by Keith Duncan

Chapter 1 - Docky Time

England in November 1949, the Cambridgeshire fens, a picturesque rural area, mainly given over to farms and orchards. The war in Europe has been over four years now, tired old England, still beset by rationing , is adjusting to peacetime and looking forward to a better future, a more hopeful carefree time; Part of that bright new future was just about to arrive, Terry, born November 13th the only child of; Walter and Grace Reid.

The family was originally from The Durham area with deep northern roots particularly in mining. No record exists of his first cries and whether they were pitch perfect. Certainly by the time he was walking with his mum to the orchards, where she was engaged in the seasonal occupation of fruit picking, his pipes were well-developed. Come docky time (Cambridgeshire slang dock for snack or lunch) he was hoisted on to a fruit crate to sing popular tunes of the day for the entertainment of the other, mostly female, workers Imagine a small boy surrounded by all those women, singing, gaining their approval winning applause and sweets. An early lesson for Terry, that ladies do love to be sung to.

Clearly aware that their son had a special talent Terry's parents encouraged him to enter local talent shows church hall's holiday camp competitions etc which he was soon winning with the mixture of his charm, youth and preternatural vocal abilities. In one of the competitions Terry won the top prize of two magnums of champagne and was mortified when told he couldn't have any. In another, Terry been promised a Roy Rogers outfit if he won, realising that he was not going to win he was far more concerned about the Roy Rogers kit than he was about his place in the competition. One can't help feeling that even now some 50 years on that when Terry comes off stage part of him is still hoping that there hanging in the dressing-room will be a Roy Rogers outfit. As Terry grew up like many in his generation he was listening to the new music coming from America and the UK as rock 'n' roll gradually gave way to the burgeoning new beat scene. Like many a young man then and now Terry's head was turning from studies to the more exciting possibilities that were available to the new music stars. At around the age of 13 he become the lead vocalist of the school rock group the Redbeats. The band's name giving a clear pointer to their musical inspiration. They played the local circuit, village halls, youth clubs and so on.

Terry's position already strong with his voice and guitar playing abilities was further cemented due to the fact that his car salesman father owned and drove the van that took the group to and from gigs (there's a tip for budding young rock 'n' roll stars yeah learn an instrument yeah write songs but if you can, get control of the van!) The Redbeats were doing ok within the limitations of their school band world when, with Terry aged 15, they shared the bill with Peter Jay and the Jay Walkers at the Palais in Peterborough. Although not in the same league as other bands of the era that stayed the course Peter Jay and the his band were doing alright for themselves. They'd had a minor, Joe Meek produced, hit (Can Can) and had toured with the Beatles in 63. Maybe they lacked a certain something and maybe that's why Peter Jay spotting Terry’s talent encouraged him to take the lead vocal spot in his group. Peter had been moving the band away from mainly instrumental numbers towards early Motown inspired tunes. Terry's voice fitted the bill perfectly.

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