Wednesday 30 September 2009


Here is a photo collage that came with the Big Blue 72 album, catching some of the action at the Marquee 20 years ago.
Photos are by Neil Watson.
Click onto the image to view the large version.

BIG BLUE 72 - MARQUEE - 1989

This is the LP that captured Big Blue 72 live at the Marquee (Constable Street) on 29th October 1989.
10 members in the band - here goes - KEITH MATHESON, DAVID BOLGER, COLIN DAVIDSON, TONY HOEY, GREGOR IRVIN, ALLAN McGLONE, ALI NAPIER, SHIRLEY POTTS, DOUGIE RICHARDSON & COLIN STEWART. There were also 2 guests joined them on the night, David Oudney & Peter Allan.
This song from the album is one of the more laid-back ones on offer but still has that big sound bursting through - it's called "Days Like These", recorded by a 24 track mobile studio incidentally.
Must also mention the top notch graphics on the cover, drawn by Gordon Hendry, some of which can be viewed on the slide show below.

Tuesday 29 September 2009


As a consequence of parking the Mafia-mobile outside this establishment, the band received a stiff fine..!!
Thanks to Mac and DC.


A rather unusual venue for a gig..!!
This was the band on their travels in June 1980.
There is no truth in the story that Mafia sacked their manager after he failed to negotiate a residency at this place..!!
Thanks to Mac and DC.

Monday 28 September 2009


This image is a nice wee reminder of the kind of thing Dundee youth looked out for back in the 80's.
Posters splattered about on grubby walls. It was one way to keep track of what was cooking in the clubs anyway.
This batch here were captured in Feb '86 in the Seagate, and the main ones to keep an eye on then would have been the yellow & red Dance Factory posters advertising their forthcoming gigs at Fat Sams.
Some of the acts listed are, The March Violets, The Housemartins and Hipsway. 

Sunday 27 September 2009


Moving down South in the mid 80's meant that I missed out on the Westport Bar when it opened a year or so after I departed, but was a regular visitor to it's previous hot spot format, Da Vinci's.
The photo here was taken in the late 80's, before it had it's large sign placed above the entrance, but you can still make out "Westport Bar" on the wrought iron gate.
I must say that I have heard and read nothing but good words about the Westie as a live music venue throughout the time span it was there, around 2 decades.
Just as with most of Dundee's decent music venues however, the last ones to perform there was that well known local act - THE BULLDOZERS.!!

Saturday 26 September 2009


AAGA were another Dundee band who brought out cassettes of their work in the early 80's.
This one here is their "Secret Pleasures" release, featuring 8 tracks.
Dipping into the darker side of post punk, the lads sound a little sinister on this cover version of "Hard Day's Night", reminding me of the band Magazine a wee bit. Rather eerie, but rather good!
And a reminder that you can catch AAGA in action on video performing live at the Tayside Bar in the early 80's in my January 2009 Archives. Lots of new comments on that one too.


Friday 25 September 2009

ELEGY and EUROPE - 1970'S

Dundee jazz-rock outfit, Elegy, were on the go in the mid 70's era.
Photo line-up, L to R - JOHN DILLON (trumpet) - SANDY ROBERTSON (drums) - NEIL CONNEL (bass) - STEVE McDONALD (guitar) - BRUCE RAYNOR (keyboards) and squatting down at the front is PETER McGLONE (sax).
They played regularly in town and have also gigged up at the University supporting prog-jazz band, Hatfield & The North, that was in May 1975.
The photo was taken in '74 outside The Ambassador just before they set off for London to take part in a Melody Maker band contest - which they were 3rd.
After Elegy split, an offshoot sprouted into another local jazz-rock outfit called Europe.
Europe played locally and around other parts of Scotland.
Members were - BRUCE RAYNER (keyboards) - PETER VETTESE (keyboards) - GLEN JONES (drums) - ROB ADAMS (bass) - JOHN SINGERS (guitar)
You may remember Rob as the chap who worked in Forbes record shop in Commercial Street.
I saw Europe play up at the University and recall them doing a version of Weather Report's "Birdland", and this excellent review here which was published in the national music press confirms this was the style of jazz-rock material they performed.
You'll probably need to click onto the review to read it.

