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     Huntley, Gordon (1930-1985)

    He was a pedal steel guitar player born in Newbury, Berkshire, England who first became interested in the instrument during the 1940s and studied with Harry Brooker who was a Hawaiian bandleader and was the father of Gray Brooker of Procul Harum fame.  During the 1950s he enlisted in the army and in the latter half of the decade, after having left service he was heard performing with The Hawaiian Serenaders.  Being aware of music coming out of the local American bases situated in the area, he began to gravitate more towards country music and would soon become involved with bands that performed on BBC Radio’s “Country Meets Folk”.   In 1963 he became part of The Westernaires when he replaced their previous steel guitarist.  He had attached his own makeshift pedal for his guitar and this led to him collaborating with a local solicitor to begin a business manufacturing Denley steel guitars.   He continued to play with various groups on radio shows and during the late 1960s he was regularly heard with the Alabama Hayriders on BBC Radio 2’s Jimmy Young Show.  As the ‘60s progressed so did the popularity of folk-rock and soon he was finding himself being asked to play for many of the popular recording artists of the time.  The singer-songwriter Iain Matthews approached him to perform in his backing band and this resulted in his membership of the group Matthews’ Southern Comfort.  Performing on all of their album releases, he was also played the solo on the UK No. 1 single “Woodstock” and remained with them after Iain Matthews had left and they became known as just Southern Comfort.  Although the band eventually went their own ways in 1972, he had made his mark as a much sought after session musician and was regularly asked to perform live and in the recording studios, backing on songs such as “Answer Me” by Barbara Dickson and “Misty” by Ray Stevens and touring with singers as diverse as Ritchie Blackmore and Andy Williams.  He began teaching and selling during the seventies at a steel guitar place called The Steel Mill but also continued with his session work.  Other artists he performed with through the course of his career included Marc Ellington, Forest, Ralph McTell, Pilot, The Pretty Things, Clodagh Rodgers, Demis Roussos, Robin Scott, Crispian St. Peters.  The many albums he appeared on include releases such as his own Sleepwalk as well as Tumbleweed Connection by Elton John, If You Saw Through My Eyes by Iain Matthews, Second Spring and Later That Same Year by Matthews’ Southern Comfort, Take Me High by Cliff Richard, Frog City and Stir Don’t Shake by Southern Comfort and Never a Dull Moment by Rod Stewart.   During the 1980s he was struck down with cancer and passed away in 1985 when he was just in his fifties.  IN recent years he has been inducted into the European Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.


    Matthews' Southern Comfort recordings 

    Woodstock (Joni Mitchell )

    Old Gold OG 9795-A (UK 7")



    1.      http://www.waikiki-islanders.com/huntley.htm

    2.      http://www.answers.com/topic/southern-comfort-film

    3.      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Never_a_Dull_Moment

    4.      http://www.pedalsteelguitar.co.uk/bio.htm

    5.      http://www.european-steel-guitar-hall-of-fame.com/

    6.      http://www.alexgitlin.com/npp/sc.htm

    7.      http://music.barnesandnoble.com/Tumbleweed-Connection/Elton-John/e/731452815521

    8.      http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:wnfrxqu5ldde~T4









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