Tuesday 30 June 2009


Owner of the JM Ballroom, Murdie Wallace, also had this short lived side project on the go in the 60's - a 7 inch single released on (surprise, surprise) JM Records. The record was released in April 1964, and as far as I know, it was the one and only record to be issued on this label.
It was a recording of local act, Hammy & The Hamsters, who were, Alex Hamilton (Dundee FC) and a few of his team mates. The record wasn't a football song though, it was a pop ballad aimed at the singles charts, so not particularly a tune for blue-nosers only.
I have actually done a piece about Hammy & The Hamsters on the Shrine, where you can also hear a sample of the song.

Here's the link -

Monday 29 June 2009


This ad for the JM appeared on 5th Sept 62. It was a one-off ad referring to the night Dundee FC played Cologne at Dens in the European Cup - the famous 8-1 Dee victory as it turned out.
The wording says "Herzlich willkommen den Koellner Fussball Club. After the game, pop down town to Dundee's most popular dance hall and round off a perfect evening". And I'm sure there probably was quite a few who ended up at the JM that night!!
By the way, I've asked a few folk, and not one of them knew what the "JM" stands for..!!

Sunday 28 June 2009


This was the bonnie mess in the 80's that was South Tay Street, although I seem to remember it was just this certain part in particular that had the slum look. This is the area nearest the Westport/Marketgait car park, with the old Palais doorway on the right. The Palais, obviously having gone through it's Samanthas and Bloomers phase by this time. It was also the sight we saw every time we went in and out of Slickers across the road.
The whole of this block has survived and is now looking spick & span after its overhaul a few years later.

Saturday 27 June 2009


This segment of old Hawkhill is just before it's demise, and I'm 99% sure that the premises with the white door is The Tav.
If it is the Tav, I read somewhere that before the Tav building got knocked down, the interior fittings of the pub were moved across to the University where it has now become part of the Students Union bar.
Can anybody say for certain if this is an urban myth or if the Tav was indeed transferred, so to speak?


Here's a well trodden cobbled path....the view up Hawkhill from Westport.
I can recall on more than one occasion, me and my mates "galloping" up & down here from pub to pub, in the style of Monty Pythons human horses in the Holy Grail film..!! The silly sods that we were!!!
Keeping the Python humour going, a year or so later when one of our mob got married, a couple of us wore a "lupin" in our jacket lapel at the wedding!!
In fact, we actually had the smoker in the back room of the Tav.
Talking of the Tav, some of you may remember the excellent sketches of Dundee done by local artist, Stephen French. Well when these buildings on the right of the photo (MC Bar to The Globe) were restored in the 80's, he opened up a studio/shop in Johnston's Lane - next to the corner shop in the picture.
He sold sketches, quirky sculptures, and a range of other modern artefacts. I can remember even the blinds on the shop window were very arty, having a holographic design etched into them. Cutting edge interior design indeed.!!
I also have a hazy memory from back then that French had a stint as designer for "Memphis" of Milan. Memphis were a radical, avant garde design team who made outrageous interior d├ęcor, causing a bit of a sensation in the 80's, most of which are now only seen in art galleries and museums.
However, I can't find any info about the French/Memphis link anywhere, that is just one of those wee facts stored away in my mind that I assume must have got there by reading a piece about him in a magazine way back in the 80's.
All that superb stuff he done, and yet no details on any of it.
About time there was a book about him and his work.
Until then, this sketch above is one I have in my own collection at home. You may be able to make out that he personally signed it in 1977.
It is also one that used to be on display in the Tav.
The actual content of the sketch is pretty much the same location as the photo, but from the other end.

Friday 26 June 2009


Although it sounds like a pub you'd visit to catch live hip hop acts perform, the MC in the name stands for Mickey Coyle.
The MC Bar was on the Scout to Tav route in Hawkhill, and so we passed it hundreds of times. However, it had been shut for quite a lengthy period by then. It did eventually reopen again in the mid 80's after restoration, this time under the name of The Blue Mountains.
Shortly after though, it changed back to Mickey Coyle's.


