ARTICLES about Weymouth's heyday of bands wouldn't be complete without mention of musician Peter Price.

The former airman turned trumpeter and magician, contacted Looking Back to share memories of his jam-packed career in entertainment.

Peter says his favourite songs to sing were always those by Scott Walker and, appropriately, regales me with a recording of him singing a cover of Scott Walker's Joanna.

Those mellifluous tones could almost be Walker himself singing the track and as Peter wistfully reminisces about his musical career, it is obvious that this was his life's passion.

As a 15-year-old, we can see Peter singing along with a group of evacuees from London in 1940 during the Second World War. They stayed at his home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth, which is now the Co-Op funeral parlour.

Peter said: "You can see my mother Grace May Price in the photo and my sister is playing the piano. I'm stood at the back singing along. I loved all of it - playing the trumpet and singing."

As a young man Peter was in the fire service, he got called up and had to leave his apprenticeship and join the RAF.

He later went on to become a hairdresser and taught himself how to play the trumpet.

Peter particularly loved performing in the Sidney Hall in Weymouth (where Asda is now) with his big band.

"In those days we never had a lot of punch ups like they have now. People would go out and enjoy the dancing and have a good night out. All the time I was in showbusiness there was never any trouble."

Entertaining holidaymakers became regular work for Peter and he would travel the world on cruise ships and also performed at holidays camps like this Pontins camp in the photograph at Bracklesham in Chichester.

He said: "When I was on the cruise ships I would go to Cape Town and Durban. I used to take my trumpet ashore and go to a jazz bar.

"I love to perform Louis Armstrong songs and would sing a bit like Louis. I always used to think 'do it for yourself, don't do it for anybody else.'

"I was 30 when I started my own band. I would be a hairdresser by day, then play with the band by night. I'd rush home and put my shoes on and my dinner jacket and would play with my band until 1am or 2am."

Aged 25, as seen in the photo, Peter lived in St Alban's Street in Weymouth.

There were many Weymouth venues where Peter would enjoy performing with his big band, among them Sandsfoot Castle, Greenhill Gardens and the now demolished Pier Bandstand. In this photo you can see Peter and the band performing at the Pier Bandstand, with Peter on the left.

Among the more unusual places Peter has performed is on a paddle steamer called the Embassy, which would sail from Portland harbour to Lulworth Cove. He also played at the Moonfleet Manor Hotel in 1962

"I was very ambitions," Peter said. "I would think 'I want to run my own band. In those days the opportunities were never there, you had to be in London to get anywhere.

"We played in Weymouth and Portland a lot and loved playing in the pier bandstand. People would dance on the concrete in front of us. We all lived in Wyke Regis and the band was called the Wyke Silver band."

Peter wasn't the only family member who loved being in the spotlight - his daughter Angie Bennett is a Tina Turner impersonator and his son David plays the guitar and sings pop songs.

His late wife Jean would help him with his magic act.

"She was a quiet girl from Huddersfield and I used to saw her in half on the stage," Peter said.

"Jean would go on the stage and introduce me. We were lucky because we got on so well together."

Thanks to Peter for sharing these wonderful memories.


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