Dan Pawson's ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS in the 60's -  The Forgotten Recordings.
 
By Dave Senior
  (Published in the Jazzgazette 2004)

This should be a footnote but this story is so worth mentioning, crucially actually,  that it comes as a sort of preface…
After the following article about the ‘forgotten recordings’ appeared in the Jazzgazette, it came to the notice of ‘Lord’ Richard Ekins who then contacted me to know more. I remembered Richard very well because we were good friends back in the 60’s. In fact he played trumpet in and around Birmingham and we played together often. Richard was a fervent New Orleans fan and was lucky enough to have spent quite a lot of time there during this period. In fact he was so dedicated to the cause of encouraging and stimulating the music he loved, Richard set up his own record label ‘La Croix Records” and issued several prestigious sessions of both British and New Orleans musicians. The famous Kid Thomas Band recorded live in 1968 at Kohlman’s Tavern in New Orleans  was one of Richard's projects, as well as Louis Nelson and Dan Pawson with Barry Martyn’s Band recorded in the U.K. The connection here is that, like Dan Pawson, ‘Lord’ Richard was very inspired by New Orleans trumpeter DeDe ‘La Croix’ Pierce. In turn, Richard was influenced by and greatly admired Dan. That’s often how it works and thanks goodness it does…
As a result of this chance happening, Richard decided that he would like to issue a tribute to Dan Pawson (who died in 2002).  The idea was to include some of this early ‘forgotten’ Artesian Hall Stompers material together with a compilation of other previously issued recordings. The series will eventually include more CDs. Meanwhile, the good news at the time of writing this note is that the first one has been issued on 504/La Croix (CD93)DAN PAWSON 1966 – 1971 A Tribute”.
For me, this was a milestone for many reasons and I still stand by my words when I say that this music, in its context, was just about as ‘authentic’ as you could get. It was of its time and in an uncanny way hard to distinguish from the real thing. I have said elsewhere that I have not played New Orleans jazz with such ‘purity’ anywhere or anytime since those days… and probably never will, despite my enduring enjoyment of playing N.O. style jazz.

23 Feb 2012 - Stop press! Watch this space... There is more stuff being released soon from the 'forgotten' archive. Lord Richard and 504/LaCroix are busy right now. Don't go 'way nobody... announcement coming soon.
June 2012 - The new CD
"VINTAGE DAN PAWSON" The Lost Sessions 1966 - 1985 (DJCD-008) is now available on Dine-a-Mite/LA CROIX Records: www.lacroixrecords.com or email for info to Lord Richard Ekins here lacroixrecords@gmail.com

Dave Senior

Thanks to my old clarinet playing school pal Roy Telling, my first jazz experiences were the right ones. We were indeed lucky to get started in the mid-fifties by hearing popular bands of the period as well as catching the George Lewis and Kid Ory bands complete and live in concert before we were even old enough to buy a pint of beer. Eventually, I picked up the trombone and by the early 60's Roy and I joined our first band, the Canalside Jazzband in Wolverhampton.
Later, in January 1965, I joined Dan Pawson's Artesian Hall Stompers based in Birmingham. This was quite an advance and I was very proud. Pawson's reputation both as a character and musician were well recognised and we were to become good pals over the next few years. We went on the rounds of jazz venues both playing or listening and always having a good time. Sometimes 'having a good 'time' was indistinguishable from the pursuit of music. Nevertheless, under Dan's 'tutorship' we rehearsed religiously and played with all the motivation and passion that we shared for the music. That just about sums up what we did. There was no hidden agenda... it was just our way of
getting around and paying our dues. 

'Larger than life' characters were in abundance. The musicians and the audience had an identity, like a family. One of the guys who followed us around was called Rob "the raver" Ridley. Typically, we dubbed him 'the raver' which he was anything but …in fact he was a very modest guy who just adored our music. He even loved it so much he bought a 'reel to reel' tape machine which he used solely to record numerous Artesian Hall Stompers' dates during the mid to late 60's. Oddly, at the time, none of us used to pay much heed (although I found out later that Dan sometimes visited Rob for a listen. I didn't know this before). Simply, it was Rob's hobby which he pursued while we played on regardless. Furthermore, the gigs in question (except the brass band takes which were in rehearsal) were 'live' and newly rehearsed tunes were often aired for the first time. Consequently, I didn't have any good reason to believe that these tapes had survived, until... 

