Albert Bonici Promotions

BONICI and the BEAT SCENE which was exhibited at the Elgin Museum will return in 2018 unless otherwise stated.  Albert was an impresario (Italian impresa, meaning “an enterprise or undertaking” in every sense of the word. Though business dealings didn’t always go as smoothly as hoped, Mr. Bonici never lost his ambition and ability to create something new and enjoyable to introduce in the north of Scotland. As he liked attending dances with live entertainment besides the “2 i’s” cafe in Soho, London, his eventual occupation of bringing live entertainment to Scotland was a natural fit as much as creating a fun atmosphere in family run Park Café of Elgin.

Through his career, Albert Bonici sought to create innovative products and services in the north of Scotland and helped to create a happening. The Park Café [PC Holding Company] was a popular spot and remembered for vinyl sofas ( the red ones in 1950 were later replaced with blue vinyl), a juke box, fresh ice cream, coffee, and good eats besides the excitement when various musicians came through to meet with Bonici. The family sold their earlier café “The Savoy” and purchased the Park Café in 1946 [which had been an antique shop].  In 1960, after residents had moved into post war council flats from the small college house behind the café, Albert demolished the vacant properties to build a building that he called “Two Red Shoes Ballroom” [after a movie of the time]. The family owned the attached properties around the block [at the top of High Street, Elgin] and they lived and worked there as a team. Albert continued to utilize halls throughout the north of Scotland though he stopped booking nearby “Drill Hall” for dances.

Gathering material regarding the 1960’s music in the north of Scotland and the business dealing of entrepreneur Albert A Bonici, has been both inspirational and enlightening. The result of what began as one man’s ambition in the early 1950s, continues to delight and affect those who are old enough to remember those bygone days of music and dancing in Scotland’s Grampian region. Young adults and teens regularly congregated in the small dance halls scattered throughout Scotland in the early twentieth century though, thanks to Albert Bonici and staff of LCB Agency, big name bands began to perform on a regular basis in small towns and villages in places like Nairn, Forres, Buckie, and Elgin and as far east as the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen. Many who are old enough to remember, have mentioned that it was at one of Bonici’s dances or listening to the jukebox at the Park Café, when they started dating their spouses or met lifelong friends. As part of the live performance package Albert Bonici offered each week, there was free bus service to get young folk to various dance halls around the region. This enabled interaction between the small communities besides something to look forward to…

Inverness born Albert Bonici  began promoting music through “LCB Agency” after hosting a swing band lead by Ray Ellington. Albert was interested in promoting dances to north-east Scotland [Inverness to Aberdeen] in the late ’30s though didn’t realize his ambition until the ’50s.

mr bboniciaileen

Over the next 25 years, he brought in a variety of music and entertainment to Scotland featuring live music and disco nights each week. Besides the Two Red Shoes built behind the Park Café by family owned LCB Agency, Albert purchased the Ballerina Ballroom in Nairn, built the Acres Hotel, and worked with various managers in dance halls, including promoter Gordon Hardie of Aberdeen who did various tasks for the agency including presenting bands through the local dance hall known as “The Beach Ballroom”.  The agency was booking top acts music and entertainment act throughout the 1960s though the 1970’s saw a decline as the price of bookings emerging bands became economically less feasible. Below is the Agency’s flyer circa 1971:

LCB AgencyLCB entertainment

Vic Flett was Elgin's first dj and kept at it until opening a music store http://www.soundandvisionelgin.co.uk/#!about/c18b2

Vic Flett was Elgin’s first dj and kept at it until opening a music store http://www.soundandvisionelgin.co.uk/#!about/c18b2

LCB acts

Located behind the infamous Two Red Shoes Ballroom, where many of British band played on tour, was the Park Café which was somewhat fashioned after the 2i’s Coffee Bar where Albert liked to hang out when visiting London. https://musicstorytellers.wordpress.com/the-history-of-the-2i%E2%80%99s-coffee-bar/ The café originally purchased by Albert’s mother Angelina in 1946, and was decorated with Linoleum floors and Formica tables and had modern wall hangings besides a jutebox. It was the place to be for many young people besides a  meet up point for musicians to speak with Albert Bonici  about their tour itinerary besides a meal on the house after a local gig. The café offered good food and a lively atmosphere, and served freshly ground coffee, ice cream drinks, and a full range of concessions produced by the Bonici family and run by Albert’s wife Betty and his siblings.

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Copycats/My Dear Watson:

John Stewart of “Johnny And The Copycats”  a Buckie band managed by Albert Bonici, said he didn’t care for some of “the monkey suits Albert dressed them in for photo shoots as My Dear Watson* but he was a great man to work with. Albert was a genuinely good guy and a great innovator keen to embrace kids hope for the future.” Alluding to Mr. Bonici’s promotions operation, John intimated “If there was a proper was to do it, he did it” *NOTE: Albert was forced to choose a new name/identity for the group with a list of names issued by Dick James of EMI.

 

my dear watson

 

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About

My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. In the early 1950s, Albert Bonici began promoting dances though it had been an ambition since his teenage years. When he and Henry Robertson co-organized a string of jazz dances in the north Scotland, they could not have predicted the enormous success of the venture. Albert Bonici became one of the most respected promoters in the UK having arranged a high volumn of music venues throughout the north of Scotland which delighted music lovers during the height of the jazz and beat music era. Whilst known for booking the Beatles at the beginning of their 1963 tours, Albert Bonici brought most of the top British acts to north-east Scotland besides working with Scottish musicians to boost their careers. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and also a tribute to 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. Albert A Bonici hosted many up and coming bands who went on to gain international acclaim for their contributions. 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 SCOTBEAT.wordpress.com. 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 https://scotbeat.wordpress.com 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

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