Vintage Laggan - sleeve notes


The Laggan

The Laggan first formed, almost by accident, in 1965 at Clive’s Incredible Folk Club in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street.  The Incredible String Band were the residency and after Kenny Gormal, Tam Quinn and Arthur Johnstone got up to do a floor spot, Clive Palmer came over and asked the name of the band and would they be interested in a regular slot.  There were a few blank looks exchanged until someone blurted out ‘The Laggan’. 

Arthur takes up the story:, ‘We had been going to Loch Laggan at weekends, so that was how we arrived at the name.


‘Shortly after that Frank Gallagher joined us on banjo.  One night we sang a couple of songs in Sloane’s restaurant.  The wee manageress, Miss Alison, approached us and offered us a regular Tuesday night slot, which we accepted.

‘Sloane’s was a great learning process.  We would do the first spot, and then invite people up to sing.  Acts that came up included The Humblebums, Hamish Imlach, The McCalmans and many more.

‘Frank Gallagher emigrated to Canada, so John McDermott joined, along with an English fiddle player called Dave Wilson.  After about eighteen months, we decided it was time to move on and try the folk clubs, which were in abundance at that time.  Dave Wilson then left and Alec Hutton came on board.  We sand and played all over Scotland at festivals and folk clubs – Irvine, Strathaven, Greyfriars, Aberfeldy, etc., etc..’

The band went through various incarnations until the final line-up from 1971-78 of:

John McDermott - banjo, harmonica

Tony Patton - guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals

Billy Patton - fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, bazooki, vocals

Arthur Johnstone - lead vocals.

The one common thread was Arthur Johnstone, who was to go on and have a successful solo career – producing three albums, singing for Nelson Mandela, and acting and singing in the National Theatre of Scotland’s tour of Men Should Weep.

The Laggan’s discography is


  •  'Unity Creates Strength' Nevis Records, London, 1972
  • 'The Laggan -  Gie it Laldy' Fist Records, London,1973


  • 'The Music of Scotland' National Geographic Society, U.S.A., 1975


  • 'Scottish Folk Songs' Arfolk Records, Lorient, France, 1976


  • 'Songs and Poems of Hamish Henderson' School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh, 1977


  • 'I am the Common Man' Klub Records, Glasgow, 1978


  • ‘Vintage Laggan’, Glasgow 2014.



    Arthur Johnstone’s discography is


  • ‘North By North’


  • ‘Generations of Change’, 1986


  • ‘Doon Through The Years’, Fair Pley, Glasgow, 2012 (with the Stars Band)



    The Laggan reached number 1 in East Germany in 1975 with Work of the Weavers.