In December 2002 Dan sadly passed away and so I went to his funeral in Birmingham, England along with many others. As has been written elsewhere, it was predictably a joyous as well as a sad occasion. Among the many old faces was Rob 'the raver' Ridley who hadn't changed a bit. We reminisced and you can imagine my surprise when he told me that he still had all the recordings… thirty-two hours worth and what’s more, he still listens every day. They had become a part of his life!

Naturally my curiosity was aroused and I asked him if he would ever consider letting me have a sample. He said he would, we duly exchanged addresses and we both felt illuminated from the discussion about the old days. It was as though almost forty years had evaporated in that smoky upstairs Birmingham assembly room, in the presence of Dan's family and the assembled company. Everything Dan had lived for was encapsulated in that room as his pals played him out.  

One day in February the postman came to my door with a parcel from England. I realised it contained a cassette and was excited… so much so that it took a couple of days before I plucked up the courage to open it. Eventually however, I did and cried buckets after hearing just a few bars. I don't mind admitting it affected me deeply emotionally. Besides reviving memories, the music itself was far beyond my expectations. I found it difficult to believe that this was actually how we played then. I'd forgotten. It was full of passion and enthusiasm as well as being substantially musical in any sense of the word. More importantly it struck me that the whole thing possessed an intuitive cohesion that I haven't experienced even closely since... Perhaps rough at the edges, but it was solid New Orleans ensemble playing as it should be. Momentarily, it even occurred to me what a tragedy it was this band never recorded commercially. 
Or perhaps that’s just the point… that it wasn't and we didn't and we shouldn't have!
 

Anyway, since then Rob has sent me more tapes and I have started compiling CD's from them just for fun. So far I have reached volume six. Luckily the original tapes have survived quite well and the only real chore was some pitch correction usually caused by inconsistent tape speeds (all too often ignored by commercial producers who should know better; but that's another story!). So, taking into account the conditions, two mikes and a lively pub room, the results are just fine. Rob agrees too and is eager to do more.

Trombonist Stan Stephens, who influenced me greatly early on, has also helped me with the documentation. Stan’s knowledge stretches far and wide. Name that tune - and he's your man. Not only that, there are some takes of the Tulane Brass Band in rehearsal where Stan actually indicated the 'right' notes to play (written on a beer mat if I remember correctly) so that we harmonised the right way. Yes, he knew what he was doing and you can hear the result. Thanks to Stan I realised that playing in an N.O. style brass band is more than a 'hit and miss' affair. He also played alto sax for a while in those days and played this instrument on several of the recorded Artesian' sessions here. Don't forget too that Stan was the original trombonist in the AHS and rejoined (staying right up to Dan's death) after I joined Chris Burke. 

Let's get to the point! Dan Pawson was perhaps the most capable New Orleans (revival) stylist that ever existed outside of New Orleans. And please let's not go down that tricky path of discussing definitions. It's not necessary. Dan's concept was pure and uncompromising. His knowledge was profound, full of perspective and sincere, and make no mistake, he could sure play his horn. Plenty! Into the bargain he could impart all of this to others. You got an education being around Dan. On all his outings he shone with an authoritative brand of leadership and superb trumpet playing. I have listened over and over… and it’s undeniable. 

Now, it's not because I play on most of these sessions (or perhaps just because of it), but I wondered if my impressions of these recordings might be too subjective. Another opinion should be sought, I thought. To this end I asked Marcel and/or Jempi if they might be interested in doing some kind of review of these 'forgotten' recorded sessions because I know that their comment will be worth hearing. Meanwhile let the music speak.
Thanks guys. Below is a summary of the sessions volume by volume including some photos:

Footnote:
As mentioned previously, the early AHS band never recorded 'commercially'. However, some twenty years later Dan recorded  in 1987 for Ken Pitchford at the Blackbottom Club in Northampton, England with a band Dan called his "Buddies". This was representative of the Artesians at the time especially as Stan Stephens is present on trombone as well as Paul 'Spud' Spedding on drums (both of whom are omnipresent on the earlier reviewed sessions). Therefore this further volume has been included so that the evolution can be assessed. Meanwhile of course, Dan Pawson recorded widely away from his own band and is still to be found in various catalogues. However, the "BUDDIES" issue is no longer available which is a pity. Perhaps these articles may stimulate some interest and bring about a well deserved re-issue.

The ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS   Live at the "Cambridge" Birmingham 1966  Volume one

1. Hindustan (5.31)
2. Blues in F (6.23)
3. Yes Yes in Your Eyes (5.49)
4. Algiers Strut (5.04)
5. Creole Song (4.54)
6. Roses of Picardy (5.15)
7. Royal Telephone (4.30)
8. Sweethearts on parade (3.42)
9. Smile Darn Ya Smile (3.59) 

        Total play (45.07

Dan Pawson  - Tpt Voc Ldr
Dave Senior - Tbn
Dick Bridges - Clt (Stan Stephens on photo)
Clinton Sedgley - Bjo
Derek T. Steele Jones - Bass
Paul 'Spud' Spedding - Drms 

Originally recorded by Rob Ridley

Tr. 1 - 6 Thurs. 8/12/1966
 
Tr. 7 -9 Thurs. 15/07/1966 

Digital transfer - Dave Senior

 

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The ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS   Live at the "Cambridge" Birmingham 1966  Volume two


1. Country Boy Blues (6.27)
2. When You wore a tulip (4.37)
3. Bugle Boy March (4.47)
4. John Casimir's Whoopin' Blues (4.14)
5. Don't Give up the Ship (3.18)
6. When we danced at the Mardi Gras(5.23)
7. Panama Rag (4.29)
8. High Society (6.07)
9. Trouble Blues (6.40) *
10. Maryland my Maryland (1.10) * 

          Total play (47.12)

Dan Pawson  - Tpt Voc Ldr. 
Dave Senior - Tbn
Dick Bridges - Clt
Clinton Sedgley - Bjo
Derek T. Steele Jones - Bass
Paul 'Spud' Spedding - Drms 

* Tracks 9 & 10 - Stan Stephens (Tbn) & Phil Wall (Clt) 

Originally recorded by Rob Ridley on Thurs. 15/07/1966
Digital transfer - Dave Senior
 


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One for "Larry"     The ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS         Volume three 

Live at the "Cross Keys" Stratford Upon Avon 1968                


1. My Little Girl (4.17)
2. Si'l Vous Plait (3.43)
3. Kid Thomas Blues (5.50)
4. Climax Rag (4.21)
5. Roses of Picardy (6.05)
6. The Hucklebuck (4.36)
7. Stardust (5.06)
8. Mack the Knife (4.31)
9. Siboney (3.06)
10. Wheezy Anna (3.44)
11. Muskrat Ramble (3.50)
12. Rock Around the clock (3.51)
13. Mary Wore a Golden Chain (3.01)

             Total play (56.03)


Dan Pawson  - Tpt Voc Ldr
Dave Senior - Tbn
Stan Stephens - Alt Sax
Clinton Sedgley - Bjo
Val Algreaves- Bass
Paul 'Spud' Spedding - Drms 

Vocals: Dan: tr. 1,12 & 13  &  Stan: tr. 5 & 10 

Originally recorded by Rob Ridley  7/6/1968 
on location at the "Cross Keys"

Digital transfer - Dave Senior

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The TULANE BRASS BAND & The ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS      Volume Four   

The TULANE BRASS BAND in rehearsal at St. Andrews Hall, West Bromwich  Feb. 1966


 
1. In the Upper Garden    (fragment)      (0.52)
 
2. Nearer my God To Thee (fragments) (2.47)
 
3. Lady Be Good   (3.58)
 
4. At the Cross   (3.52)
 
5. Panama    (4.31)


 
Dan Pawson (Tpt Ldr),  Ken Pye (Tpt),
Stan Stephens (Tbn),  Dave Senior (Tbn), 
Norman Field (Tnr), Phil Wall (Alt), Roy Lunn (Eb Clt), 
Paul Spedding (Snare), Mike Dowley (Bass Drm),
Terry McGrath (Sousaphone)


