Lost in about 1970, Max Boyce song, can anyone help?

To @aran: this is not on the topic of learning, so you may want to delete it!
I always listened to Radio Wales in the mornings before work when I lived in Yorkshire. One day, in ‘Good Morning Wales’, I heard, “Yesterday, for our election program, we had a studio audience and we had an entertainer for them while we were off air. He was so good, most of them preferred him to the program, so we recorded the best bit and will play it for you now.” It was a song… I’m pretty sure it was a song, not a poem, but I’m not sure I could swear to it. It was so good, I stayed home to listen to the second edition of Good Morning Wales and try to write it down. (Tape recorders were big reel to reel things. I didn’t have one!). I panted into work late with my little bit of paper to tell it to my friend, who was also Welsh. I was not popular for being late! It never occurred to me that the ‘entertainer’ would not become famous. He did. His name was told to us, “It’s a young man who has been appearing at some of the clubs, he’s called Max Boyce.”
I am virtually certain it was Max’s first ever broadcast. I lost that piece of paper and have never heard that song again!!
Has anyone, or their Dad/Mam or Nain/Taid (Mamgi/Tadci) heard of it? Got it? The punch-line was “And they’re calling their little daughter Barry John!”

Well I can’t help you, but what a fantastic memory that must be.

Max is a real character - a one -off.

I hope you find someone who knows the answer.

Diolch yn fawr!! I’ve been looking for it off and on ever since!!!

I am revamping this topic in case any newer Forum member can help me! I was reminded by a mention of Max in another thread! While I live, I 'll lever stop looking for that song!

My best guess is it is from “The Outside-Half Factory.” but got changed over time.
or of course i could be wrong.

Cheers J.P.

I think it might have evolved into a number of different songs, John! I don’t remember the rest of the words, but it was, I’m fairly sure about a rugby tour, which means, I think it has to have been 1972 local election and 1971 Lions. I never liked the Factory song much, apart from the mould of solid gold! I certainly didn’t recognise it as the one I was hunting for!
edit: No it wasn’t as late as I mused above. See later comment.

The only one I can think of which mentions Barry John in a final line is “Hymns and Arias”.


No, I remember well when that was written. It was England Wales at Twickenham, the year a chap waved his mate’s crutch in front of my friend and I, Not the same song at all! And a signed photo doesn’t have the same ring as naming a little girl!
ps Match 1970, written about 1971.

I have a copy of his book “I was there!” which contains all his early songs and poems. I’ll have a look through it tomorrow.
I also have all his early albums, but nothing to play them on :smile:

I’ve looked through the book, I couldn’t find a line anything like you’re looking for.
I also looked at the titles on the albums I have, which includes his first from 1971. All the rugby songs are in the book.
Sorry I couldn’t help, good luck with your quest.

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I vaguely remember a joke about someone naming their child barry john…can’t really remember anything about it though, but i’m sure it was Max Boyce. Sorry.

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I thought I’d try and help see if we could cast any light on this, so I emailed Roy Noble, who was kind enough to have a word with Max - I just heard back from Roy - he says (rough translation):

‘Max remembers that event in the early days of his career - he sang about political events in those days as they cropped up - unfortunately, no-one was recording it, and he himself can’t remember anything about that punchline!’

So, bit of a curate’s egg - on the one hand, you’re no closer to tracking down that song - on the other hand, you’ve made Max think about the punchline again, so maybe he’ll end up finding a way to use it ‘as new’ one of these days… :slight_smile:

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I suspect the only place it might be is the archives of BBC Radio, if any exist. I have been off line due to some sort of glitch with our local network. Janet finally managed to get us back on line. But I did some checking. The General Election was June 1970. It must have been the following day that I heard that song on BBC ‘Good Morning Wales’. The previous Wales-England game, 1969, was classic. I know 'cos I was there! No North Stand, so more crowded than usual! Started freezing and ended up toasty! England ended up dead on their feet just below me, when we had scored yet another try! Barry was in his element and all was well with our world! That, I think, with a draw against the South African tourists, may be what sparked the song I was wanting to find, but I suspect it was never published and is now lost. Sob! :sob:

I seem to remember Jonny cash had a record “A boy named Sue” . Calling a girl Barry John may have been a nod to that single.
Just conjecture of course.

Cheers J.P.

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Thanks a zillion @aran, I don’t have connections like that! I do know the song was recorded, because they played it to us on Good Morning Wales next day, twice! But I guess they didn’t keep the recording after that! Oh and if you happen to see/talk to Roy and/or Max, say “Diolch yn fawr iawn!” Oddi fi!

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I can’t promise anything @henddraig, but I deal with the BBC Wales archive a lot in the course of my work, so I’ve asked one of my contacts there if she can help at all. I’ll let you know if she comes back to me with anything.


Oh I do not have words to thank you! I looked on line for radio acrhives, but couldn’t find anything hopeful. I remember a program in which people asked for rare bits of old broadcasts and some were found and played, so I know there were archives, but for all I know they are ditched after 20 years! Of course, it’s possible my memory got it wrong and it was a song since recorded, but I have never thought so! Good Morning Wales, day after General Election 1970, date was 18/6/1970 so I’ try 19/6/1970.
To let me have words, really you would have to ask Max, as it’s his copyright, but he might be happy for BBC to play it again!

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I’ve just heard back from the archives, but I’m afraid it’s not great news. Here is my contact’s reply:

Haia Siaron,
Dwi wedi bod wrthi’n chwilio trwy waith papur rhaglenni ‘Good Morning Wales’, am fis Mehefin, 1970, ond, yn anffodus, does na ddim cofnod o gwbl o gyfraniad Max Boyce i’r darllediadau adeg yr etholiad cyffredinol. Dyw’r recordiad ei hun heb oroesi, mae arna i ofn, ond amgaeaf y gwaith papur am ‘Good Morning Wales’ 19 Mehefin 1970 er gwybodaeth.
Sori na fedraf ddarparu mwy o fanylion, ond, o ran recordiadau cynnar BBC Wales, nid yw’r archif yn gyflawn gan na chafodd pob rhaglen ei chadw a’i harchifo.
Cofion gorau,

So (for readers not yet up to translating that):
“I have searching through paperwork for the Good Morning Wales programmes for June 1970, but unfortunately there is no note at all of a Max Boyce contribution to the broadcasts at the time of the general election. The recording itself hasn’t survived, I’m afraid, but I enclose the paperwork for GMW 19/6/70 for information.
Sorry I can’t supply more details but, when it comes to early BBC Wales recordings, the archive isn’t complete because not every programme got kept and archived.”

Sorry @henddraig - looks like we’re back to square 1, but it was worth a try. :disappointed:


Diolch iti for going above and beyond the call of friendship and really pullung out all the stops! You have actually answered my questions!

  1. No record still exists
  2. Max has re-vamped the material into at least two other songs and has no record of the one I heard.
  3. That punch line is lost forever, save in my memory!
  4. No point hunting any more!
    And I have learned a lesson. If something is worth writing down, keep the piece of paper!!!
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