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Prince Rogers Nelson June 7, — April 21, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and filmmaker. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota , Prince was known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant fashion sense and use of makeup, and wide vocal range.
Prince was also a multi-instrumentalist;   considered a guitar virtuoso, he was also skilled at playing the drums, percussion, bass, keyboards, and synthesizer. He sold over million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Prince developed an interest in music as a young child and wrote his first song at the age of seven. Records at the age of 17, and released his debut album For You in His album Prince went platinum , and his next three albums— Dirty Mind , Controversy , and —continued his success, showcasing his prominently explicit lyrics and blending of funk, dance, and rock music. It quickly became his most critically and commercially successful release, spending 24 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard  and selling over 20 million copies worldwide.
He released three more solo albums before debuting The New Power Generation band in In , while in a contractual dispute with Warner Bros. He released five records between and before signing with Arista Records in In , he began referring to himself as "Prince" again. He released 16 albums after that, including the platinum-selling Musicology Five months later, at the age of 57, Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Prince was given his father's stage name, Prince Rogers, which his father used while performing with his mother in a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. He stated, "My mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, 'Mom, I'm not going to be sick anymore,' and she said, 'Why? Prince's younger sister, Tyka , was born on May 18, After a brief period of living with his father, who bought him his first guitar, Prince moved into the basement of the Anderson family, his neighbors, after his father kicked him out.
With the help of Husney, Prince signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. The record company agreed to give Prince creative control for three albums and ownership of the publishing rights. The album was mixed in Los Angeles and released on April 7, The cost of recording the album was twice Prince's initial advance. Prince used the Prince's Music Co.
Their first show was at the Capri Theater on January 5, Prince performed both these songs on January 26, , on American Bandstand. In October , Prince released the album, Controversy. He played several dates in support of it, at first as one of the opening acts for the Rolling Stones , on their US tour.
He began with a small tour of college towns where he was the headlining act. In , Prince formed a side project band called the Time. The band released four albums between and , with Prince writing and performing most of the instrumentation and backing vocals sometimes credited under the pseudonyms "Jamie Starr" or "The Starr Company" , with lead vocals by Morris Day.
During this period Prince referred to his band as the Revolution. Jill Jones, a backing singer, was also part of the lineup for the album and tour. The Rise and Fall of Prince , author Alex Hahn says that Dickerson was reluctant to sign a three-year contract and wanted to pursue other musical ventures. Dickerson was replaced by Coleman's friend Wendy Melvoin.
This resulted in the hit film Purple Rain , which starred Prince and was loosely autobiographical, and the eponymous studio album , which was also the soundtrack to the film. In late , pop artist Andy Warhol created the painting, Orange Prince Vanity Fair reproduced Warhol's portrait to accompany an article Purple Fame in the November edition, and claimed that the silkscreen image with its pop colors captured the recording artist "at the height of his powers".
The Vanity Fair article was one of the first global media pieces written as a critical appreciation of the musician, which coincided with the start of the date Purple Rain Tour. After Tipper Gore heard her year-old daughter Karenna listening to Prince's song " Darling Nikki " which gained wide notoriety for its sexual lyrics and a reference to masturbation , she founded the Parents Music Resource Center.
Explicit Lyrics" on the covers of records that have been judged to contain language or lyrical content unsuitable for minors. The recording industry later voluntarily complied with this request. In , Prince announced that he would discontinue live performances and music videos after the release of his next album.
His subsequent recording, Around the World in a Day , held the No. From that album, the single " Raspberry Beret " reached No. In , his album Parade reached No. The first single, " Kiss ", with the video choreographed by Louis Falco , reached No. In the same year, the song " Manic Monday ", written by Prince and recorded by the Bangles , reached No. Prince directed and starred in the movie, which also featured Kristin Scott Thomas. Prior to the disbanding of the Revolution, Prince was working on two separate projects, the Revolution album Dream Factory and a solo effort, Camille.
With the dismissal of the Revolution, Prince consolidated material from both shelved albums, along with some new songs, into a three-LP album to be titled Crystal Ball.
The album peaked at No. Putting together a new backing band from the remnants of the Revolution, Prince added bassist Levi Seacer, Jr. The Sign o' the Times tour was a success overseas, and Warner Bros. The film quality was deemed subpar, and reshoots were performed at Prince's Paisley Park studios.
The film got better reviews than Under the Cherry Moon , but its box-office receipts were minimal, and it quickly left theaters. The next album intended for release was The Black Album. Prince was set to release the album with a monochromatic black cover with only the catalog number printed, but after , copies had been pressed,  Prince had a spiritual epiphany that the album was evil and had it recalled.
Prince went back in the studio for eight weeks and recorded Lovesexy. Prince again took his post-Revolution backing band minus the Bodyguards on a three leg, show Lovesexy World Tour ; although the shows were well-received by huge crowds, they failed to make a net profit due to the expensive sets and props.
He also began work on several musical projects, including Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic and early drafts of his Graffiti Bridge film,   but both were put on hold when he was asked by Batman director Tim Burton to record several songs for the upcoming live-action adaptation. Prince went into the studio and produced an entire nine-track album that Warner Bros. Batman peaked at No. In , Prince went back on tour with a revamped band for his back-to-basics Nude Tour.
With the departures of Boni Boyer, Sheila E. The European and Japanese tour was a financial success with a short, greatest hits setlist. The song featured the teenage Tevin Campbell who also had a role in the film on lead vocals. With significant input from his band members, Diamonds and Pearls was released on October 1, The title track " Diamonds and Pearls " became the album's third single, reaching No.
In , Prince and the New Power Generation released his twelfth album , bearing only an unpronounceable symbol on the cover later copyrighted as "Love Symbol 2" as its title.
The follow-up single " Sexy MF " charted at No. The label's preferred lead single choice "7" reached No. After two failed attempts in and ,  Warner Bros. The first two discs were also sold separately as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2. The collection features the majority of Prince's hit singles with the exception of " Batdance " and other songs that appeared on the Batman soundtrack , and several previously hard-to-find recordings, including B-sides spanning the majority of Prince's career, as well as some previously unreleased tracks such as the Revolution-recorded "Power Fantastic" and a live recording of " Nothing Compares 2 U " with Rosie Gaines.
Two new songs, " Pink Cashmere " and " Peach ", were chosen as promotional singles to accompany the compilation album. In , in rebellion against Warner Bros. In , Prince began to release albums in quick succession as a means of releasing himself from his contractual obligations to Warner Bros. He also began appearing with the word "slave" written on his face. He also blamed Warner Bros. It was out of these developments that the aborted The Black Album was officially released, seven years after its initial recording.
The "new" release was already in wide circulation as a bootleg. Prince pushed to have his next album The Gold Experience released simultaneously with Love Symbol -era material. The release reached No.
When released in September , The Gold Experience reached the top 10 of the Billboard initially. The album is now out of print.
Chaos and Disorder , released in , was Prince's final album of new material for Warner Bros. Prince attempted a major comeback later that year when, free of any further contractual obligations to Warner Bros. Prince released Crystal Ball , a five-CD collection of unreleased material, in The distribution of this album was disorderly, with some fans pre-ordering the album on his website up to a year before it was shipped; these pre-orders were delivered months after the record had gone on sale in retail stores.
The retail edition has only four discs, as it is missing the Kamasutra disc. There are also two different packaging editions for retail; one is a four-disc sized jewel case with a white cover and the Love Symbol in a colored circle while the other contains all four discs in a round translucent snap jewel case. The discs are the same, as is the CD jacket. The Newpower Soul album was released three months later. A few months earlier, Warner Bros. Old Friends 4 Sale , a collection of unreleased material recorded by Prince throughout his career.
The pay-per-view concert, Rave Un2 the Year , was broadcast on December 31, and consisted of footage from the December 17 and 18 concerts of his tour. It was released to home video the following year. In a press conference, he stated that, after being freed from undesirable relationships associated with the name "Prince", he would revert to using his real name. Prince continued to use the symbol as a logo and on album artwork and to play a Love Symbol-shaped guitar./p>
And there were four performances recorded on BellBoard from across the county. Condolences to Lesley and her family. There was also a of Norwich Surprise Minor rung at Pettistree , but undoubtedly the most impressive effort came courtesy of Ian Culham pulling in the heaviest bell in Suffolk as he rang the tenor to a peal of Double Norwich Court Bob Major on the back eight at St Mary-le-Tower. Indeed, as far as I can tell, you have to go back almost ten years since it was even pulled into a QP , when Nigel Newton rang it to a of Yorkshire in Ian is to be congratulated on his efforts, even if his fingers are now destroyed!
I am glad that if nothing else it was an SGR peal. Although it was lovely to spend quality time with the family, it did mean the rest of our day was fairly mundane. The grass was cut, plants cleared back and I even got the eldest son to tidy his bedroom. And ultimately it was all tinged with sadness for us Ipswich Town football fans with the news that the best ever ITFC player and indeed the best English player of his time according to none other than the late, great Sir Bobby Robson Kevin Beattie — who featured in this blog last year when Mason and I met him at the footy — passed away overnight.
Disappointment because it was for a special person, Gill Waterson who recently passed away, being rung at her home tower in her favourite six-bell method, Double Court Bob Minor and had been producing some extremely good ringing. Relief though, because the loss incurred just thirty-five minutes or so in, rather than much, much later.
However, such an early finish meant that The Greyhound was yet to open and so the band dispersed in a low-key fashion, but that did mean that folk could get off and make use of the extra two hours they suddenly had. For me, that was being brought home by mother-in-law Kate who very kindly took and returned me from the attempt, thus allowing me extra time with the family and to do some mundane but necessary tasks.
This afternoon, that included wandering into Woodbridge to do some shopping and visit Elmhurst Park. Lovely today to see a peal rung in celebration of the significant birthday of David Stanford, a ringer invaluable to Suffolk ringing and especially in these parts as one capable and willing on twelve whilst also teaching bands at Burgh and Clopton.
