17 Jan 1976 – Series Four (5)

19760117_Shaneda
Shaneda, the group from Bodmin in Cornwall. Image: Graham Hicks

Show five of the series saw the panel of George Elrick, Jack Parnell, Clifford Davis and joining them in his first New Faces appearance was Jess Yates, creator, presenter and producer of the Yorkshire TV programme Stars on Sunday.

The latest seven acts, in the order they appeared on the show, were;

  • Shaneda (four-piece group) from Bodmin
  • Jimmy Gordon (mime artist) from Manchester
  • Ruby James (singer) from London
  • Mopps (folk trio) from London
  • Ray Morgan (vocalist) from London
  • Pat Mills (female comedian) from Manchester
  • Harmony & Slyde (vocal / instrumental duo) from Exeter

The unanimous winner of the show, with both panels agreeing on the same act, was the female comedian from Manchester, Pat Mills.

By June of 1976 Pat Mills had gone from cabaret and night club artist to having her own radio show on BBC Radio 2, produced in Manchester by Richard Willcox. The programme was titled One Girl and Her Show, and was broadcast on Saturday afternoons. On the show Pat was supported by Kenny Ball and the Max Harris orchestra and added songs to her normal comedy act.

The group Shaneda, from Bodmin in Cornwall, had qualified through the auditions held in Bristol on 12 November 1975. At the auditions they were a five-piece group however, Al Hodge had a CBS contract with the band Rogue which prevented him from appearing on New Faces with Shaneda.

At the same audition were the group Sparrow, who auditioned with their version of Got To Get You Into My Life, written by Lennon/McCartney, who also made a number of appearances on New Faces in series three.

The four members of Shaneda who performed on the show were Mick Jackman (keyboards – vibes and vocals), Derek Fitzpatrick, (bass guitar and lead vocals), Fritz (drums) and Graham Hicks, (lead guitar and vocals). On the show they performed their own arrangement of Something, written by George Harrison, and combined it with the instrumental section of McArthur Park, written by Richard Harris.

19760117_HarmonySlydeLP
Exeter duo Harmony & Slyde closed the show. Image: Cover of the LP Always Wanted.

John Forsey and Richard Harris were the multi-instrumental Exeter based duo Harmony & Slyde, who released two LPs in the mid-1970s. In 1975 they were voted the Best Duo at the Billboard Country Music Awards.

Soul singer Ruby James had released her first solo single Getting Mighty Crowded back in 1969 on the Fontana label, then had worked as a session singer with a number of artists including Yvonne Elliman, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Cat Stevens before appearing on New Faces.

19760117_RubyJames
Smooth soul singer Ruby James. Image Discogs

The October after her appearance on this show Ruby released her first single, You Burn A Hole In My Soul, on the RAK label and her second single, I Found My Heaven, was released in March 1977. She also sang backing vocals on a track on the self titled album of former New Faces act Muscles (Show 3.39).

In the late 1970s Ruby joined the group Ritz, formed by producer Ken Gold, along with Tony Jackson and Kofi Missah. They later added Jimmy Chambers to their line-up and included a young pianist called Anne Dudley (future Art of Noise and film composer) in their live shows.

I the early 1980s Ruby was the resident singer on the Cannon and Ball show and later joined forced with her sisters Vicky and Sylvia to form The Sapphires who released three singles on the Stiff label in 1982. In 1983 The Sapphires would provide backing vocals on Yazoo’s Walk Away From Love on their You and Me Both album as well as on Tracey Ullman’s album You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.

Ruby still continues with session work and over her career has appeared on tracks by Japan (The Art of Parties), Paul McCartney (Spies Like Us) and Erasure (Grace) to name just a few. Ruby also featured on Spandau Ballet’s Through the Barricades album and performed backing vocals for the group on their three song set at the 1985 Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium.

A 40 year old recording of a Jimmy Gordon act can be found on You Tube

Credit: Huge thanks to Graham Hicks (Shaneda) for the use of the image and additional information on this show.

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