PENARTH musician John Lewis has recorded a new album at one of the last remaining Billybanks homes - to pay tribute to what was once ‘a vibrant community’ - before the derelict housing estate is completely torn down.
The 42-year-old Penarthian - who has toured all over Europe in recent years - said that despite it’s run-down image, the Billybanks were once the heart and soul of the area, with fond memories for many people, and he wanted to represent that.
“A lot of great things came out of the Billybanks and a lot of people enjoyed some very good times there,” he said.
“Hopefully this can be one more great thing to come out of there!
“I remember some of the summer bonfires and barbecues up there, and the community spirit was fantastic.”
The album, which is John’s eighth, but his first as part of a trio, was recorded in the living room of a friend who still lives at the Billybanks – one of the last remaining residents.
“It’s a small, confined space, so we just moved all the recording equipment in there and used it as a studio - it worked pretty well,” he explained.
“It’s a shame that it’s going but it had its time - I just wanted to commemorate that.”
One of the songs recorded there - Not Quite The Not - is about people on the margins.
“I feel that represents what the Billybanks was like best of all,” he added.
“There were a lot of people up there like that.”
The Billy Banks Sessions by the John Lewis Trio is due for release in the spring.