Wolves Lower



Texas Lullaby

The Great Jock’nroll single poll is going to end on 28th February. Perusing the list of bands you can vote for threw up a lot of possible candidates for blog entries and, given that my last posting was on a largely forgotten Scottish band, I thought I’d pick up on an even more obscure band who played one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen.

James King and the Lone Wolves were certainly a name I recognised from the Glasgow gig circuit in the mid 80’s even though they were someone I didn’t hear for a while.

Two singles credited to King (no Wolves) appeared on Fast Product in the early 80s but were not successful.

King’s moment though seemed to have arrived when he released the ‘Texas Lullaby’ five track EP in 1983. With an increased focus in the press on new American bands such as REM, Dream Syndicate and Husker Du, his timing seemed impeccable. Reviewing the EP for Melody Maker, I recall Billy Bragg saying that if the record had been issued by a band from the Southern States of America it would have been hailed as the future (he may actually have said furniture) of rock’n’roll.

The Lone Wolves then signed to Allan Horne’s Swamplands label as their profile continued to increase and a single, ‘The Angels Know’, appeared on that label. All the signs seemed to be encouraging that, at long last, there would be a Lone Wolves LP.

First of all there was a UK tour and the Glasgow show at the QMU was simply awesome. Blasting through their 13 or 14 song set almost without pause (and with no encore), this was a show with attitude. No banter, no song titles yet the whole show was superb despite the fact that they only played 3 or 4 songs I’d heard before.

At the same time there was also a decent amount of press and even TV exposure via an appearance on the Old Grey Whistle test (on YouTube now) and on Studio One In Concert , a Border TV show covering Scottish bands, which broadcast six or seven songs in a half hour slot. However the album, supposedly produced by John Cale, never materialised.

‘The Angels Know’ was therefore, as far as I know, the last Lone Wolves record. King later put together another band, Fun Patrol, which released an excellent 12” single in 1987. Other than the very occasional live sighting that has pretty much been it.

I can’t help wondering what he might have achieved had things been slightly different. From the ‘Texas Lullaby’ EP, here’s the title track.

Texas Lullaby

Your best bet for tracking down James King other than eBay seems to be a live video from 1985 which can be picked up here and there. I didn’t know about it until a couple of days ago but I’m on it now.


  1. Doug says:

    Hey, I have been checking out this stuff for the first time, but have nostalgic recollections of this period in Jock’n’Roll. Firstly, ofcourse…I’ve got the Scars album but would like to find the additional cassette version of their “Silver Dream Machine” rendition, typically given a quasi-gothic flavour by the band…as a band they could have gone so much further than their debut album-everyone is in agreement about this for whom I have played the vinyl over the last two and a half decades! I knew the MacKie twins (younger brothers of Paul Research and John MacKie) when I was a student at Dundee University but haven’t kept in touch…damn! On a different note, James King I saw when he was with the “Order of St. Jude”, playing at Dundee Uni main hall. This is the gig amongst all other numerous gigs I have been at and which stands out in my memory…The band came on stage bare-foot and consisted of front man, two bass players and a drummer (one of the bass players I am told was an ex-Cuban Heels musician?)The sound generated was so primevally good that I considered at that time whether six string guitars had a place in future music any more! One of the memorable moments was the band’s reaction to consistent heckling in the crowd behind me…there had been a number of cover versions performed and the band didn’t appreciate the crowd’s banter about this. So at a synchronised point in time the complete band downed their instruments and stage-dived into the crowd behind me and an immediate forest-fire of a fisty cuffs exploded behind and as as far back in the hall as I could see, bouncers and stage supervisors all contributing…very much a moment indelibly stuck in my memory, as was the “Wallace-like” dive over my head of James King as he set upon the contingent of hecklers behind me! Phew! Jock and Roll indeed! If anyone else that reads this was there on that night, I would be interested to read about your recollections!!!(Sorry about the long comment, but I have recounted this story endlessly and would like to know if anyone else remembers the event or other Scots band of that era?)

  2. Hi Doug

    Thanks for the fantastic post. ‘Silver Dream Machine’ is one of the extra tracks on the reissued “Author! Author!”.

    Your recollections of the Order of St Jude stirs some vague memories, particularly the instrumentation. Was this gig late 80’s (eg post Fun Patrol) or much earlier? never saw them though. Do you know if there were any records?

  3. duffpixie says:

    Thanks for this. I’d forgot how good these guys were. Dougs recollections brought back so many memories. The Lone Wolves at Glasgow Uni was one of the best gigs of my life. I think the bassist he refers to was Nikki Clarke, he’d also flitted through the Shakin’ Pyramids.

  4. Thanks, duffpixie. This post is almost 2 months old yet still seems to be pulling in the punters (comparatively speaking) which is interesting. There certainly seems to be more interest still out there about James King than I might have anticipated.

  5. simon says:

    Just came across this thread while searching for info for a Lone Wolves release I’m inputting at discogs.com
    Although I never saw the Lone Wolves, I was at school (Shawlands Academy) with their bass player Colin McNeil in the mid-late 1970s. I recollect he was a big Queen fan (!) in 1975 but became a punk in 1976 and helped form one of the first Glasgow punk bands, The Backstabbers, along with James King. He used to come into school all cuts and bruises as they used to get set upon by hostile crowds at nearly every gig they played! I lost touch with him after he left school.
    BTW the Nikki Clarke mentioned earlier is probably the same as Nick Clark who played bass on 2 tracks on “Texas Lullaby”?
    Hope you don’t mind the reminiscences…

  6. Hi Simon
    I’m a bit surprised but really pleased at the amount of interest that the James King stuff has generated. I mean as of 11am this morning there has been 4 searches on the site on James King and the Lone Wolves. So there’s obviously interest out there which is good because they were a great band or bands.

  7. Jim Beers says:

    Never saw the Lone Wolves but went to school with James King (Jim McColl). He was a St Mungo’s Academy boy leaving in either 1972 or 73. He used to be a big Brian Wilson fan, when it wasn’t quite so fashionable. I distinctly remember him walking about the school with a copy of Surf’s Up under his arm. Enjoyed his records – at least the ones I’ve heard – but have no idea what happened to him.

    He could have been a contender.

  8. Thanks for that, Jim. Clearly my “even more obscure Scottish band” was way of the mark as people continue to come looking for more James King. Which is gratifying.

  9. Jim says:

    The Order of St Jude was a Lonewolves side project that came about because of Jake’s imprisonment. Played three gigs; Nitenoves, Cotton club and Dundee uni. The drummer was Craig Ferguson who is uncredited but plays on 2 tracks on the Texas Lullabye ep.

    After Jake’s release, the guitars were reintroduced but still keeping the 2 basses.

  10. Jim

    Was it the same songs?

  11. Jim says:

    The set list for the Order of St Jude (patron saint of lost causes) would be:

    Texas Lullaby
    Gonna Make You (Troggs b-side)
    Sacred Heart
    Lonely Financial Zone (Jonathan Richman)
    Chance I Can’t Deny
    Born To Lose (Ray Charles not the hearbreakers)
    As Tears Go By
    Afraid (Nico)
    The End/Sister Ray

    Our manager, at the time, taped the gig. Sorry to say I’ve lost it but can remember asking the audience ‘have the rolling stones reached Dundee yet?’ Things got a little out of hand after that…

    Got a backstage photo of the band on the comeback night when Jake was released if yer interested.

  12. Thanks for that, Jim. Are we talking a photo of backstage celebrations here?

    Apart from only seeing you live once, my biggest regret is that there were so few records. How much of the LP was recorded and was there anything after the Fun Patrol 12″?

  13. alan says:

    After stumbling across footage of the legendary lone wolves on youtube i thought i would see what else i could find on this seminal rock n roll band. i saw them only twice – once at rooftops – the other time as the fun patrol when they were supporting jayne county (!) at some town hall or other out in paisley. both times they put on a heroic show. Whatever happened to their lp? irrespective of that – if all a band leaves behind is rumoured debauchery and a few singles ‘ eps made in the spirit of gene vincent, then who can ask for any more.

  14. Alan, thanks for the comment. The live video is worth checking out if you still have a player. It seems to still be available here http://screenedge.com/shop/Search.asp?Search=Title_Artist&Var=JAMES+KING+%26+THE+LONE+WOLVES at a reasonable price. That’s where I got it from and their service was pretty decent. There’s plenty of songs on the video which presumably would have been on the LP which didn’t make it to vinyl.

