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Ups And Downs of Playing in Europe

April 1969

South Yorkshire Times, April 12, 1969

Ups And Downs of Playing in Europe

After the Beatles first trod the musical soils of Hamburg and the like, many a young person has tried to imitate their success. Not all of those who plunged into the Continental night clubs emerged unscathed. One who did is Goldthorpe organist Royce Francis.

Royce, (21), son of Mr. Bernard Francis. a miner, and for over 20 years a stalwart of Dearne Miners’ Welfare Theatrical Society, has just returned from three years abroad in a career which included television shows and sleeping on park benches.

The two things were quite common for the members of this section of the British export drive, says the young man from 16, Welfare View, Goldthorpe, who became known locally playing the mouth organ for the Dearne pantos.

Adds Royce, “There are a great many young British people around the foreign dub circuit, all trying to gain some experience. We all shared mixed fortunes. One day you might be playing for a group like the Hollies in a television show, the next going round the agents offices looking for a job.”

Royce who thinks he must have spent over £2,000 on musical equipment in the last  six years, is now playing for singer Harry Parker.

They tour clubs throughout the North. “It’s really shift work. Working at night, sleeping during the day,” he says, “Harry’s a great professional.” I am learning a lot from him, adds Royce, who looks on working with Harry as the natural step from his Continental sojourn.

“A musician can never be satisfied, he must expand his, ideas all the time,” he says. “It is no good just copying.”

He leans towards jazz, but, as he says, “You have got to play what is wanted, and anyway I just like playing.”