8:30 - 11:00 EVERY MONDAY
Leytonstone Ex-Servicemens Club, 2 Harvey Rd E11 3DB
Admission: £2 for jammers / £3 for audience
 Blues Jam Profiles
Chris Lafbury
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Chris Lafbury
Are you local?

Yes - Chingford. I was brought up there until I was about 18, at which time my parents decided they were moving to Norfolk but not taking me. I had no steady job at the time, although I had joined the Merchant Navy a couple of years previously. I spent another 3 years in the Navy and then came back to London.

Where are you from, originally?

Born in Chelmsford Hospital. Not quite a cockney!

Where have you been / what have you done?

After the Navy, I did some driving jobs for a year and then was lucky enough to get a job delivering TVs at Radio Rentals. From there I trained to become a TV Engineer and progressed through various departments to work in Technical Development.

After 20 years in this field, I was made redundant and my next job was in Technical Support for computers and software. I was made redundant a further two times, then retrained as an Energy Surveyor. I did that for a couple of years and now I'm semi-retired.

What's your tipple?

Cider, but only a decent one. I also like red wine.

What's your earliest memory?

Sitting in a pushchair outside my house. I must have been quite young, because I can remember seeing my mum who died when I was 3 years old.

What was the first record you ever bought with your own money?

I think it was 'Runaway' by Del Shannon. There was just something about him I liked.

...and do you still have it?

No, I lost it ages ago.

Any hobbies/interests?
  • Photography - I'm on the committee of a local camera club and do reasonably well in photographic competitions.
  • I like Clay Pigeon Shooting but I don’t get to go much these days.
  • I've done Karate since 1985 - I'm a black belt 4th Dan. I still find it fascinating. I mainly teach these days due to injuries sustained to my knees over the years - a very common ailment for long-term karate people.
Do you remember the very first gig you went to? What was it like?

I went to a few gigs at Walthamstow Granada while I was at school. I saw lots of artists there. I remember being blown away by Roy Orbison's voice. He was headlining a package tour with Freddie and The Dreamers (what a nutcase Freddie was..!)

I can also remember seeing The Searchers that night - I was a big Searchers fan and probably went mainly to see them as I wasn't really into Roy Orbison, but saying that; what a fantastic voice he had!

This is a flyer for the very night I'm talking about: September 14th 1963.

...and here's a Flickr link to a set of scanned images of the tour programme. They were brilliant shows in those days - so many top acts on one bill!!

I think I went there two or three times in total. Another time I saw Del Shannon and I think I saw Brenda Lee - possibly on the same show.

Worst job you've ever had?

I worked for 2 hours in a slaughterhouse once. The Youth Employment Agency asked me if I would like to work with animals. What they forgot to mention was that they were dead animals. There were a lot of gruesome sights there which I didn't mind so much, it was the handling of stuff that I didn’t like.

What's your claim to fame (not necessarily musical)?

I used to be in a specialist team when I worked at Radio Rentals. We did the TV monitors at special occasions. I did two Royal events at St Paul's Cathedral - Charles & Di's wedding and the Queen Mother's 80th birthday celebration.

If you could invite 6 people (past, present or fictional) to dinner, who would you choose?
  • Stephen Fry
  • David Niven
  • Groucho Marx
  • Dawn French
  • Keira Knightley (just to look at)
  • Hannibal Lecter - but don't let him carve the meat...
Been playing/performing long?

I've had guitars since my teens, with a few hiatuses along the way. I only recently took up bass. I had tried to dabble a little bit in the past but never seriously. I think I like it because it has fewer strings to worry about, but also I enjoy working out nice bass lines. I watch and listen to the bass players at the jam and have picked up a few tips along the way. I was left some money last year, so I indulged myself with a brand new Fender American Jazz Bass. (see "Favourite instruments" further down)

Been in any bands?

Sort of. I played the 'riffy' bits in a heavy blues rock band and then played in a Country band for a while, but neither band went anywhere. Hardly surprising really.

What first got you interested in the Blues?

What really did it for me was when I accidentally walked into a Rory Gallagher (Taste) gig at The Manor House. A couple of friends and I were walking along outside and heard music so we went in for a look. I was mesmerised by his playing! After that, I regularly went there and to other local venues such as The Cooks Ferry in Edmonton and The Red Lion at Leytonstone. I saw lots of brilliant bands.

What other types of music do you like to listen to/play?

I like classical guitar - I think that's probably the hardest type of guitar music to play. I also like some Folk music. Some pop is OK. Anything that sounds nice really, no matter what style.

Favourite Blues artists?

Johnny Winter - he's probably my favourite.
Gary Moore - I saw him a few times in different bands.
Stevie Ray Vaughan - I got into his music only a couple of years before he was killed.
Taj Mahal, T Bone Walker, Albert Collins, Albert King. Too many others to mention.

Favourite artists (any other genre) ?

I like Ana Vidovic - probably because she's beautiful, as well as a great classical guitarist. I love Eva Cassidy - if you analyse her voice, she did some great things with it. James Taylor, Cara Dillon - I've seen her a couple of times live. She has a very pure voice.

Ever been lucky enough to meet or share a stage with one of your musical heroes?

Unfortunately not - except, of course, at the Blues Jam. There are so many good musicians there and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to play with them.

Favourite instruments and/or equipment?

(Use the highlighted links to see images of the instruments)

If you had to sum up your relationship with the Blues using just one word, what would it be?


Who would you pick (past or present) for your dream band?
  • Steve Marriott on Guitar and Vocals - in my opinion, one of our best singers in his day.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan on Guitar
  • Andy Fraser (ex Free) on Bass - I just loved his bass lines.
  • Cozy Powell on Drums
Most embarrassing moment?

Too many to mention!

Proudest moment!

The birth of my son.

What do you most enjoy about the Blues Jam?

A lot of great music for a very small sum of money with some very talented people.

If you could travel back in time to be present at one moment/event in musical history, what would it be?

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble playing live at The El Macambo. I've got the DVD though!

Who would they cast to play you in the movie of your life?

Sean Connery.

Marmite: - Yes or No?


If you were invited on "Desert Island Discs", which 8 records would you choose?
  1. Fields of Gold - Eva Cassidy
  2. You Can Close Your Eyes - James Taylor
  3. Life is Hard - Johnny Winter  (The ultimate blues track for me)
  4. Parisienne Walkways - Gary Moore
  5. Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape - Be Bop Deluxe  (Bill Nelson was very under-rated.)
  6. Sure Got Cold After The Rain Fell - Buddy Whittington  (I've seen him a few times. Such a nice man.)
  7. Drift Away - Dobie Gray
  8. Bridge Of Sighs (Live) - Robin Trower  (Like a fine wine, he just gets better with age.)
...and what would be your luxury item?

A Canon EOS 1DX Digital SLR camera (can I have some memory cards too please?)

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Not to judge others too hastily.

Go on - tell us a secret!

I can't, I'm sworn to secrecy.