THE GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME. THIS WEEK WE WILL BE HEADING BACK TO THE 60’s WITH A SWEET TREAT TO TICKLE THE TASTEBUDS.
If we can take our minds back to the 60s, we should remember that music was a big part of people’s lives especially in the Valleys. People loved nothing better than going out to a pub or a club and listening to live entertainment on the weekends.
I remember many a story where people loved to recall acts being paid off because the audience wasn’t impressed. Clubs like The Beach Club and Treorchy Cons club were a couple with quite large function rooms. The Treorchy Hotel also had some music nights but on a different scale. Our role was more so to provide somewhere for the acts to stay – that will be another story!
Many years ago my dad was friends with a gentleman named Gordon Mills, who in the sixties was managing several musicians. You may know namely Engelbert Humperdinck, Gilbert O’Sullivan and another lad who also grew up in the Rhondda, Tom Jones being one.
We have now time jumped back to I believe is 1967 and Tom had just released the single the Green Green Grass of Home. This was originally released as a country song a couple of years before and made popular by Porter Wagoner (I’ve got google!) and for whatever reason they decided to film the promo for Tom’s version of the Song on the Rhigos mountain.
A little more trivia for you, which I didn’t know until I googled it. The song had been released a further 43 times from singers including Johnny Nash, Nanna Mouskouri, Elvis Presley and Nick Cave to name a few.
As the story goes before filming started Tom and Gordon called into the Cosy Cafe in Treorchy for a cup of coffee and on seeing a couple of people they said after they finished filming they were calling in Treorchy Hotel for a pint.
I believe Gordon called in on the way up and told my dad they would see him later. But as usual the jungle drums were working overtime and by the time they were due to arrive a huge crowd had amassed outside the pub. From what I can gather a LARGE number of these were ladies!!! I can’t understand why?
Not sure if in those days they had started throwing their knickers at him but if they had brought them with them, they would have had to have lobbed them at a speeding car.
On reaching the pub their car started to slow down but when they saw the baying hordes they sped off leaving a very upset Mother ( a HUGE Tom Jones fan) and a disappointed Father – he lost his excuse to have a pin. As a non drinker I think my Mother was a founder member of the temperance movement; there were always withering looks when my dad had a drink so the busman’s holiday scenario was not encouraged! Gordon did promise they would call another time but I am not sure if that happened, as I was still only young at this time and if he had come up and had shook my hand his star like quality would have been lost on me.
We did however host another one of Gordon’s musicians, when he was playing the clubs at that time he went by the name of Gerry Dorsey. If I remember rightly he was a lovely person and he gave me a signed photograph which is in my autograph book as a part of my treasures! You will know him as Engelbert Humperdinck. I don’t understand why he changed his name. I quite like Gerry Dorsey but I suppose it stood out.
So that was one of my brushes with 1960’s singing stars. As they say, happy days!
Let’s interrupt the temperance with an aptly named cocktail.
A Tom Jones Cocktail!
1fl oz gin
1fl oz fresh lemon juice, plus 1 slice lemon to garnish
Dash sugar syrup
1fl oz Welsh blackberry and elderberry ‘port’ (Elderport)
Splash of lemonade
1 bramble berry, to garnish (optional)
Pour the gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Welsh blackberry and elderberry ‘port’ into a cocktail shaker.
Add a scoop of crushed ice and shake hard.
Strain the mixture into a highball glass and top up with lemonade.
To serve, hook the lemon slice over the side of the glass. Garnish the glass with the bramble.