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BIOG'S to '89
Alex HAMILTON & The BLUE SABRES:  Pop based act from 1963 - 1970 featuring Alex Hamilton (vocals/saxophone), Ronnie Glen (keyboards), Roy Clark (guitar/vocals, ex-Alleycats), Roy Duncan (bass), Ian Johnstone (drums, ex-Hawkes) & Tom Hunter (saxophone). In 1966 the line-up was Hamilton, Glen, Duncan, Eddie Steel (guitar) & Hugh Stewart (drums, ex-Alleycats). They specialized in "showband" Soul & Stax, playing at universities, hotels & Town Halls six or seven nights a week. In 1969 they had a short residency at the Barrowlands, Glasgow. They signed to local Nillson Management then split in 1970, with Glen & Clark forming Cat Violet, which Hunter managed. In March 1966 Hamilton & Glen appeared with The Forth Valley All Stars at a one-off date at the Odeon Cinema, Falkirk.

The HAPPY TRAILS:  Local act formed in 1979 by Jim Bloomfield (bass/vocals), John Divers (guitar/vocals, ex-Dalton Boys), Wild Man Jarvieson (drums), Alex Smith (vocals) & Billy Whitelaw (pedal steel/guitar). The following year they lost Jarvieson and changed their name to National Service.

The HEAT:  Formed in 1978 by John Barrie (drums), Stuart Everest (vocals/guitar), Robin Guthrie (guitar) & Willie Heggie (bass). Managed by Guthrie's brother, the band supported Simple Minds at the end of that year before changing their name to All This & More.

The HIGH SOCIETY JAZZ BAND:  The band were formed in 1960 and released an LP in 1977 (recorded December 1976) titled "Way Down Yonder". The members listed on the rear sleeve are: Charlie Malley (trumpet), Jim Robertson (trombone), Colin Lees (clarinet), Jim Lumsden (banjo and vocals)Dick Stanners (piano), Lennie Porter (bass), Ian Boyd (drums), Rita Hamilton (vocals), Jim Little (bass - original member, emigrated to Canada around 1970).  The LP cover shows the band all wearing co-ordinated outfits which are quite something!  Many thanks to Stephen Small for this information.

HOG FARM:  Act from 1970 featuring George Orr (guitar, ex-Sun), Des McCafferty (bass, ex-Cargo), Matt O'Neill (guitar) & Jim McGeachie (drums) who played at an open air concert in Callander Park that summer. Later that year they supported The Dream Police at Falkirk Town Hall, and then continued to gig into 1971, when some members went on to form Perhaps Boogie.

Hog Farm played The Barrowland, Burn's Howff, The Picasso, The Watermill Hotel in Paisley, The Place in Edinburgh, La Bamba in Falkirk. They toured Scotland for Brian Adams and the I.C.E Agency, and appeared regularly on Radio 242's magazine "Showbeat Monthly" and "Transplant" a teenage fan mag. In their time Hog Farm performed with bands such as The Pathfinders, The Marmalade, The House of Lords, The Writing On The Wall (for whom George Orr co-wrote a song, which was recorded as a B-Side), Studio Six, Agatha's Moment, Beggar's Opera, Chris McClure, The Senate, The Dream Police, The Beat Stalkers, Maggie Bell and Stone The Crows, The Poets, The Stoics, Bay City Rollers, Trash, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Skid Row, Rory Gallaher and Taste, Middle Of The Road, The cast of Hair, The Who, Nazareth (every month, when they were the Kinema Showband in Dunfermline), Slade, Jack Bruce, and many, many more.

A new line-up of the band formed in 1973 featuring Orr, Matt Allan (drums), Cosmo Vericho (guitar, ex-Merlin) & Gerry Riley (bass, ex-Telephone). Orr went on to become a photographer for most of the national British newspapers as well as "National Enquirer" in the U.S.A. He is also an alumni of the "World Martial Arts Hall Of Fame" for his work with American Police Forces and has black belts in four martial arts (5th Degree JuJutsu, 4th Degree Judo, 1st Degree Kung Fu, 1st Degree Kendo). In recent years he fronts a Rod Stewart tribute act, The Hod Rod Band in the United States.

