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I was delighted to launch this website on an auspicious date. Well, as you can see from this receipt, it was fifty years before that I bought my first guitar – for seven guineas. It was a solid-backed Italian instrument by Fratelli Indelicato. I gave it to a friend who restrung it with nylon strings. She made me very jealous of its new sound!!

 

 My Dad was a musician-turned-businessman who hocked his saxophone to raise the cash to start Vitavox Acoustics in 1931.

 

For years he kept his violins as mementos of the dance band days pictured here in 1925 when he was 22 and my Uncle Stewart, on piano, was 16.

 

They were serious musicians running four bands on Friday and Saturday from this nucleus.

 

I can’t remember if it was when I bought the guitar or the trumpet, but Dad said; “Huh, you’ll never get your money back.” He may have been right about my lack of application, but my interest has stayed the course!

 

Incidentally, my eldest son Iain (another pianist – his sons are learning, too) researching our family tree, found that our ancestor, Alexander Farquarson Young was an organ builder in Glamis, in the 19th century.

 

My middle son, Alexander (piano) took on the player piano that my Grandfather bought for my Mother and her siblings. Now his children are learning.

 

The name Stewart continues with my youngest son. He has become a fine singer/songwriter with a guitar style that is very easy on the ear.

 

My Uncle Stewart later went farming in Australia with the “middle” brother, Ernie. The eldest, Fred, played piano into his eighties but only for his own enjoyment. I expect that their sister, Tina, sang or played. I don’t know if Ernie was musical but his son, Robert is very much so and Ernie’s daughter, Margaret also loves music. She sent me this photo of The Melody Dance Band. It was quicker for her to send it by email than for me to find a copy at home!

The line-up is:

Len Young – Violin (Sax & Piano)

Stewart Young – Piano

“Digger” (McGann?) – Banjo

Bill Beresford – Drums

 

My daughters, Cara and Liz, are possibly more musical than the boys but seldom sing or play these days.

 

So, there is my plea. I can’t help it. It’s in the blood!!!

 

 

Here I am pictured in assertive pose under a copy of the oil painting, Kirton Creek, Suffolk, 1932

By Bertram Priestman RA – featuring the mysterious wreck that inspired the ballad Kirton Creek

 

At fourteen, I was fortunate to be sent to Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood where music of every type was encouraged. An infamous “Old Boy” was the jazz trumpeter Mick Mulligan.

I was no scholar but I did play trumpet in the jazz band and guitar in the skiffle group. Jazz led me to skiffle and that introduced me to Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Jesse Fuller and many others. I went for an audition on trumpet in a traditional jazz band and was advised to choose between that and the guitar. The pressures of running a business and raising a family saved me from that choice.

 

Fast forward thirty odd years and, all at the same time, my youngest left school, the century turned and I met Avril, who got me back into the folk music scene at the Tudor Folk Club in Chesham and, eventually, lured me to a more spiritual life in Norfolk.

 

In addition to the members’ superb musical talent, the Tudor hosted the likes of Mike Silver, Huw Williams, Dave Gibb and many others and gave me my first taste of contemporary folk music.

 

I had composed some melodies, but this started me writing lyrics. After moving to Diss, we soon found the Waveney Folk Club in Lowestoft and it was there that I heard the Australian, Bernard Carney. This further fuelled the drive to write my own material.

 

 

Without really noticing it, I started to take an interest in local history, not just from the past, but history in the making. However, by far the biggest influence is one that is difficult to explain.

 We often hear the old phrase; “I’ll do it when the spirit moves me”. Well that is what seems to happen to me as far as writing is concerned. And not just with writing…

 

On Thursday,1st February 2007, Avril was driving me past the BT building at Martlesham Heath, on the A12. I wanted to get some more photos of the Orwell Bridge and the BT tower for an Article on Just the Mile, my song about the telecoms engineer who beats clinical depression, caused by redundancy from BT, and becomes an AA patrol man.

I snapped this shot of the tower through the open window of the car as we drove along. We had a shock when we down-loaded the picture.

There, smack in front of the BT building was an AA truck that had been driving in the opposite direction. If that was not a kick in the pants to get on and publish my songs… I don’t know what is!!!

 

 

 

Someone asked: Who is Avril, this mysterious person who takes such fabulous photos? Well, here she is, in front of the camera for a change, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Kyrenia (Girge, in Turkish) mountain range in Northern Cyprus in September 2007. (See the song, Esentepe)

We were married on 11th October 2003 at the Caduceus Centre in the village of Shelfanger, in Norfolk, where we qualified as healers and continue to develop our spiritual awareness. You can understand why I empathise with Don’s Uncle Frank who, at the age of sixty, in the true story of my song, found Nora, and: Together, their sweetest years they knew.

 

 

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