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BIOG'S to '89

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The REJECTS:  Band formed from the ashes of Taylor's Dummies (Spring 1978). Members were Graeme Scotland (guitar) & former-manager Tom Taylor (vocals), Scott McNeill (drums), Doc Mtchell (guitar) & Adrian Whiteman (bass). Scotland later joined Citizans Bureaux, whilst Taylor formed Passif Resistance.

RENIA:  5-piece (1972/3) with Kenny Stewart, Denny (guitar, ex-Aegis). Stewart then formed Dirty Tricks.
"First Offenders" (album, 1973).

RIDJ:  Local act formed in 1978 by Jamie Blackhall (drums), Ian Bruce (guitar), David Hendry (keyboards), Rob Lorn (guitar) & Kevin Sharpe (bass/vocals). The following year Hendry formed Lazy.

The RITHUM SET:  Act from 1966.

The Vern ROPER BIG BAND:  17-piece big band founded in 1974 by Joe Miller (tenor sax, ex-Tommy Shirra Band), and featuring Pete Dyer (trumpet), Jimmy Cruickshanks (trumpet), Alex Forsyth (alto sax), Andy Clarkson (baritone sax), Ray Davidson (drums), Bill Hendry (piano, also with the George Moncur Quintet) or Ian Christie (piano, ex-Ian Christie Mainstream Group), and Blair Riddoch (bass) or Dave Margaroni (bass). In 1975 they had a residency at Clouds, Edinburgh. Dyer later played with Lauder's Big Band.

Angela ROSIE:  Solo folk singer from 1975.

ROYAL:  Bo'ness based act formed by Jim & Scott in 1976.

Brian & Brenda RUSSELL:  Brian Russell was Falkirk born and bred, but moved to the United States during the 1970's where he met and started performing with his wife Brenda Gordon. Gordon's father had been a member of the legendary group, The Inkspots, and after a time in New York she returned to her native Toronto to perform in the musical "Hair". The couple met in Toronto and hosted a Canadian T.V. show entitled "Music Machine", before moving to Los Angeles in 1973 to become session musicians. Working with Neil Sedaka led to them being noticed by Elton John, who signed them to his label, Rocket. The couple released their debut album, "World Called Love", in 1976, which featured a whole load of famous session musicians, as well as Elton John, and the follow up, "Supersonic Lover" in 1977. The couple seperated in 1978, and the following year Brenda signed solo to A&M where she began a long successful career, with hits like "In The Thick Of It" and "Piano In The Dark". She also wrote "Get Here", later a hit for Oletta Adams, as well as songs for the likes of Jermaine Jackson, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flak & Earth, Wind & Fire.
"World Called Love" (album, Rocket Records, 1976)
"Supersonic Lover" (album, Rocket Records, 1977).
https://youtu.be/nccsyAHoq0s  (Kanye West re-mix)

SAVANNA:  Band from 1975 featuring Jamie McKeever (guitar), Steve Caban (guitar/vocals), Scratch (bass) & Sid Stewart (drums). Caban later formed Tawny.

The Tommy SHIRRA BAND:  Big band from 1973 - 1974 who re-united many of the regions older musicians. The line-up contained Tommy Shirra (clarinet / saxophone), Steve Dunnachie (drums), Larry Young (piano), Joe Miller (saxophone), Alex Marshall (saxophone), Boston Glegg (saxophone), Bill McDonald (saxophone), Blondie Stewart (saxophone), John Arthur (trombone, ex-New Georgians), Dave Allan (trombone, ex-New Georgians), Bob Masson (bass), Chris Duncan (bass), Jim Cruickshanks (vocals), Richard Hendry (vocals, also with The Professionals), Sharon Dee (vocals), John Hardie (trumpet), Archie Grassam (trumpet) & Johnny Allan (trumpet). Miller later formed The Vern Roper Big Band, whilst McDonald turned up in The Falkirk Big Band and Arthur played with The High Society Jazz Band.

SIREN:  Act from 1977 formed by Alistair Buchanan (drums), Robert Buchanan (saxophone/vocals), Dougie Wilson (guitar) & Peter Wilson (bass). Later member Graham Harrower (keyboards) joined Bustop in 1978, whilst the Buchanan brothers formed Nassau.

