The Beatles visit Elgin’s Two Red Shoes Note: it was the late ’70s that the Two Red Shoes closed.

Northern Scot newspaper 14 Nov 17

When the Beatles performed in Elgin Scotland’s Two Red Shoes Ballroom, they were well received by band leader Alex Sutherland who reported back to impresario Albert Bonici who booked the band for their first tour of 1963. The house band agreed that the “Love Me Do” boys [whose just charted with the song] performed good arrangements of cover tunes besides their own inventive compositions. However, Ringo Starr, who became the drummer for The Beatles six months earlier, complained that the hall was odd-shaped and that some were distractions in the audience though many made the effort to attend the event on a rather cold winter evening.
By the end of the five evenings of their first Scotland tour, they gained a following and promoter Bonici flew to Liverpool to meet with Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, to negotiate further tours.
Though some entertainers including the Pink Floyd complained about the small stage and the small dog-shaped dance floor, the Two Red Shoes was popular in Scotland and accommodated hundreds of new acts from jazz musicians to beat groups. Albert Bonici, whose biography is featured on brought music and cabaret acts throughout Scotland from Glasgow to Orkney Island though regularly booked the north of Scotland from Nairn to Aberdeen with the help of local promoters.
Besides featuring two guest bands on tour each week, their were dozens of local bands used to support the more known acts. He also managed several musicians and founded Norco Records Ltd, Scotland’s first independent record label which featured a variety of music styles.

Posted in 1960's pop music

Nazareth rocks

Nazareth had several major hits by 1973

Nazareth  merged out of Scottish band “The Shadettes” [named for The Shadows] continues to maintain a following

‘ “I remember the exact date that we turned full-time,” reminisces Nazareth bassist Pete Agnew. “It was the first of July 1971 and our manager told us, ‘Turn pro, and I’ll pay you the same salary as you’re earning now’. We were all married at the time, so although it wasn’t much money it made things a lot easier for us to get really started.”

“But we took some persuading,” confides vocalist Dan McCafferty with a grin. “We had already a few regular gigs and were making some nice spondoolah on top of the day-jobs. We decided we’d give it a year; if it didn’t work out then we could all just go back to work. And it’s something we do to this very day – every first of July, either Pete or I rings the other and says, ‘D’ya fancy giving it another 12 months?’”

“Daniel McCafferty and Peter Agnew actually met on their very first day at school, aged five. Asked to share a double-desk together they’ve been best friends ever since. For the overwhelming majority of that time they’ve also liked the same music and been in bands together.” ‘

Love Leads To Madness [2015]: Bad Bad Boy [1973]:

‘”The original four-piece band of Nazareth started out in 1968 in Dunfermline, SCOTLAND, with Dan McCafferty on vocals, Manny Charlton on guitar, Pete Agnew on bass and Darrel Sweet on drums. At that time the group began to write their own songs, but it wasn’t until the summer of 1971 that they quit their day jobs and moved away from home to a shabby communal flat in London. [note: changed name from Shadettes to Nazareth in 1970]

With their first record deal they recorded two albums that were a minor success. The 1971 self-titled debut may stun fans who are accustomed to the hard-driving Rock and gritty power ballads that characterize Nazareth’s more popular work.”Exercises”, the band’s sophomore effort, followed a year later and was a collection of mostly acoustic tracks with lush harmonies and little sign of their Hard-Rock potential.

It wasn’t until they teamed-up with Roger Glover of Deep Purple as producer that things started to really happen. First came “Razamanaz”, the band’s first album that climbed into the U.K. Top 20 chart, spearheaded by two smashes, “Broken Down Angel” and “Bad Bad Boy”.’

