THE IRONMASTERS

traditional and original music played on acoustic and electric instruments

Baz Parkes - one & two row melodeons, harmonica, caller

Like many people of a certain age, Baz first became interested in folk and traditional music in the late sixties. Initially an indifferent guitarist, he fell in love with the melodeon on hearing the playing of Johns Kirkpatrick and Tams. He bought his first melodeon in 1976, having been blown away by an Albion Dance Band gig at the Cambridge Folk Festival of that year (fellow band member Bill Caddick was also on the bill, but they didn’t speak...).
Struggling to play the dance tunes he loved, he suddenly realised that the best way to learn the tunes was actually to do the dances, and so joined Giffard Morris Men of Wolverhampton. Here he met Dave Hunt, and, with him, started visiting ceilidhs and local music sessions. When Giffard folded, Baz followed Dave to join the Ironmen and Severn Gilders morris teams based in Telford, and it was their fault he started calling.

Following a concert at London’s South Bank, the invited dance teams organised an impromptu ceilidh, taking it in turns to call a dance. Dave had disappeared (allegedly to the loo!) and Baz called his first dance in public. When the band formed he took on the role of caller unless people asked for another one...it was cheaper that way!

Referred to as the band’s “ebullient front man” Baz allegedly “enjoys a national reputation for his entertaining style”, and now frequently works with other dance bands. These have been as musically diverse as The Boat Band, Polkaworks, Glorystrokes and Blackbeards Tea Party in places as different as tiny village halls and national festival stages. Ironmasters, he maintains, remains his spiritual home.
As well as playing melodeon and calling Baz is a fine harmonica player and this helps to keep the sound of Ironmasters rooted in the English tradition. Baz taught English for many years and it is due to this that the band specialises in CD names from Shakespeare. We are all looking forward to what the next name might be.

Baz, with his wife Joy, takes pride in helping the continuation of the Mobberley Rose Queen event and dancers.

You can take advantage of Baz's entertaining calling style with or without Ironmasters, so please use the contact page to send an enquiry and we will make sure he gets it........

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