EVERYTHING had been arranged for a pleasant few hours spent listening to live music on the May 1957 edition of the annual Evening Times river boat shuffle down the Clyde.

Some 1,800 jazz fans crowded onto the Duchess of Hamilton, looking forward to such bands as the Clyde Valley Stompers (main image), Alan Mason’s Jazzmen, Charlie Gall’s Mainstreamers and the Vernon band would be playing.

And then, of course, the heavens opened.

“For once the bearded, arty types found a use for the hoods of their duffles”, reported the reporter from the Evening Times. “Up they went at the first raindrop. The left bank of the Seine never produced such a crop of bizarre attire as the shufflers from the shipyards and University.

“Jeans, camel-hair coats, rock ‘n’ roll shirts, and every hair-do from pony-tail to Tony Curtis styling were on view”.

A tropical heat built up in the lower decks, where the band played. Hundreds of skiffle fans were entertained by skiffle bands, though one washboard player scrubbed so hard on his instrument’s ragged corrugation that he had to receive medical attention.

A clutch of Bill Haley fans commandeered one corner and “although space was tight, the jivers managed to clear a few feet for their jet-propelled exertions”.

Somewhere on board, enjoying themselves, were a number of jazz fans who had arrived from Dundee. Their car had twice broken down en route; they then sold it at a profit, and finished their journey by taxi.

Part of the shuffle was recorded by the BBC, to be aired on the ‘Scope’ programme on the Scottish Home Service. The sailing was voted a great success, with much socialising and dancing having been witnessed. One man hobbled ashore in his stocking soles, complaining: “My feet are killing me”.

The other picture here dates from the shuffle of September, 1955, with the Bill Paterson quartet entertaining the customers. The vessel this time had been the Queen Mary II. The other bands on show included the Ayrshire Jazz Band, and a jiving session on the promenade deck attracted a sizeable audience.