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The Cresters with Malcolm Clarke & Richard Harding

The Cresters were the house band on the Titch & Quackers Show in the mid 60’s, which was hosted by ventriloquist par excellence, Ray Allen, of Lord Charles fame. There would always be a spot in the show where the band would come out and play a number or two where Richard Harding would showcase his amazing guitar skills which I recall were a combination of Chet Atkins and Les Paul. As a band The Cresters made some of the other instrumental bands of the day seem really lacklustre in comparison. Harding played a Gretsch White Falcon, a ghostly apparition of a guitar, resembling the outrageously painted BR diesel locomotive, Lion. In those days, such guitars were imported in one’s and two’s and cost something around £700 – a figure which equated to 18 months of an apprentice’s wages or would buy you a very decent second-hand Ford Zephyr with less than a year’s mileage on the clock. When you compare the astronomical luxury of a Les Paul cost £400, yet realise that a Fender Strat sold at 158 guineas – less than half that of a Les Paul – you can appreciate how serious the young Mr Harding must have been about playing the White and Gold beast strapped across his chest. (Submitted 01.10.08 by Alan Charles)