17 Jul 76 – Series Four (31)

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Essex singer Sheila Lawrence. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The four professional panel members that assembled to judge this weeks acts were Alan A. Freeman, Jimmy Henney, Jack Parnell and Lionel Blair.

Keeping them in check and introducing the seven new acts was regular host Derek Hobson. The acts were;

  • Glen Curtin (vocalist) from Dublin
  • Fairfield Welles (five-piece harmony group) from Manchester
  • Ash (vocal / guitar duo) from London
  • Sheila Lawrence (vocalist) from Essex
  • George & Jamie Moore (ukelele / banjo duo) from Hull
  • Dave James (vocalist / guitarist) from Swindon
  • Highlights (four-piece group) from Liverpool

The professional panel awarded the show win to Dublin vocalist Glen Curtin, who would return for the All Winners Show the following week to make his claim for the last Gala Final place.  Glen’s recording career dated back to the early 1970s and in 1976 he released the single Love on the Release Records label.

The viewers panel winners were the Manchester harmony group Fairfield Welles, however they would not get their reward of a second appearance on New Faces until show fifteen of series five.

The group were discovered in the early 1970s by Wayne Fontana, of the Mindbenders fame, who was grooming the act for stardom. The original quintet was Harry (guitar), Tom (bass) Mick (drums) and singers, Mary and Jean who provided the musical and vocal backing for Wayne’s shows in the early seventies.

Winning the viewers panel vote was an upturn in fortune for the harmony group who back in November 1975 had been left out of pocket after playing a week of shows at Merlins Club in Plymouth. On the sixth night of their week long booking they were informed that following a dispute between the club managers and the club directors they were not going to be paid.

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Harmony group Fairfield Welles changed their name in 1980 to Exposé. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Also in November 1975 Fairfield Welles were in Coventry for a performance at the City Centre Nightspot where they sharing the bill with the Rickard Brothers who had appeared on the fourth All Winners Show of this series just two weeks earlier.

Fairfield Wells continued performing, with a few line-up changes, throughout the seventies and into the eighties performing versions of songs by Abba, Bee Gees, The Three Degrees, Tavares and Diana Ross. They were also one of the earliest club groups to perform a cover of  Gary Numan’s hit single Cars. In November 1980 Fairfield Welles changed their name to Exposé and released the single Twin City Ride.

The Father and son duo, George and Jamie Moore, both played ukelele banjo’s and sang a George Formby song. Jamie recalls what a massive experience it was for him appearing on the show at just sixteen years of age. No footage of the broadcast exists however Jamie does have a seven-inch single, made by the programme sound crew, of the duo’s performance, accompanied by the Johnny Patrick Orchestra.

London duo Ash had the backing of veteran boxing promoter Jack Solomans, the man behind a total of 26 world title fights. He spotted the singing duo performing in a club and funded the recording of the song Mediterranean Woman which they performed on the show.  The song was written by John Garfield and his co-writer Jim Ellis who also penned the track that Joy Rose performed way back on show 4.4.

Swindon vocalist Dave James was NOT the same act who received a score of zero for star quality from Tony Hatch on show 4.14 back in March 1976.

Credit: Thanks to Jamie Moore for contacting me and sharing his personal memories of his appearance on the show with his Dad, George.

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