In 1972, the Brewery Arts Centre opened in Kendal and the following year the Sunday night folk club started with Bob Marston, Richard (Dickie) Hannant, Howard Elliot, Dave Neve, and Hugh Taylor soon forming a committee. Bob did the booking of guests, followed by Hugh after Bob moved down to Norwich. Howard did the MC'ing, Dickie looked after the door and the money, and Dave along with Monica his wife ran the record counter.

Out of the folk club sprang Kendal Morris Men, with Roy Eccles as musician on accordion. Hugh and Dave started singing and playing together, and were soon joined by the vocals of Bob and the playing of Roy. The four started performing as Westmorland Packet, and in 1976 played two tracks on a vinyl record - The Best of BBC Radio Carlisle's Folk Workshop. Recorded by Paul Adams, he later moved on to form Fellside Recording Studios. As we were the only group to play instrumentals as well as singing, we were asked to play some border music and so we opted for 'My Love She's But a Lassie Yet' to open the LP, and 'Nancy and Jamie Allen' to close it. On the LP Roy played piano accordion, Dave banjo and fiddle, and Hugh guitar.
Steve Tomlinson soon joined us after moving up from Blackpool in 1976: quite a culture shock after performing in Diamond Lill's Saloon! Also playing occasionally at the time with Westmorland Packet, as his work at sea allowed, was Pete Rigg on English concertina.

In circa 1976, Roy left his job as a factory manger in Kendal and bought the Crown Inn at High Newton, where he quickly started a weekly informal folk night: probably the very first of what became known later as 'a session'. Starting in the downstairs bar, the session moved into the upstairs lounge after Roy and Audrey had fitted it out. It very soon became a place for local and visiting singers and musicians to drop into, and to this day people still remember some of us from those times.

In this shot taken around 1980, Hugh is at the rear playing one row melodeon. Moving clockwise, Dave Neve is playing fiddle, Geoff Dixon playing guitar, Audrey getting ready to sing, Bob Bradbury of West Somerset Morris Men playing melodeon (and making a visit to John Jackson of Furness MM and sat behind Dave), Roy playing his accordeon, and Steve singing and playing guitar.
Here is Bob Bradbury again on the same evening doing some Dartmoor stepping. Of interest in the photo besides Roy and Steve are Mik Mead playing guitar (he is still performing in the South Lakes) and 'Lewis' in the back ground with a red top on. We never did know his surname or much about him, but he always seemed to 'be around' and was last heard of in Australia.
Besides playing each Thursday night at the session, Roy roped us in on other occasions. We're not sure when this is or what the occasion was, but Hugh is on the left, then Steve, Roy, and Dave on the right.

 

Another dance group that started in the 70's was the Westmorland Step and Garland Dancers, with some members being wives of the Kendal Morris men. Based at the Brewery in Kendal, both Hugh and Dave were associated with the side. When they wanted a ceilidh in 1981, it seemed a good idea to try and form a band from the musicians at the folk club and based around Westmorland Packet. The faded photo below was taken by Helen Birket (now Whitaker) at the dance and shows Dave Rochell as caller, with musicians behind from right to left - Neil Parkinson on fiddle, Dave Neve also on fiddle, Pete Rigg on English concertina, Brian Birket on banjo, Steve Tomlinson on melodeon, with Steve Black behind on guitar. Presumably Hugh is off to the left somewhere.


Soon after that ceilidh, a fine musician called Pete Waller and his wife joined the Step Dancers, and that was the spur for some of the musicians at the above ceilidh to form their own band, eventually coming up with the name Tumbling Tom which someone said was Westmorland dialect for a hayrake or pitch fork, or something. And so TT started performing, with the line up of Pete Waller on button accordeon and melodeon, Steve on melodeon, Hugh on bass guitar, and Dave on fiddle, mandolin, and banjo, with Dave Rochell as their regular caller, with Sheila Mason and Martyn Harvey helping out on occasions.