“Nazareth evolved from The Shadettes, a hard-working band based in Dunfermline Scotland with a long illustrious history of support duties at the [Kinema] ballroom. Manuel ‘Manny’ Charlton had previously played with Mike Satan & The Hellcats, The Red Hawks and The Marshmallow 400 before joining The Shadettes in 1968 and it was he who first suggested that they begin to play their own material. They changed their name to Nazareth in February 1970 as they completed a residency at the ballroom and commenced another at the Bellville Hotel just across the road where, in the foyer, they heard the source of their new name in the opening line of a song called ‘The Weight’ (Sept 1968) by ‘The Band’. (“I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead”).”’n’.htm#Nazareth


[But allegedly Pete Agnew, the bass player, has a different story. There is a Convent/childrens’ home orphanage called Nazareth House and it was famous for the Nuns’ and priests’ sexual abuse and child cruelty back in the sixties … some cases are still coming forward today. Anyway the band were looking for a name which was hard and cruel and heavy so Dan Mcafferty the singer said “why not Nazareth”. They looked in astonishment why Nazareth? Nazareth said Dan you can’t get more hard and heavy than that].

Nazareth 1975:

Viglante Man [Nazareth 1973]

The name Nazareth was adopted from a hit tune from The Weight in 1968. Two members of the group were part of The Shadettes, a name conceived by one of the groups mentors, The Shadows who came to fame as Cliff Richard’s back up band on Oh Boy! the early British TV music program. Shadows hit “Apache”:

History of Shadettes and Nazareth: Nazareth top 10:

[Photo archive – Bygone Dunfermline] ‘ “FOR more than 40 years Dan McCafferty has not only been the hard-edged voice of legendary Scottish rockers Nazareth but, with fellow original member Pete Agnew, he has taken the band through the ups and downs of an ever-fickle music industry, to remain one of the most explosive and exciting live bands out there.
With a UK tour under way, including a gig at The Brook in Southampton on March 21, the band are still delivering the goods in the form of hard rock tunes, mixed with heartfelt ballads and their unwavering sense of fun.
“We still love playing live; it’s the best part of the job and the fun part of our day. For that couple of hours each night we can forget about the other things going on in our lives and just enjoy the moment, and I hope the fans can get into that sense of things as well,” he says.
Formed in Dunfermline in the early 60s and originally known as the Shadettes, they changed their name to Nazareth in 1968. The band was heavily influenced by the American R&B invasion then sweeping the UK.
“Me and Pete were into soul music in the early days, we both loved Otis Reading, Sam & Dave that kind of thing, and then we heard the Rolling Stones and things changed.
“They made a difference, they had that edge, their music wasn’t perfect, there was bum notes and mistakes, but it was raw and exciting. They made us think, if they can do it we can do it as well.”
Struggling to find local gigs, the band kept on going, for no other reason than, as McCafferty explains “if you wanted to eat, you had to work.” The boys from Scotland finally moved to London in 1970, and soon released their self-titled first album.”‘

Video interviews:

Posted in 1960's pop music

Terry Russell – Scottish vocalist

Terry Russell was managed by LCB Agency and recorded on BBC radio and Grampian television besides Norco Records Ltd.

related post:

Terrance “Terry” H Russell who hailed from Aberdeenshire, Scotland before a solo career, was part of the final Jacobeats line-up before the group disbanded and the New Jacobeats were formed. (below: the last line-up of Jacobeats included Graeme Nairne [lead], Rae Rodgers [bass], Ian Young [drums], and Deirdre Cameron and Terry [vocals]). Graeme remembers great times working with Terry with the Jacobeats, the first pop band to wear tartans. They shared a love of R&B though the band did a mix of pop songs and ballads. Lorna remembers Terry’s onstage antics and a time when he was pulled off stage by excited fans…

When Terry joined the Jacobeats, founding members John Rennie and Dougie MacLennon were still with the band [originally known as Apaches] and was hired following an audition for Albert Bonici, Alex. Sutherland, and Jacobeat band members when Sheila left to get married. Lorna and Deirdre Cameron who were also auditioned were also hired as vocalists. Coincidently, they knew Terry quite well as their fathers were childhood friends. Terry was a bit mischievous when with the group and teased the fans in his kilt and breaking manager Bonici’s rule about never turning your back to the audience…

When The Jacobeats were disbanding, Terry decided to pursue a solo career and found it lonely without his former band-mates though decides to carry on Albert’s secretary Aileen handled some of the acts with Mr. Bonici’s “LCB Agency” including young Terry Russell when he began touring as a solo act in late 1966.

note from Aileen Allan [LCB Agency – Christmas 1966]

Manager/promoter Albert Bonici wrote letters to Terry Russell whilst he was touring.

