CategoryLiverpool

Life was never going to be dull at Bailey`s Liverpool

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”

Brief pause

“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.

Revenge!

“You can always tell when a keyboard player comes from Hull………………..”

 ********

Stuart continued –

R Dean Taylor

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.

The Night Graham Peel waited and waited and waited for Margaret Thatcher at the Blackpool Locarno

The late great Graham Peel left us a wealth of stories here at Locarno Boy, and on the day of Margaret Thatcher`s funeral it seems fitting to tell the following story – which we have titled –

The night Graham Peel waited and waited and waited for Margaret Thatcher at the Blackpool Locarno.

Graham was one of the most successful and nomadic nightclub managers in the industry. Working in almost every town and city in the country, he dealt with issues ranging from the Krays holding court at Tottenham Royal as they collected their protection money from “clients” – attempting to run Liverpool Tiffany`s in the face of fanatical union pressure because he had sacked someone for stealing – and meeting and greeting Prince Charles and Lady Diana at Hammersmith Palais.

On this occasion he had been sent to manage Blackpool Locarno.

On arrival he introduced himself to the staff and read the private function sheets, one of which referred to a Conservative Party event, so in his inimitable and stoic style he rang the local party office about “a Conservative Party Dance”.

At this point he was subjected to the blistering response of ” A Conservative Party Dance……..THE Conservative Party Dance”.

And from thereon things moved apace. The building underwent a transformation as it was cleaned, polished, painted and adorned with spectacular displays of plants courtesy of the Blackpool Corporation Parks Department.

On the night, with everyone standing in their allocated positions, the Locarno waited in anticipation. The dance floor shimmered under the reflection of the cleanest effect lighting in any of the Locarnos.

The was band primed and ready to ensure that Mrs Thatcher`s favourite tune would greet her the instant she arrived.

Graham stood to attention at the front door, and eventually the phone call came to say that she had left her hotel.

It was as though the building itself gasped in anticipation as the band glided seamlessly into “Hello Dolly”.

But by the end of “Hello Dolly” there was no Mrs Thatcher. So the band played it again, while Graham hopped from foot to foot. Anxious faces peered along the road……. as the band played on and on.

Suddenly the entourage appeared, Mrs Thatcher and Denis were greeted and ushered into the building to the fourth or fifth rendition of “Hello Dolly” at which point everyone began to relax.

Specialist police officers had been brought over from Northern Ireland to assist with the security for the event, a number of which were on duty in and around the Locarno as result of activities by the IRA in other parts of the country.

However this caused something of a difficulty for the then Home Secretary William Whitelaw.

Whilst attending to the needs of nature he was spooked by a number of dinner suited Irish speaking males, which made him somehow lose concentration.

All of which resulted in his exit from the Stag Room with somewhat damp shoes.

Other than the Home Secretary`s damp shoes the night was a great success, and we are indebted to Graham for relating the story.

I wonder if those who had the pleasure of working with him have any doubts as to where he will be tonight!

Hl will be standing at the Pearly Gates with his band playing……

“Hello Dolly”

Ready to say “My name`s Graham. Do you remember that night at Blackpool Locarno?”

 

Mecca Dance Halls and Managers from Summer 1961

We thought you would like to see a list of the Mecca Dance Halls and Managers from Summer 1961.

Clearly there are many town and cities not mentioned – such as Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, and many many others, but perhaps there is a clue in the number of planned openings highlighted in the list below.

Basildon Locarno – Town Centre – Manager     M Green

Belfast Plaza – Chichester Street – Manager    D R Clark  – Phone Belfast 25294

Blackburn Locarno – St Peter Street – Manager B Gee – Phone Blakewater 85538

Bolton Palais – Bridge Street – Manager W. McLeish – Phone Bolton 1451

Bradford Locarno – Manningham Lane – Manager Alan Boyce     (Opening 9th September 1961)

Burnley Locarno  – Manchester Road – Manager  C Isherwood   (Formerly the Mechanic`s Institute)

Bury   Prince`s Ballroom – Bolton Street – Manager L Byron – Phone Bury 1705

Coventry Locarno – Smithford Way – Manager R Bloxham – Phone Coventry 24570

Derby Locarno – Babington Lane – Manager A Ferris – Phone Derby 41441

Edinburgh Palais – Fountainbridge – Manager G Knowles – Phone Fountainbridge 7427

Hull Locarno – Ferensway – Manager J Munro       ( Opening 16th September 1961)

