Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Another Deadbeat review, this time featuring Stiff Little Fingers, who played Dundee University on 30th October 1982.
I wasn't at this gig, but judging by the write-up, it seems it was quite a lively affair - including a bit of band/crowd aggro!
Apparently, well known bass player, John McCoy was there to see this one!
Click image to enlarge.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


From the pages of Deadbeat comes this review of a gig that took place at Teazers (Royal Hotel), in 1982.
This venue (complete with candles on the tables) was the main home of Dundee's "Dance Factory" nights, before Fat Sam's opened.
I was at this gig, the headline act being Aztec Camera, from East Kilbride. Main man, Roddy Frame, who was still a very young whippersnapper at the time, was quite a flashy guitarist I recall. Not in a Jimi Hendrix way, but it showed through in his choice of chords and his solo runs. Quite sophisticated for bright & breezy pop songs. I mean, goodness knows how many chord changes there are in their chart hit "Oblivious"?!!!
Anyway, it was an enjoyable evening of upbeat sparkly tunes which began with support act, Dundee band, The Swing Club.
No need for me to describe their performance, for it is they who are the subject in the above review.
If you can't read it as it is, just click on it to enlarge.

Monday, 29 March 2010


Early 80's fanzine, Deadbeat, covered the alternative Scottish music scene in the main, so the Dundee stuff was competing with Edinburgh, Glasgow & Aberdeen for mag space, although our local bands and gigs were well represented.
The wee mag was loaded with music articles, gig dates, gig reviews, band interviews, record releases, nightclub details, and so on. In fact Deadbeat is a great reminder of just how much Scotland was buzzing with homegrown talent back then.
When it came to bands from down South visiting Scotland however, Dundee didn't always get the cream of the crop, which is why a bit of an effort was needed to catch the acts perform in other cities. I didn't do too bad as I was a member of Edinburgh's Nite Club for a few years, so saw heaps of acts live there that never set foot in oor toon!
I just loved going through to the Nite Club - one of my favourite places ever!

Thanks to DD

Sunday, 28 March 2010


2 items relating to the release of Lowland Folk's single - "Discovery".
The top one is a review which appeared in the Courier's "Pop File" on 18th December 1986, and tells you a bit about the record and it's link to the Dundee Heritage Trust.
Below it is a letter written by band member, Anne Brown, which was sent to the Producer of the Derek Jameson Programme on BBC Radio 2, and dated 26th January 1987.
It contains details about the single along with the fact that it was getting plenty of airplay on Scotland's radio shows, and so felt that if it was to be played on national radio, the extra publicity would help raise funds to go towards the ship's restoration.
It also adds that Lowland Folk were to be performing at London's Royal Albert Hall in March that year.
A bit of a jump from the Woodlands Hotel!
Click items to enlarge.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


The main members of Lowland Folk were - Stewart Brown, his wife Anne, and brother, Ramsay Brown.
They originally started off in the 60's as the Lowland Folk Four when Philip Gore was with them and were a very popular act on the folk circuit. As well as doing the biz live, they also made many recordings and TV appearances. On one occasion, they supplied the soundtrack to a television documentary about Dundee which was broadcast on BBC in 1966 to coincide with the opening of the Tay Road Bridge. In fact, a reminder that you can view the original preview of the programme from the '66 Radio Times, in the January 2009 Retro Archives.
The following year, they released an album called "Eh'll Tell The Boaby", which must be one of the earliest recordings to be sung in a broad Dundee accent.
Forward wind a couple of decades to 1986, and the Lowland Folk are still at it, this time bringing out a single to commemorate the return of the Discovery to Dundee. It was released on Broughty Ferry label, Balaena Records, and was recorded at Inner City Sound studios by Allan McGlone.
It was a bit of a departure from their traditional folk sound, opting instead for a moody Clannad kind of vibe. The session also featured Allan Barty on various stringed instruments and Derek Thomson on keyboards.
(Sorry for the crunchy noises on my vinyl copy by the way!)
Finally, a wee bit of trivia - Stewart Brown was also Editor of DC Thomson magazine, "My Weekly".

