Inspired by music none of his band members have heard of, Ben has been making a racket since 2007 and has no plans of stopping.
As fate would have it, watching Soul Traders at Tiverton's New Hall in late 2019 would be his first and last gig as a punter before being lured in to be their next drummer.
*Any faces pulled during performance are due to an tremendous amount of self restraint to not over play the songs*
Played tenor sax with 'Wainwrights Gentlemen' throughout the period that Ian Gillan (Deep Purple vocalist) was with the band. Then moved to 'Jean & the Statesmen' (3 records on the Columbia label). Played Tenor sax in Wilson Pickett's backing band when Wilson toured the UK in the late 60's. Joined 'The Statesides', a 'support' band for many of the visiting American soul artistes and UK chart topping pop groups in the late 60's and early 70's. These included Stevie Wonder, The Kinks, The Who, Georgie Fame, P J Proby, Manfred Mann, Brenda Lee, Chris Farlowe, Cliff Bennett, Sounds Incorporated, Heinz and dozens of others that had records in the charts. From early 70's spent many years playing sax in Irish Show bands, playing USAF bases, touring Ireland & the UK.
Sax influences: King Curtis, Clarence Clemons, Boots Randolph, Kenny G and all the rock n'roll, soul, raucous 'Honky Tonk' players.
Although small for her size Jo started off her musical career as a marching band playing both sousaphone and answerphone. She was later dissuaded from marching around as the sight of such large instruments apparently playing and moving on their own upset people. The mismatch of player and instrument was finally brought into sharp focus when Jo was mistaken as part of the mouth piece on one of her tubas, which surprised both her and the sneaky rascal who attempted to play a trill. Jo now plays trumpet with so many bands that she often loses some of them in her music folder.
Neil never learnt to play the piano from the age of eight, he was then told to be a drummer. He has always been very willing to pass on drumming tips to any drummers close enough to hear him. Neil was told to start playing the piano again as The Soul Traders prepared for their first gig (they already had a drummer) and later, after spending a tense few hours being probed by wicked aliens in a hired star ship he took up the organ. Neil uses his own hair on stage.
I was born into a farming family with gospel music being an important part of our way of life. Members of the family would sing together and play our instruments in little chapels throughout the area. From then on I played in various little bands, which led on to playing in an American-based Gospel band in the mid 80's. This took me around parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as Wales and Scotland. I married in 1988 and have 2 children. 2012 joined Southern Soul Traders and also became a Grandad!!
Gear -- I use a Jaydee 4 string bass and occasionally a 5 string. Ashdown amp and Hartke speakers.
Martyn started playing the violin at the age of seven, and, fingers strengthened by years of goat milking, initially showed great promise. After the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004, he realised that he would never play as well as Nicola Benedetti, so concentrated on the sax. His career has stumbled on meteorically since joining the Soul Traders in 2009. Favourite colour blue, favourite fruit raspberry (one of your five a day).
The thing that binds the Soul Traders together is our mutual love of music. We have a very diverse repertoire, showcasing the breadth of diversity within our ranks. At the core of our catalogue, some of the finest northern soul there is to be had (as hinted at in the name). Thrown in alongside, a touch of funk and just a tad of good ol' fashioned bebop, blues and rock 'n' roll. You can expect a mixture of superbly executed piano riffs, a heaped helping of pumping bass licks, ear tinglingly grooving percussion, some smooth strumming of the ol' six string and some of the finest trumpet blowing and driving saxophones there is to be had. Weave into this supreme musical mix a cornucopia of the most supremely talented singers there is to be seen for miles around, tying a grand virtuosic bow around the package that is The Soul Traders.