27.07.1957 - 30.06.2010
Barry Walker, the sound engineer
of the Big Chris Barber Band for many years, passed away on June 30,
2010, after a long and painful illness. RIP, dear friend - we all miss
you very much.
The Archive & Web Team / Ed Jackson & Andreas Wandfluh
Mike "Magic" Henry collected a lot of pictures from Barry that
had been taken by himself, Band members and followers of the band.
Sometimes, these shots had been taken with mobile phones, so the quality
may not be the best one. However all the pictures show our good friend
Barry in poses and situations as we all knew him.
Here you will find the
This is what his dear fellow band members and other friends say:
Barry (or as I called him Barrington) Walker
My first day's encounter with the Big Chris Barber band involved me
sitting next to Barry Walker at the sound desk at the back of the hall
in Leamington Spa. He was very welcoming and produced a great sound from
the band, which I was able to capture on my minidisc recorder, so that I
could learn the set.
As time unfolded I discovered him to be a fascinating chap with many
interests including motorbikes and the quest for the Holy Grail. As you
will know by now he was part way through presenting a TV series called
Quest on this subject. A very entertaining and caring character, he
will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Here is a short video, filmed by Peter Rudeforth at the occasion of the
bands visit to Jerusalem in 2009.
Barry. One of my favourite people. He worked very hard for the band,a
group of people he loved. He was always there to help when time would
allow,a great sound engineer and roadie. "I`ll do anything for you,cos
your a diamond" he would say. We often had a beer together after a hard
day and enjoyed our karting too. All in all he was a very nice person
to be with. Barry I will miss you ,cos you are a diamond.
It's uncanny - I knew I had a photo of Barry somewhere with you, him and
me at a bar somewhere (how strange!!) but I went to my photo draw and
the first picture I came to was the one attached in this message. I
don't remember taking it but it certainly is an etherial shot and took
me by surprise. The times that I spent in his company were very happy
ones - he gave 100% and was always ready to help anyone in any situation
- what a unique guy and what a sad occasion
Barry was a real good "front-of-house" Sound-Man........Testimonial to
that.....at my 75th Birthday Concert Van Morrison, who is not known for
suffering fools (or indeed anybody) gladly checked the sound Barry
produced for the Band and subsequently (of course) sent his own front-of
house man (who is of course pretty cautious!!) to check Barry's work on
Van's part of the programme....They both approved whole-heartedly.......Van
(never one to miss an opportunity to get good things) immediately
ordered a replica of our Monitor system by D & B......just in case it
was the equipment rather than the man behind it!!!........Later he
dropped that equipment because obviously it was Barry who made it work
Barry was a man of varied interests.........qualified antique
cabinet-maker & restorer capable of making (from the bare wood) a
first-class violin..........but most of all the Knights Templar on which
subject he had become a recognised expert........All done by a man with
very little formal education.......I wish my (very formal) education had
given me the ability to persevere with research like Barry........He
will be missed...........
| BARRY WALKER 1957- 2010
a personal tribute
Mike Henry, Nik Payton and I first started doing gigs with the Chris
Barber Jazz and Blues Band in the late 90s. As everyone knows it was
then the Jazz and Blues Band plus “Bob Hunt’s Ellingtonians”. As time
passed it lead to more and more gigs for the larger line-up so Chris
eventually made it permanent in 2001. But way before then I remember
this sound guy/roadie coming up to me after a soundcheck somewhere... I
only knew him as Baz... and he said something like: “Bobby, this is
going to be the permanent band soon. You know that don’t you....” I
scoffed at this, but he continued: “and you are going to be the arranger
and Chris’s right hand man.” I scoffed at this even more! But my god –
within a couple of years Barry’s prediction had come true. He knew a
thing or two did young Barry. He became quite a mate over the years –
and his interest, some would call it obsession, with the Knights Templar
and the Holy Grail became a bit of a standing joke in the band. But he
knew his stuff. Once he had discovered that I was a freemason, then that
was it. I was suddenly his “mystical adviser” – though in all fairness I
knew and still know bugger all about it really! He would take me to one
side after the gig and tell me all about his theories... and ask for my
advice – advice I wasn’t really qualified to give, since freemasonry as
I knew/know it, is just a load of hocus pocus not really founded upon
any genuine history. One night in particular sticks in my mind. We were
in Uppsala north of Stockholm, and had a couple of days off. Tony Carter
and I had ventured forth and partaken of a rather splendid Greek meal.
Upon returning to the hotel I found Barry sitting on his own in the bar.
