Music: Riffs - The First and Last Records Bought By Lonnie Donegan

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First Record

Josh White: `The House of the Rising Sun'

IT IS simpler than The Animals' cover, very straightforward and emotional. It's a song telling of a real experience Josh had; about a brothel in New Orleans. I prefer Josh's version. Always the original, the creative.

This was the first American folk song I heard and the experience kicked off my career, starting me singing American blues and folk. I believe that Josh White started the British rock scene.

After all, most rock bands came from copying me and the skiffle genre. So, in fact, all this came from Josh White.

He had a hit record with "One Meat Ball", a bizarre ditty that wasn't his normal material at all. It was weird for a blues singer to be in the charts. No one had heard of American folk singers; hardly anyone had seen a black man and you wouldn't see a guitar on stage in England - or if you did you automatically thought it was music from Spain.

Last record

Shana Morrison: `Shana Morrison'

I LIVE in Lake Tahoe, California, and when my wife and my three boys went there in August to renew our marriage vows (all very emotional and soppy), my son noticed in the local paper a concert featuring a young lady called Shana Morrison. She turned out to be, as I suspected, the daughter of Van Morrison (later Van told me she doesn't want to hang on to Dad's coat-tails). We went to this concert at the top of a ski lift on a 1,000-ft mountain and it was a fabulous performance by this beautiful, fairy-like creature. In the interval I rushed up and bought the album, and we are now hoping to work together on a live tour.

She has a group and writes her own material; it's semi-poetic, very like her dad, but veering more towards American country. Van veers to British rock. Visually she is gorgeous - nothing like her father; she dances and has great stage presence. She is what the trade needs - a natural. I would like to do a concert with all three of us - Van Morrison, Lonnie Donegan and Shana Morrison. Well, you have to dream.

Interview By Jennifer Rodger

Lonnie Donegan's new album, `Muleskinner Blues', is on Capo/ RCA