  15. alan says:

    Yeah, after checking a few websites i read something about a vhs tape available. One place advertising it is just around the corner from me in south london. I’ll check it out – my memories of the lone wolves gigs could’ve been enhanced by someone putting something in my drink…

  16. It’s worth getting a hold of even if the condition of the tapes after 20 years probably means the sound quality isn’t what it might once have been. Let me know if you get a hold of it.

  17. Norry Wilson says:

    Thank God other people remember James King and the Lone Wolves. I must have seen them half a dozen times at least – at Tiffany’s, the QMU, Strathclyde Union and Lucifer’s Mill (now the Sub Club).
    Their manager, Dave Scott, used to DJ at the dining hall disco at Strathclyde Uni.
    I’m sure they recorded an album for Virgin which never saw the light of day.
    Just recently I threw out one of their posters – for QMU gig – as I was moving house. Should have held on to it.
    Still got a couple of their singles and a couple of Fun Patrol demos.
    They were by far and away the best and most exciting band in postpunk Glasgow.
    All hail King James

  18. Cheers, Norry. This thread proves that there’s plenty of people still remember the Lone Wolves. What were the Fun Patrol demos?

  19. Norry Wilson says:

    Further to my last posting, James King was interviewed in Scotland On Sunday (July 8) for a punk: 30 years on retrospective. For the past six years he’s been working for the Leonard Cheshire fund in Glasgow, helping people with learning disabilities.
    As to the Fun Patrol demos, there were two tracks, I Don’t Care if yu live or Die and Redy To Fall. Dave Scott taped them for me more than 20 years ago and I’m sure I still have the tape somewhere.
    What I want to know is, who has the master tapes of the unreleased album?
    The band were signed to Virgin and then London records but the album never saw the light of day.
    Having watched the YouTube clips – tame by Lone Wolves standards – I’d love to hear the LP.
    Surely someone, somewhere knows where the tapes are?

  20. Jim might know! I suspect that there isn’t a whole LP’s worth but I would be delighted to be proved wrong.

  21. More James King in a couple of days.

  22. Jim says:

    Fly Away/Fun Patrol/Time To Go were mixed by Phil Thornally at RAK studios. I’d asked for Dave Edmonds but couldn’t get him. I thought the last thing the ‘wolves needed was the Cure’s producer. Fly Away was recorded by PT with the other two songs recorded by us in a studio in Victoria. It was intended to be the next single. The problem lay with Fly Away, it just didn’t feel right. Horne tried a remix which didn’t work either. He said he’d put it out but seemed unenthusiastic about it so we declined. We were wise to record company ruses of pressing 500 copies and effectively killing a single.

    It was agreed that we’d come off the road and return to the studio in Victoria for a week as the material recorded there sounded better. We didn’t have a producer but had our soundman, Billy Worton in to help supervise the recordings. We recorded versions of Happy Home, See Her Cry, Fly Away, Just Like a Lonewolf, A Step Away From Home, One More Time and another version of Fly Away. The material was unmixed and is lying in London Records vault.

    I was puzzled why they didn’t just put us into Park Lane studios in Glasgow. We trusted the engineers, Kenny MacDonald and Bobby Paterson and recorded all of our best stuff there. We would probably managed four weeks for the budget it cost to record and stay for a week in London. The three Fun Patrol tracks were recorded in two days in Park Lane and piss all over the Swamplands material.

    The VHS tape was recorded in Camden on a Monday afternoon for London Weekend Television. We’d been dropped by the record company at that point. I’ve got a copy of the tape which has an interview with Jake and Colin before the set. I’d had enough at this point and wasn’t interested in being interviewed- they even asked us to submit lyrics beforehand in case we were going to slip in some potty mouth!

    We played a few more Scottish dates before the last gig at the QMU, in Glasgow, on 20th June 1985. Jake and I fell out before the gig because I had turned up pissed for the soundcheck. Years later he confided in me that he thought I wasn’t going to turn up for the show. That was the only real argument we’d ever had. It killed the Lonewolves.

    We had a show scheduled with Monochrome Set in London. I was the only member of the band to appear for rehearsals before the show and wasn’t surprised when the rest of the band claimed they couldn’t hire a van to travel to the gig. The only show we ever missed was that one.

  23. Thanks for all that, Jim. So I was wrong and there is effectively an LP’s worth of music somewhere. Which is intriguing. Was part of the reason it was unmixed that you didn’t think it was good enough? I can see that Dave Edmunds would have made sense as a producer.

