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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

More Memories of Sheila from Brian Bennett.

Back in the mid 70's, VCJ bass player Brian Sibbald and myself played in a band called The St Louis Jazzmen. We had a weekly residency at a sea-front pub in Whitley Bay called The Granby - long since renamed 42nd Street. Sheila Giles and her friends, bass player/pianist, Brian Fisher, along with legendary local jazz pianist, Peter Jacobsen, would occasionally call in for a drink and a sit-in. One of the numbers Sheila would sing was 'I've got Ford engine movements in my hips' - a great song well suited to Sheila's lusty vocal style - the band for obvious reasons thought it was great.
Many years later around 2004, I received a phone call from Sheila who had recently moved back 'up North' and had bought a property in the Dinnington/Prestwick area of Wideopen - a locality she knew well as she had lived there for quite some time with her former husband, artist David Hinge. She complained that she hadn't been able to 'settle' and was unhappy with her surroundings and location and that she wanted "out of here as soon as possible". She also complained about health issues at that time. Shortly afterwards, she moved 'down South' and I lost touch with her.
By coincidence, and shortly after Sheila had moved out of the area, the Vieux Carré Jazzmen were booked to play at a reunion party in The Park Hotel, Tynemouth, for a 1950's theatre troupe called 'The Merry Magpies'. The troupe comprised singers, musicians, dancers and comedians and one of the comics had been local legend, Bobby Thompson. Bobby had passed away in 1989 and was represented by his son, Keith, who gave a speech and told many humourous anecdotes about his father. Also there, was Sheila Giles' ex husband, David Hinge. David's family were the owners of the 'Hinge Circuit' a chain of cinemas and theatres located around the north east, many of which the 
Merry Magpies had performed in.
David kindly gave me several old photographs and one of them shows Sheila at home with family and friends for a Christmas celebration sometime in the late 1950's or early 1960's. Sheila, wearing her trademark spec's is seated on the right. Unfortunately, I can't identify David - I seem to recall, tho, he had a beard and moustache when I met him last.
Photos.
Previous Sheila Giles post and comments. Brian Bennett

2 comments :

Colin Aitchison said...

Hi Brian,
I remember The Granby, and do remember Brian Fisher & Peter Jacobson dropping in now and then. I see on the photo you have Martin Simon right hand bottom corner, and the cornet player was a brass band guy called, I think "Biff" that was his nick name, all I can remember about him, is that he did not like anyone on his turf!!! happy memories..
Colin Aitchison
Hong Kong.

Colin Aitchison said...

Hi Lance,
On Sheila Giles, so sorry to hear of her passing, I remember her when I was very young, she sang quite a while with Ronnie MaClean & The All Stars at The New Orleans Jazz Club, Forth Banks, she had such a stage presence and a aura around her,that as a young kid, I never new what to say, when she asked me something, just used to clam up.
To the Bessie Smith of The North East may she R.I.P.

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