JACK EASY:  Edinburgh based band formed in April 1977, and featuring three local musicians Andy Harrison (vocals, ex-Biffo), Davy Haswell (percussion/vocals) & Harry Sullivan (guitar/vocals, ex-Biffo). The line-up was completed by Pauline Carlin (vocals, ex-Ignatz), Pete Griffiths (drums/vocals), Lawrence McLachlan (keyboards, ex-Clean Slate) & Douglas Mathieson (bass /vocals). In May 1977 they won the Scottish heat of the Melody Maker folk/rock competition, and competed unsuccessfully in the finals in London. The band continued to play into 1978. Haswell worked in Brian Findlay's Record Store at this time.
The JOHN BEES:  Laurieston based act from 1970.

JOLENE WITH PART TWO:  Jolene was Camelon based vocalist Wendy McBeath, who along with Billy Riddell (drums) & Barry Wallace (guitar) formed a semi-successful country act in 1977. Their eponymous debut album was released in 1979.
"Jolene With Part Two" (vinyl album, Neptune Records, 1979).

Chris & Bill JUDGE:  Bill (vocals/guitar) and Chris (vocals/tambourine) were a taleneted husband/wife duo  who were extremely popular on the Scottish cabaret scene.

The KONTROVERSY:  Act from 1966.

The LAST HEROES:  Bo'ness Academy based band fformed in 1974 by Chris Elder (drums), Colin Jackson (guitar), Pete McLaren (bass) & Robert Stuart (vocals). The band played school gigs, and a one off Archie McCulloch "Search For A Star" talent show at Bo'ness Town Hall. When they saw the judges cover their ears, they knew they were not going to win. Elder, Jackson & Stuart then formed Dutch.
The LA VISTAS:  Falkirk based rock/blues act formed in 1979 by Ian Baxter (drums), Bob Marshall (vocals/guitar) & Paul New (bass/vocals), all of whom had previously been called 1984. The band were popular and busy, but split for a while in 1980, with Marshall going on to play with Kee West. In 1981 the three piece reformed, and added second guitarist Derek Fleming the following year, before splitting for good.

LAZY:  Band formed in 1979 by ex-Ridj keyboardist David Hendry, who later joined The Marbanx Distributors.

Harry LEITCH:  Folk singer, guitarist & fiddle player from the mid-1960's. In 1966 he was part of the Falkirk Folk Club, and continued to play until at least 1974.

The LIBERATORS:  Grangemouth act formed in 1979 by John Barrie (drums), Stuart Everest (vocals/guitar), Robin Guthrie (guitar) & Bill Heggie (bass). The four had previously worked under the name All This & More. Guthrie & Heggie left in 1980 to form The Cocteau Twins, whilst Everest later turned up in Dead Neighbours. Barrie recruited vocalist Mike Tonner, and they released a cassette single, "Scream & Shout" in 1981, featuring the tracks "I, Robot" "24-24-26" and "My Part of Town". Barrie was later a member of Roseland.
"Scream & Shout" (7 inch/cassette single, Sharko 2 Records, 1981).

LIKORICE:  Act from the 1970's featuring experienced guitarist Bill Hastings (ex-Friendship) & Bill Buchanan. Hastings later went solo under the name Billy Bluesman.
The MADRIGALS:  Young three piece female act from 1975 featuring Linda Kirkwood (guitar), Gillian Williams (guitar) & Elizabeth Logan (vocals).

MAKARIS PARK:  Denny based band formed in 1979 by John Delaney (guitar/keyboards), Gordon Irvine (drums), Robert McMullan (guitar/vocals), Mike McNally (bass) & Tom Paterson (guitar). Upon splitting Irvine joined Esprit De Corps, McMullan & McNally joined Thrush, whilst Delaney formed In Colour.

Brian McNEILL:  Brian has generously supplied this 2015 Biography and photograph (courtesy of Daniel Coston).  He will also provide an up-to-date Discography later.

