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The day Tommy Smith came to our studio to record part of a BBC doc I was in London having meetings with record companies. The guy I saw at EMI didn't know about the gifted young Scot then and was a bit dismissive of my advocacy. Courtney Pine was his favoured man of the minute.

As events would transpire, that same A&R man appeared in the documentary himself further down the line. He is smoking behind his big desk, bullshit to the max, about to sign Tommy to Blue Note. I'm not suggesting my wholehearted endorsement had any bearing on EMI taking an interest. Or maybe I am.

The sound quality on this clip is pretty poor, taken from an old mono VHS as it was, yet our old rickety Schiedmayer piano still sounds half decent, no doubt mainly down to the fine pianist. The piece the band played in the studio that day was Harlequin which appeared on the Peeping Tom album released on Blue Note in 1990.

Smith remains for me one of the finest musicians Scotland ever produced.

Tommy Smith

performed: Forward Motion

filmed: BBC @ Sirocco (1987)

Archive Recordings

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