Drummer Rab says it’s time to tell his story

Rab Batten was a founder member of The Warren David Band
Rab Batten was a founder member of The Warren David Band
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An Edinburgh drummer was in his heyday in the 60s and 70s, a time when The Beatles and the Rolling Stones had burst on to the scene and conquered the world.

Rab Batten was at the forefront of the city’s music scene, playing gigs in all the great bars and clubs across Scotland.

The 60s, 70s and 80s in particular were a “great time to be alive” for Rab, as a founder member of the much acclaimed Edinburgh group The Warren David Band.

The band 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.

He has now written down his fondest memories by creating a manuscript for a book called A Lifetime Keeping the Beat.

It follows his life growing up in Craigentinny, attending St. Ninian’s Primary School and then St Anthony’s RC School in Leith before working in Munrospun Knitwear Factory.

But at the age of the 16, his life changed forever when he was introduced to the music scene.

Influenced by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, he formed his own band and played in all the great clubs in Edinburgh and across Scotland.

Music is in Rab’s blood with him being the cousin of the great Edinburgh drummer Toto McNaughton , who was indisputably one of the true characters on the Edinburgh scene over 40 years.

He played with the Boston Dexters alongside vocalist Tam White and died in 2008 at the age of 72.

Rab introduced Atlantic soul to the Capital in the early 60s with his band The Memphis Soul Band.

The band was known for playing numbers like The Midnight Hour, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, My Girl, Shake and Finger Pop and Mr Pitiful.

The Atlantic Soul scene was well received but unfortunately didn’t last long. Rab and Charlie Low, along with Rab Hughes and Alec Ingles, formed The Warren Davis Band in 1968. They played on and off together until 2005 when they performed a tribute gig for Toto McNaughton, which was a sell-out.

People such as Bill Barclay, Tam White, Liz McEwan and Happy Howden were among those to take part. His manuscript lists some of the great venues he has played in, their owners and managers such as The Place (Waldman Brothers), The International Club (Jimmy Roccio), McGoos and Frisco’s (Buddy Miller), Walkers Lounge (Paddy Reilly) and The Casablanca (Peter Williamson) just to name a few.

Rab has still to find a publisher for his book, but is confident of finding one soon.

“It was a great time to be alive,” said Rab. “There will never be another era like it.”