The Top 10 Most Odd and Weird Brass Band Names of all Time
What's in a name eh? There are we are sure thousands of you out there who
were christened with names that when you were 13 years of age you thought were
a curse from Satan himself and were deliberately chosen by your parents to induce
the maximum amount of embarrassment every time a teacher called it out at registration.
For the most part you tend to get to love them and cherish them and so
by the time you yourselves reach the parenting age you can also pass on the discomfort
to your new born safe in the knowledge they too will have to go through the whole
grisly process of having the piss taken out of them for being called Claude or
Percy or Ethel or Doris. The same goes for bands.
a cursory glance at the line-ups at last years Regional Championships saw bands
named after a Clog manufacturer, someone with a beehive in the name, a band of
"Comrades", one named after a chocolate manufacturer and another after
a famous North East pint of beer.
So, we've gone through our extensive
historic records and come up with ten names of bands we think had the best names
in the business. All of them competed and all were real. If you've got any better
suggestions lets us know. The only criteria are that they must have been proper
bands. Hope you enjoy.
Number 1: Workington Analine.
The year was
1885 and the lads from Cumbria came down to the Open to compete. Drawn 21 and
conducted by W. Williams they came nowhere and returned to their town and their
rather dubious employment, never to be heard of again. Was there a factory making
Victorian suppositories we wonder? The mind boggles.
A more recent band this and one that competed at
the 1961 and 1964 National Finals conducted on both occasions by a gentleman by
the name of A. G. Lloyd. Came nowhere and returned we think back to the Bristol
area where today there stands an Ikea Store. Progress eh?
3: Dick Kerr English Electrical Works.
Heck of a name for a
band and one that was conducted by William Halliwell no less at the 1919 British
Open. The next couple of years also saw them compete (without success) under the
shortened title Dick Kerr's. Why the apostrophe we know not why, and anyway what
electrical appliance would carry the moniker on it? Oeh erh?
Number 4: Workington Discharged Sailors.
again, only this time a group of jolly seamen playing at the 1923 British Open
off a number 6 draw conducted by the aptly named J. Fisher. Came nowhere and were
never seen again. What on earth were they discharged from, and why in Workington?
They would have been better off conducted by Captain Birdseye.
Number 5: Talk o' th' Hill.
Where the hell
these lads were from we may never know. Perhaps they were the 1871 copycat version
of the slightly more famous Besses O' Th' Barn we don't know, but after being
drawn number 5 at the British Open they didn't make any impression and were certainly
not the "Talk of the Town" let alone "Talk o' th' Hill".
Number 6: Dove Holes Public.
Strange one this.
Don't know if it was a name of a company (making holes for doves we presume) or
the name of a town or village, but they certainly competed at the highest level
and played at the 1928 Open under the famous J. A. Greenwood and stayed in the
contest until the outbreak of the Second World War, when we assume the demand
for holes for doves fell and they were never heard of again.
Number 7: Preston United Independent Harmonic Brass Band.
never at the top echelons of the Victorian banding tree (perhaps the contest promoters
didn't have enough space on the programmes to fit them in), they were around the
Lancashire area charging 8 shillings and sixpence per man to play at the annual
dinner of some Preston big wig in 1838. They also charged £4-5-0 for "meat
and drink" for the players to quench their hunger and thirst after the job.
Some things never change.
Number 8: Tooth's Brewery Band.
Just to prove
our antipodean friends don't hold the monopoly on silly names, this Australian
outfit were formed in 1927 and had all their instruments paid for by the brewery.
They paid their players an annual "dividend" of £5.00, but lost
most of them in it's short life to other bands (due to the travelling to contests
all over the country) and a few to the demon drink itself.
Number 9: Halifax Home Guard.
Images of Captain
Mainwaring, Corporal Jones, Private Pike and Seargent Wilson spring to mind with
this brave collection of assorted OAP's, ill and disabled, youngsters and general
misfits who made up Home Guard units all over the country in the Second World
War. Halifax were by no means alone and they played at the 1944 Open without success
under T. Casson. They of course had other things on their minds and went home
to fight the Germans - Stupid Boy.
Number 10: Perfection Soap Works.
most successful of all the bands we have named and a band and company that reflected
very much its era. There was a market out there for soap in the 1920's and Perfection
as well as Gossages had bands. There were lots of dirty and smelly working class
urchins and waifs and families in need of a good scrub and so the soap works did
a roaring trade. Perfection came 3rd at the Open in 1908 and fourth three years
in a row after and kept going until the mid 1920's when the soap industry went
up in bubbles.
That's our list then. Can you get a better lot together? Remember they have to
be real bands and not made up names (honest ours were all real). If you can, then
let us know. The best will get a mention.