CITY MORRIS

In 1980 I was asked if I would provide the music for a new Morris side that was being considered in Winchester. I agreed and City Morris was formed.

Steve Jordan, one time Squire of the Winchester Morris Men, had left Winchester and brought several dancers with him. It was Steve's wish to push the boundaries of Morris dancing. He 'invented' many 'new' dances that become City's own tradition.

City Morris were radical in their approach.

City Morris - four man dance 1988
City Morris doing a four man dance, 1988
The costumes were white trousers and shoes and blue football style shirts with a red and white stripe with red hankies. Steve wanted to get away from the usual image of Morris – shaggy bearded men with hats and coats covered in badges and the usual trappings. The dancers were very able and agile and greatly admired.

I played the mouth-organ amplified through a guitar practice amp (much to the consternation of some of the old guard although Lionel Bacon, the highly respected Morris scholar and one time Squire of the Ring, was very much in favour). I could introduce guitar effect pedals, such as choruser and octaver. It made a distinct and exciting sound.

Dave Williams, a very well known and respected singer and musician on the local folk scene, joined and played on his melodeon in his own anarchic style. Dave had a very eclectic view of dance music and City often found themselves dancing to American Patrol or The Banana Boat Song midway through a traditional Morris tune! We also had Arthur Marshall, a retired builder in his 80s, who played the bones with both hands!!

Dave Williams, Arthur Marshall and Paul Marsh play for City Morris
Dave Williams, Arthur Marshall and me.

City Morris took an active part in Winchester's social calendar, taking part in the Carnivals, building and parading a Guy for the Bonfire Night celebrations and dancing at the late night Christmas shopping evenings.

City are remembered by many as one the best Morris sides in the country at the pinnacle of their success. City Morris packed up around 1988 after Arthur died.

I am very keen to find photographs and video of City Morris to add to the archive. If you have any photos or cine film/video that you are willing to share I would love to hear from you.
Please contact
pm@forest-tracks.co.uk

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