Concert for Stewart: Guest blog by Rab Noakes

On Friday November 24th Saint Luke’s will host a celebration of the legendary radio producer Stewart Cruickshank, who lived for music and for people. His work from Beat Patrol to the Iain Anderson show gave a start to countless musicians and enriched the lives of all music lovers in Scotland. He made things happen, brought people together, and always shared his knowledge and his wisdom unstintingly. One of the musicians appearing is Rab Noakes, who has written this lovely guest blog on his memories of working with Stewart. Big thanks to Rab for taking the time to do this.


The concert is raising funds for Drake Music Scotland and tickets are available here We look forward to seeing you there! Over to Rab…

I knew Stewart a little in the early 1970s but got to know him better at the BBC in the 1980s. At that time he was working in the Gramophone Library and I was doing work on Radio Scotland shows, mostly the afternoon show presented by Art Sutter. Over and above his librarian duties Stewart, along with his colleague, Sandy Semeonoff, and presentation announcer, Peter Easton, produced a vital new-music show called Rock on Scotland, which went out late on Friday nights. Stewart had also produced a definitive story of rock’n’pop in Scotland called Beatstalking.

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Findlay Napier: Glasgow

We love Findlay Napier writing about Glasgow, the city he now calls home and title of his new album. Findlay kindly agreed to share it with us — thank you Findlay.

Glasgow is released on October 13 and you can pre-order it here



Photo by Raymond Depardon, Magnum Photography

In 1997 I moved from the banks of the River Spey to the fourteenth floor of the Red Road Flats in Springburn. I was born in Glasgow and had visited the city periodically over the years, the Garden Festival in ‘89 and City of Culture in ‘90 being particular highlights. I remember the buildings being black. I remember being jostled by the people on Buchanan Street. I remember the sound and the shoogle of the Clockwork Orange. I remember the people and their patter. I remember it like the first time I watched Blade Runner. I remember it like the first time I saw Billy Connolly.

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The Sikh Pipe Band by Peter Ross

To celebrate the launch of his new book The Passion of Harry Bingo and our Piping Live tours, Peter Ross and his publisher Sandstone Press have graciously allowed us to use this wonderful piece by Peter on The Sikh Pipe Band’s appearance at Piping Live in 2015. Thanks also to Michael McGurk for allowing us to use his photograph. Keep an eye on our Facebook page later this week for a chance to win copies of The Passion of Harry Bingo.  Over to Peter…


Beneath a Saltire blue sky, with Irn-Bru in their bellies and an old Punjabi war cry on their lips – ‘Sat Sri Akaal!’ – the men and women of the Sri Dasmesh pipe band march out into the grassy arena of Glasgow Green, the first time a Malaysian group has competed at the world championships, and give their medley laldy. ‘Gaun the Sikhs!’ shouts a turbaned fellow in the crowd.
The World Pipe Band Championships, known as ‘The Worlds’, is the Olympics of piping. Some 230 bands from sixteen nations, adding up to around 8,000 pipers and drummers, are taking part this year. The championships date back to 1906, but they have never seen anything quite like Sri Dasmesh.


Photograph by Michael McGurk

There are about forty of them, ranging in age from early teens to early sixties, tricked out in a manner that makes the uniforms of even their gaudiest rivals appear drab. Over white robes they wear a bright sash, a plaid in Royal Stewart tartan, and a faux tiger-skin apron, combining in one outfit the distinctive styles of Mason Boyne, Mary Doll Nesbitt and the Bay City Rollers. All of this, mind, topped with a turban and pink plume, or kalgi, bearing the symbol for ‘One God’. They look amazing: Glasgow fabulous; Kuala Lumpur dead brilliant. Continue reading

At the Apollo: A Postcard From Roddy Frame


Guests on our Music Mile tour love hearing and sharing stories about the late, great Glasgow Apollo, and we’re re-running Roddy Frame’s guest blog on the fabled venue in case you missed it first time around.

