Hundreds will gather at Shipdham to remember Norfolk music maker Bobby Secker
13:13 05 July 2012
He was so wedded to making music that Bobby Secker even honoured an engagement to play on the day he got married.
Luckily, Bobby’s girl, Marlene – by her own admission not musical at all – didn’t tell him to sling his hook, and his beloved guitar and plectrum with it.
She understood already how much it meant to him to make people smile… and to get them jiving on the dance floor.
When Bobby died suddenly in April last year, aged 67, a light went out on the Norfolk live entertainment scene. After all, he had been performing since his teens, turning out after completing his day job as an electrician to sing and play with such well-loved bands as Ye Highwaymen, his first outfit, Mississippi Delta, Stockpot, and Memphis Index, his last.
Between 600 and 700 people attended his funeral at Shipdham.
On Sunday, July 22, lots of his fellow musicians and several hundred of their loyal followings are getting together for a big memorial bash in a marquee at Bullock Park, in his former home village.
“It’s going to involve all the people in the bands who were connected in some way with Bobby and played with him through all the years,” said Marlene. “Yes, it’s going to be an emotional day and I will shed a few tears, I’m sure. But it will be an enjoyable one too.”
Joining her at the tribute concert will be their daughters Tammie and Bonnie and son Stacey; all have shared their father’s love of singing or playing a instrument at some time or other, and Tammie is hoping to play Dad’s treasured bass guitar.
Bobby was born at Kerdiston and probably first developed an interest in playing music on brass instruments when he was at school, said Marlene. He played in Reepham Band, enjoyed singing and in due course took up guitar, especially the bass.
Whether playing his lifelong favourite, rock ’n’ roll, country or any other kind of style, he was always contented keeping the punters entertained.
That wedding night gig in 1969 was with a combo called The Reformation and was at the military airbase at Sculthorpe, said Marlene. “He wouldn’t cancel it. He’d always say that he just couldn’t bear to let people down,” she recalled.
“He loved his music – there’s no other way of describing it.”
With an assortment of bands and artists Bobby played at gigs and sang everywhere from pubs, village halls and a Royal British Legion home to posher venues such as Snape Maltings, in Suffolk. During the early 1960s Bobby had played alongside some famous names, too, including Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Gene Vincent, Van Morrison, John Leyton, The Barron Knights, former Shadow Tony Meehan, The Fortunes and Houston Wells and The Marksmen. And, in the 70s, Mississippi Delta gained a recording contract and recorded for the BBC at its Maida Vale studios, also performing in Belgium.
The Bobby Secker Memorial Event will get under way at 2pm. Among those expected to do a turn are solo acts and old pals representing his former bands including Second Opinion, Gordon Burrell, Mal Kent, the Terry Edwards Band, Bobby Graham, John Allsop, Memphis Index and Ian Eves, plus the Neil Hardingham disco.
Entry to the memorial get-together is strictly by ticket only: they cost £5 for adults and are available by calling 01362 820327. Children go free.
Marlene and her family plan to give the proceeds to local charities.