All that jazz…

This picture is so much of the period. Some great hair… and dig those flares! Picture supplied by Ian.

When Peter Barker approached me the other day with his found recording of jazz at the Crown in the 1970’s, I found it interesting, but wasn’t sure how the readership would take to it. I needn’t have worried, as reaction to the whole thing has been great. I love hearing the recollections of the time, there’s something clearly very special about what was going on there, the musicianship and professionalism of the players is plain to hear, even to those who may not know the music involved.

Ian, grandson of Fred Degville, got in touch via the comments on the last post and said the following:

I’ve got a great big lump in my throat and am incredibly proud of my Grandad Fred, Nan Trude, and Uncle Paul, not to forget my late, wonderful mom’s voice.

Thank you so much.

Nan and Grandad ran the Crown until a barmaid ran off with the takings, then they took on the Greenacres club in Aldridge. Grandad died in 1979 from cancer, it had ravaged him. He was a very, very lovely man. Nan passed away in 1988, and mom in 1998. Uncle Paul is down in Herefordshire now, still gigging and as brilliant as ever. He has tons of videos from back in the day. I’ve a photo I’d like to add, please Bob…

Well, Ian sent me an email this afternoon with the above picture: isn’t it a brilliant period piece? These were clearly musicians having a great time playing music that they loved.

Ian added:

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for the post today, it brought my family back to life. I have just come off the phone to my Uncle Paul, who was also thrilled. Hopefully he’ll be in touch too with some more memories.

Please see attached the photo I mentioned. Uncle Paul is in the middle with 70s hair, and Granddad on the end in 70s sandals (he always wore them!).

Your wonderful site has led to a little family reunion too, so many thanks for that. Keep posting those great stories mate!

Cheers and thanks again,


I’d like to thank Ian for this wonderful addition to the story. This has been a really touching thing, and I’d again like to pay tribute to the generosity of Peter Barker in making the recordings and handing them to me to post. I welcome anything else Ian or any jazz fans who remember this scene would like to add. I really had no idea that this was going on in Brownhills at that time.

Some weeks, when I look back at what I’ve posted on the blog, I can hardly believe where the stories came from. I think this is going to be one of these weeks. To do this is such a pleasure. Thanks.

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  • David Evans

    HI Bob
    what a super photo…I like the accoustic guitar especially. Your readers may like to google Phil Souster to see and hear one of the present-day local troubadours. I have a feeling that there is so much more music going on locally..just needs to be known a bit better, perhaps. A lovely post. Many thanks, Bob.

  • Ian

    I should add that Grandad taught Noddy Holder how to play the guitar! As Noddy’s bouncer said to me once “so it’s his bloody fault!” 🙂

  • Drumboy

    Only just came across website.Didn`t know Paul had passed away.First saw Fred and Paul at the Wheatsheaf in mid 1960`s. I would have been17 yrs old ! Great music,what talents they were. Visited The Crown also in later years, am in my 70`s now ! I think Paul must have been about 17 when he started at the Wheatsheaf . I myself play piano and drums [ not too bad ! ] What times they were. Happy days ! ! Regards, Rob.

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