Opium Trail Scotland

The Opium Trail was a local band to Thurso, Scotland in the far north of the country.

Tim Hunt reporting on the Opium Trail

Opium Trail members 1967


BBC Television footage Opium Trail

Opium Trail at the BBC


Opium Trail was a pop band from Thurso. Besides member Graham Walker who played drums for many of the most accomplished musicians in the rock music,  Roger Niven is an accomplished musician who went on to study classical guitar besides participating in playing various types of music from Beat to Jazz styles. in 2002, several years before he reunited with drummer Graham Walker to record with jazz singer, Roger wrote, “Still playing a lot. I have a 7 piece salsa/ latin soul band , “Latitude57”,which I formed with a girl from Ecuador last year.  I also have a classical guitar teaching diploma.  I play lute and cittern in a renaissance music group called Coronach (check our site).  “
(I think this is the Link Roger mentioned: http://www.coronach.co.uk/)
2011 Also checkout this site for more on Roger: http://www.circusfm.com

Graham and Dick Levens and I played together in London for 3 years in “A Million People” from 1971 to 1974. We all met up in 2000 at a school reunion in Thurso. Dick lives in Orkney and I still see him a lot.  Your site has brought back a lot of fond memories.  I have accumulated
 lots of guitars including a 57 strat, SG, 12 string Rickenbacker (the one in that very silly picture you have of me (on the desk on the web site) a 335 and my latest baby, a Paul Reed Smith. Current amp is a Mesa Boogie.”

Roger Niven with Opium Trail [1967] Related post: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/spiggy-topes-aberdeen-band/

Ron Gesch, one of the members who performed with the OT on BBC, is currently a singer/songwriter in the Christian Rock genre https://www.reverbnation.com/rongesch

Ron Geschwind webpages: Intro: http://www.rgcgraphics.com/radioman3rdclass/rgeschwind/trail.htm History: http://rgcgraphics.com/OPTrail2/Local%20Publish/BackGround/background.html Photos: http://rgcgraphics.com/OPTrail2/Local%20Publish/Pictures/pictures.html

For updates from the OT line-up, refer to http://rgcgraphics.com/OPTrail2/Updates.html

“Another local outfit seen on the small screen was the exotically named Opium Trail, recorded by the BBC at a Scapa House gig performing Sam and Dave’s soul standard, Hold On I’m Coming, then a big favourite with Caithness teens. The Opium Trail included Detroit-born guitarist Ron Gershwin, Graham Walker, Roger Niven, Mike Sutherland and singer Spike Milligan, who was later replaced by ‘Five One’, otherwise Fred Wilson. Later travellers on The Opium Trail were Alastair Macleod and Duncan Gray. The Trail started out playing chart hits, R&B standards and a few dated but popular Shadows instrumentals.” http://www.internet-promotions.co.uk/archives/northlands/north5.htm



Posted in 1960's pop music


promo photos sent to AA Bonici, Elgin, Scotland 1965

Donovan who suffered from polio as a child, grew up in Glasgow until age 10 when his parents went south in the north of England






In 1965 Donovan was homeless briefly until he replaced his manager who got him enough gigs and a recording contract.  Details: Born 10 May 1946, Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland. Folk Singer; Early career [1965] Appearances: In 1965 “several talent scouts heard some of Donovan’s music, and signed him to perform on the rock program Ready Stead Go.”https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jUfiMkBSMrAC&pg=PA139&dq=donovan+leitch+scotland+1965&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj13uHWqNjTAhWLLsAKHWJhBDgQ6AEIJjAB#v=onepage&q=donovan%20leitch%20scotland%201965&f=false He also appeared at the NME Poll Winners Concert, Wembley, 1965; and the Newport Folk Festival with Bob Dylan later than year. His first single recording was “Catch The Wind” followed by “Colours” and “Universal Soldier” 1965. Catch the Wind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8hjEYTpwE8 Colours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX3AnhefltM Universal Soldier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A50lVLtSQik

Donovan went on to gain a large following in the UK before his popularity grew in the United States. Before he hit the big time, Donovan befriended the Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, whose friendship “change my whole life” according to Donovan. He described Brian as an extraordinary talent whose “superfame was too much for him”.


