Music notes from Buckie

1957 Rock and Roll – “The Buckie Labour Party ‘Rock and Roll’ dance, which they held in Cullen Town Hall, paid off despite all the conditions laid down. The sum of £44 net being realised. This was the largest sum raised from any function since 1893 and as such they intend to run another one, whether they will bother with another. ‘Rock and Roll’ demonstration remains to be seen.”
In 1957, the local record shop [Smith Records] were promoting Skiffle groups though Elvis and Little Richard were popular with their brand of rock-n-roll which wasn’t as welcome among the older generation at the time.
“July 11 “Skiffle Group – The Buckie Skiffle Group, ’The Saints’ earned praise at the third heat in the Macduff ‘Top Town’ variety contest on Sunday.
Skiffle Group – The ‘Sinners’ were judged to be the winners in a skiffle
competition held in the Bishopmill Hall in Elgin last week. The members of the
‘Sinners’ group are leader Innes Sinclair, Bert Thomson, Alex Stewart, Sandy
Pirie, David Wood, with Charlie McKay on drums. Pirie, Wood and Stewart are from Portknockie with McKay, Sinclair and Thomson being from Buckie.
Sep 5 Skiffle Group – The ‘Sinners’ were judged to be the winners in a skiffle
competition held in the Bishopmill Hall in Elgin last week. The members of the
‘Sinners’ group are leader Innes Sinclair, Bert Thomson, Alex Stewart, Sandy
Pirie, David Wood, with Charlie McKay on drums.
Pirie, Wood and Stewart are from Portknockie with McKay, Sinclair and Thomson
being from Buckie.” Fast forward five years and we see the emergence of “beat” music among the teenagers of the time.

Dec 27 1962 “Modern Dancing Enterprises presents the boys of ‘Love Me Do’ fame “The Beatles” in a Special New Year’s Dance in the Longmore Hall, Keith on Wednesday 2 January 1963 from 9pm until 1am. Tickets cost 5/- A bus will leave Buckie at 8pm going via the coast to Cullen and Deskford, another bus will run from Huntly via Dufftown”.

Some of the concerts were changed last minute and most famously was when The Beatles began touring. This would have been the beginning of a series of tours The Beatles did around the UK in 1963. Unfortunately, it was one of the worst winters in the north of Scotland and difficult getting around on the frozen roads besides those blocked with snow. Bill Cameron of the Copycats said that he was told “that lot” [The Beatles] weren’t going to show up and their band played the New Year’s dance without the Liverpool group. However, The Beatles did their first performance at the Two Red Shoes, Elgin Morayshire on the following evening [Jan 3rd] and shared a bill with The Copycats the following year on Apr 29/30th.

1963 was the year that Albert Bonici began managing and promoting Johnny and The Copycats besides other young Scottish musicians. Here’s an article complaining that the Copycats were more popular than football…

Johnny and The Copcats were getting more attention than Buckie's local football team and besides coming in second in a new music competition.

Johnny and The Copcats were getting more attention than Buckie’s local football team and besides coming in second in a new music competition.

Here’s a look back at the music scene 1963 around Morayshire, Scotland from Buckie’s local newspaper.

Jan 24 Johnny and the Copycats are to be playing in the Fishermen’s Hall on Saturday.img426