Friday, 26 March 2010


An ad from 1982 for Inner City Sound recording studios in Dens Street.
It lists the gear on offer for all your recording needs & requirements, and at very competitive rates too!
Needless to say, local acts took advantage of their facilities...all sorts of bands ranging from Lowland Folk to Pigs Are Cute.
The boss at the controls was Mafia man, Allan McGlone.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Dundee band, Brain Damage, recorded this cassette called "Death To Timmy Pop" in 1983.
Drummer, Cody, has the actual original master recording on reel but it hasn't been digitised yet.
So from the 7 tracks on the audio tape, I've plucked out a tune called "Believe In Me".
A brash breakneck speed hardcore punk sizzler!


This flyer was for a benefit gig put on to help raise funds for a recording studio at the Greylodge Centre, which was tucked away in the Wellington Street / South George Street area, just off Victoria Road.
There were a handful of these benefit gigs around the 1986-88 period, with this one here (which took place on 31st January 1987) featuring the following bands - Chumbawamba - The Next World - Heavy Discipline - Redemption - Rodney Relax & the Dead Loss Angels, and Vex.
All that for £1.50!
I missed out on this do, but I'm sure Mike Kane will be able to fill in a few details about the event.
Thanks to MK

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


This interior shot of Alex Smith's Commercial Street store, was taken in September 1968. It has a mix of household items for the kitchen, bedroom & bathroom.
A couple of brand names I spotted are - Henley (cutlery) and a stack of boxes with FredoGlass stamped on them, although I've no idea what would have been inside!?
I do like the chequerboard drawers in the background mind you - very 60's!
Photo by DC Thomson

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I was in McGill Brothers fashion and sports departments often enough in the 70's, but I never set foot in their furniture dept, so this interior image is the first time I have seen it!
Their furniture dept was located at the Hilltown corner store in Victoria Road, along with the sports dept.
This DC Thomson photo was taken in January 1976.

Monday, 22 March 2010


The last time I was up at Ardler, this is how it looked. I don't think I'd know my way around it now!
The school on the left of the picture is Blackshade Primary School. Around the time this photo was taken, they had a head teacher called Miss Brodie. Not Jean, but Doreen!
The other 2 primary schools nearer the centre of the picture are St Fergus, who's head teacher was J.Kirkwood, and next door was Ardler, who's head teacher was A.M.MacLean.
Get a load of those bare patches on the playing field. These are where the goal posts are. Obviously seen plenty of futba action!
At the back of the multi's is St Mary's, and beyond that you can see Clatto Reservoir.
Click the image to view the large version.
Unfortunately, this is the last picture I have in the set, and sorry if your place didn't crop up on any. Lots more comments have been added to some of the previous 70's air shots I put on in 2009, so still a few more memories to catch up with.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


The top section of the Kingsway has Maryfield Hospital, bottom right of the image.
The central area is Caird Park golf course with the Kingsway Tech next to it.
Off into the background is Kirkton & Downfield.
The second image is looking in the opposite direction, with the golf course at the bottom.
The main road off the Kingsway, to the left, is Graham Street where you can make out St Michaels School.
And in the distance, top left, are Tannadice and Dens.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


The main focal point in this picture is the Kingsway circle.
Branching off from it is Arbroath Road going up to the 12 o'clock position. Running parallel to the plane's wing is Douglas Road & Greendykes Road, and cutting across the middle of the image, right to left, is the Kingsway & Strips Of Craigie Road.
Tucked away at the very bottom right of the photo is Kemnay Gardens cul-de-sac, where I used to live.
The square roof nearest to the roundabout is where Scott Fyffe Motors is.
Aaahhh, but is it?! I have a couple of old photos that show it spelt as Scott Fyfe, with NO double-F, yet their website has a photo with the double-F variant. To confuse matters, my old Dundee Directories have BOTH spellings, as does Google. So come on guys, what the F is going on?!
Moving further up Arbroath Road to the rectangular roof sitting beside the corner edge area of the cemetery, that became a supermarket called Presto.
On the far left of the picture at the end of Greendykes Road is the church I used to go to when I was in the BB in the late 60's. I'd be about 10. I only stuck it about a year though as I wasn't quite so keen on the formal marching stuff. I much preferred playing in the football team and helping out at their jumble sales!

