ONE of the most popular bands on the South Wales gig circuit of the 1960s is marking its 50th anniversary by getting back together to play in aid of a Gwent charity.

With six original members from Newport and Cwmbran, Pieces Of Mind built up a sizeable following supporting the likes of Billy Fury, John Lee Hooker, Gene Vincent, Manfred Mann, The Hollies, The Moody Blues, The Searchers and The Who, and through their own concerts throughout the region.

Now they are planning their very own beat regeneration by re-forming for a show in Cwmbran in April.

“We all went our separate ways but some of us got back in touch over the years,” said founder member and lead guitarist John Reardon.

“Some of us got together for a drink at the Celtic Manor before Christmas and it just snowballed.

“We decided to do something for charity and we thought we could fill a smallish hall.

Andy (Gibbon, guitarist) came up with St David’s Hospice Care.”

The band, which used to practise at the St John Bosco Hall in Cromwell Road, Newport, played night spots including Majestic on Stow Hill, either as support or headline act, and also travelled around the country with gigs in Birmingham and Hereford.

“It all seems like a very long time ago, and we’ve all got different memories of it,” said Mr Reardon, originally from Alway, and who joined the RAF after leaving the band in the late 1960s when some members decided to play in Germany.

“A couple of the band members remember supporting John Lee Hooker at the Majestic but three of us could not remember it at all.

“I remember playing the Beachley Army Apprentices’ College when the Severn Bridge was being built, and once the van broke down on the way to Birmingham, so we had to get a taxi back at 6am to be in work at 8am.”

Mr Reardon began playing in bands when at St Julian’s Grammar School, and when he went to work at Whitehead’s steelworks he met and persuaded Adrian Williams, the band’s vocalist, to get involved.

Mr Williams continued in bands after Pieces of Mind dissolved, eventually rising to a senior managerial position with Sony Music.

Singin’ the blues at social club

THE reunion concert will take place at the Cwmbran Workingmen’s Band Club and Institute, Oldbury Road, on April 26, with ticket details and starting time to be confirmed.

“We’re getting together for rehearsals and hoping to have as many former members as possible involved,” said Mr Reardon, who now lives in Northamptonshire.

“We began initially with a mixture of blues and rhythm and blues, and we had a soul period with organ, trombone, sax and the like, then we slimmed down again, so we should be able to put a good set together.”