Nowadays, the Globe occupies the full width of this building in Westport, which is all nice & tidy after its restoration. In my era, however, this is how it looked when we visited it, grubby, all the boards going up beside it and having to share the space with Kleen Wear.
Further up, out of shot on the right, many of the buildings had already started to be knocked down around the Hawkhill/Blackness area, with the demolition continuing well into the 80's.

Thursday 25 June 2009


 "And now, the end is near..."
1982 here at Temple Lane, and not only is the corner shop boarded up, but all the flats above are too, with The Scout the only one managing to hang on 'til the very end!
This was the sight we saw every week and never thought anything of it. There was a wee derelict closie on the right of the photo that got used as a place to go for a quick joint before the drinking in the Scout began.
It was 1982 The Scout eventually closed and you can get a reminder of The Scouts final night in my July 2008 Archive, with lots of comments as well.
A couple of quirky things I can recall are, there was a drink on the go at the time that young bravehearts would order and was part of the youth ritual of showing off - it was called "The Green Monster". A lethal brew of various spirits & beers, and with it being tough old Dundee, this actually came in a PINT glass, not a namby pamby cocktail glass. Needless to say, 1 pint and you were F**KED!!!
Also remember Elvis Presley being a regular in The Scout.
This was a local who was his double, it wasn't an act, but was a good laugh watching everyone do a double-take when they went passed him.
If you zoom into this photo, there is actually a shadowy figure standing in The Scout doorway. Just wonder if it is the ghost of Elvis, perhaps singing "Suspicious Pints" or maybe "Alehouse Rock" or how about "Love Me Cider"!!!
Incidentally, the pub used to be called The Temple Bar but when it was taken over by Oliver Hamilton it was renamed The Scout, based on the fact that he used to be a scout for Blackpool Football Club.

Photo by DC Thomson.


A view along Temple Lane from Westport.
The shops still doing business in the picture are as follows - on the right corner is Hobbies & Handicrafts - the opposite corner has Dickson the Pawnbroker (you can see the pawnbroker sign) - next door is Nicol's Footwear and down from them is J.Scotland fruiterer.

Wednesday 24 June 2009


A view looking up Westport in the other direction this time...up the Ha'kie and alang the Blackie...from the same period as the previous picture.
Most of the pubs and shops were still doing business during this period, even when some of the buildings around about were starting to be pulled down.
Yet despite it's grotty condition, it didn't influence the amount of fun we had when it came to drinking time!!


A shot looking down towards the Angus Hotel from Westport in the mid/late 70's.
It wasn't just the pubs that were the attraction in Westport in the 70's & 80's - a few doors up from the Ascot Bar was a shop called Rockpile.
I became a bit of a regular to this 2nd hand record shop around this era. It was very well stocked with vinyl and was a great place to have a wee rummage. During these rakes through the racks, you'd sometimes catch whiff of some exotic fragrances wafting over, and they were not always because of the joss-sticks, if you know what I mean! Yes Ian & Brian (behind the counter) used to enjoy an occasional joint while blasting out some quality dub and electronic synth sounds - most of the dub & synth based albums being mine as well - me having offloaded lots of LP's by then.
So at least the records went to a good home anyway!!
Brian also used to do illustrations for Dundee fanzine, Cranked Up.
I also remember, along with the records, there being novelty Rizlas and Alpaca wool jerseys hanging up for sale.
In fact I actually ended up buying one of the sweaters.

Tuesday 23 June 2009


Gonna be out & about around the Westport area over the next few days.
So to start with, here's a reminder of the general area I'll be covering, the photo dating from October 1969.
To help you get your bearings, The Globe Bar is in the centre, with Hawkhill going North to the top of the picture and the Blackness Road forks off to the right. South Tay Street is bottom left and North Tay Street (now Marketgait) bottom right, with the JM Ballroom beside the car park.
That should help set the scene for the following set of photos which are from the 70's & 80's, and will probably have you backtracking to this shot for reference purposes, because you wont be able to refer to the area as it is now!

