Music Matters - with John Murray

John Murray
John Murray

SCANNING all the news stories in last week’s Fife Free Press even my 97 year old Aunt Nan felt a need to comment on one image in particular. ‘Oh no not the Burma’ she said with tearful memories for that generation it was an end to another era of post War ballrooms that included the Tudor, the Plaza and the Raith Ballroom now of course a place of worship of a different kind. The Burma legend though outlived its name as years of paint could not diminish its title indelibly laid between its towering windows looking in towards town. Used by the Black Watch as a training unit in wartime for many it was the place to go and where (AC/DC) Bon Scott’s parents met and where The Shadettes would play before they became Nazareth in the 1960’s along with long lost Scottish legends Marmalade, The Beatstalkers and The Poets.

This week 45 years ago Robert Plant brought Band Of Joy to the venue (with John Bonham) and returned the following year just before breaking up this line up when they were supported by local residents Dum De Dum.

Pre-war it had been the Troxy with Winter Gardens tea room overlooking the sea. All this time the Trocadero thrived as a cafe too on the corner remaining open during the war until it became swallowed up in the 1980’s disco era when the Garrison was born. Many were introduced to funk by DJ Shaft (Shanks) up to five nights a week. This continued as a refit became Jackie O’s Discotheque with DJs Eric Forsyth, Alan Law and Sgt Pepper among others as the ‘grab-a-granny’ Wednesdays became the busiest night in Scotland.

A disastrous Radio Forth Roadshow was broadcast from here and guests from BBC Radio One appeared like Kid Jensen, Simon Bates and Gary Davies. The hotel next door became the Ambassadeur by that time hosting the popular Ski Hop discos. Meantime visiting appearances to ‘Jack’s’ included everyone from disco legends Sister Sledge to New York Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.

As the Candlerooms, Harlem and McSquintys the crowds declined however and the end was swift.​