ROCKY AND THE NATIVES

"Jim Leverton, Chris Godden, Andy Newmark, Geoffrey Richardson, Malcolm Barnard"
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Chris Godden / Guitar / Lap Steel Guitar

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Chris’s musical career started in 1968 when he started rehearsals with The Backhouse James Blues Band , he bought himself a brand new shiny Vox Continental organ only for the band to split soon after. But Chris very quickly joined top Soul outfit The Way, working alongside sax player Malcolm Barnard and beginning a forty year + friendship. A year later The Way grew their hair and changed their name to Tarquin with Chris on keyboards and Malcolm on lead vocals and embarking on a prog rock phase which included supporting top acts from Caravan to Deep Purple, Derek and the Dominoes and Dream Police.

Chris and Malcolm moved on in 1970 to form the legendary Medway boogie rock band Winkle Bill working to big audiences mostly across South East England and London. The original version of “Friendly Man in Blue” now updated for Rocky and the Natives 2013 album “Let’s Hear it for the Old Guys” was ever present in the Winkle Bill set.

Chris and Malcolm’s interest in the emerging American country rock scene was growing and in 1972 they left Winkle Bill to form the successful touring country rock group Pass the Buck with Chris switching full time to lead guitar. The band worked extensively in country and rock venues across England and by the time it had run its course in 1974 Chris’s reputation as a country guitarist was riding high.

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He took advantage of an increasingly healthy UK country music scene and was soon working with bands alongside Jonny Young, Carl Barnwell, pedal steel players Gordon Huntley (Matthews Southern Comfort) John Edmed and Peter Wilshire, drummer Luce Langridge, bass player Nigel Smith (Magna Carta) and keyboard wizard Colin Towns, now a well known composer of TV and film music.

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Chris then joined The Reg Haynes Outfit one of the UK’s most popular country bands, working seven nights a week. When the pedal steel player left Chris suggested Gordon Huntley as the replacement and their partnership was renewed. With the workload in The Reg Haynes Outfit getting too high Chris joined another popular band Hobson’s Choice gigging regularly and backing artists ranging from Wee Willy Harris to Bernard Manning! When he left the band Chris moved on to a short spell with Crispian St Peters, recording at Rodger Allen Cotton’s Roundel Studios with Toby Chapman on keyboards.

Now it was time to “rock out” and Chris joined The Mosquitoes alongside former members of Supertramp and Nine Below Zero. The Mosquitoes played gigs and festivals throughout the UK. The band was great fun but not too well paid, so Chris donned the suits and dickie bow ties again to work in function bands, including summer seasons at Butlins. Tiring of life on the road Chris worked briefly with jazz man Fred Cogger, including gigs at Pizza Express and the release of the album “Steppin In” before retiring in 1999 from touring and gigs to focus his efforts on selling vintage guitars.

Ten years later Chris contacted his old buddy Malcolm Barnard with the idea of forming a new country rock band – Let’s call ourselves Rocky and the Natives.