Thursday 24 September 2009


Looking pretty cool in their 60's gear, it's The Vikings, posing for a publicity shot sometime around 1967.
For a reminder of the band line-up and a sample of their sound, check out the Retro April 09 archives.
Thanks to Mac & DC.

Wednesday 23 September 2009


What the hell were The Rolling Stones doing in the Ferry, you may well be wondering??!!
Well it wasn't for a gig, that's for sure.
When the Stones arrived in Dundee in June 1965 to play at the Caird Hall, DC Thomsons organised a photo shoot with the band to get "exclusives" for their teen girl magazines - Romeo and Jackie. So off they all went, resulting in this image of the Stones posing at a rock garden in Broughty Ferry. It was actually in the grounds of the now demolished, Taypark Hotel.
Glitzy or what?!
It's only rock (garden) 'n' roll...

Tuesday 22 September 2009


This is Mike Brough in the middle, with his brother Rich, on the right of the picture. These guys entertained regularly around the Dundee pubs & social clubs - 1970's/80's. They also sometimes worked with other local acts, helping out at weddings, private functions and so on.
If any of you can identify who the guitarist on the left is, or/and the venue, drop the info into the comments.

Monday 21 September 2009


Dundee indie band, Waiter Waiter, brought out a cassette in the early 80's called "That's No Way To Go-Go", featuring 6 tracks of their own material. None of the song titles were supplied on the cover so the track below will just have to be referred to as track 1. Obviously, because it is an old homemade tape, it is a bit hissy, but it is a good reminder of how they sounded, a sort of cross between the Fire Engines & XTC.
Oh yeah, and they were yet another Tayside Bar band.

Sunday 20 September 2009


Here we have the thoughts of young Edwyn, (the "i" spelling is a typing error) published in the Morgan school magazine in 1974.
This humorous piece of work gives a glimpse into how he viewed the music biz. He was in class 3G1 at the time (3rd year), so he would have been around 14/15 years old when he did this article.
Click the image to read the large version.


Although Edwyn Collins was an Edinburgh lad, he was actually educated in Dundee. His father moved his family to Dundee in 1965 when he accepted a post as lecturer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. So Edwyns early schooling began at the Demonstration school in Park Place (off Nethergate) with his secondary years spent up at the Morgan. His creative talent back then leant more towards art, however he did show an interest in music too. From an early age he sampled a few violin lessons, but once he heard David Bowie, he tried to join a local rock band called Onyx. 2 reasons why the band didn't let him join - firstly, he was only 13 - secondly, he only had a ukulele!! Even after he offered to attach a pick-up to the instrument to electrify it, he still didn't get in, but I'm sure this little episode helped him develop his sense of humour!!
He did eventually get a band together once he moved to Glasgow in the mid 70's - kicking off with the Nu-sonics, who later, turned into Orange Juice in 1979. The rest, of course, is well documented history.
I was a big fan of Orange Juice from day 1 and saw them play a couple of dazzling shows at Edinburghs Nite Club around 1980.
Below, is a rare piece of footage from my vaults. It's of Dundonian, Billy MacKenzie, introducing Orange Juice, which comes from a show that featured Billy's favourite pop videos. The programme was broadcast around the early/mid 80's, with Edwyn & co first on his list!

