Having mentioned in my last entry the wonderful character Dai Chavez in John Summers’ novel The Raging Summer, I thought I’d better introduce him more formally.
So here’s a moment from his musical career. If you like this, do have a look at some of the other extracts from The Raging Summer – there’s some fabulous stuff there:
Later on, during the middle of the war, Rumni became the talk of the neighbourhood when Dai Chavez broke up the Full-Temperance and Full Gospel Seven Valleys Eisteddfod Great Tent Evangelist Mission. Just as the recitation of ‘Deffro Zion!’ (‘Awake Zion!’) was about to be rendered by the massed religious reciting congregations of Zoar, Penuel and Moriah chapels, the curtain stuck on stage.
Dai, who was there with his accordion slung over his shoulder ready to bike over to the Catholic Friday night dance, volunteered to play a few suitable tunes to the massed audience while the men worked to get the curtain unstuck. Standing on the middle of the stage in front of the curtain, with all the faces of the Full-Temperance and Gospel audience looking up at him, he struck up ‘Roll out the Barrel’.
He interpreted the frenzied signals of Lloyd Penuel from the side of the stage as encouragement and went on for another fifteen verses, whilst whitely-shocked Nonconformist ministers and their wives stood and walked out. It was not until Williams Williams Tin-Chapel finally marched on-stage and tore the accordion off him that he halted with a last squeal of notes.
‘There you are,’ Dai said afterwards. ‘You try and show willing and go out to help people but that’s all the thanks you set for it...’