In 1984, Roy paid for Westmorland Packet to record a tape at Linden Studios near Shap. The tape has recently been re-mastered, and the tracks are shown below. Just click on a track to listen. All are trad. unless stated

- The Blacksmith
- Broom of the Cowdenknowes
- Polka set - Twas within a Mile/The Quaker
- Beltane Fires (wrote by Steve)
- Greenland Whale
- Congleton Bear (wrote by Pete Coe)
- Napoleans Dream
- Jig Set - Dingle Regatta/Merrily Kiss the Quaker/Tripping Upstairs
- The Old Miner/Dan Lenos Boat
- Curious Times

The line up on those tracks was -
- Roy on piano accordion and whistles
- Steve on vocals, melodeon, guitar and bouzouki
- Dave on fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and whistles
- Hugh on vocals, guitar, melodeon, and percussion

Pete Waller soon left the area, and Roy depped when the pub work allowed, but in 1986 he too left the area for Cambridge. Fortunately another fine box player moved into the area - Andrew Service - and he quickly filled a slot in the band, adding button accordeon and synth. At that time, Andrew was also playing with a ceilidh band based around Clitheroe called Blackthorn Band with caller Gwyndon Boardman, and so Gwyndon started to become our caller of choice when the gig was down Lancashire way.
This photo was take in Hornby school in 1987, and shows from left to right: Dave Rochell, Hugh, Andrew, Steve, and Dave Neve.
When we arrived at this event, the school told us that they were expecting a singing group, not a ceilidh band. After that hiccup, the band started sending out a contract to ensure that both parties know exactly what to expect.
Around this time, we also added Les Ord to our lineup on drums, and so became a five piece band. When Les couldn't make it Iain Hunter would dep for him, a situation that continues to this day.
Precise dating is difficult unless the gig was unique. We played for a few years at Fell End Caravan Park near Beetham, so this would be one of 1988/1989/1990.

This photo is labeled 'Leyland' so it could be one of -
1989 for the Royal Lancashire Morris Men 
1989 for Leyland PTA
1990 at the RAOB club

 

Playing at PTA's was a staple for most bands in those days (whatever happened to PTA ceilidh's?) and this one was at the Queen Katherine School in either 1989 or 1990, with Martyn Harvey calling

We played at Kendal Town Hall quite regularly, so the two below were taken in one of -
1989 or 1990-May for Westmorland Step and Garland Dancers day of dance
1989 - October (Martyn's day of folk activities?)
 
In 1989, Martyn succeeded in getting us on the bill at Redcar Folk Festival for the Friday night ceilidh, and so the organisers needed a publicity photo. This and the one below were two of the many attempts we made at creating something, but which we ended up using we're not sure. The gig was memorable in many ways, one of which was that four of us were squashed into one small bedroom. Andrew was married to Moira at the time and so had the luxury of a double room to themselves.

We played again at the festival the following year, and had the nearest thing to a band tour as the Friday night was at Redcar, and Saturday night at Kirkby Stephen on the way home..
 
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We think the two below were taken at the Redcar Festival
   
Having Morris Men within the band in those days (Hugh and Les danced with Furness Morris) they had close relationships with other dance sides in the area. This photo was taken in 1990 at High Hesket village hall when we played for the Carlisle Sword teams day of dance.
Gwyndon (who danced with and ran Clitheroe Morris) is calling, and Georgia Shorrock can be seen dancing in the right foreground wearing a flowery dress

We also played for Throstles Nest womens side in 1988

The venue of this is unknown but is thought to be in 1990
A wedding at Windermere in 1990?


One of the venues we used to enjoy playing at was the Malt Room in the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. In the 90's, Martyn used to organise monthly ceilidh's and invited different local bands to play. They were later styled as a Family ceilidhs, and our last such evening was in 2005 when the cost involved with room hire became prohibitive.

