The following text and pictures courtesy of WCDB’s website:
John and Mary are the Weston Country Dance Band as a duo; the band is noted for its original arrangements totally focused on making dancers dance, whether in English or American style, seventeenth to twenty-first century, using their unique collection of tunes.
Weston CDB is long established as one of the leading folk dance bands in the country, and continues to be in constant demand for dances, weekends and festivals playing across the length and breadth of the country as well as in Europe and the USA.
The Band often works as a duo with accordion and keyboard as well as a trio when the fiddle is included.
John was introduced to folk dance by his father who had danced in his youth with the Cornish Folk Dance Team directed by Lady Mary Trefusis. Peter Boyce started John playing for folk dancing in Weston-super-Mare where he remembers a visit by American caller Otto Woods specialising in singing calls. A move to Essex gave John the opportunity to play with Brian Conner.
Mary then joined him in Plymouth to form a band playing for Dave Evans on Dartmoor every Saturday night. Dennis Darke gave a lot of help with tunes at that time. They both returned to Weston to start the Weston Country Dance Band and since then there have been few personnel changes.
Mary has moved from accordion to piano and now keyboard.
The band has worked with many callers and Mc’s playing for dances and barn dances. Great times were had with the unique Dick Witt and the great John Chapman leading dances that are still remembered even now.
The Band, long established in the West Country, travels widely providing music for all styles of English dance and especially enjoys American contra and square dance tunes. The Band has first hand experience of playing for dancing in Kentucky, Colorado and Wyoming as well as dancing in Florida and New England.
It also has a long history of playing for visiting American callers to this country including Ralph Page, Don Armstrong and Fried de Metz Herman and more recently Cis Hinckle, Lisa Greenleaf, and Kathy Anderson.
Influences on our style of playing have been the McLain Family Band including Al and Alice White from Kentucky and of course Raymond McLain himself. Currently we are very much enjoying playing tunes by Larry Unger of Reckless Ramblers and Notorious.
What others say
Weston Country Dance Band from Weston super Mare combines John on box, Mary on keyboard, and Christina on fiddle. Very popular at London Barn Dance – you just have to dance when Weston start playing!
From London Barndance Company Website
‘. . . . with the always excellent John and Mary Brock of the Weston Country Dance Band providing the music.’
Sue Waters and Tony Kelly : Set and Turn Single : Review of Dunster Snowdrop weekend 2006.
‘The Weston Country Dance Band, probably the finest exponents of their trade working in the UK today, and certainly from the selfish viewpoint of the caller, a most delightful band with whom to share the stage. It’s always a joy to work with such wonderfully innovative and responsive musicians.’
Chris Turner : The Ramblings of a London Gentleman
‘As good to dance to as to listen to!’
Rhodri Davies Chippenham Festival 2006
‘Can you play tunes that are less distracting?’
Lisa Greenleaf Chippenham 2006
‘Lively and lovely music’
Henry Morgenstein Bletchingley 2007
‘Not bad for Brits’
Eric Levine, Fort Collins, Colorado
‘It was a delight to listen to all the subtleties and variations within your playing which generates such a variety of moods and levels of excitement.’
Jean Crook, Frenchay Folk Dance Club
‘The music you produced was superb as always.’
‘Thank you for a wonderful evening. The whole thing went with a real swing.’
‘Everyone had a lovely time and thoroughly enjoyed the music you played for us.’
‘Superb music as always helped to keep everyone on their toes and added a joyous note to the evening.’
Beryl Brooks Old Mill Square Dance Club
‘Their lively mix of music with constantly changing textures sets feet tapping and carries the dancing along.’
Yarn Market Hotel, Dunster 2009