1960's A-G - FALKIRKMUSICSCENE2017

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BIOG'S to '89
The ALLEYCATS:  Act formed in November 1962 by Findlay Syme (organ), Hugh Stewart (drums), Roy Clark (guitar) & Jim Harley (bass). In April 1964 the band reached the final of the Daily Record sponsored "Macbeat" competition. The band continued until April 1964 when they changed their name to The Concords. A couple of months later they wer back as The Alleycats, now managed by Dave Cochrane, and featuring Fife vocalist Jean Moir. In September 1964 the band won a Beat Band Competition at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir, and a couple of months later travelled to London to audition for George Martin at EMI. The audition was unsuccessful, however Moir was picked up as a solo performer.  Stewart & Clark later played with Alex Hamilton & The Blue Sabres, whilst Harley joined The Hawkes.

The ANTHROPOIDS:  Act from 1965 featuring Ian Walker.

The AMBASSADORS:  Act who changed their name from The Confederates in April 1964, but who were to change again in 1965 to Tony & The Prophets.

ARTHUR STREET:  Act from 1968, changed their name from Phase One.

The BARONS:  5-piece band from Cambussbaron (Stirling) who were extremely popular all over Scotland.  They were featured several times in the "242" pirate ship magazine and the photograph came from the 1966 Xmas Edition!  Kazik played with the band between 1966-68.  John Mylchreest (original vocalist) notes: " The Barons original line up was Eric Brown (lead guitar), Tam Clarke (rhythm guitar), Rab Leask (bass guitar), Alex (Eck) Davidson (drums) and me on vocals. As we developed we began to take an interest in Motown and Eric decided to get an organ (i think it was a Farfisa) and Tam decided to stop playing and become the roadie. This led to us bringing in Kazik Waluziak on Lead guitar.The motown thing meant that we would have to learn harmonies and so all the guys became vocalists and everybody had at least one song as the lead singer. We worked most weeks four or five nights as we were pretty good".

Othre members included: Lex Cruden (keyboards) - then Jimmy Mylchreest (keyboards) and Gordon Reid (vocals/harmonica) & Dougie Mullholland vocals).

The BATTLEFIELD BAND:  Legendary Scottish folk act formed in 1969 by Falkirk born multi-instrumentalis Brian McNeill (vocals/fiddle/mandolin/ bouzouki/cittern/concertina), along with John Gahagan (concertina /whistle), Jamie McMenemy (vocals/citern/ guitarra) & Alan Reid (vocals/ organ/guitar). The act played around folk clubs in Scotland until 1977 when they released their debut eponymous album on Topic Records.

Gahagan left and was replaced by Pat Kilbride (vocals/bodhran/guitar/cittern) for the follow up, "At The Front" the following year. By the time 1979's "Stand Easy" was released Kilbride & McMenemy had been replaced by Jenny Clark (vocals) & Duncan McGillivray (pipes). Clark was replaced by husband and wife duo Jim Barnes (guitar) & Sylvia Barnes (dulcimer/bodhran) for 1980's "Home Is Where The Van Is", but their stay was brief and soon after the line-up expanded to include Martin Colledge (banjo/guitar), Ged Foley (guitar/mandolin) & Robin Morton (bodhran). The new members were replaced by Dougie Pincock (pipes/ 
flute/saxophone/percussion) for 1982's "There Is A Buzz" album, after which McNeill left for a solo career.

The band had various line-ups until 2001 when they were joined by another local, Banknock-born Karine Polwart (vocals). Polwart was a member of Edinburgh based folk acts Malinky and MacAlias, and she joined Mike Katz (bagpipes/bass/guitar), John McCusker (fiddle/piano/whistle/accordian/cittern/mandolin), ex-Parcel Of Rogues), Iain MacDonald (bagpipes
/flute/whistle/vocals, ex-Ossian), Alan Reid (vocals/organ/ guitar) & Alastair Russell (guitar/vocals) in The Battlefield Band. This line-up released "Happy Daze" in 2001, and then added Alasdair White (fiddle/whistle/bouzouki) the following year for "Time & Tide". After this Polwart left for a solo career.
RELEASES:
With McNeill:
"The Battlefield Band" (vinyl album, Topic Records, 1977)
"At The Front (Battlefield Band 2)" (vinyl album, Topic Records, 1978)
"Stand Easy" (vinyl album, Topic Records, 1979)
"Preview" (12 inch vinyl, Temple Records, 1980)
"Home Is Where The Van Is" (vinyl / cassette album, Temple Records, 1980)
"The Story So Far" (vinyl / cassette album, Temple Records, 1982)
"There's A Buzz" (vinyl / cassette album, Temple Records, 1982)
With Polwart:
"Happy Daze" (cd album, Temple Records, 2001)
"Time & Tide" (cd album, Temple Records, 2002).

The BEACHCOMBERS:  Band formed in 1962 featuring Davey Anderson (guitar), Kenny "Eccles" McLean (drums), David Paton (guitar), Mike Rowberry (vocals) & Polmont musician Sandy Walusiac (bass). When a 15 year old David Paton saw an advertisement in the Evening News which said "Edinburgh's top band require lead guitarist", his sister phoned up and arranged an audition. Thanks partly to some flashy equipment Paton borrowed from his sister's boyfriend and more so to his talent, he got the gig and became the lead guitarist for The Beachcombers. The band was hugely popular in Scotland and played on a regular basis there and throughout Northern England.  When The Beachcombers heard that CBS Records were holding auditions for new talent at The Marquee Club in London, the band got rolling. It was a long drive from Edinburgh, but they made it and definitely found the trip to be worth the effort. Not only did the band get a recording contract with CBS Records, but also got a residency at The Marquee Club! Once they signed the contract, the band changed their name to The Boots in 1968, because another band called The Beachcombers were already recording artists.

The BOOTS:  Band formed in 1962 as The Beachcombers by Davey Anderson (guitar), Kenny McLean (drums), David Paton (guitar), Mike Rowberry (vocals) & Polmont musician Sandy Walusiac (bass). When they signed to CBS in 1968, they changed their name to The Boots, because another band called The Beachcombers were already recording artists. At that point the band packed their bags and moved to London. Things started well with CBS and on 14th June 1968 the band released its first single, "The Animal in Me". Session musicians were used for the backing track and interestingly, Mud were in the studio using the same session musicians for a song called "Up the Airy Mountain". Next the band recorded "Even The Bad Times Are Good" without session musicians. The Boots really liked this song and hoped for a good reaction, however, The Tremolos heard the song and wanted it. So it was given to them because they were already established and became a big hit. It ended up on the b-side of "The Animal in Me".

While things started well when "The Animal in Me" was recorded, things didn't take off. The band's second single, "Keep Your Lovelight Burning", was released later in 1968 but failed to burn up the charts. When the work started to dry up in London, the band moved back to Edinburgh. Rowberry left and the rest split soon after. Paton would go on to play with The Bay City Rollers, Pilot, Kate Bush and The Alan Parsons Project
RELEASES:
"The Animal In Me" (7 inch single, CBS Records, 1968)
"Keep Your Lovelight Burning" (7 inch single, CBS Records, 1968).
https://youtu.be/_JdtE9Her3E  "The Animal In Me"
https://youtu.be/v-xMcA099LQ  "Even The Bad Times Are Good"

CARGO:  Local act from 1969 featuring Kenny Stewart (vocals), Des McAffery (bass, ex-Prize Chunks), John McAffery (drums) & Wilson Sharp (guitar, ex-Cherokees). They played music by Cream, Free, Blind Faith, Spooky Tooth & Humble Pie, and played at an open air gig in Bell's Meadow, Falkirk. Stewart then joined Susan Ram, and was re-united with Sharp in Aegis the following year, whilst McAffery joined Hog Farm.

CHAPTER SIX:  Band formed in 1968 by members of The Sons Of Zen.