SKEELS:  Local act from 1977.

SLIGHT RETURN:  Slight Return were a five piece Stenhousemuir act formed in 1979, and including Watson Easton (drums), Jim Morrison (bass) & Stuart Wardlaw (guitar). They continued to play live into 1980.

SOLARIS:  Band from 1978.

SOLITAIRE:  Short-lived name for band previously known as Topaz.  The name was adopted for a tour of Germany at the behest of and chosen by the Tour Promoter!). The band featured Falkirk brothers Roy (vocals) & Duncan (guitar/vocals), Bill Ritchie (bass/vocals) & Davy Lowe (drums). They would soon change the name to Midas Touch. The Leasks & Lowe also played in Natural Harmony.

The SONICS:  Four piece act formed in early 1966 by Bill Barclay (guitar, ex-Roadrunners), George Bain (drums, ex-Stacattoes), Eric Fowler (bass, ex-Leaves) & Melvin Fowler (guitar, ex-Leaves). The band turned down a three month tour of Spain in summer 1966, and continued to play into 1967, when they came second in the "Scene '67" competition at the Kelvin Halls, Glasgow. The Fowler twins later joined the Eddie Connors Trio. Barclay later moved to London to work in the music industry.

The SOUND:  Club act from 1970-73 featuring Tom Watson (accordian), Ian Reynolds (guitar) & Jack Stevenson (drums).

SPEAKEASY:  Rock act formed in 1979 by Stewart Drake (guitar), Dougie Hendry (keyboards), Sam Hinks (vocals), Dougie Malone (drums) & Richard Newlands (bass). Speakeasy played a lot locally until splitting in 1980, with Drake & Hinks forming Stealer, and Newlands joining Nassau.

The STACCATOS:  Band from the early/mid- 1960's with brothers Ian Horne (keyboards/ vocals) & Ross Horne (guitar), along with Hugh Flynn (vocals/guitar), Ian Torrance (bass) & George Bain (drums). They were managed by the Horne brothers' father, Willie Horne. In 1964 they took part in the heats for the "Macbeat" competition. Bain later formed The Sonics, and was replaced by Pete Baldwin (drums, ex-Road Runners). Flynn left and was replaced by Ronnie Brooks (guitar, ex-Eddie Connors Combo) & David Harrower (vocals). Another drummer was Drew Wilson (ex-Fourth Dimension) who later joined The Sundowners. In 1965 they had a residency at Banknock Community Centre as well as at Camelon Juniors Social Club. The band also auditioned for a TV talent show in Glasgow, but without success, and also supported The Kinks, The Troggs & Billie Davis. Ian Horne also played with The Roadrunners, before forming 2000AD with his brother. At one point Derek Waters (guitar, also with The Sundowners) played with the band when Ross Horne was ill for a while.

A recollection from Ian Horne: "I remember the stage at Camelon Juniors was so small that I had to play keyboard sitting at the side. This came to an end when one night somebody asked us "How does Ross get his guitar to sound like a saxophone?" Nobody knew I existed! What an ego blitzer! I was on the stage the next week. Camelon Juniors hall was jam packed every Tuesday and we had a great following when we played in Winchburgh, Bridgend, Linlithgow and the like. Many of our fans went with us and it was a great feeling to be so well appreciated."

SUNDOWNERS:  Local group who played from 1965 - 1971, featuring Drew Wilson (drums, ex-Stacattoes), Derek Watters (guitar), John McInally (guitar), Brian Watters (bass), Ian Thomson (guitar) & Andy Hepburn (vocals). Watters, Watters & Wilson later played in The Professionals. In March 1966 Brian Watters played a one-off date with The Forth Valley All Stars at the Odeon Cinema, Falkirk. Derek Waters helped out The Staccatos for a short while.

TAKE FOUR:  1970's band featuring Ronnie Park (bass), Gordon Cooper (keyboards, ex-Four Teens?), Billy Gorman (drums) & Eddie Kane (guitar). They worked as the resident band at the BP Club during that period.

