THE BLACK LION, SALFORD
Listening to the radio as I travelled along
the M6 years ago I heard one Don Bridgewood reciting the finer points of fishing
for tench. This is, I think the same Don Bridgewood who used to provide a very
reasonable impersonation of Baby Dodds at the Black Lion in Salford in the
1950s. Does anyone know what became of Don, or Roy Bower (trumpet) Ron Pratt
(clarinet) John Featherstone (piano) Norman Dakers (banjo) or anyone else who
used to spend their Saturday nights upstairs or downstairs at the Black Lion at
that time (there was a school that thought that the pianist in the tap room was
closer to the spirit of JRM than any of the more pious folk upstairs.)
Don lives near the Lake District in Inglewood I think. Ron Pratt and John Featherstone are no longer with us. Roy Bowers lives on the south coast - might be Hastings. Norman Dakers used to go to De La Salle Jazz Club when we played there a year or two ago. John Turner forgot to mention Ulysees on the double bass. The band was called the Southside Stompers.
Dear Fred, For those interested. Roy Bower (trumpet) is alive and well, and still playing trumpet down on the South Coast in and around the Brighton area.
from Pete Lay.
I last came across Don
Bridgewood about 10 or 15 years ago, when his day job was that of a journalist
in Yorkshire, and in the evenings he played Baby Dodds-type drums with anyone
who was interested in that excellent mode of jazz. He struck me as a thoroughly
good egg, and he played his chosen style of drumming very well. This was in the
Ingleton/Settle area of West Yorkshire. I'm sure there will be much more recent
sightings than this, and I do hope that Don is alive and well, and still
Don and Ruth Bridgewood are well.
Don and some other friends played at Jack Fisher’s (my husband) funeral some 6˝ years ago and that meant a lot to me and our son. Jack and Don used to argue that fishing was/was not a blood sport. I first met Jack in the Black Lion forty odd years ago when he was playing with Jack Palmer’s band. He used to catch the X43 back to Burnley. I drive past the Black Lion a lot, but never pass without noting the old flag holder on the windowsill over the door. That windowsill was a cooling place for beer when the place was heaving, as it often was. Anyone remember the horror of seeing a pint pot slip over the edge, the pause, the crash – the utter panic at seeing a policeman looking back up at us, and the amazing way a space appeared at that end of the bar? I remember meeting Spanish Fred there. We were there when Kid Sheik played – it was so packed the floor actually moved up and down. I still have the newspaper cutting showing them playing on the station platform. I remember so many people, Dave Ball on the door, Rose downstairs!! Who could forget Rose and her singing downstairs? Trish, Big I and Greta who showed me how to stomp, Gabe, Les Moore, Dave with his braces from New Orleans, Chris Lucas, Ian Rose, Dave Wright with the Sousaphone, Brian Morrison, John Brunton, a young Larry Hurst, Derek Galloway, Tony and Margaret Smith, the Pendlebury brothers and Marcia, Charlie Bentley, Steve Fagg. The number of bands that played in Manchester at that time was amazing. I’d never heard jazz till I came to Manchester.
Happy days indeed and many good friends met.
Thanks to all those who contributed to your website. Don Bridgewood, Norman Dakers, Frank Cholerton (our one time manager) and I had a couple of euphoric days in Lancaster and Wigan. I am not sure whether it is the air up there or the quality or volume of the alcohol but I had the sort of a good time I hadn't had since I last saw them nearly 50 years ago!
It is good to hear that Don
Bridgewood is still alive and kicking. I used to play
the clarinet with him in the Southside
Stompers about 50 years ago when we started a Saturday
night club at the Black Lion. Other members during my time in the band included
Roy Bower, Roy Williams - (he was with us for 6 weeks until he joined the Eric
Batty jazz Aces), Jack Palmer, Eric Brierley, Ulysses Newton, Norman Dakers,
John Turner (and his father who played double bass), Joe Whitehead, and John
Featherstone. Frank Cholerton was our manager.
We had many interesting experiences including a
tour of the Midlands and South of England, and a memorable day when we visited
Strangeways (as entertainers) during an afternoon and then were innocent victims
in a police "sting operation" at Whitefield British Legion that evening when the
organisers were charged with the heinous crime of allowing musicians and
non-members to drink alcoholic refreshment without signing the visitors’ book.
We never did get paid for that gig!
In addition to the Black Lion, we also were
featured at the Thatched House, the Sportsman, Bury Co-Op Hall, The Free Trade
Hall and Ardwick Hippodrome (as part of a Marching Band with members of the Jazz
Aces) and the Cavern in Liverpool (long before the Beatles ever hit the scene.)
It is gratifying to hear that nearly all of us
have survived – as far as I can tell only John Featherstone is no longer with
It is great to be able to read the reminiscences
of many of the musicians who took part in the jazz scene in Manchester in the
fifties and of which I was privileged to be able to play a small part.
Thank you very much Fred for keeping “The Flame” alive courtesy of your website –
From: Stewart Allen Harare, 5th Feb 2009
I would like to thank you for
the site. I taught in Bradford. Manchester and spent most Thursdays and
Saturdays at the M. S, G., and Sundays at the Black Lion Salford and anywhere
else where beer jazz and females were to be found!!
Please visit my Home Page