Ilford Palais – High Road – Manager B Foster – Phone Ilford 3128

Leeds Locarno – County Arcade – Manager J Savile – Phone Leeds 31046/7

Leicester Palais – Humberstone Gate – Manager G Pickavant – Phone 69967

Liverpool Grafton Rooms – West Derby Road – Manager T Reid – Phone Anfield 3928

London Lyceum – Wellington Street, The Strand – Manager D Preedy – Phone Temple Bar 3715

London Carlton Rooms – 140 Maida Vale, W 9 – Manager J H Richardson – Phone Maida Vale 5289

London Empire Rooms – Tottenham Court Road – Manager C Self – Phone Euston 4173

Manchester Plaza – Oxford Road – Manager P Wild – Phone Central 7441

Newcastle upon Tyne  The Mayfair – (Planned for opening during October 1961)

Norwich  Sampson and Hercules Ballroom – Tombland – Manager R V Shackell – Phone Norwich 21541

Norwich Norwood Rooms – Aylsham Road – Manager G Barbour – Phone Norwich 46751

Nottingham Sherwood Rooms – Greyfriar Gate – Manager N F Kemp – Phone Nottingham 50555

Nottingham Locarno – St Anns Well Road – Manager G Lloyd – Phone Nottingham 44354

Rochdale Carlton – Great George Street –  – Manager E Mills – Phone Rochdale 3347

Sale Locarno – Washway Road – Manager J Goodings – Phone Sale 1508

Sale Embassy Rooms – Washway Road – Manager H Burnett – Phone Sale 7522

Sheffield Locarno – London Road – Manager M S Proctor – Phone Sheffield 22586

Stevenage Locarno – Manager B A Elmer-Smith   (Opening September/October 1961)

Wakefield Locarno – Southgate – Manager R Keith – Phone Wakefield 6515/6

Dusty Springfield – Friend and Role Model For Liverpool Stage School Juniors – Nothing down for Freddie Starr Though

The story of Dusty Springfield – Friend and Role Model For Liverpool Stage School Juniors – Nothing down for Freddie Starr Though – just shows how first impressions can last for a life-time –

 

Hilda Fallon is a Liverpool legend.

She devoted her life to running a stage school/road show to prepare Liverpool children for a life in the entertainment world, and it was was when the roadshow was appearing at the Liverpool Empire that the kids met Dusty Springfield.

The story was related to me many years later, by a lady who was around six or seven years old at the time. She thought the year they met her was probably 1966. Dusty was already sailing at the top of the music charts with “I Only Want to Be with You”, “Wishin` and Hopin`”, “I Just Don`t Know What to Do with Myself”, and “You Don`t Have to Say You Love Me”, and was adored by the nation.

Including the Hilda Fallon Roadshow.

So imagine their delight when Dusty stopped to talk to them; asking their names – how they were – admiring their outfits, and making them feel like superstars.

She wore a white patterned fur coat with large white buttons.

And all the girls vowed to buy exactly the same coat when they were famous.

They also saw a previous member of the Hilda Fallon Roadshow – Freddie Starr.

He too looked prosperous, in his snakeskin cowboy boots, and a high popularity on Mersyside, where he was an acquaintance of the Beatles, and budding recording star.

But he ignored the kids.

And none of the boys mentioned buying a pair of snakeskin boots when they were famous.

 

It is understood that Hilda took over the stage school/road show from her mother, and between them they trained Ken Dodd, Tom O`Connor, Les Dennis and a whole host of other successful entertainers.

 

 

Image from Wikipidia 

 

Baileys Liverpool was difficult!!!

Baileys Liverpool was difficult !!!

With all due respect to John I suspect that he and Stan were never really told how bad things really were .

I was working in Baileys Oldham shortly after Liverpool opened when the maintenance manager Peter Cheetham got a phone call asking if he had a spare piece of carpet to repair some damage in the ladies powder room . When we got there we were staggered to find that someone had cut out a perfect rectangle of carpet slap bang in the middle of the room along with the underlay !

It was obviously stolen to fit a bathroom because the culprit had also cut out the shapes for the toilet and wash hand basin !

I remember Paul Rigby having to virtually live on site because as well as stock disappearing when the club was open it was taken out wholesale during the day as well ! One of Paul’s favourite tales was how he pinned up a notice on the staff room wall stating ” Watch out there’s a thief about ! ” and when he went back an hour later someone had nicked the drawing pins !

The trouble was that the place was too big , we used to joke that it was the only club big enough to feature the ” Red Arrows ” in cabaret !

Of course a place that size had colossal overheads and with all the other problems it was doomed to failure from the word go .

 

Image from flicker.com

 

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