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The Top 10 Most Odd and Weird Brass Band Names of all Time

What's in a name eh? There are we are sure thousands of you out there who were christened with names that when you were 13 years of age you thought were a curse from Satan himself and were deliberately chosen by your parents to induce the maximum amount of embarrassment every time a teacher called it out at registration.

For the most part you tend to get to love them and cherish them and so by the time you yourselves reach the parenting age you can also pass on the discomfort to your new born safe in the knowledge they too will have to go through the whole grisly process of having the piss taken out of them for being called Claude or Percy or Ethel or Doris. The same goes for bands.

Even a cursory glance at the line-ups at last years Regional Championships saw bands named after a Clog manufacturer, someone with a beehive in the name, a band of "Comrades", one named after a chocolate manufacturer and another after a famous North East pint of beer.

So, we've gone through our extensive historic records and come up with ten names of bands we think had the best names in the business. All of them competed and all were real. If you've got any better suggestions lets us know. The only criteria are that they must have been proper bands. Hope you enjoy.

Number 1: Workington Analine.

The year was 1885 and the lads from Cumbria came down to the Open to compete. Drawn 21 and conducted by W. Williams they came nowhere and returned to their town and their rather dubious employment, never to be heard of again. Was there a factory making Victorian suppositories we wonder? The mind boggles.

Number 2: Fishponds.

A more recent band this and one that competed at the 1961 and 1964 National Finals conducted on both occasions by a gentleman by the name of A. G. Lloyd. Came nowhere and returned we think back to the Bristol area where today there stands an Ikea Store. Progress eh?

Number 3: Dick Kerr English Electrical Works.

Heck of a name for a band and one that was conducted by William Halliwell no less at the 1919 British Open. The next couple of years also saw them compete (without success) under the shortened title Dick Kerr's. Why the apostrophe we know not why, and anyway what electrical appliance would carry the moniker on it? Oeh erh?

Number 4: Workington Discharged Sailors.

Workington again, only this time a group of jolly seamen playing at the 1923 British Open off a number 6 draw conducted by the aptly named J. Fisher. Came nowhere and were never seen again. What on earth were they discharged from, and why in Workington? They would have been better off conducted by Captain Birdseye.

Number 5: Talk o' th' Hill.

Where the hell these lads were from we may never know. Perhaps they were the 1871 copycat version of the slightly more famous Besses O' Th' Barn we don't know, but after being drawn number 5 at the British Open they didn't make any impression and were certainly not the "Talk of the Town" let alone "Talk o' th' Hill".

Number 6: Dove Holes Public.

Strange one this. Don't know if it was a name of a company (making holes for doves we presume) or the name of a town or village, but they certainly competed at the highest level and played at the 1928 Open under the famous J. A. Greenwood and stayed in the contest until the outbreak of the Second World War, when we assume the demand for holes for doves fell and they were never heard of again.

Number 7: Preston United Independent Harmonic Brass Band.

Although never at the top echelons of the Victorian banding tree (perhaps the contest promoters didn't have enough space on the programmes to fit them in), they were around the Lancashire area charging 8 shillings and sixpence per man to play at the annual dinner of some Preston big wig in 1838. They also charged £4-5-0 for "meat and drink" for the players to quench their hunger and thirst after the job. Some things never change.

Number 8: Tooth's Brewery Band.

Just to prove our antipodean friends don't hold the monopoly on silly names, this Australian outfit were formed in 1927 and had all their instruments paid for by the brewery. They paid their players an annual "dividend" of £5.00, but lost most of them in it's short life to other bands (due to the travelling to contests all over the country) and a few to the demon drink itself.

Number 9: Halifax Home Guard.

Images of Captain Mainwaring, Corporal Jones, Private Pike and Seargent Wilson spring to mind with this brave collection of assorted OAP's, ill and disabled, youngsters and general misfits who made up Home Guard units all over the country in the Second World War. Halifax were by no means alone and they played at the 1944 Open without success under T. Casson. They of course had other things on their minds and went home to fight the Germans - Stupid Boy.

Number 10: Perfection Soap Works.

Perhaps the most successful of all the bands we have named and a band and company that reflected very much its era. There was a market out there for soap in the 1920's and Perfection as well as Gossages had bands. There were lots of dirty and smelly working class urchins and waifs and families in need of a good scrub and so the soap works did a roaring trade. Perfection came 3rd at the Open in 1908 and fourth three years in a row after and kept going until the mid 1920's when the soap industry went up in bubbles.

That's our list then. Can you get a better lot together? Remember they have to be real bands and not made up names (honest ours were all real). If you can, then let us know. The best will get a mention.

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