Ken Snakehips Johnson

The material assembled on this site has been drawn from a wide variety of sources. The ones mentioned below have been instrumental in providing much of the information that you have read.


Sources of information for these articles.

I would like to express my grateful appreciation to Stephen Bourne, Val Wilmer, Howard Rye, Malcolm Laycock, Andrew Simons, John Wright and Nigel Bewley for the their time and knowledge that they have shared with me, without which this tribute to Ken Johnson would not have been possible. 

Andrew Winton May 2000, February 2001.

Val WilmerVal Wilmer is the foremost authority on Ken Johnson. A respected and published writer, she has written many books and articles on jazz in Britain. She is working on a book entitled Snakehips Swing.
Stephen BourneStephen Bourne is a researcher and published writer. He worked on We Sing & We Dance, The Nicholas Brothers story, the Salutations radio series, and wrote Black In The British Frame, the story of black artists in British films.
Malcolm LaycockBBC radio presenter and producer who provided invaluable help with identifying the recordings of Ken Johnson.
Nigel BewleySwing music DJ and co-promoter of The Blue Dahlia swing dance club, provided information on recordings at The National Sound Archive.
Andrew SimonsJazz Curator at The National Sound Archive of The British Library. site
John WrightProvided valuable help with the recordings of Ken Johnson, particularly those that were made with Al Bowlly.
Howard RyeResearcher and jazz historian.
Jeff GreenBiographer of Leslie Thompson (see below).
Keith HarrisonPhotoShop maestro added digital wizardry to some of the images.
Who's Who In British JazzWritten by musician John Chilton, this is the authoritative tome on British jazz musicians in the 20th century. Available in paperback from larger bookstores, and probably online.
Leslie Thompson: An AutobiographyMusician and bandleader who recruited Ken Johnson to front his band, The Jamaica Emperors (aka The Emperors of Jazz) in 1937. Wrote his autobiography in 1985. which gave much insight into British jazz in the 30's and 40's.
Black BritainBBC 2 television programme broadcast in October 1997 that contained a short item on Clarke Peters' intended musical on Ken Johnson. Included interviews with Peters, Val Wilmer and Frank and Claire Deniz
Oh Daddy1934 British-made film that featured the only appearance of Ken Johnson. The choreography for his number and the following chorus was by Buddy Bradley.
Discography of British BandsBrian Rust's meticulously-researched reference work that details the recordings and line-ups of British dance bands in the 20th century.
The London Metropolitan ArchiveThe London Metropolitan Archive in Islington London holds a vast number of war records, such as Air Raid Warden Reports, Civil Defence and Regional Fire Reports.
Ray's Jazz ShopRay's Jazz Shop in Shaftsbury Avenue London is a goldmine of records, CDs, books and videos. The staff are knowledgeable on all eras of jazz music.

Links to associated web sites

The ZoneA UK online record store where you can order the Carl Barriteau CD. If using the search facility on the home page, put quotation marks either side of the artist name, otherwise you will get hundreds of entries returned!
RoyeThe home page of the famous British photographer Roye, who photographed Ken Johnson at The Old Florida Club in 1937.
Al BowllyJohn Wright's web site devoted to 40's crooner Al Bowlly, who recorded with Ken Johnson.
Marlow Tourist InformationThe web site of the town where Ken Johnson went to school in 1929.
Fortean TimesIn 1997, The Fortean Times reported a story that the ghost of Ken Johnson had been seen at The Cafe de Paris. Sadly the article is no longer on the site.
Big Bands DatabaseThe American Big Bands Database site, which also has information on British dance bands.
Moving HereAndrew Simons has posted information and sound clips.

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