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Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly

Shug Hanlan 08 Oct 18 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,akenaton 08 Oct 18 - 08:13 AM
Shug Hanlan 08 Oct 18 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,akenaton 08 Oct 18 - 11:05 AM
Shug Hanlan 08 Oct 18 - 12:55 PM
GUEST 08 Oct 18 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,johnmc 08 Oct 18 - 05:00 PM
Shug Hanlan 09 Oct 18 - 02:37 AM
GUEST,Fasteddy 09 Oct 18 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,ake 09 Oct 18 - 04:22 AM
Shug Hanlan 09 Oct 18 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,johnmc 09 Oct 18 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Akenaton 09 Oct 18 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,johnmc 09 Oct 18 - 06:51 AM
Shug Hanlan 09 Oct 18 - 07:08 AM
Jim McLean 09 Oct 18 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,kenny 09 Oct 18 - 10:32 AM
Shug Hanlan 09 Oct 18 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Joey the boy 09 Oct 18 - 10:58 AM
Shug Hanlan 09 Oct 18 - 11:39 AM
Jim McLean 09 Oct 18 - 11:49 AM
Shug Hanlan 09 Oct 18 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,kenny 09 Oct 18 - 02:04 PM
Shug Hanlan 10 Oct 18 - 12:37 PM
Shug Hanlan 29 Apr 20 - 03:32 PM
The Sandman 29 Apr 20 - 04:44 PM
Shug Hanlan 30 Apr 20 - 03:11 AM
Ross Campbell 02 May 20 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,akenaton 03 May 20 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Susanne (skw) 19 May 20 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,akenaton 19 May 20 - 08:27 AM
Georgiansilver 19 May 20 - 08:49 AM
GUEST 21 Nov 23 - 09:03 AM
Susanne (skw) 25 Nov 23 - 08:59 PM
Georgiansilver 26 Nov 23 - 11:04 AM
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Subject: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 06:38 AM

Hi Mudcatters,

Probably plenty people out there who can help me build up information about Billy Connolly's early days as a live performer. I'm interested in the material he played (Traditional material, songs from The Humblebums LPs or was it primarily comic monologues)? What instruments he used (guitar, banjo, auto harp) Plus dates and stuff about folk clubs and festivals.

To prove I'm no where near as funny as the man I intend to write a book about try
https://www.facebook.com/KerfufflePress/
or
https://lizziemlove.wixsite.com/kerfufflepress

Would be great in I got some feedback.

Keep cool but care,

Shug


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 08:13 AM

Billy was a founder member of the Humblebums with Tam Harvey, very popular in the clubs, a bit "bluegrassy" interspersed with Glesca comedy.
Only ever remember Billy on Guitar, Banjo,and Autoharp.
Tam was a guitar man.
Billy's humour was observational, whimsical, no foul language till much later....lovely friendly guy, interested in everything and everybody.....Tam, wild and a bit dangerous.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 10:17 AM

Clearly the group dynamic in the band changed when Gerry Rafferty joined then replaced Tam Harvey. Hard to imagine Connolly as the quiet sensitive one!

Do you recall the names of any of the songs or the actual venues you saw them?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 11:05 AM

Saw them all over the West of Scotland. When they were starting out they were more or less regulars at our Folk club "The Alba" in Dunoon Argyll
They even wrote a song about the place, "Why don't they come back to Dunoon"   lamenting in a humorous way about the lack of holiday visitors to the town. Its on Youtube from one of the local halls about the late sixties....if I remember correctly it's just billy and his guitar...our club was held in the Glenmorag hotel ballroom and was packed every Saturday several hundred paying customers.
Tam liked the Bluegrass music, "My Dixie Darlin'" was a big favourite, but Billy liked making people laugh....I never saw him as a "folkie".....just a great entertainer and a nice genuine bloke.
In those days, Billy was just one of a large number of "Characters" who inhabited the folk scene, poets, singers,groups, hingers -on. All much larger than life, and all "life enhancers". great days.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 12:55 PM

Thanks for all the valuable info. I've listened to the "Dunoon" number. Must really have increased tourist numbers in the area!

Pete Haywood who used to run the Irvine Folk Club has also offered to help me out. He even claims to have a couple of cassettes of Humblebum shows at The Sun Inn.

First saw Connolly at the Stirling Folk club in 1972. His solo career had just started to kick off then. I remember him doing "The Crucifixion" but also singing a few songs.

