Monday 31 May 2010


The top picture is the Coffee Lounge, where I bet many business deals have been discussed.
The lower picture is the Cocktail Lounge, where I bet many businessmen have been pissed!
The hotel, of course, wasn't just for the pleasure of out-of-towners, we locals had a bit of fun in there too. I've been to quite a few gigs at the Angus, as well as an occasional private function.
Disco action too, catering for varying tastes, with the likes of The Neoteric Disco, Mike Short's Disco, and even the Cranked Up Disco has rattled the Angus Balcony Bar!
Bottom pic by the Scotsman

Sunday 30 May 2010


I have some pictures from inside the Angus Hotel I'm gonna put up over the next couple of days, but before I plough on, just another reminder of how the hotel looked on the outside back in the 60's (as shown in the top image) where everything is all neat & tidy and shiny & new.
So to get the ball rolling with the black & white picture, here's the main stairway with a piece of artwork by local artist, Ian Eadie, who you may recall also did the Overgate mural.
The piece in the picture is called "Night and Day"...(the artwork, not the female!)
B & W photo by the Scotsman.

Saturday 29 May 2010


2 photos taken in fairly quick succession, capturing the moment the 2 chimney stacks at Carolina Port Power Station were demolished.
The top, "chimney A" - bit the dust on 8th April 1984.
Below, "chimney B" - came crashing down on 15th April 1984.
Photos by Neale Elder


On the site where, long ago, Dundee jute sacks were once shipped to the cotton plantations of Carolina USA, they built the Power Station for Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.
As you can see, it was quite a chunky structure, with it's chimney stack easy to spot from miles away.
The images (both from the late 60's) show the building from opposite angles, and according to my 1970 Dundee Street Directory, the power station was located on "Electric Street", which I guess is the road seen in the bottom picture.
Mitchell Construction of Glasgow being who built it.
And to see to which extent the power station dominated that part of the waterfront, below is a short piece of footage from the mid 60's, filmed from Fife.

Friday 28 May 2010


Here's me thinking Sunspan was an "Orange only" drink, but there's the evidence on the ad from 1970, that it was also available in Lemon and Cola. Sunspan Cola??!!!
All those fizzy bubbles must have given me the bends and affected my memory!
G & P Barrie were located at 191 Albert Street.
The last of the soft drinks ads is dated 1968 and is for the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant at 181 Clepington Road. This place had a window where passers-by could see inside the factory and watch all the bottles snaking around on the conveyor belts being filled.
The plant was closed down in April 1983.
All together now...
"I'd like to teach the world to sing,
in perfect harmony,
I'd like to buy the world a Coke,
and make redundancies!"

Thursday 27 May 2010


Bridie was quick off the mark sending in these 2 photos, so I've been able to squeeze them on before the next items and keep the Pola-Cola theme going a bit longer.
The top photo with the wall mural ad was taken in Maitland Street.
This was just a stone's throw away from Barrie's in Albert Street, and quite a distance away from their own place in Corso Street. Just wonder if they put it there to taunt their city rivals?!
And great to see the Pola-Cola ad in colour on the tray. There can't be many of them on the go these days.
A wee observation - this was also a good few years before Cresta came up with the idea of using a polar bear to advertise their soft drink. Remember the "It's Frothy Man" TV commercials?!
Big thanks to Bridie

Wednesday 26 May 2010


I must admit, I don't remember Dextora. Then again, I'd only be a wee nipper when it was on the go - this advert dating from 1963.
It seems like it was competing with Lucozade, as a health drink. Being orange flavoured though, means it would taste nicer than it's more well known rival!
Pola-Cola I do remember. Just as Peter Kay jokes about Rola Cola, us kids sussed it was quite a substandard alternative to the real thing! I'm sure this is the one which had a kind of flowery taste, and went flat dead quick.
Anyway, the Pola-Cola ad is dated 1968.
Both were made by Robertson Fruit Products who were based at 12 Corso Street. Later in the 70's they were taken over by Strathmore Springs.

