Saturday, January 31, 2009

Keef Hartley - The Time Is Near


The core of Keef Hartley Band, along with Hartley and guitarist/vocalist Miller Anderson, was bassist Gary Thain. He was heavily influenced by bassist Duck Dunn from Booker T. and the MGs but, like Anderson and Hartley, possessed a clearer jazz spirit. The Time is Near... features a number of different horn and keyboard players, with its line-up settling down considerably for Overdog.

If Overdog is generally heavy, The Time is Near... is a lighter affair, with Anderson found on acoustic guitar as often as electric and songs like 'Morning Rain' sounding almost schizophrenic. Opening with a psychedelic reverse-attack collage of drums and horns, it's a song whose changes could find a place in the repertoire of roots rockers The Band if it weren't for Thain's funky bass line and trumpeter Henry Lowther's soul-drenched horn arrangement. 'From The Window' could easily have come from Motown, but the shifting tempo and more complex horn parts that ultimately resolve into a sunnier, ambling groove are indicative of greater depth and complexity. Keef Hartley Band may not have been considered a progressive rock group by connotation, but its combination of soul, jazz, rock and folk here are progressive by stricter definition.

Hartley was fortunate to find Miller, who writes all but one song on The Time Is Near.... Possessing enough grit to deliver the stronger message of the nearly ten-minute title track but equally capable of carrying the gentler classical guitar/trumpet duo of "Another Time Another Place," his voice is so versatile that these two tracks almost sound as if they're being sung by different people. An equally versatile guitarist, he delivers a gritty, blues-drenched solo on the title track and the final part of 'You Can't Take It With You',which also features a blistering saxophone solo from Lyle Jenkins during its lithely swinging 6/8 middle section.

The only non-Miller track on the disc is 'Premonition', an instrumental by trumpeter Dave Caswell, another fine player who seems to have disappeared without a trace. It's essentially a light two-chord vamp with a brief chorus that paves the way for strong solos from both Caswell and Jenkins.

The rhythm section team of Hartley and Thain powers the material throughout. It's hard to judge which of these two reissues is a better record since they're both so different (while remarkably still managing to sound like the same group), but The Time Is Near... gets a subtle nod for its broader mix of styles and a group sound that’s as distinctive as its American counterparts, while feeling less like a group looking for a hit. Instead, Keef Hartley Band seems to have hoped that the audience would come to it, and while it had its brief moment in the spotlight, there's no musical reason why it should have been less successful than Chicago or BS&T other than the fact that it never got the international promotion it deserved.

Together with Colosseum, the Keef Hartley Band of the late 60s, forged jazz and rock music sympathetically to appeal to the UK progressive music scene. Drummer Hartley had already seen vast experience in live performances as Ringo Starr's replacement in Rory Storm And The Hurricanes. When Merseybeat died, Hartley was enlisted by the London based R&B band the Artwoods, whose line-up included future Deep Purple leader Jon Lord. Hartley was present on their only album, "Art Gallery" (now a much sought-after collectors item). He joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and was present during one of Mayall’s vintage periods. Both "Crusade" and "Diary Of A Band" highlighted Hartley's economical drumming and faultless timing. The brass-laden instrumental track on John Mayall's "Bare Wires" is titled "Hartley Quits". The good-natured banter between Hartley and his ex-boss continued onto Hartley's strong debut, "Halfbreed". The opening track "Hearts And Flowers" has the voice of Mayall on the telephone officially sacking Hartley, albeit tongue-in-cheek, while the closing track"Sacked" has Hartley dismissing Mayall! The music in-between features some of the best ever late 60s jazz-influenced blues, and the album remains anundiscovered classic. The band for the first album comprised: Miller Anderson, guitar and vocals, the late Gary Thain (b. New Zealand d. 19 March 1976; bass), later with Uriah Heep; Peter Dines (organ) and Spit James (guitar). Later members to join Hartley's fluid lineup included Mick Weaver(aka Wynder K. Frog) organ, Henry Lowther (b. 11 July 1941, Leicester, England; trumpet/violin), Jimmy Jewell (saxophone), Johnny Almond (flute),Jon Hiseman and Harry Beckett. Hartley, often dressed as an American Indian, sometimes soberly, sometimes in full head-dress and war-paint,was a popular attraction on the small club scene. His was one of the few British bands to play the Woodstock Festival, where his critics compared him favourably with Blood Sweat And Tears. "The Battle Of NW6" in 1969 further enhanced his club reputation, although chart success still eluded him.

