THESE E-MAILS CAME IN FROM ‘OLD’ WOOD GREENERS
Hi All Ex Wood Green Jazzers,
Yes, I was there every Saturday, some times Tuesday (often night class evening at the tech.) and some times Sunday (often the Cooks Ferry Inn), Those WERE the days. I was an Apprentice earning about 30 bob a week, but every penny went on Trad Jazz and records (78's) to start with and LP's later.
During my early days in National Service (I was posted to Hong Kong soon
after joining). If I turned up in uniform (RAF) Viv would let me in for nothing. How did Art and Viv ever make money? Easy, the place was always full to bursting, in it's hey-day. I'm talking around 1952'ish to perhaps 1965'ish, when my wife Pauline gave birth to our first child Trevor. In fact I met my wife in the Wood Green (Fishmongers) club, how many others did the same?
I still remember clearly Lonnie Donegan doing 'Rock Island Line' during the skiffle session in the interval, way before it became No1 on the hit parade for how many weeks? It seemed for ever (I was in Hong Kong at the time - 1956-57) and the local radio played it for so many months. Whilst in Hong Kong a started a jazz club in my camp (Sek Kong) near the Chinese border and bought LP's from town using NAFFI money. I still have a few of those LP's in my collection. The rest were given out to who ever wanted them, when I was de-mobbed.
Today the young people never hear trad jazz as we did, because the BBC and media forbid it, why? It is happy music, not once in all my years, over sixty now, have I ever seen trouble. I am still promoting traditional jazz weekly at Amersham Jazz Club every Wednesday. Keep jazzing.
What memories eh! Thanks for your letter Alan and we all wish you well with your very succsessful jazz club. Some of us have visited it and can recommend it to all other jazz lovers.
I used to go to the fishmongers in the 1950’s with my older brother and other mates, one of whom was Brian Bennett of The Shadows. My brother and his mates, being older, could get in but Brian and I had to wait until we could sneak in without being noticed.
Until the time was right, we would listen at the window. I remember Lonnie Donegan playing Rock Island Line before it became a hit. I saw most of the bands that played there in the fifties and took up the clarinet after hearing Monty Sunshine with Chris Barber playing "Bobby Shafto" which I still get a buzz from after all these years.
I also remember, in 1955, a guitarist playing in one of the bars who we would listen to before going into the jazz club.
Thanks Richard. The kids today don’t know what they missed, do they? However, the Bay is here and so too are the ‘old ravers’
During the mid fifties, if no Skiffle was played in the interval, they played Bob Scobey’s Frisco Band and Clancy Hayes. The track I loved was "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans". When I was called up for National Service, a few from the club bought me the LP. If you went to the club in uniform you paid two shillings to get in and when you left Art gave you half a crown. This was factored in my fare back to the Guards Depot.
Thank you Art and Viv
PS. Alex welsh was great.
Thanks Neil. Art and Viv were two of the best. I played intervals there a few times with the Bourbon Street Skiffle Group.
I too was on the receiving end of their benevolence. I would hand over a ten bob note to Viv (in her little box), and she would give me four half crowns change! (How did they ever make a profit)?