Music to Our Ears and a Trip Down Memory Lane…
The late 1960s were magical. Such a vibe in the air; people had a spring in their step as they went about their business. Anything and everything seemed possible.
The fashions were exciting and fun to wear. Music was everywhere, with such variety to enjoy.
Popping into a record shop was an adventure. Remember those booths where you could put on earphones and listen to the latest single with a fantastic ‘B’ side before your purchased anything?
And who remembers the fab LPs (long-playing records) with great artwork and sleeve notes, not to mention all the lyrics printed out and details of who did what on the recording?
There was always a great gig on somewhere; the town hall, the school hall and even the village Parish hall hosted a variety of musicians and singers who were ‘on the circuit.’
Of course, there were the bigger venues in the towns and cities, such as – in Renza’s case – the famed top Rank Suite in Reading, and the California Ballroom in Dunstable. There was the Watford New Penny, and The Cafe des Artistes in London.
Stella discovered The Tropicana, Bal Tabarin, Lords, L’Etacq, and Greve de Lecque, and Sable d’Or (clubs), whilst she was in Jersey, the Channel Islands having a holiday with Scott’s mother and step-father.
I don’t know about you, but I loved the artwork and the fonts used back in the 1960s. Instantly recognisable as being from that era. Of course, some posters are icons now.
Scotland was a great distance to travel in the days before motorways. Wick, Elgin, Nairn, and Aberdeen provided many adventures for Narnia’s Children. The almost fatal trip in deep snow alongside lochs frozen and forbidding, with Nuclear submarine bases seeming to pop out of the mist along with armed guards who wanted to know what a group of long-haired layabouts was doing in the middle of nowhere during a snowstorm!
The Two Red Shoes, Elgin, hosted ‘Narnia’s Children’ (our fictional name), a few times, and also booked The Beatles on the first night of their first tour of Scotland. Pink Floyd performed there, and almost every band and singer on the UK circuit stood on this stage at some time.
Apparently, Pink Floyd was not impressed with the stage, which as Scott recalls, was only about one or two feet from the floors and it felt like the audience was about to walk into you as you performed.
The Ballerina Ballroom, Nairn, (Scotland), is another venue that was on the UK circuit – another must-play gig. Not only did it host Scott and his band, but Fleetwood Mac, Slade, Hot Chocolate, Status Quo, The Searchers, the Troggs, The Who, and many others trod the stage there.
Both venues: Two Red Shoes and The Ballerina Ballroom, also hosted top American artists as well. Such cool places to play.
The Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, is another venue where Scott and the band performed. Famous for hosting The Who, Pink Floyd, and many other up-and-coming British and international bands back in the day, the ballroom has a sprung dance floor that bounced when people danced upon it, and the stage was in the middle of the round venue. This meant that as the musicians performed, the audience could walk around the stage, and Scott was struck by the constant movement around him and the band as they performed. He found it rather unsettling.
Most of the travel was done in Ford transit or Bedford vans, and often it was common to sleep in the van with the gear. Sometimes there was enough money in the kitty to pay for a B&B. There were a few on the circuit where almost all the bands would stay.
Pink Floyd wax lyrical about Mrs. McBean’s B&B, Myrtle House, which is also where Narnia’s Children stayed whilst in Elgin. Landlady Mrs. McBean was keen on her young guests having their porridge every morning, made with salt.
The Beatles stayed there on their first tour of Scotland and she seemed to think they needed a good bath when they booked in!
If this trip down memory lane has whetted your appetite and you yearn to know more, then yearn no more…
Christina Jones and I have written about it all in Only One Woman.
And not only can you read about it all in Only One Woman, but you can also hear about it too…
I’m on the global podcast, The Authors Show, chatting about my experiences in the late 1960s UK music scene and how Christina Jones and I came to write a novel together, based on our shared past in the days during the Swingin’ Sixties.
If you love the music and fashions of the late 1960s and the whole vibe, then drop over and listen in as I chat about my life in music, and my inspiration for writing this epic novel with Christina who is a bestselling, award-winning author who was one-time Fan Club Secretary for my husband’s band.
You can tune in here: https://wnbnetworkwest.com/channel/6
My interview is available now and also on a 24/7 loop on channel 6 in the Authors Show archive.
If you love music, then you will enjoy a trip down memory lane with Only One Woman, and there are so many musical references, venue shoutouts, and lots to keep musicians entertained too. Guys love our novel as much as girls do.
Oh! And there is an epic love triangle at its heart.
Graham Bonnet of Rainbow, Michael Schenker, Alcatraz, Blackmore, and of course, The Marbles, enjoyed Only One Woman so much he wrote our foreword.
You can enjoy the music that Renza and Stella loved by visiting their YouTube playlists of the songs mentioned in Only One Woman…
You can find Only One Woman and my other writing:
HAPPY CHRISTMAS FROM RENZA, STELLA, SCOTT, AND NARNIA’S CHILDREN.
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing Only One Woman.