Monday 22 June 2009


Wilkie's Music House was a wee shop in Whitehall Crescent that sold musical instruments.
Not sure how long it was there for mind you because just a few steps away around the corner was an established rival, Largs, so it would have to do battle with them.
This is how the shop looked in July 1978 anyway.
The shop next door to it on the corner is Cantrell's, the fish monger and the large store with the sale signs on the windows, is Draffens.

Sunday 21 June 2009


Skeets Boliver formed in Dundee around 1973 when 2 local acts, Hens Teeth and Mort Wriggle & The Panthers, fused together. This line-up consisted of Michael & Chris Marra - Brian McDermott - Stuart Ivins and Angus Foy.
The shot of the band above in 1977 has the addition of Peter McGlone (with the rollie-up).
This image of Skeets appears on the back cover of a single the band released in '77, a song called "Moonlight In Jeopardy". The front of the cover with them leaping up into the air is the one on the video screen below, where you can have a wee blast of the tune.
They did in fact release 2 singles in 1977, the first one was a song that was labelled as "Streethouse Door", but they actually sang "Shithouse Door!" - a track I've seen them play live a couple of times.
On the subject of word based fun - I spotted these 2 misprints above in an Edinburgh gig guide dated September 1977.
The first has the band as STREETS Boliver - their setlist made up of middle-of-the-road tracks I suppose!
The other has their name as SHEETS Boliver - probably an evening of cover versions then!
They've even got 2 different dates for Monday!
Anyway, after that brief interlude - the following year (Sunday 8th January 1978 to be exact) the band even made an appearance on national television. The programme was called " I Can't See The Light" and it had footage of Skeets performing live at Laings, as well as having a wee chat with the guys.
The clipping is from an original TV guide page.
Skeets Boliver eventually split around 79/80 with the musicians going their separate ways - Michael obviously doing his successful solo projects, Peter joining Mafia and Brian later going onto work with Del Amitri.
I'm sure there will be plenty of you ready to enter your own Skeets Boliver trivia into the comments....so enter away!

Saturday 20 June 2009


This is how the High Street looked in the early 70's, looking down towards Commercial Street from Castle Street.
The 3 main shops in the photograph are no longer there.
These are, from left to right, TIMBERLAND on the corner of Commercial St/Seagate. This was one of the very first shops to delve into the D.I.Y. market. All your tools, wood, paints etc under the one roof. It wasn't until a few years later that the concept came to be presented on a larger scale and placed in retail park warehouses.
On the High Street is HALFORDS, the bicycle shop. Again another shop that has gone for the larger retail park format. Not so handy if all you want is a puncture repair kit!
And of course, the Castle Street corner belonged to baker ANDREW G KIDD. Worth a visit just for the aromatherapy!!

Friday 19 June 2009


"Just looking..!!"
A little glimpse into McGill Brothers on Victoria Road in May 1975.
Some of the goods on offer are - boxes of braces, pre-packed denim shirts, checked shirts, casual tops, colognes, sunglasses and a few other knick knacks.
This is the part of the shop that greeted you when you went through the main doors on Victoria Road.
They had more substantial clothing upstairs like, suits, coats and so on for your average Joe.
For the young trendy teenager they stocked, Levi Sta-Prest, Ben Sherman shirts, Fred Perry's, Crombie's, etc.
They had school uniforms too for the more sensible type!
In the picture, you can see an interior doorway area (beside the fire extinguisher) that lead downstairs to the shoe dept. One of the more memorable pairs of shoes I bought from there was in 1973 - black & white brogues (spats) with thick Doc Marten soles. Wow!! They were about the dearest shoes in the shop..!!
I noticed that the guy right on the edge of the picture is wearing what was called a "Swallow raincoat", Swallow being the brand name, and these were a bit of a minor fad in the mid 70's as a kind of follow on from crombies.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG

Thursday 18 June 2009


44 years ago today, The Rolling Stones were on stage at the Caird Hall.
Not once but twice, playing 2 shows on the day. The ticket here being for the 2nd performance.
Stones gigs were pretty notorious back then as a result of their frenzied fans causing damage to the halls. I know Edinburgh's Usher Hall got smashed up on the same tour, although I'm not too sure how the Caird Hall fared on this particular visit.
I do know, however, and as you can read in the cutting, that the Marryat Hall was used as an improvised medical centre to treat all the lassies who fainted!
The band were on a roll in '65 with hit singles such as "The Last Time", "Satisfaction" and "Get Off Of My Cloud" all released that year.
And it was 15 shillings to get in - 75p..!!!

