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When I started session work it quickly became evident that I should learn to read music. Books by Carol Kaye and Ray Brown were very helpful but I really wanted to see what actual charts looked like.

I discovered that there were many ways in which the music could be presented: as a fully notated part (as in a film score), or as a chord chart perhaps with some suggested notes, or often there would be no part at all and it would up to you to write your own based on a live performance in the studio by the artist. 

After some sessions these parts found their way into my guitar case. They were all hand written, as this was before computer software made the printing of music much easier.

I include here a full range, from the very easy to the truly terrifying. I hope it’s instructive.

Click the images for a larger version



A simple ‘sting’ on a film session

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Version 7

A bit more concentration was required on this jingle.


54 bars of very little to play on a TV film. Out came the magazines.
Recorded at Lansdowne Studios

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A short section played at the end of an act on TV talent show Sky Star Search. Recorded at LWT Studios. The part was hastily sketched by MD Brian Gascoigne.

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You Put Something Better
I had just arrived home from New Zealand and was very tired. Gerry Rafferty rang and asked if I could come round to his Icon Studios and play on a few tracks for his new album Another World.
This is my hand-written chord chart that I scribbled down as Gerry played the keyboard. That session was the last time I would see him alive.

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Diamond Dust
A beautiful tune composed by Bernie Holland. We played it on Jeff Beck’s world tours in 198/81.

This is the chart that Tony Hymas hurriedly wrote for me

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I See Red
Written by Jim Rafferty for Frida’s album Something Going On. We recorded the song at ABBA’s Polar Studios in Stockholm. Peter Robinson sketched the chart.

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Till You Come Back To Me
Recorded at Audio International Studios for the Leo Sayer album Have You Ever Been In Love

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There When I Needed You
Recorded in Air Montserrat Studios for Sheena Easton’s album Madness Money And Music. I loved the almost Steely Dan feel that drummer Peter Van Hooke and I achieved. We worked very hard to get all of the rhythm tracks recorded in the first week, giving us the second week off to explore this paradise island.


In the 70s we played on an enormous number of disco tracks at Trident Studios for French drummer Marc Cerrone. The French arrangers brought over these immaculately written charts, sometimes seven pages long. You needed three music stands and a lot of concentration.
With a click in our cans set to 120 bpm all day it was inevitable that at lunchtime we would all walk down Wardour Street at 120bpm.

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The Music Of Goodbye
Recorded at CBS Whitfield Street Studios with the RPO.
10am, 5-string bass, two flats, and it’s in 7/8 time. Not a good way to start the day. I also had to watch out for unisons.


This was the last cue in the pad for a TV session at BBC Lime Grove Studios.
Ray Russell assured me that it was a simple night-club scene — he lied. 
(For the full story see British Rock Guitar p179)

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Stay Lucky
Foolishly I told Ray that I’d just bought a 5-string bass. On a TV session at Lansdowne Studios this part was in the pad — to be played in unison with the piano. This was for real. The part may have been under the pen, but it was certainly not under the fingers.


I was about to record an album in an Oxford church (this would be later released as Time To Think). Gary Husband supplied me with a sketch of one of his wonderful compositions. This contains all you need to know, although he did expand some of the parts for the day.

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Vibes From The Vines was the name for a cancer charity concert performed on a vineyard in Sussex. It was to be a reunion of RMS and Gary Moore. We had to find a repertoire that overlapped, and this tune by Billy Cobham was perfect. Ray sketched a chart with just melody and chords.

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A Walk In The Country
This tune is a fretless bass feature on my album Bel Assis. For a broadcast from BBC Maida Vale Studios this part was expertly hand copied by Ron Shillingford (aka the Shillingford Shadow).

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Black Orchids
Ray Russell recorded a new album — Now More Than Ever — with some fine players. This chart was for a later gig at the 606 Club in Chelsea

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Rubber Chicken Diner
The same album. An overdub. I remember I had a real struggle with the solo (which I quite like now) as I wasn't sure what approach would best suit the track. In addition I was suffering from a bout of osteo arthritis at the time and my hand really hurt when I played. Ah, showbiz.

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A Quiet Place 1
The Barbican theatre, The LSO, Leonard Bernstein. I was on edge when I arrived at the theatre, but when I saw the part I nearly fainted. I’m really a rock player. I nervously sat between eight double basses and nine percussionists.
Patrick Harrild — the principal tuba — kindly guided me through the part with discreet hand signals. 
(For the full story see British Rock Guitar p218)

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A Quiet Place 7
The Barbican theatre, The LSO, Leonard Bernstein.

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