Inevitably Alec’s ‘Who is…?’ article and the suggestions received through Facebook, Twitter and the comments section have caused further heated debate amongst the Dear Scotland contributors. It’s just as well most of us live in different countries. In the end, our final five are: Dominic Aitchison, Jack Bruce, Derek Forbes, Alan Gorrie, and Dougie Payne.The poll closes on Tuesday at midnight (EST).

Even if you are not a fan of one of the bands mentioned, we hope you will cast your vote for Scotland’s Greatest Ever Bassist to decide who will join guitarist Stuart Adamson and drummer Paul Thompson in Dear Scotland’s “greatest ever” supergroup.

If you are reading this article after December 8, 2009 then unfortunately your vote wont count, but the comments section on this page will remain open and unedited forever.

For Alec Downie’s full list of suggestions, have a look at last week’s article, but for now, in alphabetical order, the Dear Scotland top five are:

Dominic Aitchison (Mogwai)

“…throwing my hat in the ring for Dominic from Mogwai for his second-to-none bass riffage.” [James in comments]


Jack Bruce (Cream)

“Has to be Jack Bruce… an exceptional and innovative musician; he really brought the bass guitar to the fore!” [Bruce in comments]


Derek Forbes (Simple Minds)

“If you were to take his incredibly rhythmic and melodic lines out of the songs they would totally fall apart. In fact, many of the tracks on New Gold Dream are built around the bass. [Alan Thomas]


Alan Gorrie (The Average White Band)

“Alan Gorrie’s soulful vocals and percussive, syncopated basslines interact perfectly with Hamish Stuart’s funky, rhythmic guitar work” [Anonymous]


Dougie Payne (Travis)

“Playing pop well is an art and this Art School grad is one of the best.” [Alec Downie]


Next week: Alec’s mind is already close to exploding as he considers ‘Who is Scotland’s Greatest Ever Vocalist?’. So we may have to break that question down to male and female over the next few weeks just to preserve Mr. Downie’s noggin.

Photo Credit : DeeJayne


  1. Alan Gorrie is the governor if you’re judging by taste and quality.The guy should be knighted.for his contribution to soul music.

  2. This is definitely a toughie, torn between the awesome playing of Jack Bruce, the sheer funk radness of Alan Gorrie and the genre-shaping lead riffage of Dominic Aitchison. I voted for Dom but any of the three could stroll it.

  3. Jack Bruce was great but Gorrie’s interpretation of what really drives a good tune is outstanding and he is definitely Scotland’s best ever Bass player.

  4. if wrapping your bass in gaffa tape and hitting it into an amp, Mogwai should walk this…
    avergae white band any day..

  5. Type your comment here…i think it goes without saying that derek forbes is on a pedestal which no ladder is big enough to reach. all the ‘minds’ albums are testament to his vibrant,intuitive ability to create lucid,liquid riffs & patterns,but if i had to pick one purely for basslines,it has 2B empires & dance. hypnotically fluid… need i say more? 🙂

  6. John Giblin…Kate Bush,Brand X,Simple Minds,John Martyn.How could have you guys missed him?He’s phenomenal.

  7. derek forbes is much better than the rest easily,know every bass guitarist,and its laughable looking at the commments,jack bruce is good all the same,but derek forbes 79-85 is stunning!!been lucky to share the same festivals in the early to mid 80s.

  8. No offence to the other guys, but i am a drummer and have never heard or seen a better bass player than Derek Forbes. He plays the bass like a rythem guitar with some of the best bass lines ever in the world! Sweat in bullet and Theme for great cities will never be bettered, i was lucky to have seen him play with the minds on several occasions in the 80’s. Genius.

  9. if Stuart is the guitarist then it has to be Big Dan Forbes on bass, even though he would tell you Jack Bruce or Gorrie are better, ask Trevor Horn who his favourite bassist is and Forbes is the wan…hopefully Roberto Soave was 6th…

  10. Different genres shouldn’t be put against each other; it doesn’t work, and also, there are way better videos with Jack Bruce.

  11. It’s got to be Big Dan Yer Man Forbes, timeless bass lines played with an amazing sense of time and feel. legend and a gentleman.