Friday, 19 March 2010


The Stannergate (bottom left area) was a place we'd occasionally hang out and muck about. This was in the early 70's aged 12-15.
You got a good game of Skiffies there. Throwing flat pebbles across the top of the water and counting the bounces!
It was also a place we went fishing.
When it was high tide however, you couldn't get down onto the shore, so we would move further along to the docks area to fish off the pier. To get there, we had to shuffle precariously along the top of a sea barrier wall which was also fenced off, leaving only about a 2 inch ridge to balance on. The wall was around 12 feet up and we named it "The Wall Of Death". If you lost your grip on the wire fence while tip-toeing along, you'd drop into the Tay. Although it was dangerous, you didn't dare wimp out of it, and I'm pleased to report, we all survived to tell the tale! One of us made up a story that if you fell and drowned, your body would be washed ashore, covered in whelks, with your eyes pecked out by gulls!! That was good enough incentive to tread carefully!!
The green patch at the bottom right corner of the picture, we called Craigie Home farm (not sure if that was it's real name), which was just a grassy wasteland kind of zone where we also messed about. It now has houses.
To help get your bearings, the roundabout above it is the Greendykes Road / Craigie Avenue circle.

Thursday, 18 March 2010


Retro regulars will be aware that I have put up quite a few air shots taken by my brother around 1974/75. Well there were half a dozen or so I wasn't going to bother about because the plane's wing cut across the image and made it awkward to crop. However, I have changed my mind as I reckoned they'd be better on the net than tucked away in a storage box at home out of view. So here's a wee bonus batch...
This one here is really good actually once you zoom into the large version.
On it you can see Seagate Bus Station with some yellow Alexander buses waiting there.
Across the road from the bus station was the Reo Stakis Olde Worlde Inn.
Moving east you can clearly see Allan Street, which at that time, on the corner of Seagate, had the Quarter Gill Bar.
On the other side of the road along from the Quarter Gill was the Tayside Bar. A path which was to be well trodden a few years later!
Further right, is the Corporation Bus Depot on Dock Street, and if you look closely you can see the transition from green buses to blue ones had just started.
Down at the bottom right of Victoria Dock is the Timber Yard.
These are just a few of the sights, I'm sure you'll be able to spot plenty others.
You can click on the photo to view the larger version, and once on, right click to save, then view it using the zoom on your PC.
I have a Dundee Directory from this same period, so can help name places should you be struggling!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Me not being a motorist meant that buses were my main mode of transport back then for getting from A to B.
These 2 ads are from the 70's
The top one is for Alexander's, the rural service who's yellow buses were based at Seagate Bus Station.
Something I can remember about the bus station when I was schoolboy aged was using the grubby photo booth a few times. One such session was in 1972 when me and my mate (both Slade fans) went in and got our photo's taken, pushing our fists up close to the camera with our thumbs out sideways, copying the "SLAYED" album cover!
I also have a memory of there being a Nestles chocolate vending machine that was always empty!
The other ad is for the local Council bus service who had a depot in Dock Street and an office in Barrack Street.
The 70's was when they changed from green coloured Corporation buses to blue Tayside Regional Council buses.
Does anyone know what product it is advertised on the side of the bus in the picture? The slogan is "Make Your Pins Look Sharper", but I haven't the foggiest what they are referring to!!
You may need to enlarge the image.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


In the 70's, Cathie McCabe's was the main shop in town to visit to get concert tickets for gigs in Edinburgh & Glasgow.
By the time we reached the 80's, other outlets in town were getting in on the act and this 1981 ad for Rock-It Travel reveals that they were also becoming a wee bit more adventurous, with buses running to shows in Leeds & Birmingham.
Advance bookings for the 1982 World Cup in Spain were up for grabs too, which I'm sure many of Dundee's Tartan Army members took advantage of!

Monday, 15 March 2010


I don't have the exact date of this ad for Rainbow Music, but I guess it's probably the late 70's, or possibly early 80's.
Hawkhill was the shop's original location. They are now in the Cowgate.
Thanks to DD

Sunday, 14 March 2010


This full page ad appeared in Cranked Up in 1982.
A reminder that you can hear a track from this Waiter Waiter cassette in the September 2009 Retro blog archive.