http://www.biography.com/people/donovan-20868813#synopsis Songs: http://scotiafile.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/donovan-leitch.html

currently: http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/13214856.Donovan_is_back___and_he_owes_it_all_to_Glasgow_women/

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in 1960's pop music

Spiggy Topes – Aberdeen band


Spiggy Topes were originally a Thurso band that formed in 1969 as Roger Niven, Graham Walker, and Johnny Gray were looking for new when Thurso vocalist Dennis Thompson was unable to tour with the group.  As Spiggy Topes was established, journalist Bill Mowat who became their manager [former bass guitarist for Blues Union] introduced them to Marek Kluczynski, a butcher in Inverness who was also an amateur musician, singing with local bands in his spare time. Recognizing his talent, Bill Mowat encouraged Marek to pursue music as the band were developing a unique style of progressive rock. Marek quickly became an asset to the newly formed group with his “strong and distinctive voice and his instrumental ability” that played a large part in the groups sound.   Marek went on to form a song writing partnership with Johnny Gray that was later employed for Chris Bennett’s “Revolution” album. Lead guitarist Roger Niven who later joined the Gullum Underdogs when Johnny Sutherland moved on as a soloist, said that after working with the Opium Trail [1967], Gail Force [1967-68], and The Thought Criminals [1968], he became part of Spiggy Topes before STopes relocated to Aberdeen [from Thurso] whilst Graham Walker began studies at University of Aberdeen.  Drummer Graham, busy with studies, soon left the STopes and the new line up became Marek Kluczynski, Johnny Gray, Arthur Farrel, and Korky Weir on drums.  Living together in small quarters in Aberdeen, the boys were performing regularly between the north of England and throughout Scotland. With manager Bill Mowat’s help, Spiggy Topes also went to London to record four demo records through Bill’s connections. Years later, three  of the songs materialized in the unauthorized collection called “Dustbin Full Of Rubbish” after they were found in a yard sale for 10 pence each. They wrote or arranged the tunes they covered and were innovative in creating their unique sound. Twenty five years after the band split up, three out of four of their songs were published in the compilation album “Dustbin Full Of Rubbish” of British “golden age of pop” acts. “The London studio which recorded them had a clear out” and American recording executive Dave Brown found them at a boot sale while visiting England. Two songs were taped in Grampian Records Studio in Wick [1969] and the others in London. “Songs recorded [1969] as I remember were My Sunday Feeling , Come away Melinda, Communication Breakdown and an original of Marek’s” Below are the three tunes included on the compilation album:
Come Away Melinda – Spiggy Topes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIYd0JtCtsY
Love Is In The Wind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNcmoqBs08g
My Only Chance Is You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWbc_uqsc9A


Thought Criminals [1968] were before Spiggy Topes

Spiggy Topes with Dennis Thompson


Spiggy Topes gain popularity in Edinburgh


Spiggy Topes arranged and performed several cover tunes in performances besides original compositions

Spiggy Topes recording in London



Graham Walker, and Johnny Gray of Spiggy Topes got into the music scene performing with John Sutherland [JOHN GEORGE  ‘J Fats’ SUTHERLAND, b. 22.08.1944 Thurso, Caithness,  d. 08.12.11 Aberdeen]. Peter Innes, author of FIT LIKE, New York? [1997] refered to Johnny Sutherland as “the founding father of Northern rock music” and described Caithness where he earned his chops, as “the remotest community on the UK mainland”. Johnny Sutherland founded various bands in the area, including “The Jam” with Johnny Gray and Graham Walker”. John “J Fats” Sutherland w/Graham Walker on drums: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq-5uiEHCkQ.  In 1968, Roger, Graham, and Johnny Gray of Thurso, formed Spiggy Topes along with vocalist Dennis Thomson. Because Dennis wasn’t able to travel with the band for gigs, he was soon replaced by Marek Kluczynski of Inverness through their manager Bill Mowat’s introduction.

In 1967, Roger and Graham played together as part of The Opium Trail” http://rgcgraphics.com/OPTrail2/Local%20Publish/BackGround/background.html before forming Spiggy Topes with Johnny Gray and Dennis Thomson.

