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Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)

GUEST,Rossey 08 Mar 20 - 06:57 AM
John MacKenzie 08 Mar 20 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 08 Mar 20 - 08:38 AM
Jim McLean 09 Mar 20 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,akenaton 09 Mar 20 - 02:16 PM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 20 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,akenaton 09 Mar 20 - 07:18 PM
John MacKenzie 10 Mar 20 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,akenaton 10 Mar 20 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Rossey 10 Mar 20 - 01:04 PM
Jim McLean 11 Mar 20 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,akenaton 11 Mar 20 - 02:37 PM
The Sandman 12 Mar 20 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Rossey 12 Mar 20 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,kenny 12 Mar 20 - 01:02 PM
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Subject: Obit: Joe Gordon
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 06:57 AM

Hi I note that Joe Gordon, folk and popular 'tartan music' singer, and occasional songwriter passed away last month at the age of 85. There has been no mention on Mudcat, yet the Joe Gordon four were an important early fixture of a Scottish popular folk scene. Later Joe went on to form a husband and wife team performing Scottish standards for the easy listening and viewing public who watched 'heather and haggis' shows like STV's Thingummyjig. I wonder therefore if someone can create an appropriate thread? I didn't know him, but obviously knew of him through his work.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Joe Gordon
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 08:24 AM

Shades of my youth. Sorry to hear of his passing. RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Joe Gordon
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 08 Mar 20 - 08:38 AM

I do not have the knowledge to write an obituary for Joe, but can add a few anecdotes.
Joe and Callum accompanying Archie Fisher and running him into overdrive at a very early Ballad & Blues event in Iona House at the Boomielaw.
Joe copyrighting with 'new words and music by' any trad song he recorded, including to the irritation of Norrie Buchan a verse of Coulter's Candy Norrie had written just a few weeks earlier to fill out his weekly newspaper song column text.
Meeting Callum years later and being told about Joe's way with the group cosigning a contract.
I just donated a copy of the Joe Gordon Songbook to the archives of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Enough.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Joe Gordon
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 06:12 AM

In 1959/1960 Joe asked me to write a song about the Barras, which I did.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Joe Gordon
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 02:16 PM

Great memories of "The Joe Gordon Folk Four" and very sorry to hear of his passing......Ake.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 06:21 PM

I found an obituary here: https://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/18282514.obituary-joe-gordon-veteran-scottish-entertainer-part-white-heather-club/

Obituary: Joe Gordon, veteran Scottish entertainer who was part of the White Heather Club
By Brian Pendreigh

Died: February 15, 2020.

JOE Gordon, who has died of heart failure aged 85, was one of the last surviving stars of the iconic Scottish television show The White Heather Club - and a direct influence on Billy Connolly, according to no less an authority than Pamela Stephenson, Connolly’s wife and biographer.

“There was a Scottish television show in the 50s called The White Heather Club that featured the likes of the Scottish tenor Kenneth McKellar warbling popular Robert Burns sings such as Ae Fond Kiss and My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose,” she wrote in her 2001 biography Billy. “McKellar was hardly Billy’s cup of tea, but occasionally the programme would feature Joe Gordon’s Folk Four. Joe played evocative ballads on a jumbo Gibson guitar. At the time, Billy didn’t know it was folk music, but he knew it spoke to him.”


Joe Gordon put his first harmonica trio together while doing national service in the RAF and he was still singing professionally into his seventies, in a duo with his wife Sally Logan. In between times, The Joe Gordon Folk Four were a mainstay of The White Heather Club, alongside the likes of Andy Stewart and Jimmy Shand.

An unashamedly tartan mix of song and dance, The White Heather Club was an institution on Scottish television from 1958 through most of the 1960s. It has been controversial with cultural commentators in recent times. But it was hugely popular, and not just in Scotland, but in England too, attracting up to 10 million viewers at its peak.

Over the years Gordon and Logan, his partner on stage and off since the mid-1960s, played in venues ranging from small clubs and church halls to Carnegie Hall, where they shared a bill with Andy Stewart. They played in front of royalty and at Burns nights in Russia and they did concerts from Germany to Australia, the United States to Turkey.

The son of a mercantile clerk and a primary school teacher, Joseph Peter Gordon was born in Glasgow in 1934. His parents moved to London when he was an infant and back to Springburn when he was seven. He went to Balornock Primary and St Mungo’s Academy. His early interests were drawing and running. He joined Springburn Harriers and drew posters and cartoons for the club. One of his clubmates worked in advertising and got him a job as a graphic artist.


Gordon bought a mouth organ just before going off for national service, during which he served as a medic at RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire. After National Service, he resumed work as a graphic artist in Glasgow, bought his first Hofner guitar on HP from McCormack’s Music shop in Bath Street and joined the Black Diamonds skiffle group, with whom he enjoyed early success, appearing on BBC’s early pop show Six-Five Special along with Shirley Bassey.

