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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 2024).

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 15: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 15: Nathan Lawson Trio @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tue 16: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Terrace, Seaton Delaval NE25 0AT. 12:30pm. £15.00 (tel: 0191 237 3697). Summer BBQ in the Beer Graden.
Tue 16: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger & Abbie Finn.

Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 17: John Pope & John Garner + Nisha Ramayya @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £15.00. (£12.00. adv.). A Gem Arts Masala Festival event.

Thu 18 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle NE1 7BJ. 2:30pm. £4.00.
Thu 18: Theo Croker @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Brad Linde’s Continentals @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Eva Fox & the Jazz Guys @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 18: Ray Stubbs R&B All Stars @ The Mill Tavern, Hebburn. 8:00pm. Rhythm & blues.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Darlington Big Band.

Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 19: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm.

Sat 20: Snake Davis & Helen Watson Duo @ Chopwell Community Centre NE17 7HZ. 7:30pm. £17.50.

Sun 21: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 21: Salty Dog @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 21: The Big Easy @ The White Room, Stanley. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: Ben Crosland Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Monday, June 12, 2017

George Heaviside Remembers John (Mighty Joe) Young

It was only a few weeks ago that I came across the 'Bebop Spoken Here' articles about the death of John and the nice tributes from some of those who had known him. The lateness in my discovery was due to having lost contact with John after I was married and moved away from the NE in 1956.
My wife and I wandered around and lived in sixteen homes in thirteen counties with our family. Currently Sheila and I are retired and have been rusticating in the Cotswolds for nearly twenty years. (Sheila got to know of me from the regular letters I wrote to John whilst doing my National Service in BAOR.)  We first met in person at a Coronation Jazz Party in Dennis Reah's parent's posh bungalow in Low Fell.  That was 64 years ago and we have now been married for 61 years!)
I was born in Whitley Bay about the same time as John - 1932 - and first  met when he was working in the laboratories of Messrs Houseman and  Thompson in Jesmond and I was in my final year at Whitley Bay County  Grammar School.  (My parents were living in Bellingham but I stayed with  relatives in Whitley to complete my six years at the Grammar School.)
John and I met about 1949 in the Newcastle Jazz Club above a pub (aren't they all?) in Melbourne Street near the railway. We had a common interest from the start - Jazz music - and this led to a broader friendship and my eventual marriage to one of his co-workers - Sheila (nee) Wood.

John and I started to meet quite regularly at weekends and holidays. I 
guess our love of music was the basis but this soon flourished into wider interests.

We made several trips to London Clubs to listen to the likes of Lyttleton, Barber, Sunshine et al, who were in vogue in the 50's - a great time for Jazz revival.  We would travel by a late train on Friday and return by an early train on Monday. I don't recall sleeping anywhere other than resting in late night cafes!   Not enough money!

Musically I had piano lessons from two Whitley Bay teachers - both of whom 
went mad!   (At the end of the War my mother went out to Auction Houses in  Whitley and bought a lovely white baby grand for about £50.  I didn't settle with the piano but it was enjoyed by an Uncle living next door.)

Whilst I had been collecting records for a while, what launched my practical involvement in Jazz was when, on my sixteenth birthday, I was was given a surprise holiday at Billy Butlin's Filey camp where the Squadronaires were resident for the season. I listened and danced to them and their Dixieland group about three times a day for a week.   During this time I got to know George Chisholm. It was his influence made me buy a golden Bb Flat Tenor Slide trombone and case with my birthday money.

Remember the several music shops on Westgate Hill?   After a few lessons from the left-handed 1st trombone - Freddie Mercer - with George Evans Orchestra at the Oxford Galleries, I sat in with Joe's newly-formed group.

After the film 'Mighty Joe Young' came out in 1949, someone attached the name to John and it stuck.  I don't recall it being his choice. Names I recall from that era include Dennis Reah (?) (pno), Brian Clarke?(clarinet), and Johnny Handle (cornet). Dennis was a keen Jelly Roll Morton stylist, Brian was rather introverted, soft spoken, quiet clarinettist. John. of course, was the driving force on Banjo - also a quiet but a positive influence on the rest of us.

