I could possibly be considered the founder of The RagTag Band. In 2007/8 I attended a sing-around session at the British Legion Club in Woodford, Cheshire, hosted by three regulars who possibly didn't know what to make of this 'folkie' newcomer. However, I was greeted straight away by a very cheerful and friendly soul who came bounding over and greeted me with "Hi, I'm Zeb Davies". After a few weeks I was a regular and realised that of all the performers who attended, I seemed to 'fit in' musically with Glynne, Kelvin and Zeb. I asked them if they would be interested in playing together as a foursome for a charity night and to my surprise they wholeheartedly agreed. I suggested the name RagTag (I used to watch Rag, Tag and Bob Tail as a kid and I felt we were a rag tag bunch of individual musicians). The rest (as they say) is history.
I am a self-taught guitarist and admit that my musical knowledge and ability is limited. However, my playing is not stereotyped and my unique style makes an excellent contribution to the variety of songs and tunes in RagTag's repertoire. Although I enjoy the vast range of music we play as a band, my true musical love is the traditional folk music and songs originating from the 18th and 19th century (High Germany, Polly on the Shore, A Sailor's Life, Banks of the Dee, Lowlands of Holland, Johnny Todd, The Rout of the Blues, etc). My main role model was Martin Carthy, but I have also been influenced by The Spinners, Peter, Paul and Mary, Robin and Barry Dransfield, The Taverners, The Ian Campbell Folk Group, The Watersons and many others from my 'folk' youth. More recent influences include artists such as Martin Simpson, Heidi Talbot and Kate Rusby, to name just a few.
I was also influenced by American negro blues, introduced to the British music scene in the 1970s. I regularly attended the American Folk Blues Festivals at Manchester's Free Trade Hall, listening to 'legends' such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lightening Hopkins, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. I can also claim to be present at the famous concert where Bob Dylan played electric, was booed, and someone in the audience shouted "Judas" (a landmark in musical folk history).
When performing with RagTag, I play a number of guitars including a Ramirez Classical/Spanish, Martin OOO28 steel-string, Aria Sandpiper 12-string, Ozark Resonator, and occasionally a Rickenbacker electric. I also play 5-string banjo tuned as a guitar, with the fifth (high) string tuned to 'G'. Although I'm not strictly a banjo player, it provides the appropriate banjo sound for certain numbers. I also play a 'mean' shaky egg !
I have provided the initial 'arrangement' for a number of RagTag's songs and tunes, which have then 'developed' through joint contributions from all the band members. I have also 'composed' a number of tunes such as Variation on Kapsberger, Spanish Rhythm and Blues in E.
Like the other three members of The RagTag Band, my musical interest and background has made a profound contribution to the varied range of tunes and songs we perform together.