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The Maryland Club Part 2: Playlist by David Beckett

On our Music Mile Tour we tell our guests about the former Maryland club, which was located in what was once a private villa and is now within the CCA in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. We’re delighted to be able to share our guest blog on the club by friend of the tours, David Beckett. David contacted us after reading our previous blog on the club by Francis McKee, Director of the CCA, and naturally we jumped at the chance to find out more. We’d like to thank David for taking the time to get in touch and share his experience of the fabled venue. Following on from David’s  blog he’s put together a related playlist with commentary (below) for us, which you can listen to here:

The Maryland Spotify Playlist

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds: Amen

Although Jimmy James never really made much impression in the charts during his career, he was well known for his live performances. Jimmy could really work the crowd of Mods and young dancers. He always finished his set with a rousing version of the gospel classic sending the crowd home happy. Amen to that!

Amen Corner: Bend Me, Shape Me

This band featuring Andy Fairweather Low as lead vocalist were chart toppers with their blend of singalong blue-eyed soul. Every teenage girl had a poster of Andy cut out of Jackie magazine and pinned to their bedroom wall. Andy has played with just about everyone in popular music including Eric Clapton, Roger Waters and George Harrison.

The Beatstalkers: Everybody’s Talkin Bout My Baby

The Beatstalkers, Scotland’s No.1 Beat Group. During the ’60s the Beatstalkers were Scotland’s most popular live act. It is reckoned that their first single, ‘Everybody’s Talkin ‘Bout My Baby’ sold more than 200,000 copies in Scotland but since there were only two Scottish shops, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh, which registered sales to make up the national charts, the highest they got was just outside the Top 40. Other acts with lesser sales managed greater chart success. The Maryland was one of the group’s favourite venues.

John Mayall: Walking on Sunset

Although John Mayall dropped the Bluesbreakers tag from his Blues from Laurel Canyon album, most fans considered his bands of  varied personnel as the Bluesbreakers. Mayall and band played two gigs in the Maryland during 1968. The first appearance was in April with a band including Mick Taylor, Andy Fraser and a three-piece brass section which included Dick Heckstall–Smith. The personnel of the second Maryland appearance were considerably scaled down to a quartet of keys, lead, bass and drums. Mick Taylor was lead guitarist on both gigs. He would replace Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones six months later. Andy Fraser left to form Free and went onto become a great songwriter. Some of his work included Free’s ‘All Right Now’ and Robert Palmer’s ‘Every Kinda People’. Dick Heckstall Smith went onto form Colosseum with Jon Hiseman. (More on them later).

Stone the Crows: The Touch of your Loving Hand

Fronted by Glasgow’s very own blues-soul legend, Maggie Bell, on vocals and Leslie Harvey (brother of Alex) on guitar, Stone the Crows should have experienced greater success. Unfortunately, the Crows disbanded in the early ’70s when Leslie was tragically and fatally electrocuted having touched a live microphone. They were very popular with the Maryland crowd and played on at least three occasions. This band were going places and they supported Taste (Rory Gallagher’s band) in the City Halls in Glasgow and Ten Years After in the Usher Hall Edinburgh. Maggie is best known for her rendition of ‘No Mean City’, theme tune for the television series Taggart.

Colosseum: Walking in the Park

Sometimes referred to as Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum, the band were formed when Jon Hiseman and Dick Heckstall-Smith left John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Hiseman was regularly voted into the top three drummers by the Melody Maker’s Readers Poll (no one could topple Ginger Baker off the top spot). Colosseum became a firm favourite with the Maryland crowd playing on three separate occasions. On the third of these occasions, Chris Farlowe, the great English singer with the soulful voice fronted the band on vocals. (Chris reached No1 in the singles charts with the song ‘Out of Time’ in 1966.) ‘Walking in the Park’ was a Graham Bond composition with whom Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith played previously. They always started their set with this song. The audience would be in raptures when Heckstall-Smith would play his tenor and soprano saxophones at the same time.

Juicy Lucy: Who Do You Love?

Juicy Lucy’s only Maryland appearance coincided with the release of their first album simply called Juicy Lucy. ‘Who Do You Love?’ is a blistering cover of the Bo Diddley classic. This song was also released as a single which earned them a number 14 slot in the Top 40. The band title was taken from a character in the novel The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas. The novel had been made into a film in 1969. The gatefold sleeve cover caused quite a stir illustrating a reclining naked woman covered in an exotic fruit salad.

Pete Brown & Piblokto!: High Flying Electric Bird

Pete Brown was and still is a poet. In the ’60s, he would have been what’s known as a beat poet. He was also a lyricist and had penned the words for many of songs by the band Cream. ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, ‘White Room’, ‘I Feel Free’ to name but a few. This song was lifted from Pilokto’s first album with the lengthy title Things May Come and Things May Go but the Art School Dance Goes On Forever. Now-famous jazz guitarist Jim Mullen played guitar in Piblokto. Jim was from Glasgow and had originally met Pete Brown in the Maryland when both were playing in previous bands. Within Jim’s band were two Dundee sax players, Roger Ball and Malcolm (Molly) Duncan, who went onto greater fame as the ‘Dundee Horns’ in the Average White Band. Incidentally, it was Maggie Bell who christened them the ‘Dundee Horns’.

Pete Brown & Pibloko! played two gigs in the Maryland and although they never recorded it, they included the Cream classic ‘Politician’ in their live performance.

In an interview on JazzFM in January 2020, Jim Mullen described the Maryland as “the main club at the time”.

