Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 11:21 UK
Profile: Stan Ambrose

Stan Ambrose
Stan Ambrose

Stan Ambrose shares presentation of BBC Radio Merseyside's weekly folk programme, Folkscene (Tuesday and Thursday 2100).

Stan was born in Barking, Essex in 1930 and attended the same primary school as singer-songwriter Billy Bragg:

"Growing up, we moved to different places in search of jobs; the east side of London to the west side. I didn't have a solid education in that sense. Eventually we moved to Cambridge to escape the bombing during the war."

Stan's career took some interesting turns during the early part of his life:

"I worked in a finance department for the National Health Service, filling out forms. I didn't like it so I got into politics and became a local councillor while in my 20s. The older people didn't like me being there, they saw me as an apprentice."

Nevertheless, Stan decided that he needed a better education:

"No-one in my family or extended family had gone to University at that time. I had never thought of myself as a University student, so I went and got a certificate in Social Studies in Southampton. Then I went to Liverpool to study psychology and psychiatry. This was around 1961/1962."

In Liverpool, Stan began to indulge his passion for folk music:

"I had been part of a skiffle group growing up and used to knock out tunes on the piano. I had a collection of records and used to make programmes of music from them. We started a club in Southport called The Bothy. We ended up with a club full of people. It was an amazing time."

Stan's involvement with the folk circuit allowed him to meet Geoff Speed:

"I met Geoff Speed in the 1960s when he ran a folk club in Widnes. He had Paul Simon at his club. Geoff has a piece of paper with what everybody was paid. Paul Simon was paid £15 and we were paid £17!"

Stan, who has sung and played the whistle in a local band for many years, also plays the Celtic harp. He has performed with music collective 'Super Numeri' and has appeared at London's Jazz Café and at a Belgian pop festival.

"I thought I might have problems filling the show for a month" he says, "but here I am over 40 years on." He and Geoff take turns to present the show and hardly ever tread on each other's toes:

"We don't tell each other what we're doing and somehow it just works. We each have our own style of programme."

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific