The regular drummer felt that Paula was a natural and had potential so suggested that she take some lessons, which she did, from Tommy Speakman percussionist with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

After playing a few gigs on drums in the Liverpool area Paula joined Henry Croudson’s Youth Orchestra in 1944 at the age of 15.

In early 1946 Paula went to London and successfully audition for the Ivy Benson Band who she joined 6 weeks later in February a few months before her 17th birthday. Her association with Ivy was to last for 15½ years until 1961 where following the death of her father she returned back to her native Liverpool to be with her mother.

For a while Paula did mainly one night stands throughout the Wirral and New Brighton area’s with Gerry Barbers Band but this lasted for only a few months and then sadly she decided to return to London and leave the business altogether.

During her time with Ivy Benson Paula was a well-known face in the drum world for if you ever mentioned having seen the Benson Band to anyone at the time, you would invariably be asked if Paula was there. She appeared on the front of the Melody Maker advertising premier drums, broadcast, recorded and travelled extensively with Ivy throughout Gt Britain, Europe, Middle East and North Africa as well as appearing in summer season at Butlins Holiday Camps Filey and Pwhelli and for several years on the Isle of Man at the Villa Marina.

She favoured big band work best and ranked her favourite drummer as Phil Seaman, of Ivy Benson, Paula states, “She was a good friend as well a good boss”.

Today Paula is in a Cheshire Nursing Home having recently suffered health problems including a stroke and a heart condition but I am glad to report that after speaking to her in late December 2005 she is feeling a lot better and sends her love and best wishes to you all.

Finally I make no apologizes for claiming Paula to be a very, very, fine drummer and an extremely good timekeeper who during her prime could hold her own in any band of the era. It is such a pity that she only played for the two professional outfits as I personally feel that she would have gained a far greater status should she have had a more varied professional career.

Reproduced by kind permission of John Harding, contributor to the bi-monthly "Old Drummers Club - January 2006

Paula Pyke
played Drums
1946 - 1961

Probably one of the most well known of British female drummers immediately after the war years was Paula Pyke. Paula was the beat for many years behind the Ivy Benson Band.

Born in Liverpool on 28th July 1929 she had started playing accordion in local semi pro bands where during tea breaks she would ask to take over on drums

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