Page 1



with the


Jazz Guitar

Newsletter No.21

This week it’s all about Skiffle! Skiffle originated from the US in the first half of the 20th century and became popular in the UK in the 50s. It is known for its use of homemade instruments such as the washboard, jugs, cigar-box fiddle and musical saw, as well as more conventional instruments such as acoustic guitar and banjo. It played a major part in launching the careers of rock musicians, including John Lennon, who started with the skiffle group The Quarrymen, in 1956. The skiffle craze was led by the likes of Lonnie Donegan, Ken Colyer, The Chas McDevitt Group, Johnny Duncan, The Vipers, and The City Ramblers Skiffle Group, which featured Ken’s long-time friend Jimmie Macgregor. The craze reached its height with the BBC TV programme Six-Five Special in 1957. It was the first British youth music programme and used a skiffle song as its title music. The lead guitar on this track is none other than Ken Sykora – ‘making train noises’ as Dougal explained. Ken was later replaced by Vic Flick, who became famous for playing the guitar riff on the "James Bond Theme"! Ken’s Archive But this is not Ken’s only flirt with Skiffle music. He played with the Bob Cort Skiffle group, notably performing at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 1957. There are not many items in Ken’s archive regarding his skiffle career. According to his diaries he gigged often with Bob Cort and performed on the BBC’s Saturday Club. Bob Cort, in turn, was a frequent guest of Ken’s on Guitar Club. Ken’s most significant skiffle contribution is the album “Ain’t it a Shame’ to Sing Skiffle on a Sunday”, where Ken features on many tracks. His interpretation of “Bouncin’ Around” showcases his great ability on the guitar. You can still buy this album, but if a whole LP of skiffle is just too much of a good thing, why not wait for the soundtrack of the film, where it will feature. Curious about Skiffle? Why not dip your toe with a Skiffle Special on the Ken Sykora Radio Station and check some memorabilia on Flickr. Since it’s apparently “a shame to sing Skiffle on a Sunday’’, we’ll instead upload a Serendipity with Sykora, not about Bob, but all about ‘Bill’ (well part 1 of Bill, as part 2 seems to be missing from the archive). Featuring artists from Cleo Laine to Count Basie, it’s a mix of songs all linked by the name Bill. Surely only Ken could manage that! Look out for it this Sunday. KS

Last week, you may recall, we announced that ‘barring any major catastrophes, we should have a finished film…Well we don’t. Our sound mixer fell ill, so the mix has been delayed. It should all be finished by next week. Famous last words!? See you next week, Linda and Marc

If you do not wish to receive the newsletter, please unsubscribe to

© Five Feet Films Ltd 2012

Newsletter 21  

Weekly newsletter for the documentary The Man with the Jazz Guitar, a film about jazz guitarist and radio broadcaster Ken Sykora

Newsletter 21  

Weekly newsletter for the documentary The Man with the Jazz Guitar, a film about jazz guitarist and radio broadcaster Ken Sykora