Our week of chance meetings with ringers on the streets of Melton continued. Next week they head off overseas for a while to teach English as a foreign language and they will be much missed. Your final opportunities to see them ringing before they leave will be Sunday morning and Monday night at SMLT — they deserve a good send-off!
No such adventures await us, but it was a busy day nonetheless. During the day, in amongst doing our jobs, we had to arrange for a poorly Joshua to be collected from nursery and were ultimately grateful to Granny Kate for helping out and allowing us both to stay at work and not let down our respective employers, especially as it was on top of her occasional duty to collect Alfie from school.
Come the evening and a fleeting greeting following my arrival home from a late shift at John Catt Educational and Ruthie was then straight out to choir practice and then the Surprise Major practice at Ufford. Her attendance at the latter was the result of a sort of August New Year Resolution as having gone along last month whilst the choir at St Mary-the-Virgin in Woodbridge were taking a break, she decided she ought to make more of an effort to make it out to these second-Thursday sessions.
And although due to singing she was only able to make a relatively small portion of the ringing, she was glad to have made it along. She was largely impressed by the striking and that quite an inexperienced band at this level were able to peak at four-spliced. A busy day therefore. I wonder what tomorrow might bring. And which ringer we might chance upon! On a wet morning, Alfie reluctantly went into school, as did a number of his peers as the novelty of going in everyday appears to be wearing off for many of them.
Ruthie this evening went to Pettistree practice and The Greyhound afterwards rather more willingly, where the atmosphere was typically jovial and method repertoire eclectic, including a quarter-peal of Alnwick Surprise Minor rung beforehand. Well done also to David Stanford on ringing his first handbell peal on an inside pair in the of Plain Bob Minor in Hasketon. Congratulations to Laura Davies and Louis Suggett on ringing their one hundredth peal together too.
On our meanderings before work we bumped into the lesser-spotted Adrian Craddock, usually a regular at various towers in and around the Woodbridge area, such as Pettistree and Campsea Ashe. Having been out of ringing for the last few months after falling out of a tree, we were delighted to catch-up with him during our street-side chat with him and even more so to hear that he hopes to be returning to the exercise shortly.
There was ringing to report today though, with a peal of Grandsire Doubles rung at Little Thurlow in memory of the staggering number of men — ten in all — who lost their lives from this tiny village during the First World War a century ago. We grabbed a quick chat with Sproughton ringers Sandy and Phil Jones in amongst a walk that took in ice cream, an exploration of the new Longshed and watching Anglo-Saxons and Vikings battling!
It was a fun day out that was followed by Ruthie returning to St Mary the Virgin to sing for evensong whilst I got some exhausted boys to bed, but it all left no time for any further ringing. Meanwhile, the second Sunday peal came to the aforementioned Grundisburgh as its annual summer break from Aldeburgh continues.
An outing ringing only tens and twelves, in three different counties over a distance of about fifty miles is an ambitious task, but Stephen Cheek certainly pulled it off for the St Mary-le-Tower outing today. At the tens of St Neots in Cambridgeshire, Kempston and Biggleswade in Bedfordshire and the twelve of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, we produced some decent ringing with a repertoire that included Surprise Royal and Maximus and even a couple of touches of Stedman Caters called by none other than my mother.
Sally Munnings, leading light in the anti-Stedman Society conducted Stedman, including one that I rang in, so I know it to be true! The distances involved were not insurmountable either, with even us - with all the hold-ups that the three boys inevitably generate on such occasions — making towers on time.
And the towers in between the travelling were well worth it as we rang at four fantastic rings of bells. The first tower is indirectly responsible for our annual holiday. Kempston has been visited pretty frequently by us over the last few years for peal attempts and the Ridgman Trophy , but is almost home to some SMLT ringers, such as Davids Stanford and Potts, though the latter was sadly missing today due to a recurring injury.
However, his father Melvyn — a frequent visitor to our weekly Monday night practices - joined us at his home tower. Having been to Hitchin five years ago with the aforementioned Ramblers and enjoyed them very much, it was lovely to be reacquainted with this nice 17cwt twelve, leaving just Biggleswade as an unfamiliar location.
I was impressed though. These are a lovely 13cwt ten, rung from a well-decorated, clearly well-looked after ringing chamber, but I was most struck by the superb sound control here, a system that even only partially in use made them barely audible outside for our extra-curricular pleasure ringing. Well worth a visit. Precisely halfway through we enjoyed lunch at The Cock at Broom , with its delightful bar-less beer room, although having really booked lunch here to spend our only real opportunity of the day to socialise with friends without having to dash off across a church after a child or grab a ring, it was a pity to be banished to our own little room, though the plus side was some family time with Nana Sally and Grandad Alan.
That was pretty much the only downside of a great day out. Even though the ringing slots turned out to be slightly too long, even this worked out better, allowing us to cut ringing short as and when, which is better than the other way around! We made it home in reasonable time to a county where earlier in the day David and Katharine Salter celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary with a peal of Superlative Surprise Major at Hollesley , a featuring their sons George and Colin.
Congratulations David and Katharine! I hope they had a wonderful day, as we certainly did. Granted, such occasions are harder work with three young boys. Where there are upstairs ringing chambers we usually have to take it in turns to go up to ring, making it more of a tactical operation than leisurely day out.
Conversations are more limited, simply getting in and out of the car is a protracted process and there is lot of getting in and out of cars on ringing outings!
But it is nice to spend the whole day with the family seeing different places, helping out our fellow ringers and enjoying their fellowship, even if it is more fleeting in our current circumstances! Thank you for organising it Stephen and especially for being ambitious in your organising! In a rare quiet few minutes today I found myself reading back through this blog and my attention was drawn to what I was doing precisely half a decade ago.
However, it was noticeable how — as I hope that in time this blog may be generally — it marked a snapshot of Suffolk ringing at a particular moment in time. Sadly the first thing I noticed was the presence of Gill Waterson, a reminder of a wonderful lady and ringer lost recently.
More positively though, there were a lot of youngsters present and even if they are not all still regularly ringing, they have the skills that may see them rejoin the exercise in the future as so many have. And amongst them were the Salter brothers George and Colin before they had progressed onto to the phenomenal achievements of their current ringing, showing that for all that these events are considered such a drag for many, there is potential ringing talent to be fostered that we ought to be doing all that we can to encourage.
Much has changed in those five years, but much also remains consistent. Well done to Sidney Ricketts on ringing his first quarter-peal at his first attempt in the of Doubles rung at Horringer. For us though, our day was a more mundane — though still important — mix of getting a new tyre, collecting Alfie from his second day of school and attending parents evening at nursery for Joshua before a quiet night at home.
Therefore, well done again to Sidney, especially for giving me something of ringing interest to mention in this blog! The further you get into life, the more responsibility you have to take for those events and decisions. Rather, that is down to Ruthie and me and one of the biggest decisions we can make on their behalf is their choice of primary school.
Have we chosen the right school? Will they like it? How easily will they make friends there? He — and his new chums — left their classroom full of smiles and although clearly a bit tired by the excitement and relative intensity of the day, he chatted constantly all the way home!
There was no affect on my ability to get out to my monthly peal attempt at The Wolery though, which this evening saw us ring changes of Lomax Surprise Major , a Yorkshire variation that was familiar enough to allow the band to settle quickly, but different enough to foster deeper concentration and the result was a pretty decent 1hrs 52mins of ringing with some really very good stuff at times, rung to a musical composition from Robert Brown.
Afterwards we enjoyed typically superb hospitality, with cake, biscuits and refreshments, accompanied with jovial chatter that included the subject of late peal losses. Hopefully there was none of that in action today. In the week when they are all starting school, Alfie and his peers Maddie and Robyn went to the beach at Lowestoft for the day, accompanied by their respective siblings and mothers.
After a shift at John Catt Educational early enough for me to meet them on their return but not to join them, my day was less exciting, without even any ringing to occupy my time.
There was ringing elsewhere in Suffolk though, with the pre-practice quarter-peal at Offton successfully rung. Primarily because of their location rather than their quality, but nonetheless very well known and so there has been a lot of publicity over the restoration of the 62cwt twelve. Therefore there was much interest as they arrived back at this British landmark from Taylors and were blessed as they sat on the floor outside ahead of being lifted back into the North-West tower over the course of the next day.
I was at another well-known twelve this evening as I popped along to the weekly practice at St Mary-le-Tower. It was all carried out with much professionalism, but in a jovial atmosphere. No more so then when David Potts managed to accidentally fling his glasses from where he was ringing the tenor to London, right past me on the ninth of the back ten, straight to the feet of Peter Sanderson on the eight to my immediate right!
For all that it is mainly pantomime, football matches between Ipswich Town and Norwich City generate a huge amount of tension, noise and snarly edge as almost 30, fans gather together in small space, divided by a footballing rivalry that goes back decades. The roar when the Tractor Boys went in the lead this lunchtime literally shook the foundations, though they were more settled when our opponents inevitably scored an equaliser. It all combined to make for as high-octane an event as we are ever likely to get in these — happily — tranquil parts and yet the rest of the day was notable for being fairly low-key, with a strand of cooperation between fans of both the blues and yellows.
Such as when public transport — again — let us down on one of the rare occasions that we decided to hand our day over to this ridiculously substandard form of transport. The Sunday noon kick-off appears daft, especially as one of the main reasons given for the timing is to avoid supporters getting drunk, as there were some bars open from as early as 6am and many given licence to serve alcohol early. Instead, it simply serves to make it as difficult as possible to get in and out of Ipswich on the day.
Except as a crowded platform waited, the train sailed on through the station, seemingly already full for some reason. The fixture list was released on 21st June. Instantly therefore, those there with cars very kindly offered lifts into Ipswich, including — it transpired — a couple of inconspicuous Norwich fans who had travelled down from Beccles and were willing to give us a lift if we could direct them in to somewhere to park.
