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BEV PEGG

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1950s: 

Like many teenagers in the 1950s, the lure of the new rock 'n' roll and skiffle music caused him to move from the piano to the guitar. Bev started his guitar days with his pals in a four-piece skiffle group called "The Nomads". They participated in the National Skiffle Contest at Aston Hippodrome in December 1957 which had Jim Dale and the Vipers Skiffle Group topping the bill. Shortly afterwards their repertoire took in a lot of rock 'n' roll songs plus several chart standards of the late 1950s. As a result, the group changed its name to "The Rhythmaires". During 1958 bookings increased and they had regular weekly gigs at Halesowen British Legion and Evesham Public Hall to name a few. Bev was keen to improve his guitar playing and soon became influenced by the jazz guitar work of Django Reinhardt and Eddie Lang.

1960s:
Around July 1960 Bev met the young and wonderful jazz pianist Duncan Swift who had just moved from Rotherham into the Stourbridge area with his parents. Bev consequently became heavily involved in the jazz world playing trio gigs with Duncan and forming their first traditional jazz band "The Blue Blood Jazzmen" together with Rick Vaughan. The band commenced a weekly Saturday night gig at Stourport Boat Club from April 1961. The place was packed every week and the club was very successful. Word got around that Bev was a useful guitar player and an offer to go professional with Bill Niles' Delta Jazzmen was tempting, but Bev decided to keep his proper daytime job in the engineering industry and remain a semi-pro musician. Local Bands such as "George Huxley's New Orleans Jazzmen" and "The Second City Jazzmen" booked Bev as a dep whenever their regular guitarist or banjo player was away. By Autumn 1963 Ken Rattenbury invited Bev to join his band to which Bev was more than happy to accept. Ken was one of the best trumpeters and jazz musicians in the UK and regularly hosted and supported some of the world's finest jazz stars, besides being a bank manager during the daytime. Various Midlands dance band leaders such as Brian Pearsall, Sonny Rose and also Norman Nankervis also began booking Bev at dance venues and dinner dances mainly because there were not that many guitarists around who could play and sing both jazz and rock 'n' roll which had suddenly become in vogue again following the popularity of "The Beatles". Bev appeared on TV with "The Dave Taplin Quintet" and also played his banjo on a TV commercial for Dudley Zoo during the latter part of 1964.
Bev got married and started a family in the mid-1960s and was also very busy with his daytime job. Consequently, he ceased virtually all of his gig commitments to concentrate on his priorities. During this period, to satisfy his musical hobby, Bev converted his garage at home into a basic recording studio. Many recordings and LPs were subsequently produced there with folks such as Clifford T Ward and also high-profile folk performer Dave Cartwright doing all of their early demos there. One memorable recording was for Ken Rattenbury who had fixed a short notice session at The Crown and Cushion, Perry Barr, Birmingham on Saturday 23rd June 1969. The reason for this was due to the legendary American trombonist Bill Rank, now 65 years of age being in Birmingham and agreeing to play with Ken's band for a one-off recording which included Bev on Guitar. Bill Rank was well known in the 1920s for playing alongside the wonderful Bix Beiderbecke and later the famous Paul Whiteman Orchestra.

1970s:
Dave Cartwright's "Middle of the Road" was the first LP to come out of Bev's small studio in 1970. This led to Dave being signed to the Transatlantic label where several albums of his were released.
Bev was also a regular at the "Gentlefolk" folk club at The Navigation Inn, Wootton Wawen, near Stratford-on-Avon appearing with his five-piece folk band or solo on many occasions alongside top names in the folk world at that time. Organisers John Starkey and Bob Hill ran this very popular club. John Starkey together with Jasper Carrott had an agency named "Fingimigig" who also found Bev a few folk gigs here and there.
During this period Bev was involved in several recording sessions with Clifford T Ward's group and in 1972 he was playing bass guitar and singing backing vocals on Clifford T Ward's first album "Singer Songwriter" recorded at The Marquee Studios off Dean Street, Soho for John Peel and Clive Selwood's "Dandelion" label.
Bev's daytime business commitments made it impossible for him to be involved with further Clifford T Ward recording sessions in London. Instead he continued with his home studio weekly evening sessions with various musical friends producing several LPs in the folk / pop style with several well-known and soon to be famous folk dropping in regularly such as Bob Williamson, Pete Atkin and world number one rock vocalist at that time, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant to name just a few.
As a matter of interest, Bev's LPs from 1975 onwards were all mastered by ex-"Fourmost" member George Peckham who had previously mastered most of The Beatles albums at Apple studios before starting his own "The Master Room" business in Mortimer Street, London. All of these LPs apart from "The Foundry Ditty and the Industrial Air" had a limited number of pressings between 50 and 99 off. As a result, these albums have become valuable to record collectors. A glance at "The Record Collector Rare Record Guide" would verify this.
From May 1969, Bev joined the newly opened Stourbridge Lawn Tennis Club and became a keen tennis playing member. During August 1970 Bev and a few friends put on a successful comedy night at the club. As a result, Bev organised various entertainment evenings on a regular basis such as comedy nights and folk nights, including on the appearance on one occasion of Jasper Carrott who entertained for a fee of 40.00 back in August 1974 alongside Bev. In August 1978 Bev was asked if he could provide a band for a forthcoming function at the club. As a result, "Bev Pegg and his Rock 'n' Roll Band" were up and rolling on Friday 29th September 1978. Following this gig, such was the demand, they performed at least every year at the club right up to 2017.


1980s:
Bev's rock 'n'roll band performed weekend gigs all around the Midlands during the early 1980s. He was invited to do a few solo song and comedy spots in the twice yearly "Hi Society" variety shows during September 1982. This was followed by number one Black Country comedian Tommy Mundon offering Bev several gigs with his Black Country variety shows at local venues. As a result Bev's gigs evolved into 50% band and 50% solo comedy right through the 1980s. Bev recalls a nice gig in Birmingham as support artist for the talented Jake Thackery who he found to be a lovely and modest man.
During late 1989 Bev's band hosted a couple of gigs at Arley Village Hall in October and Kinver Community Centre in December where they were flattered to be joined by Robert Plant who did cameo spots with the band. The band also appeared as support to the Syd Lawrence Orchestra at Stourbridge Town Hall during November.

1990s:
Bev's rock 'n' roll and comedy gigs carried on during the early 1990s. There were several memorable gigs during this decade such as at Arley Village Hall where Stan Webb of "Chicken Shack" stepped on stage and did a few numbers with the band. At Kinver where ex-Buddy Holly & the Crickets member Sonny Curtis appeared with Hogan's Heroes plus Dandy and also Bev's group. Sonny came over fron the USA again three years later in 1993 and appeared alongside Kelvin Henderson plus Dandy plus Bev's Rock 'n' Roll Band.
Bev's annual Stourbridge Tennis Club gigs continued featuring top Black Country comedians such as Tommy Mundon, Lee Wilson, Reg Keirle, Dandy, Colin Dennis and Aynuk & Ali appearing alongside Bev's band. The band was honoured several times by the presence of Robert Plant plus Kevyn Gammond doing batches of songs with them.
There were a series of "Here Comes Summer" variety shows at Brierley Hill Civic Hall where "Bev Pegg & his Rock 'n' Roll Band" hosted Tommy Mundon, Dandy, Dave Cartwright, Giggetty and Marlene to packed houses.
A significant event occurred on Saturday 3rd May 1997. Bev's good friend Duncan Swift was unwell. This prompted Bev with the desire to record a vocal album with an eight-piece traditional jazz band made up from many of his old friends from his jazz days of the early 1960s. Duncan was the intended pianist but his illness became worse and Bev secured another friend, pianist Ken Freeman to replace him. Duncan sadly died three months later. The recording of 12 songs was completed by P.E.K. Sounds in just over three hours such was the excellent musicianship of the bandsman. A casual comment afterwards by trombonist Derek Halford, "That was pretty good. We ought to get some gigs with this band!" caused Bev to start thinking about this.
More of Bev's comedy and rock 'n' roll gigs followed at Bewdley High School in November 1997 where Bev was booked by Robert Plant to take his Stourbridge Tennis Club format over to Bewdley. Robert, Kevyn and a group of mainly Kiddermister College lads played the interval whilst Tommy Mundon and Bev's Band provided the comedy and rock 'n' roll.
Taking Derek Halford's advice, Bev took the plunge and organised the first ever gig with his "Good Time Jazz Gang" at Hagley Community Centre on 3rd October 1998. Word got around and the hall was packed with folks. After costs were met, the proceeds went to Sunfield Homes in Clent. This was the start of what was to become an annual charity fund raising gig for various charities.
Another interesting event took place on 11th October 1998 when Bev helped to organise most of the original Clifford T Ward band to perform at the Clifford T Ward Convention in Kidderminster. Clifford himself was present to enjoy Derek Thomas, Terry Clarke, Terry Edwards, Bev plus a couple of Bev's band mates Harry Rowlands and Brian Godwin making up the number. A nice catch-up for all.
Two more Robert Plant / Bev Pegg gigs at Bewdley followed in 1998 and 1999, the latter being one of, if not the first gig of Robert's "Priory of Brion" group. Reg Keirle provided the comedy for the '98 gig whilst Dandy performed at the '99 evening.
During 1999, "Bittersweet" a biography of Clifford T Ward written by Dave Cartwright was published. It is a much sought-after book today with a premium price being demanded by sellers. In the book, Dave refers to Ken Wright who has drummed alongside Bev in his bands since 1961 and was on Clifford's first four or five albums a "An "A" class drummer with style, flair and imagination. One who listens." Dave refers to Bev as follows: "Bev, however is irrepressible. He continues to gig wherever and whenever possible; jazz, folk, joke, rock 'n' roll. As keen and as able as ever, an all-enduring enthusiast. The supreme performer."

2000:

Gigs continued as before around the Midlands including the regular rock 'n' comedy shows at Stourbridge Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, Jazz at Hagley Community Centre, many Black Country comedy nights plus one further Bewdley rock 'n' comedy night with Robert Plant flying back from his world tour in Eastern Europe to sing a few numbers with the band for the crowd.
On 23rd June 2001 Bev made his debut at The Upton Jazz Festival with his four-piece group which was well received.
On 9th April 2001, Bev's old bandleader Ken Rattenbury died. As a result, a memorial gig took place in Stafford on 7th April 2002 featuring jazz musicians such as Digby Fairweather, Sticky Wicket, Joe Lees, Brian Casson and Bev to name just a few. Also during 2002, The Rotary Club of Stourbridge took over the organising of Bev's Charity Jazz Nights in Hagley.
Bev appeared at The Upton Jazz Festival in solo mode during 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 doing short songs and stories sessions between various band's appearances.
During Autumn 2004 Bev was hired to play lead guitar with Giggetty for the Black Country Night Out Tour of Midlands theatres.
Bev was given the job of doing a comedy spot and also being MC for the very first "Lady Chainmaker's Festival" that was held at The Black Country Living Museum. He wrote a song dedicated to Mary Macarthur which he performed there. A newly formed eleven-piece folk band named "Bellowhead" appeared at this event. "Bellowhead" would soon achieve considerable fame and their 2012 album "Broadside" reached number one in the UK Independent Charts and sixteen in the UK official album charts.
During January 2004 and January 2005 at Stourbridge Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, Bev's band again had the pleasure of Robert Plant doing a spot with them. In fact, in the official biography "Robert Plant, A Life" by Paul Rees, there is a photograph of him singing with Bev's band from the 2004 gig.
During 2006, Bev's Good Time Jazz Gang Show toured several Midlands theatres and during June appeared at The Upton Jazz Festival together with two extra gigs for Bev's newly formed "Railroad Skiffle Group" at the festival. Doing a gig at Astley and Dunley Village Hall, organiser Mike Jones announced Bev's band stating that the crowd will be getting two for the price of one. They will be getting a comedy act plus a great band all in one night.
With Bev now retired from his daytime engineering job, gigs with his various line-ups were increasing considerably.

On 13th August 2008, another band was formed. This time it was "Bev Pegg and his Cowboy Band". A six-piece outfit appearing at Hagley Community Centre with the generous backing and organising of The Rotary Club of Stourbridge from which more funds were raised for charity in the process. These Cowboy Band gigs became an annual springtime event for several years ahead and also attracted bookings from around the area.
With both Duncan Swift and Rick Vaughan passing away, Bev decided to hold a "Severnside Jazz Club Reunion" during June 2009 at Stourport Boat Club (before it got too late). This was 48 years after the club started back in 1961. Many of their musicians who played with the band were there to join in plus a large crowd of folks who used to spend every Saturday night there during the early 1960s making it a lovely night to remember. The surplus funds from the event came to 341.00 which was donated to The British Heart Foundation.
Alan Watkiss of UK Country Radio chose Bev and his Cowboy Band to be the Spotlight UK Artist during the early October 2009 Show, playing many of the tracks from their latest album "Come Along Boys and Listen to My Tale".

2010:
Bev's diary was pretty busy during this decade, appearing with his many types of bands plus doing solo gigs or fronting local bands in various parts of the UK from Salcombe to Colchester to North Yorkshire to Liverpool and also appearing at many Black Country Nights with Tommy Mundon and his friends. The annual Hagley Jazz and Cowboy gigs continued as did the Stourbridge Lawn Tennis and Squash Club and Blakedown Parish Rooms Rock 'n' Roll Nights, and also the annual jazz and skiffle appearances at The Upton Jazz Festival. From 2011 to 2013 Bev's Good Time Jazz Gang were given the late Sunday night slot at the Upton Jazz Festival to ensure that the crowds stayed until the end of the festival. All three of these annual sessions were crammed with folks as can be seen from various videos on You Tube. From 2014, the bands organiser of the festival changed and obviously new bands and groups were introduced to the festival. Meanwhile during 2013 Bev released another folk music album. His first since 1980. This was followed by Bev appearing at TheWoodman Folk Club in Kingswinford. Things went well with Bev and his two mates Pete Hartley-violin / mandolin and John O'Connor-double bass, an consequently Bev did the clubs annual summer season closing gigs right up to 2017. From this, other folk gigs entered the diary widening the spread of musical genres plus stories even more.
In 2015, Bev's "Blue Blood Jazzmen" dating back to the 1960s was reformed to provide gospel jazz songs at The Upton Jazz Festival Church Service. This carried on every year right up to 2019. Bev's seven-piece Good Time Jazz Gang was back at the festival in 2018 apparently following completed questionnaires from the previous year's programme buyers requesting that Bev's full band show was included once more.
Bev's general gigs were in abundance comprising of Jazz, Rock 'n' Roll, Skiffle, Cowboy, Black Country Comedy, Folk, Corporate After-Dinner functions, Wedding Anniversaries, Birthday Parties at a wide range of venues and village halls. This was together with his CD tracks being played on various local radio stations all around the UK including interviews etc.
During Autumn 2017 Bev appeared for just one season once more on the Black Country Night Out Show at various theatres around the Midlands appearing alongside comedians Ian "Sludge" Lees and Dandy.
At the end of 2018, Bev made a big decision to make 2019 his final year of organising, leading and playing in various bands. He had been doing band gigs for sixty-two years since he started gigging in 1957 and felt that he would rather get out while things were going well than just carrying on past as he puts it, his "sell-by" date. He is still gigging but purely as a solo performer from 2020 onwards. He also still has his recording studio at home where new songs and recordings are being worked on daily, consequently music is still all around him. His CDs are purchased as far away as the USA, Spain and Italy and are available online for various collectors.
Bev's final gig with his "Good Time Jazz Gang" was held at Hagley Community Centre on Saturday 26th October 2019, once more being organised by The Rotary Club of Stourbridge who have raised approximately 25,000 for various charities from these annual events over the years, plus a further 4,500 raised by Bev and other organisations from these jazz nights, plus another 6,000 raised by Ken Cowdry's rock 'n' roll events featuring Bev's Band.
Bev has played alongside world famous musicians too numerous to mention. Bev has always had the pleasure of having top musicians playing in his various bands. He was always aware of the advice given to him by an experienced professional musician during his younger days that "Your band is only as good as the weakest player in it".

