Sidmouth residents taken back with old records

Andy Webb with his records at Sidmouth Memory Cafe

Andy Webb with his records at Sidmouth Memory Cafe - Credit: Archant

The years rolled back to the days of the wireless as they listened, heads nodding, fingers tapping, to those familiar songs of long ago, writes Kingsley Squire.

“Isn’t it lovely to hear this again,” someone said as Andy Webb gently lowered the needle onto the vinyl of the record spinning on the turntable of the wind-up His Master’s Voice gramophone.

Here, from a fondly-remembered distant past, was Arthur Askey singing the song that made him famous, namely The Bee Song with the opening lines ‘Oh, what a wonderful thing to be, A healthy grown up busy, busy bee …’

So began a nostalgic afternoon for members of the Sid Valley Memory Café as Mr Webb, on behalf of Sidmouth Rotary Club, took them on a musical journey back to the good old days, spinning just a selection of favourites from his sizable collection of old 78 rpm records

Every now and again he was obliged to give the old gramophone, watched over by Nipper the dog, a quick rewind as the tempo slowed and slowed and slowed to off-key as it ran out of spin.

We heard George Formby’s Leaning on a lamp post, Fred Astaire’s Dancing cheek to cheek and Bing Crosby singing Try a little tenderness.

Those fingers were soon tapping again to the BBC Dance Orchestra directed by Henry Hall, Jack Hylton and His Orchestra playing The Umbrella Man with Flanagan and Allen from These Foolish Things while The Teddy Bears’ Picnic prompted quite a singalong from café members.

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This, indeed, was a much enjoyed exercise in reminiscence therapy for sufferers of memory loss. It showed those favourite songs of yesteryear, recorded long before Elvis and rock ‘n roll changed the global face of popular music, have stood the test of time, still remembered, never forgotten.

No wonder Andy was invited back for a repeat performance!

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