Saturday 19 September 2009


Back in the 60's, when well known music acts played live, the main attraction would often be accompanied by a bundle of other acts as part of the show, as opposed to just having one supporting act which is how most standard tours turned out from the 70's onwards.
Even when famous names such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones visited back then, many other acts shared the stage with them on the night, which sometimes included a compere too.
These were known as "Package Tours".
So for example - November 1963, Gerry & The Pacemakers were top of the bill at the Caird Hall, and along with them on the package tour were, Cilla Black, Kathy Kirby, Tommy Quickly, Malcolm Clarke & The Cresters, Tommy Dene & The Tremors, and Mark Peters & The Silhouettes.
In March 1964, singer Joe Brown was the headline act, and with him were, The Crystals, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Heinz & The Saints, Daryl Quist, Mike Preston, Manfred Mann, and Kevin Kirk.
March 1965 had Del Shannon as the main act, accompanied by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, Herman's Hermits, Just Four Men, The Dollies, Jerry Stevens, The Soul Savages, and Dodie West.
1966 saw The Walker Brothers hit town as the headline act, and on the show they also had The Troggs, Clodagh Rodgers, The Quotations, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich, and, The Quotations.
So you can see, music acts did their live thing a bit differently back then when touring the UK.
Seems good value for money obviously, but increasing costs was probably the reason the large package tour concept then fizzled out!

Friday 18 September 2009


What was good about this primary school prank was, like the previous item, it was free, mithir nature provided the gear.
Pluck an itchy coo bud (real name Rose Hip), split it in half, remove the seeds (which were covered in fine fluffy fibres), and place down the back of your mates shirts. Watch them itch, scratch and squirm in class all day!!


This is something I'm sure everyone did when primary school age.
Get a large blade of grass, trap it in between the length of your 2 thumbs, then blow through the narrow slit between the thumbs. It makes a pretty good buzzing noise.
Best not to use sand-dune grass though. I tried it at Monifieth once and slashed my fingers trying to snap a blade off. As sharp as a Samurai sword!!

Thursday 17 September 2009


Now that it is no longer an image to be seen in Dundee, here is a wee reminder of a typical Betty White shop presentation.
The shops have been dotted around town for quite a few decades, however, as recently as 2 or 3 years ago, the business had to call it a day.
The one in the picture was at Brook Street in the Ferry, late 80's approx.

Wednesday 16 September 2009


Following on from yesterdays Outpost item...if you look at the window of Winters, nearest to the corner, you can see a reflection of the Outpost shop logo (click image to view the large version).
Bridie commented that Outpost was still in Exchange St in 1982, and this is correct. However, I have a 1982 "Cranked Up" mag which has an Outpost - closing down clearance sale - advert, and so 82 would have been it's final year here. I think the shop was for Goths by this time.
Anyway, moving on to the main picture. Next to Winters is the INSTANT PRINT SHOP, Xerox machines most likely. Then next to them is RUMOURS, which I must admit my memory fails me as to what they did. I can't make out what the shop next door is with the rubbish outside, but further along is EDDIE PALADINE, the bookies and past the wee pendie is the GENTS HAIRDRESSER we called "Quickies".
At the far left side of the street on Commercial Street corner is THE ORIENTAL, the loudest, craziest pub in town! Goodness knows how many times my mob have staggered along these old cobbles after leaving The Oriental to get to Junction 9, but on many of these occasions the street was pitch-dark, and looking at the photo, now I know why - there were no lampposts! There is just 1 suspended light for the whole street, so when that conked out - blackness!!!
In 1983, Exchange St was used in a scene during the filming of "An Englishman Abroad" in Dundee. It doubled as a Moscow side street.
Photo by D C Thomson.

Tuesday 15 September 2009


The place to go for all your hippy knick-knacks in the 70's was, Outpost, in Princes Street. They did have a shop in Exchange Street too, but I'm not sure if they moved there after Princes St or if this was an additional 2nd shop.
Along with the gear they have listed in the ad, I'd like to add joss-sticks to it!

Monday 14 September 2009


A wee nosey inside Meldrums in Reform St. They sold sports gear, leather goods, travel items, waterproofs, toys, games, industrial rubber goods and would also repair your umbrella..!!


Reform Street at night in the mid 60's and a reminder of just exactly where Meldrums was situated. That's it next to Samuels.


This ad from 1963 has a photo of Meldrums shop front.
Get a load of those Flash Gordon lightning bolts!

