Image

George and Cyril Blake and all that jazz…But don’t forget the calypso..

George and Cyril Blake  were born in Trinidad, probably in the late 1890s, they both served in the British Merchant Navy  during the first world war.

 

After the first world war they came to live in the United Kingdom some time between 1918 and 1920s.

Cyril and George(George was also known as ‘Happy Blake) were great musicians, and they played with a great group of musicians  called ‘The Southern Syncopated Orchestra .

The Southern Syncopated Orchestra played all over the UK  including Buckingham Palace,and abroad,there were many great musicians in the Southern syncopated orchestra including Sidney Bechet, Joe Smith,Will Marion Cook (composer)

On the 9th October 1921 several members of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra died when the ship SS Rowan (on which they were travelling to perform a concert  in Dublin) collided with the American steamer West Carnak(?) in heavy fog.

It is said that around 35 passengers died when the Rowan sank,and between 8-9 members of The Southern Syncopated Orchestra were among the dead .

George and cyril survived..

This is a short clip showing some of the survivors of the SS Rowan..please note there is no sound..

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/s-s-ss-rowan-survivors

Both George and Cyril had bands of their own during the 1930s and through the 1940s

Cyril also performed in Paris during the 1920s  one of the many people he worked with was the great Josephine Baker.

George played drums …a clip  from(probably) the 1930s shows him playing drums, probably at one of his clubs . He also had his own band  but also played in many other great bands of the era.

‘Happy Blake’ also performed in Europe  possibly  one of the countries was Latvia(?)

George went briefly back into the Merchant Navy around about 1940.

This is the link showing George’Happy’ blake playing drums it is a very short clip, probably 1930s(?)but it is good to hear the positive comments of the male voice over artist.

http://youtu.be/chFQ4BPJQ6U

Although George had his band(s) I have been unable to find out if any recordings were made by them..If you know if any recordings  were cut onto discs I would love to know about them..

Cyril Blake played the trumpet,guitar and he also sang,he played in the bands of Leon Abbey,  he  also played in the band of his brother George. Cyril also played in many of the bands   of the great musicians of that era including  Rudolph Dunbar,Leslie Thompson, Joe Appleton and the genius guitarist Lauderic Caton.

downloadCyril Blake and his band.

Here is a link to a calypso track with Cyril Blake.

https://youtu.be/Xi2CIOKMhVk

The great musicians of this era kept the 1920s /40s  jazz age roaring.

In the late 1930s(?) Cyril formed his own band called Cyril Blake and his Jigs club band(The word Jigs was used as a derogatory term by some, but I guess  Cyril decided to turn the negative  word into a positive ..Good for him!

About 1941/2 Cyril and his band cut a 78 record live at his  club, on the Regal zonophone label.(Three of the tracks are on a Cd,and if you can get the Cd listen very carefully,and you can hear someone asking  for ‘A glass of beer!’)

The CD is called Black British Swing, you may be able to find it on E bay/Amazon, it has tracks from the great jazz musicians of the jazz era who were working in UK Europe(and other parts of the world)

 

It is said that when jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong,came over to the UK they would make their way to Cyril’s club to hear him and his band play..How cool was that!

Both Cyril and George carried on playing  their music through the 30s and 40s.

Cyril also did quite a few broadcasts for the BBC.

Cyril  also played calypso music he had his own calypso band,Cyril Blake and his calypso serenaders(?) band they recorded on the Parlophone label.

He played calypso with great Calypsonians such as Lord Beginner,and Lord Kitchener.

Both George and Cyril married,I think Cyril married during the 20s, and George during the1940s

Cyril died in the early 1950s,and George died in the early 1960s(car accident)..

There were so many great jazz musicians making music all over the United Kingdom and Europe,it is sad that so many have been forgotten,they were the trail blazers of the musicians that came along after.. some of these great musicians of the era are listed below..

George’happy’ Blake

Cyril Blake

Lauderic Caton

Ken Johnson

Clare Deniz

Joe Deniz

Frank Deniz

Laurie Deniz

Marino Barreto

Louis Stephenson

Tom Wilson

Abe Clare

Freddie Greenslade

Frank Williams

Al Craig

Bert Ambrose

Geraldo

Don Johnson

Johnny Claes

Bertie King

Harry Parry

Dick Katz

Coleridge Goode

Ray Ellington

Ray Nance

Edmundo Ross

Tommy Bromley

Jimmy Skidmore

Kenny Baker

Yorke De Souza

Sam Manning

Rudolph Dunbar

Leslie Thompson

Joe Appleton

Lord Kitchener (calypsonian)

