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Happy memories of seeing Louis Armstrong at Sparkbrook Roller Rink

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 06, 2014

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THE letter from Robert Hale in The Bugle (March 20 edition) brought back happy memories of seeing many of the visiting American jazz musicians during the 1950s, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Jack Teagarden, Earl Hinks, and of course, Louis Armstrong.

Together with a couple of mates also living in Smethwick (Derek Halford and John New) I went to see Louis and his All-Stars at the Roller Rink in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, in June 1956. I still have the programme. The front cover is, pictured right, and list of band members left. The one-legged tap dancer was called, surprisingly, Peg-Leg Bates!

Derek Halford and I were members of the West Side Jazz Band during the 1950s/1960s, and kept in regular contact until Derek sadly passed away about eight years ago.

I lost contact with John New following his marriage and move to live in Stourbridge around 1960. John, if by any chance you read this letter, it would be great to hear from you.

Mel Guest,

18 Church View, St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

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