Tuesday 25 May 2010


The picture is of the Tay Queen arriving at the Old Pilot Pier in Broughty Ferry on 13th August 1982.
This pleasure boat, which had a fully licensed saloon bar, used to do return trips from the Ferry to Invergowrie Bay.
In addition, there were cruises to Perth on certain days of the month.
The timetable leaflets, from 1983, give you the lowdown on where to book and so on. You could even have your own private function on it, which sounds like fun!
However, the fun didn't last too long as somewhere between 83 & 85, the Tay Queen stopped it's cruises, and was replaced for a short while in 1985 by the Coral Star, details of which can be found in my March 2009 archive.
Click images to enlarge.
Big thanks to Neale Elder

Monday 24 May 2010


I thought I'd end this recent short, but cheery jaunt up Hawkhill, with how I started it - a visit to Frew's.
Here's the man himself emerging from behind the pillar.
The picture was taken by Moira Bird who, along with fellow Art College pal, Bob McGouldrick, would go there on Friday nights to sell tickets for the Students Union disco down Hawkhill Place.
Willie was known to slip them the odd free pint when they were broke!
The snapshot was taken around Christmas 1977.
Big thanks to Bob

Sunday 23 May 2010


1st October 1982 : After leaving the Tav, blootered, me, Paula & Marian, decided to go for some grub along the Nethergate. It was raining, but we cared not a jot. Giggling and staggering about trying to negotiate the wee side streets beside the University, one of us suggested that we all change clothes. It seemed like a stoopid idea, so needless to say we all agreed. We found an alcove in one of the buildings where we proceeded to exchange togs. Luckily for me they weren't wearing anything too girly! Now that the 3 of us looked complete idiots, the laughter increased. Further down I spotted this overflowing ronepipe gushing like a waterfall, so we all dashed over and stood under it until we were absolutely drenched. It was all rather hysterical by the time we reached the Nethergate, but we managed to get to the Chinese takeaway. We trooped in like drooned rats, with the girl behind the counter looking a bit concerned. Off the top of my head I ended up telling her that we were over in Tayport, missed the last bus and so had to swim back across! Just for a couple of seconds she actually believed it, till we burst out laughing and gave the guff awa'..!!

Saturday 22 May 2010


Moving further up the Hawkhill from yesterdays location, you'd find The Corner bar on the junction of Peddie Street.
In the 70's, when the pub was run by Jim Butters, one of The Corner bar regulars emigrated to Canada. Many years later in the mid 90's he came back to visit Dundee, and one of the first things he did was to venture up to his favourite pub. When he got there he was shocked to see that it had changed to the Hawkhill Tavern, along with a change of owner. He stepped inside and looked around it, half amazed, half saddened, then he spotted the new owner, Ray Martin, so he went over to greet him and exclaimed - "I can't believe it's not Butters!".
The above picture was taken in the early 80's, but below you can view the same corner from ground level, the footage dating from the late 60's.
It is believed that the guy walking by in the film clip is Dundee musician, Robin McKidd. A few folk who've viewed the footage recognised him instantly!
Oh yeah, and watch out for the ghost car..!!

Friday 21 May 2010


Here's an image I bet many of you have been longing to see - Frew's on the Hawkhill.
It's another of Neale Elder's photographs, this one though he took when he was only 14 years old, using his first camera, a good old Polaroid.
A few years later when he was doing his Higher Art at Craigie High School, he made a model of this very tenement scene!
I suppose the pub and the location has inspired a few folk like artists and musicians. I know Frew's gets a mention in a poem called "Step Row Nights" written by author/poet Scott Martin.
If you check out the comments on Retro about city pubs I posted on 12th January 2010, the Captain gives the lowdown on a few aspects of the pub as well as the variety of characters who frequented it - a diverse a range as it could possibly be in fact - from the "Carry On" team to Jocky Wilson!
Captains log...
And when Willie Frew wasn't in his pub at 157a Hawkhill, he'd be home at 22 Finavon Place.
Both rather humble abodes for someone who has achieved such legendary status in the history of Dundee pubs!

Thursday 20 May 2010


Here's a quirky (or arty) wee bit of footage shot in the late 60's.
It's quite unusual because it has the word "Dundee" as it's main feature. So it crops up on things like road signs, shop fronts, work premises and so on.
See how many you are familiar with.
I only got 4...(hangs head in shame!!)


I put a piece about Jim Wilkie up on Retro in June 2009 along with a sample track from his album, which was an upbeat dancey pop song, and I said I would put up another of his songs later which was more downtempo, as a contrast. Well now is the moment.
This number from 1979 called "Long Gone" is a nostalgic song, referring to places from his childhood which have disappeared, such as the Broadway Picture House in Arthurstone Terrace, corner shop grocers and St Andrews train station. He's also not too happy with what came after them!
Some of you slightly older ones may recognise the intro...the Saturday Morning Club tune which was sung by kids in cinema's.

