JIMMY DEWAR

3 November 2002

This is so strange, but earlier this year, May or early June I think, we flagged a black cab on Clyde street.  I can’t remember where we were going or anything, but I do remember that the cabbie was all in black.  We got chatting — as y’do — it’s always the same in taxis, isn’t it? Anyway, the chap had noticed the guitar cases and said that he’d just been to a funeral.  I think he said it was his sister’s brother or something like that. He said that his deceased relative was a musician, but he didn’t think we’d have heard of him.

He said he was big in the ’states, but almost unknown back home here in Glasgow.  I said

“Try me”

Jimmy Dewar” he said, turning the cab past the Clutha Vaults.

“Oh yes, the singer and bassist with Robin Trower?”

“Eh? You’ve heard of him then?”

“Oh aye, he had a BRILLIANT voice, bit like Paul Rogers — you know ‘Free’?, dark chocolate or whisky and cigarettes.  Oh what a shame! I didn’t know he’d died.”

“Aye, that’s him”

“Jings, he couldn’t have been that old, what was it he died of?”

“Complications after surgery I think, and naw, he wasn’t that old, you’re right enough”

“Aw, man, the more I think about it, the more gutted I am; you’d have thought the papers or telly or somthing would have made more of a bit deal.  Jeez!”

“It was a right celebrity funeral though”

“Oh was it?”

“Oh aye, stars galore!  And that wee tramp Lulu was there as well”

“Eh? Lulu? A tramp? You have to be kiddin’!”

“Whit? Where have you been hidin’ ?  You must be the only person in Glasgow who’s not shagged her, or at least the only person in Glasgow that’s not heard about it.  She’s well known for being like that.”

“Bloody hell, what a life-changing taxi ride this is” I said as he pulled up to a halt.

I handed over the money shown on the meter plus the usual pound on top of the “keep the change” tip, and he drove off.

Who knew?  Lulu was “a raver”, and Jimmy Dewar had died.  I mentioned this to some folks, and yes, it seemed that everyone in the town knew what Lulu was like — although not many even knew who Jimmy Dewar was. But he old timers remembered Jimmy from the strange “Burns Howff” era of Glasgow musical history — Maggie Bell, Alex Harvey, Simple Minds, Stone the Crows, and Frankie Miller.

I guess it was a scene of sorts. I was too young for that scene, and I am not really into that kind of music, but I do feel that it is a shame that we don’t recognise these people better.

I DID like Robin Trower, and I really did like Jimmy’s vocals and bass lines… goodness it got me through school, and I definitely would have bought a ticket had they gigged (so many old timers are still gigging), so it is a personal loss of sorts.

For a long time I played in a trio — and so I have always been attentive to successful trios, and The Police, Cream, Hendrix and Trower are all up there as shining examples to follow.

One chap in a bar we played in over in Woodlands tonight (during one of our Sunday sessions with Chic Henderson) said that he was pretty sure Jimmy Dewar started off his career as Lulu’s bass player.  I was relieved to hear this; it meant that it was possible that the link between Lulu and the great Jimmy Dewar could be JUST musical/ professional!

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One Response to “JIMMY DEWAR”


  1. […] There is a strong vocal tradition from these parts too — from the gravelly Dan McCafferty of Nazereth, or the legendary Frankie Miller, through the mumbling John Martyn, and the power of Paul Buchanan and Justin Currie, to the soulful rock voices of the likes of  Kim Beacon and Jimmy Dewar. […]


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