SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #157 : JAZZATEERS

Here’s a repost of one of the last things to be published on the old blog before it was wiped out by Google. It dates from June 2013:-

The 2013 Glasgow International Jazz Festival runs from 26-30 June. Years ago, it used to be a grand affair attracting all sorts of big names to major venues over something like a 10-day period, but a lack of resources and dwindling sponsorship has seen it really scale back over the past decade.

Jazz is a form of music I have no inclination for at all and I’d normally show no interest at all in any of the gigs at the 2013 Festival except that this is happening on Thursday 27 June at Stereo:-

Signed by the legendary Postcard Records, and managed by the label boss Alan Horne, Jazzateers debut 1983 LP “Rough 46” was released 30 years ago on Rough Trade. The album was critically acclaimed but never performed live. The band dispersed (perversely just as media interest was at its most fervid), until reforming now, for one night only. ‘Rough 46′ will be reissued as a redux / deluxe vinyl package by The Creeping Bent Organisation later in the year. One of Jazzateers’ main inspirations Vic Godard will open the evening as special guest, performing with members from former Postcard label-mates the Independent Group, playing a set of jazz standards plus a few surprises.

Technically, the story that appears in the Jazz Festival programme isn’t 100% accuarate but why quibble when the fact is that the band are reforming for one night AND some of the greatest musicians ever to come out of Glasgow will also be on stage as part of the support act.

It’s all quite unbelievable in many ways.

The real Jazzateers story can be ascertained from the way there were ever-changing line-ups:-

JAZZATEERS 1 (1980-1981)

Alison Gourlay (vocals)
Ian Burgoyne (guitar)
Keith Band (bass)
Colin Auld (drums)

Jazzateers 1 signed to Postcard and were managed by Alan Horne. Several tracks were recorded for singles and a debut album, Some tracks were produced by Edwyn Collins, including a version of Donna Summers‘ ‘Wasted’ which was scheduled to be a Postcard single. Another (unreleased) version of Wasted was produced by Pete Bellote.

JAZZATEERS 2 (1982)

Paul Quinn (vocals)
Dee Rutkowski (vocals)
Louise Rutkowski (vocals)
Ian Burgoyne (guitar, vocals)
Keith Band (bass)
Colin Auld (drums)

Jazzateers 2 recorded an album called Lee produced by Alan Horne which was due to be released on Postcard – it’s still unreleased. At this point Alan Horne decided to reposition the group (Quinn, Burgoyne, Band, Auld) and presented them to major labels. They were renamed Bourgie Bourgie and recorded several demos. Eventually Horne decided that Quinn should embark on a solo career and they both moved to London to try and get a deal.

JAZZATEERS 3 (1983)

Grahame Skinner (vocals)
Ian Burgoyne (guitar)
Keith Band (bass)
Colin Auld (drums)

Jazzateers 3 reconfigured with Grahame Skinner on vocals and signed to Rough Trade. Label mogul Geoff Travis had signed them on the basis of the tracks he had heard that the Jazzateers had previously recorded for Postcard. However Jazzateers 3 recorded and delivered an album to Rough Trade that sounded more like the New York Dolls… Travis wasn’t too impressed.

Show Me The Door / 16 Reasons was released as a single swiftly followed by the eponymously titled album, which received excellent reviews. Shortly afterwards Paul Quinn split from Alan Horne and returned to Glasgow from London, and rejoined Band, Burgoyne and Auld. At this point they were joined by Mick Slaven on lead guitar and reverted to the name Bourgie Bourgie, whilst Skinner started a new group with Douglas MacIntyre called White Savages.

The Jazzateers had been booked to appear on a UK television show The Switch on back of the press acclaim the group were getting for their Rough Trade album. However, instead they did the Switch as Bourgie Bourgie (performing Show Me The Door and 16 Reasons), and shortly afterwards were being courted by every major label in the UK. Bourgie Bourgie eventually signed to MCA (with Kenny MacDonald replacing Colin Auld on drums) and released two singles, Breaking Point and Careless, while an album was recorded (unreleased). Paul Quinn left Bourgie Bourgie and rejoined Alan Horne at his new Swamplands label releasing a couple of singles in cahoots with Edwyn Collins.

JAZZATEERS 4 (1985-1986)

Matthew Wilcox (vocals)
Ian Burgoyne (guitar, keyboards)
Keith Band (bass)
Mick Slaven (guitar)
Douglas MacIntyre (guitar)
Stephen Lironi (drums, keyboards)

Jazzateers 4 released a single called Pressing On for the Stampede label. An album – Blood Is Sweeter Than Honey – was recorded but predictably not released. The group felt tired and burned out, even changing their name briefly to Wild Angels in an attempt to shake off the past. Eventually, after a shambolic gig where a broken bass string resulted in a dreadful version of Garageland by The Clash, the group gave up the ghost and walked off stage to mass indifference.

All of the above was pulled from a number of sources – some of which will no doubt be more accurate than others – but it gives you an idea of how hard and how often folk tried to get Jazzateers into the mainstream.

It’s Jazzateers 3 who are reforming for the gig on 27 June and that alone would make this a very special night. The fact that members of the legendary Independent Group will be on stage with the equally legendary Vic Godard makes this a night that just cannot be missed.

2019 update

It was a gig beyond my wildest dreams.  James Kirk joined in at one stage and the band played Felicity with Vic Godard on lead vocal.

Jazzateers more than matched the opening act, with Skinner proving he really still had all the moves and could ht all the notes many years beyond his prime.  It’s up there as one of my all-abiding memories.

Here’s both sides of the 1983 Rough Trade vinyl single:-

mp3 : Jazzateers – Show Me The Door
mp3 : Jazzateers – Sixteen Reasons

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