Phil Riley and Neil Mercer
Neil first began playing music in public in the 1960s in a Cumbrian rock band called The Norsemen, who supplemented their pocket money by playing in some of the roughest youth and social clubs on the west coast. As the folk music revival got under way, he switched with some relief to playing in folk clubs and took up the mandolin and pipes to add to the guitar.
Phil started out in folk clubs in the Midlands, doing his first solo gig when he was 16. He teamed up with Neil in (about) 1969, eventually releasing a single on Polydor in ’76 with a band called ‘Kites’. As a result of this, Pete Townsend, of The Who, signed Phil to his Eel Pie Publishing Company.
The two went their own ways after this but began collaborating again a few years ago and in 2017 eventually finished recording the ‘LP’ they had started in 1976. It’s now a CD called ‘Lost Legions’ and is available through Phil’s website www.philriley.org.uk where you can also hear a few songs too.
“Some bushel you’ve been hiding your light under . . It felt like I’d met an old friend . . . Lost Legions has some great songs on it . . . Forty years in the making but all the better for that . . . ” – Mike Harding