The two photos below were taken at the same event: a Valentines night ceilidh with Martyn calling in 1991

   
The venue is unknown, but Gwyndon is calling, and by the looks of the stage its a harvest supper
Again the venue is unknown, but the standout feature are Hugh's trousers!
A regular venue for many years was the Netherwood Hotel in Grange-over-Sands, usually playing for weddings. This was taken in 1991 and shows an unusual arrangement of the band as we would normally set up in the fireplace. Steve looks to be doing a Shadows walk!

The Lancashire Wallopers were formed in 1981 by students of the legendary clog dancer and music hall entertainer Sam Sherry, and they continue to perform traditional clog routines based on the steps of Sam Sherry and other famous clog dancers from the north of England. Each year they hold a day of dance, and in 1991 Martyn managed to get us onto the bill to play for their evening ceilidh with himself calling.
Harry Cowgill, one of the Wallopers, can be seen dancing centre left

1991 was also the year that the band changed their speakers from HH on stands to 3-way Peavey EN325 which needed to sit on the floor, and these can be seen on this and subsequent photos.

Les our drummer developed into a fine caller in his own right, and is now in demand from other bands in the northwest. From time to time the band went out with Les calling and drumming, and here he is calling with the band at the Central Plaza Hotel in Carlisle in 1992
By this time, Hugh had taken over from Steve as the main melodeon player in the band sharing the melody with Andrew on his keyboard or button accordion, and leaving Steve to concentrate on rhythm and lead guitar. At the start of 1993, Hugh upgraded his melodeon from the black Hohner Erica that he had been playing in the band to the Castagnari Tommy that he still plays, and here it is in July 1993 playing at the Parklands Country Club in the Burnside Hotel for the Windermere Festival
By 1995, Fiona Loynes (now Rigg) was starting to call occasionally with us, and Tony Farren depping on bass when Andrew couldn't make it. Also coming out with us on occasions at that time were Pete Saunders calling, and Mark Robinson on bass who taught at Ambleside Primary School alongside Fiona.
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Whoop Hall in 1996 for the wedding of David Leeman and Jo Hayhurst. In 2015 we played again for them, this time for Jo's birthday

On this photo, Iain Hunter is depping for Les

In 1997 Andrew moved down to Guildford with his work, and the band again reorganised itself, bringing in Fiona full time on keyboards and calling, and Tony Farren full time on bass and mouth harp. We were now a band with five musicians and two callers, a unique arrangement.

When we played gigs up in the Carlisle area, we would often call in Georgia Shorrock as a caller, and when in 1999 the band were asked to make a CD of dance music for Holiday Fellowship we asked Georgia to feature her trombone and sax on two tracks. The tracks on that CD are shown below -

- Lewis James Quadrille/Le Fleur de Bruyerre
- Marmalade Polka/Brass Nuts
- Bit Between the Teeth/Scampi Tales/Fiery Clockface
- Dorchester Hornpipe/Stybarrow Crag
- Bear Dance
- Woodland Flowers/Seven Stars
- Astleys Ride/Lichfield Tattoo
- Three Round Three
- My Love She's But a Lassie Yet/Jamie Allen/Davy Knick Knack
- Tower Farm/The Knott
- Double Lead Through/La Bastringue
- Banish Misfortune/HF48
- Johnny Todd/Durham Rangers
- Perfect Cure/Uncles Jig
- Sir Roger de Coverley/New Long Room at Scarborough

There have been no more major changes in the bands lineup since that time, though we occasionally play with deps when the full band isn't available. Over the years, these have included -
- Guitar - Norman Bell, Tony Kelly, Steve Parkinson
- Bass - Mark Robinson, Neil Brook
- Drums - Iain Hunter, John Whittaker, Chris Malkin

We think this was taken in 2007 in the grounds of the Netherwood Hotel.
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tumbling Tom Band 'the ceilidh roots dance band for people out there'

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Band Blog - The early days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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