‘I almost lived there’ - promoter Barry’s memories of the First Floor Club in Ipswich in Days Gone By
PUBLISHED: 18:00 12 August 2020
PAUL SHERWOOD/BARRY DYE
Promoter Barry Dye remembers he practically lived at the First Floor Club in Ipswich in the 1970s - so our recent nostalgia feature brought back memories for him.
Today we are sharing some photos from Barry’s collection taken at the club, as well as images from Archant’s archives.
Barry said: “Ken Bean bought it in 1966, and having got to know him before then, he invited the band I was with, The Sonics, to play there and our first booking was in 1967.
Barry was the drummer with the band. He recalls: “We backed many of the cabaret acts who appeared there every week - including some of the star cabarets such as Bob Monkhouse, Roy Castle, Paul Daniels, Warren Mitchell. Iris Williams, Tammy Jones, etc.
MORE: Photos of big nights out at First Floor Club
“In 1972 I set up my entertainment agency and soon after that I was also booking the acts who appeared there. This is a club that I was so involved with that I felt that I almost lived there!
“I also met my wife Cindy there, so I do have a very special attachment to the place.“ Barry’s wife Cindy vividly remembers winning a dancing marathon contest at the club in 1971.
Apart from the First Floor, Barry also used to book acts into Tracys, in Greyfriars. He said: “I got to know the Management of Tracys very well. They were F & H Entertainments who had clubs scattered around the country. I still have the ‘special’ membership card they gave me.”
MORE: Memories of the 1970s at the Golden Hind
During the mid-70s, Barry also got involved with Lafayettes, the club in the middle of the roundabout in Princes Street.
He said: “I put many bands in there including popular local duo Pea Green Philharmonic Pullover Set. I also booked all the cabaret acts every week - these included Paul Daniels, Jim Davidson and many others, including Clive Webb ,the zany comedy magic act.
“Access was via the subways, so it was a nightmare for bands carrying equipment to play there. One night when The Sonics played there, we backed the brilliant Karen Kay, who was an international cabaret entertainer - singer, impressionist, comedian. A lovely lady, who insisted on helping us to carry all our equipment out at the end of the night. Karen’s son is Jay Kay of the band Jamiroqui.”
• What are your memories of the First Floor Club, Tracys and Lafayettes? Send us an email or write to Judy Rimmer, Newsroom, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1RS.
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