Music & Words | The Easy Club

The Easy Club
The Easy Club was formed by four musicians who had been playing together in Edinburgh's legendary folk pub, Sandy Bell's Bar, in 1982. The band was originally named The Bogey Brothers, but this was changed to The Easy Club, the name coming from an eighteenth century Edinburgh drinking club which had been opposed to the union between Scotland and England.

Singer Rod Paterson and guitarist Jack Evans (plus original member Norman Chalmers, who was replaced by fiddler John Martin) were members of another band, Jock Tamson's Bairns, who played in a more traditional manner. Jim Sutherland, who played cittern and bodhran, had recently arrived from Thurso, in the far north of Scotland, where he had played with a local folk group called Mirk.

The idea of The Easy Club was to explore new possibilities in Scottish music, by bringing in influences from more modern music such as jazz. The band saw that traditional musicians could not play music which was not influenced in some way by the culture of their own era. The Easy Club were happy to embrace modern styles and ideas, because that was the way that traditions developed naturally. It was actually unnatural, in their opinion, to play music in a 'historical' manner, as this produced a fossilised 'heritage' culture instead of one that is living and breathing.

The band found that they could make Scottish tunes 'swing' very successfully, in a way that sounded completely natural. It was at this point that they came across a quotation from Duke Ellington, who said that " there are only two types of music that swing - jazz, and Scottish music." Hearing these words from the great man was very encouraging to the band's efforts to develop a new style of swingy Scottish traditional music.

The Easy Club's new sound was very successful and popular; for a few years they never stopped touring in Britain, Europe, and the USA. They also recorded three very special albums, each of which is unique in its own way. But in 1988 they tired of touring, and stopped playing altogether a year later. The Easy Clubbers all joined different bands, though they have continued to work together on different musical projects to this day. The rerelease of their first album, 'The Easy Club', by Greentrax Recordings ( in 2001 has stimulated a great deal of interest in The Easy Club. We hope you enjoy what the band consider to be their finest album - 'Chance or Design'.

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