To celebrate Winston Churchill’s birthday [30 November], a variety show was staged in Lossiemouth Town Hall in 1963. Beatles fans Muriel Murdoch, Elsie Henry, May Souter, and Frances Trantor mimed three Beatles songs for two consecutive nights. May said that the audience “went berserk with a deafening noise” as they watched the girls perform She Loves You and Twist and Shout. She commented that an elderly woman believing she saw the Beatles said: “good of the Liverpool lads to come to Lossiemouth”. British beat music had come into it’s own and The Beatles were leading the charge…
As was the case with most jazz bands in the UK, the TRS houseband featured several female vocalists through the 1960s though the backup musicians were men. When Dusty Springfield sang ballads and folk songs with her brother at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom in 1961 and ’62, traditional jazz and “beat” music were already gaining popularity in the music industry though the BBC limited airplay catering to adult tastes. Fortunately, there was pirate radio besides Radio Luxembourg.
Two Red Shoes houseband, Alyson Armstrong, Alex. Sutherland, and Albert Bonici [far right]
Likewise, the emerging beat bands were predominantly male though there were a few girl groups as well as male/female bands on the go in the UK. The New Jacobeats, The Modells and the Mckinley Sisters from Glasgow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rhn6mx8s_k were amongst the popular groups in Scotland besides some of the soloist featured below.
Dusty Springfield was controversial in some circles as she was openly gay besides playing to mixed audiences when touring in South Africa http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/11931105.1964_1988__pop_in_protest/
Jeannie Lambe sang several times with the Alex. Sutherland sextet at the Two Red Shoes
Alyson Armstrong, recorded with the Two Red Shoes housebands and Terry Russell [vocalist on a Norco Records 7 inch] besides appearances on Aye Yours [Grampian Television 1964-5].
According to a newpaper journalist at the time, Alyson dated Rob Larson of the Copy Cats. “My mother, Alyson Sinclair (nee Armstrong)…met Rob Larson later, after the Two Red Shoes days, and they discussed the fact they’d been wrongly associated in this way. I think they found it amusing.” Rory Sinclair
When ’60s groups like the Ronettes and Supremes were getting radio play in the USA, there were some girl groups on the go in the UK though boy bands continued to dominate the beat scene.
Above: Shangra Las https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM9orBt3ZWY&list=PL407E816CAD591DE8
There were also dozens of female vocalists on the go doing gigs between London and Scotland besides many who were hired as house band vocalists. Albert Bonici took advantage of the available talent, hiring several young women to do long term gigs around the north of Scotland. His Two Red Shoes Ballroom [Elgin, Scotland] featured several talented vocalists who were backed by their popular house band through the 1960s. Singers below represent a variety of musical styles including pop, jazz, and folk…
Above: Marianne Faithfull began as a folk singer who had a troubled time during her early career. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2420327/Marianne-Faithfull-Red-Army-rapists-aborted-baby-hate-sex. Interview: html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR1QaQWwYQA
Whilst there were several popular British female vocalists including Dusty Springfield, Sandy Shaw, Lulu, and Marianne Faithfull , it was hard to get recognition unless fortunate enough to get airplay on BBC television or radio besides connections in London.