Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Poets

The Glasgow five piece formed in the early 60s and enjoyed immense popularity in Scotland. On stage they wore Regency high-necked jackets and ruffled fronted shirts and high heeled boots. The look was distinctly influenced by the Scottish bard, Robert Burns. The founder members were George Gallacher (vocals), Hume Paton (lead and 12 string guitar), Tony Myles (rhythm guitar), John Dawson (bass guitar), Alan Weir (drums). The band became residents at the Flamingo Dance Hall on Paisley Road West.

The Poets wrote much of their own material (mainly George Gallacher but Paton and Myles also contributed) and were embryonic in Celtic Rock. Their forte was self-moody, melodic ballads and their sound was unique with a 12 string guitar sound. In the beginning the band could not afford to buy expensive instruments but were keen to produce a unique sound. They achieved this effect by tuning the 1st and 2nd strings of two guitars the same resulting in a semi-12 string effect. Later they played twelve string instruments in the studio and worked with many well know session musicians, including Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. Unlike other beat groups their fans came to listen to them and were seldom disappointed. Andrew Loog-Oldham signed them to Decca, and later released several singles on his Immediate label. Their first single 'Now we are through' would reach the lower end of the top thirty in the UK.

Promoting meant a tireless series of one-nighters interspaced with some television appearances, including Ready Steady Go (ITV), Stramash (BBC Scotland) and Top Of The Pops (BBC). Despite this spike of success, other singles by the Poets had little chart success.

Andrew Oldham’s attention was taken with The runaway success of the Stones meant Andrew Oldham’s attention was fully taken. Consequently the Poets were left to other producers including Paul Raven (aka Garry Glitter) and their work suffered.

Innumerable line-up changes followed but after Gallacher left in 1966, the band was a shadow of its former self. By 1967 no original members of the Poets remained and whilst the group continued as a four piece they failed to progress with musical trends.

In their time the Poets were a standout group and their musicianship is likely to have influenced many others. They did have an opportunity to go to the US but declined preferring to stay in Glasgow.

Worth a listen
Now We're Thru (1964)
That's The Way It's Got To Be (1965)
I Am So Blue (1965)
Call Again (1965)
Baby Don't You Do It (1966)
Wooden Spoon (1967)
Heyla Hola/ Fun Buggy (1970/71)

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