The Notting Hillbillies was a country rock project formed by Steve Phillips and Brendan Croker with Mark Knopfler, who was then lead guitarist and singer of Dire Straits, and Knopfler's bandmate Guy Fletcher. They made just one album, Missing...Presumed Having a Good Time, released on Vertigo in the UK (Warner Bros. in the US) in 1990, before returning to concentrate on their primary musical outlets. The Notting Hillbillies have reunited several times for charity gigs. In May 1997 the Hillbillies went on an 11 show tour in the UK.
The Town & Country Club in Leeds on 3 July[when?] only featured the Knopfler-Croker-Philips trio. The set list included the only known live performances of two Dire Straits songs : "Ticket To Heaven" and "How Long". The Notting Hillbillies had previously performed "When It Comes to You" in 1990, before it was actually recorded and issued by Dire Straits on their final album On Every Street, in 1991. At the height of their fame, the Notting Hillbillies were the musical guest on the May 19, 1990 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Candace Bergen.
The concert at The City Hall in Newcastle on 6 July[when?] featured Alan Clark on keyboards, his only appearance with the band. Ed Bicknell and Marcus Cliffe were also present. This was the last time that Clark played with Knopfler within a full band.
In 1993, two shows were performed, both without Guy Fletcher.
Band line-up members
- Mark Knopfler: guitar, vocals
- Guy Fletcher: keyboards, vocals
- Steve Phillips: guitar, vocals
- Brendan Croker: guitar, vocals
- Ed Bicknell: drums - replaced by Danny Cummings for the four 2002 shows.
- Marcus Cliffe: bass
- Chris White: Saxophone
- Paul Franklin: pedal steel (studio album and 1990 tour only)