Wednesday 19 May 2010


The Soviet & USA nuclear arms escalation, conflict in the Middle East, the IRA bombing Britain, war in the Falklands, Dundee FC being relegated - yes there definitely was a lot of end of the world gloom & doom around at the start of the 80's!
Here's local band, Atomic Grape, singing about those troubled times and warning us that we're all gonna DIE!!!!
Ah well, at least some of us managed to survive to tell the tale - but hang on, there seems to be one obvious casualty - Atomic Grape themselves - what happened to them?
Whatever it was, this bunch managed to evade my music radar back then and so now I don't know anything about them.
The singer sounds very young, so much so that I guess they might be a school band, but the competent guitar playing may ruin my theory!
Anyway, the track called "Armageddon" is from around 1982 and is a melodic rock guitar tune, kind of in the Grateful Dead/Wishbone Ash territory.
If you have any details to pass on about the band, feel free to drop them into the comments so as those of us who made it and are grateful to still be alive, can read your reports.

Tuesday 18 May 2010


A Crucial Youth reggae night at Fat Sams on 30th May 1984, featuring roots reggae band, Beshara, from the midlands, backed up by the Akabush Sound System, and guest, Smartie, from London.
The flyer is bang on with all the reggae patter, slang and wee catch phrases that were on the go back then, and there's also a reminder on it that reggae dancehall nights were referred to as "raves", way before the acid house scene snatched the term!
That guest DJ from Shepherds Bush, Smartie - he once MC'd on a track recorded by The Grip when they were down in London at the Mad Professors studio.

One final thought - you know those lists people make, usually called something like "50 things to do before you die", or similar, and contain "swimming with dolphins" - "fly the length of the Grand Canyon" - "Base jump off Eiffel Tower" that kind of thing, well I'd like to add "go to a reggae dancehall night with a Jamaican sound system" - honestly, if you've not sampled one, ye cannae beat it!!
Big thanks to JG

Monday 17 May 2010


From the pages of yet another Street Life comes this interview with local lads, Danny Wilson, who were back in Dundee after a busy schedule of touring, tv and recording, during which their single "Mary's Prayer" went mega!!
All 3 members, Ged, Kit & Gary have a say and talk about their time in the recording studio, life on the road, the local music scene, fame, and so on.
One of their comments, however, did turn out to be a bit premature - with Ged saying Danny Wilson wouldn't play the Caird Hall because a seated audience was too inhibiting. You may recall though that the band did perform there shortly after!
Ahhh the pressure of the biz!!
Click on items to read the large versions.
Thanx to the Bear


I've already posted quite a few articles up on Retro taken from Street Life magazine, so thought it was time to give the mag itself a wee mention.
This was Dundee's free "What's On" guide for the late 80's, and as you'd expect, covered the local music scene, theatre, style, art exhibitions, cinema and generally showcasing the most interesting entertainment on the go at the time.
The main Editorial team were - John Harding and Andrew Martin - who had a good squad of contributors to work with, such as Pete Hood doing music, Joe Jordan doing photography, and a few others in the mix.
As well as the info inside vying for your attention, the covers were pretty eye-catching too, with their distinctive red, black & white graphics.
Here's 4 examples plucked out at random - top left was the 1st anniversary issue and featured a few of the previous years covers, on the cover. Top right has local band Joe Public. Bottom left was a May Week special and bottom right features The Rainmates. All from 1988.
Big thanks to the Bear

Sunday 16 May 2010


Dundee accordionist, John Huband, was highly regarded on the folk circuit, a reputation which was enhanced when he teamed up with the illustrious, Jim Reid, also from Dundee.
However, it's not just folk music John had on his CV. In the mid 60's he released a couple of singles on Andy Lothian's ALP record label - these were traditional Scottish dance band tunes, one of which became famous for being the theme tune jingle to the newly established broadcaster, Radio Scotland.
On the "Live From Invercarse Hotel" LP recorded in 1973, the John Huband Trio, play a variety of musical styles - a touch of Bob Dylan, some Scottish reels, a bit of blues, a movie soundtrack, a dash of country & western, an Irish jig, and this one here, a jazz standard from the 1940's "Tangerine". Although it's a short track, it certainly showcases John's considerable accordion technique. The amount of activity he can squeeze in, in such a short space of time, is quite amazing! Accompanying him are Jim Cruickshank and Joe Mackay, who just manage to keep pace!
It is definitely more, hot club gypsy jazz, than folk!

