Browsing Theses by Authors
Dance bands in Chester: An evolving professional networkSouthall, Helen (University of Liverpool, 2015)This thesis addresses the live music scene in Chester in the mid-20th Century, and in particular jazz-based styles of dance music, played for the most part by local musicians. The basis of the study is a set of interviews with musicians, promoters and fans who were all active in the Chester area during the period between 1925 and 2008, in settings ranging from military bands and youth clubs to resident dance hall bands, touring concert parties, summer season shows and radio broadcasts. Thirty interviews were undertaken, and along with many hours of taped conversation, these yielded over 200 photographs and other pieces of evidence In this thesis I have synthesised existing theoretical approaches from a number of fields to account for the large number of part-time dance-band musicians who were active in the Chester area, especially during World War II and in the decade that followed. Ideas from popular music studies and jazz studies were part of this framework, but were not sufficient, as both fields have historically had a tendency to concentrate on musicians and places considered to be highly significant or exceptionally influential, rather than routine and local. I have therefore turned to other disciplines in search of appropriate analytical approaches, and used ideas from geography, economics and sociology as alternative lenses through which to view the problem. In the process, I have shown that this dance band scene grew from the people and entertainment infrastructure of the previous, inter-war, period. In turn, the musicians, promoters and venues of the dance band scene, combined with changes in technology and society which fundamentally changed the economics of live entertainment, formed essential parts of the environment in which much better-known rock and pop musicians of the 1960s and 70s emerged and developed.