There’s a moose loose

I had a flashback to my childhood earlier today! The only source of music was the radio – we didn’t have a record player until I was given a Dancette player on my eleventh birthday… or was it when I was twelve… or maybe thirteen? Before then there were certain programmes which would play what was beginning to be called ‘pop’ music such as Children’s Favourites, Saturday Club and Housewives’ Choice. This was before the 60’s music revolution but there were ‘records’ by Elvis, the Everleys, Lonnie Donegan…  There were also comedy records, and most of them were pretty dire, however there were a few which had a comedic element but still managed to be good!

I was reminded of this when I wrote mentioned moose this morning, which led me to remember such a song called ‘Hoots Mon‘ which had the refrain ‘there’s a moose loose about this hoose!’ This was a mock Scots’ way of saying ‘there’s a mouse loose about this house’… which of course sounds silly and not funny at all. I hadn’t heard this since I was a child but I found it and found a video of Lord Rockingham’s XI  who recorded it – a fact I didn’t know until today.

Lord Rockingham’s XI  was made up of British session musicians, which was created as a resident backing band on a programme called Oh Boy!.  They actually were an extraordinary collection of really talented people :

  • Harry Robinson – leader
  • Benny Green –  jazz baritone saxophonist (and later writer)
  • Cherry Wainer – organ
  • Don Storer – drums
  • Reg Weller – percussion
  • Red Price – tenor sax
  • Rex Morris – tenor sax
  • Cyril Reubens – baritone sax
  • Ronnie Black – double bass
  • Bernie Taylor – guitar
  • Eric Ford – guitar
  • later – Kenny Packwood – guitar,  Ian Fraser – piano
  • Marty Wilde – backing singer
  • Cuddly Dudley – backing singer

As well as Hoots Mon! which was based on an actual Scottish song called 100 Pipers, they recorded what has been described as  novelty rock instrumentals such as Fried Onions and Long John.  There was a court case over their name, because there actually was a real Lord Rockingham whose title became extinct in 1782. Lord Rockingham’s descendants took exception to a rock band called Lord Rockingham’s anything… the band folded and all is left are some videos.

7 to 4

I love music and always have; as a child we listened to the radio, and I’m old enough to remember Housewives Choice, Family Favourites, and Children’s Favourites, programmes with which we could listen to the music popular at the time… obviously in those days the programmes were dominated by the choice of middle-aged, middle class, white, mainly male people – I’m talking about what we heard on the BBC – there was a lot of very different music out there, just no platform in those days for ordinary people to hear it! … Except for Radio Luxembourg which broadcast ‘pop’ music over a very crackly and intermittent waveband!

Suddenly all changed, American music, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, ‘black’ music, and then Britain’s response with the musical flourishing of the 1960’s – such exciting times! I may have been listening, and once we had a record player, buying singles and LPs, but my husband to be,  far away in Surrey, was actually making music, was in a band, was being screamed at by girls!

Bari, my husband started making music as soon as he was old enough to hold a spoon and bang it on his bowl – his dad was a musician, and it wasn’t long before Bari was creating a drum kit out on his mum’s pots and pans and banging it with whatever came to hand… this progressed to a proper kit, and soon, before he was out of short trousers, he was going with his dad to play at pubs, clubs and social events. Once he was in secondary school he soon found like-minded and gifted individuals and the first bands were formed. His love of music and his skill and talent meant he was involved in music throughout his life, first of all in ‘pop’ and ‘rock’ groups as they were then, and then into every sort of music you could imagine, brass bands, jazz trios, big bands, wind bands, pit bands, school bands, orchestras, military bands, comedy oompa-pa-pa bands… you name it, he was in it, he played it, he excelled at it!

In the twenty-six years we have been together he has continued to play as much and in as many varied groups and bands, but his great love, I think is rock… in Oldham he was in Driving Force… and they still reunite every five years or so! When we moved to the west country he was in a Celtic folk group called Celtic Shambles, Celtic because of the music they played, Shambles because of the way they played it (actually they were very good, it was just part of the act!) and then he joined another band, The Stealers.

The Stealers was a seven piece, but when as often happens in bands there was a change in line-up, some people leaving, new people joining, there were only four members… and so they became 7 to 4… They had a gig last night! It wasn’t in the best possible venue, a pub with lots of tables for diners, low ceilings, pillars, but wow they are good! if you live in Somerset and want a brilliant band which will really get you dancing…

7 TO 4 (16)

Rather fuzzy photos… the lighting wasn’t good… but you get the idea!

If you want to know more, and if you want a little sample… go here:




Another Children’s Hour

When I was a child, from my earliest days, I listened to the radio. When I was a baby, my parents had it on all the time, so I would hear daytime programmes such as Housewives Choice, Workers’ Playtime, comedies such as the Goon Show, Ray’s a Laugh, The Navy Lark, and of course Hancock’s Half Hour. There would be plays and news programmes, and as we had no TV that was where all our news of the world came from.

When I was a little older it would be Listen With Mother; songs, rhymes, stories for little children. Then when I was older still there was that magic time between five and six, Children’s Hour. There was a sad news item on the radio the other day; the last remaining children’s radio programmes are being cancelled. Sad though I am, I can’t blame the decision; times have changed, children are different, what appealed in twentieth century is no longer relevant in the twenty-first.

Here is a rather sweet poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, most famous for ‘Hiawatha’. He was born in 1807 and published this in 1860. He had six children,  Charles  (1844–1893), Ernest  (1845–1921), Fanny (1847–1848), Alice  (1850–1928), Edith (1853–1915), and Anne Allegra (1855–1934), and this was obviously written for the three youngest.

The Children’s Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow