Thursday, 30 October 2008

DUNDEE DEMO #3 - DANNY WILSON

The 3rd in the wee series of demo's from Dundee is taken from a 10 inch ep conveniently called "The Dundee Demo's", by local band, Danny Wilson. This was a limited edition released in the late 80's, each one individually numbered. There is 1 remix on it and 3 original demo recordings, and I've chosen the demo track "Steam Trains To The Milky Way" to accompany a little video I stitched together featuring some old moody footage from around the city.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

DUNDEE DEMO #2 - THE ASSOCIATES

Before it became the polished piece of pop that appeared in the charts in 1982, here below is how "Club Country" sounded in its raw demo format. A much rougher and edgier performance. Singer, Billy Mackenzie even changed the wording from "Glad to see that you're suffering" in the demo, to "Sad to see that you're suffering" in the finished version. Although it was a pop tune that everyone used to sing along to, most people probably didn't realise how dark the subject matter was. The lyrics are in fact about Liff Hospital, which was a large psychiatric institution on the outskirts of Dundee.

Monday, 27 October 2008

DUNDEE DEMO #1 - THE POOR SOULS

This tidy wee tune on demo disc is by Dundee beat outfit, The Poor Souls. Recorded in 1965, it is a good example of the kind of pop music that was around at the time, most being strongly influenced by the Mersey Sound.
This particular track (photo above) is actually the flip side to the main song "When My Baby Cries", which, in my opinion, isn't as catchy as "My Baby's Not There", written by Hudson & Lothian.
The Poor Souls line-up was : Johnny (Hudson) Moran - vocal, Doug Martin - guitar, Chick Taylor - bass, Johnny Casey - drums. Co writer of the song, Andy Lothian was a local music promoter who used to run the Top Ten Club on Sundays at the Palais in South Tay Street in the 60's, and needless to say this was also a venue The Poor Souls played regularly, along with the Chalet and other places further afield.
Although the combo appeared on pop TV show, "Stramash", and got a thumbs up on the local circuit, they didn't really break into UK's main pop scene and sadly became a 60's group that slipped through the net.
Here below, is The Poor Souls with "My Baby's Not There".

Sunday, 26 October 2008

THEATRE ROYAL - NETHERGATE - 1960'S

There were 3 "Theatre Royal's" in Dundee.
The first 2 being 19th century affairs in the main, means they won't get a mention on Retro.
The 3rd one being active in the 60's, means it will get a mention.
The building itself (located in the Nethergate) was originally called the People's Palace and had gone through quite a few changes over the decades. However, in 1965, Scottish entertainer, Calum Kennedy, was the new owner and it was he who gave it the Theatre Royal name.
It was rather short-lived under this name mind you, the theatre closing down around 1970. Then in 1977 the building was destroyed by fire and so was eventually demolished.
The first ad above was published in the local press in April 1966 and on that occasion, crooner, Frankie Vaughan, was the entertainment on offer.

The second ad was published in November 1969 and Billy Fury was the main attraction.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

PALAIS INTERIOR - 1970


A snap of inside the Palais, captured in 1970.
Taken from the stage, it looks over towards the balcony, bar and entrance area.
This was a private function, which is why they were all in evening-wear, rather than the fashion of the day.
The band in shot was the Emerald Showband, who later morphed into Wichita, the Palais resident band during the 1972-74 period.

Friday, 24 October 2008

RECORD RENDEZVOUS - OVERGATE - 1965

The Record Rendezvous was basically a wee counter in the British Relay store in the Overgate that sold singles and albums. Vinyl only of course. This photo was taken in September 1965 and some of the records on display are - The sound of The Shadows - Mary Poppins soundtrack - Ella Fitzgerald - Alexander Brothers - Gene Pitney's big sixteen - Sound of Music soundtrack - Beatles help - Acker Bilk's acks back and Andy Stewart. Quite a mixed bag! There are also some record racks along the top for storing those precious 7 inch singles. The main shop itself sold electrical goods.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

PETER & ALISON'S TAY BRIDGE RECORD - 1966

To coincide with the opening of the Tay Road Bridge in 1966, Dundee duo Peter & Alison, released a single called "Highway O'er The Sea".
It came out on Andy Lothian's ALP record label.
For the record cover photo-shoot, it seems they got the brand new bridge all to themselves!
The advert for the single was published in a national music paper in August 1966.
To read a bit about them and the record, you can click onto the article above which dates from September 1966.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