The CHEROKEES:  Legendary Falkirk act formed in December 1963 (after staring life as The Sensations), featuring Bill Judge (vocals/guitar), Frank McKeever (bass), Jock Hannah (drums), Raymond Wade (guitar/vocals) & Sandy Sinclair (guitar/vocals). The Cherokees took part in a heat held in Falkirk for the "Macbeat" competition, which was to find the best Scottish band to go forward to the final in London. In 1964 they were the resident band at the Dobbie Hall, Larbert on a Saturday night. Sinclair was later replaced by Roy Clark (guitar/ vocals), and later members were Jim Swinton (drums) & Wilson Sharp (guitar). Sharp later played with Cargo, whilst Clark may have joined Alex Hamilton & The Blue Sabres. Stewart Buchanan (drums) was also once a member, but later joined The Pack. In March 1966 Judge played a one-off date with The Forth Valley All Stars at the Odeon Cinema, Falkirk. Bill Judge also performed as part of the ultra-popular cabaret duo Chris & Bill Judge.

The Ian CHRISTIE MAINSTREAM GROUP:  Jazz act from the mid-1960's featuring Ian Christie (piano), Ian Doughty (saxophone, also played with The Ray Davidson Seven), Ian Holmes (accordion, ex-Ian Holmes & The Scottish Dance Band), Tom McTague (bass), Bill Thom (drums, ex-Ian Holmes & The Scottish Dance Band) & Doug Campbell (guitar). Christie later joined The Vern Roper Big Band, whilst Holmes went solo.

The C-KRETS:  Act from 1966.

The CONCORDS:  Act formed in April 1964 by Findlay Syme (organ), Hugh Stewart (drums), Roy Clark (guitar) & Jim Harley (bass). They had previously been known as The Alleycats. In 1964 they took part in the heats for the "Macbeat" competition, before changing their name back to The Alleycats.


The CONFEDERATES:  Beat act from 1964, who changed their name to The Ambassadors in April of that year.

Eddie CONNORS (COMBO & TRIO):  Vocalist born Edward O'Connor (1937) who grew up in the Howgate tenements. He started work in Mungal Foundry before spending three years in the army as a PT instructor, where he became an athlete and boxing champion. Upon returing to the local area he worked the lights at the Roxy Theatre, before forming his own trio. Connors played with local dance groups before joining the Johnny Kildare Orchestra (with whom he appeared on Radio Luxembourg).  Connors formed a beat group, The Eddie Connors Combo, at the start of 1964, recruiting Pete McFerner (piano), Andy Scott (saxophone) & Dick Burgoyne (drums), all of whom had played in Doak's band, along with Paul Serafini (bass, ex-Young Ones) & Ronnie Brooks (guitar, ex-Roadrunners), six hours before entering and winning a local beat group competition. Serafini later joined The Roadrunners whilst Burgoyne rejoined Connors in the Eddie Connors Trio.

In 1971 Connors entered, and won for five weeks in a row, Opportunity Knocks. By then Connors was playing with his own act, The Eddie Connors Trio, who played locally in the Late-1960's & 1970's, and featured Dick Burgoyne (drums), Eric Fowler (bass, ex-Sonics) & Melvin Fowler (guitar, ex-Sonics) in his band. In 1969 he had a piano player called Peter Eden. Further TV appearances followed, including "Thingummyjig", and Connors also travelled the world on cruise ships as an entertainer. After some time living in Stockton-Upon-Tees, Connors returned to the area in 2004 where he died in July 2008.  One of his sons, Eddie O'Connor became a singer in his own right.

The CRITIX:  5-piece formed in the 1960's featuring George Orr (guitar), Bobby Nixon (vocals), Sandy Borthwick, Gordon Smith & Graham Pickles. Orr then went on to play with The Sun, whilst Nixon later formed Castle.


The CROSS CUT SECTION:  Falkirk act (1967) featuring 15 year-old Richard Dow (drums), who was soon to form The Heenan Froud Set.

