IN the corner of Hot Gossip café, among all the other vintage paraphernalia, is a vinyl album cover of the Springfields with the faces of a very young Dusty, her brother Tom and guitarist Mike Hurst beaming out.
“That’s the guitar,” says Hurst. “The very same one. It’s a Gibson Country and Western, and I bought it from Selmer’s on Charing Cross Road for £128 in 1962. That would be thousands now.”
At the time, the Springfields had just crashed into the top 10 in America, and were about to embark on their first tour there, which is why he splashed out on the guitar. Of all the instruments he has bought since, it’s still his favourite.
“It’s like a violinist with a Stradivarius,” he says. “Musicians always say that it’s the quality of the tone that matters. That guitar is handmade with wood, rather than the composite they use nowadays, and the tone has got better and better.”
Hurst has been playing an annual gig at the Kenton for the past 15 years, but this year for the first time he will be on stage without a band, all alone with his voice and the Gibson. At a time in his life when fellow musicians are dying or retiring all around him, the guitar is proving to be one of his oldest and most trusty friends.