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James Litherland


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James was born in Salford, England. His parents, who worked in the textile industry, loved music and always had music on around the house. While his parents were at work, he was looked after by their friend Mary Holland. Mary’s husband, Les, worked in a cotton mill and ran a kazoo band and Ra Ra girls with his family and friends to perform at the Oldham Carnival every year. When “Uncle” Les started a Harmonica Gang, he gave James a harmonica and James would sit and watch the rehearsals whilst waiting for his parents to collect him after work.

His parents bought him a guitar when he was 8 years old and the seed was sown. He first heard blues music and joined a blues band by about 11 years old. About this time he saw many blues artists and blues tours that came to the Manchester and Oldham area and subsequently played in various local bands playing Blues, R & B, Soul and Motown music.

On leaving school he worked for a couple of years, still playing in bands at night and it was then he saw the Graham Bond organisation with Dick Heckstall-Smith.When he was 19 he answered an advert in the Melody Maker for Colosseum featuring Dick Heckstall-Smith ( as he had seen Dick and liked what he saw ), who were looking for a guitarist. 1 week later he was living in London and playing professionally with Colosseum.

1 year and 2 albums later (Those About To Die, and Valentine Suite, on which he wrote some of their most memorable songs including Elegy and Butty’s Blues ) he formed Mogul Thrash with John Whetton ( Asia, King Crimson, and Roxy Music ) Malcombe Duncan and Roger Ball (The Average White Band ).


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  • Jase18

    He's the father of James Blake, who covered "Where to Turn" as "The Wilhelm Scream".

    17 Feb 2011 Reply

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