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Rockingscots is a website dedicated to Scottish beat groups and rock bands from the '60s and '70s.

'60s/early '70s SCENE RECALLED.

Here are some thoughts on the '60s music scene in Scotland that contributors have provided. 

 Here was your choice of groups one weekend around 69/70. 

Thanks to Ian Wilkes for the above.  See the article on his band Axis below.  But first, Ian recalls working this circuit. 

The gig guide takes me back. Our band did the same circuit - going where ever Ronnie Simpson's Music And Cabaret sent us. Typical good run was: Thursday, Trocadero Hamilton; Friday, a YMCA anywhere including Ayrshire; Saturday, one of the University Students Unions eg Glasgow ( good beer & good crowd); Sunday, maybe St Monicas Coatbridge (good sandwiches). Our claim to fame was backing the Bay City Rollers. We thought we were the business as the crowd danced to our covers and heavy stuff whereas they stood looking at the young guys with lurid bright suits.    Remember seeing the Stoics at Sgt Peppers. Amazing playing. That could be a hard gig as we did Cragburn Gourock then a late slot up at Botanic Gardens. No surprise it burnt down as I remember the manager coming in to the changing room to switch on more heaters so the punters would sweat more and buy more drink!  I liked the smaller venues like that and the Maryland club.

 

SGT PEPPERS
Some pics of the outside of the building that hosted Sgt Peppers Club for anyone that recalls it.. Provided by Dennis McCue   

      

MAGGIE BELL PIC - From Tony De Marco
We don't cover Stone the Crows as their story is well represented in books, CD covers and other web sites but here is a great off stage pic of Maggie Bell and pal Blossom that shows the hair, eye make up and clothes fashions of the time.  Doesn't Blossom just smoulder under that fringe?



Well we wanted to know for years who Blossom was and now we do.  Here she is a bit earlier under her official name of June Maitland on the right of Margaret 'Maggie' Bell centre and fellow Trixons member Diane Brown left.  Note the practice of the day in giving complete addresses out in the papers!     Many thanks to Ray Jones for this cutting from a '60s Evening Citizen.

Heard of -  Agatha's Moment; The US Images, Knuckles; Atmosphere; High Emotion; Halcyon Lake; Wildwood; Magnet Showband; Stars; The Key or Anagram????  Brian Angus was in them all.  Check them out at: http://brianangus.moonfruit.com/

Lenny Toshack's take on Edinburgh and the visiting Glasgow bands
My first real memories of Edinburgh bands starts around late 64 when I was fourteen. The only place for teenagers to go here was The Top Storey club in Leith Street where the entrance to St James Centre now stands. it was a massive converted snooker hall.  The records they played were minging but every now and again instead of chasing lassies I started to listen to some of the bands - like the Avengers who played mostly beat and chart covers with the occasional RnB  track like Boom Boom and Got Love If You Want It - the Kinks version. 

Most groups were still churning out stuff like I'm a Lover Not A Fighter and Louie Louie. Some really were shite, luckily for most of them I can't remember the names but one was called 'This Side Up' - crap - I could play better. [Possibly a bit harsh there Lenny? - rscots]. Then DJs started to play this thing called the Motown Sound.  Peeking over the decks I could see that the records were on the Stateside label.  The new sound stunned everyone I mucked around with and we raided the record shops to get hold of it.  In 1965 bands like the Hipple People and the Beachcombers came on the scene latching on to this fantastic new style  - at first called RnB then later, Soul.  The Beachcombers played Heatwave and  Baby I Need Your Lovin.   They had  a superb singer called Mike and a really wacky drummer called Eccles (Kenny McLean Jnr) - now a very successful publican in Edinburgh.  The Beachcombers ruled the Storey up to that time but the mod scene arrived and the music changed.  With a snap of the fingers we were digging Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Joe Tex and Don Covay.  Then a band that had been lurking in the background - a tight four piece called the Jury started belting out Atlantic and Motown covers, battering the audience senseless with classics like Hold On I'm Coming and This Old Heart Of Mine. Their lead singer, the brilliant Linnie Patterson came from Leith and worked at Leith docks for a long time.  His Sam and Dave type vocal knocked me sideways.  Nobody was better.  The band soon had a new name - Three's a Crowd and there was also a new place to go.

A ten minute walk from the Storey and  directly opposite John Knox's house in the historic High Street was the Palace picture house.  It had lain empty and boarded up for years until an aspiring Italian by the name of Crolla turned it in to a three tiered disco called McGoos.  It had a smart coffee bar that had been the circle of the cinema. You walked up a flight of stairs to get in and then it descended three sets of steps at either side of the dance floor to the main stage with the DJ booth looking out over it.  This  was real forward thinking by the planners.  The resident group at McGoos was the Moonrakers who were good but didn't come close to Three's A Crowd,

McGoos really was THE place. It was open most days of the week and we were never out of it.  It pulled in overwhelming numbers and made a lot of money for the owners who, to give them their due, didn't stop at just putting on Scottish bands.  In the space of a year and a half we'd seen the Kinks (fantastic, and utter mayhem in the club that night), the Who (another night of madness with Townsend smashing the place to bits!) and the real mods the Small Faces who gave a brilliant show.  Crolla even approached The Beatles who were keen but when I spoke to Mr Crolla a few years ago he said there were problems getting a safety certificate for the club as they were of course massive by then.  

