My home is the North West of England and in our town there were always â€˜Charabancsâ€™ being hired to get to various events, one of them being a trad jazz festival at Winter Gardens (or the Floral Hall possibly) in Southport, about 1960.
Kenny Ball was on the bill plus other luminaries like Acker Bilk, Chris Barber, Humphrey Littleton, Terry Lightfoot and many others. Kenny Ball was just great but the thing about it was the stage was revolving between bands, more than it should have been due to the amounts of refreshment the bands consumed.
On one changeover his drummer fell off the back of the stage and, still playing, managed to finish the set by hitting every cymbal on the way down. Nobody could see him amongst all the drum debris but he could certainly be heard singing unusual lyrics. That festival ran through Saturday and Sunday without stopping once, and I mean all day and night. When the bands were not playing they stood at the bar with the rest of us. Not today.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny Ball at a jazz band ball that we organised. Very much the showman and he sure liked a drink! We also had Ken Colyer and Terry Lightfoot on other occasions. Ken Colyer was the most true to the 'original' style, I always thought. Acker Bilk was the great character though, I helped him set up at Luton Jazz club when I was a student and working at Napier in 1959. Oh! those were the days.
I don't like signatures, they take up too much screen space.
My earliest memory of Acker Bilk was his recording of Stranger on the Shore, about a French au pair girl in an English home. Childrens' TV and the theme was haunting. On topic, I remember one Sunday going to a bowling alley in Wanstead when an American forces team were playing a (what we now call) celebrity team. Kenny Ball led the celeb team and was the life and soul. Seemed a most genuine chap and very funny.