Saturday, 13 March 2010


This is typical of the kind of image you'd see splattered up around town on the multitude of boarded up windows, which was a common sight in Dundee in the early 80's.
The Junkies flyer - designed by Jock Ferguson.
Thanks to DD

Friday, 12 March 2010


This is a fairly recent book, published in 2002.
Written by Martin C Strong, the chunky encyclopedia does it's best to cover the entire history of Scottish music & performers, ranging from Rabbie Burns to Rave, and every music genre in-between.
All the artists are in alphabetical order, and where possible, gives the town of origin, band line-up and discography.
So for Retro Dundee purposes, I'll just give a couple of wee examples from the 60's, 70's & 80's.
For instance, the obvious big hitters like Average White Band, Michael Marra, Danny Wilson etc get substantial coverage. A few of the smaller bands such as Poor Souls, Rokotto, Scrotum Poles, Wilderness Children and so on, also get a mention.
Although the book is presented in an encyclopedic format, the content isn't too formal, for example, it describes Gerils as sounding like "Sonic Youth having a fight with The Fall!". It's loaded with wee quips like that.
A select few are also represented in caricature, these being the work of Stuart Murray. Above is an excellent one of Billy Mackenzie, showing his look, his whippets and his town.
Check out the top notch book cover!!
An added bonus is that there are also many pages on the output of Scotland's record labels.
John Peel described the book as an "Extraordinary work of scholarship".
Well worth looking out for.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


It wasn't only Dundee United and Dundee Rockets doing the biz in the early/mid 80's. One of the lesser known local sports teams also on a winning streak back then were the Menzieshill Ladies Water Polo team, who in 1984 were crowned British Champions. In fact throughout most of the 80's they pretty much dominated the Scottish water polo scene.
Unfortunately, I have no names to go with this photo of the squad with their '84 trophy, so if anyone can supply the details, feel free to drop the info in the comments.
The lassie, bottom right, looks fairly familiar to me. Just wondering if she went to Slickers & Da Vinci's around that era?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Another challenge match, this time at Tannadice, and a game that took place on 30th April 1979 between Ministers & Butchers.
My local butcher, Mr Grossett (Arbroath Road), was playing.
Part of the extra entertainment laid on included "Pubby Tuggy", a tug-o-war contest involving over a dozen local pubs, all of which are listed in the centre spread above.
Goalkeepers, Hamish McAlpine (DUFC) and Ally Donaldson (DFC) were the linesmen.
Does anyone remember who won? Did the Butchers make mincemeat of the opposition, or were the Ministers the ones blessed with football skills?!!
Click programme images to enlarge.
Thanks to DD

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Here's an account of a football game that wouldn't have made the headlines next day!
It was a media challenge match between a Dundee DC Thomson's squad and a team from Glasgow's BBC TV & Radio.
The battle took place in 1967 at Maryhill with Dundee running riot in a 7-2 victory.
DCT wore classic DFC strips and the Beeb were in Celtic's colours.
Mary Marquis was doing the "fair play" honours!
Click on the image to view the large version and read all about it.
The full DCT squad is named.

Monday, 8 March 2010


This was the fashion for the Radio Tay team when running in the Dundee marathon in 1984.
Left is Iain Duncan. 2nd right is Peter Fraser and far right is George MacKintosh. For some reason the female runners aren't mentioned, however I can tell you that in the background, Norma Gamble is on the wheels of steel!!

These outfits reminded me that there was a wee film made in the early 80's called "How To Improve Your Radio Tay T-Shirt". It was the work of Jock Ferguson and features Craig Methven in the starring role, which consisted of making a few alterations to the garment!
As of yet, it remains in Jocks vault in it's original film format still to be converted into digital format. Let's hope at some stage it will see the light of day!


