Livingstone Folk Four

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Blantyre Project reader, David Baillie sent me a very kind present in June 2019. The vinyl LPs by the Blantyre band, the Livingstones. They’re exceptionally well looked after and in great condition and have now been added to my growing collection of Blantyre memorabilia. One of the covers was clearly photographed in Hastie’s Farm.

The local folk group sprang up in the mid to late 1960’s, called “The Livingstone Folk Four” or sometimes known as “The Livingstones.” (an amusing take surely on the more well known Stones). This Blantyre band became well known throughout Scotland as they toured and played gigs in places all over the UK. The 4 Blantyre men named the group after our famous explorer.

They consisted of Craig Street’s John Dempsey, Dave McCabe who was born in Auchinraith’s Buggy Buildings, and brothers Ken and Frank McKay, who originated from Mayberry Place near Glasgow Road.

The back of their LP describes the Blantyre band in some detail and with great amusement!

Frank MacKay is the anchorman of the group. He stands 5 foot 10 inches in his stocking soles and has fair hair. Educated at High School and University, he graduated with a BA in Economics. Apart from being the shrewd businessman of the Livingstones, Frank is also a veritable magnet to the ladies, so damsels in distress, please dont phone his business number.

David McCabe, also stands 5 foot 10 inches, but in his 2 inch cuban heels. He has dark hair and one of the most glorious singing voices in folk history. He also went to High School and University and graduated with a BA in Politics. A great character and expert in Burns, Dave does most of the research of the groups songs.

John Dempsey also went to University and now is a teacher in French and Spanish. He also has an eye for the females and a straight faced wit to go with it. John has a sad voice which is ideal for the ballads he sings so effectively.

Ken McKay is without doubt the musician of the group and is responsible for the Livingstone’s superb arrangements. He is Frank’s brother and went to Glasgow where he is in business management with a large firm. Ken plays all of instruments, guitar, banjo, whistle, 7 strong Russian guitar, mandolin and mountain dulcimer.

Do you remember the Livingstone Folk Four?

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

John Mcgaulley hasties Blantyre brown s as it was knownphoto were just three in
Mary Sitters Mama had a Livingstones album, her cousin was mum of David McCabe. Amazing how a grandson of Mama’s here in South Australia looks so much like him. Genetics!!
Anne Gilchrist So your mum was my mum’s cousin. Regards to all Australian relations. x
Mary Kane Anne Gilchrist Mary Sitters Mary, your mum Alice Lyden was the cousin of David McCabe’s dad Michael and my mum Barbara (Michael and Barbara were brother and sister). Alice Lyden’s mum and Michael and Barbara McCabe’s mum were sisters. Hope that makes sense.
Mary Kane p.s Anne Gilchrist Mary Sitters We all have the same great grandparents – William McVey and Catherine Brannigan. Just amazing!
Mary Sitters Mary Kane we will all have to try to see each other when I get back to Scotland next year
Mary Kane Mary Sitters That would be great Mary. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know Irene and Paul. It was an instant bond. It will be the same with you for sure. Roll on next year. Take care
Anne Gilchrist Mary Kane Yes Mary – after I had written that response to Mary I thought the connection would be the Lydens. It would be great to have a family get together. xx
Mary Sitters Anne Gilchrist would be more than delighted to meet you.
Anne Gilchrist I would share that delight Mary.
Margaret Duncan I also hail from Blantyre and was part of a folk duo and had the pleasure of being on the same bill as the boys on two occasions – they were amazing and sadly I am told only Frank is still with us – all taken too soon
Emma McNeill Margaret Duncan we lost our dad on the 29th of june 1999. Last Saturday was 20 years since his passing, certainly doesn’t feel like it, he was an incredible human xxx
Marcia Bryson Did one of them teach at Holy Cross
Maureen Friery Moran I remember them well. Such a fabulous folk group. Kenneth McKay was in my class through primary school at St. Joseph’s.
Moira Mulvaney Pacheco i remember Kenneth as he was at school with me as well
Andy Callaghan I knew all of these lads and their families very well. Their parents were all good friends with my folks. We went to the same schools and were all brought up in the same area. They were a really talented band and very popular. They used to do regular Sunday night stints at the Silvertrees Hotel over in Bothwell.
Emma McNeill Andy Callaghan john Dempsey was my wee dad, lovely to hear you knew him well! X
Andy Callaghan Emma McNeill hi Emma. Your granda (also John I think) was my Dad, Joe Callaghan’s best pal. So i knew your Dad and all the family really well and i was at St Joseph’s with his sister your Aunt Sussanah who was a lovely lassie. We used to sing “Oh sussanah won’t you marry me, for we’re off to Alabama with a banjo on my knee” – just to annoy her. The Dempseys were a real nice family. Your Dad John was a couple of years older than me but we were altar boys together and i often played football with him in wee local kick abouts. Can’t remember your Gran’s name but was she Susannah as well?
Emma McNeill Andy Callaghan aw wow how lovely! My gran an Granda were the loveliest people, very lucky to have such wonderful aunts and uncles, we should dig out some old pics! Xx
Ruth Ni’Braonain Thomson Aunt Anne….i remember these lps down in stanley place at my grans of uncle david.
Anne Gilchrist Thank you for including The Livingstones on your site. My brother David and his friends formed the group and they were very talented and entertaining. They obviously took their name from their Blantyre origins.
Anne Mosley Very Talented Band Anne ! Great memories xx
Emma McNeill Nice to meet you Anne! My dad was john Dempsey still have these LPs treasured xxx
Anne Gilchrist You had a lovely dad. He and David were very good friends. I still listen to their music and one that is a favourite is ‘Travelling Through the Rain’ written by your dad. x
Emma McNeill Anne Gilchrist I absolutely love that one, I walked down the isle to “the first time”, their version, it was perfect, didn’t have my dad with me in body but he was there in spirit all day xx
Pat Dempsey My brother John, was born in a tenement, with outside loo in Craig street, and moved to a brand new house near Wilkies farm, Blantyre. Apart from being in this very popular Folk group He got himself a two first class Honours degrees and then a Masters degree. He then worked in Social work in ayrshire where he stayed until he passed away..we all miss him dearly
Anne Gilchrist Have good memories of John too – great singer and songwriter.
Emma McNeill John dempsey was my dad, we have always been exceptionally proud of him and his music, we lost him in june 1999, very much missed every single day xx did anyone here know dad? Xxx
Lorna Hepburn My father was John Dempsey
Emma McNeill Lorna Hepburn best dad, missed so much xxxx
Jean Mcneill Sadly didn’t get to meet John Dempsey, but feel I know him thro his daughter Emma, my daughter in law, missed every day xxxxxx
Margaret Duncan I have these LPs but you can also call the songs up on Spotify
Hayley Blythe Emma this is a lively tribute to your dad. Xxxx

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