Thursday, 19 July 2018

The Story of Scottish Pop : BBC Radio BBC Radio Scotland

The Story of Scottish Pop BBC Radio Scotland. Vic Galloway celebrates the story of Scottish pop music to mark the opening of a new exhibit at The National Museum of Scotland.

(Video Courtesy: NationalMuseumsScotland Youtube Channel)

333 Eilidh McGuire

(Video Courtesy: Various Artists - Topic Youtube Channel)

Monday, 2 July 2018

Bay City Rollers

In 1967, bassist Alan Longmuir (1948 - 2018) and brother Derek (drums), Gordon Nobby Clarke (singer) and John Devine (guitar) were in a Scottish group called Saxon. They thought the moniker was too English sounding and according to legend found the group’s next name by throwing darts at a map of the United States. Why it was not a map of Scotland (being fiercely Scottish) is not clear but the Bay City Rollers were born. The Rollers were a very popular club act in the late 60s and soon snapped up by Bell Records. Their first single was a cover version of Gentry’s "Keep on Dancing." The record was produced by Jonathan King (Everyone’s gone to the moon) and entered the top ten in UK.

In June 1972, Eric Faulkner (lead guitarist) joined the band and then Les McKeon (1973) replaced Nobby Clarke, and Stuart “Woody” Wood (rhythm guitar). This stabilised the quintet's line up. Their next three singles flopped but in 1974 they had a minor hit with "Remember (Sha La La La)."

From this point forward the Rollers became a teen sensation in Great Britain with everyone of them dressed in plaid. The tartan clad Rollers won a song contest, sponsored by Radio Luxembourg with a song called "Mañana. " which proved popular in Europe and Israel thereby spreading their appeal.

When the Rollers were not doing cover versions many of their early hits were written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter. The writers had previously written Sandy Shaw’s hit “Puppet on a string,” and Cliff Richard’s “Congratulations.” Over the next three years the Rollers released a string of successful hits including, "Remember (Sha La La La),” "Shang-a-Lang," “Summerlove Sensation,” and "All of Me Loves All of You.” In the spring of 1975, they had become one of the biggest selling acts in Britain.

  Rollermania took hold of the UK as the Rollers undertook a national tour. "Bye, Bye, Baby" (previously recorded by the Four Seasons) stayed at #1 in the UK for six weeks and "Give A Little Love" topped the charts in the summer of the same year.

By autumn (fall), they were number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 with "Saturday Night," a second US hit came with "Money Honey" which reached #9.

A Dusty Springfield song "I Only Want To Be With You" reaffirmed their popularity in the UK.

By the end of the 70s, the Rollers had lost much of their fan base and the last single to make the charts was "It's A Game" (1977).

Meantime Alan Longmuir left the band because he felt he was too old for the lineup. He was replaced briefly by Irish American, Ian Mitchell, who in turn was replaced by guitarist Pat McGlynn. Alan Longmuir re-joined the band in 1978. The Rollers branched out into children’s television in both the UK and the US but when their manager Tam Paton was sacked in 1979, and Les McKeown's was replaced as lead singer by Duncan Faure, a South African singer, the days of the Bay City Rollers, was over. During the 80s and 90s, there were various short-lived revivals featuring some of the original members. In 1999, the most-famous line-up of Alan, Derek, Woody, Les and Eric briefly reunited for a new LP and tour. After this date there were two touring versions of the group: Les McKeown's Legendary Bay City Rollers and Ian Mitchell's Bay City Rollers. Each group features only its titled member from the original Rollers heyday. In 2015, The Bay City Rollers, including McKeown, Stuart “Woody” Wood and Alan Longmuir announced that were reforming and would play a show at the Glasgow Barrowlands. Alan Longmuir after a short illness died in 2018 aged 70.