Three's a Crowd ruled McGoos until one particular Saturday night a band from Glasgow, the Pathfinders, made their debut. The first thing that struck me was that Clewset, the lead singer, looked a bit of a jessie - hands on hips and long manicured nails.  But what a great voice. From the off they played some of the most incredible music we had ever heard or never heard!  They pulled out The Platters' With This Ring; Joe Tex's Show Me; Edwin Starr's I Have Faith In You;  Garnett Mimms' I'll Take Good Care Of You ( awesome! ) to name but a few.  They also played a track by Carole King  - Road To Nowhere with a blinding organ riff.  Later on they made it their first single on Apple. After the arrival of The Pathfinders,  Edinburgh bands paled in comparison perhaps with the exception of Three's A Crowd.  Other groups from the West also came to Edinburgh.  The Poets played some soul but mostly their own songs. But they  were never really accepted by Edinburgh club goers.  The Beatstalkers were very trendy and professional but didn't really do much for me.

One day McGoos held an all-dayer - on a Sunday before a Monday holiday.  The line up was breathtaking.  If I've left any bands out I'm sorry but it was a long time ago!.  The Moonrakers--Edinburgh; The Beachcombers--Edinburgh; Three's A Crowd-Edinburgh;  The Stoics (Frankie Miller was not with them yet - mid '66) -Glasgow; House Of Lords-Glasgow; Scots of St James-Glasgow; The Chris McClure Section-Glasgow; The Beatstalkers-Glasgow; The Poets-Glasgow;  Jimmy James and the Vagabonds-London (absolute soul gods to us) and headlining - or at least finishing off the night was  - The Pathfinders-Glasgow.  It was a great day and totally memorable night.  

Then completely out of the blue, McGoos shut down.  The excuse was a fire brigade check deemed the club unsafe.  We were devastated.  No warning, just closure.  It's been rumoured that Crolla was being harassed by Edinburgh gangsters for protection money and closed rather than pay.  Very sad indeed. But not a million miles away in Victoria Street, a long time jazz and beat club grabbed the chance to get the McGoos goers to come to their club called The Place.  This was a converted grain store and you had to go down three long sets of stairs to a dingy cellar. The first thing that hit you was the smell from the gents toilet.  These were the worst toilets ever - say no more. You were supposed to be 18 to get in and we were only 16 but we got away with it.  I even got in free once by carrying the Pathfinders gear!  The stage was really low compared to McGoos so you could get right up close to the bands as well.

But to the music - here The Pathfinders were kings.  Clewsey was master and commander.  They introduced us to unheard soul gems such as, the Left Banke's Walk Away Renee; the Platters' Washed Ashore; Lou Johnson's Always Something There To Remind Me; The Artistics' I'm Gonna Miss You -  as well as beat tracks like Sharon Tandy's Hold On.  They were the complete band and I can honestly say I never missed a performance by the Pathfinders at The Place.  Then one Saturday night at the end of their spot Clewsey told a packed crowd that the band was signing for Apple records and leaving Scotland.  You could have heard a pin drop as well as my jaw hitting the floor.  I knew they would move on to bigger things but we were just not prepared for it.  They did a final Edinburgh gig before moving south.  This was at St Mary's Hall in St Mary's Street - just around the corner from the now boarded up McGoos.  The guests were mod legends The Action.  I'll never forget watching them as The Pathfinders had always played two Action tracks - Baby You've Got It and I Love You Yeah!   When the band came on to say farewell and played I'm Gonna Miss You I swear Clews ran off stage in tears.  I wish I could contact him today to tell him that he and his band were worshipped in Edinburgh. One odd thing - Clewsey used to call Colin Morrison 'springboard heed' in his broad Glasgow accent - no idea why.

So that was that.  Hair started getting longer and flowers became the in-thing.  One night at The Place it was "wear a flower and get in free!" -  to see some hippy band blowing bubbles out of their backsides.  At least the smell of incense was better than the usual smell of urine! 

