Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Minstrels, Poets & Vagabonds

My sister-in-law Jane bought me the above book as part of my Christmas (last year it was The Beatles In Scotland) and as usual she has again displayed her good taste.

I finished the book over two sessions and really enjoyed the early Chapters which concentrated on the Glasgow music scene from the 60’s to the 80’s.

Here is the author Robert Field’s view on his aims for the book:-

“I’ve tried to remain loyal to my genre as im a Rocker and I feel that this scene has been (and I can exclusively reveal) totally ignored in most parts by the mainstream media over the past 50 years .And so not in this book will you find the magnificent pop rock meanderings of Slide because in allowing that then the floodgates would surely open and coming rushing through would be the likes of Texas, Del Amitri, The Silencers, K.M.O., Simple Minds andTravis etc all fine bands in their own right and as fellow Glaswegians earning a crust in the very fraught arena of the music business they have my 100% respect but their end product is NOT what this book is about nor did I want to go down the indie rock route. I couldn’t open the door for the likes of Glasvegas and Mogwai or I would have to include bands like Primal Scream, Jesus and the Mary-chain, The Fratellis, Ac-Acoustics, Murmur, Kit Cumming’s fantastic Said Florance, The Vaseline’s, Captain America, Teenage Fan Club, Bmx Bandits, Mickey Rooney’s mega Primevals, The Gyres etc.

Nor did I try and adopt any band or artiste which has been the case from the early seventies with the likes of Rod Stewart(have you heard him talk!!! Nuff said) and a craze that has carried on to this day with the likes of Snow Patrol and Franz Ferdinand all at some point featuring in various Scottish/Glasgow charts and polls when their Scottish/Glasgow links are very tentative to say the least.

When setting out the plan for this book I thought it would be cool to have a cd of free downloads for the reader to enhance their journey through the five decades and on putting pen to paper I ended up with a Six cd with 115 track historical artefact listening post which in my wee u’mble opinion is quite unique and superb so get the kettle on and download your listening post “Are you sitting comfortably?” then let the journey begin…………….Xmas comes early kiddies.”

Many a memory was rekindled as venues such as the Burns Howff, the Amphora, the Mars Bar, Rock Gardens, Glasgow Tech’s Bubble, QMU, His Nibs, Shuffles, The Maggie, Tiffany’s and even The Griffen lept from the pages like they had never been away.

The book is biased towards mainstream rock (the author being first and foremost a fan and friend of Uriah Heep) and dwells on many of the 60’s and 70’s legends such as The Beatstalkers, The Poets, Frankie Miller, Stone The Crows, Alex Harvey and in particular the career of Jimmy Dewar.

However the majority of the book features a host of local bands through the ages from Cochise through Glasgow (who’s bus I rember used to sit behind The Cutty sark in Dumbarton when they played there to the legend that is Big George and The Business and Peter Goes To Partick.

Essential reading for anyone who spent time up the city listening and drinking to the sounds of Glasgow.

“St Louis Blues” – The Beatstalkers

You couldn’t make this story up and, what’s amazing is, it’s all true. Every word. Formed in Glasgow in the early 60’s, The Beatstalkers quickly rose to become Scotland’s best known beat group. Totally adored by their hoards of fans, the group, quite literally, caused riots in their home town. Signed to Decca Records, and eventually to CBS Records, what other band can claim to have had songs written for them by David Bowie. Yip, you read it right, THE David Bowie – who was then a young struggling singer/songwriter. Performing on the famous T.V. Pop Show, ‘Ready Steady Go’ and appearances at the Marquee Club, the band eventually called it a day when their van was stolen and every piece of equipment that they had built up over a ten year period was taken. But… The story is not yet over. Thirty plus years later the band have now re-formed, played a sell-out gig at the Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom and have released both a ‘Best of’ Album and a live DVD of the Barrowland gig.

“I’m Ready” – Frankie Miller

The above track is from Frankie’s 1973 debut album “Once In A Blue Moon” on which his backing band was Brinsley Schwarz who featured Nick Lowe on bass.

“The Touch Of Your Loving Hand” – Stone The Crows

The above is a Jimmy Dewar/Les Harvey (brother of Alex) composition from The Crow’s self titled 1970 album.

“Twice Removed From Yesterday” _ Robin Trower

Robin Trower and Frankie Miller got it together for awhile but never delivered songs in the studio (though their composition This Love Of Mine features on Frankie’s Full House album) instead Trower went down the power trio route like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream with Jimmy Dewar on board as bass, singer and writer and what a voice.

“Midnight Moses” – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Need I say more……………….I had the privilage of seeing SAHB support The Who at Celtic Park back in June 1976 it is said that the SAHB Christmas concerts in 1975 at the Apollo was the pinnicale of their career if so Iwould have loved to have been there.

If you don’t have the music of the above artists then get it SORTED NOW!

If you do then dig it out dust it down and go back in time.

To buy the book click HERE

December 28, 2009 - Posted by | Books, Old Music | , , , , ,


  1. […] book is a great read (see previous post HERE) and can still be bought by clicking […]

    Pingback by 2010 Top 30 New and Old #20 « Helpless Dancer | December 11, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] rediscovery for me this year thanks to the book Minstrels, Poets & Vagabonds was Big George and The […]

    Pingback by 2010 Top 30 New and Old #17 « Helpless Dancer | December 14, 2010 | Reply

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