The Ray DAVIDSON SEVEN:  Jazz act from the mid-1960's featuring Alistair Gibson (trumpet), Andy Doolan (trombone), Ian Doughty (saxophone, also played with The Ian Christie Mainstream Group), Ray Stephenson (saxophone), Peter Russell (piano), Alan Saddler (bass, also played with The Bill Hendry Trio) & Ray Davidson (drums). Saddler later played in The George Moncur Quintet.

The DENNY & DUNNIPACE PIPE BAND:  The Denny and Dunipace Pipe Band are a competing band based in Denny. The organisation has two bands; the "big band" in grade 2, and another in 4B. They were established in 1964 from a Boys Brigade band background by Captain John Deuchar, and the band moved through the grades during its history, reaching the pinnacle of Grade 1 in 1989. The grade 3A band recently took first place in the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships at Glasgow Green, and won the annual Champion of Champions for 3A. This resulted in promotion to Grade 2 for 2007. The grade 4B completed their second full competing season by gaining a very creditable 5th place at the Cowal Highland Gathering. The band has a strong teaching ethos, and has used this method of filtering players through the ranks for over 40 years. The band is currently led by P/M Mark Sutherland and D/S Stuart Paterson.
The ECHOLETTS:  Beat act from 1964.

The EPICS:  A Polmont-based band including Kazik Walusiak  (lead guitar), Ronnie Inglis (drums), John Scobbie (guitar) & Jimmy Cominskie (vocals). Venues for this young group were the Guide Hall, Brightons and the Polmont Borstal Officers Club.  Kazik went on to play with The BARONS from Stirling.

The FASHIONS:  Act formely known as The Kingpins, who changed their name to The Fashions in mid-1966.

FINDERS KEEPERS:  Act from 1966-1967 featuring Gibby, Klaus, Hatto & BooBoo.

FIVE BY FIVE:  Act from 1966 featuring Kazik Walusiak (guitar) & Kenny Philip (drums). In March 1966 Walusiak played a one-off date with The Forth Valley All Stars at the Odeon Cinema, Falkirk.

The FORTHBEATS:   Act from the early 1960's (1963 at least) with Bill Hastings (guitar), Barry Hall, Bobby Duncan & Jim Allan, who played mostly at local venues. Duncan's father was the Golf Club Steward at the Camelon Club, and one Sunday night when Hastings was there he was approached by a local businessman, Peter Fallon, who had organised a competition for local groups, the winning prize was a week recording in London with EMI, Decca, & Pye. The Forthbeats did not win, however Hastings almost immediatly joined one of the acts that did, Tommy & The Delmonts, whilst the rest of the band became The Trespassers in June 1964.



The FORTHVALLEY ALL STARS:  "Supergroup"  formed in March 1966 for a gig at the Odeon Cinema, Falkirk, playing as support to a "Thunderbirds" movie. The band consisted of Kazik Walusiak (guitar, Five By Five), Brian Watters (guitar, The Sundowners), David Mann (guitar, The Slaves), Bill Judge (guitar, The Cherokees), Ronnie Stewart (bass, The Statesmen Syndicate), Paul Serafini (bass, The Roadrunners), Ronnie Glen (organ, Alex Hamilton & The Blue Sabres), Stu Buchanan (drums, The Pack), Jack Lyon (drums, The Statemen Syndicate), Alex Hamilton (vocals, Alex Hamilton & The Blue Sabres) & Eddie  Connors (future winner of "Opportunity Knocks" - vocals).
The FOURTH DIMENSION:  Act from 1964 featuring Drew Wilson (drums), David Liddle (guitar), Eric Fowler (bass) & Melvin Fowler (guitar). In March of that year they reached the finals of the Daily Record sponsored "Macbeat" competition. Wilson later played with The Stacattoes, whilst the Fowler twins joined The Leaves.

The FOUR FAVOURS:  Jackie O'Neil & Douglas Neilson.

The FOUR TEENS:  Act from 1966 featuring Richard Gray (drums), David Hannah (guitar), Gordon Cooper (guitar) & Ross Harrower (vocals). All four were only 13 years old and from Graeme High School. Cooper went on to play with Take Four in the 1970's.