Innes describes how the area the construction of Dounreay nuclear research facility became a catalyst for local rock music when 30,000 construction workers were set up to complete the job. The first local rock & roll band was The Rhythm Four with Johnny Curran who came up to make bread for the expanding populous. Dave and Bill Fehilly, site painters from Glasgow “abandoned their Dounreay work to establish Glasgow Dance Promotions” and promoted American rocker Gene Vincent, besides British acts including Alex Harvey Band and Nazareth.John Sutherland obituary: http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Caithness-musician-hailed-as-an-inspiration-and-a-living-legend-14122011.htm

In 1969, Graham  left Thurso to attend the University of Aberdeen so the rest of the band moved into a mobile home in Aberdeen to continue gigging. In 1971, the band was renamed “Rebellion” after they relocated to London to work on an LP with Cliff Bennett.


Transplant [Glasgow] was a popular Scottish music magazine by late 1960’s featuring various Scottish pop bands on the go. Their manager was Bill Mowat who helped them with London connections [including recording time in Tin Pan Alley] though AA Bonici offered them gigs around the north of Scotland. Transplant cover [June 1970] included an advert for Spiggy Topes as they were to perform in Glasgow with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and other popular bands in the UK. Unfortunately, the promoter canceled the program in the last moment.

Albert Bonici’s LCB Agency managed/promoted Spiggy Topes and My Dear Watson [aka CopyCats] in Transplant magazine.

The band played various gigs around Scotland and the north of England before they went to London to record with Cliff Bennett.

Roger Niven and Graham Walker had already left Spiggy Topes when they were living in Aberdeen and doing various gigs. Two vans were hired for the Christmas 1970 tour around the north of Scotland arranged by LCB Agency. They went as far north as Thurso where the original line-up was formed accompanied by My Dear Watson who were promoting new singles. In 1970, the band members consisted of Roger Niven (guitar), Johnny Gray (bass), Graham Walker on drums), Dennis Thomson (vocals), Marek Kluczynski (vocals, flute, harmonica), Derek “Corky” Weir (drums), Arthur Farrel (guitar). Bill Dalgarno worked in the offices of LCB Agency with Albert Bonici and John Ruggeri who went on tour with the bands to manage the gigs. Wick and Nairn were two of the locations that the agency supplied with a steady flow of performers.


Spiggy Topes were living in the north of England before settling in Aberdeen as a band in 1969. They were regionally popular among the beat fans and those heard their demo records aired BBC Radio 1. Years later the three songs were released on a compilation album, “Dustbin Full Of Rubbish” as recordings were purchased for pennies a yard sale.

In a recent phone conversation, Marek Kluczynski related that it was financially difficult trying to make it in the music business and took conventional work while living in London. Before the London recordings for Cliff Bennett’s Rebellion LP, Spiggy Topes members were living together in a mobile home in Aberdeen whilst performing regularly between Scotland and the north of England. The music scene was thriving and there were plenty of places to play to young fans out to dance and see the new bands on the go. Marek’s younger brother Mark came up from Dundee to help out as their roadie.

Spiggy Topes on stage [circa 1970?]

“The band’s big break was when they went down to London in 1971 to record as the back up band for Cliff Bennett who was under contract with American company CBS”  “Fit Like, New York?” [Peter Innes – 1997]  Arthur Farrel, not wanting to relocate to London, returned to his home in Glasgow when Spiggy Topes [whose name changed to Rebellion under Bennett] developed tracks for the Rebellion album. Marek and Johnny Gray worked fast to develop a set of tunes bouncing ideas off each other. After the LP was complete, Marek left the music scene as the new group was shifting away from the progressive style of Spiggy Topes favoring a bluesy one under Bennett.

Rebellion LP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7rO9X4rjeA  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01PNnons-vo Note: “The album is loaded with originals that are mostly the work of bassist John Gray and flautist Marek Kluczynski, who do a decent job of supplying generic soul-rock templates through with Bennett can show off his singing and elevate their work.”  http://bordeldorock.blogspot.com.br

Cliff Bennett’s Rebellion band including former members of Spiggy Topes [composers Johnny Gray and Marek Kluczynski left of Cliff Bennett] and Korky on far right

Smiggy, Johnny Gray, Derek Weir ( Korky ), Cliff Bennett and Marek Kluczynski [front row sitting].

Toe Fat was Cliff Bennett’s band before “Rebellion”.