Johnny Stewart

Mar 21 Johnny and the Copycats – A photograph of the local pop group is shown on the front page .
The players are – Ali Ewen, Bill Cameron, Johnny Stewart, Robert Lawson and Ian Lyon.
The group is sponsored by Buckie Round table and is to play in Aberdeen at the Beach Ballroom on Sunday.
Coming attractions at the Two Red Shoes, Elgin – Modern Dancing Enterprises
have arranged for the following groups to play at their dances in the coming weeks –
Jimmy Crawford and the Messenger with Jeannie Lamb; GTV Teen Beat Show Band and
Alan Elsdon Jazz Band. All the dances to take place on Thursday evenings.
Dance band groups and venues – The dancers in the Two Red Shoes ballroom in
Elgin on Thursdays will have the opportunity to listen to the following bands play
during the next few weeks – Jimmy Crawford and The Messengers; Alex Walsh Welsh
Jazz Band; Mike Sagar and the Cresters.
In Buckie on Saturday nights the following bands have been booked to play – Tony King and the Monarchs;
with two bands playing one night – the Johnny Douglas Combo and Mike Sagar and the Cresters.
Mike Sagar and the Cresters are to play in the Cullen Town Hall this Friday April 26.
The Karl Denver Show is to take place in the Town Hall, Elgin. Among the bands who
will be performing will be the Karl Denver Trio and many others.
All the above bands have been organised by the promoters – Modern Dancing Enterprises [MDE was a Bonici enterprise]
The other promoters – North East Dances are running dances in Keith and Huntly.
In Keith this coming week Ivan Jay and the Jaycats will provide the music in the Longmore Hall
while in the Stewart Hall, Huntly the bands will be Bert Duff and his Dynamic Sounds and The Rosettes.
Three bands to play at the Round Table dance on May 29 – Photographs of the three are shown on page 8 –
The proceeds from the dance are to go towards the Freedom From Hunger Appeal.
The three bands are – El Cid and the Commancheros; The New Apaches and Johnny and the Copycats
[Note: Johnny Stewart left The Apaches to become part of the Copycats].
The Apaches after a nine month lay-off are now back in harness. There are three new faces in the group,
the drummer and two vocalists. Their intention is to become true professionals and the Wednesday night dance
is their first public appearance since their come back. Some changes have been made.
The origin Apache leader, Douglas McLennan is now lead guitar and in his old job as rhythm guitarist is John Rennie.
Taking over where John left off is Billy McKenzie. Drummer, Les Nicholson is a new member but has lots
of experience with other groups, The other newcomers are singers – Ken Lawson and Margaret Riddoch.
New band – Mike Berry and Innocents will be playing at a dance in the Two Red Shoes,
Elgin on Thursday and in the Fishermen’s Hall on Saturday night. Admittance to the dance on Saturday will be a costly 6/-
while at the Red Shoes it will be 6/6 but for a much longer dance 1am instead of 11.45pm.
Jun 6 Freedom From Hunger – A table on the first page shows the contributors. The figure collected as of this date is £760.6.10
Dances and bands – Playing in the Cullen Town Hall on Friday night will be Ian Armour’s Modernaires.
In the Craigellachie Public Hall, GTV star Dave McIntosh will be singing along with Jack Sinclair’s Band.
The International Irish Monarchs Showband will be in the Two Red Shoes on Thursday of this week.
All the above have been arranged by Modern Dancing Enterprises.
Modern Dancing Enterprises – Red Shoes/ Fishermen’s Hall and Cullen Town Hall –
Bands and Groups advertised this week as booked to play – Red Shoes –Johnny and Mike and The Shades,
The Barron Knights, Duke De’ Monde with Eden Kane’s Brother – Wes Sands and the Leroys.
On Thursday 27 – Don Charles with the Irish International Monarchs Band. Some weeks more than one band played.
In the Fishermen’s Hall on Saturday 15 music will be supplied by the Teen Beat Showband,
featuring Sheila Mitchell, Johnny Hudson, Andy Tally and Tony Vincent.
Saturday 22 The Avengers Showband will play while a week after the new Apaches will provide the music.
In the Town Hall Cullen on Friday 21 June dancers can listen to two bands –
Johnny and the Copycats and The New Midnighters.
Friday 28 June in Cullen will be a special late, late Nite Rock Rave with three bands –
El Cid and The Commancheros, The New Apaches and The New Midnighters.
Six hours of non stop dancing from 9pm until 3 am. Admittance 6/-
Yours for Dancing – still the old advert continues – A dance will take place within the Fishermen’s Hall
on Monday 24 June from 8.30 till 1am. Music by Alex Sutherland and his Sextet. Admission 4/6.
Refreshments – Usual buses.