01 - Morning Rain
02 - From The Window
03 - The Time Is Near
04 - You Can't Take It With You
05 - Premonition
06 - Another Time, Another Place
07 - Change


Friday, January 30, 2009

Star Fleet - Brian May And Friends

Brian May's Thoughts On Star Fleet

I hope people will take Star Fleet Project [Capitol, MLP 15014] in the spirit in which it was done. It wasn't made for release in the beginning,
but I think it should be fun for some poeple to listen to. All the mistakes were left in; I've even written that on the album.
I wanted to leave the rough edges because I want people to feel like they were there. I didn't want it to sound like it had been worked on
and messed around with too much.
The musicians on the project are some of the best friends I have in the business, and also the people I respect most from a playing point of view.
I asked them if they would come in and play around with me. They all said, "Yeah, we'd like to". Luckily, they all had a little break in their schedules,
and they could come in. This project brought out unusual things in all of us; we really worked on each other a lot. This is not Edward and me, but Phillip, too. He's very different style of bassist from what I've been used to. He is one of the originators of a style. I've always watched him and thought it would be interesting to play with him because he has this very percussive style which you'd almost think wouldn't fit into rock'n'roll, but, in fact,it propels it along. He's very good. I've known Alan for quite a while, but I had no idea what it would be like to play with him. When you hear people's record, you have no idea, really, what they would be like to play with. But it was great. the incredible thing about him is his consistency. He could go for 12 hours, and if you picked up his tempo from the begining, it would be the same as the end. He's like a rock, particularly on the blues thing where you just feel that solidity which gives the track a sort of integrity. I really like that.

There weren't any rehearsals, except that we played around at each other's houses a little bit, acoustically. I'd been to Edward's studio in his home, and I played a little with him - nothing very organized. I value Edward's friendship more than anything, really. I have total respect for him as a player, but what's important to me is that we're good friends. I wanted to make sure I didn't waste anybody's time, so I did a little bit of preparation. I made a rough demo of the format of "Star Fleet", which originally was a theme tune for a Saturday morning science fiction serial for kids in England. There were just a couple of verses of this song on the end, which really caught my imagination, so I tried to get in touch with the guy who had written the song, Paul Bliss, and couldn't at the time. So I pressed on and did some arrangement around a couple of verses and wrote extra middle bit for it. Later I got in touch with him, and he said it was a pity that I coudn't find him in the early days because he's got some more verse in the middle - which I'm dying to hear - but it was too late for the project. My song does follow his musical theme, and I used the verse he wrote. He's a keyboard player who has done a lot of writing for various people.

When we recorded this, we went into the studio about 12:00 midday. We already knew rought what we wanted to do because we talked about it, and played them
a couple of demos. We worked till about 11:00 at night. A lot of it was talking rather than playing, but we did a lot of playing, too. There's a lot of
stuff which isn't on the album, obviously, but I think the most listenable music is there. There isn't much else that you would call "songs" on the rest of it. It's just a lot of playing around, a lot of different rhythms. I don't think it would be of as much interest. "Star Fleet" was done on the first day. I thought it was the most adventurous and ambitious thing to try. We were very up and full of nervous tension. I think you can tell by the way we played. We all didn't know each other, and it was very electric. Everyone looked at each other and was wondering what the hell was going to happen next - very funny. I went home totally exhausted with a splitting headache, but very happy.

