b. Eric Brown, 20 August 1940, Edinburgh, Scotland, d. 12 May 2003, London, England. At the age of 17, Gibson, who was working in a cafe, developed an interest in country music when a customer played him a Hank Williams EP. He said, ‘The songs were simple and easy to play and sing. It was several years before I realized how good they were.’ In the early 60s, rock ‘n’ roll impresario Larry Parnes wanted to promote Gibson, who took his stage name from the make of guitar, as ‘sweet rock’. Instead, Gibson signed with Tommy Sanderson, who went on to manage the Hollies and Lulu. The BBC Light Programme was looking for a British country performer, so he formed the Lorne Gibson Trio, the most regular members being Steve Vaughan (guitar) and Vic Arnold (bass).
As well as regular sessions on East Beat his own radio series Side By Side series featured various musical guests, including the Beatles, who had just released their first records; Gibson later guested on their series Pop Go The Beatles! Although Gibson did not have chart hits, cover versions of Jimmy Dean’s ‘Little Black Book’ and Freddie Hart’s ‘Some Do, Some Don’t’ for Decca sold 60, 000 apiece. Gibson never made an album for Decca, saying, ‘They wouldn’t let me. If I’d made an album it could only have been on my own terms. They didn’t want me doing country and had me listed as a calypso singer.’ Gibson sang the theme of the Peter Sellers comedy film Heavens Above!, and played the ghost in the pop film The Ghost Goes Gear. Gibson was only filmed from one side as an accident had necessitated several stitches on the other side of his face.
Over a period of months, ‘Red Roses For A Blue Lady’ sold a respectable 175, 000, but did not reach the charts. He said, ‘I never expected to have a hit. I discovered early on that country music fans don’t buy British records. They didn’t then and, to a great extent, they still don’t.’ Gibson maintained his repertoire - ‘Devil Woman’, ‘Eighteen Yellow Roses’, the tongue-twisting ‘The Auctioneer’ and an off-beat Jack Clement song, ‘You’ve Got The Cleanest Mind In The Whole Wide World (’Cause You Change It Every Minute)’. An album he recorded in 1978, For The Life Of A Song, has never been released. He was, however, featured on the 1974 album based on the BBC Radio 2 series Up Country.