The JSD Band was an influential Scottish-based Celtic and folk rock band primarily active from 1969 to 1974 and then again briefly from 1997 to 1998. The band released five full-length albums, and numerous singles and special releases, many of which are still sought after by collectors from around the world.
The JSD Band formed in 1969 and derived its name from the first letter of the first name of each of its three founding members: Jim Divers, Sean O’Rourke, and Des Coffield. Chuck Fleming and Colin Finn also joined the group rounding out the five-member lineup. Additionally, fiddle player Lindsay Scott temporarily filled in for Chuck Fleming in 1972. Initially, the band played the folk-club circuit with other artists such as Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty of the Humblebums and Barbara Dickson. After getting noticed for their lively electric-rock approach to traditional Scottish folk music when they won the Scottish Folk Group Championships at Edinburgh's Usher Hall, they made appearances on BBC Radio 1 with DJ John Peel and on BBC Two's Old Grey Whistle Test hosted by "Whispering" Bob Harris. In 1972, they were invited to be the support band for David Bowie during his UK-leg of the Ziggy Stardust Tour. (Read more at Wikipedia)
Links to Peel
John Peel rated the JSD Band highly enough to book them for seven Top Gear sessions and to write the sleevenotes for their eponymous 1972 LP on Cube Records. In the notes he expressed why he liked them, after having seen them perform at the Marquee Club in London:
- The first thing you notice about them is that you are having difficulty understanding the announcements. These are lengthy and very Scottish. Nevertheless with a few key words you can enjoy the atmosphere created by the band's presence music and good humour along with everyone else.[.....]....they have a fine old time on stage and the audiences have a fine old time right along with them. In a dark corner I danced with as much abandon as I ever allow myself and, for the umpteenth time blessed bands like the Faces and Lindisfarne who have brought joy and rowdiness back to our music. These two bands haven't done badly for themselves, nor for you and I, and the JSD Band will not be far behind them.
Peel also contributed a short sleevenote to their third LP, Travelling Days ("This album is even better than the first but the bloody record company didn't give me enough time to write proper sleevenotes. Next time I'll definitely want more time"). Yet sadly, his prediction of success for the band didn't come true, despite a host of BBC bookings, including Sounds Of The Seventies sessions for Bob Harris and Pete Drummond, a Radio 1 In Concert and appearances on Sounds on Sunday and Country Meets Folk, as well as their Peel sessions. In 1974, according to Wikipedia, "pressure from various sources took its toll" and the JSD Band split up. But they remain one of the more intriguing folk-rock bands of the era, with a repertoire which included British, Irish and American traditional songs as well as their own material. They were also among the few Scottish (as opposed to English or Irish) folk artists to feature in Peel's 1970s playlists. Their three 1970s LPs can be found in his record collection, but he seems to have ignored the later JSD Band, which reformed and recorded a couple of LPs as an acoustic band in the late 1990s.
Festive Fifty Entries
Seven sessions. No known commercial release.
1. Recorded 1972-05-15. First broadcast 23 June 1972
- Open Road / Peggy & The Soldier / Barney Brallaghan Selection / Sylvie / Down The Road (not broadcast until 21 July 1972 repeat.)
2. Recorded 1972-07-25. First broadcast 25 July 1972.
- Sarah Jane / Betsy / Irish Girl / Johnny O Braidislay
3. Recorded 1972-10-02. First broadcast 05 October 1972.
- Fisher Blues / Groundhog / Paddy Stacks / The Down Dens Of Yarrow
4. Recorded 1972-12-04. First broadcast 28 December 1972.
- Young Waters / Darlin’ Covey / The Galway Races / Dig’s Paddy Bar
5. Recorded 1973-04-16. First broadcast 01 May 1973.
- Galway Races / Castle Kelly / Travelling Days /
6. Recorded 1973-07-16. First broadcast 19 July 1973.
- Little Maggie / Tune Your Fiddles / Seamus’ Jig / Glasgow
7. Recorded 1974-02-14. First broadcast 21 February 1974.
- Railroad Mama / Downfall Of Paris / Sunshine Life / The Fox (not broadcast until 02 May 1974 repeat).
Other Shows Played
- 17 May 1973: Dowie Dens Of Yarrow (LP – Travelling Days) Cube
- 31 May 1973: Gallway Races (LP – Travelling Days) Cube
- 14 June 1973: Cuckoo (LP: Travelling Days) Cube
- 26 July 1973: Young Waters (LP-Travelling Days) Cube