The next day we all knew each other, and it was much more relaxed. We did "Let Me Out" and then a lot of blues jamming around and a few other bits and pieces. I used the guitar I always use, which I made with my father years ago. I didn't have my whole pedalboard business. I just had a couple of Vox Ac-30 amps and a Boss (Chorus Ensemble) pedal to stereoize them, which is the way I like to play these things. So generally in the mix you hear me in stereo on the left and right through those two amps, and Edward in the middle with his echo floating around each side. That will proably help you figure it out. If you hear it on head phones, it's very obvious who does what: My stuff is in each ear, and Edward's in the middle. At the end of one song, one of my amp blew up, so I had to put me on one side and him on the other. And the amp was brand new! Ed was playing his regular guitar - the original red one - and a Marshall top and a Marshall cabinet. He has slightly more edge to his sound than mine, which is sort of thick. There is very little
vibrato bar from either of us.

In a way, Eddie's and my playing sound much more alike here than it does with our respectives bands, particularly on the blues stuff. Electric blues is where I came from originally. Way before Queen formed, I used to play blues. One of my first inspirations was Eric Clapton on that John Mayall Blues Breakers album (London, LC50009), the one with the Beano comic book on the cover. The same with Eddie. We got to taking about that, and that's where the "Blues Breakers" track came from. That was totally unplanned. We were just talking about those sessions, and what it must have been like in those days when everything was a bit freer and easier. We started kicking around those little riffs which are a bit like Blues Breakers, and just let the
tape roll as we played around. Although "Star Fleet" was sort of structured, I wanted to have a bit of arrangement and a little bit of trading off together, and then I wanted to give Edward a place to just let loose. It was built around wanting to have this bit where I could just lay down the chords, and he would let loose in the middle. That track begins with Edward doing fingerboard tap. Later on he does the line with harmonics, and I layered in the
harmony guitar parts. Then at the end, we did a climb together. That was a great feeling, because we just stood on each side of the board and worked out roughly how it should be. We said we have to start here and end up there - go up in more or less semitones, but get to the right place at the right time. That was fun - he played his better than I played mine!. The song fades and then starts up again, which was completely sponteneous. Edward has this
thing that ha can never stop playing (laughs). So every time everybody else thought we'd finished, he'd be going, "chack, chacka, chack, chack". So those plucked chords there are his. He's just so inspiring it's ridiculous.

There was no overdubbing at all, except to produce the harmony guitar on "Star Fleet". I didn't want to overdub because I wanted to preserve the original feel. We kept everything. There's a place where Edward breaks a string towards the end of "Let Me Out". First of all, we thought, "Well, should we do something about that?" And then I thought, "No, it's great because nobody has ever heard that on a record before". There's all sort of talking to each other that you can hear if you listen very carefully, and bits where we slip around. I don't think it's a matter for concern. I would rather leave that in there and keep it original.

I worked on "Star Fleet" a little to make a single version. I wanted to have something which was instantly accessible, so I made a little introduction on the single version instead of sort of long preamble on the mini-album. So the single gets into the song very quickly, and it lasts about half the length. I made it to tell people about the album. I've been working very hard on making a video for "Star Fleet". The people who made the series, which originally was Japanese, heve very kindly given me access to footage that I'm using. We're putting a whole little story together using the original shots of theirs. I'm also telling the story - a sort of figure who appears, a background narrator. It's amazing how long it takes. I've been working on the Queen material
and trying to do that, and it's nearly killing me. But I'm very enthusiastic about the way it's turned out, because I love the series and want people to be able to share the feeling of that, too. It's great stuff. The hero of the piece is called Shiro, who is the chief pilot of Star Fleet. And he
flies along with his friends, three little space rockets which detach from the main X-bomber. At one point whene things get really bad - when he's under fire from the enemy - the three modules join up to form one and become this robot which is controlled by him. The robot can go down and fight on land. He smashes tanks with his fists, fires torpedoes, stamps on stuff with his feet, and all kind of things. It blows my mind. It's most amazing the way it's put together. The models are incredible. My experience working on the soundtrack for Flash Gordon came in handly for this. It's very similar, actually. I think I should go into this full-time.

