Jack Laycock – 1916 – 2002
Welsh Guitar Wizard
In 1935 he moved from Merthyr to Chelmsford, Essex, following a promise of work made by his cousin. he served his apprenticeship at Hoffman Engineering, Chelmsford, and became a Toolmaker. Whilst in Chelmsford, he met and courted Nora Barden. The British Federation of Banjoists, Mandolinists & Guitarists awarded Jack 3rd Place, with a Mandolin Solo, in the Federation Challenge Cup Competition, 29th October 1938. He often said, that had it not been for the fact that the winner’s father was one of the Judges he would have done better.
In 1939 Jack returned to Merthyr to work at Rotax Ltd, Cyfarthfa, Manufacturers of Magnetos and Distributors, ETC. for the aircraft industry. Nora soon followed Jack to Merthyr, and in November 1939, they became married. Jack and Nora lived for a while at First Avenue, Galon Uchaf, where his two daughters Valerie and Pauline were born.
During this time Jack’s reputation as a guitarist was growing and he soon became a much sought after musician and arranger with local bands. In December 1952 he moved to 15, Maendy Crescant, Gellideg Estate, which had just been completed. He lived here for the rest of his life. He eventually became resident guitarist at the Gellideg Social Club, and played there until he resigned in 1976.
Jack Laycock centre with Dave Gould Guitar left. at the Gellideg Social Club
the Jack Laycock Four at an Aberdare Club with on steel Guitar
Jack gave guitar playing lessons during the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s. he taught many of Merthyr‘s musical talent including Owen Money. In the mid 1970.s Jack, together with his brother Ron Laycock, took up a twice weekly gig at the Castle Hotel, Merthyr. On occasion when Ron was not available Jack was joined by either Dave Gould or Scotsman Robbie Wallace (Bob Silver). In 1985 Jack had surgery which affected the rest of his life, but a few days prior to this operation he was allowed out of hospital to got to a Jazz Club in Cardiff, to see American Jazz Guitarist Tal Farlow.
Gibbs Club, Cardiff , 1985
Jack passed away peacefully at home on Thursday 7th March 2002