On 1st November 2013, Dave Bartram had his first solo event since leaving Showaddywaddy, at ‘Upstairs at The Western’, a small venue above a pub in Leicester, funnily enough called The Western.
70 tickets were available and the evening quickly sold out.
I travelled down to Leicester from Wakefield, a journey that should have taken 1h 45 mins, maybe less with the it being half term. The drive down took 3h 45 mins and I got there at 8.00pm. Dave was due on at 8.00pm but luckily the start was delayed for a short time, and I later found I was not alone in being stuck in traffic. It later transpired that people had travelled from far and wide – Bristol and Kent as well as Chesterfield and Lincoln.
Upon arrival, the pub was heaving, and Dave’s wife Cathy was there in support, as well as his daughter Holly.
A pint was ordered and the Upstairs opened – a very small with a small stage set up with two chairs, a buffet and a couple of mics – an indication that Dave would in fact be performing a couple of songs after all.
Dave was introduced onto the stage and played his first song. A nice surprise, as the song was “Smiling Eyes’, a song from the 1975 Step Two album, and never performed live in the band’s history. The song was written by Dave, but sung by Bill Gask on the album.
The compere then interviewed Dave in a ‘chat show’ type format, where Dave told us about his upbringing, life at school, getting a job at Post Office Telephones (and doing rather well), only to leave to go into the music industry, a decision to be met with disdain by his bosses – “You ******* idiot Bartram!” Followed by experiences in Showaddywaddy, New Faces, touring, Top Of The Pops etc.
Three Steps To Heaven followed, as well as a question and answer session with the audience, in which Dave answered questions about the best musician he’d worked with (“Romeo Challenger”), can you sing ‘Win Your Heart’ (“I’ve forgotten it!”), what was ‘Then Came You’ about (“a model I was in a relationship with”).
I asked Dave a question too – I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here starts on TV again shortly, and Dave’s name has been put forward for it a couple of times in recent years. Dave told us that he’d got down to the final 20 one year. The question was how he would do in the ‘Bushtucker eating trial’, especially if he his camp mates were hungry and he needed lots of stars – the answer to which was “none of it would be a problem!”
An acoustic version of “Hey Rock And Roll” was played as an encore, and afterwards Dave said he would be having a couple of pints downstairs, and he mingled and chatted with everyone over a pint or three and posed for lots of photos.
Overall the night was a great success, and all being well there will be another one next year when his new book is released, and if this does indeed take place it will probably be the last event of this type.
Incidentally, it was good for me to put faces to familiar names on the night, of people I’ve been in touch with over the years by running the web-site. Nice to see you all!
As many people will know, Daves’s book, “The Boys Of Summer” (now published by Fantom Films), was originally going to be published by Hirst Publishing under the title “Summertime Blues”.
However, after hundreds of fans sending payment for the original book (from Hirst Publishing), and Dave being messed around by the publisher (Tim Hirst), the relationship between them ceased and the book was pulled.
Some fans got refunds, but many didn’t and seemingly Tim Hirst has had it away with many people’s money.
Showaddywaddy fans are not the only ones to have been fleeced by Hirst. There is a rather long thread here with other similar complaints:
And also here:
To get an idea of numbers of people still awaiting refunds for “Summertime Blues”, please comment below.
There was a suggestion of collective action that might be able to be taken. I will find the details and edit this post during the week.
Update 27th June 2013:
I received an email from Dave a few weeks ago which I don’t think I got chance to add to the old Showaddywaddy.net before I revamped it. Anyway here it is:
I know this is all extra cost and that many of the guys who ordered the book are not made of money, but surely in the fullness of time it won’t have cost them anything, as Hirst will be forced to respond. If anyone requires further advice I’ll be only too pleased to help.”
So ultimately, if a number of fans can get together and one person can lead, then this should result in Tim being forced to refund.
I’ve created an iTunes playlist of my favourite SWW songs to play in the car etc – see if you agree – what would you add or delete?