Having done that, we expressed our gratitude and bade farewell to our knights in shining armour whilst wishing them a rotten ninety minutes! For whilst we knew we were too late to make ringing at St Mary-le-Tower or St Lawrence though we did hear the tailend of ringing at the latter as we wandered past an-already heaving Cricketers , it struck me as a pleasant way to pass the time to go and help out at St Margaret. By this point, the third person of our footy group, my brother Chris had joined us and as this was his first visit here since the magnificent project that has seen this hard-going lumpy eight hidden from view transformed into an easy-going, nice-sounding gallery-ring octave, the three of us were treated by Tower Captain John Girt to a viewing upstairs to the bells and of course what was the old ringing chamber.
Despite the lower ceiling, peal boards on the floor and the ropes now carrying on through the floor, it felt almost the same as when we used to ring here before — a lovely hidden oasis in the depths of a bustling town centre.
Well done either way! So it was this morning as both the practice at St Clement and then St Lawrence in Ipswich and an opportunity for Alfie to meet some of the peers he is due to start with at primary school later in the week happened to occur at the same time.
It was a pity to miss the former tower in particular, especially after all the work that has been done there by Katharine Salter, but the WhatsApp-arranged meet-up in Kingston Fields was something we felt we ought to take our four-year-old son to as he prepares for his planned big step-up in the next few days.
Meanwhile, some rather older children were meeting up in Worcester All Saints on the same day as a of Cambridge Surprise Maximus was being rung down Deansway at the Cathedral to become the youngest band — at an average age of just sixteen years, three-hundred and seven days — to ring a peal of Bristol Surprise Maximus. Whatever the family background and the circumstances of their ringing opportunities, this is a phenomenal achievement.
As is usual with such achievements, Suffolk connections came through the great-nephews of George and Diana Pipe, Henry and Alfred, with the Riley brothers Alex — the conductor — and Luke representing the Rambling Ringers too, so I am particularly pleased to see this was scored. If we let it, such endeavour can filter through ringing here within our borders and offer inspiration to learners, especially youngsters.
For us though, the clash of events this morning was made all the more frustrating by the fact that we were free this afternoon, when SE events are usually held. Holding such an occasion in the county town in the morning during the football season and when it was probably booked before the fixtures were announced is eminently sensible, but it meant we were completely devoid of anything to do following our return from the park.
Yet much like his big brother Mason and his last day at Kyson a few weeks ago, he seemed remarkably unconcerned, more interested in carrying in the big chocolate cake that Ruthie had made for his teachers and peers for the occasion. Most notably at Henley, where Tracey and Mervyn Scase rang their first quarter-peal of spliced in the on the 8cwt eight. Well done Tracey and Mervyn!
The of Cambridge Surprise Minor rung at Buxhall was for a sad cause though, the latest of a long line in the medium rung here since to remember the deaths of soldiers in the First World War a century ago with connections to the village. The performances here have served to highlight the waste of life in that conflict, that so many from this small rural community could be lost in such a short period. Logistics meant that instead of my few minutes walk to work this morning, I was heading into John Catt Educational from Woodbridge town centre.
And jolly glad I am that I did too, with stunning views and tranquillity accompanying me most of the way. That late shift in the office left me with no time for any ringing, but others did find the time, particularly if they found themselves at a tower beginning with the letter B. Despite an exhausting — though apparently enjoyable — day of looking after not just Alfie and Joshua, but also their cousins Katelynn and Annalise, and not feeling very well, Ruthie still went out to Pettistree practice this evening for another well-attended session.
That meant mine was a night in looking after the boys, but other ringers in Suffolk were being more active. It was nice to see a peal rung in memory of Carlo Mancini who — along with his compatriots — has welcomed many ringers to Italy, with the at Grundisburgh also rung to what was probably the same composition as the first peal of Grandsire Triples , three hundred years ago at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich.
Meanwhile, well done to Matthew Rolph on ringing his first quarter-peal of Surprise Major in the of Cambridge at Halesworth and also to Stephen Dawson and Lesley Steed on respectively ringing and calling their most spliced Major in the six-spliced Surprise Major methods rung at Horringer. Waiting for Ruthie to finish at the dentist whilst trying to stop Alfie and Joshua fighting over the toy train set in the waiting room was as far as adventure took us today.
Not unsurprising for a Tuesday and at that one which I was working a late shift on. Adventure was taking other ringers in Suffolk at least slightly further, with a pre-practice quarter-peal at Offton the most recordable example. Dotted in amongst the NE Takeover of the calendar are other events, all being well.
There was also a practice at St Mary-le-Tower this evening, but ultimately we did no ringing as Ruthie went to work and I endeavoured to find something for the boys to do that specifically did not involve ringing! In the end, I plumped for Ferry Fest at Felixstowe Ferry and so the three brothers and I took part in a treasure hunt on the walk from the golf club that has hosted the SMLT annual dinner in recent years to Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club before enjoying ice cream and a walk back.
It may not have included any of the vast range of ringing on offer, but it was still a lovely way to spend this Bank Holiday Monday. Admittedly our repertoire was restricted, with call-changes at both and Little Bob Maximus at the former, but it was nice to hear all the bells ringing out, especially at the latter where it is a real rarity. For all that it was nice to ring on the twelve, it was also lovely to ring in some Stedman Caters.
They may have both prepared in fairly dreadful fashion today, but next weekend Ipswich Town and Norwich City are due to renew their face-to-face rivalry with a league fixture at Portman Road and I expect there will be no shortage of pantomime hatred displayed. And of course they have our best wishes as this superb facilities are put to use to benefit ringers that will hopefully include many SGR members. Back south of the River Waveney and we were quieter on the personal ringing-front, unable to help out north of the border with Alfie attending a birthday party of one of his peers at the nearby Wyevale Garden Centre, my brother Chris paying a visit on route to a wedding reception nearby and Ruthie babysitting her nieces.
Another respectful nod from us to our friends north of the border. Mason learnt how to tie his shoelaces by himself and I had a beer for the first time in almost a fortnight. All very notable in our household. Well done Robert and Sally! Meanwhile, some will recall that the recent Ringing World National Youth Contest in London was filmed by Blue Peter and it has now been revealed that it is due to feature on the show at 5.
The aim is therefore not to create an elite range of methods, but rather to find existing methods that are more musical and more interesting, but also possible for those feeling their way into Surprise Major to learn and ring well. In fact, one might say it is just the beginning as the debate continues, with the merits of Belfast and Glasgow currently being considered against Chenies and Malpas amongst others. There are a couple of Project Pickled Egg Outings in the coming weeks, on 15th September and 20th October, but these are over in Gloucestershire and Birmingham respectively.
Perhaps we need to arrange one here in Suffolk? Twelve of those were of Surprise Minor at Tostock , but the most notable today was at Horringer where young Jimmy Yeoman was ringing his first of four-Surprise Major methods spliced. Nothing quite as thrilling on the personal front today, certainly not from a ringing perspective, but at least my early finish at work after an early start allowed me the time to take in the world of Project Pickled Egg.
Unusually in the context of the last few days, there was nothing from the South-West District Quarter-Peal Month today. Our day included no ringing though, with an early start and early finish at work giving me the afternoon to spend with Ruthie and the boys. We spent that afternoon mainly in Felixstowe where our main purpose was buying new shoes for Joshua and Alfie, with the latter needing his first ever school shoes just a couple of weeks before his first day!
Whilst down at the seaside with a two-year-old and four-year-old, it would have been remiss of us not to pop to the beach and so we did for a spot of ad hoc castle-building and a game of throwing pebbles into the North Sea — a particular favourite at the moment — before returning to Woodbridge for a spot of ultimately futile searching for more school clothing.
We will have an extra day this weekend to spend with and occupy the children as it is Bank Holiday Monday in six days time. That will be fun, but for practices that are usually run on that evening it can be a bit hit and miss as to whether they will hold a session.
At the time it was the only twelve in Suffolk, the ringing chamber was like no other I had ever seen and still is , George Pipe was in his impressive and captivating pomp and the band were ringing Surprise Maximus methods like Barford and Bristol and reaching the National Twelve-Bell Final. Unlike myself he has no desire to be a ringer and is generally bored by it, although he enjoys the company of ringers, especially Louis Suggett and Laura Davies who he was delighted to see tonight.
However, the session he was present at — although not at the standard of those of the s and early s — was one that we could generally be pleased with. Meanwhile, after a slow start, the South-West District Quarter-Peal Month has really picked up apace, with the fourth and fifth successes in the last three days rung today. For with the choir still on holiday, my wife joined me up the tower, the two youngest boys enthusiastically making their own way up the many stairs whilst Mason was being all grown up and waiting downstairs.
When we eventually made it to the doorway, we were met by the rather sorry sound of the only five present ringing the front six missing the second out. The reasons for this were entirely understandable for what is a mature band manning a heavy octave with quite a long draft. However, with Elspeth Hilson just behind us we had eight ringers and it seemed a shame not to get all eight going and so with Peter Meyer ringing the seventh up, Mrs Munnings and I got the eighth up as fast as we could and I volunteered to raise the second and ring it for some call-changes.
Rather it is a collection of stories recounting the ups and downs of the relationship between the titular character — a vicar of a typically English rural village called Little Stockham — and his bellringers, including a an argument over who has the tower key, the disastrous teaching of the pub landlord and the recasting of the fourth.
A nice, lazy-ish Sunday afternoon. Other ringers in Suffolk were busier though, especially at Blythburgh where a peal of forty-one Surprise Minor methods spliced was rung — still an impressive achievement! Meanwhile David Howe was ringing his first in all the variations rung in the of Doubles at Buxhall — well done David! South-West District Quarter-Peal Month had its best day today thus far with some notable achievements.
Hopefully there is even more to come from this event and I would certainly urge members in that corner of the Guild to use the occasion to organise as many quarters as possible to progress the ringing of those around them or of themselves. Helped in our timings by using a CCTV system to relay pictures from downstairs, we produced some well-struck call-changes too, but it was my wife who was the star of the show, bar the newlywed couple and their children of course.
In fact, it was a wonderful rendition, responded to by enthusiastic applause in church and glowing compliments from the happy couple themselves and at the evening reception that she attended later. It was all the more impressive that she was essentially performing in her specially extended lunchbreak from work, but that day at work also meant that she missed out on Alfie having a playdate with his friend Millar from nursery who is also due to join him at primary school next month.
Whilst they played together with the occasional interjection from Joshua, us dads got to know each other, before we departed into town for that wedding. Well done again Heather and Pam! Remarkably little happening from a ringing perspective across the county and especially personally today. Fridays during peak holiday season are perhaps a difficult time to get a band together for quarter-peals and peals, whilst even if we usually did ringing on the day before the weekend, my late finish at work left little time to undertake the exercise this evening.
So with nothing interesting to report from today, let me point you in the direction of an episode of Flog It! Nice to see familiar faces Maurice Edwards and Chris Rogers enjoying their moment of fame! Although her funeral was yesterday, the tributes quite rightly continue for Gill Waterson, this time at Grundisburgh, where she learnt to ring, apparently after spending much time waiting around whilst her son Ben learnt! A of Grandsire Cinques was rung in thanksgiving for her life.
Particularly noteworthy it was too as Jimmy Yeoman celebrated his sixteenth birthday by ringing his very first blows of Norwich Surprise and Oxford Treble Bob Minor whilst ringing his first tower-bell peal on a working bell. Happy Birthday and well done Jimmy! Not so much ringing activity for us though. In fact, none at all with a late shift at work cutting right through the morning, afternoon and evening, but we were pleased to see that QP at Grundisburgh.
Thank God for the life of Gill Waterson. Not one of the ringing elite, though she was liked and respected by many who are. Not a big peal-ringer, though her name features on a board in St Mary-le-Tower ringing chamber. Nor a regular twelve-bell ringer, though she never let anyone down on that number. Yet she was one of the best ringers I had the privilege to ring with.
Having rung with her throughout my entire ringing life, I can only vaguely recall one occasion when she went wrong and she was reassuringly reliable. Many, many others felt the same, judging by the ten quarter-peals and two peals rung here in Suffolk and elsewhere across the UK since her passing last month and the numbers at Seven Hills Crematorium for her funeral this afternoon.
By the time we arrived there were only the window ledges left to sit on, with the seats already filled by family and a vast number of ringers that included the Guild Ringing Master Tom Scase as well as two of his predecessors, a former SGR Secretary and current South-East District RM Jonathan Williamson.
However, with all our babysitters present too and keen to pay our respects we kept them occupied and from the beginning it was made clear that this was a celebration of her life.
It was nice to see Ben again, probably for the first time for about twenty-five years. I was grateful to John Catt Educational for very kindly letting me out of the office for a couple of hours on a day when I was working a late shift, which allowed me to look after Alfie and Joshua at St Mary the Virgin in Woodbridge before work, whilst Ruthie practiced ahead of a wedding she is singing at on Saturday, but it had been a long day and so neither of us made it to Pettistree practice this evening.
This week is late shifts and by the time I get home, helped put the boys to bed and grabbed a bite to eat and on this occasion gone out and bought the ingredients first! Elsewhere another Monday evening practice was preceded with a quarter-peal as local ringer and Wickham Market resident Gill Waterson was remembered on 12cwt six at All Saints in the village.
Hopefully the session that followed was a productive and enjoyable one, as I hope the one at SMLT was, but I am likely to end up missing every other practice for the next couple of months. Tis that time of year. There was something for each of the elder two brothers today. Both had a great time, but the former did restrict our morning ringing slightly as it began at 11am. We had time to ring at St Mary-le-Tower where the visit of Colin Salter certainly helped us to some decent ringing before we retired to Costa Coffee for some post-ringing refreshment.
Still, it was all very pleasant, as Mason, Joshua and myself wandered the promenade and built sandcastles as Alfred and his mother partied away, the tower of St John the Baptist — which holds the 7cwt eight here — overlooking the vibrant scene. The latter saw Alan Mayle ring his th tower bell peal and his one hundredth with Tom Scase — congratulations Alan and Tom! Precisely six years ago, Ruthie and I had one of the biggest days of our lives the birth of the boys have to be on par really!
It was a memorable day, packed with joy and excitement from waking up to the last dancing. There were peals rung in Cornwall by the Ramblers, at Birmingham Cathedral and at Ufford, plus seven quarter-peals in Suffolk, Essex and Monmouthshire for the occasion on the day and the weeks before and after. It was all very exciting! Today was rather more mundane.
There was more rain which restricted us slightly, but essentially after a fortnight of doing stuff, we were somewhat stuffed out, with neither children nor adults showing any appetite for doing anything particularly extraordinary.
We did mark it though. After all, six years of marriage is something to be celebrated with iron apparently , especially with this wonderful woman who has put up with my whims and is a wonderful mother to the kids. It is the last working day of our fortnight off, as it were.
There was no peal-ringing, outings or even exploring churches today though. Instead we were at Bawdsey, a village that is home to a tower that looks like it has space for a twelve but instead holds just a single 4cwt bell dating from and founded by William and John Brend. We were there for a debut. For this afternoon, Alfie, JB and myself did crabbing for the first time and thanks to the twist of the summer that saw constant and predictably roasting temperatures until the day that we finished work for two weeks, we were introduced in the most challenging of conditions.
As soon as we arrived at this far flung corner of Suffolk, torrential rain trapped us in our car for several minutes, but following a cuppa and sandwich at the Boathouse Cafe at the Quay, the weather cleared up and we took our opportunity to get to the waterside and search for some crabs.
With some success too! A sizeable specimen of the species was caught and as the rain began persisting again, put back. Alfred in particular — and me as well — were delighted with our experience as we meandered back home. I hope they had as much fun as us! Earlier, as torrential rain broke the latest heatwave, we enjoyed an afternoon at the abode of local ringers Susanne Eddis and Pete Faircloth to catch-up with them and drop gifts off as thanks to them for feeding Charlie our cat whilst we were away in Devon last week.
Talking of Devon, there is still much ringing being done down there and in neighbouring counties by our ringing friends four days after we left that wonderful county.
However, even in this most non-ringing related of tasks the exercise still came to the fore, as he passed with flying colours and no issues to worry about, with the assessor especially wowed by his imitation of church bellringing! Well he does watch a lot of ringing whilst during our holiday time, even if the singers are taking a break. When I go for peal attempts at The Wolery, there is never typically any time pressure. Providing we score first time, we will then spend 1hr45mins-2hrs in the little blue shed and with nowhere else to go afterwards normally, we are able to enjoy the refreshments our super hosts very kindly put on pretty much at our leisure.
You can probably guess what happened on this one occasion when time was more pressing in Rectory Road And I have lost count of the number of times I have been the perpetrator of late starts over the years! Hopefully they had enough time spare afterwards! Last week we enjoyed some stunning scenery in Devon, but today reminded us just how wonderful the landscape here in Suffolk is.
The reason I was enjoying this magnificent view was so I could look after Joshua whilst Ruthie rang before a wedding as Alfie watched on, before we swapped roles afterwards. I have to say in hot and humid conditions, on a difficult though not as tough as they once seemed in my opinion , anti-clockwise six rung from what has always felt like a bit of a makeshift gallery, we made a decent fist of things, especially when switched from method-ringing to call-changes.
Nice as well to see Rob and Daphne Rose, though they were singing rather than ringing. It is a practice apparently not as common anywhere else and I have to admit to always being slightly puzzled by the logic of it. I am all for as many SGR peals being rung the more the merrier!
Also, most towers have a limited number of peal slots available and so if a band visiting from out of the area wants to use up one of those slots ahead of a more local band then I just about understand applying a lower fee to Suffolk Guild bands to encourage more local ringers to take advantage of this vital medium.
What baffles many — myself included — is why Non-Association peals should incur an additional penalty. To penalise them for this appears to be snobbish and unwelcoming and seems to be leaving a bad taste in the mouth amongst many in the ringing world, which is a pity as I know our members generally are far above that.
It was all an isolated blip on a day when our fortnight off continued, but with a little more of the everyday about it. Even then, Alfie helped with both.
Getting the youngest son used to his new set-up meant I was running a bit later than anticipated for my return to local ringing and more particularly the weekly practice at St Mary-le-Tower. Included in the numbers present were South-East District Treasurer Tracey Scase joining the Ringing Master Jonathan Williamson and Secretary Abby Antrobus in this famous ringing chamber and her husband Mervyn who did well on higher numbers, whilst Sproughton learner Karina was up for the second week running and doing very well on what are still only her initial steps onto twelve.
It was wonderful to behold, but also great that we were able to finish the ringing with a very well rung course of Glasgow Surprise Major on the back eight, before we retired to the beer garden of The Cricketers for a well-earned drink. I hope they were charged reasonably for their ringing! I have often mentioned the in famous episode Ring Out Your Dead where a team of bellringers won a striking competition on their own bells, despite half of the band being murdered!
Whilst the outside shots were of Watlington in Oxfordshire and the sound of the bells on the programme were Monks Risborough in Buckinghamshire, the actual footage of the ringing that most will remember were filmed inside Bray ringing chamber in Berkshire and the regular Sunday morning tower of our hosts.
Unsurprisingly we were treated to some super ringing, most particularly a few leads of Bristol Surprise Major at the end which we were delighted to partake in before we caught up with Sam, and Graham gave us some fascinating insight into that filming for Midsomer Murders to add to the very interesting article written by John Harrison at the time.
