Teenagers growing up in small communities in the north of Scotland during the 1960s were not lacking when it came to music thanks to Bonici and his associates. He brought in acts from around Great Britain to play in small towns and villages in the north of Scotland. In Elgin, in addition to the Two Red Shoes, Albert Bonici leased the Assembly Rooms and Elgin Town Hall for dances and special features. He also featured music venues at the Longmore Hall, Keith, Ballerina Ballroom, Nairn, and Fisherman’s Hall, Buckie on a regular basis throughout 1950’s – 70’s. His organization included bus service from Inverness, MacDuff, Huntly, Lossiemouth, Burghead, Kenloss, and Forres to and from the dances…
By June of 1964, Elgin’s Two Red Shoes had gained a reputation as a happening scene though Bonici was regularly booking bands in halls around north-east Scotland. The Beatles’ appearance 18 months earlier had made an impact on the small dance hall and several jazz and beat groups helped to forge it’s reputation throughout the’60s. The ballroom owner/promoter Albert Bonici was featuring local bands and signing groups to perform around Scotland through his London contact besides performing artists provided by Brian Epstein of Liverpool. The summer of ’64 was a “beat” summer in Elgin and surrounding towns with Assembly Hall and Two Red Shoes dances plus large concerts Bonici booked at Elgin Town Hall [besides large venues two hours down the road in Aberdeen].
1964 was a period of growth in post “Beatlemania” music industries. Several small record companies sprung up [see ] and Albert Bonici was determined to do his best recording various music artists in Scotland. With Norco Records, Johnny And The Copycats recorded a hit from ’58, “I’m A Hog For You Baby” and organized The Alex. Sutherland Band to meet up in Aberdeen for a one day recording of twelve songs used in The Two Red Shoes Album. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/two-red-shoes-album-2/
On Thursday, 7 Jan 1965, Two Red Shoes Ballroom sponsored a “Special Teenage Dance… Beat Away The New Year’s Blues” one of several designed to capitalize on young fans of “beat” music it continued to grow in popularity with British beat bands coming of age.
Between 1964-66, several young musicians would play in Elgin, Moray and small towns in Scotland as their built a following with young audiences that often extended beyond the shores of the UK. Albert Bonici brought the Rolling Stones to Aberdeen for a “pop package” performance in May’64 along with several other groups https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/rolling-stone-1664/; The Kinks played with The Copycats 20Oct64 in Elgin Town Hall https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/you-really-got-me/ Copycat clippings: http://www.delgin.co.uk/cats/memorabilia.html; and The Moody Blues performed 11Feb65 in the Two Red Shoes https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/moody-blues-circa-1965/. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/scottish-tours-6465/
16 was old enough to attend the dance halls around Scotland and the age most finished high school. Though many of the music venues featuring special guests were on a Thursday night, Bonici could often fill a hall with a well placed advert. The Two Red Shoes was open for business January through December and provided great memories for those who came for entertainment and to hang out with friends. Some would hit the taverns before a show though many would stop at the Park Cafe next door for an ice cream or a walk in the park. Summers in the otherwise quiet community were likewise filled with entertainment after a day of labour or study for young people in the 1960s.
According to newspaper adverts, here are some highlights of summer line ups in Elgin ’64-’66. Note: there were occasional cancelations though managers were expected to be reliable when setting up bookings. Abbreviations: [TRS] Two Red Shoes [ETH] Elgin Town Hall
-summer 1964- 28May [TRS] Johnny Anger and The Wild Ones
4 Jun [TRS] Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B8k3wzHUvE
18Jun Lulu And The Luvvers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HhS2E6VXy8 plus The Puppetshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwVKphI_bQI
Jun 25 TRS “Another Mod Be In” featuring The Animals https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/eric-burdon-and-the-animals/
9Jul [ETH] The Hollies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32VWELcZUMM
Jul 30 Johnny And The Copycats https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/the-copycats/
13Aug [TRS] Neil Landon And The Burnettes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRV8BlGvOR8&list=PL8DXd_T093ZFNuhH2ww_2U7240GaDVPVM
Aug 20 Robb Storme & The Whispers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s41fofmtPu4
10Sep Malcolm Clarke And The Cresters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxXYMZknKaA
6May [TRS] “I Can’t Explain” Group The Who http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3h–K5928M
27May[TRS] The Searchers https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/meet-the-searchers/ plus The Rats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGFKH43QYWI
3Jun The Measles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mucP7f5gdME
24Jun [TRS] The Four Pennies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcHAi9xISzw
Jul 15 TRS “Night Of The Beat People”
-summer 1966- 26May [ETH] Freddy and The Dreamers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So9gS4LGwF8 16 Jun [TRS] The Mindbenders and The Drovers 2Jun [ETH] Small Faces https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/small-faces-1966/ 7July [ETH] The Yardbirds https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/yardbirds-1966/ http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/jul1966.htm 4 Aug [TRS] The Overlanders http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9jVo2UZDsA and The Copycats