Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hywel Ffiaidd

I'm quite curious about Hywel Ffiaidd, a Welsh punk/theatrical rock band from the late '70s, early '80s. Ffiaidd by the way, is Welsh for loathsome. Judging from their song titles they seem to have been politically motivated. On this cassette their tunes are Croeso Diana, Plismon and Bobby Sands. They also did a number called Can i John Jenkins. Their line-up changed at various points but singer Dyfed Thomas - who was also responsible for their lyrics - seems to have been a constant. I've seen some good shots of him in the Welsh-language music fanzine of the day, Sgrech (Scream), looking somewhat Boris Karloff-like. He's an actor now, apparently. Were they any good?

UPDATE: Here is some fabulous background information on Hywel Ffiaidd kindly sent to me by ‘Dean Dwl’. Cheers Dean:

Dyfed Thomas acted in both Welsh & English - in the early ‘80s he appeared alongside Dennis Waterman in the TV film The World Cup: A Captain's Tale.

The bass player Dafydd Saer is the son of Roy Saer, collector of Welsh folk songs at St Fagans.

The guitarist Dafydd Pearce was from Penrhyndeudraeth. In the late ‘60s he met up with the Mick Jagger who was in the area partying with Lord Harlech's kids, I think. Mick introduced Dafydd to his brother Chris. Dafydd joined Chris's band and jetted off to the States to do a couple of albums with Chris, returning to Wales in the late ‘70s with enough money to set up his own studio, Stiwdio 123, in Cardiff, where this tape was recorded. He now lives in west Wales, working as a freelance TV sound recordist. In his house there's a nice portrait of Yul Brynner, presented to Dafydd by Brynner's son from when Daf was living in LA in the ‘70s.

BTW Dafydd's uncle was in the legendary early ‘60s north Wales band Dino & the Wildfires, active on the Merseybeat scene. Legend has it his uncle, Eurwyn Pierce AKA 'Dino', taught Gerry Marsden (& the Pacemakers) the chords to You'll Never Walk Alone - the rest is history. Dino played alongside the Beatles too, amongst other Merseybeat groups. Although all members were Welsh speakers from the Penrhyndeudraeth/Porthmadoc area, they were told to pretend they were from Liverpool because being Welsh wasn't cool - like they did back then. They changed their name to The Wackers and released one single, which was not a hit.