The Jacobeats

1 August 2017 – Ian Young, John Rennie, Lorna Helby [nee Cameron], Graeme Nairn [back], and SCOTBEAT author, David Dills. Next year, am hoping to have more band members together but this was a great experience for everyone. We met up at next to the former Two Red Shoes and walked down to the Elgin cathedral and there were some good stories told along the way. Lorna spoke of how her father introduced her and Deirdre when they were harmonizing at 9 and 10 years old. The promoter wanted them to come back when they were older which could have been because most venues required the acts to be age 15. When the girls were young teens, they became part of the “Electrons” and after another audition which included founding member John Rennie, they were hired to become vocalists after Sheila left the group. Another teenaged vocalist, Terry Russell [not yet located], was hired at the same time to complete a changing line-up. As Terry’s dad was a childhood friend of the Cameron sisters’ dad, they already knew the young singer/guitarist. Am sure that Albert would have been pleased with the first Jacobeats reunion.

The Jacobeats had great memories practicing and performing together. They hadn’t seen each other in years and enjoyed a mini-reunion in Elgin, Scotland [August 2017]



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.

Founding members of the Jacobeats Dougie and John first played together as “The Diamonds” and “Apaches” before promoter AA Bonici came up with “The Jacobeats”. Besides creating amplifiers and other instruments for their skiffle band, the two built their own guitars though John slashed his thumb in the process. Because he was working by candle light, he hadn’t realized until the next morning that there was blood on his guitar!

John Rennie on guitar [2007]

“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.

Jacobeats played with hecklers in the hall

Jacobeats German tour


Margaret Riddoch is replaced by the Cameron sisters

Arthur Miller, photographer for the US Navy took this pic of us when we played at the base in Holy Loch [Lorna]

Jacobeats with the Cameron sisters

Deirdre and Lorna in Queensland, Australia with their mother

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, “Eddie Leppard & The Leopards” disbanded,  Alan “Rae” Rogers (bass and vocalist) joined the band and Graham Nairn wrote original compositions for the Jacobeats. The Jacobeats resumed extensive touring. Notes from ‘Fit Like, New York?’ -Peter Innes.  [’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. 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.”

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]  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. 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  had offered the group a Caledonian tour in Canada but Ian Young said that he wasn’t aware of an opportunity in America…

complications arose regarding trip to States and Jacobeats didn’t appear on US television

Lorna who now resides near sister Deirdre in Australia, left the band to be wed

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

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.



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

The New Jacobeats were formed after group disbanded to continue with planned bookings


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.

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Posted in 1960's pop music

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