We returned to a county where Gill Waterson was again remembered at a tower where she was much loved, with a quarter-peal of Doubles at Pettistree. You should be safe from being murdered in the pursuit of the exercise outside the general Maidenhead area! And as we left the Tour this afternoon, we departed Devon with the same vehicle we arrived with seven days ago.
It has been much more than that though. The ringing has been eclectic especially the Call-Change Competition! Steep, narrow lanes have been navigated, village pubs enjoyed and even some evenings spent outside on the campsite near Crockernwell sipping beer and mingling with genial company. Having taken down and packed away our tent along with all the belongings we had brought and since accrued, we managed another couple of towers before we disappeared back towards the east.
I rang down in Queens at Manaton and Ruthie called some York Surprise Minor at the ground-floor six of Lustleigh, before the Tour Meeting got underway in the church at the latter, essentially a brief and informal affair where a handful of announcements are made and thanks directed at those who helped make everything happen and run smoothly. Other than that, the main business is voting for the destination of the next Tour. Hampshire and the Cotswolds were amongst the areas put forward for the consideration of the membership present, but ultimately it was voted that the Tour should come much closer to home in North Norfolk in For now though - and after posing for the group photo taken by Ron post-meeting on the village green — we were faced with a long journey back.
That journey was broken up with a stop for a cuppa at the Gordano Services near Bristol, where not only did we bump into Chris and Jill Birkby also on their way back, but we met celebrity chef Tom Kerridge. His child had finished riding on the toy car in the foyer and been taken off it by his famous father before Alfie and Joshua climbed in. Kid Kerridge seemed unhappy about this and did what toddlers do and tried to push past Josh to get back on. Not as lengthy as it might have been though, as we had arranged to stop overnight in Maidenhead at the lovely home of a couple of ringers who will be familiar to many in the SGR, namely Maggie Ross and Tim Palmer.
Many were helped by her and she was an integral part of the band that used to meet regularly for peal attempts as we worked our way up to ringing the forty-one Surprise Minor methods a few years back, as well as in the many quarter-peals that Alan McBurnie arranged involving spliced Surprise Major and Royal. Apart from that she is a good mate and drinking companion. She has been missed in our part of the world ever since she moved away a couple of years ago, whilst I have known Tim — a superb, but modest ringer - since we rang together in Birmingham years ago.
Not only were they kind enough to put us up for the night, but they were waiting with beer for us grown ups and games for the boys and got the BBQ fired up for tea. I know from when mother-in-law Kate held this position and started this event and from arranging similar multi-band occasions how hard this is to organise, but it does seem to guarantee a core gathering for both ringing and socialising purpose in a slot in the calendar that used to be notoriously poorly attended, and as Alison has shown it is a useful opportunity to achieve something!
When we go on the Rambling Ringers tours, we like to take a day out from the ringing for the sake of the children.
Therefore today, whilst our fellow Ramblers were ringing on the eastern side of Dartmoor, we were in the far west of Devon on its border with Cornwall at Morwellham Quay , a restored copper mining village, dock and mine. With that backdrop, the site was a joy to explore with plenty of activities to occupy kids and adults alike. When all is said and done about me, a curious fact as things stand will be that — following today — I have rung in and won two striking competitions in the south-west of England, despite having never lived anywhere near it.
A quick blast of Beverley Surprise Minor at the gallery-ring six of Throwleigh and gathering up of the eldest son after a spot of geocaching with the Birkbys and Picks and we were off further into the picturesque scenery around Dartmoor and more particularly to Gidleigh, a five with another distinctive sound that makes the art so interesting.
Having been greeted by Kate and Ron outside The Drewe Arms next door to our next tower Drewsteignton, there was just time for a final practice before the competition got going three-and-a-half miles down the road.
That meal was lovely, with great service in a lively, convivial atmosphere and a wonderful way to end a notable day in my life. A day off ringing today. Not for the children as is usually the norm, although I think they probably appreciated the break from bells on what is a longer than normal Rambling Ringers Tour for us.
Thus our day was full of excited chatter and catching-up, as well as Alfie and Kelly excitedly discussing all things Harry Potter, as we spent the morning and afternoon at their delightful farmhouse packed with character, either side of going to the Red Deer on the edge of Crediton where they live and work. It was a lovely day out with a lovely couple, whilst Kate and Ron were doing their own visiting of friends, including former Pettistree ringer Mike Whitaker and his wife Lorna who now live in these parts.
Back in his former home tower the weekly pre-practice quarter-peal was dedicated to the incredible Helen Price ahead of her forthcoming ninetieth birthday. Although we missed this and all the ringing today, we were glad to take time out to see Kelly and Mike. Occasionally one needs a day off ringing! If all bells were melodious and easy-going, many of us — myself included — would find the exercise less interesting.
The former were rung from a rustic ringing chamber that saw the tenor rope catch on a notch as it came through the ceiling and needed a lot more pulling than one may imagine a 10cwt ring to need, whilst the latter were on par with our very own Tattingstone for ear-bothering.
However, I enjoyed both and there was some quite decent ringing across the morning, including at Lamerton which were perhaps more memorable for the painting that covered the entirety of one of the walls in the church than for the bells in particular.
Back in Suffolk meanwhile, the pre-practice quarter-peal at Offton was successful despite meeting one short, but otherwise it seems to have been a quite day on the BellBoard front in the homeland. By the time they were ringing though, we were enjoying our first warm evening on the campsite as the boys bothered the Riley brothers in the vast space that they have thus far been unable to take advantage of. We still got the narrow lanes, stunning scenery and quaint villages though as the tour took us — as ringing so often does — to pretty little places that in all probability few of us would otherwise go.
Such as Doddiscombleigh, an isolated gathering of homes with a gallery-ring six where I had my first — and ultimately most successful — go at the method of the day Ide Surprise Minor.
Indeed this was our only tower of the morning as we sacrificed going to the three-bell tower before lunch to find a pub for food and ale. We needed all the time we could get as well, as with Kate and Ron we trundled from community to community finding taverns closed on Monday lunchtimes.
Eventually we came across Teign House Inn near Christow where the welcome was warm, the food superb and drink very enjoyable, particularly for those not driving! Sometimes its the small things that keep you going. There were no quarters or peals recorded in Suffolk on BellBoard though. Perhaps the bad weather has sent everyone indoors. Congratulations and very well done to Ellie Harle who today rang her first quarter-peal in the of Plain Bob Doubles on the lovely ground-floor 6cwt six at Theberton, hopefully the first of many.
Similarities do exist, as both are ground-floor sixes, but they are both very different in go. I still enjoyed them though, an example of the variety of the art that takes one from cathedrals to such rural idylls and I also enjoyed meeting up with characters very familiar to me from decades of ringing with this wonderful Society. There was a newcomer too who was also familiar to me, as John Mulvey from Tamworth — a good ringer who I know from my time in the Midlands — on his debut tour.
Meanwhile, back in the homeland, a of Plain Bob Major was rung at Hollesley rung in memory of Gill Waterson — with a of Doubles also dedicated to her in Bath — and of Grandsire Caters was rung at SMLT , whilst a handbell peal of forty-one Surprise Minor methods spliced was rung for the Guild in Bacton.
Being the grumpy aging soul that I am, I would typically have much to grumble about today. For example, after six weeks of roasting, dry weather, a lengthy heatwave that will likely go down in legend alongside the famous one of and generally a superb summer, as soon as we went on holiday today and put a tent up, the rains fell abundantly, the winds blew a gale and the temperatures plummeted to quite unpleasant levels.
Still, the journey was nonetheless frustrating, having started barely after dawn and gone really well until we reached Bristol and more particularly the M5, as we joined all the other holidaymakers heading for the South-West, the volume further hampered by speed restrictions that flashed up just as the traffic got moving and instantly saw drivers slamming on their brakes in panic and thus bringing everything to a standstill again.
However, as I sat down with a beer in the caravan of mother-in-law Kate and Ron — who for the second year running are joining us on tour — next door to our now constructed tent, the children safely asleep, I actually felt relatively relieved. For as we approached Exeter on the aforementioned M5, the traffic busy but moving well, a big cloud of dust blew up quite dramatically a couple of hundred yards ahead of us and the brake-lights of the cars in front all lit up in an alarmingly sudden fashion.
Passing slowly and cautiously through the chaos, it appeared that thank God no one had been seriously hurt and passers-by were already stopping to check on the occupants of the inflicted motor who had got out, although understandably they seemed quite distressed. Not that we made any of the ringing and nor did we anticipate doing so, but we heard all about it from our fellow Ramblers on the campsite following their return from ringing in the rare moments where we were able to catch up with them in the miserable conditions.
Although there was a quarter-peal rung at Ashbocking yesterday , there was nothing recorded on the bells of Suffolk today and so we sat back and breathed a sigh of relief that we had made it to Devon, rather than bemoan how we got there or what greeted us.
The band split in due to frustrations with seeking a second release. Stuart went back into theatre and did west end shows like '7 Brides for 7 Brothers', 'Joseph', 'Me and My Girl', 'Rocky Horror' then became a theatre producer and he still is. Lyndon started choreographing and is now one of the top in the UK for events and pop promos.
They are still the best of mates. American band led by Johnny Johnson who subsequently called themselves Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon. The Chris Barber Show. Edinburgh-based Leith-bred , singer and comedian Bill Barclay has learned his trade over years of hard and, for audiences world-wide, extremely entertaining work.
Bill is second-to-none with the comic's stock-in-trade, "one-liner", and has compered many events drawing upon his immense fund of "cracks" as well as taking the stage in his own right to produce side-splitting responses world-wide.
During an illustrious career spanning more than 30 years, Bill Barclay has toured in more than fifteen countries around the world including In the s Bill Barclay toured with the big boys of rock. In he supported Rod Stewart on his British tour. He has taken the stage in front of audiences exceeding 50, in three major rock festivals, at Reading, White City and Lincoln.