- Sweet Music
- Tell Laura I Love Her
- Runaround Sue
- Find My Baby For Me
- Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts (Showaddywaddyshow audio)
- Book Of Love
- Pretty Little Angel Eyes
- Old Habits Die Hard
- ’68 Teenage Queen
- Somethin’ Else
- Maybe Maybe Maybe
- Johnny Remember Me
- Glory Woman
- Big Big Star
- Chain Gang
- Rocker Boots
- Everybody On Your Feet
- Lookin’ Back
- You Will Lose Your Love Tomorrow
- Lucy Jane
- I’m Yours
- Really Going Out Of My Mind
- I Wish That I Could Undo All The Bad That I Have Done
- I Want You To Be My Girl
- Love For A Star
- Only Love
- I’ll Never Get Over You
- Blue Moon
- Doo Wah Diddy
- Then Came You
- It’s Only Make Believe
- A Night At Daddy Gees
- Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller
- Just A County Boy
- That’s Alright With Me
- I Appreciate The Job
- Remember Then
- Gypsy Rose Lee
- Good Timing
- You Always Stand Me Up
SWW fan Steve Thorpe, who was a major driving force behind the box set project, approached Dave Bartram who found a number of tapes in his collection, and after listening to them for the first time in many years, it was deemed they were of good enough quality to put on the CD – ie the quality of actual tapes had not deteriorated.
After being put through the remastering process by Alchemy they came out sounding as good as new.
There was one discovered recording that unfortunately did not find its way onto the box set, an early version (mid-80s) of “Out On The Town”, this was due to it not being considered of good enough quality to be put out on the set.
But we are lucky to have included “Mona Lisa”, a 1981 version with Dave on lead vocals, never heard by the public until 2013. This track was released by Showaddywaddy in 1983 on the “Living Legends” LP, with Buddy Gask on lead vocals, and without the drum intro by Romeo. In fact, Malcolm Allured played drums on the 1983 release.
“Pretty Little One”, also a 1981 demo, is included, and eagle-eared listeners will notice its similarity to the ‘Living Legends’ track “Hey Little Girl”. (Incidentally, “Hey Little Girl” has got to be one of the worst SWW tracks!)
“Under The Moon of Love” (Try Your Hand Version) was retrieved form the original Genie vinyl 12″ single – many thanks to Keith Hudson for that!
“Old Habits Die Hard” was a 1988 track, and first released a few years ago as a bonus track on a ‘best of’ compilation, however the sound quality was absolutely awful – something clearly going wrong with the mastering for this release. But those problems are sorted here and it’s great to finally hear this song in the quality it deserves. How it was never a single at the time is sad – I think listening to the song in the context of the time (ie the late 80s) then it would have suited the music tastes around that period. An opportunity missed that would have surely seen the band improve on their comeback a year earlier with the release of the single “Why?”
Finally, three other tracks which were true bonuses to have on this disc were the instrumental versions of “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” and “When”. Listening to these without the vocals gives the listener a whole new angle, and it is interesting to bear in mind that these tracks were part of the recording process, ie Dave’s vocals to be added later, rather than being recorded as karaoke tracks.
I first heard about the plans for a new box set late in 2012 from fellow Showaddywaddy fan Steve Thorpe.
Demon were on board with the project from an early phase, and a number of ideas were put forward. One of these was to include a DVD with the release, which was to be a compilation of the promotional videos the band released in the 1970s and 1980s.
These promos were originally released on in “The Best Steps to Heaven” video in 1987.
Since the video was released, two further promos have been discovered that were not included. “I Wonder Why” was found on a tape originally supplied by Russ Field, and “You Got What It Takes” was shown on a satellite TV music channel a couple of years ago, and spotted by the eagle-eyed Chris Dabbs.
In the event, unfortunately there was no trace of the original promo video recordings anywhere in the archives, so that put paid to that idea.