John (Jack) McKechnie: Jazz Guitarist ~ 1918-2002
Jack McKechnie in later Years with a Vintage Gibson L-5C Guitar from c.1951
Is this Jack with Jack Llewellyn in North Africa?
John McKechnie born in London 14th April 1918 – The most competent Guitar Technician, loved by his fellow musicians, was a very modest man (died 2002) who was the musical mainstay of the Hedley Ward Trio Jack McKechnie, Derek Franklin – Bass & Bob Carter/George Taylor – Piano. Whenever Jack rehearsed most of the others on the Bill went to listen. I only ever knew Jack play the Gibson – as did Bill Bramwell. He and I developed a ridiculous double act. Jack was a big man and I was as thin as a pencil. I would stand and hold a Guitar on a neck-strap. I would play Chords with my left hand near the Nut and my right hand near the Bridge. Jack could put his arms round me and his left and right hands in the centre of the Fretboard. I played the Chords & Jack picked the Melody. I only remember doing “Sweet Georgia Brown” but it was enough. Recently Jack’s nephew contacted me and I told him this story. He was trying to write a book and he reckoned Jack had not received the acclaim he deserved. I tend to agree with him. – Tony Kohn
The Hedley Ward Trio – Jack McKechnie Guitar, Derek Franklin Bass & George Taylor Piano. McKechnie & Taylor wore glasses intermittently in Photographs. Jack McKechnie with a Grimshaw Plectric Supreme c.1955
During the 50’s Grimshaw made many Archtop, Acoustic & Electric models including the G3, G5, G6, and “Plectric” single cut away Jazz Style Electric, all were Archtop styles some with Pick-ups built into the Fretboard (Grimshaw patented this type of Pick-up in USA and GB) Grimshaw called these invisible Pick-ups, tone/volume controls were added to the Scratchplate.
Regal Edmonton : Jerry Lee Lewis : Hedley Ward Trio
When Jerry Lee Lewis appeared on Stage on his 1958 tour he was supported by the Hedley Ward Trio on the Bill. The Singer came to Britain in May 1958, aged 22, to play a series of Live Dates across the Country – but the Roadshow was cancelled after just 3 Concerts when it emerged that Lewis’ 3rd wife, Myra Gale Brown, was his 1st cousin once removed – and was just 13-years old.
I am just writing to let you now that my Uncle Jack MacKechnie was not born in Coventry but in London. as was my mother. On 14th April 1918. Best wishes Corinne S.
In 1957/8 they had a Residency at the Squires Gate Hotel in Lytham St Annes near Blackpool. Derek Franklin was married to the late Beryl Reid. They recorded a LP and a single for Melodisc in 1958. ITV in Manchester discovered some Filmstock of them appearing on a Saturday Show, undated & silent! Additionally they regularly appeared on ‘Tonight’ a BBC magazine Programme, though most of the Film stock was discarded. They seem to have been regarded as a ‘filler’ not worthy of Recording. Additionally they made a number of cover EP’s for Levy’s (Embassy) but due to contractual reasons changed their Label name like so many others. Melodisc was a ‘niche’ label and alongside Starlite (Esquire, Carlo Kramer) released ‘ethnic’ West Indies & African music. References in Doug Dobell’s complete 77 catalogue indicated they recorded with him (JRT Davies producing) Alex B
Jack McKechnie, Burns Guitar; Derek Franklin, double bass player/main vocalist, George Taylor, piano. The Trumpeter seems to have replaced Taylor as Pianist is this Bob Carter and is that part of his signature on his trouser leg.
The Musical Trio were formed in 1948 by Band-leader Hedley Ward and they appeared at the Windmill Theatre in 1950 which led to a spot in Radio’s ‘Educating Archie’.
There is a review of their West End Debut at the Windmill Theatre in a 1950 copy of ‘New Beat’ Magazine
The Trumpet, Bilston
The Hedley Ward Orchestra played summer seasons at The Spa Ballroom in Scarborough Yorks., and performed Concerts in the open air section during the late 50s. They always had a 1st-Class Band with exceptional musicians/soloists and excellent arrangements. To this day I can remember the Trumpet Section individually coming to the front of the band and playing solos ie. Granada. Those were the days!
Hedley Ward & his Band used to appear on Music While You Work in the late 40s & early 50s.
