I always have a great time at the George Formby Society Convention in Blackpool. You know I do. I tell you all the time. But last weekend was even a bit extra-special.
Here's one reason. My very good friend Caroline Stewart became Chairman of the society. My first convention in June 2102 was her second, and we quickly became pals in the "thrash" when she advised me that the reason my uke sounded out of tune was that it should have been tuned in D, not in C - and we have been good friends ever since. Caroline sings adn plays very well, and that, together with her love of George Formby have made her very popular with the GFS audiences, as has her willingness to get involved in the society and do her bit - a very able and lovely lady, is Caroline, and a stalwart friend - someone you want in your corner.
Another such is Kate Howard, who attended her first convention, traveling all the way from her home on the Isle of Skye with a Long-Suffering-Husband in tow last year. She loves Formby and the tricky syncopated banjo-uke solos - and my goodness, can she play - yes she can! The three of us have all become good mates, all the proud owners of vintage Gibson UB2 banjo-ukes, and even the three Long-Suffering-Husbands, uke-widowers all, have become great pals and now take themselves off during the conventions to find their own amusements in the local hostelries! Such is the power and appeal of the GFS to bring people together.
Back in March, Caroline suggested that the three of us could perform a medley together, a medley of jazz standards that George performed on TV in 1958 with the Deep River Boys. We all live too far apart to be able to practise together, but we found the chords and learned these three songs, and finally on Saturday we ran them through a couple of times during the mid-afternoon break, ready to perform them during the main concert on Saturday evening. It's not a lot of rehearsal, is it, but we got through it ok.... these girls are such lovely performers, it was great to be up on that Formby stage with them!
Caroline, Lesley, Kate
Photo thanks to Jonathan Mallalieu
And here's a video! Thanks to another good pal, Pauline Aitken!
The band are fabulous. Just tell 'em what your're doing, what key you're playing in - and they're away! Matt, Tony and Dale, that time...
So now I must learn another Formby number, complete with solo. There's challenging...
Thanks for dropping in! Lots more to come...