I went to one of the best gigs ever at Strathclyde University when I was just a boy back in the ’80s. That’s the 1980s, not the 1880s.
It was Mari Wilson And The Wilsations bringing the packed house down with her hits Just What I Always Wanted and Baby It’s True.
I remember the condensation running down the walls! People loved the woman nicknamed Miss Beehive.
One of the Wilsations, Michelle Collins, went on to become Cindy in EastEnders, and another was singer-songwriter Julia Fordham.
The lady who booked them has gone on to become the general manager at the Mandarin Oriental in London, and one of my good friends, Amanda Hyndman!
Little did I know that Mari Macmillan Ramsay Wilson would not only go on to become one of the UK’s finest vocalists, but she would be Emmy-nominated and also become a lasting friend.
In fact, she also did me the incredible honour of singing the first song at my wedding a couple of years ago.
The song was At Last. I think she was trying to tell me something!
Mari and I actually share the same wedding anniversary. She is married to another old pal, Emmy-winning writer and producer Mal Young.
“We met at a charity bash in 2001 and he was all over me like a rash!” Mari told me.
At one of my Burns bashes out here I said you can always tell when a jazz vocalist is at your front door, they always come in at the wrong moment and can’t find the key.
None of that old gag applies to Mari and, with her mum and dad hailing from Scotland, it’s no surprise she brought the house down again by belting out Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl with her stunning voice.
Dad Jimmy worked at the power station in Neasden – where she was crowned Neasden Queen Of Soul. Her mum even popped a tiara on her beehive!
Mari has always been a fan of The Sunday Post. Her dad bought it so Mari could do The Broons Family Quiz.
I love Mari and you can see the wonderful lady in action and hear that she’s never sounded better. Take my word for it, she’s brilliantly funny on stage with her patter.
She’ll be appearing at The Woodside Hotel, Aberdour on June 5, Oran Mor, Glasgow on June 6, and The Green Hotel in Kinross on June 7.
“It really does always feel like coming home when I play Scotland,” Mari told me.
“The audiences are definitely the most fun and loud.
“And, unlike Pavarotti, I don’t mind when the audience joins in with the songs!”
Get your tickets early and don’t miss her…I’ll tell you how much I love her, I’m flying back from LA to see her at Oran Mor.
Don’t let that put you off though!