Saturday 15 May 2010


Admit it. You're dying to hear another Dean and Dawn delight!
Well you're spoilt for choice here with this EP they released in the late 80's.
5 new songs, which, in their own words on the record sleeve, will give their fans "something else to rave about"!!
Just what imaginary fantasy land were they living in?
Now if they had stated that they were a clubby act, then that would have been fair enough, but they were trying to pass themselves off as "International recording artistes" during it all.
Somehow they managed to avoid the Trades Description Act!
Anyway, getting back to the record, I already have songs up on Retro about the Discovery and the Balaena, so I thought I'd go for the hat-trick by choosing their song about the Unicorn.
You can't help like the amateurishness of this performance, what with Dean not knowing whether to, or how to, harmonise, cutting each attempt short. Then there's the big duff chord halfway through. Not forgetting the hilarious John Shuttleworth keyboard which makes the whole thing sound like a comedy record. Yes it truly is a classic!!
They say Dean and Dawn give their fans "something that no other performers have".
Now that's just asking for trouble..!!
Big thanks to the Bear

Friday 14 May 2010


And now the moment you've all be waiting for...Dundee's very own, television, radio and recording stars, the classiest duo ever to bestow their awesome talents upon us...Dean and Dawn.
Well actually, I don't really know that much about them, but I do know that according to their own publicity hype, they have "many eager fans"!!
I'm not going to pick on them, or praise them, but let's just say my usage of the term "legendary" was a touch of post modern, ironic humour!
So moving swiftly on, this single called "Proud Of Our City" was runner-up in the 1978 Dundee Festival Song Contest ( I take it there were only 2 songs entered?!) although it wasn't recorded and released until the early 80's. EEL Records the culprits!
Those involved were - Dean Eastwood, vocal, guitar - Dawn Westfield, vocal, tambourine - Gordon Nichols, accordion - Ewan McGregor, drums - Tayside Majorettes, chorus.
Maybe not many people realise that this offering achieved cult status in the early 80's as a result of Jock Ferguson playing it at the end of his Cranked Up DJ sets down at the Tayside Bar. It was of course the cue for the pub lights to go back on and everybody to scarper!!
In fact, Jock once asked Dean & Dawn to perform at the Tayside Bar Christmas party one year, but it didn't happen because they were too expensive, demanding twice as much as the bands got paid!
I'm sure their many eager fans must have felt really disappointed!!
Anyway, give it a blast, then feel free to express yourselves in the comments.

Thursday 13 May 2010


March 1975 was the month Average White Band became superstars!
The front page of the Melody Maker documented the moment with their WHITE HEAT headline, along with a picture of Dundee Horns - Molly Duncan & Roger Ball.
The story that declared AWB such hot property was the fact that they had just reached No1 in both the singles & albums charts, in the same week, over in the USA.
As a consequence, however, because of this surge of popularity in the States, the band decided to leave UK to set up a home base in America.


October 1982 saw Duran Duran arrive in town to play a gig at the Caird Hall.
Although I was well familiar with their chart hits, I didn't get round to going to the show.
I do, however, actually have an unofficial recording of this very concert which reveals that not only did they have a good quality sound live on stage, the recording, needless to say, also has lots of screaming girls on it.
Dundee lassies were not the only ones in the crowd though because interestingly, the Caird Hall gig was the first date that kick-started this particular tour off, and Simon Le Bon says during the recording "Thanks to all the Londoners who came to see us" -  so this was obviously a group of devoted fans who had travelled all the way up to Dundee eager to catch the band on their opening night!
The ad above with the tour dates is from a music paper.

Wednesday 12 May 2010


Exactly 37 years ago, singer, Nana Mouskouri, brought along her Athenians to the Caird Hall to entertain the masses with her cosy brand of easy listening.
Although she had her own TV show, and guested on many TV variety shows back in the early 70's, I can't recall off the top of my head, any records she had in the singles charts back then, so I think her popularity stemmed from her regular appearances on the telly rather than any particular musical contribution at the time.
She had a pleasant enough personality mind you, and although I wasn't at this concert, I've been told she allowed some of her Dundee fans to meet her backstage for a chat and to sign autographs. All harmless fun I suppose!
Talk about popular - Nana has since gone on to sell 300 million records along the way. She must be loaded! About time she dipped in to help out Greece's current financial crisis!!!
Thanks to Gillian

Tuesday 11 May 2010


This is the full rave package..!!
The ravers - the DJ's - the 12's - the fashion - the smiley - the graffiti.
It's the Crash Crew in the summer of '89 in the Overgate.
Thanx to JG

Monday 10 May 2010


Here is the flyer (front & back) for the doomed "Back To Life" rave.
See for yourself, the life threatening list of attractions the police viewed as illegal..!!
Thanx to JG


