Scotland’s forgotten girl groups are making noise again
Scottish girl groups are heard again with a new feature documentary meant to amplify this hidden corner of the country’s rich musical heritage.
Since yesterday appears to be released next year, a crowdfunding appeal continues to generate strong public support for the project to put the bands and stories into the Scottish musical timeline.
Bands to feature include Glasgow’s Strawberry Switchblade and The Edinburgh Twinsets, with the story of The McKinleys, who supported Led Zeppelin and the Beatles in the height of their powers, also recounted.
Since Yesterday was created by Carla Easton, founder of girl group TeenCanteen who also released three solo albums.
Easton said, “We have to stop writing women out of music history and telling these stories, and telling the stories of those who haven’t, because these stories are interesting.
“It is truly powerless to have a historical archive that includes women who make music and who will inspire future generations.
“It’s exciting to play the music again.”
Easton created TeenCanteen in 2011 along with three others. Very inspired by groups of the 50s and 60s like The Cookies and The Shangri-Las, she wanted to introduce the three-part harmony as a “fifth instrument”.
Easton said “fairly quickly” that they were advised to give some thought to their appearance on stage.
She said: “There were four of us friends in a rehearsal studio who wanted to explore our sound. We were told our album wouldn’t sell unless the four of us were on the cover.”
“We used the image of an art installation instead.”
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Documentary director Blair Young and producer Miranda Stern are also behind Since Yesterday, which will look at the girl groups that formed across Scotland from the 1960s.
Rachel Bell, 59, of the Twinsets, left Fort William with her sister Gaye “as soon as our last exam was over” to move to Edinburgh and form a group. The first line-up included their father on drums and Teen from punk band The Ettes.
Bell said: “All we wanted to do was get a band together, but neither of us could be bothered by learning an instrument. It was easier to become a singer.
The Twinsets got three John Peel sessions and the group, which brought in a number of male musicians, became popular on the college circuit.
Bell, a visual artist, said: “We were paid £ 3,000 per gig. We were able to rent a full horn section, we had a van, we had a PA, and we had more money than we knew what to do with. “
But the Twinsets, with a Motown-inspired pop sound, were never signed.
“I don’t think people knew what to do with us – we just disappeared,” she said.
Stern said she was inspired by the stories of music makers and the fact that “women have always broken the mold.”
She added: “Despite the fact that this rich heritage is not readily available, the girls continue to pick up instruments and form groups. They always have and always will.
To donate to the crowdfunder, visit the music documentary from yesterday on kickstarter.com