Of course, in addition to the jet-setting, Bill Barclay is very well-known back home here in Scotland where he has appeared in countless golf-clubs, smokers, rugby clubs, bowling clubs, folk clubs, concerts, and festivals, and at special dinner functions for every conceivable organisation. Bill's acting roles on various UK television channels have seen him appearing in plays and soap operas including Bill can be regularly seen in his sergeant's uniform popping up in Taggart Scottish Television and Rab C.
Over the years he has played various characters in Take The High Road Scottish Television , in which he has now a regular part as the local bobby. For the past 20 years Bill has presented his own radio show on Edinburgh's premier commercial radio station, Radio Forth. They released three singles, one E. In they supported Alexis Korner at the ballroom while they were supported by 'The Change' when they returned in Ricky Barnes was a Scottish tenor saxophonist who featured in several dance bands in Glasgow.
Later they would become one of the very few bands to tour with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Bill Wyman has stated that seeing them live inspired him to take up the bass guitar. Gradually they found that their natural friendly humorous nature came across well and that occasional forays into comedy parodies were becoming more popular with audiences than their straight pop covers and over a short period the act developed more along the lines of family entertainment than of music performance.
They toured extensively with many very big stars such as Petula Clark and they eventually had some 13 UK hit singles between and Sadly, Duke D'Mond aka Richard Palmer died in and now a four-piece, Peter Langford is the only original member and they continue to tour the seaside family entertainment and nostalgia circuits. One album 'Barty's Bow' was released in on Kettle Records.
The Bay City Rollers. The Bay City Rollers played the ballroom 12 times! Playing local gigs in and around the Edinburgh area, they had a large turnover of members before drummer Derek Longmuir and his bass-playing brother Alan teamed up with singer Nobby Clarke and guitarist John Devine. Wanting to change their name to something that sounded more "American", their new manager Tam Paton decided to stick a pin in a map of the United States to help them choose a new handle.
The first attempt landed in Arkansas, but wanting something sexier, the next nearest place that appealed to them was Bay City, Michigan.
The suffix "Rollers" was added and the new name was complete. The band was getting a lot of good exposure in their native Scotland including a Sunday night residency at Edinburgh's 'Top Storey' and further into northern England. As word spread, their reputation grew, and Dick Leahy, boss of Bell Records, was invited by Paton to see the band in action while he was fogbound at Glasgow Airport. He signed them to his Bell label without hearing them play a note.
Despite the success of their first attempt, the next three releases were all duds. By now, the members were becoming discouraged and in June , guitarist Eric Faulkner was added to the line-up. Paton sent out postcard photos of the band to fan clubs and pop magazines in a bid for publicity, and a striking change of image occurred when the band adopted the tartan patterns of their country, added to shirts and half-mast trousers and scarves.
The Rollers had one last shot at the big time as Bell allowed them one more single before their contract expired.
In February , a song called "Remember" was released and climbed to 6 on the U. The next time out, the follow-up was the powerful "Shang-A-Lang", an early Rollers anthem, and it made it to 2 in the U. With more radio play, The Bay City Rollers were introduced to the rest of the country.
They were now hot, photogenic, accessible, and well marketed. Success this time had come with the all-important follow-up hit. Striking while the iron was hot, "Summerlove Sensation" was issued and peaked at 3 in July ' It was the band's 4th top ten hit in a little over 7 months. Around this time cracks began to appear in the Roller veneer. By now the group had struck a chord with young teenagers and pre-pubescent fans in search of pin-up pop stars. Merchandise was flying off of the shelves, and their faces were featured on teenaged magazine covers and TV shows.
Privately however, the Rollers were none too happy. Their last single was branded by the band itself as "rubbish teeny fodder", and they had wanted the B side, "The Bump" as the A side. The Bump was a dance craze doing the rounds at that time. It also came to light around this time that it wasn't just the Rollers that sang and played on their records. This was true, but mainly because of the time involved hiring studios and the expense, it was cheaper and more efficient to hire session men, with a bit of the Rollers dubbed in here and there.
Eliminating studio sessions ensured that from now on, every bit of music would be the Rollers and not outside session men. The single climbed to 1 in March '75 and stayed an incredible 6 weeks at the top, selling an astonishing one million copies. Amid frenzied scenes, sell-out tours, and fan mania not seen since the Beatles heyday, the press dubbed it "Rollermania".
Sadly, the downside of all this fervour caused mayhem and a trail of destruction. Concerts were often stopped or cancelled altogether because of fan hysteria. A security man was killed as he suffered a heart attack while trying to control crowds. But by this time, the Rollers were trying to grow up, personally, spiritually and artistically. They ended with the much harder "Money Honey" and saw it climb to 3 in November. Their next objective was to have a hit record in The United States.
The tune climbed the U. The Rollers were on top of the world. The scenes previously witnessed by UK fans were now repeated in the States and Canada, thanks to an even more exhausting schedule of promotions, recording, TV, and magazines. They repeated their success in Australia, as they continued their quest for world domination.
It would be their last ever UK top 10 hit. Meanwhile, the rest of the world was just discovering The Bay City Rollers. Longmuir left in and returned in While they were off touring, things were changing back home, leading to the end of "Rollermania".
A combination of young fans growing up, and lack of exposure were taking their toll. It was their last ever UK hit. The magic was gone. The Rollers eventually produced and wrote more of their own songs. Some of their stuff from late '77 onwards was a lot more mature and adult-orientated, but Britain was no longer interested. Later albums, "Voxx", "Strangers on the Wind", "Elevator" and "Ricochet" sold well elsewhere in the world.
Success lasted a little longer in the U. The band began to fragment. The band earned tens of millions and reports say that at least million albums were sold, but the Rollers were not rich men. Each accused the other of stealing, and the in fighting exploded with an on stage brawl during a Japanese concert.
The members even went to court over the rights to the name of the group, when two splinter groups, led by Les and Eric were trying to use it. Even though they were ridiculed and mocked by more serious musicians, the Bay City Rollers had an amazing career.
In , 30 years after their first taste of success, the band members were trying to resolve their differences in order to get back the millions they feel they are owed in royalties. They recorded an album together in and were trying to set up a tour. Les McKeown had previously been in an outfit called 'Threshold'. Early in they embarked on the long drive from Edinburgh down to London for new talent auditions with CBS at The Marquee Club in Wardour Street, where they won themselves a residency and a recording contract and subsequently moved there permanently.
He was so chuffed with the description, that he carried it with him showing it to anyone who was interested, until it was in tatters. Of their five albums, three went top ten in the UK. A change in tempo to a more relaxed traditional style reduced their appeal with the record buying public and they decided to call it a day in late early They play with unfettered passion and a furious, frenetic, tight energy all too rarely seen. Formed in , a Glasgow R'n'B band managed by Joe Gaffney, they were sometimes referred to as The Scottish Beatles in their early days, although when they signed to Decca in , they moved down to London.
In their early days their live repertoire was drawn from originals, black America and less well known Rolling Stones cuts. They had a mod image and built up a very loyal audience around Glasgow before moving South.
In their later days they were managed by Kenneth Pitt who also looked after David Bowie 's affairs. At Pitt's suggestion they recorded some of Bowie's songs: They had a residency at London's legendary Marquee, appeared on TV show Ready, Steady, Go with the Who and once, during a lunchtime show in June in George Square, the teenage audience was whipped into such a frenzy a riot ensued, followed by accusations that it was somehow staged.
After attempting three songs, they had to leave the stage as mounted Police rescued some distressed fans from potential crushing injuries while the band escaped through the city chambers. The commotion was widely reported across the Scottish press. Poor record company representation from Decca and the fact that huge record sales 50, in a month went unrecorded outside of the only two shops in Scotland whose sales were counted, contributed to their demise.
A planned live album from Glasgow never emerged either. By the band were in terminal decline and when their van was stolen with all their equipment in it they packed it in.
Platforms, stacked heels, fancy patterns and colours. Freddie Mercury was a sales assistant until Queen started to break big. In the late '70's early '80s Alan played in the magnificent 'Only Ones' - of 'Another girl Another planet' fame etc. In they released a 'Best-Of' CD and calls for live performances soon followed. They then reformed and played The Barrowland Ballroom Glasgow on December 23rd after more than thirty years! A DVD of the performance is now available.
The Jeff Beck Group. He helped shape blues rock, psychedelia and heavy metal. He established his reputation in The Yardbirds after replacing Eric Clapton in ' The bands reworkings of blues-based material laid the ground work for 70's heavy metal. In '67, Dunbar left and was replaced by Mickey Waller with session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins joining in ' After recuperating from severe injuries received from a traffic mishap, Beck formed a second group and released two albums including, Rough And Ready in ' Thru the 70's, Beck's guitar techniques continued to inspire a new generation of guitarist.
Through the 80's and 90's, Beck can be heard on recordings by Mick Jagger and Roger Waters to name a few. When they played at the ballroom on Sunday 21st November , I have it on good authority that it was without Ron Wood and that they may have appeared temporarily as 'The Jeff Beck Trio'.
Bill Robertson driver and balance engineer Bedtime Story were originally formed as 'The Blackadders' from Greenlaw and Kelso in the Scottish Borders during the mid 60's.
Ray left to become a music journalist on 'The Melodymaker' before joining the new team at 'Sounds'. Clockwork Orange 2 featured: Roy and Alex plus new singer Gus, continued playing all over Scotland and the North of England until Derek left to become a civil engineer in Birmingham. After a couple more years playing the ballrooms and village halls of Scotland and the north of England, Niz and Nor left to become teachers and Gus pursued his engineering career and was replaced by Merv Turnbull.
So a new Clockwork Orange was formed, played for a while Roy had a stint as drummer for the first Dougie Maclean Band the highlight of which being a powerful jigs and reels a la JSD Band induced dustcloud disappearing the dancing crowd at the Neon Music Festival by Lake Geneva.