Worth a listen:
Keep On Dancing
Remember (Sha La La La) (1974)
Shang-a-Lang (1974)
Summerlove Sensation (1974)
All of Me Loves All of You (1974)
Bye, Bye, Baby (1975)
Give A Little Love (1975)
Saturday Night (1975)
Money Honey (1975)
I Only Want To Be With You (1975)
It's A Game (1977)

Sandy Shaw
Puppet on a string

Monday, 18 June 2018

Rip It Up at the National Museum of Scotland

Rip It Up charts the history of Scottish pop and rock music from the 1950s to the present day. It talks about the main players and protagonists, showing the evolution of myriad idiosyncratic genres and styles over seven decades. This book will accompany a major exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland 22 June to 25 November 2018, and a BBC Scotland TV series, presented by Vic Galloway, which explore the musical culture of Scotland from Lonnie Donegan to Calvin Harris.

The exhibition features clothes, photographs, instruments, memorabilia, props, film and, music as well as interviews and archive footage. For a country of around only five million people Scotland has punched above its weight in shaping the twentieth century's most important, accessible and radical art form, pop and rock music.

(Video Courtesy: NationalMuseumScotland Youtube Channel)

Monday, 23 April 2018

BA Robertson

Brian Alexander Robertson was born in 1948 in Glasgow. He attended Allan Glen's School, Glasgow before graduating from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. At 21, he signed a publishing deal with Steve Morris and in 1973 released his debut album entitled, Wringing Applause. The album had and impressive line-up of musicians including Herbie Flowers (Bass), Paul Beer & Stephen Saunders (Euphonium) and Barry Morgan (Drums) but it attracted little attention. BA meantime worked as a session musician and played keyboards on recording for other bands including Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel’s (1976) Another Journey (B-Side of Come up and make me smile).

The same year Alexander Robertson released his second album, "Shadow Of A Thin Man", which featured George Fenton, Tony Hymas (keyboards), Frank Ricotti, Terry Britten (guitarist), Herbie Flowers (bass), Chris Spedding (guitar) and Simon Philips on drums. BA and Terry Britten formed an ongoing song writing partnership and in 1978, they wrote “Start all over again” for Cliff Richard which was released on his Green Light album.

Robertson and Britten wrote many more songs for Cliff Richard including "Wired for Sound" for Cliff (1979) was released on the Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile album and “Carrie" (1980).

BA Robertson enjoyed chart success as a solo artist with six hit singles, starting with "Bang Bang" in 1979 which written and produced by Terry Britten.

In 1980, his third album Initial Success was released credited to BA Robertson and contained his next three follow up singles "Knocked It Off", "Kool in the Kaftan" and "To Be Or Not To Be" which reached chart positions 8, 17 and 9 respectively. The album also sold well and sat outside the top thirty albums in the UK.

His next album Bully For You (1981) contained another hit single Flight 19.

The "R&BA" album contained his last Top 40 hit which was a duet with Maggie Bell and cover version of P J Proby’s "Hold Me" which reached number 11 in the UK Singles Charts.

During the early 80s Robertson combined his career as an artist in a writing and production partnership with bassist Herbie Flowers. They wrote and produced with an eclectic crowd, including Lionel Bart, Joe Brown, Jim Cregan, Ray Cooper, Micky Dolenz, Gillian Gregory, Georg Kajanus, Harry Nilsson, Phil Pickett, Annie Ross, Sandie Shaw, and Chris Spedding. BA also recorded with Frida (Anni Frid Lyngstad) from Abba, 83, and Lulu in 84. But by this time his music tastes had changed and BA started to develop his career in other areas.

He penned and sang the theme music to the BBC television series Maggie and Brown Sauce's Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (Hello, Hello) theme and "I Wanna Be a Winner".

Robertson wrote and sang "We Have a Dream" for the 1982 World Cup Scotland squad (with John Sinclair Clarke) .

BA Robertson branched into acting and played the lead in the movie Living Apart Together (1982), directed by Charlie Gormley. He also wrote the score.

In 1985 BA Robertson started a song writing collaboration with Mike Rutherford (Genesis). Together they wrote "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)" for Genesis and Mike and the Mechanics’s "The Living Years". The latter was written after Robertson's father died twelve weeks before the birth of his own son, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1990.

In 1987 Robertson wrote (and produced) some of tracks on the Eddie and the Tide album Looking For Adventure.

He continued to write music for films and briefly became a television presenter. Jock 'n' Roll Parts I & II charted the history of pop music in Scotland and B. A. in Music featured contributions from contemporary musical guests. The show was made for Channel 4 but only had a short run. On air Robertson had a confrontation with Bow Wow Wow singer, Annabella Lwin during which she called the program a 'pretty shit show' and stormed off.