Wednesday 17 June 2009


A reminder of how Tindall's in Castle Street looked back in July 84.
The food for thought slogan on the side of their van reminded me (Food For Thought = UB40 reference)  that I was at a reggae disco in Tindall's one Sunday afternoon back then. It was something a bit different from the usual Sunday offerings in town anyway and it was well attended too.
Tindall's closed down in January 1988.

Photo by DC Thomson.

Tuesday 16 June 2009


Now completely cleared and ready to start all over again.
By the way, that grey shop on the corner (mid right) is Premier Studio Photographers.


Nothing but rubble remains.


Tearing down the buildings in the Victoria Road area has started.

Monday 15 June 2009


A photo showing a section of the area in the previous picture I put up.
From right to left you have - The Lion Bar (a pub, not a confectioner!) - Roadcraft School of Motoring - Crown Wallpaper & Paint Stores - Tosney Fish Merchant and again the stripey shop is B.G. Forbes music shop.
Forbes sold instruments here with pianos a specialty, but upstairs they run a music school and I used to go here for guitar lessons around 1967/68 when I was aged 9/10. I only lasted a few months though as I ended up leaving due to "musical differences!". He was trying to teach me basic "Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do" stuff that I already knew, but I was wanting to learn chords like I heard on The Beatles "I Am The Walrus", so I took a strop one day, declared he wasn't up to the task and ended up learning to play guitar myself at home.
You can view another shot of this area when it was doing business in the 60's in my November 2008 Archives. Just stick Forbes in the search box.
Finally, the car parked on the right is a Ford Anglia and the one up from it I think could be a Zephyr.


 Looking a bit on the grubby side, this snapshot of Victoria Road in the mid 70's shows this section has been vacated and is ready to be flattened.
The boarded up business nearest to the camera on the right is Clark the Optician, with the notice saying that they have moved to Panmure Street.
2 up from Clark's is the Vic Bar, another Vicky pub I have never been in.
On the far left with the protruding shop sign is B.G. Forbes a music shop who specialised in pianos.

Sunday 14 June 2009

THE VULCAN BAR - 1970's - #3

Beam me up....
Up go the wooden beams on The Vulcan Bar windows as the pub now awaits to be phased-out completely..!!

THE VULCAN BAR - 1970's - #2

A view from the Kings Road side this time and The Vulcan Bar is still managing to cling on (Klingon!!) to biz.
Next to it, boarded up, is Dundee auctioneer, Ben Fenton's.

THE VULCAN BAR - 1970's - #1

On the corner of Victoria Road and Kings Road was Spocks favourite hang-out, The Vulcan Bar. Here it is in the early/mid 70's, still open for business...but only just. As you can see, most of the Vicky has been boarded up, and further down the demolition has started.
I was never in the Vulcan - by the time I was drinking age, all that area had disappeared.

Saturday 13 June 2009


This full page advert in the music press is from November 1979,  and sees The Headboys album getting an epic promotional push by Our Price record shops in London.
The album went straight in at number 42 in the Our Price chart that week.
Dundee didn't have an Our Price store back then, so any locals interested in the stores offer would have to travel to indulge!
Underneath the ad is an interview with main man, George Boyter.
This was published in a Middlesbrough newspaper in Sep 1979.
Click items to enlarge.


