NB: (1) also issued in the US (Sire ).
This was the first album released on Decca's progressive Nova label. Co-produced by Peter Sherter and Ian Sippin, much of the album bares an uncanny resemblance to early Spooky Tooth. Propelled by Bailey's hoarse vocal growl and the band's penchant for screaming guitars, this comparison is reinforced on tracks such as Going Home, Take These Chains and Out Of Us Two. Elsewhere Bailey sounds like Joe Cocker on Practically Never Happens, while Bob Weston's Slightly Country sounds like it was stolen from the early Steve Winwood and Traffic catalogue. With the exception of the pedestrian blues number
Backlash Blues the album, but including the extended Darkness, is worth hearing.
One of the cuts from the album, Practically Never Happens, got a further airing on Broken Dreams, Vol. 6 (LP).
(Marcel Koopman/Scott Blackerby)
NB: (1) released as Ashley.
A contemporary folk singer who'd been in The Albion Country Band and Ragged Robin.
The first 45 is reputedly by a different artist.
Ashton had left Rare Bird shortly before making this 45, which also featured Cyril Jordan on slide guitar. As many of you will know Cyril was a member of The Flamin' Groovies who were touring England at the time.
NB: (1) reissued on CD Line (LMCD 9.51136) 1992. (1), (2) and (3) reissued on CD (Repertoire REO 4565-WY, REP 4458-WY and REP 4457-WY respectively) 1994.
Something of a supergroup, Kim Gardner had been in The Birds and Creation prior to joining this band and Tony Ashton and Ron Dyke had been in The Remo Four. Their debut album lacked a certain amount of verve but was liberally laced with R&B influenced compositions and they scored an unexpected hit with the goodtime rock 'n' blues song Resurrection Shuffle in 1971.
Their second album explored a range of soul-flavoured rock styles with lyrics that often reflected on the evils of war. Eric Clapton and George Harrison guested on one of its better moments, I'm Your Spiritual Breadman and Chicken Shack's Stan Webb played guitar on another, Let It Roll. The final album was less political and more personal than the predecessor. Musically we're talking blues-rock here with the occasional track which veers more towards jazz-rock.
The trio was also featured on a couple of compilations:- Supergroups, Vol. 2 (1970) included Rolling Home and Rock Party contained Maiden Voyage.
NB: (1) reissued on Magic Mixture (MM 2) and on Holyground in 1989 (R1) and on CD (Background HBG 122/1 CD) 1992. The CD reissue is limited to 1,000 copies and includes two bonus tracks, Rock Me Babe, and a spacey version of Come On Home.
These two bands share a side each of this album which is a nice mixture of folk and psychedelia with lots of fuzz guitar. A very difficult record to find now, the original came with a poster cover and booklet and the reissue came with a booklet and was lavishly repackaged. The five Lightyears Away tracks are mostly quite folky and melodic with pleasant male vocals and the occasional female voice too. The exception is Yesterday which begins with a recording of a space launch which leads into lots of fuzz guitar work.
Thundermother were a studio creation and their contribution was recorded over a weekend (mostly on acid). They were an amalgam of various Preston artists:- David John (David John and The Mood), Fred Kelly (Rare Bird), Dave Millen (The Puppets) and Frank Newbould (Little Free Rock). To my ears the three Thundermother tracks are better. Today, Tomorrow, Someday and Country Lines are both notable for some discordant instrumental work whilst on the first cut the vocals are rather folky. The magnum opus, though, is the extended and highly experimental finale Boogie Music, which is imaginative with lots of good fuzzy guitar work - one of Holyground's finest moments.
Thundermother have also been the focus of another CD retrospective No Red Rowan (Kissing Spell KSG 003) 1995, which features material recorded between '70-'71. You can also Thundermother's Boogie Music and Rock Me Babe on Loose Routes.
Bill Nelson went on to found Be-Bop Deluxe.
This was the first Scottish-based beat group to record a single. The Edinburgh band recorded You Tell Me to help the student's annual charities appeal. It's reputedly poor and was also sold at the University Shop. The follow-up, a Slim Harpo song, was a big improvement and came in a picture bag. Their final effort, Thinking Of Your Love, was a Shadow's song, but after this and various line-up changes they fell apart.
This group won a Surrey Beat Group contest in 1964 which enabled them to record this very rare four track EP. The stand-out track on this was the slow bluesy number Let Me Show You How, which came with fuzzy guitar and garage-style vocals. The remaining cuts comprised a brief instrumental Guillotine and a couple of pleasant but mundane beat ballads, You're The One and Don't Say That Word.
NB: (1) reissued on vinyl (Get Back GET 552).
While making another UK "jazz" LP on a progressive label, this crew testified their closeness to rock by playing exclusively tracks such as Jimmy Webb's MacArthur Park, Harrison's Something and Lennon's Dear Prudence. Still, those songs were better served by the originals than by these re-makes. Double bass player Runswick executed a few beautiful bowed passages, but on the whole this fell between the chairs of jazz and rock and hit the floor with a nondescript thud. Buy yourself a Sonny Rollins album instead.
