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JACKIE LEVEN: A TRUE GENT So sad to hear that Jackie Leven has passed away. Back in my student days in the early 1980s I went to a festival in Leisureland in Galway where Doll By Doll were playing. I was photographing some of the bands, and was fascinated by Jackie Leven’s guitar. When the gig was over I got backstage and he kindly showed it to me. I stayed talking with the band, and before I knew it it was well after one in the morning and the only ones left were the band, the promoters, and venue staff. Each thought I was with the other, but someone asked me what I was studying and when I couldn’t provide a valid student card, mainly because I was still at school, there was some measure of uproar.

Jackie decided that at my age I should be at home in bed, and as I wasn’t, he was going to take me. I was bundled aboard the band’s sizeable truck and driven to my parents’ house – a good six miles out of their way, at two o’clock in the morning. The truck’s engine as it made its way down the last rural lane woke everyone in the neighbourhood. The only thing that kept me safe from my parents’ fury was that everyone in the neighbourhood was wide awake, and it was a topic of conversation for weeks afterwards. I’ll never forget the band that night, nor Jackie Leven’s kindness.

Lana Dark via email

G&B We’ve had a number of emails from people remembering Jackie and his music, and the fact that he was so hospitable makes his passing even more sad. We doubt he’ll be forgotten in a hurry by friends and fans alike. And if you haven’t heard his music, we strongly recommend you put that right at the first opportunity.

EGGING YOU ON I’m a subscriber writing to recommend a super new book about a company that was once producing the most guitars in Europe – the Dutch company Egmond. With a user list including George Harrison, Brian May, Rory Gallagher and Paul McCartney, to name but a few, I’m sure it would be of interest to your readers. The story and pictures are wonderful, and I found the book really useful for identifying models, too.

You may have guessed that I like an older guitar, so I was delighted to find Wim Markenhof’s book Egmond Guitar Factory In The

Jackie Leven: riding home

Netherlands, available online. You’ll find details of the book on Wim’s website (he has a video tour on Youtube of his collection too). The book even comes with a CD of vintage catalogues.

I’m just an old guitar fan who played an Egmond (amongst others) onstage with our beat group the Kaisers. Often considered as a budget brand, many players started out with an Egmond, but they also made some higher quality instruments, including basses and amplifiers. You’ll also spot Eric Griffith playing an Egmond in the famous picture of the Quarrymen at Woolton school fete, the day John and Paul met.

While I’m at it, there are some fabulous groups out there making new beat music… Janey and the Ravemen, Pete Berry and the Shake Set and Les Bof! All have fantastic LPs out just now using ancient gear. Check them out!

Matt Armstrong via email

G&B We agree that there are new beat groups fighting the good fight across the land, Matt. And we also know from talking to pro and amateur players alike that Egmond guitars have a place in many a guitar-lover’s heart. If you’re of that persuasion, then Wim Markenhof’s book is worth investigating.

VAL DOONICAN MYSTERY Has anyone any idea what guitar Irish crooner Val Doonican is pictured with (see photo)? The headstock looks similar to a ’60s Hofner, but the pickup looks like a Burns Tri-Sonic. Rick Henry Bradford-on-Avon

G&B To the best of our knowledge, Rick, Val’s guitar was built in the ’50s in Germany by Tellson,

founded by Oscar Teller. Their design cues were echoed by companies such as Framus but the pearl inlay shown is very Tellson, so that’s our guess.