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Celtic Connections review: The Beatstalkers, The Arches, Glasgow

Scotlands answer to The Beatles in the 1960s, The Beatstalkers, reformed for only the second time, with Dave Lennox on lead vocals  Picture: Donald MacLeod

Scotlands answer to The Beatles in the 1960s, The Beatstalkers, reformed for only the second time, with Dave Lennox on lead vocals Picture: Donald MacLeod

  • by FIONA SHEPHERD
 

The Beatstalkers were a big rhythm’n’blues noise in Scotland in the 1960s, popularly referred to as “the Scottish Beatles” but their live reputation didn’t translate into record sales and they had split by the end of the decade.

The Beatstalkers

The Arches, Glasgow

Star rating: * * *

This reunion for only their second gig since was such an occasion that Renfrew Bowling Club had run a bus especially. And they were not alone in adding to the social club feel of this event.

The original group members – minus keyboard player Eddie Campbell, who had to honour a prior engagement – seemed so comfortable on stage together that their performance bore the hallmarks of a well-honed pub residency, expanded to include hearty, soulful backing vocalists and a Memphis-style brass section.

Frontman Dave Lennox still has the booming pipes of a Caledonian Tom Jones but occasionally verged on the cheesy. Mr Disappointed was something of a cabaret turn, while Let The Water Run Down conjured up the atmosphere of a kitsch tropical theme bar.

Bassist Alan Mair led on a sprightly Stagger Lee, guitarist Ronnie Smith officiated on a playful blues boogie and there were featured spots for their old R&B muckers Zoot Money on keyboards and Fraser Watson of The Poets.

Most notably, Hamish Stuart of the Average White Band delivered a classy, husky I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

Their debut single Ev’rybody’s Talking ’Bout My Baby still sounded every bit the northern soul dancefloor filler but they were less convincing on the looser, more psychedelic end of mod.

 

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