There weren't any reservations from the other musicans as far as releasing Star Fleet Project. Everyone was very positive and has been wonderful to me. In the begining I didn't want to put it out because I thought it was private, and I didn't know if it would be in good taste to release it. I played it to a feww friends, and they said, "Really, you should, because a lot of people would like to hear this stuff". So I spoke to each other of the guys individually, and they all said, "Hey, do what you want with it. We'll be happy". The only thing which was really hard was getting the paper-work done. These days people's contracts are such complete maze. It took literally a couple of months to get through all the paper-work that was necessary from management and record companies. And that's with the best will in the world; nobody was trying to make it difficult. Queen was leaving Elektra at the time, which was the final piece we had to get into place before we could put anything out. It's a big headache, but I think it's worth it. I want people to know that this is just a one-off thing, a piece of fun. It's not like anyone's leaving their group or anything; there's no hint of that. We're all very much involved with our bands activities. This was just a little trip out.

Star Fleet Project, a three-cut mini-album credited to Brian May & Friends, documents the rare airing of two rock's foremost guitarist in an informal jam setting: Brian May of Queen and Eddie Van Halen.
The sessions took place in Los Angeles on April 21 and 22, 1983.
Also in attendance were Alice Cooper keyboardist Fred Mandel, REO Speedwagon drummer Alan Gratzer, and Phil Chen, bassist for the Rod Stewart band.

"Star Fleet", the project's single, contains brief example of May's layered guitar technique, a signature sound on many Queen hits. May and Van Halen
swap hot blues solos in "Let Me Out" and "Blues Breaker", which total 20 minutes.

"Star Fleet" - (Brian May) - 8.05
"Let Me Out" - (Brian May) - 7.13
"Blues Breaker" (Dedicated to Eric Clapton) - (Brain May/Eddie Van Halen) - 12.51

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Half breed - Keef Hartley

Keef Hartley came to prominence as a member of the British R&B group The Artwoods before joining John Mayall'sBluesbreakers in 1967.

He contributed to the album Crusade before leaving in 1968 to form the first line-up of his own band. With Gary Thain (bass), Peter Dines (keyboards), Spit James (guitar) and horn section that was a whos who of British jazz (Henry Lowther, Chris Mercer, Lyn Dobson and Harry Beckett), Hartley recorded his first album for Decca'sDeram label in March 1969. Now regarded as a classic of the genre, Halfbreed is a fine example of the fusion of rock, jazz and blues.

1. Sacked Introducing Hearts and Flowers/Confusion Theme/The Halfbreed
2. Born to Die
3. Sinnin' for You
4. Leavin' Trunk
5. Just to Cry
6. Too Much Thinking
7. Think It Over/Too Much to Take
8. Leave It 'Til the Morning

* Miller Anderson - Vocals, Guitar
* Peter Dines - Organ, Harpsichord
* Spit James - Guitar
* Gary Thain - Bass Guitar
* Keef Hartley - Drums
* Henry Lowther - Trumpet, Violin, Brass arrangements
* Harry Beckett - Trumpet
* Lynn Dobson - Tenor Sax, Flute
* Chris Mercer - Tenor Sax
* John Mayall - voice, on "Sacked" and "Too Much to Take"
* Derek Varnals - Recording Engineer
* Adrian Martins - Assistant Engineer

Download link

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Battle For Northwest Six - Keef Hartley


Together with Colosseum, the Keef Hartley Band of the late 60s, forged jazz and rock music sympathetically to appeal to the UK progressive music scene.
Drummer Hartley had already seen vast experience in live performances as Ringo Starr's replacement in Rory Storm And The Hurricanes. When Merseybeat died, Hartley was enlisted by the London based R&B band the Artwoods, whose line-up included future Deep Purple leader Jon Lord. Hartley was present on their only album, "Art Gallery" (now a much sought-after collectors item). He joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and was present during one of Mayall’s vintage periods.

