A Stomping Donation
Henry Gardiner: A Musical Postscript by Tony Wright
Henry Gardiner, who came to Moseley Grammar School at the outbreak of the war in autumn 1939, died in September 2011. Soon after his death I discovered that four recordings of the "Levee Ramblers" on Tempo 78's had been re-released by two independent companies amongst a collection of early recordings of now famous bands. Former Moseleian Ray Nicholas, a friend of Henry's, had two and I the other two. We copied these four tracks which were recorded at Sheffield Jazz Club in 1949 on to a CD and these were sent to interested parties. Then suddenly, a chance telephone conversation with Jean Gardiner revealed the existence of a further eight 78's of Henry's music that had been left in a cupboard for many years. Upon inspection they were in a sorry state scratched and dented and without sleeves. The most interesting fact was that I discovered that some of these had been recorded in 1948 prior to the later Tempo 78's. Some were by Ray Foxley's Band but of the 16 tracks seven were by Henry's own band the "Tailgate Ramblers". In the band was his school friend Tony Gibbons and the well known Birmingham trumpeter Ken Ingram on cornet.
The recordings were made by "Hollick & Taylor" from Handsworth who also produced Hammond Organ LP,'s on the Grosvenor Label. I set about cleaning the records with Fairy liquid and warm water and although there were still a few bumps and scratches we produced a further 16 tracks of Henry's music which now completes his entire recorded output.
If anyone ever saw either of these bands, in those days, I would be very interested in hearing from you. I have already contacted a person in Kent whose father took him to see the Ray Foxley Band at Wednesbury Town Hall in 1950 and who advertised for information in the Jazz Journal Publication.
My only regret is not having done this earlier while Henry was still with us. This record is now in the Moseleians school archive.