15 Mar 1975 – Series Three (26)

Vocal harmony trio, Fresh Aire. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

After moving aside for Nicky Martyn the previous week, regular host Derek Hobson was back for a show that featured a panel comprising of Jack Parnell, Mickie Most, John Robins and George Elrick.

The seven news acts looking for the votes of the panel and the public this week were, in order of appearance;

  • Flaky Pastry (five-piece folk group) from Cambridgeshire
  • Pat McClusky (comedian) from Sheffield
  • The Souletts (female vocal trio) from London
  • Colin Anthony (vocalist) from London
  • Davy Lee James (musical speciality act) from Liverpool
  • Mike Felix (comedian / vocal) from Essex
  • Fresh Aire (vocal harmony trio) from London
Show winner, comedian Mike Felix. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Comedian Mike Felix was voted the top act and would appear again in the fourth All Winners Final on 3 May 1975. Mike was heard on the phone to his wife, after the show, starting very casually, he said; “It went all right. I suppose … I won!”

Eleven years before his appearance on New Faces Mike Felix was enjoying success with a UK Top 10 hit with the Migil Five.   The Migil Five’s origins were as a backing group for club singer Lennie Peters (later one half of Peters and Lee) and had a series of stand-in drummers, including Charlie Watts (later drummer of The Rolling Stones).

Mike Felix became the groups permanent drummer and when Lennie Peters left to pursue a solo career he also took over vocal duties.  Originally named the Migil Four (the name derived from a combination of Mike Felix and pianist Gilbert Lucas) they became the Migil Five when former Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames tenor saxophonist, Alan Watson , joined the group.

It was with this line-up they secured a residency at the Tottenham Royal dance hall, replacing the Dave Clark Five, and in March 1964 had that previously mentioned UK Top 10 hit single with Mockin’ Bird Hill.  Mike Felix left the group in 1966 to pursue a solo career as a vocalist and comedian.

In June 1977 Mike was one of the New Faces acts selected to appear in the new ATV comedy and music show Make ‘Em Laugh.  The former boxer, talented singer, drummer and pianist also turned his hand to acting with appearances in Widows and The Bill. Mike was still performing in 1998 when he supported cockney duo Chas and Dave on their 25th anniversary show at the Pavillion Theatre in Worthing.

The Pavilion, Bath concert billing – 10 June 1963

London vocalist Colin Anthony, who was born in Bath, and managed to secure his place on this show without an audition. Colin was appearing in cabaret at The Embassy Club, Bond Street, London where he was seen by a TV Choreographer from Sunday Night at The London Palladium, who had contacts in the industry. She spoke to New Faces producer Les Cocks who gave Colin the go ahead to appear on the show.

Colin performed Lean On My Shoulder, a song that had been specially written for his appearance on the show, and scored an impressive 93 points from the judges who all had a slightly different opinion on his performance.

Colin Anthony performing Lean On My Shoulder on the show. Image: ATV Broadcast

George Elrick said that Coilin was ‘his kind of singer’ adding ‘he sings a very nice song and I’m not surprised he’s had hit records,’ buy went on to say that he thought Colin lacked a little bit of personality that he felt let him down slightly. Mickie Most disagreed saying that personality wasn’t imp[ortant for a recording star and he added that Colin’s style was in his favour too, something that George had criticised, but he thought the song wasn’t quite strong enough for Colin.

Jack Parnell disagreed with both George and Mickie, saying ‘I like the song very much indeed, his voice is great and I liked his personality,’ which he described as very relaxed and very professional. John Robins also liked the song but agreed with George about Colin appearance.

Colin had formed his group the Colin Anthony Combo back in 1959. One of the earliest gigs identified for the group was on 1 April 1960 at the Timsbury Y.M.C.A. where ‘Jiving’ was encouraged. In 1963, after a couple of months playing shows in Germany, Colin and the group returned to the UK where, on 10 June 1963, they were the support act, along with another local group Chet and the Triumphs, for the opening night of The Beatles summer tour, playing at the Pavilion, Bath. This was the only show The Beatles ever played in the city. The admission price was just 6s.

London vocal group The Souletts, Beverley, Utti and Chicquita. Image: Reach PLC. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

In 1965 the Colin Anthony Beat Combo released the LP Colin Is Fab on the Fontana label. Track one was also issued as a single and was called Crazy Beatle Boots and the LP also featured a cover of 24 Hours From Tulsa. The group also supported acts Gerry and the Pacemakers, Gene Vincent and The Rolling Stones. In July 1965 the group played a show at Glastonbury Town Hall where they shared the bill with Yeovil group The Jaguars.

From April 1973 to July 1975 Colin was singing with The Mervyn Wright Orchestra, with other singers Jennie Dee and Marion Williams, in their residence at the Circus Tavern, Purfleet, an engagement that spanned his New Faces appearance.

