The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club – 27th July 1974

wheel s02e01

Tonight’s Turns:

Brotherhood of Man
Franklyn James
P.J. Proby
Los Tres Hermanos
Alex Sisters
Russ Conway

The Brotherhood of Man are simply a vision. Once you’ve finished goggling at their stage clothes then you can appreciate their full-throttled musical attack. They’re definitely not holding back as they rattle through Reach out Your Hand. A storming start to the show.

It seemed to be the law that every impressionist during the 1970’s had to take off Frank Spencer and Franklyn James doesn’t disappoint on that score. But he also mimics both Colin Crompton and Bernard Manning (Bernard seems to enjoy this) which is a nice touch. Some of his other subjects couldn’t really be more seventies if they tried – Peters and Lee, for example – whilst he also tackles some classic Western stars. Just about tolerable.

If there’s one fact that everybody knows about P.J. Proby then it’s that he once split his trousers. No such trouble on that score today as his denim trouser suit looks to be very secure. As with the Brotherhood of Man, his intensity is something to marvel at – although whether he’s being serious or just taking the mickey is a moot point. I’ve a terrible feeling that he’s being dead serious ….

Either way, it’s an unforgettable spot.

There’s no respite in this show. After still reeling from P.J. Proby, Los Tres Hermanos bounce onto the stage. There’s three of them (naturally) and are identically decked out with white trousers, red polka dot shirts and natty little red hats. With such a name, you might expect a traditional Mexican song …. instead they treat us to Tie A Yellow Ribbon. This undemanding singalong fare hits the spot with the audience, who give them the biggest cheer of the night so far.

A female double-act during this era was an unusual sight. I’ve not been able to source a great deal of information about the Alex Sisters – so I don’t know whether the act they perform here (one sings a serious song whilst the other – dressed as Charlie Chaplin – attempts to upstage her) was one they did on a regular basis. “Charlie” is, as you’d expect, silent throughout and manages to milk the audience’s sympathy when she’s ordered off the stage (all together now, “awwwww”).

Top of the bill is Russ Conway. He gives the audience what they want by opening with his biggest hit, Side Saddle (1959). His spot is thoroughly charming and following some of the more wonkier delights on today’s bill, closes the show in style. Unlike some of today’s acts, there’s no shortage of Russ Conway information out there and I recommend this website for all your Conway needs.

3 thoughts on “The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club – 27th July 1974

  1. Classic stuff. Did you know P J Proby once joined Dutch progressive rock group Focus? Think he did just the one album. Also I’m sure Russ was in a soft core horror film (featuring Robin Asquith, Jenny Handley and Luan Peters) called The Flesh & Blood show which pretty much does what it says on the tin ☺

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  2. I didn’t know about P.J. Proby’s brush with Focus, I’ll have to check that out!

    Can’t see Russ Conway listed on The Flesh and Blood Show, although plenty of other familiar faces are, which probably means that no matter how bad a film it is I’ll have to track it down eventually 🙂

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