On the Cover of 242!

Tipped to be the next national pop sensation, Studio Six were one of Glasgow's top bands. They shared an agent with the Who and the Bee Gees, played support to the Stax tour on its visit to Glasgow and turned down two Gibb brother ditties in favour of a song written by their lead guitarist.

In a two-part feature, rhythm guitarist, Clive McClure tells the story of his own band, how close they came to fame and fortune and their relationship with the other mega-groups on the Glasgow scene in the Sixties.

Your Fab 40 item on Studio Six got me fascinated, thinking back to the old group days and the days of Radio Scotland. I went through the other pages and saw photos of the Comet - did that bring back memories! The Six went out to the ship at the time 'When I see my Baby' was released, taking a few decent bottles of Malt for the crew. Boy, were we seasick!

In Glasgow, in those days, there were a lot of great bands around. The big halls and ballrooms, however, were dominated by three bands – all of us great rivals. There was Studio Six, the Beatstalkers and the Pathfinders. The Pathfinders' front man was Clewsy, or Ian Clews. He was always saying he was leaving the Pathfinders to go solo, and that the Pathfinders were splitting up - hence the article in 242 Showbeat Monthly. Glasgow fans got a bit fed up with it after a while and wished he would make up his mind!

These three bands dominated because they had a larger sound, larger stage presence and great front men who could hold large audiences. Also they were the only three who could fill a ballroom with fans and keep the ballroom managers happy!

The big ballrooms were the Dennistoun Palais, the Barrowland, the Majestic, the Flamingo in Paisley Road and the biggest of all, the Locarno in Sauchiehall Street, where a lot of the Clan Balls were held. Studio Six played many of these, as did the other bands.

We were also on the same bill as the Stax show, which played at the Locarno, with Booker T and the MG'S, the Markeys, Sam and Dave and the great Otis Redding. Boy, did we have a problem following this lot on that night! Clewsy, who was backstage with other Scottish bands at the time, said to me "I don't think I would have been brave enough to be on the bill tonight". It was about the only time that he and I agreed.

Clive, Ron and Ricky (note the striking design of the band shirts). Clive says: "I've still got the Gibson J60 acoustic guitar."

There were many other great bands in Glasgow, but these tended to concentrate on the smaller clubs - the Lindella club, (where Lulu got her big break), the Elizabethan Club, the Maryland club, Burns Howff and the Picasso. This was where the Marmalade (previously Dean Ford and the Gaylords), held their farewell party for invited groups before they left for London to record – fabulous band by the way.

One of the McClure family's great personal friends at Radio Scotland was Stuart Henry – sadly no longer with us. Stuart and Studio Six joined to do shows all over Scotland, with Stuart having his own guest spot as DJ.

Gerry on bass
Colin and Clive

Studio Six moved to London not long after the Marmalade, to start recording and dropped out of the Glasgow Scene. We used to meet regularly with Marmalade, they and ourselves used to play the Marquee Club in Soho. They had their biggest hit in 1968, with a cover of the Beatles' 'ObLaDi ObLaDa'.

Studio Six had a London Agent called Robert Stigwood (went on to produce the movie 'Grease'). He had been with Brian Epstein, but had broken away to form his own agency. He only had three groups initially - Studio Six, the Bee Gees and the Who. We all know what happened to the other two!

Studio Six in London for the recording of 'When I See My Baby'.
l to r, Colin, Gerry, Ron, Clive, Ricky and Neil – who penned the song.

We used to fight the Bee Gees for studio time at Polydor Records off Regent Street! This was before they recorded 'New York Mining Disaster', and took off in the charts. In fact I still have two studio acetates by them, never released as singles, which Stigwood passed on to us to see if we wanted to record them, but we didn't think they were very good songs, so we went ahead with our own, 'When I See my Baby'.