The FRASER DALE FOUR:  Bo'ness act from 1967.

FRIENDSHIP:  Local act from 1969 featuring Davy Waugh (vocals, ex-Heenan Froude Set), Hamish Miller (drums), Charlie Dyer (bass, ex-Heenan Froude Set), Bill Hastings (guitar, ex-Scotsmen) & Frank Ferrari (keyboards, ex-Prize Chunks). The band played all over Scotland, but fancied a shot abroad, so answered an advert in the Melody Maker. The received a call from one Albergio Crochetta, owner of the Piper Clubs and Piper records, who wanted an opening act for a 16-date tour of Italy. They were asked to secure rehearsal rooms in London, and let him know where and when and he would come and see them. After a local gig, the band packed their ex-Co-op van, bought by Dyer for £18, and set off to London. Setting up in the Pied Bull Pub in Islington, the band did a sound check, and then promptly fell asleep. A rather well dressed Italian gent with a blonde on each arm was there when they woke up. They played their set for him, and he must have liked what he saw, as a contract appeared, was inspected by the band, and duly signed.

Crochetta asked that the band get to Viarreggio (Tuscany) in Italy to play two nights at his Piper Club, then drive to Rome to park their transit, and get on the luxury tour bus, their transport for the next 16 days. During this they played at theatres from the North to the South of Italy, and stayed in some nice hotels. One of the highlights was the Opera House in Bari. Afterwards they hung around Rome for a while.

Upon finding themselves skint, they agreed to a gig at a local nudist camp. After arranging themselves naked onstage, the curtain was opened to reveal a fully clothed audience. They returned to Falkirk in 1970, supposedly to record an album, but split up soon after signing to local Nillson Management. Miller & Dyer then formed Cat Violet. whilst Waugh went on to Aardvark, and Hasting played with Likorice.

Tommy GEM & The DIAMONDS:  Beat act from 1964.

The GLEN SISTERS:  Act from 1965.

The GOLD STAR DANCE BAND:  Act from 1965.

The GUITAR STRINGS:  Bill Hastings notes "After the demise of The Pack I got a call from a friend, former Bass player with the Delmonts, Rod Harley. He told me to get over to Germany ASAP, he had a job for me with a German group called the Guitar Strings. Rod had gone over with the Delmonts, and decided to stay there, in fact he still lives in Munich. So off I went to Germany. I had no guitar, but Rod gave me his 6 string Fender Bass which I strung down, great sound from it.  The band were booked to play for the American troops in Enlisted men clubs. No women allowed, unless they were kept out of main club and were with husbands.  We did not pay for food, drinks, digs, and we got a big fee as well. You were in each club for a month at a time and the accommodation  you were given depended on the group size -  4 piece? - 4 bedrooms.  The hair had to be a bit shorter given that we were playing for the American Military, it seemed the right thing to do to fit in a bit better, long hair to a serviceman at that time was a bit girlie, better for future work 

The Strings consisted of 2 brothers - Aly & Ernie Weisler on bass and rhythm guitar respectively, Pete Sleichert on drums and me on lead..  We had to have a female singer in the band, and we had a great one called Sylvia Finke.  After a while playing bases we were invited to go to Italy nd were based in Rome. We played mostly in and around the Rome area.   The owner of the Molo club at the lido had bought an old ship and cut off the top wheelhouse, and built the club around it; very unique. I was asked to get involved in doing some cabaret work there, which involved getting dressed up  - or down as it required - (to see pics go to www.rockingscots.co.uk).  I also saw my first and last race riot. The population of the troops was 90 % black and 10% white and one night fights broke out in the theatre.  I saw a man being killed, and others injured and we were escorted away until the MP's cleared it out.  We were not in danger but you don't know that at the time.  A Master Sargeant Perkins looked after the bands and he was camp middle weight boxing champ so nobody messed with him.  The riot left a mark on me though, and I needed to get home.  I had been away for a few years and wanted to get back to Falkirk so I left Frankfurt soon after this".

 
 
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