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70s Aberdeen band 'Lemon Soul' any info?


Guest Giles Walker
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Guest Giles Walker

It is something that i have been meaning to ask on here for a while.

About 7 or 8 years ago i visited a friend's flat on South Mount street and he mentioned that the basement was used a rehearsal spot for an Aberdeen soul band called 'Lemon Soul' and that his father had a picture of them chilling out in the garden.

Apparently the line up was Gordon Lemon, Gordon Ross, Graham Spry, Kevin Henderson, Ed Mocgovern and Alisdair Mackenzie.

Has anyone got any information about them?

Did they record an album or singles?

The only bit of information i have gleaned from the internet is this, from Alisdair's Myspace page

"Played with the Hyland League, one of Scotland's first ever jazz/blues bands then Lemon Soul, Aberdeen's pre-emininent Atlantic Soul Band under the lead of the now, sadly no longer with us, Gordon Lemon. with Muso's like Gordon Ross, Graham Spry, Kevin Henderson and Ed McGovern, we created the Aberdeen soul movement at the Dive, the 4-Mile House, the Marischall and all the student venues. "

It would be interesting to know more about this 'Aberdeen Soul Movement' and the band.

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Guest Giles Walker
I don't have a copy of Fit Like New York (an indispensible tome for anyone interested in the history of Aberdeen/North East bands) handy to check, as I'm sure these acts got a mention, but I've got a hunch the Hyland League may have involved Al Hyland, local blues/jazz musician who also happens to be the father of Richie Wolfe of The Needles. Might be an avenue worth exploring?

That makes sense, and i know Richie and his dad.

I think a lot of my detective work should probably start in my own mind...

Thanks btw

Don't think Lemon Soul ever put anything out, but Gordon went on to front the Squibs, who had at least 2 singles out on Oily records. He died a good few years ago.

Yeah i think i spoke to Howard about him when i was doing some research on Oily a long time ago.

I didn't know him, but it sounded pretty sad.

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I found my copy of Fit Like New York, and there is a whole chapter about Lemon Soul. There's a huge amount of background stuff about the various members and other bands they were in, but the key paragraph about Lemon Soul is this -

The time was a-coming. Things were stirring on the soul front, and (Graham) Spry would soon hear the righteous call... Following his conversion (With Kevin Henderson) to North Sea Stax, the duo were in on the start of Aberdeen's inaugural brass-driven ensemble, The Hyland League. Al Hyland himself denies any responsibility for the name, claiming the idea came from the other guys: Stewart 'Otis' Kemp fronted a horn section of Al and Alisdair McKenzie, with Rossi on guitar, and a back line of Kevin on bass and Spry on drums. At The Place on Albyn Terrace, the band's repertoire gob-smacked the young, spectating Gogsie Lemon. "I wasn't too familiar with the music, but it knocked me over. Up until then, I hadn't done any singing in public. But I thought I would give it a go. He soon replaced Otis as the HL became immensely popular purveyors of their own brand of Atlantic-Stax and Spencer Davis material, on the North East student dance circuit. The seeds were sown for the second soul spasm: within the year, The Lemon Soul kicked into action.

As Hyland blew for jazzier fields, the horn section was consolidated by trumpeter Graham Smith, and trombonist Eddie McGovern (Pete's big brother). With a repertoire familiar to owners of the This Is Soul sampler, LS primarily covered popular material from Sam and Dave, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Packed houses ensued during 1967 and 1968 at the Beach Ballroom, the Four Mile at Kingswells, city student dances and throughout the NE.

They only lasted two years, their last gig being the Cowdray Hall in 1968, and as far as I can see they never recorded anything. But apparently in 1993 a chance telephone call by Kevin Henderson from his home in Frankfurt to the Dutch Mill got them all talking again, and a reunion gig came about on April 3rd 1994. It seems this gig was recorded from the mixing desk, but God knows if it still exists anywhere.

As I say there's tons more about the whole scene at that time in the book, if you want I can scan the whole chapter for you.

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Guest Giles Walker
I found my copy of Fit Like New York, and there is a whole chapter about Lemon Soul. There's a huge amount of background stuff about the various members and other bands they were in, but the key paragraph about Lemon Soul is this -

They only lasted two years, their last gig being the Cowdray Hall in 1968, and as far as I can see they never recorded anything. But apparently in 1993 a chance telephone call by Kevin Henderson from his home in Frankfurt to the Dutch Mill got them all talking again, and a reunion gig came about on April 3rd 1994. It seems this gig was recorded from the mixing desk, but God knows if it still exists anywhere.

As I say there's tons more about the whole scene at that time in the book, if you want I can scan the whole chapter for you.

That would be amazing.

I think i might treat myself to this book in the near future, i'd better finish the pile next to my bed first though.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi! I was just looking for "Lemon Soul" and this thread popped up. I'm a friend of Kevin Henderson, recorded some of his albums.

I was the engineer for the Lemon Soul reunion gig in the Lemon Tree in the nineties, and yes I did record the event, great gig, lots of family & friends of the band were there.

If anybody is interested in a copy, just let me know.

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  • 2 years later...
On 29/04/2015 at 11:10 PM, dcb said:

Hi! I was just looking for "Lemon Soul" and this thread popped up. I'm a friend of Kevin Henderson, recorded some of his albums.

I was the engineer for the Lemon Soul reunion gig in the Lemon Tree in the nineties, and yes I did record the event, great gig, lots of family & friends of the band were there.

If anybody is interested in a copy, just let me know.

Gordon Ross is my father in law, would you still have this recording? We’d be interested to see it. Where did it take place?

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Gordon Ross and Kevin Henderson played together in a few bands throughout the 60s, including The Triads and The Delinguents. I played with Gordon briefly in the late 70s in a short-lived band with young Mike Chalmers on drums and the late Yvonne Forbes on keys. Last time I saw Gordon was at my mate Billy Allardyce's funeral about five years ago. 

Graham Spry was a really good solid drummer but I canna remember for the life of me who he played with, maybe The Jive Bombers with Gordon?

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