Both "Crusade" and "Diary Of A Band" highlighted Hartley's economical drumming and faultless timing. The brass-laden instrumental track on John Mayall's "Bare Wires" is titled "Hartley Quits". The good-natured banter between Hartley and his ex-boss continued onto Hartley's strong debut, "Halfbreed". The opening track "Hearts And Flowers" has the voice of Mayall on the telephone officially sacking Hartley, albeit tongue-in-cheek, while the closing track
"Sacked" has Hartley dismissing Mayall! The music in-between features some of the best ever late 60s jazz-influenced blues, and the album remains an undiscovered classic. The band for the first album comprised: Miller Anderson, guitar and vocals, the late Gary Thain (b. New Zealand d. 19 March 1976; bass) , later with Uriah Heep; Peter Dines (organ) and Spit James (guitar). Later members to join Hartley's fluid lineup included Mick Weaver (aka Wynder K. Frog) organ, Henry Lowther (b. 11 July 1941, Leicester, England; trumpet/violin), Jimmy Jewell (saxophone), Johnny Almond (flute), Jon Hiseman and Harry Beckett. Hartley, often dressed as an American Indian, sometimes soberly, sometimes in full head-dress and war-paint,
was a popular attraction on the small club scene.
His was one of the few British bands to play the Woodstock Festival, where his critics compared him favourably with Blood Sweat And Tears. "The Battle Of NW6" in 1969 further enhanced his club reputation, although chart success still eluded him. By the time of the third album both Lowther and Jewell had departed, although Hartley always maintained that his band was like a jazz band, in that musicians would come and go and be free to play with other aggregations.

Dave Caswell and Lyle Jenkins came in and made "The Time Is Near". This album demonstrated Miller Anderson's fine songwriting ability,
and long-time producer Neil Slaven's excellent production. They were justly rewarded when the album briefly nudged its way into the UK and US charts.
Subsequent albums lost the fire that Hartley kindled on the first three, although the formation of his Little Big Band and the subsequent live album had some fine moments. The recording at London's Marquee club saw the largest ever band assembled on the tiny stage, almost the entire British jazz/rock fraternity seemed to be present, including Chris Mercer, Lynn Dobson, Ray Warleigh, Barbara Thompson, and Derek Wadsworth. Regrettably Hartley has been largely inactive for many years apart from the occasional tour with John Mayall and sessions with Michael Chapman

The second Keef Hartley Band album was, according to Hartley's own sleeve notes for this re-issue, recorded without the restraints of the first album, Halfbreed. In reality that meant the group had a whole two weeks to record everything! The title of the album stems from the fact that the group were forced by Decca to record in the label's own studios which were, to say the least, antiquated and more used to recording Mantovani than a five-piece band and horn section. Although only recorded a few months after the first album, there were a few changes in personnel. Hartley (drums), Miller Anderson (guitar and vocals), Gary Thain (bass) and Spit James (guitar) remained of the core band with Mick Weaver taking over from Peter Dines on organ. The first class horn section of Henry Lowther (trumpet, flugelhorn and violin), Harry Beckett (trumpet and flugelhorn), Lynn Dobson (tenor sax and flute) and Chris Mercer (tenor sax) were augmented with Jim Jewell (tenor sax), Mike Davis (trumpet), Barbara Thompson (baritone sax and flute) and Ray Warleigh (flute). Even future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, who was at that time in the Bluesbreakers and sharing a flat with Hartley, makes an appearance on the final track.

Given the short time period since the release of the debut album, stylistically the music had changed quite a bit. Not so heavily blues influenced, there is an overall greater feeling of experimentation. This is clearly evident on opening number The Dansette Kid / Hartley Jam For Bread which is a very rhythmic tune allowing Spit James free reign to solo with Lowther's brass arrangement adding that extra bit of spice. Don't Give Up shows that Anderson is not just adept at singing the blues, but can also be a bit of a crooner! A more acoustic side than previously displayed, the dual flugelhorns add a different timbre to the song, particularly on the fade-out where each instrument solos independently and yet still manage to provide an integrated sound. Heading back to the blues, Me And My Woman is a showcase for Anderson who not only sings but provides lead guitar. The baritone sax is evident and the jazzy piano can just about be differentiated playing along in the background. For those who like the sound of the flute then Hickory will be a particular delight. Warleigh handles the main theme and improvisation whilst Thompson and Dobson provide a counter melody, a delightful piece with the organs, drums and guitar laid back to provide a basic backing that doesn't interfere with the flautists. Don't Be Afraid is a number that stems from the early days of the band and could easily have been included on Halfbreed as it is very much in the style of the music on that album, with the Hammond playing a more prominent role.

