Arthur Marshall

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Dance Bands

I started running ceilidh and barn dance bands about thirty years ago - the Fiddle Band was the first one, growing out of a Christmas party night at a folk club on the Wirral.  People seemed to enjoy dancing and the noises we made, so after about forty personnel changes it ended up playing for fifteen years before breaking up in circumstances that my notorious sense of tact forbids me to describe….


Be that as it may, I carried on calling dances and formed the Titanic Disaster Band, so called partly because it went down well (and partly due to the way the previous band imploded!), and that carried on for many years until I moved away from the Wirral.


After a while of being a freelance caller for several Cheshire bands, I formed the Lifeboat Band - well, it had some refugees from the Titanic on it, so I thought it was apt… this was a three piece group, playing mostly for smaller venues who couldn’t afford five or six hundred quid for a full six piece band.


Gradually, as time went on, this was replaced by the Irish band Kiss the Blarney, also a three piece, and while the Lifeboat is occasionally floated for friends, most of the dances we now do are played by the Blarney as part of our regular working week.  We can also sing the odd song if the dancers appear to be flagging, which gives them a rest and us a chance to show off…


We’ve played dances for everything from weddings to birthdays to office parties - it’s all good entertainment and, while we take the music and the history of the dances seriously enough, we don’t expect anyone else to notice!


The trick is to have a good time, and that’s the way we play it…