Barber (trombone) and Monty Sunshine (clarinet) formed their band in 1953, first calling it Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen in honour of the more famous trumpeter they’d recruited. The rhythm section included drummer Ron Bowden who later spent four decades with Kenny Ball’s jazzmen. Eventually they had a bust-up and Colyer left, being replaced by Pat Halcox who continued to play with Barber for decades. They liked to start their performances with this lively New Orleans classic.
“Hello, Daddy, you’re playing your music again.” “Would you like to do some dancing?” “Yuss.” “Then we’ll cavort about to a tune by Fats Waller.” “What’s cavorting, Daddy?” “It’s like capering but with more company.”
“I’m out of breath. Can we have a blues, please, Daddy?” “OK, here’s a shade of blue.”
“Was that by Mr Near-the-loo?” “?” “W.C. Handy, hee, hee, hee.” “That, my boy, is a stinker. Anyway it was by Duke Ellington. Have you heard of him?” “Mummy says the won the battle of aterloo.” “Where, oh where does your sense of humour come from, I wonder.” “Are there different dancings, daddy?” “Oh yes, here’s a characteristic march that can be used effectively as a two-step, polka or cake-walk.” “You looked that up, Daddy.” “It means, young man, that it’s like a rag. It’s called Whistlin’ Rufus.” “But I’m Rufus, Daddy, I’m Rufus.” “Remarkable coincidence, my little fellow.”
“And here’s another one by the Duke.” “Can’t we have one by Prince Harry?” “Oh do shut up.”
“That was long, Daddy. Can I have a shorter one?” “Tell you what, call your Mum through and we’ll all cavort.”
“Now, Rufe, your Mum and I are going to have a slow dance. So why don’t you go and wash the cat? I’ll call you back for the last tune.”
“I’ve been a good boy, Daddy. Can I have an ice-cream?” “No sooner said than done, my lad.”