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Lonnie Donegan Jnr - 60th Anniversary Rock Island Line

2nd September 2017 at 7.30pm

Lonnie Donegan Jnr was the eldest son of seven children Lonnie senior had with
three different wives. Inevitably he didn’t see a lot of his dad as a youngster, but
having showbiz parents, music was in his veins. Piano lessons were probably his
first introduction to music in a practical sense, and although he was enthusiastic, he
didn’t continue with these lessons. It wasn’t until a few years later, whilst staying with
his Dad in Cleethorpes during a summer season show, that he was introduced to an
instrument that he felt fitted his requirements as a thirteen year old.
Watching Chris Hunt, looking as cool as you like, whilst his hands flashed around
the shining black shells of his Premier drum kit with what seemed like an inhuman
skill, excited the young Donegan. The sound of thunder and lightning at his expert
command seemed to lead the entire ensemble, and when Lonnie Jnr arrived at his
new school he got his chance to find out for himself as he made the school drum kit
his own during what should have been lesson time. Spending less time at school
than he should have, he was unable to play the drums as regularly as he would have
liked, but when he was old enough, he managed to borrow some money from the
bank to get his own kit. He spent countless hours teaching himself to play the
drums, but had no real intention to ever play in a band, well, not until he was at least
half as good as Chris Hunt.
However, fate stepped in and he was offered a job by an old acquaintance of his
dad’s, and he found himself paying the drums in a skiffabilly band. This kept him
busy for a short while, but then one day his dad pointed out that he was never going
to make his way in music if he didn’t get to the front of the stage.
It was at this time that Lonnie Jnr watched his father play to a packed Albert Hall,
when the likes of Chas and Dave and Adam Faith joined Lonnie Snr on stage to
sing “Have A Drink On Me”. The fans were dancing in the stalls! Musicians and
artists from his past enjoyed working with him once again during this period of
renewed interest, and Lonnie Jnr was fortunate to have been present at some of the
best live gigs, when people such as Chris Barber, Monty Sunshine, Van Morrison,
Joe Brown and Adam Faith toured with Lonnie Snr. The younger Donegan was
introduced to some of the songs and arrangements that made his father’s
performances so popular over the years, and road tested over 50 years, every
moment of the show working like a well-oiled machine.