Mearns Ladies Probus

Meeting held on Wednesday May 21 at 10am in the Community Centre, Laurencekirk

The President, Mrs Mavis Cowie, welcomed 33 members to the May meeting and introduced Mr Malcolm McCoig whose talk was about “Jazz and Blues“.

Malcolm started by playing a recording of Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock and also one of Louis Armstrong’s classic tunes and gave some background to each artist and their musical careers. These songs were enjoyed by the ladies, judging by the foot and finger tapping around the room. One or two even seemed to remember the words as well!

Malcolm’s interest in jazz and blues started when he was a teenager in the 1950’s growing up in Greenock. Frankie Lane was a big influence. At this period of time there was a huge upsurge in skiffle groups and in particular Lonnie Donegan caught the interest of a lot of youngsters at that time. One of his notable tracks which Malcolm let the meeting hear was a fast-tempo version of Huddie Ledbetter’s (better known as Lead Belly) Rock Island Line. Lonnie was born in Glasgow, the son of a Scottish Orchestra musician. He played the banjo in Chris Barber’s jazz band, a very successful band of its time. Malcolm too was part of the “band scene“, playing in local jazz bands for many years.

Women too have had a place in Jazz and Blues and songs were played featuring artists like Bessie White and Billie Holliday.

Malcolm concluded his talk by indicating that Jazz and Blues is still popular today and up and coming new talent like Paolo Nutini from Paisley is keeping it alive.

Mrs Williamson thanked Malcolm for a most educating and entertaining journey through Jazz.