A career spanning 46 years has established Brian McNeill as one of the most acclaimed forces in Scottish music. Brian was born in 1950 in Falkirk and has been described as ‘Scotland’s most meaningful contemporary songwriter’ (The Scotsman); add to that his work and influence as performer, composer, producer, teacher, musical director, band leader, novelist and interpreter of Scotland’s past, present and future and you have a man who has never stood still. He has performed around the globe, both as a soloist and with some of the era’s most influential bands, including Battlefield Band, which he founded in 1969. He left the band in 1990 to concentrate on solo projects. Brian performs and teaches regularly at many of the world’s major festivals and is a core member of  the UK fiddle phenomenon, Feast of Fiddles. He is the longest running booked artist at Cambridge Folk Festival.
Brian is a multi instrumentalist – chiefly fiddle, bouzouki, mandocello, guitars and concertina – and the importance of his songwriting has long been recognised with such songs as The Yew Tree, The Lads O' The Fair, The Snows of France and Holland,  Strong  Women Rule Us All With Their Tears, Any Mick'll  Do and No Gods and Precious Few Heroes.
Brian was especially proud when two lines from The Lads O' The Fair were carved into a viewpoint above his home town of Falkirk, as part of the renovation of the Policy Bing  - an old pit spoil heap - by Falkirk Council and local charities.  His connection with his home town continued with The Falkirk Music Pot project, for which he was commissioned to write, produce, direct and perform music for Falkirk’s 2014 Creative Place Award. The year long project involved local schools, music groups and individuals and culminated in a double CD on Greentrax.
Brian’s audio visual shows, The Back O' The North Wind, about Scottish emigration to America, and the sequel, The Baltic Tae Byzantium, exploring the influence of the Scots in Europe, have won wide critical acclaim. His continuing connection with America's Lone Star State led to him being created an honorary Texan by the then Governor George W Bush.
Brian is increasingly in demand for his production skills and his credits include albums by The Paul McKenna Band, Lorne MacDougall, Rua Macmillan, Eric Bogle and John Munro, Drones and Bellows and The John Wright Band.
Brian is a voracious reader of crime fiction and also writes crime and mystery fiction involving his hero, busker Alex Fraser and his heroine, private sleuth Sammy Knox. His third novel ‘… In The Grass’ was published last year and has just been published in German, along with some of his short stories.
For six years Brian was Head of Scottish Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
"Monksgate" (vinyl album, Escalibur Records, 1978)
"Unstrung Hero" (vinyl album, Temple Records, 1985)
"The Busker & The Devil's Only Daughter" (CD/cassette album, Temple Records, 1990)
"The Back O' The North Wind" (CD/cassette album, Greentrax Records, 1991)
"No Gods" (CD / cassette album, Greentrax Records, 1995)
Brian McNeill & Alan Reid, "Sidetracks" (vinyl album, Topic Records, 1981)
Brian McNeill & Tom McDonagh, "Horses For Courses" (CD/cassette album, Greentrax Records, 1994)
Brian McNeill & Iain Mackintosh, "Stage By Stage" (CD/cassette album, Greentrax Records, 1995)
Guest performances:
Heather Heywood, "Some Kind Of Love" (vinyl/cassette album, Greentrax Records, 1978)
Dick Gaughan, "Handful Of Earth" (vinyl album, Topic Records, 1981)
Iain MacKintosh, "Gentle Persuasion" (CD/vinyl album, Greentrax Records, 1988)
Horse, "The Same Sky" (CD/cassette/vinyl album, Capitol Records, 1990)
Robin Laing, "Walking In Time" (CD/cassette album, Greentrax Records, 1994)
Tony McManus, "Tony McManus" (CD/cassette album, Greentrax Records, 1995)
Jock Duncan, "Ye Shine Whar Ye Stan!" (CD/cassette album, Springthyme Records, 1997)
Danny Kyle, "Danny Kyle" (CD album, Iona Records, 1998)
Tequila Mockingbird, "Agora Mesmo" (CD album, Tequila Mockingbird Records, 2001)
Wolfstone, "Live - Not Enough Shouting" (CD album, Once Bitten Records, 2001).

MERLIN:  Act from the early 1970's featuring Cosmo Vericho (guitar), Malcolm Howatt (keyboards, ex-Candyfloss) & Jackie Ryden (drums). Howatt & Ryden later formed Dandy, whilst Vericho joined Hog Farm.

