CHICHESTER: The Hamish Stuart Band leads the way at this year’s Blues on the Farm

The opening night of this year’s Blues on the Farm just outside Chichester will reunite great mates from the past.

Thursday, June 18 will be shared between Kokomo and the Hamish Stuart Band, reviving plenty of happy memories for Hamish who toured the States and the UK with Kokomo during his Average White Band days.

“It was such a great double bill. They have recently reunited, but back then it was great because of the similarity in style of music for a start. But it was also the spirit that there was between us all. It’s hard to describe, but there was a wonderful camaraderie.

“Back in those days, we were the headliners as the Average White Band, and Kokomo’s first album had just come out in the US when they first came over. Everybody would end up on stage for an encore. It was great fun and such great friendship. We were touring America, and we were like a little troop. All that was missing were the jugglers!”

These were golden days: “That was our time. It just happened that way. The time was just right for what we were doing. After the prog rock where everyone was just sitting on the floor and listening…. Well, by now everybody wanted to get up and dancing again. In America, it was slightly different. They already had the r&b anyway.

“We were just very lucky. What kicked it all off really was that we all really wanted to play together with Robbie McIntosh (the Dundee-born drummer who died in 1974 at the age of just 24). Everyone loved his playing. He was really inspiring. He was the youngest, and yet he was the best of us. He was very advanced for his years. He was a very mature player for 22 or 23. I remember the first time I heard him play he was 16 years old. The band I was playing with played in Glasgow, and he just knocked everybody out. And he had a wonderful sense of humour.”

As for that name, the Average White Band, Hamish has only recently found out who came up with it.

“There was a friend of the band that had gone to art college with some of the guys and had gone into the diplomatic service. It was thought he came up with the name. But I found out recently it was his gay neighbours! If ever anything was too great, they would always say it was ‘too much for the average white man!’”

The band folded when Alan Gorrie left: “We just all thought it was maybe time to stop. At that point, the band just wasn’t happening any more, and it seemed like it was a good time to wrap it up. About four or five years later, there was a reunion, and I just said ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ It was over, and I wanted to do other things.”

It wasn’t long after that that Hamish got the call from Paul McCartney through McCartney’s manager Richard: “Paul knew of me, and he was wanting to put a band together. I was living in LA at the time. Richard said ‘Why don’t you come over and meet Paul and have a play?’

“All Paul had at that time was a drummer. He was putting a band together to tour after he had completed the Flowers in the Dirt album. It was half finished at that point, but as the players came in, we finished off the album, and that was that for six years! It was a very interesting and very full time!”

Tickets on www.bluesonthefarm.co.uk.

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