Sunday 13 September 2009


I used to visit Winter's in the 60's & 70's quite a lot, usually to get stuff for school - pencils, protractors, compasses and so on.
There were occasions when I popped in to spend my pocket money on other items too. I remember they had a rack in one corner of the shop that sold a book series called "How to draw". So they'd have How to draw - faces, animals, cartoons, landscapes, and such like. I indulged in a few of those.
In the early 70's, the interior became L-shaped after a wee make over.

As for The Chelsea Lounge, well it was a pub I was never in. In fact, I don't recall ever having drank there in any of it's guises, these being - The Drum, City Centre Bar, The Stance & Drum plus the more recent ones who's names I've lost track of.

Saturday 12 September 2009


This view from the Overgate tunnel was taken by my brother around the early/mid 70's.
That bright shop sign on the Littlewoods side is "The ..... Room". Can't clearly read what it says, but could be Showroom or Tearoom perhaps. Next to the sign in the shadows it has the word "everything". So if anyone knows what it is, drop the info into the comments. I've just always thought it said Littlewoods until I recently zoomed into it.
You'll need to view the large version to see what I mean, so just click on the picture.


The shops along this lower stretch of the Overgate when this photo was taken (late 60's) were......


Friday 11 September 2009


Dundee fowk hae thir say....
I suppose, comparing it to the original Overgate, which was an ordinary street with shops and tenements that were a wee bit shabby, the 60's 2-tier Overgate must have looked spacious, clean and futuristic.
The footage below was filmed just as the "new" Overgate was near completion, and with most of the shops open for business, the locals get to express their opinion on the building.
Good luck with trying to spot someone you know!
Photo above by the Scotsman (1974).

Thursday 10 September 2009


One for the ladies...
A wee reminder of how Dorothy Perkins shop looked in the early/mid 80's when they were in the Wellgate Centre.
It's not a shop I was ever in, so can't review it really, but I can tell you that an amusing anagram of Dorothy Perkins is - "Drop skirt, honey!" - which sounds like a romantic request from hubby!!

Wednesday 9 September 2009


Brutus brought out a series of badges to try and catch the eye of 70's denim clad youngsters.
Here is an original from my badge collection.
Most had a dolly-bird on!


Levi & Wrangler had those leathery beige/tan brand name tags sewn onto the back of their jeans, while Brutus opted for this red & white cloth ident, which was found either on the waistband or the back pocket.
They also had a catchy pop tune for their tv ads. The quirky thing about this was that most brands advertising on tv used already well known tunes, with Brutus it was the other way around. Around 1976, David Dundas got into the pop charts with the tune he wrote for Brutus, AFTER the ads appeared on tv. The chart version was rewritten without using Brutus in the lyrics. Below, however, is how the original tune sounded in the Brutus commercials.


Most youth fashion in the 70's seemed to be based around denim. Everyone appeared to be clad in it.
As well as jeans, there were denim shirts, short denim jackets, denim dress jackets, long denim coats, denim skirts, denim hats, denim boots, denim belts, denim bags, and I even had a denim guitar strap!
A typical example of a 70's denim fashion item is my waistcoat above, from around the 1974/75 period.
However, around 1972/73, the 2 main denim heavyweights, Levi & Wrangler, had a new kid arrive on the block to challenge their dominance - and this was Brutus.
The thing about Brutus was that they were British, not American, and they made a point of including the Union Jack into their tag design. You can see it in the photo.
So UK youth gave Brutus the thumbs up and they became just as popular in the 70's as the other 2.
Blimey, just thinking back now, I can still recall the waft of denim being the first thing that hit you when you went into shops like Wildcat and Supertramp in the Overgate!

Tuesday 8 September 2009


In the mid/late 60's, before Levi & Wrangler dominated denim, most kids who were school age wore Johnny X jeans. These were cheap all-purpose jeans that weren't particularly designed as fashion items but more for basic rugged outdoor use. I'm not 100% sure that Johnny X was the official brand name, but we called them Johnny X'ers because they had a big X stitched across the back pockets. Being budget-priced jeans, they were sold in shops like Woolies, rather than fashion shops such as Goldbergs. I'm sure every 60's kid must have had a pair, even if they'd prefer not to mention it..!!
However, by the start of the 70's when Levi & Wrangler were THE ONLY jeans to be seen in, pity help you if you were caught still wearing Johnny X'ers.
Prepare yourself to be humiliated!