July 18
For dancers at Huntly – The promoters, north-east Dances have engaged Garry
Vegar and the Facets to play at their dance in the Stewart Hall, Huntly.
Jly 25 Still more musical groups – Thursday evening dances are continuing in the Two Red
Shoes dance hall in Elgin. Rocking Henry and the Hayseeds will play this coming week
with Neil Landon and the Burnettes the week after. The following week singer Jill
Graham will be appearing.
On Monday night in the Fishermen’s Hall, Buckie, dancers can listen and dance to the
Easybeat Stars – Neil Landon and the Burnettes while the Monday after the New
Apaches will provide the music.
Over in Cullen Town Hall Johnny Carson and the Phantoms is ‘dish of the day’.
Aug 8 NorthEast Dances (promoters) – the following groups are to be appearing in Keith –
Tommy Dene and the Tremors, Sandy and the Sandstormers with vocalist – Liz Leslie
Aug 15 New band at the Two Red Shoes- Tony Holland and the Packabeets with
Ronnie Hall as vocalist.
Two bands are to play in the Craigellachie Public Hall. Malcolm Clark and The Cresters
and Syd Green’s Beat Trio.
There will also be two bands at Cullen on Friday when Freddy and the Sabres and the
Copy Cats will play.
The New Apaches will play in the Fishermen’s Hall on Monday night.
Sep 5 Yours For Dancing – The Fishermen’s Hall, on Monday 9 September. Music by Alex
Sutherland and his Sextet. Admission 4/6. Refreshments. Usual buses.
Sep 14 The Two Red Shoes – The bands to play over the next three Thursdays are – The
Fabulous Checkmates; Jimmy Justine and The Nashville Teens. The same bands were
booked to play at Cullen and Buckie on different nights.
Sept 19 Come Dancing- Buckie Rovers F.C. invite you to a dance in the Town House Hall on
Wednesday 2 October from 8.30 till 1am. Music by Bill Geddes’s Band. Admittance 3/-
Spot Dances and Refreshments. (We weren’t told if the dance was a success or not,
or how many couples were present. This was the first dance in the Town House Hall
for a long time. It did seem odd that the Rovers should have Bill Geddes to play
when beat groups were the in thing.)
North East Dances (Promoters) The following groups were to play at Huntly.
Barry Wayne and The Strangers; Sandy and the Sandstormers with Liz Leslie; Jerry and
the Sunsets (Aberdeen’s Youngest Show Band Group).
(a double attraction). On Friday 16 music will be supplied by Frank and the Strollers.
Oct 3 New dance band names this week – The Caravelles plus Ben Richmond, Sons of
the Piltdown Man plus Gary and Lee, Eddie Lepard and the Leopards. All to appear at
the Two Red Shoes over the next week or so.
£2000 Beat Band Contest will take place in the Town Hall, Elgin . Bands who aim to
compete are – Johnny and The Copycats; Eddie Lepard and The Leopards, The New
Apaches, The Tornadoes, The Wildcats, The Electrons plus Huston Wells and the
Marksmen and the Alexander Sutherland Sextet.
The American pop star, Tommy Rob is to appear at the Two Red Shoes
Music at Huntly for dancing is to be supplied by Bobby Dean and the Dynamos.
Oct 10 They came first – Johnny and The Copycats were winners of the first heat in the
£2000 Beat Band contest held in Elgin. They now go on to Hamilton to compete in the
final. The members of the group, a picture which appears in this edition , are Ian
Lyon, Johnny Stewart, Ali. Ewen, Robb Lawson and Billy Cameron.
The group were popular winners especially with the girls, many of whom were carried
away by Johnny Stewart with all his gimmicks his brown jersey, his lenseless specs
and stringless fiddle. One girl said, “Johnny just makes me want to scream.”
New Police Inspector – The new inspector who will replace Frank Anderson at
Buckie is to be Sgt. George Watt who is meantime at Turriff.
Oct 17 New bands to play at different venues as advertised this week – At the Two Red
Shoes, Elgin – Alex Har-very Big Soul Band with Miss Donna Douglas.
In the Town Hall, Cullen – Ian Crawford and the Boomerangs
In the Public Hall Craigellachie – Donna Douglas plus Gary Vager and The Facelles and
Johnny and The CopyCats. Oct 24 Dancers get good value for their money – Three bands will play in the Stewart Hall
Huntly – Jerry and The Sunsets; Johnny Carson and the Sound Phantoms and Sandy
and the Sandstormers. With Liz Leslie. Free buses from Buckie, Banff, Elgin and
Inverurie Admission 5/- (North East Dances – promoters)
Modern Dancing Enterprises have engaged the following to appear at the Two Red
Shoes – The Royal Crests on 7 November and The Druids on Thursday 14 November.
The Boomerangs will play in the Town Hall, Elgin, while in the Town Hall, Cullen on
Friday 25 November dancers will have the opportunity to dance and listen to the
Flaming Red Jaguars.
On Saturday, 26 November, The group , The Seven Sinners from Glasgow will play. Oct 31
Sunday dancing – Dancers may care to note that Sunday dancing is shortly to
commence in the Town Hall, Elgin. Free buses are to run from Buckie. Keith and
Another new group- Ricky Bowden and the Unit 4 are to be appearing at the Two
Red Shoes Nov 7 Less dances being advertised, no Modern Dancing Enterprises in this edition.
At Huntly dancers will be able to listen and dance to the music supplied by Frankie and
the Strollers
The age old advert – ‘Yours For Dancing’ is still there with Alex Sutherland and his
Sextet supplying the music on Monday evening 11 November.
Nov 14 Modern Dancing Enterprises – The bands lined up to play at the Two Red Shoes
ballroom in Elgin over the next few Thursdays are Druids, The Copycats and Mike
Cadillac and the Playboys.
In the Fishermen’s Hall, Buckie , dancers on Saturday 16 November will hear Johnny
Hudson and the Teen Beats, while over in the Cullen Town Hall of Friday 22 November
Tony Holland and the Packabeets will be performing.
Nov 21 Another new band – Dancers at Cullen will have the opportunity to listen to yet
another new group – The Royal Teens.
Disappeared – The dance promoters – North East Dances who ran dances in Keith,
Huntly and Craigellachie for a long time appeared to have disappeared from the scene
with their advert not being seen for a long time.
Dec 5 Johnny and the Copycats were runners up in the British Beat Championships in
London on Saturday night – a quite outstanding achievement. They were competing
against 8 top bands drawn from all over the British Isles in the final of the £2000
contest and came second to the winners, a Yorkshire Group known as the Ex
Excaliburs with Hayley and won a prize of £750. £250 of musical instruments and a
£500 recording contract. The final of the £200 contest took place in the Granada,
Tooting.Sunday night dancing will start in the Town Hall, Elgin on Sunday 15 December.
Patrons will hear music played by Malcolm Clarke and the Cresters plus Johnny and the
Two Red Shoes – Playing on Thursday December 12 will be Shane Fenton and the
Fentons, on December it will be Tony Sheverton and the Chevelles.

