Dynamic Delaney

Discussion in 'theMouthPiece.com User Reviews' started by TIMBONE, Jan 11, 2008.


    TIMBONE Active Member

    by Eddie Sammons

    Reviewed by Tim Paton​
    Who is Eric Delaney? If you were around in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it is unlikely that you will not have at least heard of the famous drummer and showman who would come to be known as Dynamic Delaney, in fact, some of you may even still have an original vinyl record or two of his band. Although it has been said on more than one occasion that he is the greatest jazz big band drummer to come out of Britain, not so many of the younger generation know who he is. Eddie Sammons has made a major contribution to ending this.

    Eddie Sammons, a British author who lives in Spain, is also a great fan and expert on all things jazz and big band. In 1997, he caught wind of the fact that Delaney had moved to play a residency in Benidorm. Delaney’s time on the Costa Blanca became much longer than might have been expected, so as time passed, Sammons took the plunge of approaching Delaney about an article for a jazz magazine which soon evolved into a book.

    If you have seen Delaney on stage, you will have witnessed a remarkable, explosive character, a showman through and through. It might surprise you to know that offstage, he is a very private person, and the last thing he would want is a biography which followed the usual format, which would include lots of private details about his life, and a tabloid style attempt to analyse his personality. Delaney is and always has been focussed on one thing, being a drummer, his mother could see this before little Eric was even taking his first steps!

    This book is described as bits and pieces from the life of a living legend as told to and assembled by Eddie Sammons. It is very much a well put together scrap book, and the first part of the book maps out what Delaney has done from the time he was born in 1924 to the present day. Pages and pages of fascinating information and illustrations. This includes stories about how Delaney lost the top part of the middle finger on his left hand only weeks before the debut of his own band. What about his famous revolving drum platform sticking. He knows what to do to get noticed, that’s why he paid New Musical Express to do a front page feature on him in 1955. Do you remember Woolworth’s own Embassy record label?, the same company that produced this label also issued his self funded recordings on the Mercury label. It is interesting that Delaney’s band did not follow the traditional big band line up, five trumpets instead of four, four saxes instead of five, and no trombones. Don’t times change, in 1956, one of his singers was Dean Raymond, who also played for Arsenal!

    Delaney’s band has been resident as far as the Bahamas and as close as Blackpool. You may have seen him in Working Mens’ Clubs or Butlins, a major concert hall or Pontins. Brass Band enthusiasts may even have seen him with Blackpool Brass at their thirtieth anniversary concert in 1995.

    This book also contains articles written by Delaney, including a very interesting one from the fifties about this new music called Rock’n’Roll. There is a section with tributes and anecdotes from his friends and family. There is also a fascinating section with contributions from those who have worked with or been influenced by Delaney. These include well known artistes like Kenny Ball, Elkie Brooks and the late Don Lusher, and there are some less well known, like me for example!

    Eric Delaney, nearly 84, and still performing. It was not that long ago that I saw him at the Bridgwater Hall in Manchester with Rae McVae and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, doing a thirty minute feature. He still features at the famous Wigan Jazz Festival with the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra. Keep an eye out for him, well worth seeing, and if you want to read about him, here are the details.

    Upfront Publishing Ltd
    Price £11.99
    Available from Amazon.co.uk

    & from bookshops​
    ISBN 978184426430-8​
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Out of interest, where is Eric Delaney living about ... or where before?

    TIMBONE Active Member

    He is living in London somewhere, but you never know where he will crop up, as he still does guest appearances here there and everywhere. Eddie Sammons (author of the book) told me last week that Eric went for dinner with him, and that's in Gandia, Spain!
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - reason I asked was maybe just coincidence ... the old guard in Glasgow & Edinburgh's jazz scene possibly mentioned his name more than once.
  5. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I had the great pleasure of having a drink with Eric on several occasions when I was doing Summer Seasons in Blackpool in the 1980's.
    What a quiet unassuming man, no "Edge" on him at all, and a tremendously talented artist.
    He was one of the really big Blackpool "Stars" for many years.
    Funnily enough, he featured on a re run of the 1950/60's pop show "6-5 Special" on BBC4 last Thursday night.
    - Wilkie

    TIMBONE Active Member

    :rolleyes: I would have liked to have seen that, I will have to see if it is on 'catch up' tv.
  7. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    He once stayed in our house overnight after he and his band had done a gig for the Gypsy motoring club that my mum and dad were involved with.

    I didn't have a clue who he was at the time, but I do remember the huge purple wagon with his name splashed down the side of it in gold sparkley writing parked outside the house.

    Knowing now how big he used to be I'm utterly amazed that he stayed with us. My mum and dad must have been equally utterly amazed when he accepted the offer!!
  8. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    I saw him recently perform with the Glenn Miller Orchestra at the Sage. To be honest I was rather non-plussed by his feature which in my opinion was a lot of bluster and a showmanship more than anything else. The old biddies who made up 95% of the audience liked him though. I guess he must be the type of the performer from a previous generation who no longer appeals to today's 24 year olds... In the same way the slapstick and obvious comedy of Ken Dodd and Morecambe and Wise doesn't appeal to me.

    Came to the conclusion that he was a slightly potty old man who could well do with retiring, although of course his previous accomplishments stand up on their own merits.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    2nd man down - here is something from the book, a contribution from Norman Thewlis, a Theatrical and entertainments manager:
    "To save money he used to sleep in the venues...even when he was sixty, he was sleeping on benches in clubs after the gigs".
    Well, he is a cockney ;)

    geordiecolin - I can see where you are coming from having not seen him in his prime. I suppose when you are nearly eighty four, playing a set of four timps and a very large kit, and switching from one to the other, will not have quite the same panache as it used to, but he's still good.
  10. weenie

    weenie Member

    I first saw Eric at Blackpool Tower in 1988 when he had his 'Big Little Band' as resident band there. I'd never seen anything like it in my life and probably never will again. A great percussionist, I still can't believe that he's still going at the age he is, so good on him!! I remember managing to get a pic with him and an autograph and I think my old man bought him a pint at the bar in the ballroom. Most unassuming and a true gent.......would love to see him again!
  11. Timpking

    Timpking Member

    Great to see Eric is still performing.

    I remember seeing his show when I was about 10 or 11 and sitting on the front row of the theatre he was performing in. I was amazed at his showmanship and abilty to go from kit to timps then run to a xylophone and finally throw a beater at the tam tam and set an indoor firework off! I managed to get a signed poster of him which I still own. Would recommend that any young or old percussionist to his show.
  12. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Having worked for Norman Thewlis for ten years myself, I suspect Eric probably couldn't afford a bed after paying Norman 20% Agents Commission + VAT on every gig !!
    - Wilkie

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