Above: first of three letters from Albert Bonici regarding working as an entertainer

Besides working out food, housing, transportation, taxes, etc. for Terry Russell on the road, LCB Agency’s Aileen Allan wrote introduction letters to promote the young vocalist.

At one point, Ms Allan gave the young vocalist advise about his choice of numbers though ultimately he keeps variety in his show. In a letter to Terry [14Mar67], Aileen advises him to speak with Ian Hamilton who booked Terry at various clubs. His complaint was that Terry was that he wanted him to sing only Scottish tunes and wear his tartan regalia throughout; “Ian advises that you cut all the odd stuff out altogether and do a completely Scottish programme”. Aileen also added, “I can understand the bit about wanting the Scottish programme because I prefer you doing it as well. I think it looks in a way, silly to see a chap in full highland outfit doing pops… I think there’s plenty yelling yobs doing ballad & pop songs whereas a good singer will be remembered and show more of himself doing stuff like Campbelltown Loch, Morag of Dunvegan, etc.” Terry wrote, “I received your letter about the comments Ian Hamilton made. I disagree about what he says about a whole Scottish programme, but I’ll drop in and see him and talk it over with him.” It was Albert Bonici who came up with the idea to dress a beat band in tartan regalia and changed the name of the founding band members from Apaches to Jacobeats.

introducing Terry Russell [1967]

introducing Terry Russell [1967]

introducing Terry Russell [1967]

introducing Terry Russell [Oct 1967] after his birthday [Terrance H Russell 30 Sep 1948]


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Posted in 1960's pop music

BEAT on Orkney Island

Popular local band from Orkey Island were the Alphabeats heard playing to appreciative citizens of the Island: “The Alphabeats in the Cosmo. (Dave) Alan Hale has put together this excellent homage to the heyday of the Cosmo Ballroom in Kirkwall.”

Note: Alphabeats members Alan Keldie was killed in a motor accident 25Jan71 [age 27], Brian Peace died in a drowning accident 19Jun77 [age 29], and Robert Swanney died in last ten years.

The Nomads were first in Orkney to record pop music [I’m Coming Home/Hey Little Girl] L-R: Brian Peace, Ken Ross, Roy Wood, Ian Farquhar [photo copyright “Images in Time” V.2&3]

“The Nomads were the first [beat band] to appear. The Kossacks started in early ’60s and lasted two or three years. The Alphabeats came into being in the mid 1960’s starting as a four piece band. We were the support act to several famous bands that came to Orkney in the ’60s. They included Sounds Incorporated, Christian St Peters, Four Pennies, David & Jonathan, The Luvvers minus Lulu, and Neil Landon & The Burnettes – all good fun and enjoyable. I called it a day on 31 Dec 1969 and the band continued for about a year or 18 months before becoming basis for a band called the Orcades…” Robert Milne [former member of Alphabeats and The Kossacks]

The Kossacks were Bobby Corsie,Colin Omand,Rob Milne,Alan Kelday and me- started off as the Echoes with Colin,me,Jim Park and Wullie Winnick.The Nomads were Ken Ross,Roy Wood,Ian Farquhar and Brian Peace- they were the first band to keep going for some time.The Dominoes started in the West Mainland and moved on to Saturday nights in the Cosmo later on in the sixties.If I mind right the Vampires were Dimmy Kelday and some others. And that’s how Rock and Roll was born.” John Schollay [Orkney Past and Present]

Elgin, Scotland promoter, Albert Bonici, was known for hosting most of the top British musicians and vocalists to the north of Scotland from the mid 1950’s to mid 1970’s. Besides recording several Scottish musicians on the Norco Records label, he is noted for sponsoring the Beatles tours in Scotland 1963-64. Albert had flown to Orkney Islands on several occassions though not to manage venues. Besides various concessions, he sold ice cream to vendors on the island besides scheduling acts on tour. I heard a story from nephew, John Ruggeri, how “Uncle Albert” returned from Orkney in a shuttle airplane with a paper sack of money on his lap…

Besides the Faley brothers of Glasgow who sent acts to Thurso, Albert Bonici booked some top beat groups in Wick besides sending some out to Kirkwall, Orkney Island to perform for inhabitants in this sparsely populated part of the world.