SEAGATE GALLERY - 1980'S

The Seagate Gallery & Printmakers Workshop opened early/mid 80's.
I remember visiting the very first exhibition they put on, which included work by David Mach. They also used to put on shows regularly by local amateur artists.
I managed to snap a couple of photos (above) at an exhibition there in the late 80's. The pieces are by Francisco Cabral, an artist from Trinidad.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

CRAIGIE HIGH SCHOOL SUBWAY - 1974

The CHS subway at Monymusk Road was constructed in 1972, 2 years after the school opened. The photo above of the pupils painting it was taken in June 1974. The object of the exercise was to fight fire with fire in an attempt to camouflage the graffiti being daubed on the walls. I remember we each had to design our own individual graphic in art class first for the teacher to permit it being painted full size. Each class involved was given it's own patch of wall.
This picture of the 4th year pupils was taken around the time of the O Levels which meant there was quite a bit of spare time in-between exams. This was probably one of the last things this lot did together as a class before leaving Craigie High School for good in July. Most of the faces are hidden, but I do recognise some in the class - Graeme Morrison, Ally Stewart & Gail Phillips are there, and that is the art teacher in the pink jumper, however I can't recall her name. If anyone can identify any of the others feel free to drop it in the comments.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.

Monday, 20 October 2008

BEANO'S TEASER TIME - 1960'S

Even at primary school age, I was always interested in all things arty, whether it be a visit to Dundee Museum's galleries, or a wee read of the Dundee comics. One of the highlights as a school kid was to be found in the Beano. It was called "Teaser Time" and it featured puzzles & word games sent in by readers around UK. The section I looked forward to most was the "Strange Object", a simple optical illusion graphic you had to solve.
You can give the one above a go before moving onto some more examples below that I recall from the mid 60's.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

McGILL'S SPORTS DEPARTMENT

The McGill's Sports department was in a seperate building from the main McGill Bros store. Both were located in Victoria Road but their sport shop was on the bottom corner of Hilltown. I used to visit this shop quite a lot in the early 70's when I was secondary school age, mostly for futba gear, but I can also recall buying a pair of Speedo swimming trunks, when their new "nylon" material made it's first appearance. I remember being really chuffed when I got a pair of Adidas Samba trainers from there too. Classics!!
The image above was taken in 1976.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.

Monday, 13 October 2008

BUS STOP CLOCKS - 1960'S

Back in the 60's, the bus routes around Dundee had time-card clocks placed at terminus stops. This was also the era of bus conductors, and their routine would be to lift the lid on the body of the clock, put in his time-card, and pull a lever to stamp the time on it. Sometimes when a bus was early, it meant having to hang around one until it was the right time to depart, which passengers always moaned about, especially when the driver joined the conductor for a natter & a fag!
I remember there being a clock at Keith Place/Ballindean Road terminus, and us being primary school kids would lift the lid up to pull the lever because it used to go "DING", and then we'd scarper.
The clocks became obsolete when one-man buses became the norm around 1970.
For a reminder of the green Corporation buses, here's some footage from the 60's below.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

SEX PISTOLS v FRANKIE VAUGHAN - 1976

32 years ago today, Dundee had a choice of contrasting entertainment - and just a few steps away from each other.
On one corner of Marketgait it was The Sex Pistols.
On the other corner of Marketgait it was Frankie Vaughan.
Despite the obvious conflict of music styles on offer, they did cross paths at one point.
Pistol, Glen Matlock, has documented the time when The Sex Pistols booked into their Dundee hotel, and corny crooner Frankie, was in the same dining room as the punks at breakfast time.
There's also a local story has it that Johnny Rotten and co were seen trying to get into the Frankie Vaughan gig that very evening, but needless to say, never got passed the door!
The Sex Pistols gig took place at the Tech College Students Union (aka the Bowling Alley), and the Frankie Vaughan gig was at the Barracuda nightclub.
The guide at the top showing the Sex Pistols gig date was published in NME, however, it was printed 3 weeks too early on 22 September 1976.
That actual date of the gig was 12 October 1976.
There was no advert in the local press for the Pistols event that night, but Frankie's show was advertised locally on 12 October 1976 as his cabaret act was running for a few days that week.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

LITTLE CHEF - CLAYPOTTS - 1970'S

The Little Chef opened on the Arbroath Road near Claypotts in 1974.
I recall popping in there a few times in the 70's, usually after a bit of fun in Dawson Park or on the way back from Broughty Ferry.
My choice was nearly always their pancakes with maple syrup. Very nice!
In March 1977, this Little Chef was visited by a couple of rock bands, namely, Graham Parker & The Rumour and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes.
They were on tour at the time and had played in Glasgow the previous day, so when passing through Dundee on their way to the next gig in Aberdeen, the Little Chef was chosen for a stop-off for the bands to have some grub!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

