Poem of the Week - Chris Barber and all that Jazz

The young today may not have heard

The Big Chris Barber Band,

But years ago, you’d pass the word

To reach a one night stand.

By Twenty Twelve he’d been on tour

For more than sixty years

And all that while, most keen to lure

Fans’ loyalty and cheer.

The band has changed a lot since then;

Musicians came and went.

It must have totalled thirty men

And every one well sent.

Their vocalist would let it rip,

Ottilie Patterson, by name.

She held her audience in her grip

And made them glad they came.

Jim Bray on bass, Ron Bowden, drums,

Monty Sunshine, clarinet.

Those guys would make you snap your thumbs

And not go home just yet.

Lonnie Donegan strummed the banjo,

With verve and spirits free.

It was jazz and not the tango,

That suited you and me.

Barber’s hot trombone would stump it;

Fifty four years together,

He and Pat Halcox on trumpet,

Tapped out much shoe leather!

To lead a jazz band all that time,

Shows stamina and grit.

At eighty one he’s doing fine

And one outstanding Brit.

Don Filliston