris Norman
Bill Oddie
David Paton
Lyn Paul
Phil Pickett
Suzi Quatro
Chris Rae
Chris Redburn
Norman Rogerson
Ron Roker
John Rossall
Andy Scott
Eddie Seago
Mat Snow
Chris Spedding
John Springate
Ray Stiles
Alwyn W Turner
David Van Day
Phil Wainman
Johnny Wakelin
Jeff Wayne
Alan Williams
Pip Williams