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Great Yarmouth man’s poignant musical tribute to talented dad

11:50 07 April 2014

Leon Mallett who is releasing his late fathers lost single in his memory. He discovered a box of singles in the loft.
Andy James was a singer who entertained the crowds at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth

Picture: James Bass

Leon Mallett who is releasing his late fathers lost single in his memory. He discovered a box of singles in the loft. Andy James was a singer who entertained the crowds at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A proud son is to pay tribute to his entertainer dad by releasing a “lost” single that he found in the loft.

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Andrew Mallett, well-known in Great Yarmouth under the name Andy James, died last month after a long battle with cancer, aged 55.

In his heyday he was a popular fixture on Britannia Pier, performing for eight years as a double act with his partner Lisa-Marie.

An excellent keyboard player and singer who built up a strong local following, he remained rooted to his home town, batting back bigger offers that could have set him on the road to stardom.

And among his effects were dozens of copies of a vinyl single that never made it into the shops.

Hearing one of the songs for the first time was a poignant reminder for musical son Leon Mallett of his dad’s talent and aspirations.

And so impressed was he by one of the self-penned tracks, he is taking steps to get the song reproduced and digitally available with proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.

He said: “I had heard one of the tracks and after dad died I remembered him saying to me that I would much prefer the B side, but we never got round to listening to it. Since he passed away I looked it out and had a listen.

“I loved the song the moment I heard it. It has got a real reggae feel and I would like to make it a bit more current and poppy so it becomes a pop reggae song. I have been in contact with a producer and think it is a lovely thing to be able to do.”

Leon’s mum and Mr Mallett’s former partner Lisa Gordon, who still performs as Lisa-Marie, said the record had been made in 1990 but was never released because of a last-minute hitch which meant the deal fell through. Since then, dozens of the singles had been languishing in the loft at home in Lingwood.

The new version will see Leon singing instead of his dad under his established stage name Leon James.

The 19-year-old has already followed his dad into the spotlight and regularly sings in pubs, clubs and hotels. He hopes the song One in a Million Girl will bring musical and charity success as well as honour his dad’s memory.

Hundreds of people are expected to say their final farewells to Andy at Gorleston Crematorium today at 2pm, followed by a wake at the Kings Head in Lingwood.

Have you got a Yarmouth story to tell? Email liz.coates@archant.co.uk

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