So, formerly called Badger, The Headboys have now added Bob Heatlie (from Edinburgh) on sax to the line-up and once more commence releasing records. Their debut "The Shape Of Things To Come" came out in the Summer of 1979. It was a hit in the UK and USA becoming one of the many "new wave" records that were on the increase in the mainstream pop charts at the time.
You can watch the lads perform this single on Youtube.
They also released an album the same year and extracted another couple of follow-up singles from it, but they didn't receive the same amount of attention. Around the beginning of the 80's the band split, with Calum Malcolm going on to work with well know Scottish act The Blue Nile.
Here below is their summer single...


Formed in Dundee in the mid 70's, it didn't take too long for Badger to get their material down on vinyl, releasing 2 singles in 1977.
This one here was the bands debut 45. The A-side is a track called "Biding My Time" - I, however, have opted to showcase the B-side "Stepping Stones", which in my opinion is the stronger composition.
Group members were - Lou Lewis (guitar/vocals) - George Boyter (bass) & Davy Ross (drums) - Calum Malcolm (from Edinburgh, Keyboards/vocals).
Then later in 77/78, the band changed their name to The Headboys and again released a few records with a bit of success in this transformation.
In November 1979, The Headboys then released this old song "Stepping Stones" again, only this time as the A-side of the single!
Meanwhile, here is the crackly original Badger version to tune into...

Friday 12 June 2009

No1 - WARD ROAD - 1980's

More arches with No1 on...(re previous post).
The popular No1 pub was in Ward Road.
It changed it's name from Pullmans to No1 in the mid 80's but remained basically the same inside apart from a colour change from plum to green.
This shot of it is the Ward Road side of the pub, but it also had an entrance in Constitution Road.
Did it use "It's No1 - it's top of the pubs!" as an advertising slogan, or have I just made that up?!
Anyway, there is a photo of the interior when it was the Pullman Lounge in my February 2009 Archives.

Thursday 11 June 2009


In the 60's, we used to have a pet rabbit, and often on Saturday mornings we'd stop off at the Central Pet Stores in Peter St to get some food for it. When you went through the pendie, you could actually "smell" the pet shop first before you could see it. It was quite a good wee place to visit when you were primary school age, seeing all the fish, birds, hamsters etc. I remember the rabbit food we got came in cylinder shaped pellets. Went in the rabbit a cylinder, and popped out a sphere..!!
On the other side of the road was Lotus Shoes shop and Smith & Horner the drapers.
In the 70's when I was a bit older, I think I only used the pendie as a shortcut to get to the ABC.
And in the 80's, around where the old pet shop was located, they opened a Pizza Gallery that had an "art" theme.
If you enlarge the photo, you'll notice that beside the archway, the Hulltoon Hunz have kindly date-stamped the photo, which was taken in 1989. HH claiming to be No1 at the time..!!

Wednesday 10 June 2009


Here's 5 rare adverts that are seldom seen in music archives - and for records released by Dundee acts.
Top one is the Poor Souls "When My Baby Cries" on Decca. This was published in the national music press in 1965.
Second one is a bit different in that it is a promo card that came out in 1981 to coincide with The Associates single "White Car In Germany". The record label is Situation Two of course, and the details are published on the reverse side of the card.
Underneath that is an ad that was also published in 1981, a Billy MacKenzie side project by local act, 39 Lyon Street, titled "Kites". RSO the label.
Next one is for another Billy MacKenzie side project, this time it's Orbidoig, the single called "Ice Cream Factory" on WEA. This ad was published in the music press in 1982.
Last one is for an Inca Rhodes single called "Hideaway" on the Silk label. Although the record was released in 1986, the advert was published in February 1987.


This single by Mafia was released in 1980. It's their take on the R&B classic "Rescue Me" (1965 original by Fontella Bass).
Mafia's band line-up did go through a few changes in personnel in their time but the musicians involved in this session were - Donnie Coutts - Dougie Martin - Gerry McGrath - Gordon Dougall - Allan McGlone & Peter McGlone.
The extra bit of Dundee interest on this vinyl 45 is that it came out on Groucho Records. It has on the back of the cover that Groucho was at 89 Perth Road at the time.
The B-side, incidentally, is a track called "Hold On" and was produced by AWB's Alan Gorrie.

