My Showbiz career…

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I started my showbiz career as a 15 years old lead singer for a group called ‘Mike Smith and the Teens’. We did a lot of rehearsing but it’s a good job that we never played any gigs as the 3 guitarists and drummer could not play our instruments or read a word of music.

After that I did a few auditions and gigs in the Workingmens’ Club of Yorkshire with Joe Shakespeare, a friend of my Dad’s. Joe would open the show, then I’d come on and give a few songs with the guitar and Joe would finish off the night. We had some really good nights.

The Chosen Two…

About this time I was asked to perform in a local area Youth Revue at a theatre in Wakefield and it was there that I met and fell head over heals in love with Michelle. She was singing in an all girl trio but didn’t take much persuading for her to leave them and form a double act with me.

Michelle and I worked only weekends for a few years before taking full week engagements mainly in the North-east and Wales and remained together for about five years before we decide to go our separate ways.

Tom Sawyer…

When Michelle and I parted company I started working 5 nights per week in the Old George Variety Bar in Doncaster as compere/entertainer and on Saturdays and Sundays I played the local clubs. During this time I also took work in the North-east and Scotland and Wales.

As the acts of London have the Water Rats Society and Variety Club of Great Britain to raised money for their various charities, we in South Yorkshire needed something similar. So in 1974 four local acts got together to form the ‘Grand Order of Clubland Rams’ ( Because all their birthdays were in April, Aries the Ram ). In 1976 I was called on to be ‘King Ram’ for a year and raised over £24,000 for local charities.

The Fabulous DAYBREAK Show…

I was under the same Management as a group called Daybreak with whom I had worked on many promotonal shows and when our Manager ‘upped and offed’ it seemed a natural progression that we should get together. The line-up was Chris Whiteside ( Lead guitar/vocals ) Steve ( Sam ) Cunningham ( Bass/vocals ), Don Parker ( Drums/vocals ) and myself as lead vocalist.

After only a weeks rehearsal we did our first show at the Carousel Club in Worksop, Nottinghamshire supporting Black Foot Sue, a band that had just payed Wembley Stadium. Our set comprised of songs and music by ‘The Four Seasons’, The Beach Boys and 70’s pop. We did so well on our first gig that the manager of the place booked us for the following week to support the ‘Black Abbott’ with Russ Abbott.

During the five years that we were together the band travelled the UK extensively playing in many top venues such as Batley Variety Club, Wakefield Theatre Club, Club Tropicano, Coventry, the Bailey’s circuit and many more, working with many stars of the day.




Quote from ‘The Stage’ Newspaper…. “Professionalism is a quality which has to be cultivated over many years in showbusiness. It is acquired by drawing on rich experience and learning to adapt to one’s audience.

It is the hallmark of the star, and SOYA & BEAN had it.” SOYA & BEAN were not formed, they were grown from a seed planted on April 1st 1977, watered by laughter it flourished into what a famous critic called “The funniest thing on four legs”.

Ron & Don entertained over the length and breadth of the British Isles. Shows and venues as different as performing in 5 star hotels, to entertaining a playschool party, from pantomime in the comfort of one of the countries leading theatres, to a young farmers’ barbecue where the stage was made of straw bales. The act consisted of a mixture of comedy, song and instrumentals. The comedy was fast, funny and visual, with Ron the straightman trying to make some sense of Don’s inane antics. The act included a few songs written by the boys and showed off their brilliant harmonies. You would also have heard the many instrumental talents of Ron & Don featured on trumpet, organ, guitar, mouthorgan and accordian.

SOYA & BEAN’S dedication. enthusiasm and fervent attention to detail paid off in 1985, when they appeared with Paul Squire, Perfect Match, Lena Martell, Bernard Manning and The Drifters on the ‘Club Mirror’ U.K. National Clubland Awards Show at Bailey’s, Watford.

Ken Loach, the Director of ‘Kes’ chose the boys for parts in a National ‘Teltey Bitter’ TV advertisement playing Barmen. Don in a Squash Club and Ron in a Golf Club, where their comedy manner and timing were used to full effect.

Channel 4’s documentary series ‘Chasing Rainbows’ included 10 minutes of Soya & Bean’s act, filmed at a restaurant, together with an offstage interview which discussed music within the context of comedy.
Numerous TV appearances include –
‘Girls on top’ – ‘Boon’ ( Series I, II & III ), ‘Crossroads’
‘Cue Gary’, ‘Shadow of the Noose’ and the long running series ‘The Bretts’.

Moving from light entertainment roles to drama was achieved when
Soya & Bean played two Police Motorcyclists in Central Television’s ‘Hardcases’
and R.U.C. Constables in BBC Scotland’s 5 part series ‘Crossfire’.


3 Responses to “Showbiz…”

  • Jeff and julie:

    Soya and bean played at our wedding 22yrs ago in Nottingham .our daughter is getting married this year and would like to know if you are still performing as you both made our day one to remember.we still get people reminding us of how good you were thanks jeff/julie derrick

    • admin:

      Hi Julie & Jeff…

      Thank you for your comments regarding Soya & Bean, it’s so good to hear from you.

      I can actually remember performing at your wedding in Nottingham all those years ago. Some performances seem to stick in the memory and
      yours was one of them.

      Very sorry to disappoint your daughter but unfortunately, Soya & Bean parted company in 2003, after over 25 years together.

      Don now works in Education and still lives near Doncaster but for the last four years I have been living and working as Webmaster for a very large Evangelical organization in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.

      Once again sorry that we can’t do your daughter’s wedding but I wish her and her future intended the very best of luck for the future.

      Kind regards….

      Ron Greenfield

      PS… If I still lived in the UK, I could still have helped her at her wedding. Take a look at this website…. It’s another string I have in my bow… lol

  • Keith:

    Hi There,
    Stayed with Daybreak and Soya & Bean many years ago in the South Lodge era of Pro digs in Sunderland.
    Nice to know your still gigging as I am.

    Best Wishes
    Keith —— Ex Keith & Bernie ‘Gentle & Giant’

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