They also figure on Dawn's 1971 Dawn Takeaway Concert compilation playing Childhood Room (Exit Waltz).
NB: (1), (2) and (3) reissued on CD by Repertoire (REP 4135 WZ, REP 4069 WZ and REP 4563 WY respectively) 1995. (4) and (5) reissued on CD Sequel (NEM CD 610) and (NEM CD 611) in 1991. (4) reissued on CD (Repertoire REP 4165-WZ). (5) reissued on CD (Akarma AK 178). (4) also issued in the U.S.A. with a different cover (Elektra 75039) 1972. (5) also issued in the USA under the alternative title Atomic Rooster IV and with different artwork (Elektra 75074) 1973. (7) later reissued on Rawpower (RAWLP 027) in 1986. The band reformed in 1980 recording Atomic Rooster (EMI EMC 3341) that year. It was later reissued on Charisma (CHC 58) in 1986. The reformed band also recorded Headline News (Towerbell TOWLP 004) in 1983. The Devil Hits Back (Demi-Monde DMLP 1023) 1990 is an album of live material mostly from the 1980 Atomic Rooster comeback album and is not recommended.
NB: (6) as Vincent Crane's Atomic Rooster.
The central figure throughout the many line-ups of Atomic Rooster was Vince Crane, who'd previously played for The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Drummer, Carl Palmer, (ex-Chris Farlowe's Thunderbirds) had previously played with Crane on The Crazy World's US tour. They seem to have taken their name from an album by the American group Rhinoceros and, having quickly established themselves on the club and college circuit, issued a debut album Atomic Rooster in 1970, which was well received and sold enough copies to make the Top 50. A couple of tracks were also put out on a 45 but these failed to make much impact. Their promising start was rapidly arrested in 1970 when Nick Graham departed for Skin Alley, being replaced by John Cann (ex-Andromeda). In June, Carl Palmer also left, to became one third of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. He was replaced briefly by Rick Parnell (ex-Horse).
In the Autumn of 1970 Vince Crane put brought in former Farm drummer Paul Hammond to replace Parnell. This line-up played a much heavier brand of rock which proved popular with the punters. The Death Walks Behind You album made the UK Top 20 and they also enjoyed two Top 20 UK hit singles with Tomorrow Night and their best known song Devil's Answer, which peaked at No 4.
In 1971 they signed to Pegasus Records and with the addition of vocalist Pete French (ex-Big Bertha/Leaf Hound) they recorded the In Hearing Of album, which many consider to be their finest. Once again their progress was halted when John Cann and Paul Hammond left in September 1971 to form Bullet. Parnell rejoined with Steve Bolton (ex-Wide Open) and vocalist Paul French departed in February 1972 to the U.S. band Cactus.
The next line-up Crane pieced together (E) raised a few eyebrows by virtue of the inclusion of R&B singer Chris Farlowe (ex-Jon Hiseman's Colosseum). Supplemented by two girl backing vocalists Liza Strike and Doris Troy they changed from their previous hard rock format to a sort of soul funk recording a couple of albums and singles for Dawn. Earlier copies of Made In England came in a denim cover and, along with Nice 'n' Greasy (on which guitarist John Mandella also played), these are their rarest items. The Save Me 45 was also a non-album cut at the time. The sales of the two Dawn albums were disastrous and taking the view that the band's fortunes were in irreversible decline Crane disbanded them in 1973. The inevitable compilations appeared over subsequent years of which the Home To Roost double set was the most worthwhile.
During this period, Bolton left in Dec '72 to Headstone, being replaced by Mandella (aka Johnny Goodsall ex-Alan Bown). Farlowe left in May '73 to tour with a pickup band as Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds to promote an album.
For live appearances, they were joined by sax players Brian Juniper and Tony Super-Smooth (both ex-Grand Stamp). Parnell then joined Al Matthews' Last Word and Mandella/Goodsall joined Brand X.
Having done some further work with Arthur Brown in the interim Crane reformed the band in 1979 reuniting with John Cann and drummer Preston Hayman. They recorded an album and a couple of singles for EMI and then, with Hayman having been replaced by previous member Paul Hammond, a couple of singles for Polydor and an album for Towerbell. After the latter made no impact at all Vince Crane decided to bring the Atomic Rooster story to an end for good. He was briefly a member of Dexy's Midnight Runners. Sadly Vincent Crane committed suicide on Feb. 14 1989.
Atomic Rooster remain an important thread in the tapestry of early seventies progressive rock.
Stand By Me can also be heard on Ronco's 20 Star Tracks.
For more information check the following website: http://www.dryad.demon.co.uk/ar/rooster.htm
(Vernon Joynson / Frank Caccese / Victor Salazar/Jim McMaster)