Then the Hills Were Alive
with the Sound of Music!

Barry Lord

Barrie Lord a.k.a. Dave Burke pictured recently

Barrie Lord strikes a nostalgic note:

Growing up in the Valley from 1936, to leaving 30 years later, I was always interested in music - and there was plenty there if you looked for it.

The war was over; dancing and bands had come back in a big way. People wanted to get out and enjoy themselves, put the misery years behind them and enjoy music and dancing once more. Hebden Bridge Co-op Hall was the main venue - the Ambulance, Police and Farmers' balls were all held there. The Unity Dance Band came to the fore!

The number one dance band in my book, The Astorians, played at Todmorden Town Hall. Ellis Wood was the leader, Harold Hirst the tenor, with Russell Wood on drums. Who remembers "Skin Deep?" Wow, could he play! When I went into the R.A.F. I pinched their name for my own band in Aden.... Lucky name!. Playing at other venues was, of course, the ever-popular Alan Whiteoak Trio, with my best mate Jack Lord on drums. They played at Heptonstall Church, the Civic Hall and the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge and gave me my first break.

I played with them for six months, receiving 10 shillings one night from Alan - my first pay as a semi-pro!

Amongst the most outstanding musos in the Valley were Jim Brown, once a bass player with Halifax Symphony Orchestra and the Embassy Dance Band, Donald Gibson, one of Yorkshire' best trombone players (he used to play at Mytholmroyd Gala with the Blue Rhythym Boys Trad Band) and Doc, my old piano player, who is still going around the clubs to my knowledge.

There was also Jack Buffet, my bass player, now passed on, and I believe my old drummer Harold Fisher plays on the Michael Parkinson Show.

We used to all stand around the piano at one time or another during the war and have a good sing-along - music helped us to forget what was going on for a few hours.

Music Makes the World Go Around...... may it always be so.

Barrie is still entertaining, as Dave Burke, comedian, on ocean liners and around Sydney, Australia, area where he and his family now live. Read his wonderful evocative article in full and get those feet tapping!

Read the full story in Milltown Memories, issue 7. If this or other stories stirs a memory, we'd be happy to know - send us your memories and comments.

Don't miss our Summer 2004 issue on sale in June.