Wishbone Ash:Blind Eye

Wishbone Ash were relatively unheard of when they played the Maryland, but the excitement of their high energy twin lead guitar sound from Andy Powell and Ted Turner brought the regulars to their feet with huge roars of approval. This was the lovely thing about the Maryland, people would turn out without knowing very much about the artists, but on the other hand they were rarely disappointed. On a side project in 1971 Ted Turner played sessions on John Lennon’s Imagine album.

Lindisfarne: Lady Eleanor

The regular punters didn’t know what to expect when they turned up for Lindisfarne’s gig. Their first album Nicely out of Tune was yet to be released. The club seemed to be swarming with guys with Geordie accents who were trying to conceal their secret stashes of Newcastle Brown Ale — the Maryland didn’t have a licence to sell alcohol. When they played with a mix of melodic folk rock and self-deprecating humour, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They included the standout singalong song ‘Lady Eleanor’ in their repertoire.

Kevin Ayers & the Whole World: May I?

Kevin Ayers was a founding member of the band Soft Machine. He left Soft Machine to follow a solo career. By the time he and his band, Kevin Ayers & the Whole World, played the Maryland he had released his second album, the joyous Shooting at the Moon. Lol Coxhill the saxophonist, and a very young Mike Oldfield were both band members. The song ‘May I?’ was the kind of thing a lot of Glasgow guys would love to say to someone who caught their eye, but just wouldn’t have the nerve.

Skid Row: An Awful Lot of Woman

Skid Row were a Dublin-based band which originally had Phil Lynott and Gary Moore in its ranks. Frontman Brendan “Brush” Shiels dropped Lynott in favour of Moore taking over vocals. This powerhouse trio unleashed their bass, lead and drums on an unsuspecting Maryland audience giving their ears a good kicking at the same time. This band were the original Skid Row, not to be confused with the American band of the same name. There seems to be a bit of dubiety over whether the Americans bought the name or just nicked it. Another great night of music was enjoyed by all.

Uriah Heep: Gypsy

This song is  from their first album Very ‘Eavy,Very ‘Umble. Uriah Heep played the Maryland twice in 1970 while promoting the album. They were booked for two further nights in May 1971 but because of fire in the club the gigs were moved to other venues. The band were known for their extensive touring and played a further four times in the Glasgow area during 1971. Despite being critically panned in the music press, the band received very enthusiastic welcomes from the Maryland crowd.

Groundhogs: Natchez Burning

Groundhogs were touring with their recently released album Thank Christ for the Bomb when they played the Maryland during the summer of 1970. They were another powerhouse trio of bass, lead and drums and were at the vanguard of the British blues scene. ‘Natchez Burning’ was originally recorded by the great bluesman Howlin’ Wolf. The song is a lament over the deaths of over two hundred people who were caught in a fire which engulfed the Rhythm Night Club in the Mississippi town of Natchez. The tragedy happened in 1940 when a stray cigarette ignited some decorative foliage which had been treated with a highly inflammable insecticide.

Muddy Waters and his Chicago Band: Honeybee

The anticipation of this gig at the Maryland was understandably at fever pitch. Glasgow audiences and indeed Scottish audiences had been drip-fed authentic American bluesmen. Generally, artists like John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson would arrive to play in the UK where they would enlist local back-up musicians. This gig promised a full band of African American musicians straight from Chicago’s South Side. Muddy Waters and his band played two nights in a row with Muddy’s slide guitar, Carey Bell’s brilliant harmonica, and Pinetop Perkins’ tinkling piano roaring through twelve numbers and finishing with a rocking and rolling ten-minute version of  ‘Got My Mojo Workin’. The crowd were on their feet with their Mojos in overdrive. ‘Honeybee’ was included in their set, but this recording was not the same personnel that played the Maryland. A live version of the Maryland band can be seen on YouTube on a German television programme called Beat Club.

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup: That’s All Right

It’s important that Arthur Crudup’s song is included in this playlist as it had a very significant part to play in the history of popular music particularly what became known as rock’n’roll. To understand the significance, you have to go back to the deep south of the USA in the early 1950s. These were the times of racial segregation and Jim Crow. It’s hard to believe but these were times when music also appeared to be segregated.  Black people tended to listen to black radio stations and white people to white radio stations. One man who bucked this trend was Sam Phillips who owned Sun Studios in Memphis. He loved the blues and recorded artists like Howlin’ Wolf, BB King and Muddy Waters, but he always thought that if he could get a white man to sing the blues then it would be a winner. A very young unknown and persistent Elvis Presley made himself known to the studio. Sam Phillips recognised something in this young guy and set about to record him with some of the best musicians around, namely Scotty Moore, Bill Black and DJ Fontana. Apparently, they spent several hours in the studio going over the many songs Elvis had in his head. It was looking like a failed attempt when it was decided to have a break. Elvis remained in the studio with Sam Phillips fiddling about with the controls. Elvis started strumming his guitar and singing something when Phillips asked him to hold on, what was he singing. The other musicians were very quickly reassembled, and the song was recorded. The song was ‘That’s All Right’. It was released with ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ on the B-side. Radio stations played the song nonstop and their switchboards were jammed with callers asking who this guy Elvis is. As they say the rest is history.

Well — Arthur Crudup, the man who wrote ‘That’s All Right’ for a very paltry one-off fee, played in the Maryland in 1970. That’s the connection between the Maryland and the man who would become known as the King of rock’n’roll.