Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Minstrels, Poets & Vagabonds

And so I bring to a close this series of postings based on the artists and groups which feature in Robert Fields great book.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look back at the Glasgow rock scene over several decades.

Despite the posts to date i could carry on for a long time as there is so much more to remember and enjoy in the book which you buy HERE

There are many great artists covered by the book but not covered in this series, some of them have already appeared in this blog before therefore for your further enjoyment please follow the links below:-




ENJOY, Rock On and……………………….Be Lucky!


February 27, 2010 Posted by | Books, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Comfort Of Tea

FluManIt is funny how when you aren’t feeling well that you resort back to the most basic of basics regarding comfort foods.

For me the last few days have been partly underpinned by copious amounts of tea plus some good old Jacobs Crackers and Heinz Crean of Chicken Soup.

I normally drink coffee but just now tea is my best friend.


“Have A Cuppa Tea” – The Kinks

Granny’s always ravin’ and rantin’
And she’s always puffin’ and pantin’,
And she’s always screaming and shouting,
And she’s always brewing up tea.

Grandpappy’s never late for his dinner,
Cos he loves his leg of beef
And he washes it down with a brandy,
And a fresh made cup of tea.

Have a cuppa tea, have a cuppa tea,
have a cuppa tea, have a cuppa tea,
Halleluja, halleluja, halleluja, Rosie Lea
Halleluja, halleluja, halleluja Rosie Lea.

If you feel a bit under the weather,
If you feel a little bit peeved,
Take granny’s stand-by potion
For any old cough or wheeze.
It’s a cure for hepatitis it’s a cure for chronic insomnia,
It’s a cure for tonsilitis and for water on the knee.


Tea in the morning, tea in the evening, tea at supper
You get tea when it’s raining, tea when it’s snowing.
Tea when the weather’s fine,
You get tea as a mid-day stimulant
You get tea with your afternoon tea
For any old ailment or disease
For Christ sake have a cuppa tea.


Whatever the situation whatever the race or creed,
Tea knows no segregation, no class nor pedigree
It knows no motivations, no sect or organisation,
It knows no one religion,
Nor political belief.


To buy the music of The Kinks click HERE

“Tea & Theatre” – The Who

Will you have some tea
At the theatre with me?

We did it all – didn’t we?
Jumped every wall – instinctively
Unravelled codes – ingeniously
Wired all the roads – so seamlessly

We made it work
But one of us failed
That makes it so sad
A great dream derailed

One of us gone
One of us mad
One of us, me
All of us sad

All of us sad – lean on my shoulder now
The story is done – ‘s getting colder now
A thousand songs – still smoulder now
We played them as one – we’re older now

All of us sad
All of us free
Before we walk from the stage
Two of us
Will you have some tea?
Will you have some tea
At the theatre with me?

To buy the music of The Who click HERE

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Family, Old Music, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Alex Harvey


Alex Harvey is perhaps best recognised for his work in the 70’s with “The Sensational Alex Harvey Band” however like many musicians he spent his apprenticeship in the 60’s playing Bluus and R&B in the clubs and like The Beatles spent time in Germany and played live at the Star Club Hamburg with his band “Alex Harvey and his Soul Band” in 1963 an album was released in 1964 which can now pick up big bucks on the vinyl market.

Here are a couple of tracks firstly a great “The Blind Man” followed by an early take on “Framed” which became a key song throughout his 70’s shows.

\”The Blind Man\” – Alex Harvey and his Soul Band [MP5]

\”Framed\” – Alex Harvey and his Soul Band {MP3)

 Below is a resume of alex harvey’s career taken from

Alex Harvey was born February 5, 1935, in Glasgow, growing up in the hardscrabble projects of that industrial Scottish city.After leaving school at 15, as the story goes, he tackled as many as 36 different professions, including lion tamer, before turning to music. In 1954, Alex Harvey made his professional debut playing trumpet at a Glaswegian wedding celebration.In the early ’50s in Great Britain there was a resurgence of ’20s-style jazz, soon to be eclipsed by the imports of rural southern American music. By 1955, Alex had played with a number of different Dixieland and jazz ensembles, particularly honing his musical skills in two bands with saxophonist Bill Patrick. (The Clyde River Jazz Band played “trad” jazz, while the Kansas City Skiffle Group banged out the country/folk-flavored “youth music” of the time.) By 1956, when Memphis trucker Elvis Presley‘s interpretation of “race music” had become firmly entrenched in British culture, Harvey had won a newspaper competition as Scotland’s answer to British teen idol Tommy Steele. He covered Big Bill Broonzy and Jimmie Rodgers tunes until the skiffle craze petered out; then, transformed into the Kansas City Counts, Alex Harvey’s band played pop covers.

