John LEISHMAN'S MEMORIES - FALKIRKMUSICSCENE2017

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JOHN LEISHMAN

John Leishman was a well known face on the local scene during the 1960's and 1970's, and has provided this page in the hope that it will bring back memories to anyone who lived through the era. He would love to hear from people who can remember the time. You can e-mail him at:

johnleishman49@yahoo.co.uk

"I was born in Lauriston in January 1949 and spent most of my life growing up in Stenhousemuir. I was into music from about the age of 11 and started to collect singles by the likes of Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent and the Bluecaps to name a few. My cousin David Smith from Brightons was my hero as he played drums with a Teddy boy band called The Tuxedos. Their band often played the American airbase at Kirkliston. I`m sure his drape suit was crimson with a leopard skin collar and, of course, the brothel creepers. He was "Cool as FCUK", as they say. A lot of my Sunday afternoons were spent at the "Lido" in Stenhousemuir listening to Eric Liston and his band practising at the back of Peter Pelagrini`s chip shop. It was great as it echoed all across the Lido park. Eric was a very talented guitarist."

"We of course had the famous Dobbie Hall in Stenhousemuir, which was a terrific venue, and I saw many bands there throughout my teens. When I was 14 I used to deliver papers to get pocket money to buy records, and after delivering Saturday's evening papers I would go up to the Dobbie Hall and wait for the bands to arrive for the Saturday night dancing. They would arrive about 6.30 and I would stand outside and listen to them warming up. It was totally amazing, and I always wished I would one day be able to play like them. By 7.45 there was a steady stream of teddy boys and teddy girls arriving. What a scene, man, I can tell you, it was electric!"

"One of the bands that played there was The Hawkes, who had Jimmy Shand as their vocalist, and a great voice he had. He used to work in one of the foundries in Larbert, it may have been Jones`s. I think he came from Falkirk. There was also a band called the "Red Hawks" from Dunfermline, who played alternate weekends in the Dobbie Hall and they were also a terrific band. I`m sure they had a brass section in their band, and I remember them doing "One Way Love" by Cliff Bennet and The Rebel Rousers. It was a fave with the punters. All us regulars knew all these band members and we used to shout out our requests to them.There was a sort of bond between us."

"There was dancing in the late 1950`s and early 1960`s in Kiniell (Bo`ness) on Wednesdays. I don`t know the venue, but heard older guys speaking about going there. Linlithgow Town Hall was on Saturday night, as was the Dobbie Hall, Grangemouth Town Hall and Grangemouth Community Centre was on Fridays, and a place referred to as "Waugh's sweatbox" in Falkirk on a Sunday night. The Kinema in Dunfermline was another favourite venue, and of course there was the infamous Denniston Palais in Glasgow. Prior to that (early 1950`s) "Falkirk Ice Rink" used to have big bands which I believe were dancebands like Joe Loss & Sid Lawrence."

"Doak's Ballroom was what the Maniqui was originally. I was there a couple of times in the early 1960's, but it was too square for us "mods". The Burlington Ballroom was another venue in Falkirk that was still going in the early 1960`s, and was directly across the road from where Brian Findlay`s Record shop was. It was a slightly dodgy place, and was where girls of ill repute were to be had."

"Kirk's Record Shop (circa 1962 - 64) was round the corner from the Manor Cafe on the street where the back entrance to "Youngs" toy shop was. There was a girl called Anne McTaig who worked there, and she married a local musician called Jimmy Moncrieff who was an excellent electric piano player and played in quite a few bands. Greigs Furniture Shop (circa 1962 - 64) was right across the road from McDougalls, and they too sold records. Doughty`s Records (circa 1962 - 64) was up the little lane where the pet shop used to be. I think it was a shop selling papers, pipes, incense etc.the last time I was in Falkirk. The Cave (circa 1964 - 66) was a coffee bar / record shop in the basement of Alexanders Furniture Shop in the High Street. It was run by a very good friend called Irene Ferguson, and was well ahead of its time."

"On a Saturdays we all used to hang out in some of these shops listening on headphones to all the new releases and eyeing up the girls. That was all the actual record shops that were in Falkirk in the 1960's, and into the 1970's. Woolworths started to sell records in the early seventies and was a prime target for people who would buy one, get 10 free, if you get my drift."