TAWNY:  Band formed in 1977 by Steve Caban (guitar, ex-Savanna), Gullio De Placido (guitar/vocals), Walter Livingston (drums), Gordon McDairmid (guitar/vocals) & Donald McLean (bass/vocals). In 1978 Caban quit the band, however they continued to play into 1979, when a new guitarist, John Cunningham joined.

TAYLOR'S DUMMIES:  Possibly the first punk act in the area, Taylor's Dummies were formed in late 1977 by their manager Tom Taylor. The line-up was Basil Burton (keyboards), Clarence Collier (drums, ex-Bulldog), Duffy Dunne (guitar) & Humphrey Hepworth (bass/vocals), though they were often joined by Taylor on vocals at gigs in 1978. Dunne was probably known as Graeme Scotland, and he and manager Taylor formed The Rejects in 1978.

TELEPHONE:  Act from the early 1970's featuring Gerry Riley (bass) who later joined Hog Farm.

TENTACLE:  Large local act from 1970 who played a jammed outdoor gig in Callendar Park that summer.

TEQUILA:  Larbert act from 1974 featuring Raymond Kelly (guitar/vocals), Gordon Jenkins (guitar/vocals) & David Storey (bass). Storey later joined Castle.

THOR:  Act from 1974.

THRUSH:  Popular local country rock act formed in 1975 by Roy Whittit (guitar, ex-Triad), Richard "Dickaroo" Dow (guitar, ex-Aardvark), Charlie Dyer (bass, ex-Cat Violet) & Davy Waugh (vocals, ex-Aardvark). Whittit, Waugh & Dow then changed the band's name to Bushrod Gentry in April, but they reverted to Thrush by October, along with Norrie Stirrat (bass) and Ross Crichton (drums, ex-Castle). This line up was the most successful of the Thrush line-ups, and played regularly in Glasgow at "The Maggie" and in Oban at the "Bistro" where people were known to queue for hours to see them. In 1977 the band were featured on BBC Radio Scotland in a concert recorded at Falkirk Town Hall. They also featured on Scottish TV programme "Thingummyjig" a few times in 1978. In July 1978 they played at the legendary Glasgow Apollo...suporting Christian! Stirrat was soon replaced by Glaswegian musician Jim Gallagher. Gallagher & Crichton were then replaced by Colin Silcock (drums), Derek Lenathan (guitar) & Mick McNally (bass, ex-Makaris Park). 1981 saw Dow leave to be replaced by Eddie Reader who bought Dow's sure microphone and Barcus Berry pick-up from him. Reader didn't last long (later singing backing for The Gang Of Four & The Waterboys, before forming Fairground Attraction and going solo), being replaced by ex-Makaris Park guitarist Robert McMullan. Soon afterwards the band split , with Waugh later going on to promote bands at The Burns Bar, The Glenfinnan, The Metropolitan Hotel and The Argyll Bar, as well as playing in Fast & Furious with Dow. Lenathan, meanwhile, joined The Deft Jerks, and some members of Thrush went on to form Red Dexter & The Trailblazers. McMullan & McNally later formed The Rocks.  A late line-up featured a returned Dow and George Falconer (drums, also with The Deft Jerks). Dow later moved to Australia (where his daughter now plays in a band called Voyager).

Thrush were actually the last band to ever play the legendary Apollo Theatre in Glasgow. On that night they had invited Haldane Duncan, who was a producer at STV and had become good friends with the band after doing several "Thingummyjig" shows. He turned up pretty drunk and the band were having a laugh when the stewards threw him out. An hour or so later Duncan appeared and said to the band "You bastards think you're great...the last band to play the Apollo... but I'm the last punter to get chucked out". Needless to say, he brought the band to their knees laughing.  
Another funny event was the night they played the Loch Long Hotel, where only two people turned up to see them! They were a bit funny about receiving a cheque from the hotel, so when Thrush got home Dow took the cheque to the Scotia Agency who had booked them for the gig, and which was run by Bill Barclay (the comedian/singer/actor). Barclay exchanged it for one of their cheques which was made out to cash. Needless to say, the hotel cheque bounced and every time Dow later Barclay he would say "Ya little bastard... that cheque bounced". The hotel gig was also remembered for roadie Alan Scott fainting three times in the lift after smoking too much weed!