One Bee Gees acetate is 'The Square Cup'. This has a name and address of Abigail Music, Brook Street, London, stamped on the label. This is probably the name of the studio, which cut the acetates. The other is 'The Turning of The Tide' - again with Abigail music on the label. This may have been on one of the Bee Gees' LPs as 'Turning Tide', but I don't know without playing it. Both of these demos were recorded prior to their 'New York Mining Disaster' hit.

We also have a number of Studio Six acetates, which were various mixes of the songs, prior to getting to the mix, which was going to be released. There are also some acetates of Chris McClure recordings, and I can't recollect if they were released or not. I have also two acetates with no labels on them, from the same time. I don't remember what is on those.

I also have two large Revox tapes in the attic. These were recorded in a makeshift studio we set up in Glasgow, in order to send out tapes to the Radio Scotland ship. I have never been able to play them because of their size. I know that there are recordings of Studio Six and one with Stuart Henry interviewing the group when 'Baby' got released. There is also a session of various songs, which the Marmalade recorded.

We played some gigs with the Who, whose 'My Generation' had kick-started them. The biggest was in what was then the Shaftesbury Theatre in London's Drury Lane. We played first on the bill, followed by Vanilla Fudge, then Jeff Beck – and of course the headliners were The Who. I remember standing in the wings and was absolutely in awe at the live performance they gave. Their recordings just did not do them justice.

Feature from 242 Magazine.
To read text click here to see enlarged version of the photos, click here.

Studio Six, during this time, played all over England and most countries in Europe, on the same bill as some of the groups who had singles in the top 20. We appeared with The Move (later ELO), the Kinks (Ricky, our organist almost had a punch up with Dave Davis), the Nice, at the Marquee Club, Jethro Tull (before their big hit 'Living in the Past') Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Titch, Manfred Mann (with Paul Jones then), Pink Floyd (the Piper Club in Rome). Amazingly, we met up with the Glasgow band the Dream Police (later Average White Band) in St. Tropez, south of France. They were booked at a different club. If anyone knows Hamish (their guitarist), say hello to him for me. Last I saw of him he was playing guitar with Paul McCartney at Wembley Arena.

Ron (Drums), Ricky (Organ), and Gerry Tedeschi (Bass) left towards the end of the life of the group. Replacement band members were Jim Breakey (Drums) - used to be with the Poets in Glasgow, and George McNally (Organ) - who moved back to Scotland and still plays. We still swap Christmas Cards. George was recommended to us by a member of the Glasgow band 'The Senate', who used to play on Scottish Television shows, particularly one called 'Stramash', as backing band to Lulu and Chris McClure. Last, Ricky was replaced by Mike Sergeant - who had been in various Glasgow bands. I have lost all contact with Ron and Ricky. Sadly, Gerry passed away in January 2007, aged 59.

The band finally decided to call it a day round about 1970, following a long summer season in Estoril, Portugal. Mike decided to stay there and married a Portuguese girl and has a family. He started up his own band out there, and was regularly on Portuguese television, becoming a well-known name. Whenever Beth and I fly out to see him, he is recognised in the street and crowds follow him, pointing him out. Sort of reminds me of the days of Studio Six in Glasgow, when the records were released.

Of the three I know of in the South East, my brother Colin carried on in the music business for a while, but gave it up and now has a family of his own (two boys in their 20s). Neil worked for a long time in London as a commercial artist and now is freelance.

As for myself, I played initially with Neil and my brother as a threesome doing small gigs in London for the love of it. I had studied at Glasgow University for a BSc in Pure Science and Maths and I decided to make a complete break from music and went into IT in the early 70s. I've now retired, having had a long and successful career in IT with Lloyds TSB.

Boy, does that destroy my street cred!

Feature from the Evening Times Clive says: "The newspaper articles were written at the time that 'When I See My Baby' was issued. The journalistic style at the time still makes me smile!"
To read text click here.

Very many thanks to Clive. Feature copyright Clive McClure and Mary Payne, 2005

Read on with 'On the Cover of 242 – part two'