TWO RED SHOES Album was recorded in one day in 1964 [Aberdeen] with the Two Red Shoes house-band [Elgin] plus two guest musicians and vocalist Alyson Armstrong. Because the session was recorded at 33 and 1/2 rather than 33 and 1/3, the finished product isn’t as crisp as it could be though the band were professional and delivered an excellent set of tunes for Norco Records Ltd…
Above: Alex. Sutherland Band with Alyson Armstrong. Alyson, who was 18 at the time of the recording, had been part of the Alex. Sutherland Sextet for two years. After Jeannie Lambe, Netta Cowley served as vocalist followed by Aileen Mepham and Alyson Armstrong. Alyson was singing with her brother Frazer’s band, The Sabres, on a saterday afternoon when Alex. Sutherland happened to be in the audience. Alex approached her after the performance and asked if she would fill in with the houseband that evening as Aileen had laryngitis. She was then asked to join the Sextet and sang with the band which resulted in a couple of recordings including back up for singer Terry Russell. She also performed with the celebrated jazz band at the Jazz Fest in Kent. Ready For Love [Alyson Armstrong]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAugPpkxlSY
Update: Dave Matheson [drummer] past away at Dr. Gray’s Hospital, Elgin, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, David (Dave), aged 86 years: MORAY Jazz Club is staging a big band night in recognition of veteran Elgin drummer Dave Matheson’s contribution to music. Dave is highly regarded in Scotland’s jazz and swing circles. Locally he is best known as a former member of the resident Alex Sutherland Band at Elgin’s Two Red Shoes Ballroom His uncle, a pipe band drummer from Rothes, encouraged him as a youngster. Dave gravitated to swing while serving with the Fleet Air Arm in Plymouth. A posting to Lossiemouth saw him strike up a working relationship with Alex Sutherland. Dave helped put Elgin on the jazz map in 1963 when the Alex Sutherland Sextet finished second in the mainstream section of the British Amateur Jazz Championships in Richmond, Surrey. Others involved in the triumph were Frank Drake, bass, Cliff Hance on piano and sax player Ian Doughty. http://www.northern-scot.co.uk/Entertainment/A-tribute-night-for-Dave-6890.htm
https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/alex-sutherland-band/ Albert Bonici loved jazz bands and going to dances with wife Betty. This inspired him to bring dance bands to the North of Scotland and built The Two Red Shoes Ballroom on family owned property where small flats were demolished [part of the Little Cross buildings purchased in 1946]. The Elgin Gala Association supported the “Gala Opening And Carnival Night at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom. Dancing to the music of The Alex. Sutherland Sextet. Dancing to the music of The Alex. Sutherland Sextet” [28 July, 1960]. Note: Albert worked with the Elgin Gala Association the year before when he presented the first jazz festival in the north of Scotland besides other events.
Several popular jazz ensembles played at the Two Red Shoes https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/two-red-shoes-ballroom/, especially in ’60-’62 when the “beat” music movement was coming into vogue in Great Britain. Fortunately, Albert was able to employ several of the finest jazz musicians in Scotland with Alex. Sutherland at the helm at the Two Red Shoes besides other endeavours including a summer road show called 3’s Company https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/john-macdonald-musician-bonici-profile/ . There were several vocalists who performed with the Alex Sutherland Sextet, Jimmy Martin Band https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/come-dancing/ and the Graeme Nairn Set, the final incarnation of the Two Red Shoes house-bands https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/graeme-nairn-trs/. Jeannie Lambe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc-e8SR5M70 first played with the Sutherland house band in 1960 when the ballroom was new. The celebrated Anita Harris did a series of gigs at the Two Red Shoes beginning in March 1963, and Alyson Armstrong [featured above] came along in 1964. She was succeeded by others including Donna Douglas, Hylda Herd http://www.northern-scot.co.uk/Entertainment/Hyldie-revisits-the-Red-Shoes-5091.htm, Kathleen Ogg, and Kate Stewart. Jeanie Lambe helped kick off the Two Red Shoes dances on 28th of January 1960: “Gala Opening And Carnival Night of the Two Red Shoes Ballroom. Dancing to the music of The Alex. Sutherland Sextet with vocalist Jean Lambe” Jeanie sang several times with the Alex. Sutherland at the ballroom before moving to the London.
