The Notting Hillbillies
The Notting Hillbillies was a country rock project formed by British singer-songwriter Mark Knopfler in May 1986. The group consisted of Knopfler (guitar and vocals), Steve Phillips (guitar and vocals), Brendan Croker (guitar and vocals), Guy Fletcher (keyboards and vocals), Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Marcus Cliffe (bass), and Ed Bicknell (drums). They gave their first performance at a small club in Leeds, and followed up with a tour.
The Notting Hillbillies recorded just one album, Missing...Presumed Having a Good Time, released on Vertigo in the UK (Warner Bros. in the US) in 1990, before returning to concentrate on their primary musical outlets. The Notting Hillbillies reunited several times for charity gigs. In May 1997 the Hillbillies went on an 11 show tour in the UK.
The Town & Country Club in Leeds on 3 July 1993 only featured the Knopfler-Croker-Philips trio. The set list included the only known live performances of two Dire Straits songs : "Ticket To Heaven" and "How Long". The Notting Hillbillies had previously performed "When It Comes to You" in 1990, before it was actually recorded and issued by Dire Straits on their final album On Every Street, in 1991. At the height of their fame, the Notting Hillbillies were the musical guest on the 19 May 1990 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Candice Bergen.
The concert at The City Hall in Newcastle on 6 July 1993 featured Alan Clark on keyboards, his only appearance with the band. Ed Bicknell and Marcus Cliffe were also present. This was the last time that Clark played with Knopfler within a full band.
In 1993, two shows were performed, both without Guy Fletcher.
Band line-up members
- Mark Knopfler – guitar, vocals
- Steve Phillips – guitar, vocals
- Brendan Croker – guitar, vocals
- Guy Fletcher – keyboards, vocals
- Paul Franklin – pedal steel (studio album and 1990 tour only)
- Marcus Cliffe – bass
- Ed Bicknell – drums (replaced by Danny Cummings for the four 2002 shows)