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Current page: Biographies - Lee

Current page: Biographies - Lee

Lee Abbott

Lee Abbott

Lee was born in Gravesend, way down on the Thames estuary, on 21st January 1950. His father, Arthur, worked in the docks; his mother, Grace, worked on bringing him into the world. From school to building sites he had an idea way down in his quiet soul that music was to be the way ahead.

He told me, and I think that went for so many of us, ‘I was working on an assembly line at the time and heard the Beatles. That was it. Sorted.’ He had a great love of anything original. A great set of ears. He went on up to London all the time, catching everyone and everything and soaking it in like water into a sponge.

His chosen instrument was bass. Later heavily influenced by Jaco Pastorious, at this time, he checked out the incredible Danny Thompson, working with the fledgling Pentangle. This led him on to Magna Carta. The acoustic threesome that went on to make inroads into the charts. He loved their originality and Danny, at the time, involved them into Pentangle gigs, apart from playing on the first six albums. Lee’s time was way up ahead.

He went out professionally through various bands touring Europe. Then a set of gigs with Albert Lee. Cutting his chops as he went, it occurred to him to get in touch with Magna Carta, and sent a resume of his musical journey so far, He always maintained: ‘I was a fan from the start.’

It was Tom Hoy who called him back in ’75. ‘Want to come on in?’ We checked him out. He was just so good. Folk clubs to the Albert Hall. 8 million albums later. All these years later, so many countries across the world under his belt. From the hotlands to the Arctic Circle, we toured. So many albums were made, his stunning basslines underpinning the sound, and what I always loved and respected about him was his deep love of the music and the vast reservoir of experience that he drew upon.

Sure, we fell out, but then that made the falling back in all the sweeter. Is that not the way of things? But I value and appreciate the friendship we enjoyed thereafter so much. Through Magna Carta, he met his wonderful wife, Shirley. A diamond. Nothing less. Unfortunately and untimely Lee died suddenly, on March 4, 2012. He leaves a son, Tom, and daughter, Alex, and this ‘diamond’ thing is quite catching. For they are diamonds too.

Oh, Lee, so many nights we pulled the stars out of the sky and used them for musical placemats. Once you were there on that stage,- I knew it would always be OK. I’ll miss you. The wit; the crazy stories, but above all - the style of a great musician. In the words of a Tina Turner hit…you were, and always will be…. ‘Simply the Best.’ Love you now and always.

Chris Simpson. Magna Carta, March 2012