22/05/2024
Norwich, GB 16 C
Researching and reporting on the lives of some really interesting people (RIP)

DAVE WINTOUR, aged 77

WURZEL

Born in Lydney, Gloucestershire, in the Forest of Dean, he was the son of Edith Phipps, a school secretary, and Jack Wintour, a miner who became a market gardener. He attended local schools.

His first job after leaving school was in a music shop in Gloucester. He learned to play bass guitar and joined a band, the Chas Kingsley Combo.

It was obvious he was a class above the other members of the band and he was soon recruited to be a session musician, playing at the Dolphin nightclub in Gloucester. He always had the nickname ‘Squire’.

He started a partnership with singer Fiachra Trench, calling themselves the Johnny Joseph Band. They once played the Empire Ballroom in Leicester Square. They played on a revolving stage but its mechanism got stuck and it revolved constantly – now you see them, now you don’t. Despite disappearing frequently, they kept playing, much to the amusement of the audience (and the band).

He also was a member of ‘Division Two’, the backing band of the 1960s pop group ‘The Ivy League’. They once appeared on Top of the Pops, singing ‘Funny How Love Can Be’ and were introduced by Jimmy Savile.

Meanwhile, Dave married a lady called Meg. They had a son, although the marriage soon ended in divorce.

From the mid-sixties onwards, he became one of the most sought after session musicians. He played on recordings by Dusty Springfield, Chicken Shack (briefly becoming a member), Eric Carmen, Russ Ballard, Clifford T. Ward, Rick Wakeman (performing on the album ‘The Six Wives of Henry 8th’), Roger Daltrey, Alexis Korner, Demis Roussos, Leo Sayer – and many others.

The first album Dave played on (in 1972) was Kenny Young’s ‘Clever Dogs Chase the Sun’. The other two guitarists playing alongside him were Chris Spedding and Dave Edmunds.

Dave toured with Neil Sedaka, appearing on his 1974 album, ‘Live at the Royal Festival Hall’.

Dave was also a part of the band ‘Slapp Happy’.

He played on Ian Gillan’s first solo album after he left Deep Purple, although Gillan struggled with the transition from heavy metal to other styles of music.

In 1975, Dave performed on Stealers Wheel LP ‘Right or Wrong’. He became a close friend of Gerry Rafferty.

He also performed on the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ soundtrack in 1975. Most famously, he played on the soundtrack of ‘Tommy’ by The Who.

He joined the band ‘Plain Sailing’ just as punk music took off – and always said he was beaten by punk. Their highlight was an appearance on the Kenny Everett Show and coming fourth in the British qualifiers for the Eurovision Song Contest, called ‘A Song for Europe’. They were beaten by Prima Donna, who went on to finish third in Eurovision.

In 1980, Dave toured the USA and Canada with Ian Matthews (formerly of Fairport Convention and Matthews Southern Comfort). The tour was a disaster. He felt Matthews was past his best. Dave swore he would never tour abroad again.

In the 1980s, he played with ‘The Pretty Things’ and ‘The Paul Jones Blues Band’ – “but who didn’t?” (to quote him).

In 1986, Dave met Joan Stafford and they were married soon afterwards, having a daughter. They moved back to the Forest of Dean.

In 1995, he was recruited to become a member of The Wurzels, replacing Mike Gwillam. He had performed on so many records that he had more chart success than the rest of The Wurzels put together. His first two contributions were playing on their albums ‘Mendip Magic’ and ‘The Wurzels Live’.

Dave stayed with them for 7 years and was eventually replaced by former member of the group, Jai Howe.

Dave retired as a Wurzel in 2003 when the family moved to Donegal in Ireland. He threw himself into a flourishing Irish music scene.

He then joined the Eric Bell Trio and toured Britain in 2019 and he loved every moment.

He was witty and mischievous but was known for his kindness and generosity.

Dave died of cancer, in Drumnacoss, Kilraine.

RIP – Records Immensely Prolific

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