Monday 30 November 2009


In my April 2009 Archives there is a track by The Smiths recorded at Dundee University in 1984. You may recall, Morrissey took a tantrum and had a pop at certain members in the crowd who were throwing beer onto the stage.
Well a year later, a change of venue, and all is well between the lead singer and the Dundee audience again. In fact, on this recording from the Caird Hall gig in September '85, at the end of the song "Hand In Glove", he let's it be known what "great people" there are in Dundee!!
The b&w multi image on top comes from an old Face magazine I have from the 80's.

Sunday 29 November 2009


You may remember the 2 photos I put up previously of The Other Record Shop in the Overgate. One was an exterior shot and the other an image of the interior. Well here is a close up of their window display which was taken on 23rd May 1984.
So if you were window shopping 25 years ago, you'd spot product by Duran Duran - Womack & Womack - Mel Brooks - Fad Gadget - Kiri Te Kanawa - Matt Fretton - Simple Minds - Wang Chung - Wham - Phil Fearon & Galaxy - Break Machine - The Smiths and probably the one with most street cred, Keith Harris & Orville!!
There are 3 items I can't identify, the female trio above the number 40, the record sleeve under the words "ALL TOP" (it looks like Bruce Springsteen with a beard), and the one with the 2.43 price tag is a mystery.
If anyone fancies doing a bit of homework on these, I'll let you be teachies pet!!
Click on image to enlarge.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Saturday 28 November 2009


This is the Flux "In Flux" cassette from 1987.
The guys involved in the recording were - KL Guthrie - M Kane & E McDougall.
There are 10 tracks in total, and the one here below for you to sample is a number called "So Clear, It's So Clear", a short trippy ambient offering. This is the mellowest track on the cassette compared to the rest of the material, which is rather abrasive, but thought I'd ease you gently into their sound with this piece first, and I'll put one of their contrasting tracks up sometime later.
Although the track here was recorded in '87, it does hark back to the mid '70's in an Eno/Krautrock kind of way.
Thanx to Mike.

Friday 27 November 2009


The Palais ad at the top is dated Feb 1964 and displays a typical couple of months of acts that played at the Top Ten Club.
The Top Ten Club attracted some of the UK's best bands in the swinging 60's with the likes of Manfred Mann, The Kinks, Bee Gees, Yardbirds, Spencer Davis Group, Fortunes, and so on.
You may even be surprised to know that in 1966, David Bowie played the Top Ten Club too with his newly formed band The Buzz!
Along with well known visiting acts such as the ones featured in the ad (The Hollies, Dave Berry, The Paramounts etc) the venue also hosted resident bands, the ones showcased here being - Tommy Dene & The Tremors, Mark Dayton & The Honours and Johnny Hudson's Hi-Four.
The Top Ten Club was also the venue that was used when it was Dundee's turn to present Radio Scotland's Clan Ball. The photo above was taken at one such Clan Ball in May 1966, and captures the enthusiasm the locals had for the rave up.
It's not just Dundonians who had a good time at the Top Ten Club, the bands too thoroughly enjoyed their visits.
The snippet under the photo is taken from a 1966 interview with Ric Rothwell of The Mindbenders, who rated it as the best place in Scotland!
Going back to its early days, in 1963, Rolf Harris performed at the Top Ten Club, this being the date of the final item above.
It would have been very early in his career too, so not quite sure what his show would have consisted of, but for Dundee lass, Ann Jaskluska - she was sent!
Strange to see the word "sent" being used for Rolf. This was a hip jazz term similar to the hippies "far out" expression.
Perhaps it was the hypnotic drone of his didgeridoo that did it!!

Thursday 26 November 2009


Rewinding back to October 1988, and a little glimpse into what was on offer in town music-wise. This schedule is taken from Street Life magazine, the local what's on guide for then.
Venues listed are - Fat Sams - Bonar Hall - Cafe Club - Chamber Music Club - Bar Chevrolet - Caird Hall and De Stihl's.
Music provided by - The Silencers - Frank Chickens - Pasadena Roof Orchestra - Love & The Gun - Hanson String Quartet - Quad - Le Hot Club - Barbara Dickson - Deacon Blue - Beaver Sisters and New Tinian.
Spark any memories?
Incidentally, I put "plop plop dada" into Google search and got nowt!
Click image to enlarge if blind as a bat!