The ARTESIANS Live at the "Cambridge" 
Birmingham  17 Feb. 1966 

6. Down By the Riverside    (5.42)
7. Walkin’ With a King   (5.00)
8. The Waltz You Saved For Me (5.51)
9. Cambridge Boogie Woogie  (4.36)
10. Panama       (5.50)
 


Personnel: 

Dan Pawson (Tpt/voc/ldr) 
Dave Senior (Tbn)
Phil Wall (Clt) 
Brian Helliwell (Bjo/gtr)
Nick Williams (Bass) 
Paul ‘Spud’ Spedding (Drms)

The ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS   8 Dec. 1966    

11. Eh La Bas!        (4.09)
12. Sister Kate         (4.35)
13. Sobbin’ Blues    (4.17)            

Originally recorded on location by Rob Ridley 
Digital transfer - Dave Senior 2003

Personnel:

Dan Pawson (Tpt/voc/ldr) 
Dave Senior (Tbn) 
Dick Bridges (Clt)  
Clinton Sedgley (Banjo)
Derek T.S. Jones (Bass) 
Paul ‘Spud’ Spedding (Drms)

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The ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS  Live at the "Salutation" Birmingham 1967 (1st. Set) Volume Five


1. When the Moon Comes over the Mountain(4.52)
2. Mahogany Hall Stomp (3.34)
3. Londonderry Air   (5.27)
4. Up Jump theDevil (3.46)
5. Clinton's Blues (5.34)
6. Second Line (6.12)
7. We'll Meet again (4.23)
8. The Hucklebuck (5.17)
9. Zambezi (2.54) *
10. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen (4.36) *
         Total play (46.35)


Dan Pawson  - Tpt Voc Ldr
Dave Senior - Tbn
Stan Stephens- Alt sax
Clinton Sedgley - Bjo
Martin Gough- Bass
Paul 'Spud' Spedding - Drms 

Originally recorded by Rob Ridley on Fri. 3/12/1967
Digital transfer - Dave Senior

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The ARTESIAN HALL STOMPERS  Live at the "Salutation" Birmingham 1967 (2nd Set)  Volume Six


1. Just a Little While (5.15)
2. Moi Pas Lemmé ças (4.24)
3. South Rampart St Parade. (3.04)
4. Just a Closer Walk (4.26)
5. Salée Dame Bonjour (4.42)
6. At Twilight Time (4.05)
7. Down in Honky Tonk Town (5.19)
8. Linger Awhile (5.10)
9. Smoke gets in Your Eyes (4.09)
10. If You Don't Shake (5.43) 
       Total play (46.17)


Dan Pawson  - Tpt Voc Ldr
Dave Senior - Tbn
Stan Stephens- Alt sax
Clinton Sedgley - Bjo
Martin Gough- Bass
Paul 'Spud' Spedding - Drms 

Originally recorded by Rob Ridley on Fri. 3/12/1967
Digital transfer - Dave Senior

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The musicians:    Dan Pawson (Tpt/voc/ldr), Stan Stephens (Tbn/voc), Zoltan Zagi (Clt/Alt),
John Richardson (Pno), Paul ’Spud’ Spedding (drms), Brian Lawrence (bass).

Originally recorded at the Black Bottom Club, Northampton, England (15/03/1987)

The Songs:

 1. All Dressed Up Wth a Broken Heart (3.30)
 2. Magic Isle (3.50)
 3. Indian Sagwa (3.10)
 4. Stay as Sweet as You Are (3.43)
 5. Tangerine (2.56)
 6. When You Wish Upon a Star (3.45)
 7. Bright Star Blues (3.05)
 8. Rose of Tralee (3.01)
 9. Roberta (3.43)
10 Yearning (4.11)
11. Solamente Una Vez (3.55)
12. Medley: I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls, Pal of My Cradle Days, Mistakes.

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