Alan & Hebbie

The Mountain Dew:

Rocky Mountain Belle: The Mountain Dew:


Hebbie recorded with Josh before teaming up with singer-guitarist Alan McKenzie

Hebbie recorded with Josh before teaming up with singer-guitarist Alan McKenzie

alan hebbie balan hebbie a

50 Years ago in Aberdeen, Scotland, Allan McKenzie and Hebbie Gray began recording for Grampian Television: Clipping of Hebbie Gray with former singing partner, Allan McKenzie [The People’s Journal October 1965]


Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Allan McKenzie, part of the ’60s bluegrass duo known as “Alan & Hebbie” in Scotland. Allan, who had been asked by Hebbie Gray to perform him after working with Josh Esplan “How Can I Believe In You”: continues to have a lot of respect for Hebbie as a musician and individual as he did when they met in Fochabers . The two worked together between 1965 and 1968, playing various venues in the north of Scotland including Elgin’s Tower Hotel and the Two Red Shoes Ballroom. Besides recordings with Josh Esplan and Allan McKenzie, Hebbie recorded with various groups and can be heard on The Banks Of The Don [DVD] performing Bovaglie’s Plaid, The Countess Of Crawford (slow strathspey), Gillan’s Reel, and Scott Skinner’s Compliments to Dr MacDonald.

Allan and Hebbie first sang together as members of the Fochabers Folk Club in the small village near Elgin, Scotland. Folk, Country, and traditional Scottish music was quite popular in the ’60s and there were many music enthusiasts who got together for a sing though there is a renewed interest in it today. Each year, thousands visit the area for the Speyfest folk festival that hosts the best of Celtic and traditional music from the north of Scotland.

Allan McKenzie [Elgin, Scotland] and Hebbie Gray [Keith, Scotland] enjoyed working together though they stopped playing together as Hebbie began working with Jack Sinclair’s band who led an orchestra at Grampian Television. Allie told me how he was committed to his full-time job as a lineman [1968] whilst Hebbie, a music teacher in Buckie had more time to pursue venues as a musician. Hebbie, who played a wide range of styles on his “fiddle” is featured in the following video

Though persuing a career as a line-man for the Scottish Hydro Board rather than full-time musician in 1968, Allan has never stopped singing and playing music and was later known for performing with the Scottish country groups known as Jimmy Donald and The Drifters [’68-71] and Rocky Top who were featured on Beechwood Records “Saturday Night Country” singing Black Land Farmer, Hat Full of Feathers, and Bob Wills Is Still The King.

Rocky Top [1981]

Rocky Top [1981]

In 1965, Alan & Hebbie played various gigs on weekends to appreciative fans in Scotland besides performing on BBC Radio show “Come Thursday”, 12 weeks on Grampian Television’s “Aye Yours”, and BBC radio’s “On Tour” in 1966.  Allan remembered how in some segments of their television appearance, they worn torn trousers to look like “hill-billies” which was a bit of fun as they entertained their audience.

Allan McKenzie and Hebbie Gray [copyright Bonici Archives] from 1965

Allan McKenzie and Hebbie Gray [copyright Bonici Archives] from 1965

copyright Bonici Archives [ circa 1965]

copyright Bonici Archives [ circa 1965]

Josh & Hebbie [Josh Esplan] were a duo before Hebbie began working with Allan McKenzie  c. Bonici Archives [ circa 1965]

Norco Records 1965 from reel to reel tapes recorded in Albert Bonici’s living room Elgin, Scotland.  Note: The flat is located above what used to be the Park Cafe is currently for sale. The front entrance is the stairway which also lead to the back stage entrance of the Two Red Shoes where many British bands performed through the 1960’s – 70s.


Norco Redords contract [circa 1965]

Norco Redords contract [circa 1965]



"On Tour" 1966

“On Tour” 1966 Note: Celtic singer Isla MacDonald [St Clair] first appeared on “Talk Of The Town” and was only 12 when sharing the bill with Alan & Hebbie

“Isla McDonald (Isla St Clair) A photograph on page one shows 12 year old Isla McDonald, the folk singer and traditional ballad singer who was interviewed on the BBC television programme, ‘Talk of the North’, last Friday. Isla sang an excerpt from the ballad, ‘The Barin o’ Brachley’ to illustrate only one of many good northeast songs that are being overlooked in the school curriculum.” Shian Road:


My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. Growing up a few miles from San Francisco, I would frequent the active music scene on weekends besides being a fan of British BEAT music and never missing Shindig! on television. When first visiting the small community of Elgin in 2007, I was surprise to learn how the Beatles and many other vocalist and musicians came to perform during the early days of their careers. In the early 1950s, Albert Bonici began promoting dances though it had been an ambition since his teenage years. When he and Henry Robertson co-organized a string of jazz dances in the north Scotland, they could not have predicted the enormous success of the venture. Albert Bonici became one of the most respected promoters in the UK having arranged a high volumn of music venues throughout the north of Scotland which delighted music lovers during the height of the jazz and beat music era. Whilst known for booking the Beatles at the beginning of their 1963 tours, Albert Bonici brought most of the top British acts to north-east Scotland besides working with Scottish musicians to boost their careers. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and also a tribute to a man with a vision who, with the help of his family and staff, created a happening that is still fondly remembered by those who attended dances and concerts. Albert A Bonici hosted many up and coming bands who went on to gain international acclaim for their contributions. Besides other local resources and interviews, SCOTBEAT presents exclusive photos, adverts, and documents from the A Bonici Archives [circa 1960s]. Unless otherwise agreed, materials are not to be used for financial gain and ask that you respect the terms below. Materials presented are not to be used for financial gain without consent. © 2014-2019 All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be copied, redistributed, broadcast or published in any form without crediting this blog and/or copyright websites mentioned. All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives are not to appear in print other than through the propietor of SCOTBEAT. Use of the site signifies your agreement to all of these terms without condition. Please reference when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in 1960's pop music
4 comments on “Alan & Hebbie
  1. Allan McKenzie says:

    Good Morning
    I would like to make one comment that many of the photographs titled Alan & Hebbie are actually not, they are Joss and Hebbie. Possibly it would be good to clarify this in the page. Allan also continues to play as part of the Greenbrae Gaugers bringing their own brand of music and fun to many. Actually Allan McKenzie is my father and i am extremely happy to see him on this page and also extremely proud to be his son.
    Many thanks for a great site.
    Allan McKenzie Junior

    • #scotbeat says:

      Great… thanks for the correction. Unfortunately, the photos used from the Bonici Archives do not include the artists names, etc. thus I have had to rely on friends and family besides other musicians on the go in Scotland in the 1960s. Rather than redoing my youtube video of Alan and Hebbie, I mentioned that two photos are Josh and Hebbie. I was thrown off as the news clipping featured a photo of Josh and Hebbie [1965] though speaks about new partner, Allan. Allan and Moira are lovely folk and am glad to know them.

  2. Allan McKenzie says:

    The news clipping is Allan and Hebbie… Again really happy to see my dad in line. Thanks for your great site
    Allan McKenzie Junior

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: