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ACE OF CLUBS DANCE BAND, THE

Last updated: 09-01-2015

Guest Vocals: Clarence Pye aka Larry Pye / Beryl Bryden

Piano: Roy Copping (2)Percy Cawston

Guitar: Fred Ward (2)Ray Feake

Accordian: Bernard Woolsey

Trumpet: Donny Mixer (2)Jim Briggs

Drums: Johnny Arnold (2)Albert Redgrave (3)Jeff Groombridge

 

Although not obvious the Ace Of Clubs Dance Band were one of the first contemporary bands around Norwich. They played and embraced all styles old and new.

 

The original line-up of the group consisted of Woolsey, Cawston and Arnold. Arnold had been a member of Hempnall band The Masked Trio in the early thirties but recalls seeing Bernard & [info required] perform at his [venue required] In 1938, it was then that Johnny joined the group. WWII split the group who then reunited in 1946 and became The Ace Of Clubs. The group remained this way until joined by Fred Ward in 1951 at first Fred would play for free as a guest but after a few months of gigging constantly joined the group full time. "We always had guest singers and players come up to do numbers" said Fred "We had a residency at The Cottage on Thorpe Road. If people knew that Beryl Bryden was putting in an appearence the car park would be packed at 5,o,clock. Those were really memorable nights, she used to do a version of Peggy Lee's, Fever and everybody loved it." Other great local names to stand in for the band were Mick Large and Larry Pye would always come and do a handful of numbers.

Musicians such as guitarist Pete Leonard of The Starbeats & then later The Falcons state “I wanted to play like Fred Ward, he could play anything and made it look so easy."

The groups official title was The Ace Of Clubs Dance Band, but was more often than not shortened to The Aces or as it was for a while The Aces Quartet. The Aces played host to many performers during their reign, but there is no disputing between the remaining members that it was the brain child of the late Bernard Wolsey, who formed the band and organised all its gigs right up until his tragic death in 1967.

Fred ward left in [date required] and joined The Roger Cooke Trio.

 

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From here the story becomes unclear. Musician Chic Randall joins the band but soon after the band splits in two with Chic forming The Chic Randal Band with Mixer & Briggs. Under the new musical guidance of group guitarist Ray Feake the rest of the band officially became The Aces and then in [date required] The Anglian Aces.

 

(Feake - Ray-Mel Green Trio) <> The Ace Of Clubs Dance Band