Monday 7 September 2009


These Monkey Jackets were on the go the same period as Argyle jerseys and again were mostly worn by those who were school age, although Mods wore them too. They were nice and lightweight and had elasticated collar, cuffs, and waist. When the weather was really hot you could roll them up and put them in your school bag! They were a kind of precursor to the even more popular and ubiquitous, Harrington.


This Argyle v-neck jumper design was very popular with schoolkids in the late 60's and early part of the 70's. Black & white was the most common, but I do also recall black & red ones.
They do now however, conjure up images of being on the golf course!!

Sunday 6 September 2009


JJ Records was a rather short-lived little independent record shop that opened for business around 1983/84.
It was located in Union Street and was run by Jim Stewart, ex Bruce's manager.
I also have a memory of Rob Adams from Forbes working there too alongside Jim, but not sure if he was there full-time or if he was just helping out temporarily.
I remember buying quite a few records from here as well as getting tickets for gigs and such like.
Don't recall how long exactly the shop lasted but I don't think it went beyond the mid 80's.
The photo above was taken in 1984, when the shop was in its prime.

Saturday 5 September 2009


In the mid/late 70's, the DJ downstairs at the Tay Hotel's Centre Bar was, Jimmy Low. A really good guy, always cheery, always smiling.
My crowd started going to the Centre Bar Saturday lunchtime sessions in 1976. Rock music was it's speciality, although you'd get an occasional pop tune thrown in. So he would play something like Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper" followed by a golden oldie "Can't Get Enough" by Bad Company, next to a chart tune by Rod Stewart such as "This Old Heart Of Mine".
Jimmy was particularly pleased with a discovery of his, a track by Horslips called "Fantasia-My Lagan Love". This became his signature tune throughout the summer that year, and he usually finished his set with it. It was a nice upbeat Celtic-rock instrumental.
One of the things about Saturday lunchtimes was, a few of the punters would bring in an album from their own collection and get Jimmy to play a track from it, which he always did, no matter what it was. Well, once in 1976 my mate brought in the debut LP by The Ramones and got him to play "Blitzkrieg Bop", much to the amusement of my mob and the bemusement of most of the others in the pub. It was the first time a punk type of record had been played. It wasn't particularly influential but later that year tracks like The Stranglers "Get A Grip On Yourself" and Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner" were being slipped into his set.
I remember catching Jimmy out once when he had a stint as a barman in Foreigners, a couple of years later.
You know when you ask for a lager & a lager tops, and you ask the barman which is which when he brings them over because they look similar. Well, I asked for 3 ciders, 1 with a dash of blackcurrant. So when Jimmy brought them over, I asked him which one had the blackcurrant in it and as soon as he pointed to the purple pint, he realised I was having him on..!!
Tragically, Jimmy died around the early '80's in a motorbike accident.
It was good fun while it lasted.

Friday 4 September 2009


There is a picture of Gussie Park carnival in my October 2008 Archives from further up Fairbairn Street, this one here being down at the corner area.
Back in the old Teddy Boy days, they once held a Jivin' contest on the Dodgems floor! It took a little while for the city centre ballrooms to adjust to this young, rowdy, wild teenage scene called Rock'N'Roll, so Gussie Park was one of the first places in Dundee where you could listen to & dance to the music.
In the 60's, I remember there being a huge "MAFIA" piece of graffiti on the perimeter wall, but this corner area in the photo seems to have got off lightly. However, the building on the other side of the park, in front of the Tannadice stairs, has got a large "King Billy" painted on it's wall. Yes it was pots of paints in those days, not spray cans. You'll need to zoom in though.
When I went to the carnival in the 70's, there was definitely more stuff on offer than there is in this shot. It used to fill the entire area. Eh mind being on the Big Wheel for example.
Look at the overgrown shrubbery on the back slope at Tannadice. When you got fed up of the futba on the pitch, you could go look for birds nests..!!
Click on the picture to have a look around the large version.
Photo by D C Thomson.