MIDAS TOUCH:  Included two Falkirk brothers in the line-up who previously formed harmony trio Natural Harmony.  The 4-piece version of Midas Touch included Roy Leask (vocals, ex-Natural Harmony), Duncan Leask (guitar/voclas, ex-Narural Harmony), Bill Ritchie (bass/slide/vocals, ex-Trespassers-Stirling beat group) and Davy Lowe (drums/vocals, ex-Natural Harmony), while a 5-piece version added Bobby O'Donnell (bass/vocals) with Ritchie moving to lead/slide guitar/vocals).  The Leasks, Ritchie & Lowe alos played as Topaz & Solitaire (the latter toured Germany in 1974). Other members included John McKail (drums) & Robert Fotheringham and Tam Tulloch both bass/vocals.  In later years Midas Touch operated as a Trio with various musicians augmenting the Leask Brothers.

MITHRANDER:  Band formed in 1979.

The George MONCUR QUINTET:  Jazz act from 1975 featuring George Moncur (tenor sax, ex-New Georgians), Brian Keddie (trombone), Bill Hendry (piano, ex-Bill Hendry Trio, also with the Vern Roper Big Band), Alan Saddler (bass, ex-Ray Davidson Seven, Bill Hendry Trio) & Bill Shaw (drums).

MONOLOGUE:  Act from 1975 who played songs by The Eagles & The Beatles.

MOTHER EARTH:  Rock act from 1977 with Jock Brown (vocals/guitar), Alan Leckie (keyboards), Simmie Henderson (vocals), Gordon McKay (bass, ex-Platform) & David Manson (drums). Leckie went to Caspian and was replaced by Steve Curran (keyboards). In early 1978 the band supported prog rockers Caravan in concert, replacing Curran with Ian King. Manson was then replaced by Chris Elder (drums, ex-Dutch).  Henderson turned up ten years later in Ram, whilst Curran went on to form Fruitarian's Lunch.

MUCH HOOLE:  Band from 1973- 974 with Zander Caven (guitar) & Andrew McKean (bass), James McDonald (drums), and at various times Gavin Stewart (guitar), Peter Munnoch (violin) and Richard Foreshaw (second drummer...a bit of a glam rock touch). Stewart was forced out of the band because he "wouldn't hand out the fags", Munnoch was pushed away for moonlighting in another band, and Foreshaw drifted away from the area. McDonald is now one of Scotland's top painters, whilst Caven & McKean formed The Deft Jerks.

Scott MURDOCH:  Folk singer from the mid-1960's. In 1966 he was part of the Falkirk Folk Song Club, and continued to play until at least 1974.

NASSAU:  Grangemouth based funk band formed in 1979 by Alistair Buchanan (drums, ex-Siren), Margaret Buchanan (vocals), Robert Buchanan (saxophone, ex-Siren), Sandy Cruickshanks (guitar/saxophone), Tony Porco (saxophone), Hugh (bass) & Kevin (guitar). By the following year Hugh & Kevin had been replaced by John Fairley (guitar) & Jim Toye (bass), and the band played locally. 1982 saw another reshuffle, with the three Buchanans and Fairley being joined by Kevin Harkness (guitar), Eddie Meechan (trumpet) & Richie Newlands (bass, ex-Speakeasy) The band split in 1982, with Robert Buchanan later having a successful cabaret career under the name Stevie Walker, and Newlands joining Punch. Tony Porco turned up in 2005 playing his own compositions on keyboards at Acoustic Kitchen.

NATURAL GASP:  1970 act featuring Stuart Cuthill (vocals/percusion, ex-Susan Ram), George Ferguson (flute/percusion), Joke Barrington (guitar) & Shona Mcadyeen (cello/piano). Cuthill also played in Band Of Hope & Glory, and later formed The Enemies Of The White House, whilst Barrington was also in Aegis.

NATURAL HARMONY:  NH2 - With tha addition of Davy Lowe (drums/vocals, ex-Andy Reilly Trio) this very popular 4-piece harmony group toured extensively throughout Scotland and Northern England making a name for themselves on the Cabaret Scene. When Thornton left to return to Wales, Bill Ritchie (bass/vocals, ex-Trespassers) joined and the group changed name to Topaz and then Solitaire (for tour of Germany in 1974). On returning from Germany the group had a further change of name to Midas Touch and added Bobby O'Donnell (bass/vocals) with Ritchie going to lead/slide guitars/vocals.

