Chas McDevitt

Genres: Pop / Rock
Decades: 1950s 1960s 1970s 1990s


1935, Glasgow, Scotland. McDevitt was the banjo player with the Crane River Jazz Band in 1955, before forming a skiffle group that won a talent contest organized by Radio Luxembourg. Another contestant, vocalist Nancy Whiskey joined the McDevitt group, which included guitarists Tony Kohn and Bill Branwell (from the Cotton Pickers skiffle group), Marc Sharratt (d. May 1991; washboard) and Lennie Hanson (bass). The group appeared in the film The Tommy Steele Story in 1957, performing ‘Freight Train’, a song introduced to Britain by Peggy Seeger who had learned it from its composer, black American folk singer Elizabeth ‘Libba’ Cotten. Issued by Oriole, the McDevitt/Whiskey version was a Top 5 hit in the UK and reached the US Top 40, although McDevitt was the object of a US lawsuit over the ownership of the copyright. After the release of a version of ‘Greenback Dollar’ and an EP as follow-ups, Whiskey left the group. With a studio group,...

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