BA conducted the last on camera interview with Alex Harvey before Alex died in 1982.

Throughout the 80's and 90's he continued to write and work in the studio with an even more diverse group of artists, including Sam Brown, Roger Daltrey, Lonnie Donegan, Dave Edmunds, Bernard Edwards, Peter Frampton, Alan Gorrie, John Jarvis, Maz + Kilgore, Joe Sample, Helena Springs, Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) and Chaka Khan.

He wrote the theme for the Wogan Show and in 1986 he was commissioned to compose the music for The Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

From the 90s on wards BA has continued to work both in the UK and the US writing, producing and more recently performing again.

Worth a listen
Brian Alexander Roberstson
Moira's Hand

Alexander Robertson
All the Thin Men (1976)
Goosebumps (1979)

BA Robertson
Bang Bang (1979)
Knocked it Off (1979)
Kool in the Kaftan (1980)
To Be or Not to Be (1980)
Flight 19 (1980)
We Have a Dream (1982)
Ceud Mìle Failte (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes) (1986)

Duet with Maggie Bell

Hold Me (1981)

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Beatstalkers

The Mod group was formed by two Shawlands Academy school boys, Alan Mair and Eddie Campbell in 1962. The lineup was Davie Lennox (vocals), Eddie Campbell (guitar), Alan Mair (bass) , and ‘Tudge’ Williamson (drums) [replaced by Jeff Allen]. A little later Ronnie Smith (rhythm guitar) joined the group. Under the management of Joe Gaffney they sang cover versions of obscure soul and R&B songs they heard at Gloria’s Record Shop in Battlefield.

The group gained quick popularity and were followed by hoards of screaming fans causing riots everywhere they made a pubic appearance. As a consequence they were dubbed by the press as the ‘Scotland’s Beatles.’ Beatstalker fans modified Beatle fan songs like

"We love you Beatstalkers,
Oh yes we do, and where you go-o-o, we'll follow you.
We've been to Barrowland, the Palais too,
Oh Beatstalkers we love you!

They even had fan songs like:

Heh I'm a Beatstalker fan
Heh I'm a Beatstalker fan
Davie, Eddie, Tudge, Ronnie, Alan
Davie, Eddie, Tudge, Ronnie, Alan
Davie Eddie, Tudge, Ronnie, Alan Mair

Sang to the tune Watermelon Man

The Beatstalkers were regulars at the Barrowland and the Dennistoun Palais and signed to Decca Records. The group released several singles including ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ ’Bout My Baby’. Although this sold well in Scotland ‘Left Right Left’ and ‘A Love Like Yours’ which followed, did nothing chart wise.

In 1967 the group moved to London and had a send off from Central Station with 2,000 screaming fans. They played regularly at the Marquee Club and appeared on Ready Steady Go. Now full blown Mods they wore tartan hipsters and sharp Ben Sherman shirts.

Despite changing labels to CBS the group was unable to achieve a major breakthrough. Now under the management of Ken Pitt, the Beatstalkers recorded three of hitherto unknown David Bowie compositions. ‘Silver Tree Top School For Boys’, ‘Everything Is You’ and ‘When I’m Five.’, All failed to catch public attention and after a series of mishaps and lack of general success the original group broke up in 1969. Allan Mair started a clothes and boot company in Kensington Market and in the early 70s employed Freddie Mercury as shop manager. Mair did eventually return to the music business and had success with the Only Ones. Eddie Campbell played in Tear Gas and Jeff Allen went on to play for Dr. K's Blues Band and then East Of Eden. Davie Lennox joined The Joe O'Donnell Band in 1978.

The Beatstalkers reformed for reunion concert at the Barrowlands in 2005. They enjoyed the experience and continue to play.

Worth a listen
Everybody's taking 'bout my baby/ Mr Disappointed (1965 )
Left Right Left/ You'd Better Get A Better Hold On (1966)
A Love Like Yours/Base Line (1966)
My One Chance To Make It/Ain't Got No Soul (Left In These Old Shoes) (1967 )
Silver Treetop School For Boys/Sugar Chocolate Machine (1967 )