This was the fashion for the Radio Tay News team when roving around Dundee in 1980.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Grampian TV's first presence in Dundee was in October 1965 when they opened up their premises next door to the Angus Hotel in the Marketgait. They remained there until the mid/late 70's and then they moved to a grander location at Albany House in Broughty Ferry.
When at Albany, they became the first Independent TV studio in Britain to change from film to video, that was around 1978/79.
Here's 2 ads...
The top one is from the late 70's and the one below it is from the mid 80's and has the 2 main presenters - Ron Thompson & Alan Saunders - it also includes some of their colleagues who worked behind the scenes.
Grampian TV's name ended when it came under the general banner of STV just a few years ago.
Click on the images to view the large versions.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


Forever Amber were a Dundee band who were on the go in the early 70's.
That was the easy bit.
The difficult bit is finding out the band line-up...and so that is the mystery I will need your help to solve.
I can set the ball rolling by naming one definite - HARRY ADAMS. I know this because he was my next door neighbour at the time in Kemnay Gardens, and the band used to practise there quite a lot. In fact I remember getting a couple of lessons from their guitarist (Richie?) around the backies when they were having a break from rehearsing. I would only be about 13 then.
Harry was a keyboard player and used to have a red portable organ (Farfisa or Vox?) similar to the kind Peter Tork played on "I'm a Believer".
I have asked quite a few of my older music contacts and some names have made the list of band member possibilities, but none of them have been confirmed as definite. Here who's on the *maybe* list - DOUGAL McINTOSH - RICKY MUNRO - DONNY COUTTS - IAN CUSSICK.
If anyone can say for sure whether any of the above were or weren't in Forever Amber, that would be great. Or if you have any more contenders, just drop the info into the comments.
Musically, they were a pop/r&b outfit, and although I saw their band van come and go, I've no idea how long they were together.
The 2 adverts above are both from 1971.
The first one confirms they used to be named Souled & Healed, with January the earliest sighting of the band's Forever Amber name - it doesn't crop up anytime before this date. This was for a gig in Aberdeen.
The second is for a gig a couple of months later in Comrie.
Other acts who have connections with Forever Amber are - Sweet & Tendermotion and Rite Tyme - as the bands shuffled their personnel about.
The above information is a correction to the wording I had in the original caption, where I stated that Forever Amber were on the go in the late 60's.
That's why a few people refer to this era in the comments, when trying to recall details from hazy memories!
The 2 ads were added later, and confirm the correct era involved.

Friday, 5 March 2010


This photo, taken around the same time as yesterdays air shot, shows what was known as "Phase 3" of the Overgate redevelopment, in full flow.
The 1st Phase was the Angus Hotel & Marketgait side, Phase 2 was the central 2-tier shopping zone & car park, and this stage in the photo, the final part, included Littlewoods and the tunnel region.
I couldn't help notice the one-man bus in the picture. I didn't realise they went as far back as the 60's. I've always thought they were introduced in the early 70's.
You, can't always rely on your memory!!

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Here's a great aerial photo of the city centre, taken around 1966/67.
In the middle of the picture there is Shore Terrace bus station, and you can see that the Littlewoods area of the Overgate was still under construction.
Top left, past the Angus Hotel zone is the Westport area, with the J.M. and so on.
Top right, south of the multi's, you can glimpse a section of the old Wellgate around the Meadowside/Victoria Road bend.
Have a nose around lots of other nooks & crannies in the image by clicking on the photo and viewing the large version.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Around the mid/late 70's, before Dundee guitarist Steve Reid was in The Associates & Orbidoig, he used to work in Johnalan hairdressers.
Ironically, I reckon this picture of him looks a bit like the kind of photo we used to see on the walls in gents barbers!
Not sure if this hairstyle was one of his own creations though!!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

THE CLAIROL 1200 - 1980's

See this hairdryer of mine, the Clairol 1200, it just conked out on me about 3 years ago. I'd been using this one since around 1980, so nearly 3 decades it lasted.
If memory serves me correctly, I got it from Argos, which was located around the Quality Inn area in the Overgate at the time. A good wee purchase it turned out to be too.
I still have the same thick full head of hair I had back then, no sign of it receding or thinning on top yet! However, some of you may not know that for those less fortunate, in the 70's there used to be a place in Victoria Road who provided a "hair implant" service.
It went under the name - Top Secret - which I can't help find funny.
Vanity and discretion rolled into one!

Monday, 1 March 2010


On the opposite end of the Wellgate area to where Paynes was, was another hairdresser called Jeanne. It opened up on Victoria Road in the mid 70's, with this picture of the premises taken in November 1976.
Again, it wasn't a place I was in as I'm guessing it was for ladies only.
Photo by DC Thomson.