Let There Be Drums
By Arty Davies  

Dad and Me outside a gigI was born on April 4 1948 in Garston, Liverpool.

When I was 18 months old I was struck down with Polio (there was a big outbreak that year and I think it was the last big one, (the sugar cube came in a bit later) which affected both legs and my spine, but with years and years of exercise, I was able to have my spine corrected and be able to use my right leg, but my left leg is useless, it just gives me balance.

Basically I started playing drums, for a dare at a Polio party in 1963 when I was 15. A friend (Arthur Brindle another polio victim) came up to us to tell us he was getting up to sing with the group who were performing. Jokingly I said yeah and I'll play drums. 

We were called up and Arthur B chickened out, but I didn’t. The group asked me what I wanted to play and I said ‘What is your next song?’, which happened to be the Barrett Strong number ‘Money’, which was covered by lots of Mersey bands. 

I sat behind the drums and you know when things feel right, there was a funny feeling inside me that I belonged there! 

The group said that was quite good and asked how long I’d been playing drums, I told them, “How long does the song last" 

I went home and begged my parents for a set of drums, but they just wouldn't believe me or my mate Jimmy when he told them I had played. They said it would be impossible to play the drums in my condition, So that was that.

I left school in 1964 at the age of 16. As I lived in Garston but had to get a bus into town to sign on the dole: that was the only dole for disabled in Liverpool! I wouldn’t mind, but the dole for other youths’ was only a 100 yards from my house, just at the back gates of Liverpool airport. 

I would go to the dole in Sir Thomas Street, pick up my money and go to Rushworths and buy a Mersey album or single. What I remember most was rushing home with my first Beatles EP - and ’Long Tall Sally’ hit me square in the shoulders!

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