mm 75 nor our

Sir Alexander Gibson What could be more appropriate than the 75th anniversary of the Scottish Musicians‘ Benevolent Fund being marked by a special concert on St Cecilia‘s Day? Not only that. but those involved will combine to form the largest number of players ever to perform on the stage of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Playing as one orchestra. the 200 musicians come from the Royal SNO, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Formed in l9l8, the Scottish Musicians‘ Benevolent Fund is not a familiar charity. but its role is a crucial one in providing financial assistance to former professional musicians in need and their dependents. Funding comes from donations made by music- lovers. so that musicians who fall on hard times might be able to maintain their dignity and way of life. As the Fund explains. ‘Every grant is meant not as charity, but an expression of thanks from the public to musicians for their music.‘

The programme is a carefully constructed one of mainly popular works by Wagner, Rachmaninov, Judith Weir. Barber and Sibelius and finishes with Tchaikovsky‘s l812 Overture. All the musicians, including conductor Sir Alexander Gibson and the distinguished pianist John Lill. are giving their services free of charge. if you would like to find out more about Sir Alexander Gibson. Conrad Wilson‘s newly-published Alex is an enlightening biography of this great musician and his mammoth contribution to Scottish musical life. He is clearly reticent about revealing too much of himself, yet Wilson has produced a lively and easily readable account of his many achievements and career to date. (Carol Main)

The Scottish Musicians" Benevolent Fund Concert takes place at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Mon 22. Alex by Conrad Wilson is published by Mainstream at £14. 99.

mm:- Bluesology

Scots who only know Maggie Bell’s voice from the title sequence to Taggart have a lot of catching up to do, explains Ellie Buchanan.

It’s tough to imagine any voice capturing the true spirit ofGlasgow quite as effectively as Maggie Bell’s. Hers are the gritty. gutwrenching tones that grace the title song of STV's Taggart, ‘No Mean City'.

Virtually the only British woman to survive the mainstream blues circuit, Bell returns to perform in Glasgow for

the first time in fifteen years. Sipping

tea in a small hotel in that city’s West

: End, the Maryhill-bom singer and ; actress reminisces about how it all { began.

‘lt learns you about life, living in Maryhill. But I had a great childhood in Glasgow. There was always music at home my parents would have people up at weekends, singing. and I'd help my daddy huckle out this little kind of

3 “piano” from the recess D'ye ; remember we all had recesses‘?’ She

turns to her English manager. ‘You don’t know what that is. do you? It‘s a little place they used to put beds in. They‘re all cupboards now. And I'd sing a few songs with my mammy and daddy they were good singers together.

‘My aunt was on stage. She was very famous in Glasgow, working with Lex McLean and people like that. She was a comedienne, principally. and the music was secondary. My uncle‘d sit with his tails on and play the piano: ragtime,

slightly bluesy things. In fact, I made an album later called Suicide Sal. That was her nickname here Suicide Sal, everybody’s pal.‘

Having shared a bill with Chris Farlowe for the past year, Bell promises a hard-hitting programme of songs from such artists as BB King, Muddy Waters, Delbert McClinton and Bob Seeger all chaps.

‘ln those days the good songs and lyrics were mostly written for men rather than women. I was listening to Sonny Boy Williamson from the age of about twelve l‘ve an uncle who was a merchant seaman who used to bring back all these American 78s. Williamson and Broonzy and people like that nobody was doing their stuff up here at all. They were all (which I had to do later to feed myself) playing the Locamo for the birlers and ballroom dancers. I had to sing the Top 20, then I‘d get a taxi and do the Dennistoun Palais, then I‘d come back and do a dafter hour at the Plaza at Eglinton Toll. That was open till lam. really bizarre in those days. And the people would stop dancing and come up to the front and listen. That was when I could do my real stuff.‘

The ‘real stuff ' led from Alex Harvey's group to a stint working in his brother Leslie's band the Kinning Park Ramblers.

‘Then Leslie and l toured around the German bases for two years, which really helped me to get my singing together. because I was working seven nights a week. and a lot of the Gls were getting us good albums to listen to. When we came back to Glasgow, we played in a group called Power, packing them in for six nights a week at the Burns Howff in West Nile Street. Then Leslie was playing with Aretha Franklin and met one of the heads of Atlantic Records. who said, “I’ve got a man I think would like to manage you and your band; I hear you‘re pretty good.“ That was Peter Grant, who managed Led Zeppelin and Bad Company. He catne up to Glasgow. took us away to London and things took off from there.’

Power became Stone The Crows, and the career which followed included being voted Best Female Vocalist for five consecutive years in the music press. After the tragic death of Les Harvey, Maggie Bell went on to work with such luminaries as Jerry Wexler, Rod Stewart and Steve Winwood. She's appeared with some of the biggest names in R&B and has extended her talents to acting, most recently with Billy Connolly in the BBC movie Down Among The Big Boys.

While she and Glasgow are older and a little wiser than when she began, one thing which hasn’t changed is the responsiveness of the Glasgow audience, second to none throughout entertainment. Their participation in Maggie‘s homecoming gig will be imrnortalised by Radio Clyde for a live album which will be released, with a video, in the new year. Should be no mean experience.

Maggie Bell plays the Theatre Royal. Glasgow on Thurs 2.

mm- Chaos Theory

More protein. That’s what ‘Sperm’ has. The first single from Glasgow’s Baby Chaos is energy-giving and muscle- buildlng. It is also a power-punk car- crash that is noticeably tougher than the pre-record deal Baby Chaos. Gigging last spring, the band betrayed streaky 70s influences, all whining Bowie vocals and frazzled guitars. At llice ’n’ Sleazy in Glasgow in March ‘The list”s reviewer mentioned their stirring belief in the tenet ‘compose thy three-minute songs in five or six glorious “shaz-a-a-a-am”s of heads- down hannonies’. This is a thumbs-up. Also present that night was llathan McGough, new Adult man at east/west records and presently attempting to have the ‘ex-Ilappy Mondays manager’ prefix to his name removed by deed poll. Via a performance on BBC2’s ‘The Late Show’ a month later and several more gigs, at the end of August Baby Chaos became McGough’s first signing.

‘When he initially approached us, it was like, major record company, naaah,’ shouts singer Chris Cordon in a crowded Glasgow pub. ‘But we got on pretty well with him. lle’s got a

. ‘- ~ good history, and he’s got a lot of respect in the business.’ Plus, from a press point of view, having a ‘celebrity’ AGB man won’t hurt. But Baby Chaos are better than that. ‘Sperm’ and its B-sides, ‘Superpowered’ and ‘Tongue’, were recorded quickly and brutally, the product of five days in Warwickshire with producer Paul (llapalm Death) Johnston. llext up will be another couple of EPs, the band ‘working up’

to the recording of their debut album next year. In sense in rushing - Baby Chaos gigged tor too long, too

haphazardly, to no end, in previous incarnations to let their desires be sated by the quick thrills of quick hits. ‘Yep,’ says Chris. ‘At the start ot the

year we changed the name (from The Thin Men) - we wanted a whole new approach, a whole new mentality. Instead of sitting on our ems waiting tor sometlrlng to happen like everybody else does, we wanted to go out and make something happen. And so far it’s paid off.’ (Craig McLean) Baby Chaos support Skyscraper and Mint 400 at King Tut’s, Glasgow on Fri 19.

28 The List l9 November—2 December 1993