Known for first to book the Beatles on tour, Albert Bonici booked shows from Nairn to Aberdeen on a regular basis throughout the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s though provided entertainment with the Beatles Shows in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee [working with Dundee promoters Gordon Hardie and  Andy Lothian Jr]. He didn’t secure the Beatles for a return to Aberdeen, as they didn’t have trouble finding gigs under Brian Epstein and George Martin’s guidance in 1963 and ’64 when the band toured Scotland. It was okay for fans in north-east Scotland who were offered free bus service [besides the chance to win free tickets at other dances]dances1


My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. With a fascination for the beat music era that took place throughout the UK, my research investigates the late '50s through early 1970s. Relying on interviews, the Albert Bonici archives, and other resources, I continue to gather materials to tell the story of a special time in music in the mid 20th century. Scottish promoter, Albert Bonici, brought many of the top beat music acts to Scotland which delighted music lovers during the early days of the beat music era. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and remembers the contributions of promoter, Albert Bonici, a man with a vision who, with the help of his family and staff, created a happening that is still fondly remembered by those who attended dances and concerts. Besides other local resources and interviews, SCOTBEAT presents exclusive photos, adverts, and documents from the A Bonici Archives [circa 1960s]. Unless otherwise agreed, materials are not to be used for financial gain and ask that you respect the terms below. Materials presented are not to be used for financial gain without consent. © 2014-2019 All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be copied, redistributed, broadcast or published in any form without crediting this blog and/or copyright websites mentioned. All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives are not to appear in print other than through the propietor of SCOTBEAT. Use of the site signifies your agreement to all of these terms without condition. Please reference when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you.

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Posted in 1960's pop music
5 comments on “Music notes from Buckie
  1. Gordon says:

    Just discovered your blog – fascinating stuff. I went on your Facebook page and saw that you were asking about the photo of the 5 piece band. They were the Phantoms from Buckie. I used to watch them practice in the shed next to Emil’s snooker hall in the early 60s. I believe Emil took them to Poland on tour one year.

    • scotbeat says:

      Gordon, thanks for the impute.. Albert Bonici’s nephew found newspaper clippings relating to my research and identify the Phantoms but I haven’t had a chance to compare the photo you mentioned. The next two months I will be working on the museum exhibit and do appreciate feedback!

    • scotbeat says:

      You may be refering to 1966 when The Phantoms recorded in Poland. Update 2017: Bill Cameron tells me that he and another Copycat have formed a new group including an original member of The Phantoms who recorded the Hollies “You Must Believe Me” and Small Faces “Hey Girl” whilst touring Poland in ’66.

  2. Malcolm Strachan says:

    Very interseting site sir.
    When does the exhibition begin at Elgin Museum.
    I was a member of The Playboys from Aberdeen who used be booked by Gordon Hardie, Albert Bonici and Andy Lothian among others.
    Good luck with the site.

    • scotbeat says:

      Malcolm. Thanking you for the comment – the six month exhibit at Elgin Museum starts 26 March 2016. Also, Playboys short bio and/or antedote w. photos flyers to would be appreciated. Btw, it was great speaking with Gordon Hardie several years back… he was fun to hang out with and had lots of interesting recollections with musicians and vocalists. Mr. Bonici ran an excellent operation and Gordon did a lot of leg work with the rest of the staff…

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