Distant Lands

distant lands

Max has never been afraid to take his songs and stories to strange and distant lands. This has supplied him with wonderful anecdotal stories. So when he was offered a ten-concert tour of the Falkland and Ascension Islands, he readily accepted.

With a full entourage of technicians and musicians, dancers and brilliant support in Jenny Howe and Dave Lee, they left RAF Brize Norton for Las Malvinas. He performed in the great hangers of RAF Mt. Pleasant and even more remarkable, in the Radar Stations on the snowbound summits of Mt. Alice, Mt. Kent and the Byron Heights. The welcome was overwhelming and genuine and an experience Max will never forget, visiting places like Goose Green and Bluff Cove where so many of his compatriots fell during the Falklands War. His ability to work in almost impossible conditions, such as was found in the steel containers that served as “Concert Halls” in that bleak land, warmed everyone to him.

They appreciated him coming perhaps more than any audience he had encountered and he and the rest of the party gave them their all in return. Max once wrote (perhaps to impress a London literary agent) that his influences had been Dylan Thomas and Al Read. His real influence, however, was the community in which he grew up. The mining valleys of South Wales. These tight knit communities with their inherent warmth and humour, their sadness and their passion. It was here “where they emptied the hills to warm the world” he would find his seams of humour and his veins of inspired fantasy. His ability, like Idris Davies, the Rhymney Valley poet before him, to capture the moment of a time and place. It is remarkable that no-one before or since has tapped these seams in quite the same way.

Jack Waterman wrote in ‘The Listener’ in 1979: “Harry Secombe is one of the most famous of comedians from Wales. His reputation however rests with his singing and Neddy Seegrovery. Sir Geraint Evans possessed considerable talent for comedy and made us laugh in the roles of Falstaff and Leporello, but his career depended every move on his voice. Until Max Boyce, I can think of no-one who has become famous outside Wales for his Welshness.”

Welsh comediennes there have been like Maudie Edwards and Gladys Morgan, but as a boy from the valleys, who is able to make people laugh in some of the greatest concert halls in the World, Max Boyce is happily and uproariously unique.