Jack McKechnie was the Guitarist with the Hedley Ward Trio, a spinoff from the Hedley Ward Orchestra and there was also the Hedliners another spinoff from this Orchestra. The Hedliners may have had a semi permanent Residency at the Squires Gate Holiday Camp (bought 1961 by Pontins) around 1954/56
Jack McKechnie – Pre-war Jazz Guitarist in London and Post Hedley Ward Trio based in the West Midlands (UK) area – entertained the American troops during the 50s and 60s while they were based in Germany. He was a very competent Jazz Guitarist.
Owned Modern Music, 25 Castle Hill, Dudley. Ronald John Saunders – Sadly Modern Music by the Zoo was Shutdown
The only Music shop in Dudley for instrument and equipment repairs was the superb Modern Music on Castle Hill (which has now ceased Trading). The ex Modern Music axe master Dudley Music Centre, Lawnswood Road, DY8 5PQ still selling mega cheap strings, straps & guitars via mail order. Gives free advice too – top guy. He still sometimes does set ups when he’s not busy song writing – but ask politely people, this guys a local treasure.
Found your website while demonstrating the wonders of the web to our uncle Brian Fredrick’s (now aged 86) & he asked if there was anything about Jack McKechnie on that computer thing … low & behold, the first picture was of Jack playing his Gibson L5, a Guitar which is now one of Brian’s most prized possessions. He bought it from Jack when he had the Modern Music shop in Dudley for the then astronomical sum of £600. You may be pleased to know that it’s in safe hands, played daily & often out with him & his friends in their jazz groups. – Frank
Hedley Ward Trio for US Forces
The Hedley Ward Trio, resident for the summer at Bournemouth Pavilion, is to appear in Cabaret for the US Forces at Wiesbaden, Germany, for 2 weeks starting on 23rd September 1957. The Trio was managed by Hedley Ward until his death, in the late 1960s. My Dad then went out as The Derek Franklin Trio, Jack McKechnie had left by then, fed up with trawling US Army bases in Europe. I took my Dad up to Jack’s not long before he died. Dad died a few years later. Hughie O’Shea is still on the Christmas card list, I haven’t heard from him in a while though. – Adam Franklin
Hello Again from the Headley Ward Trio and we’re here to sing for you!
Morecambe in the late summer of 1961. The Trio wore long drape coats and played guitar, bass & piano. I always liked their humorous style and music. I was 15 at the time. I recall that the Guitarist played a solo called, ‘Pepe’ I think – Les Piggin – I wonder who played drums on their records. (The drummer was Hughie O’Shea according to Derek Franklin’s son Adam: (Hughie rubbed shoulders with Phil Seaman, Tony Kinsey, Jack Parnell, Bobby Orr & Alan Ganley) www.adamfranklinblues.com
300 assorted Radio Shows including:
Mostly Monkhouse (Early 1970s)
Calling All Forces (1951-2) – All 50 episodes (one exists in BBC Archive)
Starring Luminaries such as Tony Hancock, Charlie Chester, Ted Ray
“Calling All Forces was the biggest Radio show on the air” – Ray Galton
Jack Died October 2002 – Jack’s wife, Pauline, pictured above on their wedding day, passed away on Tuesday 10th April 2012. She will be greatly missed. Thanks for a wonderful Web-site. Kind Regards Andrew (nephew)
Derek Franklin (Bass) and I were in the 49th LAA Regiment. We were Driver/wireless operators. We started off in Congleton Cheshire and were posted off to North Africa, He did not need to go as he was active in the Regimental Band but rather than let them send an older man named Burnard he took his place, he insisted in going. I did not know he was part of the Hedley Ward Trio until much later. We shares experiences in Sicily & Italy – Lewis Fox
Bob Carter (Piano & Trumpet) was born in West Bromwich and Derek Franklin, who was born in Birmingham was married to Beryl Reid – THE Beryl Reid.1919-96
On a leaf of blue paper (roughly 11 x 14 cm), removed from an autograph album. Good: lightly aged and spotted. Reads ‘With best wishes The Hedley Ward Trio – Jack McKechnie, Derek Franklin, this time with Bob Carter on Piano. Docketed, presumably by the recipient, with the Members’ Instruments. Hedley Ward was one of the foremost British Bbandleaders of the 30s, 40s & 50s, and his Trio featured in many Radio & Television Broadcasts, and are still to be heard on Archive Programmes.
Derek Franklin was my uncle at one time when he was married to by aunt, Beryl Reid. Very handsome he was too! At the age of 66 years, I took up a career as a Jazz Singer and he would have been proud of me (I think). – Su