Summer 1989, and organisers in Dundee plan to have a rave at a mystery location, with intent to dance the night away to some acid house music.
Nothing wrong with that... after all, the scene was already up and running down South.
However, like so many raves that were planned in the early days, the Dundee one ran into trouble with the police, who viewed it as being illegal, and who did their best to prevent it taking place.
Although the organisers were under pressure from the police, there were last minute attempts to have the rave on a smaller scale elsewhere, but eventually the "Back To Life" event had to be cancelled.
The disappointed ravers ended up dancing the night away at Fat Sams instead. This included the organisers, who, after leaving Fatties, were tailed by the police back home, just to make sure they didn't sneak off to an illegal dance in the early hours!!
A few other raves did manage to take place around Dundee that summer, undetected by the police. On one occasion, however, a party in Birkhill did get busted. It was one of the "Back To Life" organisers who was involved too, only this time, the organiser was charged and fined for - "broadcasting sounds known as Acid House"!!!!
This ridiculous outcome even got a mention in style magazine, The Face.
I mean, was there ever a crackdown on Roland TB-303 dealers?!!!!
It has to be said though, authority and music have a history of not getting on, whether it be the Communist regime prohibiting jazz in Russia, the American Christian Churches smashing records by The Beatles, Councils in UK banning punk gigs or the police getting het up over a rave - the two sometimes just don't mix!!

The cuttings are from the Tele - dated 11 & 12 August 1989.
Big thanks to JG

Sunday 9 May 2010


In the early 80's, when IRA bombs were commonplace on mainland Britain, there were often many false alarms and hoaxes that went along with it which kept members of the public vigilant.
Here is an example of one of the more amusing false alarms...
In a generous act of philanthropy one day, local musician, Mike Kane, gave away free packages to the public, containing a music cassette of his band, AAGA, along with some other gifts inside... just like wee lucky bags. One of these packs was dropped off at the Wellgate Library. A little later, one of the observant librarians spotted the package sitting there, thought it might be a bomb, and promptly called the cops. The Wellgate was evacuated and the suspect package dealt with.
A few hours had passed when Mike was visited at home by the boys in blue (he kindly left his name and address on the explosive devices!).
The police commenced questioning him about the incident. Mike's tape recorder was running at the time and managed to capture the conversation, the transcript of which (above) was published in the first issue of The Voice.
You may need to click on the image to read the large version.
AAGA - louder than a bomb!!

THE VOICE - ISSUE 1 - 1982

This is the first issue of Dundee fanzine, The Voice.
It started up after the demise of Cranked Up. In fact, this was supposed to be Cranked Up #19, but when Jock Ferguson stepped down as ed of Cranked Up at #18, he took the name with him, and so leading to the birth of The Voice.
It covered similar subject matter as Cranked Up, the local music scene, theatre, poetry, politics and so on.
However, the content of this first issue does solve one mystery which has cropped up on a few of Retro's comments in the past - "When did Club Feet open?". The answer - 1982.
I did wonder why Club Feet never got a mention in any of the Cranked Up's...but now I know...Club Feet appeared just as Cranked Up disappeared!
By the way, the TSB is the Tayside Bar - not the local bank!!
Big thanx to The Bear

Saturday 8 May 2010


Here's a compact little interview with Grant McNally, who tells how Jih first began way back in 1983 in London, with a little assistance from Billy Mackenzie.
Pete Hood was the chap who cornered him for the quick chinwag on behalf of Street Life mag - 1988.
Click image to enlarge.

JIH - FAT SAMS - 1988

Here's a couple of tasty items from a Jih gig that took place at Fat Sams in June 1988.
The 2 top-notch photos show Grant McNally at the mic, with a band mostly made up from members of Better Backwards.
Underneath is a wee review of this very gig which appeared in local magazine, Street Life.
Big thanks to The Bear.
So after a bit of deliberation in the comments as to who the backing musicians are in the photos, we seem to have settled for this line-up...
Neil Forbes, sax - Anth Brown, guitar - Barry Gibson, drums - Jimmy MacKenzie, bass and Jill & Jen McGrath, backing vocals.


Jih, is local singer, Grant McNally, plus a team of musicians who varied & changed, most of which having a strong Dundee connection.
This album "The Shadow To Fall" is also closely linked to The Associates, with band members, Howard Hughes and Steve Reid playing on this recording.
In fact, Billy MacKenzie has shared material with Grant (and vice versa), both having sung each others songs. Billy also sang backing vocals on Jih's singles, as well as doing some production work. Billy's brothers, John & Jimmy, have also been involved with the band.
Grant did seem to favour local talent too when it came to performing live.
Regarding the album, it received a favourable review in Cut magazine back in Feb 1987, which is what's on display above.
Although there are quite a lot of melodic songs on the album, I've opted for a track (below) called "This Is My House", which is just a little bit edgier!