Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Scottish Band You May Have Missed no.2 - The Clyde Valley Stompers

Ian Menzies, who was born in Glasgow on March 2nd 1932 was six feet two inches tall which had no discernable bearing on his playing of the Trombone. He attended Victoria Drive Grammar School and was part of the Boys Brigade band; he played the tuba, euphonium and before taking up the 'slider'. Later he took lessons from members of The Scottish National Orchestra and then from Jack Mclean of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

After playing in two semi professional bands Menzies joined Andy Paton ‘Dixielanders’, he later left Paton to join the first Glasgow traditional jazz group, The Chicagoans. Menzies left, to had some success with a solo single, Fishman, in May 1954 Menzies took over the Clyde Valley Stompers, and entered his new band in the first Scottish Traditional Jazz Band Championship, - they won. With the prize money they purchased a shabby second hand taxi in which they ran around the country until it finally crashed on a moor near Kirkcudbright (note to our English readers, it's not pronounced kirk - cud - bright , it's kerr-coo-bree).

In January 1956 the band turned professional and by June they were able to arrive at their first recording session, a Glasgow jazz club concert, in a second hand Bedford van. Besides supporting Louis Armstrong in concert in Glasgow they played with Big Bill Broonzy and Sidney Bechet, as well as Scotland's first ever command performance before the Queen.

Early in 1959 Menzies re organised his band to include Norrie Brown, banjo; Bobby Shannon, drums; Malcolm Higgins, trumpet; Forrest ‘Forrie’ Cairns, clarinet; John Cairns, piano; Andrew Bennie, bass and vocalist Jean lamb. Three years later the Stompers scored their only hit single when their trad jazz version of Peter & The Wolf took the music of Sergei Prokofiev to No.25 in the UK charts. By the time of their hit Higgins, Forrie and John Cairns had moved on to form The Clansman. Billy Law soon took over from Shannon on drums and Lindsay Cooper replaced Bennie on bass. A follow up On the Beat released in January 1963 and later in the year Casbah; both failed to chart. That was it as for as recordings were concerned, Parlophone gave up on the band, which was hardly surprising given the success that they were having with The Beatles.

Ian Menzies died at his home in Vancouver, Canada in November 2007, I think - anyone who can confirm the date I'd love to hear from you.

6 comments:

Richard Evans said...

Richard, I saw the Clyde Valley Stompers at the Prestatyn Lido, sometime around 1962 or 63. I think it must've been spring 63 because I'd gone to see them because I'd heard 'On The Beat'. Good band.

Ian Menzies death is reported herehttp://www.jazzbymail.com/ViewArtist.aspx?iAID=1493&sAN=Ian%20Menzies&sPC=1493_4300 but I expect you've already found that page.

Richard Havers said...

Ah sweet memories!

I found that, but it frustratingly didn't give any date.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Anyone in any doubt about the Stompers lasting appeal and value might usefully look here.

Now, somewhere in the attic I have an EP (am I the only old loon left to remember those) ...

Anonymous said...

the stompers were formed by jim mcharg ian menzies took over the stompers won 1955 championship not 1956 stateside jazzmen won in 1956

Graham said...

Did Lonnie Donnegan play with the band?

Norrie Muir said...

...he (Lonnie Donegan) , did not ....what a strange question....