Kirkwall was host to beat music venues in the 1960’s… Innes [Fit Like, New York?] recorded John Rennie’s recollection of traveling with The Jacobeats in ’64 when they did a gig on Orkey Island:


The Orcades Dance Band played at dances, weddings, etc from 1971-81 L to R: Ruby Chalmers [aka Rendall] became a national radio broadcaster and recording artist, Robert Swanney, Albert Linklater, Jim “Mosh” Marwick, and Brian Peace.  [photo copyright “Images in Time” V.2&3]

Thorfinn Football Club held a Beat Festival in the Phoenix Cinema, once a month for four months during 1964. The concerts, arranged by Ernie Donaldson, were very well attended and the local artistes played to full houses. Some of them are seen here about to fly off “on tour”. Back row, L to R: Hazel Ground water, Jill Leonard, Bertha Flett and Olive Flett. Front row L to R: Davie Sinclair, Bobby Leslie, Roy Wood, Ivy Corsie, Bobby Corsie, Ian Farquhar, and John Schollay. [photo copyright “Images in Time” V.2&3]

Shuttle airplanes made it possible for bands on tour to visit the island and local bands going abroad as an alternative to catching the ferry to the mainland. From the back L to R: Elizabeth Tait, Anna davidson, Isobel Herdman, Michael Corsie, Ernie Donaldson, Alan Keldie, Pete Davidson, Colin Omand, Eddie Black, and Robert Milne.  [photo copyright “Images in Time” V.2&3]

Eddie Peace’s Band at a dance in the Royal Hotel, Kirwall. The band members are, L to R: Mike “Piker” Parkins, Jimmy “Dimmy” Kelday, Sandy Windwick, Jim “mosh” Marwick, and Eddile Peace. The band played at various funtions in the ’50’s and ’60s. [photo copyright “Images in Time” V.2&3]  Local music has continued to thrive on Orkey Islands with a popular folk festival and talented people from the area  More about life on Orkney

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Posted in 1960's pop music

british soul 1960’s


The Exits [Bonici Archives]

“Widespread British interest in soul music developed after the advent of rock and roll from the mid-1950s and the subsequent interest in American music. In the early 1960s, rhythm and blues, including soul, was particularly popular among some members of the beat music boom, including the Beatles,[1] and among bands of who contributed to the British blues boom, including the Spencer Davis Group, the Small Faces, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and the Who. Most of these were popular with members of the Mod subculture, out of which grew the northern soul movement, in which northern English youths avidly collected and played rare soul records.”

There was a plitria of American black soul singers and musicians who made deep impressions in modern western culture whilst lesser known British bands were putting their own stamp on “soul” music.

The Copycats [aka My Dear Watson] by Fiddler’s Bow at Port Knockie near their homes in neighboring Buckie, Scotland. Whilst The Copycats who trained under jazz band leader Alex. Sutherland and began with pop songs in ’63, were dubbed “instigators of soul in a British music magazine (Progressive, NS- 1 July ’67)  there were many British and American bands who toured Scotland and the UK. Like beat music, soul music became popular in Scotland as with the whole of the UK.

In 1968, American R&B and soul singer, Clyde McPhatter, was living in England and represented by Class Managements Ltd when performing around the UK. Years before he became a solo act, the Drifters were founded as his back up band. Thank You Love: Such A Night: Nothing But a Heartache The Flirtations were an American group who made an impression in the UK on tour. They became the resident vocalists on BBC’s, It’s Cliff Richard” in 1972″ [Nothing But A Heartache]

The Rolling Stones and the Animals are amongst top British band who injected soul into their unique sound. Alan Price who founded the Alan Price Combo, The Animals, and the Alan Price Set had a bluesy, soulful sound going on. I Put A Spell On You [Alan Price]:

Alan Price [top left]


Dusty Springfield who was first introduced in the British scene as folk singers The Springfields, was a fan of Motown and became known for her soulful tunes. “In 1964 Springfield became the first British Invasion act after the Beatles to chart well in the US.[4] A string of US and British hits followed.[4] In 1965 Springfield hosted a television show The Sound of Motown which has been widely credited with introducing what was called “The Sound of Young America” to British audiences.”