“Born 23 December 1940, Scotland. Lambe sang at the age of 17 with the Clyde Valley Stompers and then for many years she worked in the London area with a variety of bands including Kenny Ball, Chris Barber, Acker Bilk and Alex Welsh. Gradually, her fame spread, partly owing to appearances at many international jazz festivals where she often sang with small groups led by her husband Danny Moss. With him, she spent time in Australia, residing there at the start of the 90s but continuing to tour annually either in America or Europe. During her career Lambe has sung with modern and mainstream jazz musicians including Monty Alexander, Ben Webster, Budd Johnson, Oscar Peterson, Wild Bill Davison, Kenny Davern, Joe Pass and Buddy Tate. Over the years, Lambe’s voice has subtly darkened, adding greater texture to an already fluid musical instrument.” ~Rovi Anita Jeanie is also an actress, known for Thank Your Lucky Stars (1961) and Secret Army (1977).” She was married to Danny Moss from January 1964 until his death in May 2008, aged 80. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jeanie-lambe-mn0000232729/biography In the ’90’s Jeanie recorded with the Danny Moss Quartet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9lE5YXK1Qc&index=14&list=PLOHbztwAsUeC6b8i8IniGByf7nskrhXse
Harris followed Jeanie as a vocalist who performed at Two Red Shoes dance in a secession of talent singers. Anita Harris 1963 at: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/anita-harris/ Anita Harris – Cuddly Toy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcgrvGCNFgQ https://www.facebook.com/anitaharrispage/photos/a.281001085380223.1073741834.101143543365979/483041321842864/?type=1&theaterAnita Harris – Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1968) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6ykUgrG0eA videos – Anita Harris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDnvphd3eiI&list=PLuJeYs85MR8cQG47-TvMvfmrQ6ItN0reL Alyson Armstrong was lead vocalist for the TRS house-band when AA Bonici formed Norco Records and began recording Scottish musicians. It was Alyson Armstrong who had the distinction of being part of a session that was recorded for The Two Red Shoes Album in ’64. Here are a few of the tunes from the Alex. Sutherland Band, recorded in one day in Aberdeen, Scotland 24 OCT 1964 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuoSOsuvkiA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAugPpkxlSY
Side 1 features tunes composed by Alex Sutherland beginning with The Swinging Shoes and Ready for Love [performed by Alex Sutherland band with Alyson Armstrong
On Side 2 Alyson Armstrong also does a fine rendition of The Girl from Ipanema and Alex covers I Ain’t Gonna give Nobody None of My Jelly-Roll
Donna Douglas was one of many guest vocalist who performed with the Two Red Shoes house band. [circa 1963]
Northern-Scot / 4 August 1959: “Triumph for Elgin entry in first jazz festival The first annual Elgin Gala Association jazz festival and North of Scotland band championships, held in the Drill Hall on Wednesday, showed that there is a tremendous following for this medium in the area and altogether provided a memorable evening’s entertainment. It was really a gala night for the only local group competing, Alex Sutherland’s Par Four, for they captured no fewer than eight of the 13 trophies. Nine bands from an area stretching from Dingwall to Montrose took part, with a guest appearance by the Kenny Baker Quartet from London. Around 700 attended the festival, which was followed by a dance when all the bands “took a stint”. Alex Sutherland’s outfit was minus two regulars, Colin Milne (trumpet) and Bobby Henderson (sax), both of whom are on holiday and unavailable.” Though The Gleneagles Hotel Band was notable for being the earliest Scottish “house band” recorded [Decca Records] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfbAVZZJpPY, the Alex. Sutherland Band was one of the earliest records produced in Scotland as Albert Bonici used a recording studio in Aberdeen to record dozens of great Scottish musicians from 1964-1972. In 1964 other independent record companies began recording which included Grampian Records of Wick [James W. Johnston] featuring country numbers by Nancy Robertson http://www.7tt77.co.uk/GRAMPIAN.html; Matchbox (Contemporary Records) Edinburgh http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-liP-e76og0; JM Records [Murdie Wallace] with a single released in April ’64 (surprise, surprise) JM Records http://retrodundee.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=1964. Am glad to help celebrate 50 years anniversary of Norco Records, which incidentally finished it’s run with Windy Miller’s ON THE RISE . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXIFBn6DHpE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZQL2g-jtrA Ready For Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAugPpkxlSY&feature=youtu.be is the first selection from the TWO RED SHOES Album to be produced digitally, courtesy of John Ruggeri [nephew of producer, Albert A Bonici]. It is fitting in that the album was the first production of an independent record company in Scotland and that it was 50 years ago in September that it was produced for Norco Records in a one day session. Other selections from the library of Norco Records will be presented in future posts of SCOTBEAT for your interest and enjoyment. Thank your to Vic at http://www.soundandvisionelgin.co.uk/ for providing his copy of the album; to Rob Lawson of the Copycats http://www.whatson-north.co.uk/Whats-On/Music/CD-and-gigs-to-mark-Copycats-milestone-16072013.htm for producing the cd; and James Stewart of Elgin for digitizing some of the tunes presented. TWO RED SHOES Album  was, to my knowledge, the first album recorded courtesy Albert A Bonici with his newly formed company, Norco Records [Aberdeen, Scotland]. It was one of many vinyl recorded from the first independent record company in Scotland. Norco Records [part of LCB Agency] recorded Scottish singers and musicians following the Two Red Shoes album which featured the Alex. Sutherland Group with Alyson Armstrong. [Note: future TRS female singers also included Anita Harris, Aileen StClair, Nellie ? and Kate Stewart.] The final album from Norco Records was ON THE RISE featuring the Windy Miller band: “Album was recorded on a 4 track tape machine in the foyer of the Red Shoes. Reason for this was we discovered there was too much echo in the hall. The Norco label was already stopped when we recorded and Albert decided to resurrect the label just to release the album.” Kenny MacDonald [writer/composer for the album]. In August 1964, the Sutherland Sextet competed Richmond Jazz Festival and the National Jazz Finals in London and achieved second place. Albert Bonici knew that Alex Sutherland was a top notch musician/composer/director when he booked his band to record an album in Aberdeen 24 October. Many of the popular musicians north of Scotland had already been recorded in Aberdeen for Radio Scotland’s weekly program, “Come Thursday” [see notes at end of post]. Musicians would record on a Sunday and their music was presented the following Thursday. It is likely that Mr. Bonici booked the same studio on Forest Street where he founded NORCO RECORDS. It was the sextet who played four [sometimes five] nights a week in the Two Red Shoes. Two musicians from Aberdeen who played with the band from time to time were also included in this production. Alex. Sutherland worked for AA Bonici [1960-65] until he accepted a position as Musical Director for Grampian Television. ” In the autumn of 1965, Alex Sutherland left The Two Red Shoes to work in Aberdeen as musical director at Grampian TV. However, his original band continued to play at the Shoes over the next five years, led by Jimmy Martin.” Frank Drake Note: [1968-72, TRS houseband was led by Graham Nairn]” Albert was promoting and managing besides operating Norco Records and various business ventures. SUTHERLAND Peacefully, after a short illness, at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, on Wednesday, June 29, 2005, Alexander (Alex), ex Musical Director of Grampian Television. 05-Jul-2005 19:23 ceilidhmor “Alex died suddenly with several gigs scheduled – perhaps the wish of many working musicians. He was an excellent musical director, musician, multi instrumentalist, and ambassador for Scottish Music.” 05-Jul-2005 19:47 From the Grampian Television website: Tributes have been paid to one of the north east’s foremost and popular musicians. Alex Sutherland, Grampian TV’s former musical director, died after a short illness. He was seventy-three. http://www.footstompin.com/forum/1/17168/1 COME THURSDAY – Ben Lyons [1964 BBC radio/Glasgow] Here’s an interesting quote from Ben Lyons who worked for BBC radio, Glasgow with his program, Come Thursday:
Here’s a comment from a friend from a musician who knew Ben Lyons at the time he organized Come Thursday: “That was Ben alright…. They truly were great days for all of us and I well remember the “Come Thursday” recordings up at Queen Margaret Drive wi Dean Jeffries, Peggy O’Keefe trio etc. Ben Lyons, Val’s uncle, was a lovely man and very supportive to us in the early days as we learned our craft – I’m not sure if he is still with us – i did speak to him on the phone a few years back, and we had a laugh about the old days.” BEST jNR Other related posts: LCB Agency https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/norco-records/ Norco Records 50 Forest Road, Aberdeen https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/bonici-business-sense/ Windy Miller at https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/on-the-rise-windy-miller/, Graeme Nairn https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/graeme-nairn-interview-part-one/ and https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/graeme-nairn-trs/ https://bonici.wordpress.com/