jabw_vintage/report no. 35

Let Us Tell You About.....

Jim Bellamy, tuba, sousaphone and string bass player with British orchestras and dance bands

this page first published by John Wright, 9 January 2004
last updated 21 March 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk
I'm always delighted to hear from family of our great musicians and I was most interested to hear from Burl Bellamy and Stella Lambert (nee Bellamy).

Burl bellamy wrote: I came across your site while looking for information on Jim Bellamy and the Savoy Orpheans, with whom he played sousaphone and string bass. 'Jim' Walter James Bellamy, was my grandfather's brother. He was born in Kettering, Northants, to Henry and Mary Ann Bellamy on Sept 19 1875. He married Edith Tomlinson, also of Kettering, on Sept 27 1899. They lived in London but when he died, on Sept 8th 1934, he was brought back to Kettering for burial.

and Stella Lambert wrote: Jim Bellamy was my Grandfather, my Father was his only son, Jim also had a daughter, who's son is also a professional musician. I understand that my Grandfather learned to play music in the Salvation Army Band. He lived in Eastbourne for many years and while there became a player in the municipal band. He was able to play every instrument in the band. His later years were spent in Tulse Hill, London and prior to his death he built an organ which he played.

John Wright writes:

The Rust/Forbes discographies suggest that Jim Bellamy recorded with dance bands as follows: Savoy Havana Band (1921-1926), Sylvians (1926), Savoy Orpheans (~1926-1928), Jim Kelleher (1929), Percival Mackey (1930) and Arthur Lally (1931). Judging by Jim's age (46 in 1921) I would expect that Jim's experience would have had him playing on many recordings by studio bands at Columbia during the 1920's and possibly before 1921.

It is hoped that we can find out more about Jim Bellamy's career and build up a tribute page. Jim Bellamy was a key member of the dance bands at the Savoy Hotel of the 1920's, very much a part of the bouncy syncopated sound that is still preserved on 78 rpm records.

Attached are a few photographs kindly donated by the Bellamy family and an excellent photo from fellow collector Nick Dellow.

Jim Bellamy at age 21 (1896)
Jim with the Savoy Havana Band
(photo courtesy Bellamy family)
Personnel includes standing Ramon Newton, violin; Billy Mayerl at the piano and Jim Bellamy with the sousaphone, far right.
Mike Thomas has said that the banjoist is Dave Thomas and that trombonist is likely Bernard Tipping and the drummer Ronnie Gubertini. The trumpeter may be Harry Thompson.
photo of Jim with the Savoy Orpheans
(photo courtesy Nick Dellow)
leader Debroy Somers is standing.
back row: Ron Gubertini (drums), W.Urwin? (horn), Jim Bellamy (bb), Fred Underhaye (bb), E. Button?(horn), Billy Thorburn and Carroll Gibbons at the piano.
Front row: George Chaffin? (tb), Vernon Ferry (t), Walter 'Billy' Lyme (t), Pete Mandell (bj), Reg Batten (violin), the three reed players are likely Watson Marsh (ts), Tom Timothy (as) and Herb Finney (as).
Jim Bellamy aged 59 (1934)
(photo courtesy Bellamy family)

There is an active discussion group where you can talk about Jim Bellamy and other musicians of the 1920's-1930's:

Subscribe to British dance bands group

or check out the group site first at http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/british-dance-bands/

E-mail John Wright me if you want to contribute information or scanned photographs to this page

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