Meanwhile I had taken to The Coffee House in Wavertree regularly
to see The Blue Magnolia Jass Band to see Trevor Stent and
company. I became a fan of theirs and as they moved venues I
followed them. I don't know how it started but I began to sing
with them several times and usually through a half drunken
stupor. I gradually drifted away to other interests and bands.
We also had some great breaks at Pontins who had Superb Jazz and
Big Band Weekends where I saw Humphrey Lyttleton with Helen
Shapiro doing the vocals, Kenny Ball, Monty Sunshine, George
Melly, Andy Prior and others. I was still collecting records and
soaking up information about bands, musicians and in particular
composers and lyricists, such as Jerome Kern, Cole Porter,
Richard Rogers Irving Berlin Etc. whom I believe will go into
history as the Classics of their days with Beethoven, Mozart and
so on. I thought that all this knowledge which I had acquired
could be put to some use so I Joined hospital radio at
Fazakerley Hospital, called Sunshine Radio and I was given a
Tuesday evening spot. I visited wards, spoke to patients, took
requests and dedications, and spoke to them on radio. We had
obtained a licence to broadcast on Medium Wave and it was all so
satisfying until the hospital trust shut us down because they
were having this new over the bed, pay as you go, system
However I was invited to do a segment on BBC Radio Merseyside on
a Saturday evening. I usually did a potted biography with music
and anecdotes of the great American composers and musicians.
That continued until about 2018 when I had a stroke and was
unable to continue.
During those 28 years (approx) I had some great artists at Maghull such as George Chisholm, a lovely man who stayed with Mary and I until I put him on a train to his next gig. Other stars at Maghull were Kenny Baker, marvellous trumpet player, Neville Dickie and Tommy Burton, The lovable Campbell Burnap, Roy Williams, Keith Nichols, Spats Langham, Tom Kincaid, and more. Besides our resident Teddy Bears, we had bands from Russia, Uralsky Jazz Band 3 times, a lively young jazz band from Norway called Dixi twice and even a band from USA called Pasadena Jazz Band. Apart from these foreigners we brought our local bands, like Merseysippi (still one of my favourites) Panama JB, Savoy Jazzmen, Blue Magnolia and from elsewhere in Britain like Roy Pellett Band, Roger Marks from Devon, Des Hopkins from Ireland, Dave Mott Band, Tame Valley Stompers and so on.
After 28 successful years with The Teds and Merseyside Big Band on the opposite Thursday the Maghull Council decided to sell a contract for the concert rooms, bar and kitchen to a Liverpool club entrepreneur. He proceeded to impose all sorts of regulations, times and charges upon us. I had meetings with the Town Clerk and told him we could not go on under these terms. They came down on his side and would not budge. So we left and moved the whole operation half a mile down the road to Maghull British Legion who made us very welcome with better facilities, ground floor, use of kitchen, large car park and a large stage with lighting, large concert room, changing room and sound if we needed it. Plus a very reasonable bar and staff. Something that will always puzzle me is that we lost a number of our regular followers in the move – WHY?
Teddy Bears and I carried on at the Legion for several years but
the big band fizzled out due to difficulty in finding eighteen
musicians of the right calibre to get together regularly. Having
gone several years with The Teds at the Legion. The Legion
decided to close the club and sell the site to some developers .
By now The Teds with Rae Owen were their own masters and moved
themselves to Maghull Community Centre where they are to this
day every month.
Having got the bit between my teeth now I arranged a mini Jazz weekend with The Teddy Bears at Penkridge, Quality Hotel. It was such a good idea that the following year the band brought to my notice that the general manager was advertising and printing glossy leaflets for his own promotion with no reference to me. The Teds to their credit said they would stick with me as they had not been consulted either. So that was the end of that but not the end of me. I decided it was a good idea, but somewhere else.
Llandudno seemed ripe for me so I went there to spend a day
canvassing hotels along the front. After a number of rejections
I found a 3 star hotel on the front, namely Chatsworth House
Hotel. I met the owner who had never had any business with Jazz
bands and was a bit wary. I convinced him and we struck a deal.
I marketed the event and booked The Teddy Bears and The Guinness
Band. The first weekend the owner his wife and his grown up
family came to see what it was all about.
They were absolutely delighted and no worries for them. We had 200 people and took over the hotel and we built on that success over the years. I booked a whole range of bands including, The Savannah, Jamie Brownfield, Tame Valley Stompers, Dave Mott Allstars, Merseysippi Jazz Band with Clinton Ford, The Blue Mags Mike Lovell's Six in a Bar, and more. Unfortunately by 2015 my health was deteriorating and I had make it the final weekend then, with the agreement of the hotel. There were offers from various parties to continue the events but the hotel said as we agreed to part they did not want this relationship with anybody else. We are still very good friends and Mary and I have since visited there.
That is were the story is up to this date. Maghull Jazz still continues under the leadership of The Chicago Teddy Bears who are all my dear friends who I try to see whenever possible. Maghull is established now as a Jazz venue and I claim that I put it on the map and I am proud of that. Maghull was a desert when I took over and I like to think that I played some small part in that history.
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