At the time of writing the song I was intrigued by a story my mother had told me, that Jack, her dad, had played in a dance band. I so much hoped this was true, because it gave me a feeling of connection with him denied to me by his early death, but I had no proof. Sadly, my mum had passed away herself before I finished the song, so she never got to hear it, and couldn’t tell me any more stories about her dad.
Then, clearing out my father’s bungalow following his death last September, my sister and I were excited to find this photograph:
Isn’t it great? Here are The Vesuvians at the ‘Philharmonic Hall’, East Ham, on October 3rd 1930. My Grandad is on trumpet.
Grandad Kendall, builder and decorator by trade, was first and foremost a musician. He joined the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment before the First World War as a boy bandsman, serving through the war and for some years afterwards. In later life he played his cornet in brass bands, often as a soloist. But here he is playing dance music.
What’s more, I think the sax player may be Frank Bradshaw, an old mate of his from his earliest Army days, who was also his best man- witness these photos:
It seems the lads knew each other from way back before the war. Here they are in the Battalion Boys’ Football team – Boy Kendall and Boy Bradshaw. I have this picture on my wall, and I often wonder how many of these lads came through the war as well.
I’m sure a lot my musicality comes directly from Jack, via my Mum. She learned to play piano as a girl, and continued to play all her life, including stints as a church organist. Mind you, my Dad was musical too. He played bugle and snare drum in the ATS as a teenager during the war, and sang bass in choirs all his life. Apparently his Aunt Florrie could tinkle the ivories in the pub to get everyone singing along. So the Adams side contributed as well as the Kendalls- but only Jack played for dancing.
This is my musical DNA, and I bless them all for it.