Stuart Edwards quickly discovered that life was never going to be dull at Bailey`s Liverpool.
Preparation for the opening of Baileys Liverpool began at the Hull club during January 1974. Stuart was appointed General Manager. Jeff Marshall became Bar`s Manager; ten potential trainee managers were appointed, one of which was the inimitable Graham White, who eventually went on to manage Bailey`s Watford.
During the second week in February the team crossed the Pennines and began working at the Liverpool club.
Mike Payne organised accommodation for the management. He was friends with Jack Ferguson. One of the Holiday Inn executives. Stuart took a number of former Hull staff with him. They were allowed four weeks stay in bed and breakfast accommodation, then had to fend for themselves, while management enjoyed ten weeks at the Holiday Inn.
Part of the manager`s package was use of the “Bailey`s liveried” company car, and a company house.
At this point in our conversation Stuart grinned and switched to anecdotal mode.
He remembered The Peddlers topping the bill at Bailey`s Liverpool. They had good album sales. Had previously toured America with Frank Sinatra, and had similarities to the very popular Emerson Lake and Palmer. Consequently they attracted a huge following, but perhaps had something to learn about the dangers of ill conceived announcements to the audience.
So when the keyboard player decided that it would be hilarious to announce –
“You can always tell when the manager comes Hull”
“Because he always smells of fish” –
The Hull staff decided it was time to start a collection.
The insults increased as the week went along – as did the collection.
The Peddlers show began in complete blackout, followed by a wall of sound and flood of lighting.
But not on the Saturday night.
The blackout went well.
The wall of sound quickly came and went.
And so did The Peddlers – straight off the stage.
The key board player had suddenly realised he was not alone.
A huge dead fish lay across his keyboard – complete with tail, head, any staring eyes.
“You can always tell when a keyboard player comes from Hull………………..”
Stuart continued –
During the final week of the R Dean Taylor tour, it became apparent that his South American tour manager had severe racists tendencies. Evidenced by his cruel racist comments towards black staff members; some of which came from Hull.
R Dean had wowed audiences throughout the week, and looked forward to end of tour party at the Holiday Inn, so a plot was hatched when he confided to the staff that the man had been “a pain” all week,
Unbeknown to the tour manager he was the subject of much plotting, giggling and scheming. His racist comments and attitude increased, to which his victims merely responded with stoic smiles. He too looked forward to the end of tour party at the Holiday Inn.
Saturday eventually came along, and the hapless tour manager was greeted by a cheerful smiling faces. The same ones he had abused and insulted throughout the week, including some of the Hull staff.
And the same faces continued to smile as they threw him full clothed into the swimming pool.
Of course those faces had now stopped.
They were roaring with laughter, with note more enthusiastic than R Dean Taylor.
“Hell hath no fury like a Hull guy scorned ???”
Now to Stuart`s final Bailey`s story –
Jimmy Ruffin toured the Bailey clubs when his re-released single “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” went to number two in the charts during 1974. Audiences loved him. Cabaret club owners adored him – but some managers had other views.
Fifteen hundred people went to watch him on the Tuesday night of his week at Bailey`s Liverpool. The majority of which were avid female fans.
His show was exceptional.
Such was the audience response that he “faked” five false tabs. By this time door staff were having difficulty holding back more than 1000 enthusiastic females, at which point Stuart demanded “enough – stop now”.
And off stormed an angry Jimmy Ruffin. Straight to the dressing room to cool down.
On the Wednesday morning he was booked to go to London to record Top of the Pops. Clearly this was an opportunity to further enhance his revived stature and appeal.
The show was to be televised the following night, Thursday.
But he never made to London, or to the Bailey`s stage for the rest of the week.
We went straight back to America.
So for the remainder of the week compère Bob Ellis had to announce –
“Due to circumstances beyond our control Jimmy Ruffin will not be appearing tonight.”
As for Jimmy Ruffin`s disappearance
Rumours quickly circulated regarding a heavy drinking session with Graham White`s brother in law and a certain entertainer with black and very swollen eyes.
As for the truth – Stuart never had the opportunity to hear Jimmy`s side of the story.
Stuart detected a fall-out between Bailey executives Ian Young and Ray Copeland, brought on by what he interpreted as a power struggle, and left the company in August 1974.
Jeff Marshall left three months later.