Batley Variety Club 1968

jgvj copy

Coming out from another period of semi-retirement, at the request of Jimmy Corrigan, Gracie agreed to headline a two week stint at the famous ‘Batley Variety Club’, Yorkshire. Gracie, now aged 70 agreed to the shows, but requested that their start time be earlier than usual, so people could visit from Rochdale and get home early enough. Gracie also requested a week’s break between shows, which gave her a chance to alter her repertoire.

A sleepy guard dog

A sleepy guard dog

When she first got to Batley to rehearse, the club’s guard-dog ran onto the stage, rolled over and fell asleep in front of Gracie. This made a great photo opportunity for the press photographer there to photograph Gracie.

 

Rehearsing

Rehearsing

Rehearsing

 

 

 

 

 

 

She opened at Batley on December 1st 1968, playing one week before taking a week’s break. When she returned on December 22nd she had shifted the song order around, and added a Christmas selection.

 

This was no ordinary club. Just look at the other acts advertised

This was no ordinary club, just look at the other acts advertised

Famed for its ‘fish and chips in a basket’, served whilst the audiences enjoyed the cabaret, Gracie quipped ‘I was born over a fish and chip shop, I never thought I’d be singing in one!‘, and although Roy Hudd claims that the audiences were not receiving her well until she added Mary Hopkin’s ‘Those Were The Days’ to her routine, Gracie performed to packed houses every night.

BBC Radio recorded a performance from the first week, which was broadcast on 5th January 1969, and Philips made a recording of a performance from the second week, with a view to a commercial issue, which Gracie later rejected. Gracie’s original Philips demonstration disc is now part of a private Gracie collection. The only song not broadcast by the BBC was Gracie’s encore of ‘There’ll Always Be An England.’ Some of the recording made by the BBC was later issued on the LP ‘The Best of the BBC Broadcasts.’

Week one

Week one

Running order – Week One (Broadcast by the BBC)

Sing As We Go
Little Old Lady
The Biggest Aspidistra
Wish Me Luck
Sally
We’ve Got To Keep Up With The Joneses
Strangers in the Night
Somewhere My Love
As Long As He Needs Me
The Birthday Song
Those Were The Days
How Are Things In Glocca Mora?
Fonso, My Hot Spanish (K)night
What A Wonderful World
My Blue Heaven
When I Grow Too Old To Dream
Turn ‘Erbert’s Face To The Wall
Charmaine
The Rochdale Hounds
September Song
My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
Around the World
Walter, Walter
Don’t Be Angry With Me Sergeant
Put Your Shoes On Lucy
Now Is The Hour
Volare

Week two

Week two

Running order – Week Two (Recorded by Philips)
Sally
The Biggest Aspidistra In The World 
We’ve Got To Keep Up With the Joneses
Strangers in the Night
Somewhere My Love
As Long As He Needs Me
What’s The Good of a Birthday?
Those Were The Days
How Are Things in Glocca Morra?
Fonzo (My Hot Spanish (K)night)
A Merry, Merry Christmas
White Christmas
Little Donkey
My Blue Heaven
When I Grow To Old To Dream
Turn ‘Erbert’s Face To The Wall
Charmaine
The Rochdale Hounds
September Song
My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
Around the World
Walter, Walter
Don’t Be Angry With Me Sergant
Put Your Shoes on Lucy
Volare