"The Hawaiian Eye was a very popular venue in Friar Street in Stirling and opened in 1965, if I remember correctly. It was opened by Jimmy Saville and was a very hip place to be. You had to be a member, which I was, and it was all soul music played by DJ "Sneaky Vernicci" for us "Mods". It was packed out every Friday night and went on until about 4am in the morning, all done with the aid of some "pep pills" (Purple Hearts or French Blues) as they were called. Very little alcohol was consumed there and there was seldom any fights. ( Love and Peace, man!) There were groups of 10 to 20 who used to go every Friday from Stenhousemuir, Bannockburn, Dennyloanhead, St.Ninians and Corntonvale. A great venue, and it would be interesting to see if anyone remembered it."

"The Beachcomber Club was a sister club of the Hawaiian Eye, and was in Irvine. It was opened by Simon Dee, who was very big in the 1960's. It was membership only as well, and was again a very hip place. They had cages suspended from the ceiling where the "dolly bird" members who thought they were good dancers would entertain everyone. A "groovy scene" as they said back then. That's where our "mod" group went on Saturday nights if we had cash.
"

"I used to DJ at the La Bamba for a while in the late 1960's, right up to 1970. One Garrard SP25 record deck which I used to play 1960`s Psychedelic and west coast rock like the Doors, Captain Beefheart, Buffalo Springfield and The Mothers Of Invention. I just played before the bands arrived and during breaks, and met a lot of top names then. There was no hype or egos then, apart from one female artist. They were just like mates who got a band together to have a good time and make a few bob."

"Slade played a big concert up Callendar Estate in the late 1960`s. During that gig the Estate was packed with hippies all groovin' (as they say) and lots of families and their kids picnicing. There were quite a few support bands on the bill whose names slip my mind, as I was pretty stoned / tripped out at the time (as were a lot of others!). I do remember it was a beautiful hot sunny day, lots of people swimming in the lake and little groups dressed in kaftans and multi coloured patched Levi`s all over the Estate smoking and rolling joints, dancing, and spreading the "love and peace" philosophy. Some played acoustic guitars, mouth organs and tablas, and sang James Taylor, Neil Young and Crosby, Stills and Nash songs. There was a bit of a scuffle at the stage area early on when "Hell`s Angels" arrived. As usual they took it on themselves to be security, causing a bit of trouble between them and the official hired security. My brother Duncan was a member of the official security and after a bit of a fracas they managed to sort it out. Apart from that it was a great day, the music was "far out, man", and as usual Slade did the business."

"I saw and met Emperor Rosco, who was a famous DJ on Luxemburg and then Radio1, at the Maniqui in 1972 / 1973. He was one hell of a DJ. My wife and I had backstage access as I was friends with Bill Smith who had Nightflight Disco and has been a DJ with Radio Clyde since it started. He got us passes."
"Bruce's Music was originally called Brian Findlay Records (circa 1970 - 75) and was run by Bruce`s brother Brian. I worked for Brian for a while (as did Roy who later ran it as "Sleeves"). Another guy who worked for Brian Findlay for a while was Davy Haswell, who played with Jack Easy. Bill Smith, who is a DJ at Radio Clyde and Tom Bell from CentralFM, were friends of Brian too."

"Orbit Records (circa 1971 - 73) was situated just directly under the steeple and I worked there for a while for Margaret and Gerry who also owned another shop in Grangemouth. They were always competing with Brian Findlay to beat his prices which they did on many occassions. I am not sure when they closed, but I think they were still going in the 1980`s."

"Andy Harrison of Jack Easy fame was a personal friend of me and my wife and often visited us at our house. We used to have some good times and it was great to listen to him playing and singing. There was a guy from Falkirk called Ian Kirkwood, nickname "Peeps", who was another excellent guitarist, but I don`t think he ever played in a band. I remember him playing at parties and up Callander Park, where a lot of us would congregate on nice sunny days at the weekends and play football. You would often find little groups of people up the estate during the summer in the 1960`s enjoying a smoke and listening to mates who would get together to strum a few tunes. "Summers of Love", those were the days."

"I went from Mod in the early to middle 1960`s, to hippy from middle 1960`s to late1970`s. I was known as "Jocky" Leishman, and in the middle 1960`s / early 1970`s I was a hippy and used to hang out with all "freaks" (as we called ourselves) at the Wimpy Bar or The Temperence Cafe. I got married in 1970 to Elizabeth (Tiz as she was known to people when we lived in Grangemouth) and moved up to Aberdeenshire where she comes from in 1976".

To be continued.....
 
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