Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Beatstalkers- Scotland's No.1 Beat Group (1965-69)

Davie Lennox - vocals
Eddie Campbell - guitar, organ
Ronnie Smith - guitar and vocals
Alan Mair - bass
'Tudge' Williamson - drums
Jeff Allen - drums (from late '60s)
Formed in 1962, a Glasgow R'n'B band managed by Joe Gaffney, they were sometimes referred to as The Scottish Beatles in their early days, although when they signed to Decca in 1965, they moved down to London. In their early days their live repertoire was drawn from originals, black America and less well known Rolling Stones cuts. They had a mod image and built up a very loyal audience around Glasgow before moving South.
1967 saw a label change to CBS and a new line-up. In their later days they were managed by Kenneth Pitt who also looked after David Bowie's affairs. At Pitt's suggestion they recorded some of Bowie's songs:- 'Silver Treetop School For Boys', 'Everything Is You' and 'When I'm Five'. They had a residency at London's legendary Marquee, appeared on TV show Ready, Steady, Go with the Who and once, during a lunchtime show in June 1965 in George Square, the teenage audience was whipped into such a frenzy a riot ensued, followed by accusations that it was somehow staged.
After attempting three songs, they had to leave the stage as mounted Police rescued some distressed fans from potential crushing injuries while the band escaped through the city chambers. The commotion was widely reported across the Scottish press.
Poor record company representation from Decca and the fact that huge record sales (50,000 in a month) went unrecorded outside of the only two shops in Scotland whose sales were counted, contributed to their demise. A planned live album from Glasgow never emerged either.
By 1969 the band were in terminal decline and when their van was stolen with all their equipment in it they packed it in. Eddie Campbell was later in Tear Gas and Jeff Allen went on to play for Dr. K's Blues Band and then East Of Eden (he also did a John Peel session with Blue). Lennox was a member of The Joe O'Donnell Band in 1978.
In the late 1960's and early 1970s Alan Mair ran a boutique in Kensington market selling hand made clothes and especially shoes & boots. Everybody bought them. Platforms, stacked heels, fancy patterns and colours. Freddie Mercury was a sales assistant until Queen started to break big. In the late '70's early '80s Alan played in the magnificent 'Only Ones' - of 'Another girl Another planet' fame etc.
The band released seven singles in their career.
'Everybody's Talking 'Bout My Baby' / 'Mr. Disappointed' (1965)'Left Right Left' / 'You'd Better Get A Better Hold On' (1966)'A Love Like Yours' / 'Base Line' (1966)'My One Chance To Make It' / 'Ain't Got No Soul (Left In These Old Shoes)' (1967)'Silver Treetop School For Boys' / Sugar Chocolate Machine' (1967)'Rain Coloured Roses' / 'Everything Is For You' (1967)'When I'm Five' / 'Little Boy' (1969)

In 2005 they released a 'Best-Of' CD and calls for live performances soon followed. They then reformed and played The Barrowland Ballroom Glasgow on December 23rd after more than thirty years! A DVD of the performance is now available.


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