Lord Beginner(calypsonian)

Pete Robinson (d.ss0 sinking)

Sidney Bechet(member of sso)

Joe Smith(member of sso)

Bertin Depreste Salnave( member of sso)

Will Marion Cook(composer)(sso)

Egbert Emmanuel Thompson(member of sso)

Frank Essien(member of sso)

Rupert Gaskin(member of sso)

Frank( Obediah) Kennedy(member of sso)

William Martin Ofori(member of sso)

Frank Lacton(d sso rowan sinking)

John Herbert Greer(?) (d. rowan sinking)

Charles Henry Macdonald(d rowan sinking)

George William Lattimore (member of sso)

Evelyn Mary Luke(member of sso)

Mope Desmond(member of sso)

Angelina De caillaux(?)(member of sso)

Santos santita Rivera(?)( member of sso

 

———————————————————————

 

There are so many  other great musicians who were helping to make the jazz age roar that have not been added above,but they were all great musicians ..If you know other musicians playing in UK and Europe from 1900-1950 let me know their names and I will add them to the list of great jazz musicians playing in UK and Europe

SSO= Southern syncopated orchestra.

I hope you enjoyed this article,  if you know anything more about the Blake brothers or any other musicians playing in United Kingdom and Europe during the jazz age that you might like me to add,please leave details in comments..But please don’t be to unkind,I am new to this writing game.

Are you looking for a musical instrument? Visit Normans online musical instruments by clicking HERE

 

 

We must never forget The Merchant Navy and the important service they gave during the first/second world wars

This year is the centenary of the start of the first world war. There probably is no one still alive who fought during the first world war 1914-1918. However, the bravery and sacrifice so many brave people made should never be forgotten. I have been researching my family history, and I have found that my grandfather and great uncle both joined the Merchant Navy around about 1916 and served until 1918..

So what did the Merchant Navy actually do during the 1st world war? Britain depended on civilian cargo ships to import food and materials,but they were also used to take soldiers overseas and also to keep the troops supplied with their needs during the war of 1914-1918.(also 1939-1945) Where did the title  Merchant navy come from? King George the fifth gave the title of ;Merchant Navy after the first world war in recognition of the contribution made by the Merchant sailors who came from all parts of the world…My grand father and great uncle who served in the merchant navy during the first world war,were from Trinidad..

The Merchant Navy and the presence  and danger of U-Boats During the first world war German U boats started out by obeying Prize rules’ which meant U boats would surface before attacking merchant ships,this allowed the merchant sailors aboard the ships to escape,but in return the merchant sailors were not allowed to defend themselves,this included the fact that they were not allowed to send out radio distress signals. . At some point during the first world war (about 1917?)however, this rule stopped being observed.

 It is said German u boats sank 2 million tons of merchant shipping in just a few months of 1917. What did the the British admiralty do about this? The British Admiralty decided they had to change their strategy.. So it was decided that between 20-50 merchant ships would be protected by warships..The idea being, A convoy was just as hard to detect in the middle of a large ocean as a single ship. Also The Royal Naval Air Service(RNAS) air ships and aeroplanes helped to defend Merchant Ships and war ships as they approached or departed from various British Ports. Throughout the first world war  it was said only one ship was sunk by a German U boat while being escorted by an aircraft.

Another technique used during the first world war was to use ‘Dazzle Paint’ What was Dazzle Paint,who invented it,how did it protect the ships? The dazzle -a camouflage scheme for ships was invented by an artist called Norman Wilkinson..(Although it is said there had been a prior claim by zoologist John Graham Kerr.)

Dazzle painted ships above. Norman Wilkinson wrote in 1917 ”To paint a ship with large patches of strong color will so distract the form of the vessel so that the chances of a successful aim by attacking submarines will be greatly decreased.. By the end of the war about 4,000 British ships were painted in ‘Dazzle Schemes’

How many Merchant sailors lost their lives during the first world war? sadly it has been estimated that around 14,661 Merchant Seafarers lost their lives during the war..

We should never forget the bravery these people showed,we must never forget the sacrifices all service men and women made in both the first and second world wars… We must never forget what they did ….and what ALL the  brave service men and women still do today…

So what happened to my grandfather and great uncle? My grandfather and great uncle survived the first world war, They were musicians they played  the music that kept the twenties Roaring..in Europe and the United Kingdom and they and other great musicians of that era kept the music playing throughout the thirties and forties….

