Gracie Coles band
(Recalled by Rene Ames and Sonia Barton)


Gracie Coles went on to form her own girl band in which Rene Ames played before she joined Ivy.

"Gracie's band was that little bit better than Ivy's, only because Gracie believed that she wanted us to look like men and play like men but Ivy was more into showmanship, more of a cabaret and more of what people wanted to see. Gracie always had us dressing in suits, straight skirts below the knee and men's jackets. Ivy's was more feminine than Gracie's ever was".

Of course, there was Blanche Coleman whose band followed Ivy's into Covent Gardens during the war, but Sonia Barton who played in it didn't think it had the appeal of the Ivy Benson Band. "Ivy's girls were a much younger bunch than the Blanche Coleman's who weren't really girls anymore. This is why Ivy re-banded because she had a few older ones in the band and she felt what the boys wanted in those days were the young reasonable looking girls, so it was out with the old and in with the new.
"It was a very good band and it wasn't the fact that they were all girls and looked good anyway. They worked hard, better than we ever did. We just sat there and got on with it we weren't really entertaining people. We might have entertained ourselves a bit. Ivy knew how to entertain people".

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