When we were young
A night at Conwy Folk Club with "Peter Chadwick" who wishes to remain anonymous
nd it came to pass in the year 2002, that the beautiful Heather Earl bought her Husband Jim a Banjo for Christmas, little did she know, that this one act would have an environmental impact and serious repercussions on many other people.
Jim decided that to learn to play the Banjo he needed a teacher, so along he went to the local "Bluegrass Club" that had meetings at "The Bull Public House" in Abergele, this is where he met Stuart Williams and Glyn Jones, Stuart run the Bluegrass Club, but he also gave individual lessons on "Banjo", "Guitar", "Fiddle" and "Mandolin", Glyn had also started to learn the Banjo.
After a brief period the Blue Grass Club changed venue's and went to the British Legion Club in Abergele, this is where Jim and Glyn met Brian Armitage, who was learning the Guitar, after a few weeks, Jim, Glyn and Brian decided that they wanted to practice more as a group, so they began meeting at the Territorial Army Unit in Colwyn Bay, where Jim was working for the Army (Jim being a Captain), they were later joined by Peter Barnes who played Guitar and later still Ed Thompson on Guitar, so there were now two Banjo's and three Guitar's, whilst playing at the Army centre they were heard by a friend who had seen the film " Oh Brother Where Art Thou" likened their playing to the " Soggy Bottom Boys" who were featured in the film, and the name has stuck.
Later they invited Peter Chadwick to join them, Peter was also a member of the Bluegrass Club, a few Months later Peter Barnes left the group as there were many other things going on in his life, the Soggy Bottom Boys were now five, two Banjo's and three Guitar's, later Vincent Mehlin was asked to join, from that time which was late 2004, the Band has gone from strength to strength, we have now diversified with instruments, and now include Ukelele and Dojo, and have a repertoire of over 100 songs, plus Christmas Carol's.
We have Monthly sessions with Stuart Williams who arranges songs for the band, we originally played mostly "Bluegrass" songs, but now we play songs across the board, old, new and in between, so our repertoire is completely varied.
Ed Thompson has recently retired from the Soggies to spend more time with his family, so there are now five of us, we are all over 65 / 70, and are really enjoying this phase in our lives, we play at various venue's including local Care Homes, Adult Centre's, Club's, Hotel's and other institutions and organisations in the local area.
Glyn Jones has recently decided to leave the Band, (Date :- 01.2012) so there are now four of us, Jim, Peter, Brian, and Vincent, we all play various instruments, which include :- Guitar's, Banjo's, Dojo, Ululele, Bodhran, Tambourine, etc.
All the money that is donated to our show's is channelled to the various charities that we support, these can be seen on our accounts page.
All the members of the band get a lot of satisfaction from playing, and all of the hard work that we put in to perfect our act is very worth while, especially when we see the pleasure on the faces of our audience, we feel that we are in the position to help people less fortunate than we are.
Unfortunately due to many factors Glyn has decided to leave the Band, so we are now down to four players, but we are carrying on, and trying to diversify our music, here we are at a Gig that we did recently at the "Home for the Blind" in Llandudno.
Update for the year 2013:-
We are having a great year at the moment, playing at many Venue's around North Wales, to date, in the 9 / 10 years that we have been performing we have raised approximately 25,000 Pounds all of which has all gone to various charities, (these charities can be viewed in our Accounts Page's on this Web Site, starting at 2009, but we were distributing our donations long before this).
For this year, we have distributed approximately 2,800 pounds to various charities, and we have received many letters of thanks, all of the money that we get in donations is saved up for a year and then we decide where the money should go, if you look at "Accounts Page 2013" you will see this years contributions to the various charities.
Our Monthly sessions with Stuart Williams has been put on hold at the moment because Stu was not very well, but is progressing.
At the moment we are trying to complete our third CD, we hope it will be sale before Christmas.
Watch this space, more updates to come.
Long may we continue playing.