The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver

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A popular Scottish '70s folk duo, later accompanied by backing band Quiver.
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Basically a duo from the outset, comprising brothers Iain Sutherland (b. 17 November 1948, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; vocals, guitar, keyboards), and Gavin Sutherland (b. 6 October 1951, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; bass, guitar, vocals). The two had been signed to Island Records, releasing The Sutherland Bros. Band in 1971. It was during this period that they wrote and recorded the song ‘Sailing’, later a UK number 1 for Rod Stewart. Having completed their second album with the use of session musicians, they began seeking a permanent backing group. A meeting between their manager Wayne Bordell, and Quiver showed a mutual need for each others talents. The Sutherland Brothers needed a band, and Quiver needed new songs, so the Sutherland Brothers And Quiver were born, comprising Iain and Gavin, Tim Renwick (b. 7 August 1949, Cambridge, England; guitar/vocals), Willie Wilson (b. John Wilson, 8 July 1947, Cambridge, England; drums/percussion), Bruce Thomas (b. 14 August 1948, Stockton-on-Tees, North Yorkshire, England; bass), Cal Batchelor (b. England; vocals, guitar, keyboards), and Pete Wood aka Pete Woods (b. 1950, Middlesex, England, d. 1994, New York, USA; keyboards). Within a few months they released the previously recorded Lifeboat. In the USA, the release was credited as the Sutherland Brothers And Quiver, but in the UK as the Sutherland Brothers. There were also variations in the track listing between the UK and American releases.

The new band recorded three tracks, ‘I Don’t Want To Love You But You Got Me Anyway’, ‘Have You Had A Vision’, and ‘Not Fade Away’, prior to playing a support tour, of the USA, to Elton John, in 1973. After recording, Cal Batchelor announced that he was going to leave the band as he could no longer see a future for him in it. So the subsequent tour of the USA went ahead without him. 1973’s Dream Kid, produced by Muff Winwood, saw bass player Bruce Thomas leave shortly afterwards (he later joined the Attractions). Terry ‘Tex’ Comer (b. 23 February 1949, Burnley, Lancashire, England) from Ace, took over the role of bass player to play on half the recordings for the same year’s Beat Of The Street. In fact, the Ace song ‘How Long’, often thought to be a love song, was actually written about how the Sutherland Brothers had been trying to persuade Comer to join them for some time.

Taking on Mick Blackburn as manager, they got a contract with CBS Records, and Reach For The Sky (without the departed Peter Wood) was released on 7 November 1975. Produced by Ron and Howie Albert, it featured Dave Gilmour on pedal steel guitar on one track. Gilmour had produced ‘We Get Along’, the b-side of the UK Top 10 hit ‘Arms Of Mary’. By the time Slipstream was released in 1976, the line-up was the Sutherlands, Wilson and Renwick, although the latter left shortly afterwards. Produced by ex-Shadows, Bruce Welch, the recording of 1977’s Down To Earth was augmented by a number of respected session musicians, including Ray Flacke (guitar) and Brian Bennett (percussion). By the time of 1979’s When The Night Comes Down, Wilson had left, and the unit disbanded the same year.

Gavin Sutherland has spent time writing and editing books, as well as continuing to compose songs and playing with local musicians in Scotland. He released an album in 2000 with the subtitle ‘acoustic music to soothe the troubled soul’. Iain has also been composing, but with only occasional performances.