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New date for special gig in tribute to legendary Moray music promoter Albert Bonici – while musician uses delay to revive songs from 1970s

By Lorna Thompson

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A FUNDRAISING Elgin gig in celebration of a legendary local music promoter has had to be postponed once again due to Covid-19 uncertainty.

The organisers of "Bonici, The Bands and The Two Red Shoes" – a special one-off tribute to Albert Bonici – have announced that the show will now take place on Saturday, July 30, 2022.

Bonici is known as the man who brought The Beatles to Scotland. He opened his famous Two Red Shoes Ballroom in Elgin in 1960.

The gig to raise cash for MND Scotland was originally due to take place last year, but like so many shows it fell victim to the pandemic. It had been hoped to hold it this summer, but the ongoing uncertainty has stalled plans again.

Kate Stewart, on behalf of the organising committee, said: "Everyone is so disappointed as they are desperate to get together and play in memory of Albert, but this is the only realistic option in these unprecedented times and everyone's health is the priority.

"We are all looking forward to next July as it will be a very special occasion, and a chance to raise much-needed funds for MND Scotland."

The gig at Elgin Town Hall will feature a line-up of original local bands from the era including The Copycats/My Dear Watson, Windy Miller, The Two Red Shoes Band, The Diamonds, Apaches, The Jacobeats and Ian Fraser.

Moray music promoter Albert Bonici, who owned the legendary Two Red Shoes Ballroom in Elgin.
Moray music promoter Albert Bonici, who owned the legendary Two Red Shoes Ballroom in Elgin.

Tickets will be announced by early 2022, but in the meantime there is a dedicated event Facebook page featuring bands of the era.

An updated exhibition on Bonici at Elgin Museum by David Dills, who is the main driving force behind the gig, is also running, featuring original memorabilia from The Two Red Shoes and local Beat scene. To watch a video on the exhibition visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUaiBR9uoIY.

Meanwhile, a Whitehills based singer/songwriter from one of the bands involved in the Bonici gig has revived some unfinished songs from the 1970s to create a whole album during lockdown.

Last year John Stewart was rehearsing for the gig with his old band, The Copycats, before its postponement.

John used lockdown as inspiration to record a song on the experience, and approached his friend, Ronnie Thain, another local musician and producer.

The recording went so well that Ronnie asked John for more songs, so he delved into his unfinished songs dating back to 1976 and, his creativity reignited, kept on recording.

Whitehills-based singer/songwriter John Stewart, a member of The Copycats.
Whitehills-based singer/songwriter John Stewart, a member of The Copycats.

The result is a nine-track album, called "46/21", featuring a variety of styles and influences – country, blues, rock and reggae – with each telling a story. One of the songs, "Crazy World We Live In", is dedicated to his friend and bandmate, Bill Cameron, who passed away in 2019 after a short illness.

John said: "I've built up a relationship with Ronnie with the common interest and bond about songwriting and music, which keeps the fire burning. I'm looking forward to the next album."

The album features Dzal Martin (guitars), Tommy Dingwall (bass), Derek Jeffery and Stuart Paterson (backing vocals) and Ronnie Thain (drums and keyboard programming).

"46/21" is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Superlungsmusic.com, and at Sound & Vision, on Elgin's South Street.

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