I’d like to say I’ve spent years working on this blog but it’s the product of only about a week’s work at Elgin’s Heritage Centre. Unfortunately, that’s been in chunks of a few hours at a time spread over six months and it will probably take another few hours to fully complete the research.
I’ve been making music related lists for as long as I remember, so something like this is fun for me. What I don’t understand is why others who’ve done the research (and I know of at least one person) are doing nothing with that information. The dates and names on their own are dull and boring but with a blog there’s the possibility of getting feedback from you, the readers – the people who were actually there.
As I run a rock music archive, I’ve got many of the images in house. The video clips are all sourced from YouTube but what I need are items related directly to the Two Red Shoes – flyers, tickets, photographs and memories. I can build the site but to make it really work, it does need your input. Whatever memories you have, no matter how trivial they may seem, I do hope you’ll share them.
The similar blog run for the Ballerina Ballroom in Nairn pulled in responses from as far afield as Singapore. On that basis, I’ll happily include a contacts section if anyone wants to try and get in touch with friends or bands from the time. Whatever you want, just drop it into a comment and post it.
That’s it. I’ll do my bit and get all the info on here. Hope you can add to it!
Willie Sutherland was from Hopeman or, possibly, Burghead and he was blind. There was a Tower Hotel in Elgin High Street but not, as far as I know, a ballroom of that name. The Tower was the social centre for Moray Rugby Club and also the favoured haunt of under-age drinkers including me. Before my time, there also used to be dances in the Assembly Rooms at the corner of High Street & North Street (opposite Woolworths).
From ‘Syd Barrett: Lost in the Woods’ by Julian Palacios (Plexus, 2009)
The Pink Floyd embarked on a long drive to Scotland for a string of one-nighters across the Highlands. They piled into a car at Great Yarmouth at darkest night on Wednesday and drove through the night and the next morning and afternoon to arrive near Elgin at a seaside hotel in Lossiemouth at 4pm. Snatch a few hours’ sleep, order horses for the following morning’s riding, check the local fishing scene and inquire about a round at the local golf club.
Disc & Music Echo reported the Pink Floyd were ‘…four unpretentious, easygoing, and unaffected boys. Roger Waters, quiet and seemingly cultured, Syd Barrett, quiet and seemingly shy, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason.’ Waters said, ‘I suppose it’s odd, us being up here when we’ve got a big hit going. Still we’re staying up here a couple of nights. Be a break really. No, the hotel people don’t mind our clothes and hair. Think they’d be a bit disappointed if we didn’t turn up in fancy dress.’
Barrett sat on the heath outside with the reporter and said he ‘loved fairy tales and outrageous clothes, and believed in total freedom’. He said he ‘hated to impede or criticize others and hates others to impede or criticize [him].’ Syd stated he ‘didn’t care about money, and wasn’t worried about the future’. He told the interviewer he was ‘a gypsy at heart’ and enjoyed talking to people: ‘I find everyone has something of interest to say.’ Syd said he enjoyed listening to Bob Dylan, Donovan, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.
Then off to a gig at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom, where locals mixed uneasily with squaddies from the nearby RAF base. The band were billed on posters for the gig as ‘the group that brings its own lighting to set the scene oscillating and vibrating with way out sets!’ They played ‘See Emily Play’ under duress on the smallest stage they had yet played on. Roger Waters groused, ‘Terrible stage. We’re going to give up ballroom gigs. Conditions are so bad. We’d like to set up in a big tent, circus style, and take our show around the country.’
I met my wife (Pat Cook) in the 2 Red Shoes in Dec 1962 while serving at RNAS Lossiemouth – we’re still together almost 47 years later – she used to run for the Fochabers bus at kicking out time – I used to run for the camp bus. She used to get a lift into the 2 Red shoes with Alex Sutherland pianist ( Cliff ??) and one of her schoolgirl friends Aileen Kerr (?) used to sing with the band. Whatever happened to old Route 66 – Alex’s closing number as I recall.
Incidentally – the earlier query about Willie Sutherland – he used to perform often on Sunday nights in the PO Mess – I’ve still got a couple of his vinyl LPS’ upstairs somewhere.
Always remember the Girl singer at the “Boots” When she sang the Sandie Shaw Number ” Girl dont come” AS would always hit you with his one liner.” This is for girls under 16 years old!!!!!
Remember seeing the WHO at the Boots, also Lulu and the Luvers loads of times. Best one for me Johnnie Kidd and the Pirates at the Town Hall
The Two Red Shoes, known as the ‘Tackety Beets’ was a development built by Albert after promotions in the Drill Hall (Vince Eager, Duffy Power etc) and the Assembly Rooms Ballroom. I remember seeing the Beatles on that Thursday. They were introduced as a new upcoming band from London and the Beets was pretty empty. You could always buy ‘blue liners’ — the Navy issue cigarettes — on the cheap from HMS Fulmar boys. The Tower Hotel had no dance hall but was the under age drinking hostel — as noted above by another writer. All you had to do was take off your Elgin Academy tie. The blazer with badge was ok. Vodka and lime was the thirteen yr. old girls fav as I remember. ;.)
Ricky Bowden, a blast from the past, it’s nice to see someone else who remembers him, namely Robert Valentine.
I have been trying to contact Ricky for several years withouy success, I have some recordings of him. He lived in Dartford, Kent. He tried hard to get a hit recording, just one release, Alone to Cry, on HMV.
So, Robert, can you contact me and anyone else who can help Me?
The band that I was in played at the Two Red Shoes on September 16th, 1965 (see listing of “The Peasants”). My memories are of arriving late on a Friday from London to check in to the boarding house in Elgin and then going straight to Keith (I think) where we did our first gig. The following morning, we drove to Glasgow to play there, but I can’t remember what the ballroom was, although I think it was in the Gorbals. We then came back to Elgin and stayed until the following Saturday doing gigs. The Tuesday was at the Red Shoes and we also did Lossiemouth Airbase, although I can’t remember which night. I think we also did a gig at Banff, but it’s a long time ago. If anyone can fill in what those other gigs would have been, I would be grateful. I know we were told that it was a standard “mini tour”. On the second Saturday, we went to the Beach Ballroom at Aberdeen and then down to do the Cavern in Liverpool on the Sunday night. All in the back of a J4 van with all the gear stacked around us!!!
Maybe you played at the Barrowlands in Glasgow, and the dance nights at Lossiemouth naval airstation were on Thursdays and Sunday