    I hadn’t realised that the QM gig was the last show either. I just remember the attitude that night – I don’t remember you saying anything between songs at all. It very much seemed – “here we are – take us or don’t. We don’t care because we know we’re good”. And it was a fantastic gig.

  24. Norry Wilson says:

    Right, who do we threaten at London Records to get the mastertapes released?
    Perhaps if we sent down Jake and Jim to have ‘word’ with them they’d give them up and we could get an inernet release of the tracks.
    I’d love to hear them.

  25. happyhome says:

    Don’t know if anyone can help but I’ve spent years trying to replace a cassette of the Lone Wolves’ first demo that I taped off Billy Sloan’s show and played till it burst. I’ve still got a tape of a later show with James King picking his favourite songs, including Tom Verlaine’s Breaking My Heart.
    The Wolves were a brilliant band and deserved much better. Their demos were less-polished than the records but, in my opinion, even better.

  26. Jim says:

    I spoke to Jake last night. First time in 10 years. I’m happy- Jake’s happy- world beware.

  27. That’s a bit cryptic, Jim, but is there the hint of a scheme in there?

  28. Tom Rafferty says:

    it would be great to see the Lone Wolves again. I was a big fan, and I was at the Dundee ‘Order Of St. Jude’ gig. [I think I have a cassette of that somewhere in the boxes still to be sorted, in the same box as some demos, and a live show at Strathclyde Uni, plus a show at Maestro’s which was the live debut of ‘Until The Dawn’]. What caused the final ruckus at the Dundee gig was the rugby club throwing cans of beer at the band – one exploded on Colin’s monitor and he threw his bass away and dived in like Superman at the thrower : I was standing beside John Milarky (Cuban Heels Singer) and we stuck together through the fight in the crowd. Go on Jimmy, you know we need you to get back out there and free-associate through Sister Ray – a treasured memory from a Strathclyde Uni gig (1985 or so) is Jimmy rapping about Working Class Heroes in the breakdown of Sister Ray … ‘Mu’ammar Qaddafy … Arthur Scargill … you think you’re so clever and classless and free, you’re all FUCKING STUDENTS far as I can see…”

    1. Amy says:

      Any chance of us ever hearing those tapes? Your story has certainly peaked my interest!

  29. Thanks, Tom for the reminisces. (Is that a word – doesn’t seem right). If you ever get round to ripping the tapes I’d love to hear them.

  30. jim p says:

    I was also at the QM gig and would rate it right up there with any gig, i remember James jumping of the stage and right through the crowd and out, i remeber thinking this is raw angry agressive punk rock, this was barbed wire guitar, great memories, i saw the band a few times, Maestros, Strathclyde and Glasgow Tech, brilliant, i also bought Jakes wide bodied semi from a guy called Mark Rice who was in the Big Dish, just for nostalgia.

  31. Wish I’d seen them more than once myself, Jim. Thanks for the comment.

  32. John F says:

    Jesus, this is bringing back a few memories and more than anything answering a question I’ve had in my head for quite a while…”what the hell happened to james king and the lonewolves?”

    Now I’m probably a bit hazy on dates and years and things, but we stumbled into a lonewolves gig in london, never having heard them before…I’m guessing ’85…while down there for a few days. I seem to remember having a drink with the band after the gig and arranging to see them in manchester later on the tour.
    Went to the venue in the afternoon (I can’t remember where either the London or manchester gigs were) and got my mate and me onto the guest list.
    I seem to remember watching the band sound check that afternoon.

    Both gigs were out of this world…right up there with the best.
    I know that after the show and a nights drinking in manchester we got our heads down at the band’s hotel.
    Now I’m guessing they played glasgow the next night because i remember nearly being persuaded to go up there with them for what the reckoned would be a great night.
    Only the lack of a pound to our names kept us from going…from what you’re saying, that was our loss.
    I’ve got Texas Lullaby and The Angels Know on vinyl in the attic somwhere…and all the tracks off them are on my phone and getting regular use.
    Brilliant band and great guys on top of that…I’m really glad jim and jake are happy…any chance you’ll be tempted to do something for old time’s sake.????

  33. Jim says:

    I’ve not had an internet presence since the ’90’s cos I got bored. I’ve just signed up to the myspace thingy and stuck up six songs. five of which have been unavailable anywhere.