Did anything about Billy stand out from the other "life enhancers" (nice phrase) that inhabited the Scottish folk scene at the time?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 02:32 PM

The thing that struck me about Billy was that he seemed completely oblivious to his talent and magnetism.....he behaved just like the rest of us at that time, chatting, making jokes, talking politics...Billy was pretty uncommitted.
I knew right from the first time I saw them perform that he had a special talent for winning over an audience....even the boozy crowds that came to our folk nights.....as the Scots say, "he wis like femly", oor big stupit boay" eh?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 05:00 PM

Does anyone know of any photos of the two together ? Haven't ever seen one,
which I find surprising, either in a publication or online.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 02:37 AM

The only photograph I know of is the one used on the cover of the Merry Melodies LP. If anyone knows of more I'd be interested in seeing them.

On a slightly similar subject what do you think of Billy Connolly as a singer/songwriter? I like a lot of his songs and, I might be pushing it here, think that if he's continued his career solely as a musician he might have ended up a being cross between Loudon Wainwright and solo Alan Hull.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,Fasteddy
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 04:14 AM

I remember him as the banjo teacher at the Paisley Attic. Danny Kyle days,sometime in the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,ake
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 04:22 AM

I was on holiday in Dublin....around 67 and was amazed to see them on at the "Abbey"


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 05:19 AM

Was it Tam Harvey or Connolly who taught banjo in Paisley?

The Abbey Theatre in Dublin! Two Playboys of The Western World indeed!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 06:21 AM

I've always liked "The Glasgow I used to Know" and it seems to me he could
do others as good. But don't forget he said when you worked alongside
Gerry Rafferty you soon realised what a real songwriter was.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,Akenaton
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 06:32 AM

"The Glasgow I used to know" was written by big Adam McNaughtan.

"I wish I was in Glasgow" is credited to Billy, but I always hear echoes of Ian MacIntosh in the composition...The standard bearer of the world-weary and disillusioned.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 06:51 AM

oops !
Meant to write the latter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 07:08 AM

Thanks. Will take a listen to both those "Glasgow" songs.

Being in a band with Rafferty would certainly be intimidating but I still think a few of Billy's tunes just about hold their own on the "Open Up The Door" LP.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 10:24 AM

Snug, there is a picture of Billy and Tam on the front cover of CHAPBOOK1968.
If you can't get it, email me jawmac@aol.com and I'll send you a scan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 10:32 AM

There's a fairly amazing photo which was taken I think in Aberdeen in the 1960s which has all 3 of "The Humblbums", along with "The McCalmans", Jean Redpath, Finbar & Eddie Furey, Hamish Henderson, Cyril Tawney, Arthur Argo, Andy Ramage, Archie Fisher and Aly Bain and 2 others.

I saw Billy Connolly many times in the early 70s, before he hit the big time. I can certainly remember seeing him at Forfar Folk Club, on the back of a lorry in a tent at the Aberfeldy Folk Festival [ 1974 ? ], at a rock festival in Grangemouth, and I once booked him for £40 for Aberdeen University Folk Club, probably 1973, and again in 1974. Most of his repertoire at that time was recorded on the LPs he made for Transatlantic, probably more memorable for the stories rather than the music, to be honest.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 10:56 AM

Will try and acess that CHAPBOOK photo Jim. If not will be touch for copy.

Any idea where I can find the Aberdeen snap Kenny? Lived in digs in Aberdeen for a time in 1974. Didn't see any bands due to working shifts in the Wiggins Teape papermill in Bucksburn.

Thanks for the information about his stage repertoire. I recall his between songs patter going down better than the actual songs themselves.

I too was at The Grangemouth Pop Festival in 1972 (back living there now actually). What a desperate affair that was! If memory serves me well Connolly was a sort of compere along with John Peel. Vaguely remember watching Lindisfarne, Status Quo and a guy in the audience becoming gradually submerged in an ocean of discarded beer cans.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,Joey the boy
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 10:58 AM

Dundee 1971 around the date of my girlfriend's graduation: Caird Hall
Lots of folky and comedy too...Full house!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for all the really valuable information.

Dundee, Aberfeldy, Forfar, Aberdeen, Dublin, Paisley, Irvine, Dunoon. Those guys certainly got around. It just goes to show how sturdy the Folk Club scene was back in those days.

I realize it was all a long time ago now but if anyone wants to recount their Connolly/Humblebums stories in more detail you can find me at shughanlan@gmail.com

The other time I saw Connolly in 1972 was again as compere at the UCS benefit show at Green's Playhouse in Glasgow. JSD Band, Gallacher & Lyle and ...gulp...Donovan headlined.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 11:49 AM

Hi Shug picture sent.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 11:56 AM

Thanks Jim. A right pair of bonny boys.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 02:04 PM

Sent the photo Shug. Let me know if it arrives OK.
PS - also remember "Steeleye Span" and "The Everly Brothers" at Grangemouth.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 10 Oct 18 - 12:37 PM

Got the photo Kenny, many thanks.

