Jefferson Johnson, Wizard of the Guitar
Your Club Historian web fella has known Jefferson Johnson for a number of years. During this time they have developed a friendship, mainly in the local pub where they share a common interest - beer!
However, modest Jefferson's background and the full range of his skills have been largely unknown until fairly recently.
Jeff retired from the trials of the club circuit some time ago. Over the past few years, but far too infrequently, he has stepped back into the limelight temporarily to perform a gig or two. These gigs were popular and he did build up quite a following locally. Unfortunately Jeff feels that time, and too much welding, has taken its toll and he's unplugged his amp and hung up his gear...
We've extracted a few interesting pieces from Jeff's many accolades. Of particular interest to Club Historians is the fact that Jeff was so taken by the UK club scene that he moved here permanently from the USA.
"When Jeff first arrived in Britain from America he played in transport cafes and passed the proverbial 'HAT' round in order to earn a crust.
For six months he lived the life of a Hobo before his fortunes dramatically changed and he found himself playing on early Four Seasons' hits like 'Rag Doll' and Dusty Springfield's 'Wishing and Hoping' at the Philips Recording Studios”.
He returned home to New York as Dusty's musical director but several months later he again crossed the Atlantic to settle permanently in Britain where he has remained to this day.
Jeff tells us that in the States there isn't a clubland scene and that in any case Northern Clubland here is where is heart belongs.
“This amiable American guitar vocalist playing everything from Classical to Rock presents a programme of music which invariably delights his audience."
If I had been in Jeff's position I'm sure that I regret missing out on personal recognition, the trappings, and sometimes wealth, it provided.
From Guitars to Cadillacs
Most of us are fortunate to be proficient at one art form but Jeff has replaced his guitar playing skills with the art of vehicle restoration - and what a collection he has!
At home he has 3 wonderful cars in various stages of restoration which he has quite literally saved from the scrap heap. One of these hails from a venue one or two may have heard about - Graceland itself. My favourite has to be Billy Fury’s pink Cadillac which Jeff has brought back to all it’s former glory.
Sadly my good friend Jeff (Geoff Oakland) lost a battle with cancer and passed away in early October 2013.
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