Two of my favourite fellow Scots, doing what they do best


The indomitable Big John, who got most if not all the whiskey, singing with the ever-wonderful Eddie Reader, and accompanied, as ever, by the melodic bass of Danny Thompson


Many moons ago, I was waiting to do a live BBC radio spot, and was well-thrilled to find that I was sharing the studio space, at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, with John Martyn, and his band.

Having been a fan for over a decade, I was pleased to find John was great company … this was somewhat enhanced by the fact that he was still totally pissed from the previous night, as he had been drinking non-stop for over 12 hours!!  It was 10.00 am on a Tuesday morning, but to Mr Martyn it was an eternal weekend, or so it seemed.

As we did our rehearsals … me first, then John & the band … and awaited the live broadcast spot which was for 12 noon … the BBC producer, NIGEL … No, really!! … Nigel!!! … Nigel was really starting to annoy John with his wittering & worrying over John’s obviously pissed-drunk condition

Eventually, John threw down his Gibson guitar, swearing and shouting, and stormed offstage with a cry of:

“Fuck You, Nigel!! Me & Stu are out of here!”

Fuck! It was my first ever live-broadcast for the BBC … and I was looking forward to it … but, it was John Martyn!!

And he wanted me to go with him!!!!!

What should I do?

At that, Nigel rushed to my side, and frantically whispered:

“Go with him! And get him back here for transmission time … whatever it takes! Please?”

So … I fukked off after John Martyn … went to a nearby hotel with him, where he was staying, and we drank until it was nearly transmission time!

John then agreed … quite easily … to go back with me to the Tron

We walked in … sorry, I walked in, John staggered in … just as Nigel was pulling the last strands of hair from his trendy pony-tail, in nervous apoplexy …. John walked onstage, picked up his guitar, and proceeded to give an absolutely immaculate performance of “May You Never” … guitar & vocals perfect … absolutely gorgeous!!!!

And I sat stunned, as I watched a legend in action

I’ll always cherish that wee moment


ps I’ll keep my Eddie Reader story for another time


  1. What a great story, I met him once when I worked in Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree. He was one of the few acts that came over to the box office for a chat. Most just ignored us.

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