Saturday, March 21, 2020

Archy Kirkwood and the Average White Band

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Alwyn Turner's masterly survey of the UK singles charts of my early teenage years for Lion & Unicorn has reached March 1975.

One of the top ten in the week he chooses was Pick Up the Pieces by the Average White Band. Alwsyn rightly describes them as "Britain’s best-ever funk band".

When I chose Pick Up the Pieces as one of my Sunday music videos I repeated some lines from Norman Baker's Against the Grain where he remembered an unsuccessful gig by his band The Reform Club:
As well as members of the band, we had roped in Archy Kirkwood, the Lib Dem MP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, on guitar, and Chris Berry, our Eastbourne candidate, on keyboards. 
Archy was a competent rhythm guitarist and had been in a Scottish band in the 1960s, half of which went on to be the Average White Band, though not Archy's half.
This morning I sent the link to this post to Alwyn, and of course he knows more than I do.

It turns out Arch was a member of a band called The Kingpins and only one of its members, Onnie McIntyre, later joined the Average White Band.

Googling The Kingpins does not get you far, but it does lead you to the site of another band member, Lex Gibson, and reveals that this history got scrambled so there was once a rumour that Archy had been in the Average White Band himself.

My own first involvement with Archy Kirkwood was at my first Liberal Assembly at Bournemouth in 1984.

This was the era of big debates on nuclear weapons and we radicals wanted people with clout on the platform so they would be seen voting against David Steel's support for cruise missiles.

So I got there early and took a seat on the platform, only to give it up to Archy just before the debate began.

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