Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2001


People who get a ticket for Doris and the Dinner Ladies opening show of the festival may not know it but what they are seeing is a band made up of members of a wide range of music ensembles based in the North of England.

Shirle Janes (Doris)

The core of the Bloody Big Soul Band is local R & B legends "Mean Business"; eight members of the band including all seven "Dinnerladies" are, or have been, members of "Cragg Vale Gamelan", and there are representatives of blues band "Let’s Hear it for those Chickens", the fabulous "Peace Artistes", "Tongue & Groove", "The Rough Mix", "The Fusion Club" brand new female singing group "Different 4 Girls" and of course the inimitable "Owter Zeds".

Behind the scenes a lot of hard work goes into the preparations for each performance. When new numbers are planned Musical Director and keyboard player Dave Nelson meets with singer Shirle Janes (Doris) to sift through the possibilities and then Dave sits down at his computer to work out arrangements for all 17 instrumentalists in the band.

Meanwhile head Dinnerlady Mary Smol creates harmonies for the backing vocalists who are joined by Shirle for regular rehearsals in the weeks leading up to each performance. A couple of weeks before the gigs Dave will run a ‘back line’ rehearsal with Graham Packham (bass), Frank McCaig (guitar) and Mark ‘Chilli’ Chillington on drums. Separate rehearsals may also be held for the massed ranks for horn players and then finally the whole band gets together once or twice to run through the entire set.

"Given how busy everyone is, it’s a minor miracle every time we perform together!" says Dave Nelson.

What you get is a big, big sound and the spectacle of 24 performers having a ball whilst delivering some of the best and most danceable Soul and Tamla Motown songs of the Sixties and Seventies.

"We are delighted that Owter Zeds have agreed to open the show again. Their set was extremely received at Christmas and they got everyone up and dancing".

Thanks to sponsors Sweet & Maxwell Ltd.
Friday June 15, 8.00
Hebden Bridge Picture House