One last mention of Linnie Paterson from Three's a Crowd.  I moved to London around late 69, and on my first night out I went into a pub in the Kings Road and who was sitting at the bar?  Linnie and all the others from Writing On The Wall!  When I ordered some drinks, Linnie hears the accent and says, "Where ye from?".   "Edinburgh", I says and "I used to be your biggest fan"! That kicked off a long conversation and at the end of the night Linnie said, "Come along to the Marquee tomorrow, we've got a residency there".  So we all piled in to watch the band but as an ex-mod and soul-boy I was flabbergasted at the heavy music they were playing.   I cheekily asked Linnie for Sam and Dave's  When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" which he used to sing to perfection.  He just winked and said, "Sorry pal moved on from that".   Many years later I attended his funeral, standing at the back watching the who's who of Edinburgh musicians that had turned out for him.  The tears were flowing down my face.  It's so sad to think about even now .  He was unique and even if he wouldn't admit it, he was the king of the mods in Edinburgh.

I  never moved on in terms of music. The rock thing just wasn't for me.  I've maintained my devotion to soul and still DJ on the northern soul scene in Edinburgh. - Lenny Toshack.  

Other numbers Lenny recalls being covered by the Pathfinders:  I love you yeah (The Impressions);  Washed ashore (The Platters) - sung with hands on hips; Whats it gonna be (Dusty Springfield); 7 days is too long (Chuck Wood);  Show me (Joe Tex);  One way street (Jigsaw) - brass parts done by guitar and organ; Always something there to remind me (Lou Johnson); The Philly Freeze (Alvin Cash); Higher and higher (Jackie Wilson); Jenny take a ride (Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels); Hold on (Sharon Tandy); I have faith in you ( Edwin Starr); Loving you is sweeter ( Four Tops); With this ring (Platters); The spicks and the specks (Bee Gees).  Can you add more to the list?
 

Martin Frutin - manager of many groups in the '60s - gives a wee resume of his showbiz past

I was born in Giffnock and come from a well known theatrical family from Glasgow.  My late father and his brothers ran and owned a multitude of cinemas in Scotland including the old Metropole theatre in Stockwell Street.  Later, they sold the new Metropole at St. Georges Cross (the old one burnt down) to Jimmy Logan.   I grew up learning all the old Scottish songs and I loved highland dancing - I even had a few stints on Jig Time on the old STV. 

Then I took up Rock n Roll dancing.  My girlfriend and dance partner was Miss June Miller from Pollock.  She and I toured all the big dance halls as the leaders of Glasgow's Johnny Wilson jive team. We became somewhat famous in the 60's as we were constantly on TV - Ready Steady Go, Dance Party Roof,  Juke Box Jury and we even opened Kent Walton's  new TV programme -  Discs a Go-Go.  In 1962 we won the European Cha-Cha,  Jive and Twist  championship.  Frank Sinatra presented us with the cup.  At the height of our fame we were asked to dance in front of the late Queen Mother at the now defunct Alhambra theatre, Glasgow.  It was the most upsetting moment of my life. We were the last act of the first half and were doing a Twist routine - we were the reigning Scottish champions - lo and behold, I did this high kick that caught poor June in the head and I tumbled into the orchestra pit!   Thankfully I only sustained cuts and bruises but, as they say in Glasgow, I was black affronted!  However, the Queen Mum could not hide her laughter and  we ended up  received a standing ovation.  I can still hear the clapping and cheering to this very day.  We became even more famous after that!   We went out dancing seven nights out of seven  and that was the best keep fit you could get and so enjoyable too. I have not lost my touch, and although I don't dance as much  I can still get up and go  - as they say -  much to the amazement of on lookers. 

June's brother Ronnie was in a beat group (as they were called in the 60's) and I was asked by them to become their manager.  I renamed them  the Deljaks after taking on board a new singer named Frankie Miller (no relation to Ronnie).  It all went from strength to strength - I managed the Hitch - Hikers, the Avenue, the Breadline and from Inverness, the Size 4.  I had them all working up to 7 nights a week.    I had dealings with the Marmalade, Ian Clews (Clewsy)  of the Pathfinders a brilliant singer - whatever happened to him? - and of course, my old pal Joe Gaffney who ran the Beatstalkers, the Kleen Machine and several others.   I even had some early contact with the Beatles as I knew Brian Epstein.  Elton John' s subsequent manager, John Reid, from Paisley, was my assistant in the early 60's and went round my groups with me before he hit the big time. I also managed a Eurovision song contest winner named Ricky Peebles for several years.  I think that my success with the beat groups was mainly due to the well known Frutin family name and thus I was hardly ever turned down when I asked for a gig for my bands - and at good money too!

However, in 1972, I decided to start up a  late booking travel centre in Edinburgh.   I had been trained in the travel agency business at Scotia Transport in Bothwell Street and  spoke ten languages!   Frutin Travel became the top  independent travel agency in Scotland and is still going strong.  I'm now semi-retired and living  mostly in Pattaya, Thailand but I come back several times a year to Edinburgh mainly for the hectic July-September period when I do my bit. I've kept up my facility with languages, I now speak Thai fluently along with six dialects.  I love this country of smiling friendly folk, reminds me a bit of the auld Glasgow hospitality. 

