It was a busy and varied month which started with something different when we played live on Radio Merseyside on the afternoon of Wednesday 7th. Then over the rest of the month we had our regular Thursday gigs at Maghull, Didsbury and Grappenhall; plus two Friday gigs at our new venue, Eastham; and a private Golden Wedding Anniversary gig at Port Sunlight on Saturday 24th.
John Padfield featured three times for us on reeds – at Maghull on the 8th, Eastham on the 9th and Didsbury on the 16th; while John Hallam played at Grappenhall on the 22nd and Eastham on the 30th. And Derek Galloway was on trombone at Didsbury as Andrew, for once, was “on leave”! The rest of the time it was the usual suspects with one notable exception: for the private gig at Port Sunlight, Dino Rivera featured on string bass as Rae was at a jazz event in Anglesey. Dino’s presence reduced the average age of the band significantly!!
While most of the numbers we played were from the much-loved traditional repertoire, a few “new” tunes also featured: at Maghull, Ed sang Byron Gay’s 1927 composition Four Or Five Times; and, in response to a request, John Padfield played Sidney Bechet’s Petite Fleur. At Didsbury, we played Back O’ Town Blues which Louis Armstrong composed in 1956 with his then piano player, Luis Russell; John Padfield played Moonglow, the 1933 hit and theme from the film Picnic; and Derek Galloway infused some of our regular numbers with his own distinctive vocals. At Grappenhall, we reintroduced into the repertoire some tunes we haven’t played for some time: Jelly Roll Morton’s Milenberg Joys (1923); and Goin’ Home, Ken Colyer’s 1953 paean to his spiritual home, New Orleans. In addition, John Hallam played Wild Cat Blues, written in 1923 by Fats Waller with “help” from Clarence Williams; and Ed sang Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas – written by Phil Baxter in 1928 and destined to become a marketing icon for the town. At Eastham, both Ding Dong Daddy and Goin’ Home were included and John Hallam gave a sparkling feature rendition of Avalon.
Finally, mention must be made of our private gig at Port Sunlight where dancing was the order of the day and we had to play some strictly non-jazz numbers, including Moon River and the Anniversary Waltz!