Tony sloped off to his room, and I joined Baz. We chatted about our
usual topic – the Templar and the excavation of King Solomon’s Temple in
Jerusalem during the crusades... At some point we were joined by two
rather delightful young Swedish ladies. Now instead of switching to “chat-up”
mode, we just carried on. The girls were captivated! Baz went up to his
room and returned with loads of maps and diagrams, overlays, you name
it. This is where I first learnt about his BIG theory regarding a
certain area of Hertfordshire... It certainly seemed to make sense – and
the amount of research he had put in was staggering. Anyway, this went
on for hours – until we were aware that the hotel staff were bringing
Baz never lost sight of his “quest” and even right at the end it was
still right there in the forefront of his mind. Ultimately I sort of
avoided talking about it with him, simply because I was way out of my
depth. I feel a bit sad about that now. You know, he may really have
been onto something.
If anyone knew all about Barry’s theories it would be Mike Henry. He
travelled thousands of kms in the van with him and no doubt heard it all
many a time! But no doubt Mike will write about that!
But please – don’t think of Baz as just being obsessed with this one
thing – far from it. He was a terrific expert on antiques, and was a
good craftsman. His handmade barometers were absolutely terrific. Once,
when he came to my house he spotted my old bureau... which was left to
me by my grandfather. It had come all the way over from Belarus I
believe, when my grandfather had to leave the country at the turn of the
century. The same piece of furniture had allegedly belonged to HIS
grandfather... Baz clocked it and said “that’s Russian that is. About
1780. Have you got it insured?” I hadn’t. “well you better insure that
for at least five grand”. I didn’t, of course... but I was amazed at his
dating and apparent accuracy. He didn’t know anything about my ancestry,
and the fact that my forefathers were from Russia.... strange.
One of Barry’s most lovable traits was his rather individual use of
sayings. Once we (me, Magic, Slaughts) were outside the stage door
having a cigarette (we smoked in those days!) and Barry came out urging
us to get back on stage because Chris was “Biting at the Champ”
brilliant! (for those of you reading this who aren’t English, there is a
phrase relating to horse riding, wherein an eager horse is “Champing at
After his heart attack, he came back and told us his blood pressure was
“going up and down like a rocket” During a soundcheck there was a nasty
boom coming from what appeared to be Vic’s bass amp... no – according to
Baz there was “a giant waffle under the stage”.
And most famously, he once declared to have “the ears of a unicorn”.
Great little guy – and I just know I’m going to miss him.
God bless you Barry.
Love from Big Ol’ Bob the Bear xxx
I know we used to laugh sometimes at his "Quest" escapades, but the
enthusiasm of Barry was incredible and his thirst for knowledge and
research was unending. I can remember sitting with him long into the
night many times, and he discussed and demonstrated his theories with
unabounded enthusiasm. I'm so sorry that he never got to complete his
research - mind you, I think if he'd lived to be 150 he'd never have
"Where's me cuddle Salts?" was always his opener after a break and it's
really sad to think that I'll never get to give him a cuddle again. RIP
with those Harley's and Nortons in the sky and who knows, you may find
the answers to your "quest" at last. xx
Colin and Sue Miller
"I spent many happy hours sitting next to Barry at the sound desk,
sharing "Barryisms"and talking about his kids,of whom he was so proud.
What a sad time for everyone.
I spent seven years on the road with Barry and can honestly say that he
was very helpful to me on many occasions and often kept me amused with
his many sayings and views on a variety of subjects.
Colin and Sue Miller
Sheila Henry – (Magic's Mum)
Mike I was so sad to hear about Barry he was such a nice person and you
must be really feeling his loss. We only met him a few times but I
always remember he was smiling every time. There are no words when
someone you love dies all you can do is pray for them and hold them
close in your heart. I shall light a candle for him at Mass tomorrow.
love Mum.xxxxxxx (Sheila Henry - Magic's mum)
For me it was always a great moment to see Barry. In each city he was
the first indication for me - the band is in town.
Jacqueline Van Hattem
Thank YOU Barry for being a real friend, always good humoured,
optimistic, helping wherever and whenever you could, and most of all:
for being so TRUSTFUL and KIND: ´You´re wonderful´. I Won´t forget You
Ria and Wim Wigt
We will miss you so much - always helpful, modest, energetic, positive,
trying to find solutions, loyal, always there....
In our memories you are a great man....
Ria and Wim Wigt
Barry's passing will leave us all with our own fond memories of him. I
travelled for years with him in his Mercedes van, always up and out on
time and laughing at my silliness.
But the best times we had together was up on the Norfolk Broads in our
big old cruiser that we had hired, fishing away all day or cruising
about looking for somewhere to fish.Having a jolly good time together.
God Bless me old son.