Roy played session drums on various Scottish folk rock recordings of this period including Silly Wizard and Dougie Maclean amongst others. Alex Nisbet followed up with a brief stint in Edinburgh pop band Crisp and is still to be found playing with The Fabulous Rydelles when not playing blues slide guitar as Colorblind Slim. Norman Dodds became a puppeteer, a computer nerd and a headmaster whose school musical productions were legendary throughout the Borderlands.
I'm so grateful for these photographs and following text which was sent to me via David M Lowe and written by Tony Kelly himself and so is an autobiography! Tony Kelly - guitars, mandolin, vocals orig. Norm Stainthorpe - gob-iron harmonicas various , vocals Whitby, N.
Martin Lynott - fiddle, vocals N. The same one that 3 of 'The Spinners' attended and first met. In after moving into a grotty flat in Cheetham Hill, Terry discovered a mature student in the same college who could play fiddle. After a bit of a jam, Martin was invited to join us and we became four. Concentrating upon the instrumental showed up our weak vocal element.
Basically an Irish double act who could sing as well as being amusing. They were invited and so the six man Beggarmen was formed. All bar Norman were of Irish origin or stock and we soon began to make inroads into the Manchester and North of England folk scene with an unapologetic repertoire of Irish songs and music interspersed with favourite north country content and some seriously daft and fun songs and arrangements.
The band launched well at the MSG in Manchester and quickly found us needing a manager. The first being Lawrence Jewitt, later replaced by Chris Cheetham. We were so damn lucky with our timing. On our first night we had Harry Boardman and the superb Packie Byrne just turn up. Luke Kelly turned up looking for Harry. The Grehan Sisters guested followed shortly by the newly arrived Christy Moore.
Mike Harding was an old mate who played for us. The list is phenomenal. All those great musicians. The club became legendary. Therefore we had to organise gigs and tours around available holidays. After a glorious run of five years a gradual deterioration, as happens in bands, saw the demise of The Beggarmen at midnight of the 31st December , so started with dissolution. Eamonn passed away some five years ago.
AS far as I am able to nail it , as explained, four of us were teachers and so had to work around school hols. We were a way off being able to think of going full time, so I am thinking because of the weather, we were there either autumn half term, or possibly late summer hols.
The Elbow Room, Kirkcaldy. Good gig first introduction to 'The Glemorangie' Where there was a three piece family group called 'The Johnstones', featuring an annoyingly precocious tenor banjo player called Davy who went on to team up with Noel Murphy as 'Draught Porridge' and later gained fame and fortune as the lead guitarist and band arranger for Elton John and still doing it.
Davy also played with Alice Cooper on a tour and album! Later to turn up in Kendal whence we became good friends and often played together. Sadly no more, a much missed friend. By this stage the playing and drinking were getting blurry. We met and enjoyed so many great players. Hamish Imlach turned up somewhere, as did Matt McGinn. I remember a croft somewhere where everybody was somebody musically famous in Scotland! He had one arm, spoke with a very English accent, but was great fun and got us prodigiously pissed.
A good gig, by now we are getting tired but had a great response and well received. I believe we were jaded but did the gig, fulfilled the brief but, were glad to be heading back.
There was an MC and a house resident band ,sadly I cannot recall them. I do recall the venue was remarkably large for the sort of club. Hope it is of some use. Highly regarded early keyboard driven seventies progressive rock band from Glasgow whose name is derived from the play by English poet John Gay.
There were also four singles: Martin Griffiths left in and t hey split in , reformed and split again in when the record buying public had turned its back on 'prog rock'. I'm most grateful to Virginia Scott for all the images above.
He would later be a member of the classic ' Supertramp ' line-up from to They played throughout Scotland and became very friendly with Slade and did a couple of tours with them. The drummer, Raymond Wilson, left and joined Beggars Opera. After spending 6 months touring Hamburg the rest of the band returned broke and broke up.
Freddie Mail went on to play with Hughie Nicholson of ' Marmalade '. They were were formed from a group of musicians who played in the Waverley Bar, in St Mary's Street Edinburgh in In , Paddie left the group to become a mother, but she continued recording as a solo artist. She was a great supporter and regular attendant of Edinburgh Folk Club and appeared frequently at Festival Folk at the Oak during the Festival. Though his musical career commenced in in a variety of bands, it wasn't until he joined 'Les Rivals' in and had a hit 'Move On' that fame struck.
He was once imprisoned following an admission during a live radio interview of using cannabis. Their first taste of success came at 'Place Pigalle' then 'Hit House'. It was a chart success. Later the drummer was replaced by Preben Reilly. That sealed their fate with a jail term for Preben Devatier and Peter Belli. His group, the Rebel Rousers, evolved during and taking their name from a Duane Eddy hit of the time.
The band spent their first year or two as amateurs and the original, fully professional, line-up consisted of Bennett, Mick King, Frank Allen, Sid Phillips and Ricky Winters. Although their records deserved a better fate, they remained uncharted and now have the status of collector's items.
With no sign of a hit in sight, Frank Allen took the opportunity to join the Searchers who needed a replacement for Tony Jackson.
However, Allen's place was soon filled by Bobby Thompson who abandoned his Liverpool group 'The Dominoes' shortly after their break from their lead singer 'King Size Taylor'. The band had to remain content with an arduous touring schedule which took full advantage of the German clubs in the Hamburg area.
Their lack of hits went on until they secured the management of Brian Epstein and a little of the Beatles magic touch came their way. No further chart entries followed, but the band kept trying, even changing its name to the more contemporary, 'Cliff Bennett Band'. By this time several of the original members had fallen away and the group then included Mick Green and Frank Farley who had previously been members of the late Johnny Kidd's 'Pirates'.
Cliff pressed on into the s with new ideas, initially with the group, 'Toe Fat'. Sadly, Cliff was not able to find his way back to chart success and finally went into retirement. However, he has occasionally taken time out from his proper job to entertain us again on s revivalist and nostalgia concerts. She released several singles: Dave Berry and the Cruisers. Other Cruisers later included: Roy Ledger — lead guitar.
By this time The Cruisers were dropped from the vinyl labels but continued to back him live on tour including a tour with The Rolling Stones that year. This hit marked a change of style for Dave as he leant more towards ballads.
He performed with The Cruisers as special guests on the QE2 on a three-week Caribbean cruise in Fans of the legendary Texan rock and roller loved and hated the record in equal measure.
There is no doubt now that the song was very much a tribute because Mike and his producer, Joe Meek were Buddy Holly fanatics, but many of the late singer's followers thought it was just exploiting Buddy's name for profit. It wasn't a unique tribute; there had been the rather mawkish 'Three Stars' from Tommy Dee which had been a chart hit in the UK for Ruby Wright in Incidentally, a version was also recorded by Eddie Cochran- though, ironically, few people heard it until after Eddie's own death a few months later.
Joe Meek had tried out Mike Berry a few weeks earlier with his version of the Shirelles' 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' - a song with lyrics that seem quite unsuitable for a male singer to tackle. Mike was backed by the Outlaws, a band already recorded by Meek as instrumentalists, so Berry's first two singles were not the band's first outing on record. The same musicians regularly did sessions at Meek's Holloway Road studio where they were used to back other singers - Freddie Starr, Glenda Collins and John Leyton among others.
They had originally called themselves the Stormers, but were renamed by Meek who thought it a good idea to promote them with a 'Wild West' image- the group dressed accordingly. Joe also thought of the name Mike Berry because it had closer 'Buddy Holly' connotations than the name previously adopted by the artist, 'Kenny Lord'. Mike's third release featured the Outlaws, but actually credited 'The Admirals'- an incident that infuriated Meek allegedly caused by a misheard telephone conversation.
Almost all Mike's records were unashamedly trying to fit the Buddy Holly mould; these included his most successful, 'Don't You Think It's Time' which, although a product of songwriter Geoff Goddard and Meek magic, could easily have come from the Holly catalogue itself. Mike Berry split from Meek as the sixties progressed and signed with Robert Stigwood who was trying to grow the music side of his business. Sadly for Mike this did not improve his record sales. Despite trying very hard for the rest of the decade and beyond he had to remain content with the minor hits that he'd achieved through the imaginative efforts of Meek and the Outlaws.
However, with the help of his old mate and most regular 'Outlaw', Chas. Hodges, Mike broke the charts again with a couple more singles in the early s- the best of these was 'The Sunshine Of Your Smile' which reached an unexpected 9 in August First line-up from left: Tony Butler - bass, vocals Mark Brzezicki - drums.
If Dunfermline has a music hero it must surely be Stuart Adamson. He loved the town, its people and its football Club. This original configuration was short lived however and the last straw may well have been their ousting from the support slot of an Alice Cooper UK tour after only two shows in The formidable rhythm section of bassist Tony Butler and drummer Mark Brzezicki soon replaced the Wisharts and Parker.
Their early exposure included several support dates on the Jam's farewell tour. They quickly built on a fanatical body of home support, which rapidly spread country and worldwide as they became well known for passionate live performance and a unique guitar sound reminiscent of the Scottish bagpipe. They also appeared at Live Aid in Their only ballroom appearance and first home gig since was on Friday 18th December for the 'Under Wraps Tour'. Technically speaking they never played the Kinema because the venue was called 'Night Magic' by then.
In the band broke up for a while and Mark continued to do session work and ended up joining Fish, though he played on 'No Place Like Home' When they reformed it was with session drummer Pat Ahern for a short time until Chris Bell replaced Ahern.
They reconvened in when they were invited to open for the Rolling Stones and played 18 sold-out shows in Europe. Stuart was increasingly troubled by alcohol and depression problems, though rumours that he briefly disappeared in November are untrue. He had been missing for several weeks from his Nashville, Tennessee home.
The official verdict was suicide and lovers of fine music wept worldwide. Many adoring fans, friends and family members attended a memorial service on January 27th in The Carnegie Hall in his adopted hometown of Dunfermline. Big Country were one of the most distinctive, passionate, entertaining rock bands of the s and 90s. Stuart is much missed by all who were privileged to have met him.
