Rab’s drummed up his 70th great year

Rab Batten, centre, with the rest of the Warren Davis Band, Charlie Low, left, and Warren Davis. Picture: Colin Hattersley

Rab Batten, centre, with the rest of the Warren Davis Band, Charlie Low, left, and Warren Davis. Picture: Colin Hattersley

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POPULAR Edinburgh drummer Rab Batten is celebrating his 70th birthday.

Rab was born to Rab and Madge Batten and brought up in Craigentinny, attending St. Ninian’s Primary School and then St. Anthony’s RC School in Leith.

After leaving school Rab worked in Munrospun Knitwear Factory for many years. He introduced Atlantic soul to the Edinburgh scene with his band The Memphis Soul Band in 1964 when he started buying records from Mr Smith’s Café and Record bar in Lothian Road although the soul scene didn’t last long.

Rab was a founder member of the much-acclaimed Warren Davis Band who had many residences in and around Edinburgh including Frisco’s, The Place, Walkers, Bilston Casino and a four-year run at The International Club situated at 127 Princes Street.

Rab said: “The 60s and 70s were our heyday, although we played on and off for five decades, with the same line-up and there are not many bands who can say that.

“We have a reunion every now and again and they are always packed.”

He recalled the first gig he ever played was in Perth town hall when he was 17. There were 1000 people there. I was deputising in a band called the Dominoes and I got the princely sum of £1 for my efforts. My cousin, Toto McNaughton had arranged the gig for me and said I was done – I should have got £1.50! These were great days and I loved every minute of it.” But Rab said the best thing that happened to him at this time was he met his wife Jackie, to whom he has now been married for 43 years. The couple have two daughters, Lisa and Teresa.

Rab said his best gig was at Edinburgh Palais on his 21st birthday; his worst at the Imperial Hotel, Leith Street. He names the best musician he played with as bass guitarist Kenny Robertson; and his favourite drummers were Toto McNaughton and Crawford Hunter.

He also paid tribute to Buddy Miller, The Waldman Brothers, Paddy Reilly, Abe Moffat and Jimmy Roccio – “who wanted us to be recording stars, but we always wanted to be just the resident band”.