Tributes after New Faces winner Dave dies

A stalwart entertainer in Shropshire and Mid Wales and New Faces winner in the 1970s has died at his county home.

Dave Curtis
Dave Curtis

Born near Harlech and having spells of living in Manchester and Australia, Dave Curtis moved to Newtown in early 70s and sang at Eisteddfods and then with a skiffle group.

Having visited the Anchor Inn at Kerry to see Tony Hughes perform, Dave took up playing guitar and entertained audiences far and wide, going on to record three albums on Tank Records.

In 1977 he beat off strong opposition to win television's 'New Faces', scoring 107 points out of a maximum of 120. The only criticism he received from the panel of judges, consisting of Lionel Blair, Jack Parnell, Shaw Taylor and Geoff Love, was that of his dress code – he sang a country music song wearing a dress suit bow tie and velvet jacket.

Following his New Faces win and due to the extra work load that it brought Dave moved to Shropshire but still continued to entertain audiences in Mid Wales.

But television appearances, recording contracts and numerous live performances were not his only claims to fame.

While appearing at Brymbo Cricket Club as the opening act for the Lonnie Donegan show he came to the rescue – the organisers hadn't read the clause in Lonnie's contract that a PA system had to be provided, so after some deliberation and the threat of Lonnie pulling out, the star of the show and his backing vocals were heard thanks to Dave's equipment. Another act who had to use Dave's equipment for similar reasons was Ruby Murray.

But probably his biggest claim to fame was back in his skiffle days, when two 15-year-olds from Liverpool staying at a guest house run by the parents of one of the skiffle group, on hearing the band rehearsing, asked if they could join in. The two young Liverpudlians were Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

Dave was also featured in the book 'Entertaining Mid Wales & Beyond' which recalls the stories of many entertainers, choirs, actors, brass bands and more who have emerged from or worked out of the area.

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