C.H. Big Band

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Richard Ruck
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C.H. Big Band

Post by Richard Ruck » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:59 am

As a member of the original band when it was formed by Dave Elliott back in the mid '70s, I was just wondering about the various name changes that have taken place.

We used to know it as the 'Dance Band', then I think it became the 'Show Band' for a while, and the latest listing in 'Housey' refers to it as the 'Big Band'. Can anyone cast any light on this?

I haven't heard the band for many years now, so it would be interesting to know what sort of stuff is still being played. We used to love playing 'proper' jazz and swing numbers (Woodchopper's Ball, Salt Peanuts, A Night in Tunisia, Undecided, Basin Street Blues, etc.), but we also used to have to do more 'commercial' stuff (Abba Medley, Hawaii 5-O theme, etc.) as part of the repertoire. We thought this sort of thing was a bit crap, but audiences seemed to lap it up.

One of the gigs we really used to look forward to was an annual visit to the Bockers club (sorry, the Estate Club).

It was nice to be able to give something back to the estate staff (after all, we did get to know some of them reasonably well), plus we were always given as much beer as we could drink.

I think the powers that be eventually put a stop to these evenings when various band members were found wandering around Little Side in a 'confused' state at 3.30 a.m. after one gig......

By the way, for those who don't remember it, the Estate Club was in the big shed-like building on the left-hand side of the road down to the station.
Ba.A / Mid. B 1972 - 1978

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Great Plum
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Post by Great Plum » Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:30 pm

Estate club only closed down about 5 years ago...

The 'Big Band' as its now called still plays the clsssics with a bit of Jesus Christ Superstar and things like that thrown in... there's quite a number of excellent vocalists as well They also have a few jazz ensembles that play as well!

My favourite one has to be 'Dance with the Devil' - I think that's what it's called which is bascially a big drum solo - the best time I saw this was with 5 drummers!
Maine B - 1992-95 Maine A 1995-99

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Post by Richard Ruck » Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:40 pm

I think 'Dance with the Devil' was added to the repertoire just after I left, so probably in around 1979 / 1980. Never heard it with more than 1 drummer, though. I think there was a recording of it on one of the band records.

The original was by Cozy Powell, released as a single in around 1973.

Good to hear there are some good vocalists - we never had any (although we did have a few try-outs - I think Tom Jeffers's wife came to a couple of practice sessions).

Re. the Estate Club - was a replacement ever considered, or is there now no common meeting place for the estate staff?
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Post by Great Plum » Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:06 pm

Richard Ruck wrote:I think 'Dance with the Devil' was added to the repertoire just after I left, so probably in around 1979 / 1980. Never heard it with more than 1 drummer, though. I think there was a recording of it on one of the band records.

The original was by Cozy Powell, released as a single in around 1973.

Good to hear there are some good vocalists - we never had any (although we did have a few try-outs - I think Tom Jeffers's wife came to a couple of practice sessions).

Re. the Estate Club - was a replacement ever considered, or is there now no common meeting place for the estate staff?
The 5 drummers was for the 25 years of Big/Dance/Show Band - there were 16 sax players too I think...

I don't think they thought of building somewhere for the estate staff to go... the old builidng is still there, rotting away...
Maine B - 1992-95 Maine A 1995-99

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Post by Richard Ruck » Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:19 pm

Great Plum wrote: I don't think they thought of building somewhere for the estate staff to go... the old builidng is still there, rotting away...
That's a shame.

Yep, I still see the old place from time to time - it's on one of my dog-walking routes (Horsham-Bax-Southwater-Copsale etc.).

The building does look rather sad now, but I suppose it will make way for the proposed housing estate. Some might call it progress........
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Post by Hannoir » Mon Apr 04, 2005 3:42 pm

big band one of my fave CH pastimes!

when i was there i only heard it called showband or big band, i prefer big band....for some reason..

yeah dance with the devil is good, so is great balls of fire and many others!

but we still managed to have a laugh after concerts, not gonna say any more!
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Post by Great Plum » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:06 pm

Hannoir wrote: but we still managed to have a laugh after concerts, not gonna say any more!
Probably because of the bottle of 'water' (ahem!) passed around the ranks during the gigs...
Maine B - 1992-95 Maine A 1995-99

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