The Grangemouth Sports Stadium opened its doors early, on the Friday evening, to allow fans to camp on the pitch in preparation for the following days festivities.

My friends and I arrived sans sleeping bags, tents or any of that lark and spent the entire night running around the athletic track trying to improve our personal best in the 10,ooo metres, throwing ourselves Bob Beamon like across the long jump pit and daintily vaulting over hurdles.

Heavy drinking and all this nocturnal exercise caught up with us on the Saturday and we limped home and missed headliners Beck, Bogart and Appice.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 29 Apr 20 - 03:32 PM

Been posted missing from Mudcat much too long but now back at work on my book on the early days of the Big Yin.

Finally ready to begin writing up the chapter on his time in the Folk scene with Tam Harvey, Gerry Rafferty and as a solo performer.

Will factor in all the information previously offered up by kind Mudcat members, but if anyone has anything new to offer it would be really welcome.

Remember what the good old Grateful Dead once said, "One way or another this darkness got to give."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 20 - 04:44 PM

Finally ready to begin writing up the chapter on his time in the Folk scene with Tam Harvey, Gerry Rafferty and as a solo performer."have you writen anything about his time with matt mcginn


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Shug Hanlan
Date: 30 Apr 20 - 03:11 AM

Got to mention Matt, Hamish Imlach, Danny Lyle and many others. With projects like this it's what to leave out that's the main problem.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 02 May 20 - 11:29 PM

The Aberdeen picture mentioned above reminded me of the line-up for the Humblebums' first major concert (and the "Merry Melodies" album launch. Billed as "The Humblebums and Friends" at the City Hall, Candleriggs, Glasgow. The "Friends" consisted of a galaxy of stars of the Scottish folk scene at the time (1969). Arthur Argo, editor of "Chapbook", then the only available journal of folk activities in Scotland, acted as compere and introduced most of the artists named above. Makes me wonder if the format was repeated in other locations. I saw the Humblebums a second time in the same venue, when they were joined by Gerry Rafferty, who seemed to me an incongruous addition. The main thing I recall about him was the painted front of his guitar, the work of "Patrick" (John Byrne).
Other people you might contact - Aly Bain occasionally did double-bookings with Billy Connolly. Also Fraser Bruce (on Facebook) has been seeking info re folk clubs and the early folk revival in Scotand with a view to a book.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 03 May 20 - 08:28 AM

Fraser and his brother...Ian? were regulars at "The Alba" in the Glasgow Hotel and Glenmorag in Dunoon...….Brian Wilson was (heid bummer).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,Susanne (skw)
Date: 19 May 20 - 07:43 AM

It might be worthwhile to look at Hamish Imlach's book (edited by Ewan McVicar). There are a few mentions of Billy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 19 May 20 - 08:27 AM

Billy and Gerry together were a disaster, sometimes opposites work in a partnership, but not this one. Neither were "folkies", but both eventually found their niche and in Billy's case celebrity.
I always thought Tam Harvey got a raw deal, but suppose that's show business. Might be interesting to get some follow up on Tam, I spoke to him some time after the break up and he had gone back into the building trade temporarily....never saw him again, but in a way he was the driving force in the clubs early on.....when "turns" like Billy were viewed as patter merchants.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 19 May 20 - 08:49 AM

This was my 'Humblebums' favourite back in the day.... https://youtu.be/vs1Ng8Z1P7Y


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 23 - 09:03 AM

I'm looking for photo's of "The Humblebums" mostly with Tam Harvey, then later with Gerry. My friend & I played in The Eglinton Folk Club in Irvine in 67, 68, & 69 & I had to go downstairs to get Billy & Tam out of the bar. We were "The Middin Jookers". Billy said he liked the name. I can't find any photo's of us in The Eglinton, but I remember a man with a beard who used to go regularly, & he took photo's of everything, & sometimes films. Any photo's would be really appreciated, & I could copy them for framing. My name is Jeff Coulter,& I live in Kilmaurs, Ayrshire. I'll keep looking in to see if there's any response. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help. (p.s. we also played with Matt McGinn in The Grand Hall in Kilmarnock around 1968, or 69 ?) any photo's from there would also be great. That would make an old folkie very happy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 25 Nov 23 - 08:59 PM

You should try and find Pete Heywood, who lives near Kilmarnock. He took a lot of pics for The Living Tradition and had a close connection to Irvine, I think.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Humblebums & Billy Connolly
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 26 Nov 23 - 11:04 AM

Photos of The Humblebums.


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