Equals became best known for their ’60s hit, “Baby, Come Back” though continued to develop a following in the early ’70s

Equals intro page sent to promoters in early 1970s


Though hailed from Bermudia and the USA, they were a ’60s r&b and soul band signed with Gale Agency London in early ’70s “best of contempory rhythm ‘n blues/soul and featuring the outstanding talents of Tina Ray”

from Southern Headway advert from Avenue Artistes Ltd announcing new discs from Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich [Fontana] and the Soul Agents “Don’t Break It Up” 1965 following their ’64 hit


The Foundations were amongst the British soul bands who performed in Scotland when mixed race bands were considered a novelty.


The foundations were featured on Top Of The Pops and became internationally known.

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Posted in 1960's pop music

The Phantoms of Buckie

Buckie, Scotland, a burgh town on the northern coast of Scotland, produced some talented young musicians in an area that supports the arts. Whilst most known for celtic music through the popular Speyfest, the area produced musicians performing contemporary music genres including jazz and beat music.

In several articles published in SCOTBEAT, Johnny and the COPYCATS [aka My Dear Watson] are highlighted as the Buckie band who made an impression in the beat era [1960s-70s]. The PHANTOMS were another group who came along a year after the Copycats were gaining momentum as a touring band. In December, 1963 The Phantoms were young teenagers who supported Johnny and the Copycats at Buckie’s fisherman’s Hall to the delight of the locals.

Author’s note:  The tracks presented on Sound Cloud were produced by Pronit Records in Warsaw and published by the People’s Republic of Poland in August 1966 [Featured on Norco Records site and SCOTBEAT with consent of Stephen Wojcik of of The Phantoms [for educational use only]

Though they were quickly becoming a popular band in the area, they came under scrutiny when they took part in a music contest in nearby Nairn, Scotland after the October 1964 event. Stewart Geddes was under 15 at the time and thus unwittingly broke a law that forbade children under 15 from playing at a paid function without out a permit from the education authority.  “There was also an unusual incident that resulted in legally being punished by the band manager and the two fathers of young musicians. The reason for this trouble with the law was that members of the group, the oldest of whom were seventeen, played in clubs for money, which according to Scottish law was unacceptable at the time. This solution was supposed to prevent youth demoralization.”

Though the young drummer Stuart left the band until becoming of age, he continued as a founding member and went on a month’s tour with the Phantoms in Poland [July 22 – Aug 21 1966]. Thanks to the work of their manager Emil Wojcik, father of keyboard/guitarist Stephen Wojcik, the band had three years of great memories as a semi-professional beat band. Fortunately, a few of their songs [including original compositions] were committed to recordings during the Polish tour.

One hundred of these banners were distributed in Poland between July/Aug 1966

Phantoms beginnings…

Above: Cullen House Beat Festival – lead singer with glasses is Kenny Lawson

Frankie Hay [center] at a competition in Kemnay also sang with The Phantoms – Brian Calder and William Smith on guitars

The Phantoms performed at barn dances in the north of Scotland besides dance halls like Fisherman’s Hall, Buckie and Two Red Shoes, Elgin. Band members continued performing in Scotland for another year after their Polish tour though left the music scene for jobs as tradesmen.


In 1964, Albert Bonici was fined £2 for hosting the Phantoms when the drummer was under-aged.  Above L to R: Stuart Geddes, Frank Hay, William Smith, Stephen Wojcik, Brian Caulder

The Phantoms were regularly booked around Scotland between 1964-67 though unknown outside of Scotland until they toured Poland.

L to R: William Smith – lead guitar, Stephen Wokcik – keyboards, Stuart Geddes – drummer, Steven Coull – saxophone*, and  Eric Farqunar – bass guitar. The Phantoms were treated as music stars whilst on tour of Poland arranged by their manager and the Jazz Federation of Poland. It is said that they helped break down the barriers between the east and western world years before the wall came down in Berlin. *Note: Steven Coull died in an accident in 1971.