Martin & Frankie Miller in Thailand 27 May 2005

If anyone wants to contact me from the old days, or even today, they are most welcome to do so at 
marfru@csloxinfo.com
here in the land of smiles. Sawadee Crap and Chock Dee  from
Somsak-Martin (Frutin).

John McBrearty's recollections as a roadie in the '60s.
John was the roadie for The Verge, a pretty good pop band that played the Scottish circuit in the late 60's and into the 70's.  Started in the game at Burn's Cottage (Waterson's other bar) when he went to see a band on a Saturday morning called Sock'em JB.  Supposed to be Frankie Miller singing.  Walking downstairs, he heard a female singing the most soulful rendition of "Summertime".   Sock'em JB was no more, Frankie had joined Westfarm Cottage.  Maggie Bell, Les Harvey, Jimmy Dewar and a guy named John McGuiness on keyboards were in residency.  The name of the band was Power, later to be Stone the Crows.    John thinks he was the only punter there but he liked the sound and went back week after week.  When the band got a gig at a dance hall at Eglington Toll, Jimmy Dewar asked John to give them a hand with the gear. Power became the house band at the Howff therefore there was not much roadie work so John worked for the Verge most of the time.

 
John recalls that the Beatstalkers had a roadie, a little Romani guy named Pepe (Ian Birch - thanks Johnny Burns).  He came to the Howff one night and John ended up giving him a hand with the Beatstalkers gear at the Cauldron Club in Edinburgh.  A wild night when the band did a great version of "What Condition My Condition Was In" by Kenny Rogers and the 3rd Edition.  They had been playing at US bases in Germany just prior to this gig and had picked up an American influence.  Pepe wore the only American style football shirt John had ever seen in Scotland up to that point.  The House of Lords had also been playing US bases and John remembers them doing "Dance to the Music" by Sly and the Family Stone (at the Maryland) long before that song was getting airplay in the UK.  Pepe went on to roadie for Led Zepellin, but reportedly his career  with them came to a crashing halt after he pissed off John Bonham.  Cheers John.

Robin Ramsay's take on Edinburgh in the '60s
Hello there. Just been perusing the versions of the Edinburgh rock scene and offer these comments. They may be of interest.

I was 16 in 1964 and between then and 1969 I saw a lot of bands in Edinburgh, played in a couple, and promoted a few gigs.   A number of bands remain in my memory.  The best band in the pre-67 period I saw was undoubtedly Glasgow's The Pathfinders. How Ian Clews - 'Clewsy' -
the lead singer didn't become a big star is a mystery to me. He was a wonderful singer and a great dancer. The only dancer I ever saw to match him
was Linnie Patterson, who died recently I believe, of The Jury which became The Writing on the Wall, made a couple of LPs and went to London. They didn't make it, broke up and a couple of members turned up in the mid 1970s in Meal Ticket. But Linnie couldn't sing worth a shit. I remember The Jury doing support for Cream in 1967 at a big place on the High St. Mr Magoo's?

There was an R and B band in Edinburgh circa 1965/6 called The Crusaders which at one time had Mike Heron (pre Incredible String Band) and Robert Smith - 'Smiggy' - on lead guitars. Via Three's a Crowd, Smith ended up in Blue in the early 1970s. In the post 1967 period one of the best bands was East-West, named after the LP of that name in 1965 or 6 by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Their lead guitarist was Ian Bairnson, who later appared in Pilot in the early 1970s and had a no 1 hit with 'January'.  East-West had a big following for their long improvisations - again, modelled on the Butterfield LP's sound. (Or soit seemed to me.)

The clubs to go to were The Place and Bungy's - especially Bungy's which stayed open til the early hours at weekends.  The Top Story club at the top of Leith Walk was a huge fire-trap of a place on the top floor of a tenement. God knows what would have happened had a fire broken out. I
ventured there only once to see The Moody Blues just after their first hit 'Go Now' when they were still basically an R and B band. The acid-taking and their conversion to robes, mellotrons, flutes and mysticism came later.

In 1969 I organised Edinburgh's first concert-in-the park in the Meadows. On the bill was the trio Skin, then very popular, supported by Writing on the Wall, and a blues band whose name I have forgotten. A visiting London band, Juniors Eyes, who had played at in Edinburgh the previous night, stayed around all day to top the bill but the police closed the gig before they could do on! Skin made an LP for Decca but had to change their name to The Human Beast. The LP sold very few copies and is now incredibly hard to find. Copies on e-Bay were going for around 600 the last I heard.

In retrospect there was strikingly little exchange between the Glasgow and Edinburgh bands. The big Glasgow bands - Beatstalkers and Poets, for example - hardly every came across. The hostility which sadly and stupidly existed then between the two cities extended to music.
Cheers.