2020: Here we come!



You Tube Videos:

There are currently over 250 various videos on You Tube of Bev and his various bands in live action at various gigs. There are also several songs such as "The Cradley Heath Song", "The Clent Song", "Song of the Soch", "Halesowen '57" and "Strictly Business" comprising of a soundtrack and many nostalgic pictures relating to each song. Also, there are a couple of "snippets" of Bev jamming at The "Didmarton Bluegrass Highlights 2010" video. There are also videos of Bev's Good Time Jazz Gang playing in the Sid Pearman video of the Upton Jazz Festival, and also Bev's Railroad Skiffle Group playing amongst other bands on his Bromyard Music Festival video. ///



Sporting Activity

Alongside Bev's musical and business activities is his sporting life. During his late teens and early twenties, he played soccer in the Birmingham AFA League. // Taking up tennis during his late twenties, he represented and later captained Stourbridge Lawn Tennis and Squash Club playing in the top division of the Hereford and Worcestershire League. He was runner up in the Hereford and Worcester Over 45 Tennis County Championships in 1986. He represented the County during the late 1990s in the Over 55 Team. He won the Hagley Tennis Club title at the ripe old age of 58, beating the 19 year old favourite! // He captained Hagley Squash Club in the Hereford and Worcester Squash League, winning several club awards during the 1970s and 80s. He narrowly lost to the ultimate winner of the Over 45's title, in the 1986 Hereford and Worcester County Squash Championships. // Bev ran the marathon in 1986 in the time of 3 hours 54 minutes. // Bev won the over 65s Hereford and Worcestershire County Tennis Singles Championship on 20th September 2008 at Manor Park Tennis Club, Malvern. The tournament was based on a "one-set shoot out" round robin system with each player playing about four 1-set matches during the day. Bev beat Andrew Saunders 6-3 in the final to take the title. // Bev won the over 60s Worcestershire County Racketball Championship at Redditch on 28th March 2010, beating John Bromley 3-0 in the final. // Bev won the West Midlands over 65's Racketball Championships on 6th March 2011 beating George Garner 3-1 in the final. // Bev's Racketball goal was finally achieved on 6th May 2012. Seeded number one for the Over 70's category, he beat Rod Embley 3-1 in the quarter-final, Chris Isaacs 3-1 in the Semi-final, and George Alpin 3-2 in the final to take the UK National title. //Bev was unable to defend his title in 2013 due to the date clashing with his band playing at The Upton Jazz Festival. However he entered the National Championships once more on weekend 20th - 22nd June 2014 as number one seed. The draw included 5 ex-national champions at previous over 60s / 65s and 70s categories. He beat Roger Middleton from Sussex 3-0 in the quarter-final, Chris Isaacs 3-1 in the semi-final and narrowly beat current champion Rod Embley 3-2 (11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 13-15, 11-6) in the final to regain the Over 70s title.
Bev retired from tennis around 2010 and from racketball during 2014 mainly due to an aching hip being caused by many years of competetive tennis, squash, running and racketball. He currently keeps in shape by working out 3-4 days per week in his local gym. ///

Contact Bev Pegg on...
Telephone: 01562 883493
Mobile: 07979 917374

Email: enquiries@bevpegg.co.uk
(Alternative Email: bevpegg@blueyonder.co.uk)
12, Woodchester, Hagley, Stourbridge, West Midlands DY9 0NF