He subsequently went solo as a jazz singer and guitarist. BBC producer Iain MacFadyen saw one of his gigs and asked if he could sing Scottish folk songs. Gordon gave him a rendition of Johnny Lad… “As I walking early/I chanced to see the Queen/She was playing at the fitba’/ Wi’ the lads on Glasgow Green”.

MacFadyen hired him for his new show, The White Heather Club, and teamed him up with George Hill, Callum Sinclair and Dick Campbell as the Joe Gordon Folk Four, singing such couthie numbers as Bonnie Lass o’ Fyvie and Coulter’s Candy. Gordon gave up his work as an artist to concentrate full time on his musical career, latterly with Logan, who also appeared on The White Heather Club. They would later appear together on other television shows, including Thingummyjig and Shindig.


In his early forties Gordon had two heart attacks and was put on a life support system. It prompted a “reappraisal” of his life, though he was still not exactly taking it easy. In the 1980s he and his wife had moved from Ayrshire to Aberdeenshire, where they ran the White Heather Hotel in the village of Auchenblae, while raising their son Scott and continuing to perform folk and country songs together.

They returned to Ayrshire, settling in Galston, and performed regularly in local halls, with appearances at the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr and an annual sell-out concert at Kilmarnock’s Palace Theatre. In later years they sometimes shared the stage with Scott, who played drums and piano and was a national accordion champion.

On Hogmanay 1991 Gordon and Logan played live sets in Ayr and then Glasgow, while their video machine was set to record Gordon on a White Heather Club reunion show on TV. He presented a show called Joe Gordon’s Musical Mixture on West Sound Radio; appeared in pantomime; played regularly at the Edinburgh and Glasgow Jazz Festivals, and released several albums in a series entitled Ragtime Banjos.

He also trained as a hypnotherapist. He had his own practice in Galston for years, he recorded CDs to help with anxiety, weight loss and giving up smoking and he had a regular phone-in spot on West Sound.

Joe Gordon is survived by his wife and son. He was one of the last of the White Heather Club regulars, though Jimmie Macgregor and Moira Anderson survive him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 09 Mar 20 - 07:18 PM

Thanks for that comprehensive summary of Joe's career Joe....BUT
"There was a Scottish television show in the 50s called The White Heather Club that featured the likes of the Scottish tenor Kenneth McKellar warbling popular Robert Burns sings such as Ae Fond Kiss and My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose,"

Mss Stevenson may be an expert on Connolly, but obviously knows eff all about music, or she would never describe Scotland's greatest singer as a "warbler".....Ake (pissed off)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 07:26 AM

A great version of a wonderful song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=vECzfZxLu10&feature=emb_logo

A warbler? indeed not !


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 09:07 AM

Absolutely perfect John, I have it on the CD "The Decca Years" which is a wonderful sample of Kenneth's singing. The tracks which are backed by the Paisley Abbey Choir are as near to perfection as the human voice can achieve.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 10 Mar 20 - 01:04 PM

A bit of thread creep as its Joe Gordon's thread. But McKellar had a great hidden sense of humour. He even contributed a live Monty Python sketch. then there is a very filthy version of 'Ball of Kirriemuir' which he sings with his wonderful 'straight' trained voice (though you can hear him trying not to crack up). Anyway, a great and versatile singer who crossed a couple of genres, not just a 'warbler'. I think the ham-fisted point that Pamela Stephenson was making, was that McKellar had a formal trained voice, and often sang mannered ballads in his kilted outfit - but Joe Gordon would sing street songs in a style that anybody with a guitar could pick up and aspire to have a go at. Plus he had a great guitar for teenagers to admire. I don't mean that in a disparaging way to any party, as it's all great Scottish music.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 07:46 AM

Pamela Stevenson's rôle seems to be just to promote Billy Connolly. I have first hand knowledge of Connolly from his teenage years onwards and some of her tales are just purely incorrect.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 11 Mar 20 - 02:37 PM

Mss Stevenson was a bad influence on Billy.....who was a genuine funny man....under her influence he became "funny peculiar". Like you Jim, I spoke and argued with him in the Billy and Tam days.....What Stevenson does not know she makes up.
I'm sure Joe will excuse the drift here, never met him, but appreciated his lively performances...he really enjoyed performing.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 04:03 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y64uWjtSKAo


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 09:40 AM

Someone had to lower the tone! That version of 'Ball..' would have had the 'White Heather Club' granny audience spitting out their cups of tea in moral outrage! Anyway, McKellar is often thought of as singing 'mannered' songs in formal attire, with his trained voice, that one puts a new slant on things. Not much to do with Joe Gordon though!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Scottish Singer Joe Gordon (1934-2020)
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 12 Mar 20 - 01:02 PM

Made my day with that, "Sandman". Thank you.
Mind you, what about this ? :

https://youtu.be/Q5ky7Fs6ng0

Sorry about the thread drift. My parents used to take me to see Joe and Sally Gordon at the Tivoli theatre in Aberdeen in the 1960s. I did prefer what he did to most of the other "stage Scotsmen and women" we were made to sit through.


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