 Cliff Bennett’s current band was Toe Fat but manager Clifford Davies suggested a new line-up. Bennett attempted to replace drummer Lee Kerslake with Spiggy Topes’ Derek “Korky” Weir but Korky’s answer was “No. way. You take us as a package, all or nothing”. Marek became second singer and the group was expected to relocate to London. Arthur Ferral quit as Spiggy Topes relocated to London as the Rebellion band was formed and bought himself a taxi-cab in Glasgow. He was replaced by lead guitarist Robert “Smiggy” Smith. Meanwhile, former guitarist Ken Hensley and drummer Kerslake [of Toe Fat] became part of Uriah Heep. Lead singer Cliff Bennett, was looking for a keyboardist for the changing line-up and added Belfast born keyboardist Lou Martin who was living in London as Marek left Rebellion.  Though the Rebellion album sold under 9,000 albums and members of Spiggy Topes  had disbanded, Mareks’s brother Mick stayed on under Clifford Davies management for seven years and went on to become road manager for The Pink Floyd through connections made.

Notes: After recording the Rebellion LP, band members including Marek and John Gray were invited to record under Dandylion Music who offering to buy off their contracts for £250. As fate would have it, secretaries for the record companies got in an argument during negotiations and the opportunity didn’t go forward. In summer of 1972, they formed a new band called “Summer” which only lasted about that long. *notes from a recent interview with Marek Kluczynski


Marek [Inverness, Scotland 2017]

Johnny Gray [2017]

Korky Weir on guitar

Print E-mail

“Spiggy Topes were originally guitarist Roger Niven, Thurso, who later co-founded ‘Wolfstone’; Johnny Gray, Thurso (brother of Caithness amateur football successful manager Duncan and Inverness’s current Lord Provost Councillor Jimmy; has a had life-time career in live music; and drummer Graham Walker, also Thurso, who subsequently played on stage with blues legends incl BB King and is a successful session-man in London of several decades experience and was/is also member of Gary Moore’s Midnight Blues Band, with record sales over 5 million. Gray also later played with an ex-Thin Lizzy musician; Brian Robertson.  Marek from Inverness replaced Dennis Thomson, Thurso, who did not want to turn full-time. As well as singing, Marek played flute, harmonica and sax on stage with band. http://forum.caithness.org/showthread.php?69697-More-On-Mick-Kluczynski-obituary  Note: following obituary is about Spiggy Topes/Pink Floyd road manager Mick who died suddenly in Feb/2009 from a heart attack. He was the brother of Marek.  http://www.brain-damage.co.uk/obituaries/marek-mick-kluczynski.html

Spiggy Topes tunes were part of a “boot-legged” American LP called ‘Dustbin Full of Rubbish’ and concept idea dating back to Alan Lomax’s search for American ‘blues roots’ performers in jails, slums in the Deep (still segregated) South in 1940s/50s (incl Robert Johnston as in ‘Crossroads’)”.

Graham Walker [drummer] later joined Blodwyn Pig and has collaborated with Roger Niven http://circusfm.com/ Roger Niven on guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkzFldHyBB8

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blodwyn_Pig https://www.spincds.com/the-basement-tapes-lies-2cd


Graham Walker and Roger Niven circa 1967 [below] 1967 photos from: http://rgcgraphics.com/OPTrail2/background.html [read more about the Opium Trail]

Graham Walker

Above: Roger Nivan with Opium Trail and a recent one with guitar

Graham Walker who continued his music career with Blodwyn Pig, was still working with Spiggy Topes during his university days. He was replaced by drummer Derek “Korky” Weir before manager Bill Mowat arranged recording time on Denmark Street “Tin Pan Alley”London.

“Graham was the drummer in The Web, The Fragments, The Opium Trail,  Gale Force 8, The Jam, Spiggy Topes and Gollum the Underdog from 1965 to 1970. He then went to London with A Million People and became a session man of note through the eighties. He achieved international recognition for his drumming with the Gary Moore Band in the nineties and has sessions for Mick Jagger, George Harrison and Whitesnake as well as many others of note.” http://forum.caithness.org/showthread.php?17099-Graham-Walker

Below, Peter Innes “Fit Like, New York” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fit-Like-New-York-Irreverent/dp/1901300021 excerpt from his book:

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in 1960's pop music

The Diamonds, Apaches, and Jacobeats

John Rennie began a musical career when he and Bible class mates formed a skiffle group in Portsoy, Scotland. The Diamonds, Apaches, and Jacobeats  is an online exclusive to SCOTBEAT with permission from its author [copyright John Rennie 2009] . In a recent chat, John spoke about how he and life long friend Doug MacLennan worked under candle light creating instruments from a wood working book during a power cut. The next morning, John realized there was blood on his new guitar from a gash to his thumb during the process. The tunes covered and line-up changed along the way though John stayed through the transition before leaving the Jacobeats for health issues.