I also recall Ron McClean on Trombone. Ron had a nice style.   He 
told me of one occasion when he gave an audition over the phone for one  group by playing in a booth in Newcastle! Ron was an interesting  character - often seen walking through town carrying his case. He  invariably invaded your personal space to talk to you. This came about  for two reasons; when standing next to a Dixieland group blasting away on  stage you had to be close and shout to be heard. And his work as a welder
in the shipyards also influenced this stance when having a conversation - regardless of the environment!

As a group - or various combinations of the members  - we played around -  paid and unpaid - in a variety of settings on Tyneside and south  Northumberland. Rye Hill Youth Club, King's College Refectory,  rehearsals in the Arcade on Sundays, for strippers in a Working Men's Club up county and anywhere else that would let us in!

The style was invariably New Orleans/Chicago/Dixieland: what's the tune, 
what's the key - off we go! We certainly enjoyed ourselves and the  various audiences/dancers did too. We were not all that polished but  neither were the original New Orleans men! I also recall playing slide  trombone from the back of a wagon going through the streets of Newcastle collecting for Rag Week!

Outside of music I have to thank John for introducing me to a variety of 
authors. John was an avid reader. He had me reading Sci-Fi by such as  Asimov and Bradbury, and the classics - Plato and Socrates!   I was ever  surprised that he was happy working in a Laboratory when I was convinced
he would have benefitted from a University education. But then his life was devoted to music and that was his choice.

I knew that he later went to work in the Tech in Bath Lane. I am sure  this was a sensible choice of employer. It would have given him more  freedom to follow his musical interests in his own time - rather difficult when working for a commercial organisation.

We were normal teenagers and had some strange interests. Whenever a 
Gents was refurbished or a new one opened, we would pay a visit to inaugurate the event! We frequented the YMCA and often just sat  listening from the Balcony of the Oxford Galleries - especially when there  was a guest group such as George Melly with Mick Mulligan's Magnolia Jazz Band. (At  one time John's younger sister Rona went out with Phil - the lead sax with  the Evans Orchestra. Later he was replaced by an older man from Jesmond.
One of my lasting recollections of Rona was seeing her in a yellow Austin Atlantic - hair and scarf flying behind whilst speeding through the town!)

We also formed part of the audience at the BBC in Newcastle where one of their Saturday Jazz Club sessions was being recorded.   Occasionally we  would go to the Odeon to listen to visiting bands such as Harry Gold's Pieces of 8 and Ted Heath.   Our listening tastes were reasonably broad compared with our playing preferences.

When I started to go out with Sheila we introduced John to a girl whom Sheila had known since their days together in prams and later at infant and junior schools. The four of us were practically inseparable and John was on the verge of getting engaged - we even bought presents - but it was not to be.   Music was still his great love. I was interested to read that he did marry twice. I didn't know if there was any 'issue'. It would be nice to have met his wife.

It was sad to read that in later years dementia seemed to have caught 
up with him.  One blogger suggested that perhaps there was a hint of lung  cancer. My money would have had this as a certainty. John was a hardened nicotine slave when I knew him: stained moustache and fingers!

I don't recall him having a craving for Newcastle Broon - we didn't need any stimulants to have a good time.

A favourite haunt was the News Theatre at the top of Northumberland Street 
- the one where you could walk right through to the Haymarket.   We made  weekly visits to enjoy the cartoons and shorts. Its a wonder we didn't get thrown out because of our unsolicited interruptions!

At one time John, Dennis and I thought about buying a car between us. Only Dennis and I had full licences.   But we could never agree on who should have it and how the costs would be shared1   I would occasionally borrow the Vauxhall from the bookkeeper where I worked with the RAC. we four would pile in on a weekend or Bank Holiday and end up having a picnic in the sand dunes near Seahouses or somewhere up in the Cheviots like Alnwick.

I hope that my memories have been of interest to those people who knew John as a musician.  I was delighted to read of his several forays into different styles and how well he was received in Newcastle and Tyneside as well as far away as Darlington and Carlisle. At least these jottings have helped me to bring closure to a friendship that formed an important part of my early life.

I apologise if I have not accurately recalled some names and places. 
Time has that effect on memory.
George Heaviside.

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