Although he decamped many years ago, Frame will always be linked to the town: partly, because he gave the city an unofficial anthem in the yearning bus-station epic “Killermont Street”; but mostly due to his years as Postcard Records’ prodigious post-punk boy wonder. Signing with Alan Horne’s fabled DIY label aged 16, Frame’s Aztec Camera put the young into The Sound Of Young Scotland, yet shared with labelmate Edwyn Collins’s Orange Juice a preternatural knack for writing songs that seemed simultaneously to reference every record he’d ever loved – in Frame’s case, from Wes Montgomery to Motown via Bowie, The Clash and Joy Division – while sounding unique. From wiry, charging acoustic jangle to gorgeous plastic soul, a restless, mercurial spirit has remained constant across his ever-changing career.

We’re beyond delighted to have a few words from the man himself. We asked him to cast his mind back to his own early gig-going memories in Glasgow, and a favourite venue. Over to Mr Frame:

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BMX Bandits Forever and Ever by Duglas Stewart

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Duglas for taking the time out to write another guest blog for us. In this piece, Duglas takes us in detail through some of the key tracks and influences on the long-awaited new BMX Bandits album, BMX Bandits Forever And Ever, and also casts some light on the circumstances that led to the recording. We feel very lucky to be able to bring it to you.

And there’s more! BMX Bandits have also very generously contributed a fantastic bumper prize pack for one lucky winner. To find out what’s up for grabs, and to enter the draw, check out our Facebook page.

BMX Bandits Forever will be released on Elefant Records on May 19th 2017 on vinyl, c.d. and digital formats.  There will be a special album launch concert at St. Luke’s in Glasgow on May 27th. And now, here’s Duglas:


BMX Bandits Forever is a very positive title, upbeat sounding and triumphant. But this album was made during the darkest and most difficult times I’ve experienced and the songs on it are a document of these times, and about my personal internal battle for survival. That may sound melodramatic but I honestly didn’t think I’d still be here but I am still here, phew. I currently feel a bit like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. I’ve been through the craziest and most destructive storm in my life and although I’m not home yet I’m trying my best to stay on the right road. Hopefully I’ll get there in the end.

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Rab Noakes 70/50 in 2017

The redoubtable Rab Noakes, our favourite stylish veteran troubadour from the Kingdom of Fife, has already kindly blogged for us about his early gig-going experiences in Glasgow, and his stories were so good that we incorporated them in our Glasgow’s Music Mile tour (paying full credit to Rab, naturally).

But as he prepares to celebrate his 70th birthday and fifty years since playing his first professional gig (at the Glasgow Folk Centre) at his Celtic Connections headliner, Rab Noakes 70/50 in 2017, we turned the spotlight on Rab himself and asked him to talk us through his fifty year career, including memories of his brief time with Gerry Rafferty in Stealers Wheel, the inspiration behind their most famous song and meeting Elvis’s favourite songwriter. Over to Rab…


Photograph by Carol Ann Peacock

On his earliest musical memories

I had always sung ever since I was a wee laddie. My early experiences are all from the radio, a combination of the Light Programme and the Home Service. I always loved things like Danny Kaye singing Ugly Duckling – novelty songs but cleverly written, professionally constructed songs. I like to think that something was being implanted in me at that time of what the song could be. Continue reading

The Psychedelic Confessions Of A Primal Screamer by Martin St. John

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to be at the birth of one of rock n roll’s bastard offspring then this book is for you. Martin St John was Primal Scream’s leather gloved flailing skeleton, bashing away on the tambourine in the 1960s obsessive, garage psyche, mid-eighties period.

This Thursday 24th November, Martin St. John launches The Psychedelic Confessions Of A Primal Screamer at The Old Hairdresser’s in Renfield Lane, Glasgow at 9pm. There will be a reading followed by a screening of rare archive films and a psychedelic punk soundtrack till midnight. Here’s an excerpt all about the legendary Splash 1 club in Glasgow, and the rise of the ‘Anoraksia’ phenomenon. Continue reading