Not Foolish, Not Wise makes full use of the enhanced brass section who battle it out with the guitar and keyboards for pole position. A drum solo splits the song before Jewell lays down a tenor sax solo that is jazzy whilst simultaneously not being jazz. Waiting Around is another number that takes the group away from the original blues base. Piano added to a totally different vocal style from Anderson certainly display the originality of the newer compositions, although whether this can, as the original sleeve notes intimated, be viewed as a maturity of writing is debatable. A section of a long 12-bar blues improvisation largely featuring Weaver's organ forms the basis of Tadpole. Being a massive fan of the various sounds created by the Hammond organ, I love this track! Jim Jewell lays some tasty tenor sax down and Spit James complements it all with some understated guitar licks. Poor Mabel is a rather tongue-in-cheek country number with an uncredited harmonica. Largely forgettable but with some amusing lyrics it provides a bit of a break before the final track which showed 'an important step forward for the band', although I am not sure how! Nonetheless, Believe In You is a decent enough track, enhanced by Lowther's violin solo and the presence of Mick Taylor's guitar (although barely heard) in the middle and end passages.

The Battle Of Northwest Six is certainly a decent enough follow-up to the group's debut album and although featuring a few stand-out tracks lacks the edge of Halfbreed. Still, there is certainly enough to entertain anyone who found enjoyment in the first album, although as with the debut, the progressive aspects of the music are few and far between. Even so, it is good to have this music available once again and all credit to Esoteric for reviving albums that have an importance in musical history.

download here

Spiders From Mars LP


In 1976 the Spiders From Mars album was released. In 1975 the Spiders From Mars had been reformed by Trevor Bolder and Woody Woodmansey but without
Mick Ronson and with no contribution or connection to David Bowie.

The new Spiders From Mars lineup was Trevor Bolder on bass, Woody Woodmansey on drums and newcomers Dave Black on guitar and Pete McDonald on vocals.
Mike Garson supplied keyboards for the album.

Pete McDonald-vocals
Woody Woodmansey-drums
Dave Black-guitar
Trevor Bolder-bass
Special thanks to Mike Garson - keyboards


Red Eyes (T.Bolder/P.McDonald)
Shine A light (D.Black/P/McDonald)
White Man - Black Man (P.McDonald)
Fallen Star (D.Black)
Prisoner (D.Black)
(I Don't Wanna Do No ) Limbo (T.Bolder/P.McDonald)
Stranger to my Door (T.Bolder/P.McDonald)
Good Day America (M.Woodmansey)
Rainbow (T.Bolder)
Can It Be Far( D.Black/P.McDonald)

Produced by: Dennis McKay and Spiders From Mars for Oak Records.
Engineered by: Pete Kelsey and Gerry Smith
Recorded and mixed at: Trident Studios, London.

From the albums back cover:

"Mars, fourth planet from the Sun, the Roman god of war. The very word has an emotive ring and just the kind of place that might be inhabited by eight-legged, web-spinning music.

The Spiders From Mars, here on earth, are not so much interested in entrapping insects,
as engaging attention. Born from the rib of the rock god Bowie, the Spiders have an honoured name on the tablets of rock.

Immortalised in the Ziggy Stardust saga, the band which backed David Bowie to stardom now have their sights set upon higher things for themselves. But a Martian mystery still prevails. Who are these men who bombarded our planet with an intergalactic rhythm? As their cosmic telephone rings, should we answer? It would be a shame if the world chose to ignore the Spiders, for they have immense power, a wide spectrum of ideas is at their command and we Earthlings could well benefit from their superior knowledge" - Chris Welch/Melody Maker.

I have ripped this album from an original vinyl copy. But i have had it for the best part of 25 years. You could say we have grown up together Been to the same parties,woken up in strange bedrooms , I'm sure we've even shared the odd drink together, Hence the quality of some of the tracks are not the best If you are looking for crystal clear audio files Avoid, If on the other hand you want a slice of good old 70's rock do yourself a favour and give this a listen too

So You Have Been Warned

Download Link

Toe Fat

The Gods (who included future Uriah Heep members Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake) replaced bassist John Glascock with Cliff Bennett and re-formed briefly as Toe Fat. Their eponymous debut appeared in July 1970, by which time Hensley and Heep had already released their first album. And that was the end of that

Toe Fat was an English rock music band active from June 1969 to 1971, notable for including two future members of Uriah Heep.