This booklet is copyright John Rennie and for education purposes only.

from Fit Like, New York? [c.1997]


Notes: If you have access to any audio tapes of bands represented in SCOTBEAT, please contact me online to have digitized.  Page 24: It was reported that the Cameron sisters were developing throat problems from a heavy schedule of performances. However, Lorna told me that she left the band for other regions [see Jacobeats post]. Her sister stayed of for a time and performed with Terry Russell and Graeme Nairn before the New Jacobeats were formed [a new line-up]. Page 21: John Rennie assessment about the possibility of performing on the Ed Sullivan show would have been for the novelty of their Scottish dress, but I believe an American audience would have loved the group based on the comments I’ve heard relating to their sound and performance skills. John related that their appearing on the popular television program became complexed because of a union agreement that meant Mr. Bonici hiring an American band to tour the UK in exchange for their publicity.

Nonetheless, the band had a rigorous schedule of performances in the UK and Germany though sadly they never were recorded on vinyl. I am suprised that promoter Bonici didn’t record them on the Norco Records label though he did record Terry Russell who was part of the Jacobeats with the Cameron sisters.



Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in 1960's pop music

The Jacobeats



Dougie MacLennan (lead guitar) and John Rennie (rhythm guitar) began as early skiffle group who covered pop and country western songs when joined by George Milne, Leslie Anderson, James Green, Martin Green, Eric Green, and Sheila McIntyre [above] The JACOBEATS [circa 1964] were well received in Scotland and Germany.

“The Diamonds were a skiffle group (circa 1953) from Portsoy in Aberdeenshire whose members were around thirteen years of age, lead by Dougie MacLennan (lead guitar) and John Rennie (rhythm guitar). John was so keen to acquire his own guitar that he made one, seriously injuring himself in the process! They were joined by George Milne, Leslie Anderson, James Green, Martin Green, Eric Green & Sheila McIntyre. They sang and played a variety of home-made instrumentation such as the ubiquitous tea box bass and Mrs. Green’s washboard and embarked on a series of local gigs often with attendant travel problems.

Various other commitments forced the early departure of Sheila, Leslie, George and the brothers Green and so Bill McKenzie (bass), Joe Mowatt (vocals) & Bill Murray (drums) were recruited to their ranks along with a change of name to ‘The Apaches’ after the Shadows’ hit. They became the North Of Scotland Rock Champions in 1961 and soon came under the direction of Albert Bonici (a highly successful promoter in the north-east of Scotland) who secured many local support duties for the band. Later Joe Mowatt left and was temporarily replaced by John Stewart (vocals) for the duration of the school holidays.

A more permanent replacement came in the shape of Kenny Lawson & Margaret Riddoch (vocals) and Ian Young replaced Bill Murray (drums). It was at this point they elected to turn professional so Albert decided to re-image the band and promote their Scottishness as a gimmick. They adopted traditional highland garb in Hunting Stewart tartan at a cost of £80 each and changed their name to ‘The Jacobeats’ to suit. Six months of intense rehearsals followed with some local warm-up gigs before they went off to Germany in 1964, as had so many others. After a series of performances there Margaret Riddoch left to get married and the band returned home. She was subsequently replaced by sisters Lorna (18) & Dierdre Cameron (16) on vocals. Note: Before the Cameron sisters and Terry Russell were added to the line up, the Jacobeats included: Kenny Lawson/vocals; Margaret Riddoch/vocals; Dougie MacLennan/lead guitar; John Rennie/rhythm guitar; Bill McKenzie/bass; and Ian Young/drums.

