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Blackpool press (source unknown)
(?) June 1967
NEIL'S FIRSTIMER COULD MEAN A BLUES BAND HIT
Twenty-years-old Neil Smith, of Bolton, has made his television debut with an appearance on Granada's new series 'Firstimers'.
Neil, of Jesmond Road, guitarist with the seven-strong jazz-blues-playing John Evan Band, made a tele-recording at the studios two weeks ago. And a song written by group singer Ian Anderson, 'Take The Easy Way Home', was heard on the tea-time programme.
Neil, a tax officer with the Inland Revenue at Manchester, joined the Blackpool-based band seven months ago after playing with a couple of local groups — and has never looked back since.
With bookings most weekends, the band travels to all parts of the country and a demo-disc, 'How Can You Work With Momma', has just been recorded.
The new television programme — to give artistes their first TV break — will be watched by a panel of judges. At the end of three months the winning act will be announced. If the band are successful they could win a cash prize and a second television appearance.
We are eager to get to the top, but only by playing the type of music we like, jazz-blues. We don't want to be forced into playing more popular types of music just because they may be commercially better.