Throwback Thursday: Gerry and The Rebels Audition For 1960s Pop Show

Following last week’s Throwback Thursday feature on Cwmbran’s Gerry and The Rebels, today we look at one of the group’s further adventures when they auditioned for the 1960s pop show Discs A Go-Go.

A rare recording recently surfaced featuring The Rebels consisting of Eddie McGuinness on drums, Ian Blackledge on bass guitar, Wayne McGuinness on rhythm guitar, Keith “Snowy” Smith on keyboards and Gerry Porcher on lead guitar auditioning for the programme in 1963.

The band made the journey from South Wales to Bristol across the Severn River via The Aust Ferry (as there was no Severn Bridge back then).  

Gerry and The Rebels in the 1960s

Gerry Porcher explains:

“It was recorded in the old TWW television studios in Bristol and was an Audition for a TV music programme called Discs A Go-Go. We didn’t get through. The band they chose was led by Andy Fairweather Low. It was probably his first TV appearance!”

The Rebels audition piece, a recording of Down In The Valley was obtained by a friend of the band who had managed to get a recording from the studio at the time. The recording resurfaced three years ago, having been believed lost for almost half a century.

Gerry continues, “We didn’t make it onto the programme. Apart from hearing the song on the studio playback, we never gave it a second thought. 57 years on I met up with other band members at a funeral. We reminisced about the good times we had shared and the subject of the audition came up. I said it was a shame we didn’t get a recording of the number we played that day and much to my surprise Keith Smith (Keyboards) said his mate Ron who was a roadie for a while, had a copy on tape, I was amazed and asked if he was still in touch could he get a copy!

“The result is the attached recording, which is not brilliant but considering it was an open miked recording,not bad, just pleased to have the only audio memory, hope you like it!”

The recording is an interesting piece, even if Gerry and the Rebels didn’t make it to the final broadcast. The performance itself is tight and displays them as an exciting live band. Ironically, much of Discs A Go-Go (which was largely broadcast in Wales and the South West of England by ITV) has been lost, so the survival of an audition recording is quite miraculous.

Although Gerry and The Rebels disbanded in 1967, they can be heard once again via the historic recording.

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