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Scotty McKay (Max
Scott McKay -
I Can't Make Your Way / Take A Giant Step
Very little is known about the late, Max Lipscomb's
post-Bluecaps career. This is the story of how a legendary Bluecap
connected with a legendary Yardbird for a bizarre recording.
late 1966, The Yardbirds were on one of Dick Clark's gruelling Greyhound
Bus package tours around the Southern States of America. The group
found themselves performing every night (sometimes twice a night). They
seldom had days off.
Jeff Beck did the
opening night and he got really ill and pissed off with it all, and
didn't really want to do the tour. That's when he disappeared, it was
the last tour he did with us.
In retrospect, it was a mismatched
billing (not uncommon for the time) with the Yardbirds sharing a bill
with Sam The Sham / Pharaohs, Gary Lewis / Playboys and Brian
Scotty McKay was one of the
musicians playing with Brian Hyland. Scotty was a blonde haired, Adonis
looking type of guy. We used to watch him playing his Fender guitar and
noticed that he wasn't actually playing it, he was just chopping a sort
of offbeat. He played exactly the same every night. Highland's
musicians' wore Ponchos and cool cowboy boots, and looked pretty cool.
They used to have a row of guitarists just standing playing nothing
(and one real guitarist). We got to know them and used to piss about
sometimes and stand there as well! Now and then we would put on
Prior to the tour, Scotty McKay had released his
version of the 'Batman Theme' as a single in the States.
We got to know him and he seemed to be nice and tagged
onto us. Chris Dreja (Yardbirds, rhythm guitarist / bass player) and
myself were taking pills and had these mad ideas. One day we thought it
would be good to produce Scotty doing one of our songs in a country
style, go back to England and put it out. He was into the idea of
recording. Chris Dreja pulled out of the project, but Jim McCarty went
to Scott's house in Dallas, Texas, to discuss the project.
Scotty knew some musicians and booked a
studio in Nashville. We flew out on a small private plane. As we took
off - the door opened and we all nearly fell out!
The Yardbirds 'I
Can't Make Your Way' is an untypical Yardbirds track. It's a strange
mixture of social commentary, philosophical bragging, folk, rock and
blues, and has a wonderful, futuristic Jeff Beck guitar solo midway.
McCarty played Scotty and the musicians 'I Can't Make Your Way'
(from the1966, 'Roger The Engineer' album). Scotty liked the song and
cut the trackwith McCarty acting as producer. Incidentally, UK Radio DJ,
Tony Blackburnalso recorded the track during the same
The musicians were good .The song
featured pedal steel guitar, bass guitar and drums. Scotty had a
relaxing voice. I gave the master tape to EMI.
The song was given a
UK release on the Columbia label in 1967. The flip side 'Take A Giant
Step' (possibly an instrumental) was recorded at an earlier session. The
single had a couple of airplays on UK Radio and then sank without
After the recording, I was on my
way to New York and bumped into Scotty at an Airport. On the spur of the
moment he said 'oh, I'm not doing anything, I'll get a ticket and go
with you.' I sat next to him on the Plane - when it took off he was
praying! I then discovered that he had been taking Amphetamines for
about 20 years, as prescribed by his Doctor. He never came across as out
of it, just normal - but a bit odd. He never told me that he'd played
with Gene Vincent.
McCarty next bumped into Scotty in 1969 at a
Hollywood press reception for the newly formed Renaissance
(ex-Yardbirds, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty's altogether gentler sounding
We were Touring the states, and
all these old Yardbirds fans came out of the woodwork from all over the
place. He turned up. Scotty seemed like a lost soul.
In 1970, Scotty
McKay contributed a song to Gene Vincent's first Kama Sutra album at
Gene's request, he also sang backing vocals on the album.
anyone has any dates for Gene's US gigs or has any info on Gene's
girlfriend, Marcia Avron. Please write to:
LONDON W3 OZF UK