NEW CELESTE:  Glasgow based folk act, mixing celtic influences with jazz, and initially featuring Falkirk born violinist Ian Telfer. New Celeste formed in the late-1970's with a line-of Telfer, Iain Fergus (vocals/guitar), Graeme Duffin (guitar), Stewart Smith (bass/piano) & Iain Bayne (drums). Their debut album, "High Sands & The Liquid Lake" was released in 1978, after which Telfer left. Whilst he joined Fiddler's Dram, and later did session work for Ewan MacColl, the band carried on, and a re-formed version continues to play today. Duffin later joined Wet Wet Wet, and worked with local solo singer Beverley Williams.
"High Sands & The Liquid Lake" (vinyl album, Arfolk Records, 1978).

1984:  Formed in 1978 by Ian Baxter (drums), Bob Marshall (guitar), Falkirk Herald reporter Paul New (bass) & Des Robertson (guitar). Towards the end of the year the band released their debut single, "Music Press", before Baxter, Marshall & New formed The La Vistas.
"Music Press" (7 inch single, 1979).

NO IDEA:  Prog rock act formed in 1979 by Larbert based Alan Clark (vocals), along with Tony Cochrane (drums), Tom Connor (guitar), Robin Lines (bass), Iain Reekie (keyboards) & Len Webster (guitar). Clark and Connor later formed Body Copy.

The NORMAL FEW:  Band from the 1970's featuring Dave Roberts (guitar/vocals, ex-Platform). Roberts then went on to play with Out The Blue.
OUT THE BLUE:  Band from the 1970's featuring Dave Roberts (guitar/vocals, ex-Normal Few). Roberts then emigrated to Australia.
PASSPORT:  Band formed 1978 Jim Harley (guitar, ex-Bustop) & David Harrington (keyboards), along with Billy Meldrum (guitar/vocals) & Colin Mitchell (drums/vocals). The band released a single "Love is..." in 1979.
"Love Is..." (7 inch single, 1979).

PERHAPS BOOGIE:  Band from 1971 formed by ex-members of Hog Farm.

PHASE ONE:  Act from 1968?, changed their name to Arthur Street.

PHORAX:  Local act from the late 1970's who had four guitar players (Four-axe - Phorax - get it?). They changed their name to Blackout in 1980.
PLATFORM:  5-piece Edinburgh band from the early 1970's featuring Bo'ness musicians Ian Johnston (drums), Gordon McKay (bass) and Dave Roberts (guitar/vocals). The other two members were Dave Valentine (vocals) & Stuart Caplan (keyboards). Previously known as Gallows Crook, the band split after a year of gigging around Scotland. McKay and Roberts went on to play 'resident band' in a couple of Edinburgh Clubs before McKay joined Mother Earth, whilst Roberts went on to form his own bands Normal Few and Out The Blue, before emigrating to Australia.
PRAM:  Band from the early 1970's featuring Gerry Eadie (guitar/vocals) & Tommy Barke (bass), both of whom later formed Dandy.

The PROFESSIONALS:  Five piece act from 1974 who featured Richard Hendry (vocals, also played with The Tommy Shirra Band), John Cochrane (organ) Brian Watters (bass, ex-Sundowners), Derek Watters (guitar, ex-Sundowners) & Drew Wilson (drums, ex-Sundowners). When Hendry left he was replaced by Pete King (vocals), but the following year Hendry returned to replace the departing King. Brian Watters re-surfaced in 2010 with Young Once.

PRYMAL URGE:  Grangemouth based act, formed in 1979 by Dougie Coulson (drums), John Haggerty (bass/vocals, ex-Citizans Bureaux), Kevin Kirkham (vocals/guitar) & Derek McNair (guitar/vocals). After an eight date tour at the beginning of 1981, the band split, with Haggerty joining Churchfall Lantern, McNair joining Bad Blood, and Kirkham forming The Rainpals.

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