By 1959 Harvey was fronting the Alex Harvey Soul Band, also known as Alex Harvey’s Big Soul Band. With this incarnation Harvey gained regional fame, playing regular gigs in Edinburgh as well as Glasgow. The Big Soul Band also backed such American stars as Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and John Lee Hooker on their local tours. Like many other British blues-based groups of the time, Harvey’s local popularity led to a contract at the famous Top Ten Club in Hamburg, Germany. Residency there garnered the band a recording contract with Polydor Records and the release of Alex Harvey and His Soul Band, a live album, in March, 1964. (Interestingly enough, the Soul Band was replaced on the German recording by Liverpudlian rockers “Kingsize” Taylor & the Dominos). Several singles culled from those sessions, including covers of Willie Dixon‘s “I Just Want to Make Love To You” and Muddy Waters‘ “Got My Mojo Workin'”, were released in both Britain & the US.

After returning to Britain, Harvey retained his modestly successful position in the burgeoning rock and blues club scene, although failing to gain the bigger breaks of such contemporaries as the Yardbirds or the Bluesbreakers. In 1965 he’d teamed up with his brother Les to record The Blues, fulfilling his obligations to Polydor.

The Blues was a spartan effort, just the Harvey brothers with sparse acoustic guitar accompaniment. A commercial failure, the album consisted of such varied (but un-Soul Band-like) numbers as “Strange Fruit” and the Aussie novelty tune “Waltzing Matilda”. Alex released another Polydor single under the “Soul Band” moniker, “Ain’t That Just Too Bad”, then disolved the band, now declaring himself a folksinger.

Harvey’s folkie career was shortlived, however, as evidenced by his next single release — a rollicking cover of Edwin Starr’s “Agent Double-O Soul”. (The B side, “Go Away Baby” would gain recognition with its inclusion on the compilation disc British Blue-Eyed Soul, released in 1968.) Another single, “The Work Song” was released during this time, but basically a disillusioned Alex Harvey considered giving up the music business (perhaps for another stab at lion taming).

Returning to Glasgow in 1966, the Harvey brothers teamed with local musicians (including Alex’s crony Bill Patrick and singer Isobel Bond) to form the short-lived Blues Council, an attempt at cashing in on the Big Soul Band’s (and therefore, Alex’s) R&B reputation. After that group disintegrated, Alex briefly fell in with the psychedelic band Giant Moth, a gig that landed him a solo deal with Decca Records. (Neither of the Decca singles, “Sunday Song” or “Maybe Someday”, both backed by Giant Moth bandmates, made any real chart progress.) By 1967, Alex had found steadier work in the backup band for the London production of Hair.

His next solo release, Roman Wall Blues (1969), was a heavy-handed “concept” album. Despite backing by brother Les & the jazz-tinged group Rock Workshop, Roman Wall Blues failed to gain Alex the recognition he sought. With his career rapidly declining, Harvey lucked into a fortuitous discovery — Glasgow prog rockers Tear Gas, fronted by guitarist Zal Cleminson and featuring Hugh and Ted McKenna with bassist Chris Glen. Together, they morphed into the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in 1972. That same year, Alex’s brother Les, now guitarist with vocalist Maggie Bell’s Stone the Crows, was freakishly electrocuted onstage at a gig in Swansea, Wales.

Leslie’s death prompted Harvey to work his new band hard on the college/club circuit, where they developed the theatrical rock style that fueled the band’s cult status. A pair of U.K. hit singles, 1975’s Delilah (a quirky remake of Tom Jones‘ 1968 hit) and 1976’s Boston Tea Party,helped propel the Sensational Alex Harvey Band into one of the most sought-after international headline acts.

Recurring back problems exacerbated by his physically demanding stage antics forced Harvey to announce, in October 1977, his retirement from full-time rock ‘n’ roll.Following a rare European tour, Harvey was stricken in Zeebrugge, Belgium, with a fatal heart attack. Rock lost one of its most enigmatic and original proponents on February 4, 1982, the day before Alex Harvey would have turned 47.

D. Wade McDaniel, November 19, 1997 



October 21, 2008 Posted by | Old Music, Video | , | 2 Comments


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