The Jacobeats shared the bill with popular beat bands who toured Scotland

Rumours of tours abroad and even an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show evaporated though they did venture to Newcastle & Birmingham. Rennie was forced to leave following medical advice and MacLennan left to take up professional photography.” When another group under Albert Bonici’s management https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/albert-bonici/, “Eddie Leppard & The Leopards” disbanded https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/eddie-le-pard-and-the-leopard/,  Alan “Rae” Rogers (bass and vocalist) joined the band and Graham Nairn  https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/graeme-nairn-trs/ wrote original compositions for the Jacobeats. The Jacobeats resumed extensive touring. Notes from ‘Fit Like, New York?’ -Peter Innes.  [http://www.kinemagigz.com/’j’.htm]


from memoirs of John Rennie - Diamonds to Jacobeats

from memoirs of John Rennie – Diamonds to Jacobeats

The Jacobeats remained a touring band and had a following throughout the UK and parts of Europe. Though some might have thought the Tartan regalia didn’t go with beat music but they were appreciated by young music goers in the 1960s. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/the-kinks-and-the-hollies/. John Rennie told me that with their full on schedule, he was having throat problems which caused him to give up touring. He mentioned that the Cameron sisters may have eventually left the group for similar reasons.

“The Jacobeats never made any records but the legacy lives on. Many of the erstwhile members are still active on the local music scene The Jacobeats were formed from the Apaches who changed their name and took to wearing kilts. They were successful and busy from the start in the early 1960s. In 1964 they spent four busy months in Germany. The tour led to some change in the line up which consisted of Kenny Lawson and Margaret Riddoch on vocals, Doug MacLennan on lead guitar, Alex Mackay on rhythm guitar, John Rennie on bass, and Ian Young on drums. After the German tour there was talk of a tour in the USA, Mexico and Brazil but that did not take off. Kenny and Margaret left the band and were replaced by Lorna and Deirdre Cameron along with Terry Russell on vocals and rhythm guitar. After a couple of successful and very busy seasons the Cameron sisters and John Rennie gave up for health reasons and Doug MacLennan left to become a photographer. New members were found and the band continued successfully for several years.” http://www.toonloon.bizland.com

Lorna, who along with sister Deirdre, was part of the Jacobeats:


Jim Skinner [Leopard’s drummer wrote: “…other bands used to poke gentle fun at them [Jacobeats] because they looked a bit odd while so dressed and playing pop music. In early ’65 Deirdre Cameron of the Jacobeats became Alan’s girlfriend and sometimes accompanied us in our van on our way to dance dates. We could hardly ever see Deirdre’s face as Alan’s head was always stuck to the front of it.” Note: Later in 1965, after Eddie Lepard and The Leopards broke up [proceeding a Germany tour https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/eddie-le-pard-and-the-leopard/]  Alan “Rae” Rodgers joined the Jacobeats as bass guitarist. His decision to play with the band may have been influenced by a youthful relationship with Deidre though Albert Bonici may have been keen to have the popular singer/guitarist onboard after the Leopards disbanded. By the end of 1965, Alan left to get married when the Jacobeats separated and there was a new line up as the “New Jacobeats” [see bottom clipping] took on pre-scheduled gigs.

Lorna Helby [nee Cameron]: “I got engaged and after a while my fiancee didn’t like all the attention I was getting so I had to leave….Deirdre continued on for a little while, but Bonici said it wasn’t the same without the harmonies ! John and Doug left before me and that’s when Bonici added Graham Nairne and Rae Rogers, we continued on for quite a while with the new line-up and the men changed from the kilts to trews…”


New Jacobeats [notice Rae from The Leopards included int the line-up

The Jacobeats [back: Bass guitar-John Rennie, Drummer-Ian Young, Lead guitar-Douglas Maclennan; front: Vocalist-Lorna Cameron, Vocalist-Terry Russell, Vocalist-Deirdre Cameron]. This was the third of four line-ups though they continued to maintained popularity in the UK and abroad.  Originally a four piece instrumental group with a male and female singer , the group achieved a large following when the Cameron sisters’ harmonies were added. Here they are in front of  Scotland’s “Lantern of the North” Elgin cathedral which was situated at the end of Cooper Park, Elgin.


Graeme Nairne [right] Graeme Nairn wrote several compositions for The Jacobeats with the Cameron sisters besides The New Jacobeats when the group disbanded. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/nairn-flyers/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/graeme-nairn-trs/ Also pictured are Terry Russell and Deirdre Cameron who were a trio for a short time.