At the beginning of their music career, The Phantoms purchased used equipment from The Copy Cats [aka My Dear Watson]. Like the Cat, they eventually passed the equipment on to another group when they bought Vox.

The two EPs must have been pressed in very limited quantities and due to lack of publicity, they didn’t sell too well. Nowadays they are probably the rarest beat 45s released in 1960s communist Poland. Compared to other records of this genre released through every one of the three recording labels active in the country, The Phantoms are close to being unfindable unless one wishes to spend several years searching for a playable copy.” 


Pronit founded in the late 1950s became the People’s Republic of Poland’s second Major label though the early recordings were less than high quality and poorly distributed. 

sample of Pronit sleeve


Stephen Wojcik with rare guitar produced in  early 1960s, once owned by Doug MacLennon [Apaches/Jacobeats]. Stephen began playing music in his early teens gaining guitar instruction from his father Emil, an amateur guitarist who ran a snooker hall besides helping local bands get regional bookings through promoter Albert Bonici.  He also arranged their Polish tour with the Polish Jazz Federation though past contacts.                                                                                                                                     Besides his father’s encouragement to pursue music ambitions, Stephen  became friends with Bill Cameron who  in 1962, worked with the Phantoms giving tips on guitar cords and drum beats eighteen month before their first performance.  He was also encouraged when  he accompanied Bill down to London and attended the beat music contest  where Johnny and the Copy Cats placed second in the national beat competition singing their first single, a cover version of “I’m a Hog For You Baby”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Besides a skilled guitarist, Stephen was the keyboardist for The Phantoms who later toured Poland in 1966. Though three of the band members has since passed, there was a bond developed among the band that is still felt by those who were part of it. Fortunately, the memorabilia of the groups 3 year journey is preserved thanks to Stephen’s father who managed the group.  A special thanks to Stephen who laid out the clippings for this presentation. Currently, Stephen is currently working with Bill Cameron and Rob Larson [CopyCats] on some new music and will be making their debut soon.  Press & Journal article [2016] about the Phantoms:






The Burns guitar London was produced in early 1960s. Burns guitars were also used by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and The Shadows besides other popular musicians.




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Posted in 1960's pop music

Opium Trail Scotland” In the 1960s and 70s the likes of The Silver Beetles, Rod Stewart and Status Quo all descended upon the county. In the 1990s, an Ian McCulloch-free Echo & The Bunnymen turned up in Thurso, as did a young Snow Patrol, the latter leaving town just as perplexed as the audience they played to.”

Because the British Government built a large-scale nuclear reactor at nearby Dounreay at the tip of Scotland in 1954, the workers sought music and entertainment at the end a long week.  Beside being active with new comers seeking work, the area also became home to the Admiralty Reactor Test Establishment that brought in the British and American Navy besides the local and Gaelic incomers. One of the most famous entertainers to perform there, was Sir Rod Stewart when he was just beginning his music career.

“VETERAN rock star Rod Stewart officially became a Sir when he was knighted this week over 50 years since he performed at Thurso Town Hall as a teenager. The 18-year-old appeared at the venue in the autumn of 1963 with his group as part of a Jimmy Powell and The Five Dimensions making a mini tour of Scotland [PYE Records managed by Malcolm Nixon]. His trip north was recalled this week by journalist Bill Mowat, who was editor of the Caithness Courier in the 1960s.”

Thurso Town Hall was available for local entertainment and hosting music venues from out-of-towners.

The beat movement made inroads throughout Scotland from the Glasgow area to many small towns and villages and even to Thurso and Orkey Islands beyond. In 1967, the Opium Trail was a popular local band in Thurso, Scotland that caught the imagination of young Scots.

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:
2011 Also checkout this site for more on Roger:

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:

Ron Gesch, one of the members who performed with the OT on BBC, is currently a singer/songwriter in the Christian Rock genre

Ron Geschwind webpages: Intro: History: Photos:

For updates from the OT line-up, refer to

“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.”



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