  12. Derek Forbes without any doubt!! That guy has created extraordinary tunes with simple minds.!!!!! His way of playing the bass is unique. You can recognize him on first 2 or 3 notes of song. So powerful!!!!

  13. Derek Forbes rocks, the rest just roll. Jack the Bruce is closest but Forbes is still Scottish 4 string Royalty. I’m from the hills of Pennsylvania and I can hear that from here… What are the rest of you locals listening to???? Forbes by a mile. Long live one of four good men from aberfoyle… Hey, Clayton, Is that really you???? King Woodman

  14. Derek Forbes rocks, the rest just roll. Jack the Bruce is closest but Forbes is still Scottish 4 string Royalty. I’m from the hills of Pennsylvania and I can hear that from here… What are the rest of you locals listening to???? Forbes by a mile. Long live one of four good men from aberfoyle… Hey, Clayton, Is that really you???? King Woodman

  15. just stopped by to vote for DF (of course) and enjoyed browsing around . for an ex pat blog i expected it to be all tartan and bagpipes and maggy may and shit but it’s actually pretty cool.

  16. Must be Forbesie!
    Derek’s intro riff on the ‘Waterfront’ track first brought Simple Minds to my notice, prompting me to buy my first album – Sparkle in the Rain, and many more since over the years – never paid any attention before that – sure countless others never did either. Never been as good since Derek’s departure – lost that indefineable and unique ‘something’.

  17. Big Dan Forbes had this in the bag before Travis posted on their website. But even then it looke like Derek has the experience to pull through. He’s back ahead now 41%-35%. What if its a tie? Bass-off?

  18. What a great bunch of players..can’t they all win? So many different styles. Jack Bruce ‘Badge’ must be listened to, and Dominic sounds like a Forbes clone. Alan Gorrie is a magnificent player and guitar player. What a fantastic selection of hit songs Dougie has, and he’s a worthy contender, but for sheer diversity, fretted or fretless, and an enormous catalogue of hits, it has to be Derek Forbes, check Adam Claytons earlier post

  19. Jack Bruce is historically the most influential and impressive bass player to have Scottish origins to have broken through internationally with Cream and since as the musician’s recognized pre-eminent bass player since the 1960’s.

    Just watching the Bruce/ Trower DVD of Seven Moons Live, and earlier DVD’s like the Jack Bruce Live at Canterbury Festival from a few years back when he was playing fretless. And the Cream Reunion DVD where Jack played half the materials with his EB1 and the other songs fretless he knows what makes it sound good.

    Listen to what he does on BLT and TRUCE. No other Scottish musician has such a deep influence and respect coming up to 50 years. Jim Dewar was nicely featured in the materials showing this “contest” and was a fine bass player and an amazing vocalist/songwriter–which was a credit to Trower who has worked with these musicians and brought them to us.

    Jack dosen’t live in Scotland but he has played there many many times over the years and his Album cover on Harmony Row features some scenes of Glasgow.

  20. As ma auld granny used to say”the cream always comes tae the top” Derek Forbes on an on an on an on!!!!!!

  21. forbes easily,its not even close in terms of brilliance,the guy off travis is just basic bass playing,no offence lol! forbes wins the title lol,and thats without lots of teeny bops posting every 2 seconds lol.

  22. Derek Forbes wipes the floor with the pack. Whistle me a Travis bass line…no? Whistle me a Simple MInds Bass line…yes??? I’m sure Dougie knows who deserves the crown.
    Funny how the current ‘Minds’ man isn’;t even mentioned?
    Larry Cliptramer…

  23. Dougie!
    He’s such a kind and gentle person. The others are great musicians too, without a doubt, but Dougie Payne is one of a kind.

  24. What about the original Dougie? Dougie Thomson of Supertramp? One Scotsman, one American, and the rest English. How we soon forget…(sigh)…perhaps because he was lumped in with the English in the group or maybe because ST became more well known in Germany and Canada. Well, dammit *I* remember.

  25. Most recorded Bassist of the modern era,James Jamerson Motown/Hitsville Detroit on every hit during that time.Imagine the Motown Sound without Jamersons genuis melodies that have never been duplicated.He was on a level of his own with no other.The passing of James Jamerson at the age of 45 ended the classic Motown Sound but still churns out millions in revenue for Jobete.