Drummer Ian Young became road manager for Johnny and The Copycats after leaving the band.Ian thinks that there may have been some artistic licence involved when newspapers reported that the band might appear on the Ed Sullivan show besides the Cameron girls being slated for a Mexican tour. Jack Fallon https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/fallonbonici/  had offered the group a Caledonian tour in Canada but Ian Young said that he wasn’t aware of an opportunity in America.

Vocalist Terry Russell went solo and recorded on Norco Records.  Guitarist/vocalist Alan “Rae” Rodgers toured Germany with Eddie Lepard and The Leopards later was working on a project with Eddie in London when he died in a fall at his London flat.

Original Jacobeats

Drummer Ian Young became road manager for Johnny and The Copycats after leaving the band. Vocalist Terry Russell went solo and recorded on Norco Records.  Guitarist/vocalist Alan “Rae” Rodgers toured Germany with Eddie Lepard and The Leopards later was working on a project with Eddie in London when he died in a fall at his London flat.


Graeme Nairne [right] Graeme Nairn wrote several compositions for The Jacobeats https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/nairn-flyers/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/graeme-nairn-trs/

Deidre Cameron and recording artist Terry Russell [Norco Records Ltd] sang Graeme Nairn compositions before the New Jacobeats were formed. Graeme Nairn on guitar. Note: Graeme came to work for Albert Bonici at the Two Red Shoes and left his Dundee band behind [they became The Average White Band and asked him to come back].

The Jacobeats were popular in Scotland in the early 1960s covering popular beat songs of the day besides compositions from Graeme Nairn in 1965. When the Jacobeats decided to call it quits, manager Bonici asked Graeme Nairne to write more music for the “New Jacobeats” who had been known as the Bambies. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/nairn-flyers/



The New Jacobeats were teenagers when they regrouped under Albert Bonici’s management. Brian Davidson – Bass Guitar, David Simpson – Rhythm Guitar, George Campbell – Lead Guitar, James Campbell – Drums, Adam Robertson – Vocalist, Fiona Anderson – Vocalist, Hazel McKay – Vocalist

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in 1960's pop music



Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders circa 1965

Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders original line up included Bob Lang, Ric Rothwell, and Eric Stewart.  Graham Gouldman joined The Mindbenders in 1967 [replacing Bob Lang] and later co-founded “10cc” along with Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme

[Wayne Fontana] ‘had always entertained visions of eventually graduating to a solo career and, in October 1965, everybody concerned realized the time had come; everybody, that is, aside from the band. They remained in the dark until, midway through a live show, Fontana simply walked off stage, turning to Stewart as he left and saying, “It’s all yours.”‘  http://bettylou.zzruss.com/fontanabiography.htm  Ric Rothwell eventually quit the band “to start a sports goods business” and Bob Lang left to “open a record shop” and when Jimmy O’Neil joined the Uglies it “left Eric Stewart as the only original Mindbender. When they split in ’68, Eric and Graham set up Strawberry Studios in Stockport with fellow Mancunians Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2TxyVJfNdZggrW3L4sLPh8k/the-mindbenders



Wayne Fontana eventually left the Mindbenders to go solo

Mindbender have a hit after Fontana leaves group

Bands line-up: http://www.manchesterbeat.com/groups/mindbenders/mindbenders.php


Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders tour Scotland

Scottish musician Ian Fraser who liked Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders for their 1964 hit “Um,Um,Um,Um” remembers meeting them when they having a look around Barr Cochrane’s music shop before their performance at Elgin’s Two Red Shoes in 1965.  Ian, who “started playing in 1963 when I was 14″ and “played with several jazz bands in the early ’70s” was impressed enough to get Fontana’s autograph after speaking with the group.

