Agatha's moment in time -
the evolution of a band...
In retrospect, the saddest thing a hard working and creative band, brimming with showmanship can
fail on is in having no audio record of their passing.
Agatha's Moment made two studio visits - one to Falkirk and one during a Decca audition in London, but apart from the few scraps on the juke box below from an early pre Agatha's line-up when still named 'High Emotion' and two years before the band were at their heavy, progressive best, nothing appears to exist.
But more on that later...
1966 : Late in the year Brian Lawrence (rhythm guitar/vocal ex The US Images) has been playing with Archie Aitken (organ) and John Hair (drums, also ex US Images) in the short lived 'Atmosphere'.
1967 : At the end of March, Brian meets Ronnie Black (bass/vocal, ex The Roadrunners), Jimmy Ross (drums) and Chic Warner (vocal, also ex The Roadrunners). Chic doesn't join the line-up immediately, but will join on vocal and sax later in the year. Brian dreams up the name 'High Emotion' and with Archie on organ, the band is off and running. They badger their way into the usual pub and club venues, their fortunes enhanced by adding enthusiastic manager Ian Thomson.Their set is pop - Kinks, Turtles, etc, but include soul covers, like 'Baby I need Your Lovin', 'Seven Days Too Long' and 'Soul Man'. Ronnie's occasional up front crazy antics (left) - disappearing from an upright position and writhing on the floor while playing bass, enhance the effect of meaty songs like 'Purple Haze', much to the audience's delight. The band's van in the 'summer of love' has been repainted - duly transformed into multi coloured mayhem, and the gig destinations begin to stretch from Dumfries to Inverness. By the end of the year, Chic Warner is in on sax and begins to share lead
vocals with Brian.
Manager Ian's efforts on the band's behalf are remarkable, culminating in winning the band the opening slot in a Stuart Hendry mc'd Love Affair /
Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band / Vanity Fair
concert at Paisley Ice Rink in front of about 3,500 people. Again, no audio or visual record of that
special night remains...
1968 : In the Spring the band realise they need a 'rock-soul voice' up front. John Farrel fits the bill well, bringing not only vocal talent, but the suggestion of a new band name. He has also the artistic skill to design posters and the logo sporting that new name, 'Agatha's Moment', which is adopted in June '68.
In the second half of the year the band is beginning to move towards heavier, progressive material and to this end brings in the services of Harvey Freedman, a lead guitarist of considerable skill. The change of musical direction is not Brian's bag though and he bows out of the band at the end of October.
1969 : A new year sees the departure of vocalist John Farrel and the arrival of Dave Nelson whose tonsils are well tuned for the new genre of heavy rock. His rendition of 'Whole Lotta Love' for example give the band's audience in venues like the Burn's Howff in Glasgow exactly what they need. The guitar based set sees the exit too of organist Archie Aitken. Guitarist Harvey moves on, being replaced by Andy Roberts. Andy's a superb player but his 'recording studio nerves' require a little liquid help prescribed by his bandmates on one important session !
1970 : Drummer Jimmy Ross has begun to write original material for the band and on the 22nd of May, they arrive at West Recordings in Falkirk to record four tracks - 'It's The Way That You Feel It', 'Bad Trip', 'Everything's Goin' Wrong' and 'Thoughts In Red' - recordings now lost. An acetate is certainly produced by Jim West, but it's wherabouts are now a mystery.
Later in the year Agatha's are again given a chance
to put these tracks to tape in London when Decca offer them a recording test. It's a good session - 'Amazin' sound - I couldn't believe it was me when I heard my drumming played back', enthused Jimmy Ross later in The Howff. Despite this, Decca don't follow up on their interest and worse still, the band are left without a physical record of their originals which have become an important part of their live set. Bass player Ronnie Black is disheartened by events and by the end of the year his vital presence in Agatha's Moment is gone.
The band approach Bill Hatje (ex the north of Scotland band 'Gollum The Underdog') who
joins them in December.
Brian, John, Ronnie - Trianon, Glasgow
The much respected 'Writing On The Wall', who Agatha's support on a few occasions
Jimmy Ross - 1970
(left) Well rated Glasgow band 'The Verge' who share the Locarno stage (right) with our heroes just before the name change
in June '68
A poster advertising Dumfries club The Marquee's night featuring Agatha's Moment
In 1969 Agatha's unite for a short time with vocalist 'Sweet Plum' who will go on to record two singles for Middle Earth, this one from June '70
Agatha's, complete with go-go dancers at The Locarno in Glasgow's Sauchiehall St.
Bass player Bill Hatje joins December '70
Manager Ian Thomson drives the band to a gig
Ronnie Black & Harvey Freedman in 1969
We need to source
any existing audio recording of
If you can help,
Ronnie Black - 1970
Chic Warner 1970
Agatha's in full flow - 1970
Jimmy Ross - drums
Andy Roberts - guitar
Ronnie Black - bass/vocals
from High Emotion :
1, 2 at Kingston Halls
3 at Provanmill Inn