Biography – Don Woods
 

Biography

I have played in a band (The Four Dees…later to become a three piece) since leaving school in the early 60’s.As the band played a wide variety of music from rock & roll and 60’s to country and strict tempo we were always in demand for corporate functions and masonics etc…and played in most of the major ballrooms and theatres in the North West.Although we also played the usual club circuit we specialised in covering the whole spectrum (even a bit of “old time” if required).I have also played many solo gigs and eventually retired from the road in 2015 but I still jam on a weekly basis with my local musician pals at the Cheshire Cats fundraisers for sick children  www.thecheshirecats.co.uk

I have always written songs and in 1978 one of my compositions reached the final of “The Opportunity Knocks Songwriters Contest” which was televised on Christmas Eve of that year where I introduced my entry.I also wrote songs for local artistes who I knew from the club circuit several of which were performed on TV and radio.In the late 70’s Evolution Records signed me on a major publishing deal where I was to write songs for their artistes (which included Georgie Fame and Mudd) and I was to have material recorded by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and Diana Dors among others.I then signed with Mingard Music and continued writing for the artistes on their books….Mingard Music was run by Angie and Ruth McCartney…step mum and sister of Paul…and they became great friends…and still keep in touch.

In 1980 I decided to form my own recording and publishing company (Cy-Phen Music and Big Dee Records) and produced demos for customers who would send me their rough versions of their songs for me to re-record and knock into shape…and although this was very successful and lucrative (it actually paid for the building and equipment of my recording studio) I reverted back to promoting my own material and began inviting local artistes to record my songs in my studio and have them produced on disc…thus receiving airplay and publicity.The artiste could then sell the records at gigs with a 50/50 deal….a rare everyone wins situation.This proved very successful and of all the records made there were no “left-overs”.
During this time I wrote a song for my great friend Paul Damian entitled “How To Say Llanfairpwllgwngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” which,with it’s pure novelty value,made the national press and was even featured on “Woman’s Hour” and the World Service.It received much radio airplay and sold in droves in Wales.A copy was even sent to Lady Diana (to help her with her Welsh) AND I got a reply from the Palace thanking me!! I also wrote and produced an album for Paul which included the Llanfair song…which I recently sent to William and Kate as a wedding present…and got another nice reply from the Palace…got to keep things going….Paul now lives in Spain but remains in touch.

I have a lot of material on YouTube (check out donwoodswirral) where the Llanfair P.G. song went viral.

Although I wrote and recorded ballads my novelty songs paid dividends and a chance meeting with wrestler Adrian Street resulted in me composing songs and producing two albums of “wrestling” songs for this larger than life character with titles such as “Breakin’Bones”…”I’m In Love With Me”…”Merchant of Menace”…”Violence Is Golden”….etc…etc…Adrian was a big name in the wrestling fraternity in this country but he became even bigger when he moved to the States…and took the music with him….This resulted in me going over there and writing and recording more songs and appearing on national television (as Sir Cedric Everhard-Hathaway….Adrian’s “barrister” from London…Adrian’s idea – not mine!) and during my stay I also appeared on the wrestling circuit making “legal” (if not somewhat biased) decisions on bouts….AND lived to tell the tale.This all resulted in the songs being video’d and shown on MTV and being featured in a Hollywood movie…which was quite amazing…as Adrian wasn’t the best singer in the world…but I obviously never told him that….the album has since been re-released by an American record label (August 2016) on clear vinyl with blood splatterings


On returning home I got back into my comfort zone and was commissioned to write and record jingles for various radio stations which brought in commissions from advertising agents for jingles for their clients…these resulted in numerous radio and TV commercials…I also wrote a half hour Christmas musical for Radio City which was broadcast on two consecutive Christmas’s and was nominated for a Sony award…the play went on to be performed by several schools in the area which resulted in me writing three more for the schools.

I also wrote songs about my beloved Merseyside and marketed them locally.My composition “The Wirral Song” was taken up by the local council who placed a substantial order and sold them via their libraries and sports centres etc…becoming the first council to do this…which also had the song  used for TV and radio promotion.I was also approached by Merseyside County Council to write and record a song for them…which I did with the same results.Seeing there was a huge interest in the area from its locals I continued writing songs of the locality, produced several albums which proved very successful,and eventually went into producing videos (and currently DVDs ) of the area featuring narration and original music which I composed for them….these can be found on the Shop section of this site…

I have appeared on shows in several major theatres both with my band and solo and it was during an appearance with The Krankies that  a new friendship began.
In the 80’s I had written a novelty song which I forwarded to the management of the comedy duo who were to eventually sing it on the Royal Variety Performance.Up to this point I had never met them…during the show I made myself known… and since then I have been writing novelty songs for them each year for their pantos and cruises….fandabidozi!!

I was asked by radio presenter Monty Lister (the first bloke to interview The Beatles) if I would assist him in presenting his popular Sunday morning programme (we had originally become friends through my jingles which Monty used…all 22 of them).This combination was to last 5 years and took me all over Europe taking care of the sound on Monty’s many travelogues…and also interviewing many top celebs.

I still produce CDs and DVDs which find their way all over the world to ex-pats and performed both solo and with my band until 2015 (my theatre work has included appearing alongside Bobby Vee,The Bachelors,Jimmy Cricket and his idol James Burton-who was Elvis’s guitarist…and many others….which can be checked out on this site).As mentioned earlier I am  also involved with “The Cheshire Cats” who are a fundraising society designed to help out charities for sick children,where I am joined each week by several local musicians who give their time and talent free…..check put our website     www.thecheshirecats.co.uk

Here is the story of the band   

My band was formed in 1963 (top to bottom)…Russ Hancock on drums…me on guitar and vocals…Barry McMahon on guitar…Danny McMahon on bass…

…later Mike Rudd (left) replaced Danny on bass…

…Tom Bennett eventually replaced Russ on drums…and also added his vocal talent.

…Barry retired in the late 80’s and the band continued as three piece until 2000

…Derek Smallridge later replaced Tommy on drums….

…and Steve Woods replaced Mike on bass until we disbanded in 2015…..

…stand in drummers have included Trevor Carlisle…Tony Aldridge…Barry McClavey…Mike Holmes and Phil Allen……..Derek Green stood in on bass from time to time………

…all members of the band have remained good friends over the years …..good times…great memories…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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