Accrington Jazz Club
It's been a while since I contributed, but a recent item on the news page jogged my memory cells (more of that later). This must be of interest to you as a native Accringtonian.
As a teenager in the late 60s, I lived in Blackburn and was made aware that there was a club in Accrington where we daring 17 year olds could safely go to be served alcohol with no questions asked. This turned out to be Accrington Jazz Club, which operated on Saturday and Sunday evenings at the old Accrington Stanley Club at Peel Park.
The resident band on Saturday was usually the Silver Bell Jazz Band, which then was a full 7-piece and included John Rothwell on drums and sometimes bass. I was later to play regularly with John in Southport in the early 80s. The only other members I remember clearly were Keith Moore on clarinet and the late Frank Caunce on trombone. This was my first introduction to New Orleans jazz as opposed to the traddy stuff we were all exposed to on the radio at that time, good as a lot of it was. However, the live music I first heard at Peel Park was a revelation from which I never looked back.
Apart from the music, the club had a great atmosphere of its own. The crowd was a young adult rather than a teenage one, and time may have coloured my judgement, but all the girls were beautiful! The guy who ran the club must have been at least 40, and smoked a huge curved pipe. He used to jive with 2 girls at a time with the pipe in his mouth and I wondered what his secret was. I started smoking a pipe as well but it did not work for me!
The admission cost half a crown, and Duttons Trophy retailed at 1s-9d a pint. At the interval they served pie and peas for a shilling.
* Phil Yates. Yarrow River Jazz Band.
I used to play at the Accrington Jazz Club at the Accrington Stanley Football Social Club with The Zenith Six. I cannot remember anything about the music but the Steak & Kidney Pudding with Mushy peas were something else. They were homemade by a lady who always saved 6 portions for the band. I think the lady who made the puddings should have been given an OBE.
I feel its high time a mention is made of the Rainy City Jazzband and particularly regards Accrington Jazz Club, R.C.J.B. played there many times in the 60s the line up Bruce Bakewell reeds; myself trumpet; Pete Haslam or Tom Peder trom; Ian McCann banjo; Dave Parr bass and Barry Wilkinson drums. Even though I say it myself this was a "Hot " band. This venue had a terrific atmosphere the crowd fantastic even as I write it conjures up vivid memories. I seem to recall the chap who ran it was named Wilf and at the end of some sessions he invited us back for supper which was a new fangled dish called Currie (new in the 60s anyway) The R.C.J.B. played all over the Northwest and beyond throughout the 60s does anyone out there have memories to share? Also does anyone know the whereabouts of Barry Wilkinson and Pete Haslam? I think Pete is in the West of England .
Hello Fred & all other jazz lovers
Discovered the interesting note about AJC by Phil Yates by accident and couldn't resist adding a few words of my own.
I played piano with the Silver Bell in the late 60s when I was a student at Lancaster University. I often had to hitch-hike down to Preston but after gigs could usually afford the late night Glasgow coach back up to Lancaster. I well remember playing often in
Accrington and used to look forward to it - great crowd, great pies, great beer and the bonus of being able to go up that little slope outside in the interval and gaze over the sad but incredibly evocative football pitch, full of weeds and bits of blown paper, with the battered, decrepit old stand on the other side, still there up till, I think, around 1969.
Re Mart Rodgers comments on Accrington Jazz Club. I played there many times during the 60's with Keith Smith's Band (on one occasion with Alton Purnell) and had a lot of fun both on and off stage (but that's another story).The steak and kidney pie I remember well and it was there I was introduced to "mushy peas",I found them digestable when cushioned by several pints of the local beer but sober I still can't come to terms with them, even though my Belgian wife adores them.
I also remember Accrington Stanley Jazz Club. We used to walk around the derelict football ground during the intervals. I met a local girl there and courted her for a while driving there a couple of time a week on my scooter (in winter) and having to thaw the seat out each way. Happy days.
I played there on a few occasions with the Merseysippi Jazz Band and one occasion springs to mind. Derek Vaux was driving an MGB GT and, in a fit of showing off when leaving, revved up and blasted out of the car park. Some people might remember the state of the car park in those days and as he left he hit one of the humungous pot holes which detached the exhaust system from the downpipe backwards. He left the exhaust system behind and proceeded home. Inside the dressing room there was no toilet, but there was a sink that was in the MOST disgusting state and I was told when we arrived that if I wanted to take a pee, the sink was the approved place to do it. During the interval one of the organizers came in and looked at the sink. "Bloody hell" he said. "That's disgusting. Someone's washed their hands in the sink!"
Accrington seems to have played an important part in our memories. Brian Turnock, Fred & I discussed this at Alvaston Hall on the occasion of the Z’hulus playing there last year. Brian also played Accrington Stanley Social Club with Barry Martyn’s band featuring Andrew Morgan. The band often stayed with Robin & Jean Clarke when in the Manchester area and it was on the journey there after the gig that Brian proclaimed “Accrington is my kinda town”, a statement that I often pull his leg about. Perhaps Jean will make it to Macclesfield this year for a reunion with Brian, not to mention Emile Martyn ? All are welcome at the New Orleans Z’hulus concert in Macclesfield whether you remember Accrington or not.
It's amazing that a reminiscing thread I began over 10 years ago is still getting contributors! However looking again at my original post I must correct a glaring error. I mention the New Orleans pianist Champion Jack Dupree, who appeared at Accrington. He later recorded with British blues/rock musicians such as Duster Bennett, Ainsley Dunbar, Mick Taylor and Keef Hartley, but never, as I so confidently stated, with Fleetwood Mac. I feel so much better having got that off my chest!!
Passing the time flicking through some old scrapbooks and came across this photo taken in Oct 1964 when the Keith Smith Climax Band played at Peel Park,which was my first visit to Accrington In another mail I am sending you a cutting from the Accrington paper about that evening.
Reproduced courtesy of Accrington Observer &
Accrington Observer & Times
New Orleans jazz pianist delights packed audience at Accrington
Supplied by Brian Turnock