By Graham Chalmers
Bay City Roller Eric Faulkner seems to have a bit of a love affair with North Yorkshire.
Not that Harrogate or Ripon or the Dales saw much of him during the heady days of full-blown Rollermania in the tartan-festooned mid-1970s.
Recent years have seen the guitarist and songwriter make regular trips, usually as a solo act playing a little folk as well as the big hits.
This time around the multi-talented 61-year-old is bringing Eric Faulkner’s Bay City Rollers to Harrogate at the Constance Green Hall next month when the clock will be turned full on back to the flared-trousered 70s.
Eric said: “I’ve played some very enjoyable small shows in the Harrogate area in the last couple of years. I love the audiences here. They’re always up for a party.”
It’s fair to say the concert has provoked a new outbreak of Rollermania, though perhaps of a more civilised nature.
The enduring popularity of a band inaccurately labelled a ‘manufactured pop band’ in the past surprises Eric himself.
Edinburgh-born Eric said: “I understand the promoters of the show have pulled out all the stops – wall to wall tartan, I hear.
“Coming back to Harrogate and meeting up with old pals like Gary Bales, who will be supporting us, is always great fun.
“There are fans coming from up and down the country, even some from Spain, Germany and America.”
When Eric takes the stage at the impressive hall at St Aidan’s School in Harrogate on Saturday, July 11, it will be almost 40 years to the day since the Rollers had soared straight to the top of the charts on a wave of international hysteria with the belting ballad Give A Little Love.
The same year also saw Bye Bye Baby, another typically upbeat effort by Eric, Les, Derek and co, become the biggest selling UK single of the whole year.
By the way, don’t ask what happened to his former comrades. At any time of the day there can be countless versions of the Bay City Rollers playing somewhere in the globe.
Eric’s range of interest and skills as a guitarist and songwriter go beyond pop hits into folk and singer-songwriter territory, which is how, he says, he found the local support act for his Harrogate show.
Eric said: “For some reason people are always surprised when they realise I can actually play my instruments! I suppose I have the best of both worlds – I have both my Rollers gigs and my quieter, traditionally-orientated acoustic shows.”
It was at one of those in our area recently he met Gary Bales who had been dragged along by his sister, a little reluctantly, to see one of Eric play in Harrogate.
They’ve since become friends event though songs like Shang A Lang, Summerlove Sensation, Saturday Night, Bye Bye Baby and Give A Little Love originally meant little to him.
But that’s the magic of Rollermania.
A limited number of tickets are available on 07730 422665.