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The 'PSG' And Me

In 1974 I travelled overnight to "The Steel Mill" in Maidstone, Kent to buy my first "Pedal Steel" from the famous "Eric Snowball". He said on the day "I'll just leave you son, play any one you like and let me know what you fancy!". At that point I couldn't play any! I bought the Black Fuzzy S10, the only one I could afford, however I returned a year later to trade it for my ZB Custom - ah, "bliss". Playing 7 nights a week around the Stakis Hotel Circuit with a band called 'Nashville Skyline. I was aware of only a handful of steel players in Scotland. Bert Allan was my hero on the Fender 400. He had just returned from Canada playing regularly with Canadian Pacific who latterly become known as the Drovers. The few others at the time were 'donny' Johnston of Trampas fame, I did envy his Blanton twin neck steel, when he left the band Alistair Hogg's excellent playing followed and then of course known to all was Dougie Stevenson's 'steelin' with 'Legend' who back Sidney Devine.

In those days there was little or no tuition, especially in Scotland, and it was "pick it up as you go", if you could just keep the steel in tune you were doing well, as a result there was lots of frustration and serious learning! But they were none the less happy times! I played for several years back then but gave up due to ever increasing family commitments as is often the case. I recall being interviewed by Sidney Devine during a break in his late show for Radio Clyde when they were still down at Anderson in Glasgow but he was all over the country, "a job for a single man" so I had to turn it down.

Though I was away from the instrument in the playing sense I never lost the desire for the "steel" and was keen to pick up where I left off, I am currently also 'PSG's a quest that actually started in 1977. I finally got back into it again around 2003 and I have been playing and working on guitars since.