Tuesday 9 June 2009


The cover photo of the 2nd Jim Wilkie book informs you that the content is about the 2 Dundee teams. It see-saws from Dundee FC to Dundee United in equal measure as it delves into the history of both clubs in tandem. Year by year bites of interesting information on and off the field of play. So you get accounts of matches - player performances- transfer details and all the goings on behind the scenes. In between all the retro football facts are occasional reminders of what is happening elsewhere in the world to give you a bit of background knowledge.
The original version came out in 1984 but this one here is the latest revised edition which brings you up to date with events in the new millennium.
Available from most main booksellers.

Monday 8 June 2009


Jim Wilkie as author, has written many books, but I'm going to mention just 2 in particular because they contain lots of interesting retro reading material.
This one here "Blue Suede Brogans" gives a glimpse into the Scottish music scene, with Dundee in the 60's & 70's getting quite a sizable coverage.
Some musicians get their own individual chapter, giving an insight into what life in a band was like back in the day. Locals such as Doug Martin, Donnie Coutts, Mike Fraser and Michael Marra all give their personal account, while various Average White Band members and Edwyn Collins recall their links with Duncan of Jordanstone Art College.
The book was published in 1991 so may need a bit of detective work to find a copy, but it's well worth tracking down and occupying a place on the bookshelf.
Also has loads of rare photographs.

Sunday 7 June 2009


Dundonian, Jim Wilkie, has been involved in music, one way or another, for most of his life.
Halos was the name of his first band in the early/mid 60's - while still at school. In the 70's he was in a band called Dog Eat Dog for a couple of years, then spent a bit of time in Shug Barr's Allstars, and he has even worked with locals, Mafia. He is though probably best known for his involvement with the Electric Ceilidh Band who started up around 1980 and went on to become well established recording artists.
Re-winding back to the 70's, however, Jim Wilkie actually recorded an album under his own name called "The Waxer", featuring a large bunch of Scottish musicians, including members of 70's pop outfit Cado Belle.
The LP was released in 1979 and underneath the album cover image is a review of the record.
I have a wee sample from it below. The track is called "First To Cry" - a catchy pop song with a bit of a dance groove.
There is also a downtempo tune on the album where he sings about Dundee on it, so I'll try squeeze that one on sometime in the future. As far as I know the album has never been released on CD.
And as regards his other life as a writer, I'll touch on that tomorrow.
Anyway, here's the opening track...

A wee update to let you know that The Waxer has now been released for the first time on CD. Remixed and remastered with 2 bonus tracks.
Out now on Ridge Records.
Go get!

Saturday 6 June 2009


This full page spread comes from the Black Echoes music paper dated January 1979 and is another account of the same gig as the previous item - at Le Palace in Paris.
Among the entourage was a team from the Barracuda who travelled with the band along with several journalists.
Not all went to plan however, they had a set back before they even left the UK. Keyboardist Stewart Garden fell ill and was rushed to hospital with pleurisy, so when the band arrived in Paris one of the first things they had to do was find a stand-in keyboard player!
You can read all about the weekend voyage by clicking the image to view the large version.
The group called it a day in 1982.
And there ends my Rokotto scrapbook.


Although this write-up appeared in the Blues & Soul magazine in January 1979, the review is about a show Rokotto did around Christmas 1978.
This prestigious gig took place at Le Palace in Paris. Le Palace at this time was THE place to be seen, attracting fashionable rich & famous celebs from around the globe. You know - Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Mick Jagger, Paloma Picasso....the A list!!
The venue's light show back then was described as being like something out of Close Encounters!
Rokotto performed for 90 minutes, and you can read all the about their weekend trip by clicking the image to view the larger copy.

Friday 5 June 2009


Rokotto pretty well established by now and one of the cover headline acts. This Blues & Soul magazine dating from January 1979 sees the Dundee band on the front page with the likes of Chic, Temptations, Heatwave etc.
The inside story will go up tomorrow.