LITTLEWOODS CHANGES COLOURS

The top picture of the Littlewoods entrance area was taken on a rainy day in the mid 70's.
The Overgate store stretched from the Old Steeple area to the Boots corner zone.
The ground floor sold clothing, household goods and food, while upstairs there was a café/restaurant whose tables I remember had sugar kept in large glass shakers instead of bowls, which folk often mistook for salt. Many plates of chips were ruined as a consequence!
Next to Littlewoods on the photo is the small yellow & blue baker shop of Andrew G Kidd, and just out of view with its red shop sign glimmering behind the trees, is Dixons, who sold TV's, audio equipment, cameras etc.
Then for some reason, in the mid 80's, Littlewoods store changed its colour scheme from blue to orange.
Anyway, the reason for the crowds hanging around in the second picture was because it was Rag Day.
Students floats, pipe band and so on.

GUSSIE PARK CARNIVAL

I think most people will look back at visiting Gussie Park with fondness, despite it's rather ramshackled appearance. I certainly recall having fun there as a schoolboy in the 60's & 70's during the 7 weekies. I also remember a few skirmishes as well when there were matches on up the road!
This image of the carnival was taken in September 1965.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

GANGS OF DUNDEE BOOK

This book, written by Gary Robertson, gives a terrific insight into Dundee's gang culture which was rampant in the 1960's/70's/80's. Detailing the background behind the rise of the first fully formed mobs in the 60's, recounting the bloody battles of the mental 70's and discovering the new casual crews of the 80's.
The book is loaded with city references from that era, the shops, pubs, football and of course the housing schemes, as ex gang members give graphic accounts (in broad Dundee lingo) of their involvement, such as the scraps at the Palais, the rumbles at Gussie Park, the futba violence and the turf wars. Plenty information on the cult clothing that was worn too...even a guide to jersey colours.
So whether you want to reminisce or learn about what the hell the Huns, Fleet, Toddy, Shams and the rest got up to, this is where you'll find out. It will make you cringe and laugh in equal measure as it uncovers this unique period in Dundee's history.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

CLARKS COMMANDOS ADVERT - 1972

This comic strip is actually an advert.
It's for Clarks Commandos, a range of shoes made by Clark, and was published in 1972.
They are described as "action shoes for tough assignments" and the various styles came with added extras such as a mock ammunition box, Commando I.D. card, wall charts, badges etc.
The shoes also had a little recognition symbol in the heel.
Kids like all that kinda stuff of course, and no doubt, many mock battles were fought around town wearing them - just like Kit Carter and chums in the advert strip.
A small group of Dundonians, however, took it a step further a few years later, when in 1980, a band cropped up on the local music scene and were called, yep you guessed it - Clarks Commandos..!!
Give it a click to read the large version.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

THE BALLINARD GOES PUNK! - 1977

Many of us know about Dundee's early punk gigs that took place at The Ambassador Hotel in 1977, but here's a gig list that was published in Cripes in October '77 showing that the Ballinard Hotel were trying to get in on the act too.
The Jolt playing on a Saturday night followed by a punk disco on Sunday!

Friday, 3 October 2008

THE BARRACUDA - MARKETGAIT

The location of The Barracuda in the Marketgait was probably the most well known and most visited disco spot in Dundee.
Previously called the J.M, the nightclub was transformed into the Barracuda in 1975 after £1/4 million was spent on it's conversion, and had a new look design that was extremely eye catching.
Both the outside & inside were "sculpted" to resemble an exotic cave.
There were alcoves, recesses, cubbyholes and bay areas all over the place, not to mention lots of stalactites too.
There was also an upstairs balcony area with a desert island shack.
Just in case you still weren't aware of this tropical theme going on, to remind you, it also had aquariums containing piranhas!
The Barracuda was sold to Rank Leisure in April 1980.
Boss, Murdo Wallace Jr, is quoted saying at the time "I had been made an offer I could not refuse".
So after that he was able to concentrate more on promoting the soul acts and pop groups side of things.
The new Barracuda manager was now John Muir and £35,000 is spent on their new lighting system.
Barracuda then gets another £1/4 million face-lift in January 1984 and re-opens in March '84 as Coconut Grove.
For a glimpse of the Barracuda interior, have a wee nosy at the slideshow below.

Photos by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.