After the demise of Big Country Bruce was involved with many other projects. They have continued in a somewhat sporadic manner for anniversaries and continue to play live ever since, fronted by Mike Peters of The Alarm and are presently still touring with new front man Simon Hough and Derek Forbes on bass.
I'm indebted to Bruce Watson for several corrections. Dunfermline band who were originally called ' Low Profile '. If you can ad d any further information to this piece please contact me here. Creswick became a painter and decorator and John returned to booking models. My thanks to Stuart Prentice for this image. Of all the groups to come out of Liverpool during the beat boom of the s, the Big Three were perhaps the most highly thought of locally. Although only a trio, they had one of the loudest sounds and this high volume level possibly helped suggest the group's name.
They were in fact one of the very first beat groups to assemble on Merseyside. However, Casser departed soon after the arrival of bassist Johnny Gustafson and the original membership of the Big Three is generally recognised as the line-up above.
However this line up did not last long. Like many of the groups of their day the Big Three made frequent trips to perform on the Hamburg circuit. It was during one such trip, shortly after the band's signing to Brian Epstein, that Barber decided to quit and stay on at the Star Club as stage manager. He was replaced by Brian Griffiths- a member of another popular Liverpool band, "Howie Casey and The Seniors", and one of the most accomplished guitarists ever to come out of Merseyside.
The reason for Adrian Barber's departure is a matter of conjecture and folklore. It was this line up of Hutchinson, Gustafson, and Griffiths that went on to record. However, although their first release has subsequently become a collector's item, it was not well received and certainly bears little relation to the sound of their stage performance. In fact their recordings in general are not representative of what they were used to playing and this is the reason frequently quoted for their lack of success with singles.
Certainly they didn't always see eye to eye with their manager. Consequently, the relationship did not see out and personal differences between group members led to its break up shortly after. The band was brought together subsequently, largely through the enthusiastic efforts of Johnny Hutchinson and at times included members gleaned from other local groups including Faron's Flamingos and the Mojos. Another effort to put things back together was made in with Johnny Gustafson, Brian Griffiths along with the drums of Nigel Ollsen instead of those of Hutchinson.
A re-release was made of "Some Other Guy" which was put out by Polydor together with an album - optimistically entitled "Resurrection". However, it was probably just too late by then and "The Big Three" remain one of the most interesting of the unfulfilled dreams ever to have come out of the Liverpool beat scene of the s. Bilbo Baggins - 'Back Home'. Fid joined later after being suggested by Tam. Tosh was the last to join after he left his previous band, he had lived around the corner from Brian for most of his life.
The name for the band was actually put forward by Tam. At this stage their aim was to get a record deal and aim for success. The first time the band all played together was in January at Craighall studio in Edinburgh. They recorded 2 tracks which formed a demo for Tam to take around the major record companies.
Following a lot of interest they signed with Polydor in October. The band already had a considerable following in Scotland, particularly in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Bilbo went through many changes of style during the seventies - they started out with a tough 'boots and braces' look. In May their first single 'Saturday Night' was released.
They appeared on Lift Off TV show and the single made it to the breakers on the chart. At this time Bilbo were wearing tartan, shorter length trousers and baseball boots, a look which they claim was theirs before the Bay City Rollers made it hugely successful. This can be seen in the picture above. The 'Sha Na Na Song', the band's second single' was also released this year but did not appear to have much promotion or subsequent success. By now the band's look had moved on to white bomber jackets sporting the BB cloth badge.
Bilbo's third single 'Hold Me' was released in April which they promoted heavily on both TV and radio. They appeared on Saturday Scene, 45, Shang-a-Lang and took part in interviews with many radio stations. Radio One did not include 'Hold Me' on their playlist so unsurprisingly it was not a national hit.
Saturday Scene was a very popular weekly morning kids' TV show and the Roadshow was hosted by Sally James and featured a diverse selection of acts each time. Bilbo's performance was particularly memorable because their equipment failed when they came on stage. They overcame this by joking with the audience and eventually played a storming version of 'Hold Me'.
For a short while they adopted a smarter look with blazers displaying the BB badge. This included a support tour with the Rubettes and a trip to Cyprus to play at RAF bases and also an amphitheatre in Paphos. From the end of November and through most of December they also gained some extra fans and some good reviews when they toured with Mud.
By the end of the year Bilbo had found a look which was successful for them and lasted a while - the denim dresses. They had noticed some local fairly tough guys getting away with wearing the dresses over their trousers and thought it looked good. It worked well for them and was certainly distinctive. Despite further TV appearances and radio airplay, chart success continued to elude them. Not deterred, they recorded their next single 'It's a Shame' which was released at the end of March.
Throughout March and April they promoted the single with a string of gigs and an appearance on Arrows TV show. This featured a very early appearance by Toyah who sang a song called 'Dream Maker' with them. In July they made a recording of their excellent version of 'Let's Spend the Night Together' they slowed the tempo right down which unfortunately did not get released.
August was a pivotal month for the band. They flew to Gibraltar to play some gigs and whilst there Dev enjoyed the hospitality too much and was not able to appear on stage. This resulted in the rest of the band taking a very hasty decision and asking him to leave on their return. A time of great upset for the band and fans alike which changed the sound, look and future direction of Bilbo.
However, they had to adapt quickly to their new four-piece line up as after only a handful of gigs they were due to appear as support band to the Bay City Rollers for a national tour in September. Tosh adjusted to his new role as bass player and Brian became the main guitarist - for the time being they couldn't use keyboards on stage but were aiming to create a new and tighter sound.
At this time they had quite a casual look. The Roller tour was an amazing time for them, playing to a new audience of thousands packed into large venues. Bilbo put in a very enthusiastic performance, wearing a new look of drainpipe jeans and clearly enjoying having a large stage to run around on. They received a good reception from the Roller fans but unfortunately couldn't capitalise on this success as they had no records out at the time.
For the rest of the year they played gigs at smaller venues, mainly in Scotland. They had now parted company with Tam Paton management and their record deal with Polydor had come to an end. All of these changes naturally resulted in a period of frustration and delays as they tried to sort out contractual difficulties and made sure they moved forward in the best possible way.
They did play some gigs, largely in Scotland, and also found a new manager, Henry Spurway. For a brief time they revisited their earlier smart look of blazers displaying the cloth BB badge.
They secured a new recording contract with Lightning Records, a smaller label who were able to give Bilbo a lot of attention and support. Their first release was 'I Can Feel Mad' which did receive some airplay and got their name back onto the scene.
By now they were officially known just as Bilbo the full name had proved to be too wordy and fans did not tend to use it and 'She's Gonna Win' was the first release under this name. During this time the band took every opportunity to promote their records and made numerous appearances at record shops, made TV appearances and gave radio interviews. They also spent a lot of time in the recording studios, hopeful that an album would eventually be released.
During the year they also played gigs across the country. In the band decided that they wanted to increase their sound so again became a five piece with the addition of excellent keyboard player Peter Vettesse.
They had come across Peter whilst he was playing in Scotland with Tam White. Luckily he fitted in with them all well as he had a good sense of humour. They returned to the studio and released their only single together 'America'. Once again they adopted a new look. Despite their best efforts, real commercial success continued to evade the band.
A couple of the members decided that they no longer wanted to continue so they mutually took the decision to split up. Brian Spence had played previously with The Index. Gordon Tosh McIntosh had played previously with Crisp. Colin Chisholm with a Bilbo Baggins' poster. Colin, who lives in the south of the city, said: There was never any problem with us using the name back in the 70s and the books had already been out for quite a while then.
The evidence does not show the band was successful or well known. Despite the deficiency of one finger which he lost in a childhood tobogganing accident- allegedly then eaten by a dog- he became an unusually skilled player within a few years. The Paramount Jazz Band were formed in the West Country and were little more than amateurs in Bristol when they were given their first chance to record. Traditional Jazz was slowly becoming popular when Acker and the band's piano player, Dave Collett, wrote the instrumental 'Summer Set'.
This came at just the right time to pick up the public interest that Chris Barber had stimulated a few months earlier and the Paramount JazzBand were able to enjoy a string of singles hits throughout and It also led to a stream of releases by Pye of recordings that the band had made a year or so earlier.
However, the record that was to make Acker Bilk internationally famous was not Jazz at all. It was a tune that he'd originally entitled 'Jenny' in honour of his baby daughter, but after its adoption as theme for a TV series it became known as 'Stranger On The Shore'. The record only reached 2 in the listings, although it easily outsold most of the 1s of the time for it remained in the UK chart for more than a year.
Acker also recorded a version with lyrics sung by Michael London, an interesting variation but now hard to find on any medium. Jazz sometimes suffers from elitism and Acker was criticised for recording 'non-jazz' with strings. However, as he pointed out- those that go to his concerts to hear him play have to listen to Jazz.
Traditional Jazz remained popular with rpm buyers for only the first half of the s though the bands that played it remained popular stage and club acts. Acker's unit was no different and remains on the Traditional Jazz scene, sometimes in the company of his former rivals- Ball and Barber, occasionally playing with veteran blues singer George Melly.
He still plays his remarkable 'Stranger On The Shore'- the tune he now calls his 'old age pension'. They performed around central Scotland and supported Girlschool at the ballroom on Sunday 6th July Popular folk harmony trio from Edinburgh, active mid 60s to 72?
A fine lady, very forthright, and a great singer songwriter, who will be sadly missed by all her friends. He appeared at the ballroom with both his 'Trio' and 'His Broadcast Band'. They are based in Perth Scotland and are always in great demand for all manner of social events where people love to dance. To supplement their many live performances they have also produced many CDs and played on radio.
The Black Country Three were a folk trio from Wolverhampton. They released a eponymous album 'The Black Country Three' in
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