Wednesday 25 November 2009


This short lived fanzine was a precursor to Cranked Up.
Le Sinistre #1 (the top one) appeared like a shooting star in 1981, then disappeared out of sight just as quick. The reason for this was that the debut mag published an article on the dodgy band contest at Tiffany's, which was then considered potentially libellous! So with a hasty revamp after issue 2, Le Sinistre was transformed into the longer lasting Cranked Up.
I really do like these covers mind you!
Big thanks to Craig.


Formed out of the spare ribs of The Scrotum Poles, Pigs Are Cute became part of Dundee's alternative music scene around 1982. Ditching the Scrotes punky sound they opted for a fresher, new wave presentation, both musically and in appearance. The 4 chaps hogging the limelight were - Craig Methven - Glen Connell - Neil Smillie & Kevin Devlin.
Typical gigs would be the Tayside Bar with Persian Rugs, or further afield in Arbroath with Pulsebeat Plus, a show that had Sounds music journalist, Johnny Waller in attendance.
They also managed to get 3 of their tracks recorded at Inner City Sound Studios, one of which you can hear below, called "Our Father", a tune that hints at the early 80's sound of moody Manchester.

Tuesday 24 November 2009


Here's a bundle of tickets featuring heavy metal bands who paid a visit to the Caird Hall in 1979 & 1980.
The UFO tickets at the top reveal that the band played there on 3 different dates in a period of only 20 months - that must be some kind record for the Caird Hall!
UFO don't normally spring to the top of your list when recalling heavy metal bands from the 70s/80s, but a wee reminder that in 1980, UFO were the main headline act at Reading Festival, above the likes of Iron Maiden!
Dundee band Colossus was the support band on one of the UFO shows.
The other 4 tickets are for - IAN GILLAN - MOTORHEAD - SAXON - OZZY OSBOURNE.
Support band on the Gillan tour was Quartz. Ian Gillan was another who played the same venue in a relatively short space of time, his band having played the Caird Hall in October 1979. There were, however, 3 more Gillan appearances in Dundee - 1981 & 1982 both at the Caird Hall again, and then in 1989 when he played at Fat Sams! 
By the way, Ozzy was wearing his white tassels outfit on stage I seem to remember.


Blind Pew were on the go in Dundee around the late 70's to early 80's period. There were alterations made to the band line-up along the way, but the main guys involved were - Graeme White, Dave Peddie, Paul Reaper, Neil McLaren, Gregor White, John Blair & Barry Yule.
Their sets were mostly their own material with the occasional cover version thrown in, in other words, a mix of pop/rock guitar workouts.
The amusing piece of work above was written by Jock Ferguson, and tells the tale of when he met up with the band in some downtown drinking den! (click image to enlarge)
And below you can tune into one of Blind Pew's self penned tracks, "Vampira".
Although BP called it a day around 1982, the band have recently reformed and are gigging regularly around town again.

Monday 23 November 2009


This rare advert is for a Boo Hooray gig that took place at Laings on 3rd Oct 1981.
I don't think I was at this one but I do recall seeing them live at the Tayside Bar.
The band line-up changed periodically but included the likes of Gerry Mitchell, Neal Mitchell, Scott McKinlay, Scott Gowans, Bob Phillips & Paul Smith.
Below, you can have a sample of Dundee's post-punk rebels who dared to be different.
The track is called "This Work".


Another gig review, this time from the pages of Voice fanzine and featuring Hot Chocolate who were playing at the Caird Hall on 11th Sept 1982.
I never went to this particular show but I did see them live way back in 1976 over at the Apollo in Glasgow, and they were great. Throughout the 70's & 80's they just kept pumping out the hits in their own funky soul pop way without jumping on any passing music fad, and judging by this write up, they appear to have went down very well in Dundee.
The support act on the night was Zen, a band I know nothing about.
Click the image to read the large version if required.

Sunday 22 November 2009


"Jerkin" was the debut single release by local act, The Drive, which came out on Dundee's NRG record label in 1977.
Although the single sold well in Bruce's record shop, the only place I can remember hearing it played back then was on the jukebox in the Oriental pub.
The same single was also chosen for a compilation album that came out on Beggars Banquet record label in '77, the front and back cover of which is shown above.
This is the 2nd NRG track on Retro Dundee, and if you want a reminder, you can listen to a track by The Visitors in my July 2009 Archives.
Meanwhile, here's a blast of The Drive single below.

