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Tribute to talented guitarist and Witchwood favourite Peter Taylor
Thursday 3rd January 2019 @ 15:24 by Bernard Silk
Ashton Community News Tameside

The funeral of well-known musician Peter Taylor will take place at Dukinfield Crematorium next Tuesday (January 8) at 11.30am.

Pete, 73, had sadly suffered from increasingly ill health for the past decade.

A professional guitarist for many years, Pete accompanied top showbiz performers including Merseybeat hitmaker Billy J Kramer in the 1960s and 70s.

Previously, Pete had helped form leading local group Four of Spades in 1964, having grown up listening to classic rockers of the 1950s like Buddy Holly, a particular favourite.

Pete taught himself to play guitar. He went on to play with many musicians including a stint as musical director for US cabaret artist Mark Channing, involving radio, TV and theatre appearances.

He was also lead guitarist with groups including Henderson Chambers, Reg Coates Combo, Pharaoh, and Souled As Seen.

Born in Austria, Pete came to the UK in 1948 when his family settled in Ashton. He grew up there with his mother Maud, stepfather Stan and younger sister Madeleine.

A pupil of Ashton Grammar School, Pete racked up an impressive eight GCE ‘O’ levels and four ‘A’ levels. He qualified – then worked – as an industrial chemist early in his career until the lure of showbiz proved too strong.

Pete had also played a big part in the local music scene.

In the 1980s he launched – and ran – the legendary Sunday afternoon jam sessions at the Witchwood, Ashton, which helped to guarantee the then-struggling pub’s future.

The sessions attracted much interest from a host of talented musicians and an appreciative audience. They became a feature for many years and have helped ensure the Witchwood’s continuing popularity as a top music venue more than three decades on.

Offstage, Pete’s interests were varied. He read just about everything by Terry Pratchett, was a keen photographer and – though he never owned a motor cycle – was an enthusiastic rally-going member of the Hefty Hamptons bikers’ club, based at the now-demolished Spread Eagle in the town centre.

They will be providing a guard of honour at the funeral.

Although Pete could play in most musical styles – his pride and joy was a 1950s Gibson 335 guitar – his personal taste was for the music of Steely Dan and similar jazz-rock ensembles.

A familiar face at local pubs and clubs, Pete was widely respected by colleagues and friends.

His sardonic humour and accomplished playing will be much missed.

  • No flowers for the funeral please. Donations, if desired, to Cancer Research.