Dave Woodland’s 50th Birthday Party

Tales From The Woods presented Dave Woodland’s 50th birthday bash at the Inn on the Green, Ladbroke Grove last nite (April 4th), and it was a great occasion with a good atmosphere, and some splendid, first-class entertainment. So good was it that people from the public bar were allowed to swarm in during the final numbers, and enjoy the talent of the TFTW House Band, Dave Sampson and Danny Rivers.

The Inn on the Green has acquired a new video screen which replaces the cumbersome wooden contraption housing the DVD player/projector, and the pull-down screen. Only problem was when, due to poor lighting behind the screen, I couldn’t locate the switches or the leads properly, and at one point dropped Brian ‘Bunter’s excellent compilation DVD into the machine itself, instead of into the groove in the drawer due to my tilting the machine upwards to get more light. But I got the DVD out, and the guv’nor got the lead sorted. The DVD had excellent footage of Jerry Lee, Chuck Berry, The Platters, The Coasters, etc. to entertain us before and in between sets.

Dave was of course there with his sister and some workmates, and there was a good turnout of Woodies including Darren and his parents, Nick Cobban (an amazing 63 years old, yet looks about 43 – I asked if he had a picture of an old man in his attic!), Ken Major, Brian Jessup, Bill Haines, Dave Carrol, Alan Lloyd, etc. plus some I didn’t know, or only knew by sight. Nice to meet and chat to Andy, who I’d seen at 100 Club gigs etc., but never really talked to before.

There was a buffet, which sadly disappeared before the birthday boy got a chance to get any, but he had a great time anyway and wasn’t bothered.

The music was excellent. I must have seen Dave Sampson before at the 2I’s reunions, but this was a full set, whereas there are so many artists at the 100 Club reunions that I didn’t remember him. I was amazed at how good he is, and backed by the excellent TFTW House Band he rocked thru Larry Williams numbers like the inappropriately named ‘Slow Down’ and ‘Bony Maronie’, some Chuck Berry – in fact a bit of everything. I was particularly impressed by Dave’s rendition of the Elvis ballad ‘Love Me’, and later on we were treated to Danny Rivers and Dave Sampson on stage singing together.

Danny also did two short sets, including ‘Little Sister’, and an incredible ‘It’s Only Make Believe’ which would have done Conway Twitty proud. Both these singers have very powerful voices.

A great evening, which even had the security guy dancing, and the original Woody (Keith of course), and your’s truly had a bop, then a woman wandered in from the public bar and tried to jive but I have never learnt to do this, and frankly she was in no fit state to teach me, so she wandered off again!

Great party Dave, and great music the other Dave, and Danny, and the guest musicians.

We should have more birthday parties like this. Which Woody will be the first to celebrate their 100th birthday rockin’ at the Inn on the Green I wonder? A splendid venue, by the way, now fitted with a chairlift for the disabled (or elderly Woodies) situated under the Westway. The imaginative way the space under this motorway has been used in this part of London just shows what can be done. You certainly don’t hear the trucks and cars passing a few feet over your heads when the TFTW bands/artists are playing.

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