Saturday 21 November 2009


Here's a couple of amusing items about Dundee punk act - Bread Poultice & The Running Sores.
The top article describes the band presenting their rather unique performance, which is a slightly different take on punk. This is from a book about Billy MacKenzie (who became a friend of the band) and titled "The Glamour Chase".
It also mentions the time when Billy stood in for BP&TRS frontman, Steve Falconer - after Steve dropped some acid and went AWOL!
Well it makes me chuckle anyway.
Keeping the amusement going, I've accompanied the article with a couple of old gig listings I have from 1977, and in it you can see that Bread Poultice & The Running Sores had a couple of shows through in Edinburgh at the end of '77.
The November one asks the question - "Are they as loathsome as they sound?" - while the other describes them as "Those gangrenous punks".. Ha!
At least they were in similar company anyway as both The Sex Pistols and Sid Vicious & The Vicars are on the same list (although I doubt these 2 gigs took place because of their USA tour).
Incidentally, BP&TRS guitarist, Steve Reid, a few years later went on to replace Alan Rankine in The Associates.
Click the top image to read the large version if need be.

Friday 20 November 2009


The photo above captured the moment Dundee lass, Kathie Connelly, became the Twist world record holder after having twisted her way through a 100 hour dance marathon.
The contest took place in Aberdeen in May 1964.


The dance hall, Robies, located in the Hawkhill area, held Scotland's first ever twist marathon in the early 60's. The contest attracted around 20,000 spectators over the 4 days it went on for. Dancer, Bobby Cannon eventually won it after having twisted himself dizzy for almost 95 hours! Runner up, Cathie Connelly later went on to become World Twisting Champion in 1964 down in Manchester, dancing for 102 hours and achieving a spot in the Guinness Book of records.
One of the local bands who entertained during the rest periods at Robies, was Johnny Hudson & the Hi-Four (above), a group that featured a young Dougie Martin on guitar (far right).
Below contains some footage of the actual twist contest.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Thursday 19 November 2009


In the late 80's when DJ's, rather than band's, ruled the music world, "live" music at nightclubs would often have to take a back seat, but De Stihl's in South Ward Road, as you can see, managed to accommodate both.
This is a review of Dundee band Wilderness Children who performed there in October 1988, the same month as the previous acid ad.
You may need to click the image for the large version, to read it.
You can also rewind back to the July Archives to get a couple of other items on the band, including a music sample.


An ad from October 1988 inviting you along to De Stihl's acid night.
This was at the height of the rave scene, with acid house being a particularly intoxicating brew of dance beats & synth patterns.
It wasn't just great music to dance to, it was also great to cycle to.
I remember being out on my bike regularly during this era and would be plugged into my Walkman with acid house pounding in my ears. It could be so mesmerizing, I often ended up going much further than I had planned without realising because I was so immersed in it.
I just kept going and going and going.
I could have won the Tour De France on that stuff!!
I'm still a bit like that today with Chicago Footwork tracks!

Wednesday 18 November 2009


This old cassette by The Junkies dates back to the early 80's and has 3 demo tracks on it. The Junkies played a kind of raunchy, American influenced 70's rock & roll, with a touch of punky trash glam thrown in!
It doesn't have the band details on the cover but I'm guessing Vince, Al, Steve, Alison & Maggie were in the line-up for these recordings.
The 3 tracks are - "Subway Love" - "Pretty Boys" & "Why Don't You Listen To My Heart", and it's the last track I have here for you to tune into. It's a wee bit more downtempo than the other tracks but a song that I'm sure Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers wish they had written!
The quality of the recording does suffer from old age, what with tape hiss and magnetic phasing encroaching on at the start, but you soon get caught up in the melody and you don't notice the poor sound quality after a short while.
See what you reckon, jury..!!
Thanks to MK.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

AWB ON OGWT - 1973

Here's some behind the scene shots of the day Average White Band made their debut on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973.
The top one is the episode board with the countdown timer and the info stating that it's AWB's 1st take.
The middle photo is the band in full flow in the studio.
The third image is the control room where programme producer, Mike Appleton, is keeping an eye on the monitors etc.
AWB performed 2 tracks and shared the show with other acts, but a few years later, AWB got the show all to themselves when OGWT broadcast them live in concert.
Talking about behind the scenes, when AWB were recording their debut on OGWT, Dundee drummer Robbie, said he'd had enough and he wasn't doing the show.
The reason was that they were told they had to mime the tracks, which meant the drum-kit had to have plastic cymbals fitted and foam pads placed on the drums.
They did manage to tape the show after a couple of takes and everyone was pleased, except Robbie that is, who had to be led away pretty pissed off!

