Andy Howells remembers Newport born musician, Mark Goodwin, who died earlier this month.
Today’s Throwback Thursday is dedicated to Mark Goodwin. I was extremely saddened to hear of Mark’s passing last week. Mark was not only a respected musician, keeping the beat with Newport based 60s band The Rikki Allen Trio (later The Interns) but also toured with King of Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan from the mid- 1960s into the 70s.
In the difficult task of compiling a tribute to Mark, I’ve provided an overview of his music career. There will be many omissions as I always felt from Mark’s anecdotes that he had a good book within him! But please feel free to leave your memories of Mark in the comments box below.
Mark Goodwin’s Early Music Influences
Mark was born in the heart of Pill, Newport on December 2, 1942. Describing the area overlooked by Newport’s Transporter Bridge as “our playground,” he was educated at Alexandra School until he was 8. Mark then moved to London following his parents’ divorce, where he was brought up by his grandmother, and this is where his connection with music began.
“She had 8 children and the youngest was Terry who was 8 years older than me and had already started collecting records and owned a Radiogram.,” Mark recalled to me in 2020, “I wasn’t allowed to play his records but of course when he was at work I would. His collection contained the likes of, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Frankie Laine etc.”
It would be on a North Wales holiday with his Great Uncle Ivor which would accelerate Mark’s interest in music when seeing the Les Douglas orchestra perform, particularly drummer, Kenny Duff who recommended Mark get a copy of the Buddy Rich 26 American Snare Drum Rudiments.
Skiffle Music was sweeping the country by the late 1950s and Mark joined Newport group, The Red Bats, (later The Black Dominoes) of which they would play The Castle Pub in Pill once a week. This was Mark’s introduction to playing Lonnie Donegan numbers. Following a spot on the BBC Light Programme’s Carole Levis show, Mark left The Black Dominoes and went on to play with the Tommy Holloway Concert Party.
Success For The Rikki Alan Trio
As the 1960s dawned, Mark joined Newport brothers Alan and Gerry Smith to form The Rikki Alan Trio. The trio quickly gained a following, performing across many South Wales Working Mens Clubs and sharing the bill with such artists as Tony Sheridan.
The trio soon decided they could successfully pursue a career in music as Mark remembered,
“We saved our gig money and bought a little van. Next, we continued to save and as soon as we thought we had enough money, we all handed in our respective notices at work and off to London we went”
The Rikki Allen Trio released a single, The First One for Decca in 1963 just as they were heading over to Hamburg, Germany where they would appear on the same bill as Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles. It would be a great experience for Mark.
Mark recalled, “I don’t remember ever playing so hard for so long. At one time I would go on with my fore fingers on both hands bleeding from burst blisters. But the experience was something you couldn’t buy.”
Media Exposure For The Interns
Under the guidance and directive of Impresario Tito Burns, The Rikki Allen Trio evolved into The Interns (with the addition of musician, Mike Parker) in early 1964. Television appearances on Ready Steady Go!, Thank Your Lucky Stars and in the Ted Willis penned drama series, The Four Seasons of Rosie Carr gave The Interns some healthy media exposure. There were also two further 45rpm singles on Phillips Records, Don’t You Dare and Cry To Me.
The Interns also supported Manchester beat group the Hollies on several gigs. It was during this time Mark met his future wife, Ondrea Lloyd who as part of The Pam Devis Dancers, appeared on several European TV appearances with the Hollies.
Enlisted by Skiffle King, Lonnie Donegan
Following his departure from The Interns, Mark returned to Newport where he trained in numerous professions adding roles as a tailor and a tv and radio installation engineer to his CV before landing a regular gig as a musician at Ringland Workingmen’s Club.
It was at this time Mark made acquaintance with singer Lynne Perrie’s organist John Cadwell who when invited to do a demonstration of Hammond Organs in the Rose Morris Music shop, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, took Mark along with him as a drummer. During the demonstration, Lonnie Donegan entered the store to buy guitar strings and left Mark his business card if he ever fancied a gig! Thus, began an association which would continue for the next six years as Mark toured with Lonnie Donegan around the world.
In later years, Mark became a respected friend of many in the music industry. He also indulged in other interests including photography (of which he received a Licentiate of The Royal Photographic Society) and making jewelry.
A Source Of Encouragement
I got to know Mark after contributing a magazine article with a colleague, Nigel Corten, around 10 years ago. Connecting through Facebook, Mark would frequently entertain me with many interesting anecdotes about his music career.
Over the years, Mark has been a great source of encouragement to myself, giving feedback on my articles and reviews, usually with the added flavour of an anecdote or a unique photograph from his collection along the way!
I will miss his wonderful messages and am equally sad that I will never get to sit with him over a cuppa and look through his scrapbook of memories.
I’d like to send my love and condolences to Mark’s wife Ondrea and his family.
To conclude this tribute, I have also asked two of Mark’s fellow musicians to add their tributes:
Alan Smith of The Rikki Allen Trio & The Interns: “Mark and I met as teenagers. We set off together, had some great times and hard, times, on the road, but formed a close, lifetime bond.”
Bat Goddard of The Sunsets: “Fine memories of the Rikki Alan Trio appearing in the early 1960’s at Penarth’s Paget Rooms. I was in the Backbeats and these Newport boys were South Wales answer to the Everly Brothers.”
Mark Goodwin 1942-2021
- My thanks to Alan Smith and Bat Goddard for the use of their photographs