After his appearance on this show Colin was spotted by the BBC radio producers and spent nearly twenty years recording programmes and concerts both in the UK and abroad. In 1976 Colin was signed to Philips Records and under producer Johnny Franz almost had a hit with Young Lovers, (Once Again).

Colin would return to the ATV Studios in Birmingham to make a second appearance on New Faces in series six (show 6.21), on the 29 January 1978, when he controversially finished in last place.

In 1980 Colin joined forces with the Pontin’s Bluecoats and under the name Colin Anthony And The Bluecoats they recorded the single Goin’ On My Holiday / We’ll Be Back Again Next Summer, which was a free giveaway at Pontin’s Holiday parks.

On the 7 June 2014 the Colin Anthony Combo reformed for a special show, at The Forum to mark the 51st anniversary of The Beatles only live performance in Bath.

Folk group Flaky Pastry. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Hertfordshire part-time group Flaky Pastry were social worker Andrew Morgan (guitar), music shop managers Geoff Ide (guitar) and Pat Rogers (mandolin), school teacher Dave Doddington (guitar) and design draughtsman Doug Jones (12-string guitar).

They got their name when while having tea one night, which included some delicious sausage rolls, they all commented on how nice the flaky pastry was.

Just a few days after their appearance on the show mid-Anglia folk group Flaky Pastry made their first solo concert appearance when they played the St. Ivo Centre in St. Ives. near Cambridge.  They had previously played at the Norwich Folk Festival in 1974. Their Norwich performance was recorded and was broadcast on BBC Radio Two in August 1975.

Grand Prix Night of the Stars at the Royal Albert Hall featuring Flaky Pastry. With thanks to Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

In January 1976 Flaky Pastry were signed by DJM Records and released their first single Guaranteed in April 1976.

By 1977 the band were voted top contemporary vocal group in the Melody Maker folk poll and their popularity was spreading so fast they were in constant demand all over Britain.  They released their debut album Ingredients and appeared at the August Bank Holiday Monday Silver Jubilee Jazz and Folk festival in Reading.  Acts also appearing at the festival were Chris Barber, Richard Dignance and Humphrey Lyttelton who was joined by special guest Elkie Brooks.

One of their biggest appearances was in Grand Prix Night of the Stars at the Royal Albert Hall in July 1978.  They appeared on the show, held in aid of the Lord’s Taverners’ charities, that also featured Lulu, Georgie Fame, Chris Barber, Eric Morecombe, Dickie Henderson, Brian Rix, Willy Rushton and Jimmy Tarbuck.

Comedian Pat McClusky. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

After appearing on the show, Irish comedian Pat McClusky went on to secure the compere role at Wakefield Theatre Club and was chosen as the first Northern Clubland artist to receive the Tony Whyte Award as “Entertainer of the Year.” 

The family Pat McClusky had been entertainers for several generations.  Pat’s father was the original Irish minstrel, known as Dusky Dan. Pat was previously in The Bell Brothers, a musical comedy act with his brother Tommy, before starting his solo career.

His son Stuart was bass guitarist for Jamiroquai and was the former partner of Melanie Blatt from All Saints. His daughter Jackie was also in the music business and his youngest daughter, Philippa Hanna, reached the top three in the Northern Star Talent Competition on Yorkshire TV and was on the reserve list for BBC’s Fame Academy. He also has a niece, Sandy Kelly, that has a career as a country singer.

Fresh Aire with their new line-up of Tony Harding, Chris Black and Spike Cowlard. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Before appearing on the show Fresh Aire had already supported Liverpool singer Cilla Black on her 1974 concert tour. Their style fell somewhere between the King’s Singers and the Carpenters and featured three lads singing in harmony.  They were Mike Hudson, Spike Cowlard and Chris Black, however in March 1976 a throat infection hospitalised Mike Hudson and replacement Tony Harding was recruited so the act could fulfill their Wakefield show with Johnny Mathis.

In May 1976 the new line-up won the Cabaret Group of the Year Award at the Midlands Variety Command Performance held at the New Cresta in Solihull. Their subsequent support appearance on the Johnny Mathis concert tour was so successful it lead to a booking to support Tony Bennett for some of his shows. In the 1980s they provided support for Gloria Gaynor and provided a backing group for Lena Martell.

The final scoreboard for all acts remains unknown however the scores that are known are shown below

1Mike Felix Unknown
The Souletts98
Colin Anthony93
Flaky Pastry87
Pat McClusky83
Davy Lee JamesUnknown
Fresh AireUnknown
The final order of the acts is uncertain as three scores are not known.

Credit: Huge thanks to Colin Anthony for the information on his career and this show.

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