Tom Topping
Band

Colin Henderson’s Story

When I decided that I wanted to play songs to an audience I was starting from a long way back on the grid. I had a voice that wouldn’t win any prizes and a guitar style that was at best rudimentary. All I had going for me was a seemingly improving ability to write songs that people might like to hear.I was starting to hang around my local folk clubs doing ‘floor spots’ either on my own or with friends and eventually gravitated to the folk club at the Black Horse pub in West Kirby. There I met Tom Topping and Brian Jones. Tom and Brian welcomed me into what became the Tom Topping Band and we embarked on a career that has seen us perform hundreds of shows in hundreds of places to thousands of people.

My band-mates were always willing to give my song writing exploits the benefit of the doubt and with Tom’s effortless ability to truly deliver a vocal and Brian’s innate skills in song and harmony arrangement, some of those songs became staples of the band’s repertoire. To say I was lucky to be in that company would be a considerable understatement.

Playing the festival was a marvelous experience and not just because we as a band were on fine form and won prizes! During the course of the three or four days we were in Rostock we met artists from all over Europe and we had the time to talk and make music together informally in our hotel in the evenings. Being on the far side of the Berlin Wall exposed us to a very different culture but reinforced that we, as ‘ordinary people’ were very alike in many ways. I often wonder what happened to all the people we met after the wall came down in 1989.

I realise now that I didn’t appreciate it until I was much older just how good the Tom Topping Band was and how much genuine joy we brought into so many people’s lives.

Performing as the resident band at the Black Horse Folk Music Hall, doing gigs, learning songs in the back of Brian’s Transit van on the way back home, are all things that I will cherish and remember fondly and which have informed my progress as a songwriter and performer, the art and craft of which I learned in TTB. But, as great as the music was and is, being in the band will always be about more than that. It has led to friendships that will never end and to the chance for me to really learn how to do the thing that I love doing.

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