The Mindbenders first performed in Scotland at the Odeon Theatre Glasgow in May’64, and made it to north-east Scotland in late January 1965. The band’s gig [28 Jan 65] at Elgin’s Two Red Shoes included The Game Of Love which entered the charts the following week. They continued to tour the UK besides Scotland though without Wayne Fontana when Mr. Bonici’s  LCB Agency, booked them at Nairn’s Ballerina Ballroom where they performed A Groovy Kind Of Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B8k3wzHUvE https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Groovy_Kind_of_Love

Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders also had a hit in 1965 with “The Game of Love” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-weeowZvvc https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clint_Ballard_Jr. followed by “Groovy Kind Of Love” in ’66 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddcIunulJi4  though the group first recorded in 1963 [cover tunes on Fontana label] http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/12196/mindbenders/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Fontana

Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um [1964]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi3fp2-QYPM [http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-curtis-mayfield-1134844.html  composer]


The Mindbenders returned to NE Scotland as successful recording artists

The Mindbenders returned to NE Scotland as successful recording artists

After a tour of America and some more singles that were less successful than “Game of Love”, Fontana left the band in the middle of a concert in 1965. Eric Stewart https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Stewart became the lead singer of the band, which henceforward was known simply as the Mindbenders.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mindbenders. The Mindbenders’ first hit song [without Wayne Fontana] was “Groovy Kind of Love”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B8k3wzHUvE  The Game of Love performed on Hullaballo introduced the Mindbenders to American audiences – Game Of Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o09nZwrejZ8

Shindig! and Hullaballo were popular US music television shows in mid 1960s: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/shindig/

When Wayne Fontana decided to go solo, the Mindbenders continued to gain a reputation in the UK and the USA. “Gouldman signed a management agreement with in 1965, and while working by day in a men’s outfitters shop and playing by night with his semi-professional band, he wrote a string of hit songs, many of them million sellers. Between 1965 and 1967 alone he wrote “For Your Love“, “Heart Full of Soul” and “Evil Hearted You” for the Yardbirds, “Look Through Any Window” (with Charles Silverman) and “Bus Stop” for the Hollies, “Listen People“, “No Milk Today” and “East West” for Herman’s Hermits, “Pamela, Pamela” for Wayne Fontana, “Behind the Door” for St. Louis Union (covered by Cher), “Tallyman” for Jeff Beck and “Going Home”, which was a 1967 Australian hit for Normie Rowe.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Gouldman

Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman were a studio musicians working with Neil Sedaka and cohorts when 10cc was formed. “10cc are an English rock band founded in Stockport who achieved their greatest commercial success in the 1970s. The band initially consisted of four musicians – Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme – who had written and recorded together for some three years, before assuming the name “10cc” in 1972… In early 1972 American singer Neil Sedaka began recording his Solitaire album Strawberry Studios, using Stewart as recording engineer and Gouldman, Godley and Creme as his backing band. The album’s success galvanised the four musicians to work on their own material and release it as a band.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10cc

After 10cc disband, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme continued working together composing and performing their songs. However, Godley and Creme “achieved their greatest success as the innovative directors of more than fifty music videos in the early 1980s.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godley_%26_Creme


Posted in 1960's pop music

note from David “scotbeat”

It’s been nine years since starting my research into the sixties music scene in the north of Scotland and three years since developing a blog. Local interest has been great and am still learning more from those who experienced it besides the private archives of Albert Bonici and various resources.

Recently, what had been the stage for the Two Red Shoes Ballroom of Elgin, Scotland has been cleared enough for me to enter [with permission of owner] and discover even more photos,  business documents, and other promotion materials to explore the beat music scene that captured the interest and imagination of a growing youth culture. Many were inspired to pursue their dreams besides fond memories of a special time in Scotland’s cultural history. Aberdeen promoter Gordon Hardie who worked with impresario Albert Bonici through the 1960s, kept diaries of activities which I have to draw from as well. Of course, photos, and memories from those who frequented the local dance halls in the north of Scotland are helpful in exploring this fascinating period of cultural history in Scotland. Please leave a comment or mail related impute to: david.dills@yahoo.com for editing.

discovering more resources from the Bonici archives at the former Two Red Shoes Ballroom stage, Elgin, Scotland Nov-16

As with my other blog pages – cut&paste photo-collages@ https://djdills.wordpress.com/; Dills family biographical@ https://harrisondills.wordpress.com/; Albert Bonici biography@ https://bonici.wordpress.com, are for educational purposes and when used on other internet sites, please reference https://scotbeat.wordpress.com.

All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives and of DJ Dills notes/photos, are not to appear in print other than with permission of DJ Dills, proprietor of above sites mentioned.


Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in 1960's pop music