Memorial to  the  men women  and  members of the Fishing Fleets and Merchant Navy

  There are memorials all over the United Kingdom(and all over the world) to commemorate all service men and women of all conflicts,I am mentioning the one in London as I have been to see it.. Sadly there are many men women of the Merchant navy and the fishing fleets who died in both world wars,who sadly have no known graves.. The Tower Hill Memorial commemorates the men and women of the Mrchant Navy and the fishing fleets who died in both the first and second world wars and who have no known grave. The tower hill memorial is at The South side of the Garden of Trinity Square London (It’s close to the Tower of London) There is a memorial register which may be consulted at Trinity House Corporation,Trinity Square,( Cooper Row entrance) Tower Hill London,EC3 4DH But  please call before you visit to check on opening times etc.

The story of baby Gammy

This is such a sad story if it is true,I do not know how anyone could separate twins like this, I hear that money is being raised to help baby Gammy  get the medical treatment that he will need. I can imagine the couple,probably felt they would not be able to care for a child with complex needs,but to take away his twin sister who does not have downs syndrome,it just does not seem right to me..I hope that when  Gammys’ twin sister is older her biological parents will tell her that she has a twin brother. The surrogate mother who lives in Bangkok says that she is determined to bring up baby Gammy who is critically ill.She says she will take care of him on her own and she says she will not give him to anybody, The article says Gammy was abandoned by his biological Australian parents.. Six month old Gammy is ill in  hospital. Many Australians are said to be appalled at the plight of baby Gammy,there are said to be offers of adoption,and a fund raising campaign to cover the cost of this wonderful little boys medical treatment has raised approximately$122,000. According to the article there seems to be a lot of legal issues going on in Australia,but I just think that IF baby Gammy was left behind because he has downs syndrome,well speaking as someone who has worked with children and adults with downs syndrome,the biological parents have missed out on the opportunity to bring a ray of beautiful sunshine into their lives and also into the life of his twin sister.But of course it would not have been an easy decision for them to make and we don’t know the whole story ..As I have written before in this article the twin sister should be told when she is older that she has a twin brother.. I am sure it was a hard decision for the biological parents to make,and there is probably more to this sad story than is being told at the moment,but it’s such a sad sad story for everyone involved.. I hope and pray that this wonderful little boy will come through his medical treatments, I Know they wont  read this but I just want to say to all the people making donations for Gammys treatment  you are all wonderful caring people.. I would like to know what you think,please read the article,if you can click through on the link, if not you may have to copy the url into your address bar. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am putting the link to  the full  story below,I hope the link iworks http://www.illawarramercury.com/au/story/2457650/ill-look-after-gammy-thai-surrogate-mothers-vow/via@illawarramerc

Play Dough Fun

Things to do with the little one….

Living True

My daughter was telling me about her friend’s 2nd grade twin girls who love play-dough except that one is allergic to commercial brands – it exacerbates her eczema! I offered to make up a batch for them and came upon the perfect recipe! I settled on The Imagination Tree’s   version of Best Ever No-Cook Play Dough. I even had all the ingredients on hand, including the glycerin.

This was not what I considered a no-fail recipe. For my first try, I followed the recipe and used my kitchen machine to help with the kneading. I thought it was too sticky so added a bit more flour and continued kneading. To my surprise and dismay the dough started to break down and just got stickier and stickier. Disaster! Not being one to give up, I tossed the batch out, cleaned the bowl, various utensils and started over reminding myself…

View original post 327 more words

#BringBackOurGirls 100 days later

Day 108 and they still haven’t been returned. So sad!

The Brixton Housewife

Over the past 100 days I have:

pottered in my garden.

tweeted.

helped my husband lay new flooring.

written school reports.

protested for Palestine.

bitched with friends.

received flowers.

been overdrawn.

attended a street festival.

laid in the sunshine.

argued with loved ones.

bought new artwork.

laughed.

witnessed the dashed hopes and dreams of a nation.

taught Zumba to my class.

cried.

received callaloo and cabbage seeds from a stranger.

hoovered (ok I’m not fooling anyone) hoovered.

listened to my unborn baby’s heartbeat.

felt fat.

stalked on Facebook.

watched a human chess match.

daydreamed.

found it impossible to sleep.

eaten Nandos.

watched TV.

participated in a treasure hunt.

joined the TEDx Brixton event team.

had a pedicure.

rushed to hospital.

attended a beautiful wedding.

Over the past 100 days the Chibok girls have:

?

How quickly the world forgets. ©Sarah Peace How quickly the world forgets. Photograph S Peace ©

Yesterday marked 100 days since the girls…

View original post 100 more words