George Gallacher and the Pathfinders — “Dawn”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 20, 2022


675) George Gallacher and the Pathfinders — “Dawn”

How was this “[v]ery catchy, unknown psych gem with a great keyboard riff and beautiful vocals” (AldousLeary, not a hit? Man, it wasn’t even released. George and the Pathfinders just recorded it “for a bit of fun” when they had some time on their hands! ( The story begins when George Gallacher, lead singer and a main songwriter for Scotland’s glorious Poets (see #47, 86, 223, 489), leaves the band in ’67. He recalled (in an utterly enthralling and definitive interview with Richie Unterberger) that:

There were a few reasons why I left the band when I did. Andrew [Loog Oldham] was preoccupied with divorcing the Stones and there was very serious money being played for. So ourselves, Marianne [Faithfull], Chris Farlowe, and P.P. Arnold [all managed by Oldham as well] were neglected during this time and it was hardly inspiring. There were rifts in the band developing about what direction we should be going in. My main reason, however, was that [guitarist] Hume[ Paton]’s father–a millionaire business man–started interfering in things, knowing nothing about the game, and objecting to me objecting about his ignorance of music matters. His interference eventually drove Andrew and us apart, and by then I’d had had enough.

What then? As Ugly Things lets us know:

[George] stayed in London until the end of the ‘60s singing back-up on sessions for such as Keith Relf and Spencer Davis, doing A&R work, writing and recording for labels including United Artists, Fontana and Major Minor. Gallacher also taped some excellent songs of his own with backing by the pre-White Trash group, the Pathfinders, who included former Poets guitarist (and by then Gallacher’s brother-in-law) Fraser Watson. At least four titles exist on acetate only including “The Tailor,” “A Weathercock’s View Of Life,” and the more well-known “Dawn (A Portrait).” A little-known fact, however, is that in 1968 Gallacher also supplied lead vocals for an album project by a group called the Illusive Dream which remains unreleased to this day.

Gallacher recalled that:

The Pathfinders had come down to London at my request, because I thought they were a tremendous band. I introduced them to the Shadows’ ex-drummer Tony Meehan and as you probably know, he eventually got them a deal with Apple, where, ironically, they suffered the same fate as the Poets., i.e. they fell victim to the politics created by the Lennon/McCartney feud. They were some band! As it happened I was working for United Artists at the time and had access to the Marquee studios, so one day as none of us had much to do we met at the studio and messed about with some ideas. That’s all it was, and all that “Dawn” is memorable for, in my opinion, is the keyboard riff, which Ronnie Leahy played. It was just a bit of fun.

So there you have it. Just a bit of freaky, phenomenal fun!

Here is another acetate they threw down:

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