The 1964 hit by the Dave Clark Five entitled Bits and Pieces immediately takes my thoughts off to Scotland and a family holiday we had in our caravan that year. That song along with one or two others brings back memories of a youth long-distant past.
I don’t remember whether it was for Christmas 1963 or my birthday in May 1964 that I had a portable record player; now I don’t mean something that was capable of being carried from room-to-room, I mean a battery operated machine capable of playing 7″ records. I had seen an advert in Practical Electronics for a kit to make this player; originally manufactured for Triang toys there were firms willing to sell it as a kit, so not sure if it was a product failure with Triang and this was one way of disposing of the stock of parts. The player measured about 9″ x 8″ and was about 6″ tall, it only played 7″ 45rpm records, about ten of which could be carried in the lid. The interior was interesting, I believe the mechanics were supplied by a company called Starr, who made eccentric-looking record decks in that era. There was a small transistorised amplifier coupled to a reasonable-sized elliptical loudspeaker of about 6″ x 3″; however, the tiny amplifier was never going to equal the capabilities of the speaker and the sound was a bit tinny in tone but at full volume was quite loud. My player was red and cream like the one shown here, although it was also available in blue and cream. The photographs are from a selling web-site as my player disappeared many decades ago.
Off to Scotland we went, Summer 1964, with a small quantity of records, She Loves You, Glad All Over, Do Wah Diddy Diddy all spring to mind but it was one of my brother’s records that really reminds us of our holiday and that was the Barron Knights’ Call up the Groups. This was a parody on a number of popular songs of the year and included a ditty of Dave Clark’s Bits and Pieces. Now the diction of the group, coupled with the tinny sound from my player, distorted the lyrics and our interpretation of them, we were confident they were singing about bits and biscuits, not Boots and Blisters. Now it couldn’t have been only we that were unsure about the words as I notice on a couple of websites they refer to the lyrics as Boots and Whiskers, but I’ll leave you to judge that for yourselves. (Boots and Blisters section is at 3:45 on this link).
But back to the real Bits and Pieces song, no we didn’t have Dave Clark’s hit record to play constantly over and over again but at one of the caravan sites we stayed, at or near Musselburgh, there was a community Hall in the grounds and one afternoon a local pop group by the name of Sound 65 were practising and one of the pieces they played over and over again was, yes, you’ve guessed, Bits and Pieces. It was the first time I’d ever seen or heard a live pop group and I was enthralled and no doubt it instilled in my mind the idea that I must have a guitar.