Rockingscots is a website dedicated to
Scottish beat groups of the '60s and early '70s. Visit the
Rockingscots homepage for more groups or to e-mail
Ayrshire Bands of the '60s and early 70s
SYSTEMS GO / OMNIBUS
Starting off as Systems Go around '66 then after a name change the band
lasted well into the early '70s. We can remember them playing at
school dances, church halls, the Bobby Jones and many other venues.
Above: a cracking picture of Systems Go Mk 3 from Bill Smith.
See his full account of the changing morphology of the band below.
But first a word from Systems Go bass player Neil Haverty.
(Neil sadly passed away at his home near Cambridge on 2 August 2009.
His contribution is full of humour and shows the fond memories he retained of the period. )
Young Neil Haverty circa '66 plunking his bass when not plunking Ayr Academy
In the meantime, in case anyone visiting
the site remembers me, I am attaching a 1967 pic from around the time that I
joined Systems Go, and an almost up-to-date one (mid '00s) as a clear
warning to anyone who might be thinking of joining a band. The recent pic
was taken late summer and shows how I still justify my non-PC name of Woggy,
by the time autumn arrives each year."
Neil and 4 legged friend
Neil on the pic up top from the newspaper: "Thanks very much for adding that pic....it not only made me laugh like a drain but has also caused much personal embarassment as a result of that pic appearing. A few less wrinkles and a bit more hair at that stage of life, quite apart from anything else. It also looks as though I was wearing some sort of a tie, as much as I find that extremely hard to believe (and why is Ricky patting me on the shoulder?!)
Bill Smith sets out how the band name and line-up changed over its lifetime
Mk 1: Lead vocal - Jim Wilson (Prestwick); Lead
guitar - Jim Park (Coylton); Organ
- Ricky Karling (Coylton); Rythmn
guitar - Donnie Briggs (Ayr); Bass - Barclay McCallum (Ayr); Drums - Jim McComb (Troon).
“SYSTEMS GO” Mk 2: Lead vocal - Jim Wilson; Lead vocal - Bill Smith (Rankinston) - Lead guitar - Jim Park; Organ - Ricky Karling;
Bass - Neil 'Woggy' Haverty [PCness had yet to be invented] (Ayr); Drums - Jim McComb.
“SYSTEMS GO” Mk 3: Lead vocal - Bill Smith; Lead guitar - Jim Park; Organ - Ricky Karling; Bass-Neil Haverty; Drums - Jim McComb
“OMNIBUS” Mk 1: Lead vocal/guitar-Bill Smith; Lead guitar-Jim Park; Organ-Ricky Karling; Bass-Robert Alanack (Ayr); Drums-Archie
“OMNIBUS” Mk 2 Lead vocal/guitar-Bill Smith; Bass-Jim Park; Organ- Ricky Karling; Drums-Archie Clark
“OMNIBUS” Mk 3 Lead vocal/guitar-Bill Smith; Organ-Ricky Karling; Bass-Ian Allen (Ayr); Drums-Tommy Kerr (Ayr).
“OMNIBUS” Mk 4 Lead vocal/guitar-Bill Smith; Organ-Ricky Karling; Bass-Jock Whiteside (Tarbolton); Drums-Tommy Kerr
“OMNIBUS” Mk 5 Lead vocals/guitar-Bill Smith; Bass/vocals-John Ballantyne (Ayr); Lead vocal/guitar - Mark (Ayr); Drums Stevie
“OMNIBUS” Mk 6 Lead vocal/guitar-Bill Smith Lead vocal/guitar-John Ballantyne; Bass/vocals-Dougie Gillies (Ayr); Drums-Stevie
“OMNIBUS” Mk 7 – The final line-up: Lead vocals/guitar-Bill Smith; Bass/vocals-Dougie Gillies; Drums-Stevie Arrandale
Omnibus Mk I left to right: Archie Clark, Robert Alanack, Bill Smith, Jim Park and Ricky Karling
As Bill remembers it -
Systems Go played mostly Tamla Motown and Soul with some British Pop like the
Beatles, Stones, Who, Move etc.
The early version of Omnibus replaced most of the Tamla and Soul with songs from British acts like Bad Company, Status Quo, and Wings,
The later line ups were attempting more challenging material by Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, the Doobie Bros, Pink Floyd, 10cc and SAHB.
their existence “Omnibus” and “Systems Go” were support acts to many
sixties bands who toured at this time including, The Troggs, Amen Corner,
Geno Washington,,Jimmy James and the Vagabonds and David Bowie!
Omnibus Mk2 left to right: Archie Clark, Bill Smith, Ricky Karling and Jim Park (front)
Omnibus Mk3 left to right: Bill Smith, Tommy Kerr, Ian Allen and Ricky Karling
Left to right - Omnibus Mk 5 - Stevie Arrandale, John Ballantyne, Bill Smith and Mark
Pic supplied by Stevie's sister Anne.
2016 - John Ballantine moved to the US in the 1980s and established a career writing and performing country/honkytonk music.
See : http://crazyheartmusic.com/ Lots of good live videos!
Bill still plays occasionally in the Perth, Fife and Edinburgh area and sends his best to all his ex-band mates.
Jim Park and Tommy Kerr were reckoned to be still gigging.
Sadly, Robert Alanack is no longer with us.