The first band Ian joined was called East West. He was still at school, and was 14 years old. These MP3 clips are the first recordings of that band and were made by the father of one of Ian’s school friends – in his house!
The original line-up was: Jimmy Nellis on vocals and blues harmonica, The Ellis brothers, Kenny and Iain on bass and drums, and Ian B on guitar. Kenny Ellis now plays double bass, and is one of the most respected Jazz musicians in Scotland and the UK. His brother Iain has lived in the US for many years and is a music teacher and
freelance percussionist in the New Jersey/New York area.
After years without contact, we recently caught up with Jimmy Nellis too! His vocals were outstanding in these clips and it is a pity he doesn’t play harmonica on these tracks.
Ian remembers everyone cramming the equipment into Mr Turner’s house and trying not to play too loud. The guitar sounds here are a bit cleaner than on a live gig because it wasn’t possible to turn the amplifiers up to distortion. In those days, there were no guitar “stomp boxes” in the shops – you just kept cranking up the volume until there was enough drive!
We hope you enjoy these clips and even if you didn’t get to see East West live around Scotland, this shows the blues roots of these four teenagers. We'd love to find any old photos too...
Various Edinburgh musicians have carried on the East West name - long after the four original members had moved on. But this is how it all started …