TOPAZ:  This group inlcuded Falkirk-brothers Roy (vocals) & Duncan Leask (guitar/vocals), Bill Ritchie (bass/vocals) and drummer Davy Lowe. The Leasks & Lowe formerly played with Natural Harmony while Ritchie was an ex-Trespasser (Stirling). They briefly changed their name to Solitaire for a tour of Germany in 1974 and on their return had a further change of name to Midas Touch.

TRIANGLE PLUS ONE:  Middle of the road act from 1973 featuring Bonnybridge singer Vathy Coleman. The rest of the band were from the west coast; Dave Lindsay, Sandy Tassie & Stewart Turner.

The VELVET TOUCH:  Local act from 1970 featuring Paul McNaught (bass), Hamish McKenzie (organ), Donald Innes (vocals) & George Bayne (drums).

The VISITORS:  Band formed in 1979.

WESSEX:  Act from 1970's including Billy Fleming (vocals), Jim FINLAYSON (drums) & Gerry McPherson (bass/vocals).  Other members of Wessex were  Alan Key (drums) & Robert Fotheringham (bass).  Wessex won a competition in Edinburgh with a prize of a  two week cruise on the Canberra and £1000 in cash! (some names don't match-up with the person in the article!).

WHITE LIGHTNING:  Act from the 1970's featuring Alan Griffiths (guitar) & George Crook (durms), both of whom later joined The Janie White Band.

The JANIE WHITE BAND:  Act from 1975 featuring Janie White (vocals), Alan Griffiths (guitar, ex-White Lightning), Andrew McIntyre (bass) & George Crook (drums, ex-White Lightning).  Crook later joined Starfleet Command.

Tommy WHITTLE:  Grangemouth born jazz saxophonist Whittle joined the Ted Heath Orchestra in 1946, at the age of 20. Six years with Heath established his name in UK circles, and he left to further his solo playing desires and, in fact, bacame a featured soloist with the BBC Showband. This time also saw him winning the Melody Maker & NME polls as a featured soloist. In 1956 he was involved in exchange tours of the US, and released a string of albums and singles for the Esquire label, leading his own quintet. In the early 1960's Whittle was musical director for the Dorchester Hotel before joining Jack Parnell's ATV Orchestra. He has recorded sessions with many acts including Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Barbara Streisand, Georgie Fame, Paul McCartney & Caravan, whilst continuing to release his own recordings.
IN 1975 Tommy returned to the area for a one off date at the Metro Jazz Club, backed with the regions finest musicians.  
As recently as 1990 and 1991 when he won the British Jazz Award for Top Tenor Saxophone.  In 2005 Tommy was awarded a silver medal for his distinguished career in jazz by the Worshipful Company of Musicians in London.
"Martini" (78 rpm single, Esquire Records, 1954)
"Waxing With Whittle" (vinyl album, Esquire Records, 1954)
"The Tommy Whittle Quintet" (vinyl album, Esquire Records, 1955)
"The Tommy Whittle Quintet" (7 inch EP, Esquire Records, 1956)
"How High The Moon" (78 rpm single, Esquire Records, 1956)
"Spotlighting Tommy Whittle" (vinyl album, Esquire Records, 1956)
"Lullaby & Rhythm" (vinyl album, Esquire Records, 1956)
"The Finsher" (7 inch single, HMV, 1957)
"The Tommy Whittle Quartet" (7 inch EP, HMV, 1957)
"New Horizons" (vinyl album, Temp Records, 1960)
"Why Not" (vinyl album, Alamo Records, 1979)
"Jig Saw" (vinyl album, Alamo Records, 1979)
"More Waxing With Whittle" (vinyl album, Esquire Records, 1987)
"Warm Glow" (CD / cassette album, Teejay Records, 1992)
Tommy Whittle & Alan Barnes:
"Straight Eight" (vinyl album, Miles Music, 1986)
Tommy Whittle & The Bob Hudson Trio:
"Encore!" (cd album, Sine Records, 1998).

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