Monday 16 November 2009


A fine example of the underground sound of Dundee from the early 80's up next.
This is AAGA performing their 1982 track, "Hey What's Happening", a bright, catchy wee groove, with a touch of edgy nervous energy!
The live line-up below is - Mike Kane, guitar - Steve Grimmond, vocal & bass - Scott Wilkie, guitar and Neal Mitchell on drums. Accompanying them on backing vocals are Soul Sisters, Audrey Krawec & Joan Woodsford.
The action was caught on film by Kevin Guthrie on location at a cosy, intimate venue in 1984.
The b&w photo above was taken around 1982.
Big THANX to Mike Kane.

Sunday 15 November 2009


A few bits and pieces featuring The Scrotum Poles in the national music press during 1980.
Well the top item is from the local press actually. This was The Scrotum Poles debut gig at Dundee College of Education on 1st May 1980. The Strutz were the main act and the other band on the night was called Just The Job who crop up in the 2nd item, the same gig but published in the national music press.
3rd item is another gig in town, this time it's for 3rd June 80 and at the Unemployed Club, which I think may have been the drop-in centre in Perth Road, not sure about that though.
4th item is their gig at Dundee University on 4th Oct 80.
5th item is a fun piece which sees The Scrotum Poles on a list of bands who have amusing names!
Lastly, the final item is an ad published in Dec 80, and is for the band's EP release "Revelation", which includes the address from where to purchase it.
Getting hold of an original copy nowadays will cost you much much more than £1.25..!!
Click on the items to enlarge.


Dundonian, Jack Hutton, came into music journalism by combining his 2 interests - music & journalism - as simple as that.
Jack worked at DC Thomson's, and during this period developed an enthusiasm for jazz. After taking up the trumpet as a pastime he went on to form the Dundee Jazz Club around 1950. He moved to London in 1953 and got work with music paper, Melody Maker, which eventually lead to him becoming Editor in 1962. Needless to say, his time at MM had him rub shoulders with everyone from Miles Davis to The Beatles. He was even with the Rolling Stones on their 1964 USA tour, in which he was present at their famous "Chess" recording session. Jack also managed to sneak the underage Stones into a few jazz clubs along the way!
JH was also involved in another music paper called, Disc, near the end of the 60's, but while at the top of his profession he decided to quit MM and start all afresh with his own publishing company. Around 1970, he started up, Sounds, a youthful rival to Melody Maker. Another mag he launched was, Popswop, catching the pop & glam rock scene in the early 70's. Lastly there was Kerrang!, a magazine specialising in rock & heavy metal, which actually started off as a free supplement in Sounds around the early 80's.
Out of all those music publications JH has been with, only Kerrang! survives today.
I've included here an example of Jack's journalism - a review he did in May 1967 when jazz legend, Count Basie, played at the Caird Hall.
(click on to enlarge)
JH retired in 1987, having a big do at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London, with Jack ending up jamming on stage!
After a 5 year illness, JH died in August 2008.

Saturday 14 November 2009


Here's a couple of items about a gig Rod Stewart and the Faces played in Dundee on 7th December 1972.
The top cutting is the announcement of the tour with Dundee getting a mention, and the other 2 were published after the Dundee gig.
The reason the show grabbed the attention of the national music press was because the Caird Hall was the first venue that started off this particular tour and so generated a lot of media interest.
Dundee didn't disappoint either, with a large enthusiastic turnout that helped create a great buzz on the night.
In fact, the crowd got a bit carried away because by the end of the show, the audience who rushed to the front stage area, ended up destroying the first 3 rows of seats!
Anyway, after a bit of a dodgy start with sound problems, it didn't take too long for the Faces to get going in full flow and keep the good vibes going for the rest of the night.
The music was a mix of raunchy r&b album tracks and melodic pop hits, with the likes of "Maggie May", "Stay With Me" and "Angel" being the more familiar chart singles that got the crowd singing along.
And being Rod Stewart of course, there was a lot of clowning about on stage which ended up with him kicking footballs into the audience!
You can get a good sense of how the concert went by reading the gig review above - give it a click to bring up the large version.
Incidentally, Scottish rock singer, Maggie Bell was also present at the gig, she being one of the VIP's who attended.
The support act was a band called Stumble.
I was 14 years old in 1972, and although I had 2 Rod Stewart albums in my collection, my going to gigs had still not begun yet, so unfortunately, it's not a show I was at.
I do, however, have a recording of the gig, and so below you can have a listen to their well known hit  "Stay With Me" - featuring a bit of vocal interaction with the Dundee crowd!