Thursday 3 September 2009


These lassies made me laugh when I went to see them play. Called, Frank Chickens, I caught them live at Fat Sams in 1986. Two Japanese girls - Kazuko Hohki & Kazumi Taguchi, and although both are singers/musicians, I think you could also add "performance artistes" as well, because they kind of acted out each song on stage, usually in a comical manner. They wore matching white dungarees (or was it boiler suits), and they had a great rapport with the crowd...plenty witty banter flying around all night.
I got handed this cassette from them in Fatties, containing a few live tracks recorded that year, so thought I'd let you hear a track to give you an idea of how they sounded on stage. This particular track below, "Blue Canary", always brings a smile to my face every time I recall them performing it. During the "jungle noises" part of the song, the pair whipped out 2 shopping bags, as if they'd just raided John Menzies toy dept, then proceeded to play with squeaky ducks, whistles, wind-up animals etc, much to the amusement of the crowd.
There is a band line-up listed on the cassette cover but I'm fairly sure they just used backing tapes on the night.
2 of the musicians mentioned I recognise though - Steve Beresford & David Toop, a couple of music heavyweights, both serious music critics/journalists (Wire mag etc) as well as recording artists in their own right.
Blue Canary was also one of John Peels faves.

Wednesday 2 September 2009


Mentioning Ken Hyder's global collaborations yesterday reminded me of the lesser known fact about Billy Mackenzie when he too dabbled in musical cross-fertilisation in the mid 80's.
I have an album by Holger Hiller on which Billy guests. Holger was in German post punk band Palais Schaumburg. However, this recording session was completely different to what either had done previously, resulting in some very avant garde, experimental, unconventional slices of contemporary composition. It took me a few plays to familiarise myself with the content, but once acquainted with the material, it is a real treat.
I've had this LP since 1986 and it's called "Oben Im Eck".
As well as Billy, there is Holger Hiller & Moritz Von Oswald, from Germany, and Izu Mi Kobayashi & Kaori Kano, from Japan.
The track below from the album is called "Whippets" and has Billy vocalising like you've never heard before, sounding something like a ninja battling it out with Godzilla!!
The images here haven't got anything to do with the LP recording, I just thought the photos of The Associates playing in Japan in 1985 fitted the "global" theme.
Actually, there is a wee connection, Moritz Von Oswald who played on Whippets, was the drummer for The Associates in Japan.
Previously he too was in Palais Schaumburg, but now Moritz is more known for running the brilliant Techno/Dub label - Basic Channel, in Berlin.

Tuesday 1 September 2009


Ken Hyder took up drumming when he was still at school (Harris), and has basically, stuck to it ever since.
He is one of the original innovators in fusing various musical styles from around the globe, physically exploring the planet and experimenting with sounds from other cultures, while still keeping a very strong link to his Scottish roots.
Ken formed his first band, Talisker, in 1969, a group that played free-jazz around Scottish themes. They recorded many albums with varying band line-ups, right up to the end of the 80's.
His collaborations on his other projects since, have taken Ken all around the world, playing with musicians from, South Africa, Latin America, Ireland, Japan, Siberia, well just about everywhere in fact, including recordings with Tibetan monks!
Needless to say he has a huge discography, far too many to list here (around 40 albums) that include work with top names in jazz and folk, again the list is too large to specify.
The wee music sample I have here is from Taliskers 1975 debut album "Dreaming Of Glenisla" - a track called "Diddlin' For The Bairns". The "diddlin" refers to the drumming term "paradiddle" which let's you know that it is a drum solo. Don't expect any rock drumming or jazz drumming cliches though!
The sample is taken direct off my vinyl copy so it comes with crackles and clicks!!
Ken is still going strong today, and continuing with the Scottish themes. In the case of his latest album release, an obvious Dundee linked title is one called "Lochee To Sibi - Return". Nice one!!