Syd Appleton – Kenny Ball's sound engineer
I had the pleasure of knowing Barry as a colleague for the best part of
his Chris Barber days when with Monty Sunshine and then Kenny Ball.
Barry was always polite, helpful and regardless of how tired he was
never gave less than 100% and had a great sense of humour.
I personally will miss him very much and I am sure I also speak for
Kenny Ball and the band ....
R.I.P. Barry and condolences to Paula and the family.... Syd
Pat and Shirley Halcox
Barry was always most kind and helpful. He was always cheerful and did
his best for every one.
Pat and Shirley Halcox xx
Mike "Magic" Henry
|Barry James Walker
Sound engineer - Big Chris Barber Band
b. 27.07.1957 - d. 30.06.2010
Barry James Walker, or Baz to his friends, was born 27/7/1957 in Enfield,
north London and grew up in the London/Hertfordshire area.
His talent for crafts was spotted at an early age, when he carved a
perfect copy of his hand. He was offered an apprenticeship as a
teenager at the V & A Museum in London, where he enjoyed restoring
antiques and musical instruments.
His passions in life were motor bikes, (he had a restored Norton
'Fastback') and the legend of the Holy Grail and Knights Templar, about
which he produced a series on DVD.
He became involved in sound engineering, first as a monitor engineer for
Iron Maiden and later as sound engineer for the likes of Enya, Judie
Tzuke, Sweet Substitute and Cliff Richard.
Barry worked full time for The Chris Barber Jazz & Blues & Big Chris
Barber Band for 15 years. He was a super sound guy for the band and
always took pride in laying out his stage for a gig, no matter how long
it took. No Job was too hard, even when we had overnight drives to the
next gig, he was always ready for action !
I spent 10 years travelling around with Barry, as I am a roadie for the
band as well.
Life was never dull with Barry around, always plotting and scheming
together, we spent hours talking about Knights Templars, hidden treasure,
where we were going to explore next. In between tours, we did odd jobs
for people, including all the brick work in our back garden, which
helped us win 'Best back Garden Hammersmith & Fulham' 3 years running.
Here's some of our handy work !
I didn't know Barry Walker a long time but when he appeared one day with
my partner Mike Henry, the world suddenly became a richer place. There
were tales of the forest, ancient mysteries and rituals, treasure hunts...
Barry would look around and see magic in anything, then set about making
that magic happen. He could produce an architectural rendition of a
project on paper, and translate it beautifully into bricks and mortar.
He could fix anything, make things look better, sound better.
His greatest magic was to bring joy to those around him, selflessly. I'd
like to think that he's in a place that he has described to his friends,
taking a sip from the Holy Grail.
So sorry to read on here that sound engineer Barry Walker passed away
June 30th. We will always remember his kindness and enthusiasm from the
2000 Down Under Tour when we first got to know him and the band.
At all subsequent concerts when we caught up in Europe, Barry not only
made us welcome (as did the other band members) but latterly, with all
the personnel changes, he always managed to usher us backstage before
the concerts to renew acquaintances with the ones we know well.
I'll be forever grateful for often offering us a seat alongside him
during the concerts, passing over a set of headphones, then cranking up
the banjo for me!
As the sound engineer he had a tremendous workload as the band grew and
for those that understand how concerts work, had to be on the road very
early to get to the next venue with a mountain of equipment, set it all
up before the band arrived for the sound chack, then as soon as the
concert was over, pack everything away again and possibly head straight
off to the next venue.
Those of us who occasionally have our ears assailed by modern music, are
used to tensing up immediately before the Chris Barber concerts,
expecting more of the same, and immediately relaxing to enjoy the music
which has never ever been too loud.
We always appreciate the Barber sound and much of that has been due to
the efforts of the sound engineers, so Barry, we really will miss you,
and are deeply saddened by your early departure.
RIP Barry great guy great sound man.
The times I would be at a CB concert I would sit with him at the desk,he
always have time to talk to you and was a real gent.
My thoughts are with his family and his close friend Magic. Magic spent
many an hour on the road touring with him in the van, god bless Barry
Richie Burns (Drummer)
I have had the chance to meet Barry already a long time ago and
spent many hours sitting at the sound desk in many European places. It
was always a great pleasure to discuss different subject with him.
Remembering the moon night in Ascona (2009) when whe discussed (after
the bands concert and the jam sessions - about 0300h in the morning)
about moon and stars and of course of Quest subjects. Or the great
italian food in Copenhagen in January 2005 - prior to the concert with
the Symphony Orchestra etc. etc.
Thanks Barry, for your great friendship all over those years. RIP
Andreas Wandfluh (co-webmaster)
I read this very bad news but I cant
believe it.What can I say.All the best to Barry`s Family and Friends.
I`m so sorry. J.
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