Friday 13 November 2009


My brother took this photo around 1973ish - Embassy Tipped and Younger's beer being very common around that era.
The picture was actually taken at home so I can only assume the ashtray was nicked from a pub!
I'd only be 14/15 years old back then, so I hadn't started to indulge yet. However, some of the tuff-nuts at school the same age as me were already hooked. Embassy Tipped & Embassy Regal were their favoured fags. They used to keep their fag packets in the chest pocket of their Ben Sherman shirts or their gang jerseys, in class without the teachie knowing!
One day, when we were all making our way back home from Craigie High, a few of the Toddy guys were mucking about in Ruthven Road. One was absolutely GASPING for a fag and kept nagging his mate who only had twa left in his packet, so kept refusing the guys gasping pleas. In desperation the guy who was pleading ended up saying - "I'll let ye punch iz in the puss fir ain!".
"A'right then" was the reply.
So the one who was about to be punched had his hands held behind his back by a 3rd guy to prevent him guarding himself - then WALLOP!!! - he got a crack in the jaw from the one who had the fags!! He never even flinched. He was given his ciggie and off they all went up the road together, as if nothing had happened.
So let THAT be a real health warning!!!

Thursday 12 November 2009


Garnet Wilson officially opened Craigie High School on 11th December 1970. Although CHS had opened it's doors for the first time that summer, much of the construction work was still going on for a few months after. Eventually though, the building was deemed complete and GW was one of those on the Assembly Hall stage to declare the school "officially" open. Of course there were only us 1st years there to witness it!
The main entrance to CHS is at the end of a wee road called Garnet Terrace, and you've guessed it, it is named after Sir Garnet. This area was, and probably still is, for staff use only.
I can also remember a portrait of GW hanging up in reception, so he did leave his mark on the school.
This photo of Craigie High was taken in 1969 when it was still being worked on, and is from the Garnet Terrace end of the school.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Wednesday 11 November 2009


This is the 500th item posted on Retro Dundee, and with the idea of RD being about looking back at the past, I thought I'd mark the occasion by dipping into a book by Garnet Wilson called "Overspill" which is his second memory book of anecdotes and activity. It came out in 1970 and was printed by Winter's in Dundee. As you can see, mine is a signed copy!
I suppose GW could be seen as being a bit of a bigwig in the city, what with his family's department store G.L. Wilson, his roll in local government, his stint as Lord Provost, was also President of University College, and not to mention being the main player in attracting NCR to Dundee.
He was quite elderly when he did this book but lived to the ripe old age of 90, dying in 1975.
So, nicking one of his quotes from the book, this one above about a persons memory, I'm rather fond of, and kind of suits Retro Dundee.

Tuesday 10 November 2009


I was going to put this picture up sometime later but thought I'd post it now to tie in with yesterdays photo. South Tay Street running from Westport on the right to Nethergate on the left, with Marketgait circle bottom left.
Mac mentioned Tay Street Public School. Well you can see the gap of the school entrance/playground area near to the Westport junction, with the car park across the road from it. Yesterdays gable end shot is the building beside the playground on the right. Although the school building is in the photo, it had shut down when this photo was taken in 1969. The building to the left of the playground, in the 80's would have been the pub, Slickers, but in 1969 was a hairdresser call TC Machir.
I think you should be able to figure all that out without the need for arrows pointing to them.
You could also see Tay Square, before the Rep moved in.
Click the image to enlarge.

Monday 9 November 2009


This photo is from around 1984ish when a lot of the Westport area was being pulled down. The ad was actually on the side of the former premises of Young's in South Tay Street, where the new buildings on the corner of Cross Lane now are. That means at the time I was taking the photo I would have been standing at the gap next to Slickers, looking over towards Marketgait.
John Young was still there in 1970 , and were present at this location for quite a few decades up to then. Looking at the phone number, I'd say the building ad is probably from around the 1930's period.

Sunday 8 November 2009


I took this photo around 1984, so the paint would still be pretty fresh.
It's the St.Peter Street mural showing various scene's associated with Dundee, such as the Tay whale, Dundee docks, DC Thomson, Tay bridge, plus a few other local references.
It's quite literally got Dundee stamped all over it.
The only thing is, it was painted Edinburgh Artists Collective..!!
Glad they didn't sign it!!!
(Not that slaughtering whales makes us feel proud..!!)

Saturday 7 November 2009


My brother took this amusing picture in the mid 70's. There was a gap in the fence where the demolition was taking place and he spotted this old guy sitting reading in amongst the rubble.
On the white wall in the background, there is some gang graffiti. It has the Kirkton Huns on, but the word Kirkton has a line sprayed across it and Y-Toddy written above!
I don't know what buildings they are but I'm assuming the location is the old Wellgate area because my brother took a bundle of pictures there when it was being bulldozed.