Lin Bensley

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When young I inherited a gramophone and large collection of 78s that had belonged to an uncle lost in Burma during the war. The collection, much of it having being acquired by my mother on my uncle's behalf, had never been played, and ranged from Dixieland to swing-band music and included the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Satchmo, "Wingy" Manone, Muggsy Spanier, the Mound City Blue Blowers and The Laughing Policeman among many others. As my mother taught piano I also learned the rudiments of music and gained an appreciation of classical music and light opera. She imparted her love of Bach, Beethoven and Dvorak as well as film music with a deeply personal attachment to the Warsaw Concerto. In later years my liking for jazz spurred her admiration for Oscar Peterson. As I grew up I also developed a passion for rock music in all its various guises, from The Applejacks to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Inventions as well as an abiding interest in soul, R&B, blues, ska and folk. Tone deaf and in my teens, I attempted to play the drums and acoustic guitar with excruciating results and much pleading from the neighbours to desist. After failing to master the jaw-harp I eventually took up the kazoo and, being eminently superior to paper and comb, I am still waiting for this most versatile of all instruments to come back into vogue. In my later years I have ventured into freelance journalism in a bid to bathe in the reflected glory of others. Nice work if you can get it and I enjoy writing on a number of topics usually much closer to my heart than my head.

Recent readings

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Whilst in the US the names Michael Feinstein and Great American Songbook are interchangeable in the UK the name Michael Feinstein barely rates a...

Peggy Lee: All Aglow Again

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Obituary: Dottie Dodgion

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