Tuesday, 7 April 2009


As I've mentioned on Retro before, Sunday nights for my mob was "Sands" night, where we'd go to get our weekly dose of funk and soul.
Here's a wee story to accompany one such visit in September 1980.
Every Thursday I used to get 4 music papers - the NME, Sounds, Black Echoes and Melody Maker. This particular Thursday I read in all 4, brilliant reviews on Stevie Wonder's shows at Wembley Arena. He was playing 6 shows there and this very same weekend was to be his finale. However, it also stated elsewhere in the papers that the shows were sold out.
When I got my wages next day on Friday, these reviews were still running around in my mind, and so on the spur of the moment I made a decision to hop on a train to London that night. Keeping in mind that the shows were sold out, I opted for a single fare to the capital with intent to hitch-hike back because I thought I'd need all the dosh I had to purchase a ticket from a tout. So, when I arrived in London I thought I'd try my luck at the ticket agencies first just in case someone had a spare, and after searching all day, I did indeed eventually get one from an agent who had a ticket returned that day. Delighted at having beaten the touts, I made my way to Wembley Arena for the show. It really was as brilliant as the reviews had said it was.
After the show, my mind then turned to the Sands. I now had spare cash because I didn't splash out on tout prices and I discovered I had enough to get back to Dundee. However, that was going to leave me skint, so what I did was keep a bit of Sands money aside and got the train only to Newcastle. I arrived in Newcastle mid morning and then hitched back from there. Did it in 3 lifts. Got back into Dundee late afternoon, had a bite to eat, a quick wash & brush up then off to the Ferry to meet up with my mob at Brookes. When they asked where I had been all weekend, and I told them, they just burst out laughing. I did that kind of thing regularly back then!
Anyway, made it to the Sands that Sunday as normal. To top it off, they played "Masterblaster" that night, and so obviously I had to get up to dance to it, just 24 hours after watching it live!
Incidentally, I've still got my ticket, programme and the original cuttings that triggered the weekend. One of the reviews had the amusing headline "Rockin Stevie plays a blinder", so thought I'd include it here.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG


  1. Well I spent most of late 1974 till April 1975 dancing @ The Sand,s on Wed,Sat,Sunday nights,and the first ever DJ was BB(Brian McAllister)an old friend who I managed to catch up with on a recent trip to Dundee.BB,s signature tune was ;Pick Up the Pieces' by The Average White Band. I knew Ed and Alex Sweeney way back then too,we all used to meet in The Jazz Club @ The Queens Hotel on Sunday afternoons to listen to live local bands,my friend and I often hitched a lift with Ed to the Quaich in Arbroath when he was DJing there. They served supper on paper plates way back then to,but it did originally start out as a supper club for over 21,s,however I was only 17 when I first went. Great music and dancing,then on to all night parties with BB @ the McCabes houses(they owned the record shop in Reform Street). Happy,happy days !.

  2. I am sure Sylvester played at The Sands. The main songs I remember are 'Celebrate' by Earth Wind and Fire, and Ottowan.