There is a common misapprehension that the only music the elderly enjoy is of the “Daisy Daisy” variety forgetting perhaps that today’s generation of 70 and 80-year olds were not raised listening to music hall and Marie Lloyd but Johnny Ray, Tommy Steele and Skiffle. Today’s Grey Panthers were yesterday’s Teddy Boys and Dungaree Dolls and in their hearts they still are. They were the teenage trailblazers of the 1950s bopping along to the latest hits in coffee bars, jazz clubs and dance halls like Eel Pie Island. They were the ‘café racers’ trying the ton along the North Circular on their Nortons and Triumphs. They were the rock chicks with beehive hair and sugar starched petticoats who said they might but never did! Now they are a generation whose heritage has been forgotten.
‘Mama Don’t Allow’ hasn’t forgotten. These three veteran ex-skifflers have dug out their guitars, banjos and washboards to revive once again the skiffle music of the 1950’s. They play free of charge for any gathering of older boppers, talking about the history of skiffle and how it started on the River Crane, playing hits of the time and even handing out instruments to create instant pop-up groups. Their missionary work has taken them across the entire district from Barnes and Putney in the east to Teddington and Whitton in the west. They’ve even got a light show of images from the 50’s.
If you know of any former Teddy Boys and Dungaree Dolls who might appreciate another dive into the Skiffle Cellar just ring Mama on 0208 892 5211. It won’t cost you a penny!
BY THE WAY… ‘Mama Don’t Allow’ happen to be looking for a tea chest bass player - old farts of any age or gender are particularly welcome. Experience is not important. Enthusiasm is!
The Vipers Skiffle Group playing ‘Pick A Bale of Cotton’ in 1957 to the grandparents of today!
– from Martyn Day