  34. It’s remarkable how this one just seems to run and run so thanks John F for keeping it going with your recollections.

    And Jim, thanks for getting the Myspace up and running. Coming back from holiday to hear these 6 songs was something of an unexpected treat.

  35. Doug says:

    Did you do any recordings for Postcard Records?
    How ‘bad” was the John Cale produced Angels Know.

  36. Jim says:

    I never recorded for Postcard. The closest I came was immediately after I’d recorded Back From The Dead. I gave a cassette to Brian Superstar who was Horne’s flatmate at the time. I was asked if I wanted to re-record it for Postcard but declined because I’d already given my word to Cuba Libre that they could put it out.

    The Cale version of The Angels Know wasn’t ‘bad’ as such. It was rougher than the version by John Porter. The ‘doo doos’ were Cale’s idea. Cale also played organ on it. I actually prefer the original version that the band demoed in Ampro Studios. I have the original Porter version which features the organ more prominently. I’ll get round to uploading it soon. I’ve just put up Right to be Wrong and Texas Lullabye.

  37. Doug says:

    Where did the “Little Angel” track come from that was on myspace?
    Dont know if this is the full title, it sounded very good!

    Did you ever do anything as the “The Cowards”? I vaguely remeber Billy Sloane saying James King was playing in this band.

  38. jim says:

    ‘Heaven’s Little Angel’ was a song I recorded with Joe Sullivan ’round about 1990. The Cowards never actually existed as a band. It was just a bunch of my drinking buddies who spent their time spraying the ‘band’s’ name on walls in the city centre.

  39. Doug says:

    Sorry to get all anorakish!
    What is the history of the BBC Session 20/05/84.
    I noticed Chris Hawlins-BBC 6 played it (I did not hear it) and Last fm are trying to play.
    As you may have guessed I thought the band was brilliant and saw you many times in Glasgow.I will now put the anorak away,honest.

  40. jim says:

    We were in London demoing for Swamplands, had a day off and went down to BBC Maida Vale studios to record a session for Kid Jensen’s show.

    The ex-Mott the Hoople drummer, Buffin, engineered the sessions. The band played live with only vocals dubbed later.

    Horne brought in Patti Palladin to do backing vocals on ‘Happy Home’. She also recorded ‘Crawfish’ with Johnny Thunders for Swamplands but the deal collapsed when Thunders’ management started asking for unrealistic sums of money. Wayne County was also hanging around Swamplands at the time.

    I haven’t heard it for years but remember that I liked the version of ‘Step Away’ that we recorded.

  41. Doug says:

    For 3mins and 49 secs I was back at Nitemove,Lucifers or maybe Henry Africas (if i had some money-rarely) Fly away was always one of my faves live and that studio ver was brilliant!!!
    Angels Know alt ver I liked it.An old James King fan is well happy.
    Please try and be nice and get us a CD of your music out soon.
    Hopefully that “Baseball bat” has been retired!
    Yes I remember the stories of that but I always found You and James Mason great to talk to.

  42. martin says:

    I have arrived at this string late on, as I did with JKATLW. I heard the Kid Jensen session and bought Texas Lullaby, then The Angels Know. Didn’t think I was at the QMU gig but then the post about leaving from the stage (which was higher than you realised) got me thinking. No doubt JKATLW had it. Everyone posting can still feel the power.

  43. Norry says:

    Jmes King and the Lone Wolves will play their first gig together for 25 years this Friday (June 17) at the West of Scotland cricket Club in Partick. The show is part of a tribute night to local impressario, restaurateur and all round good blok Allan Mawn, who died earlier this year.

  44. Nick says:

    Spoke to the legendary Mr King on Friday 6th April at a Glasgow gig by the reformed Monochrome Set. He told me that the reformed Lone Wolves (including Jake & “some young guys”) have already completed drum tracks for a new album! I also misheard that he’d done a tribute album to Alan Horne (who isn’t dead), but I take it he meant the live gig for Alan Mawn (who I hadn’t heard of). There is a YouTube clip of “Fun Patrol” from that night, introduced by Jim where he mentions both Alans too – confused? I think I’m alright now…

  45. Tom Rafferty says:

    Soundcloud – James King & The Lonewolves live at Strathclyde, late 82

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