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Clive Gregson & Christine Collister

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Clive Gregson and Christine Collister were the most moving and memorable U.K. folk-rock duo to emerge since Richard and Linda Thompson. Gregson’s wry tales of the ins and outs of love, sung in Collister’s heartbreaking voice have earned the duo (and subsequent solo work) respect and a devoted following though commercial success and mainstream recognition have eluded them.

Gregson was the founder of Any Trouble, a pub-rock/new wave quartet, in Manchester in 1975. The band’s sound, and Gregson’s songwriting and singing, reminded some of Elvis Costello, and Any Trouble was signed by Stiff, Costello’s label. The band made several well-received but poor-selling albums, then split up in 1984.

In 1984, Gregson discovered Collister singing in a folk club and, impressed by her talents, he offered to work with her on future projects. Gregson had already begun an association with Richard Thompson, initially singing back-up on the classic Shoot Out the Lights album in 1982. While working on Thompson’s Hand of Kindness, Gregson suggested using Collister for additional backup vocal duties. The formula worked and the two continued for years as integral parts of the Richard Thompson touring band — arguably the finest live band he’s assembled. In 1985, Gregson made a solo album, Strange Persuasions, with Collister singing backup on a few tracks. The two began performing as a duo on the folk club circuit shortly thereafter.

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