The Gipton Gypsy's:- personnel, Darren Spencer- electric and acoustic guitar and backing vocals, Anne Spencer - lead vocals. Julie Joyce - lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Trevor Woodhead - lead vocals and keyboards, Kevin Barnes - bass guitar and vocals.
Some bands began as school bands, some were cobbled together for the purpose of earning pots of money and some bands started as good friends and drifted into playing music together. The Gipton Gypsies belong to the latter.
Darren Daz Spencer had already played in a band with Trevor Woodhead, while Anne Spencer, Daz's wife, sang in a choir with Julie Joyce. Kevin Barnes, with whom I went to school with, drifted in on a tumbleweed wind.
Daz and Anne helped organise a charity for under privileged children for the Catholic organisation, St Vincent de Paul (SVP). This involved, being in charge of 40/50 kids every year at a summer camp, just outside Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales. The children were shepherded and taken on field trips around the surrounding dales. As these children grew older, some of them began to help out at the yearly camps and eventually, they would run them. Daz was one of these kids.
These yearly camps were augmented by outside helpers and Kevin and his wife, Anne Marie, went and helped. Kev outside in the field and Anne Marie in the kitchen. Now years later, the charity is run by Kevin's children, Lizzie and Andy. So it goes on.
The Gipton Gypsy's
The Gippo's were available for:- weddings, birthdays, holiday functions, bar mitzvah's, charities, masonic and satanic rituals. sacraficial rites and druid feuds, man hunts, public hangings, witch burning's and christenings and weddings.
It was in the late evenings, at these camps that Daz, Anne and Kev would sit and sing around a table to the helpers and team leaders. There was a lot of drink was consumed at these affairs. Brother I can vouch for that. I had occasion to join them on these merry gatherings of song.
In the year 2000, they were asked to play at a function for a family friend. That would mean rehearsing, finding a venue and doing things properly. Trevor and Julie were drafted in and the Gipton Gypsy's were born. They did there first gig at The Bull, Clitheroe Road, Skipton
During the noughties they played regularly at functions with a repertoire of old songs (Provided by Kevin) and currant songs, giving them a bizarre musical balance, unlike most bands. Everyone sang, but the extraordinary voices of Anne and Julie, defined the sound.
The Gipton Gypsy goodtime sound was capitalised on by the organisers of The Leeds Irish Music Festival. They booked the Gyppo's to play every year. Nobody told them they weren't Irish.
All good things come to an end and The Gipton Gypsy's did their farewell gig at the St Vincent de Paul annual charity bash at The Leeds Irish Centre on 13th October 2012.
The pictures on this page were taken at this gig.
Why "The Gipton Gypsy's?
Gipton Estate is one of the districts of Leeds 9, or East Leeds. A working class part of Leeds where we all lived. Leeds 9 included, Quarry Hill Flats, York Road, Burmantofts, East End Park, Halton Moor and the Gipton Estate. Like a lot of City areas, these places are not as desirable as they used to be.
Daz lived on the Gipton Estate. Kevin lived on York Road and I lived in Quarry Hill Flats and later East End Park.
Here's a clip on the last gig from the pictures above. I managed to muscle in on a few. It was a special night at Leeds Irish Centre, as those who were there will witness. In aid of the SVP and a pig race to boot.