Formed in June 1969, the band was fronted by former Rebel Rouser Cliff Bennett and in the course of its two-year, two-LP career, featured lead guitarist Ken Hensley, guitarist/bassist Joe Konas, drummer Lee Kerslake, and replacements (after the first LP) John Glascock (bass), Brian Glascock (drums), Alan Kendall (guitar).

The band was founded by Bennett, a former pop star, after the dissolution of the Cliff Bennett Band. He teamed with former Gods keyboard player Hensley, who drafted in fellow ex-Gods members Kerslake and Glascock. The name was decided over dinner when Bennett and his manager attempted to create the most disgusting band name possible.

Toe Fat was quickly signed by Motown's progressive rock label, Rare Earth in the US. In Britain, the band signed with EMI, who released their first album on the Parlophone label and the second on Regal Zonophone.

The eponymously titled first album flopped commercially, but gained considerable critical praise. Such was their stir that after their first single "Workin' Nights" (the B-side was an early Elton John composition "Bad Side of the Moon") they were booked for a tour supporting Derek and the Dominos in the US. The album was also notable for its cover designed by the recently formed graphic art company Hipgnosis, who went on to do most of the covers for Pink Floyd. The cover shows a man on a beach with the head of a toe superimposed. On the U.K. release, a topless woman is shown in the background with the same head that was erased for the U.S. release.

Hensley quit the band to form the successful Uriah Heep (Bennett himself admitted in the sleeve notes of his re-released Rebellion album that he "probably should have joined them" when asked). Kerslake left to join the National Head Band before also joining Uriah Heep in 1971. Bassist Konas was replaced in the down time between records, with John Glascock (also formerly of The Gods and who later joined Jethro Tull) replacing him. Another ex-Gods man, Brian Glascock, became the new drummer. Alan Kendall replaced Hensley, adding more heavy licks to the new record, simply titled Toe Fat Two.

Jonathan Peel (not the D.J.) produced Toe Fat 2 after hearing them on several BBC radio sessions, including one for Terry Wogan! However, the new LP also flopped, despite more radio play, and a reasonably successful US tour promoting it. Following these successive failures, their management and labels informed the group that they could no longer fund them. Toe Fat dissolved while showing great promise, with Bennett later insisting things were starting to happen for the group.

Bennett recorded an ill-fated solo album, Rebellion, before quitting music to become a shipping magnate. Bennett still occasionally tours with the Rebel Rousers.

Alan Kendall and Brian Glascock went on to play with and write for the Bee Gees


1 That's My Love for You 4:02
2 Bad Side of the Moon 3:25
3 Nobody 6:05
4 The Wherefors and the Whys 3:44
5 But I'm Wrong 4:00
6 Just Like Me 4:12
7 Just Like All the Rest 2:32
8 I Can't Believe 4:00
9 Working Nights 2:33
10 You Tried to Take It All 4:25


1. Stick Heat 6:18
2. Indian Summer 2:07
3. Idol 3:32
4. There'll Be Changes 6:52
5. A New Way 7:55
6. Since You've Been Gone 4:48
7. Three Time Loser 4:30
8. Midnight Sun 4:43
09 Brand New Band Bonus (single A-side) 3:01
10 Can't Live Without You Bonus (single B--side) 3:33


The Gods - To Samuel A Son

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The Gods" were an English group founded in 1965. The bandmembers included Mick Taylor (later with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the Rolling Stones), Brian Glascock and John Glascock (later of Jethro Tull). They were schoolmates from Hatfield and had been playing together as The Juniors (or The Strangers), a band they formed in 1962. Also part of this band were Malcolm Collins and Alan Shacklock. They eventually signed with EMI / Columbia Records. Their first 7" single (Columbia DB7339) appeared in 1964 ("There's a Pretty Girl"/"Pocket Size"). In 1965 the line-up was changed. Mick Taylor continued to play guitar and teamed up with Ken Hensley (organ/vocals) (later guitarist with Uriah Heep). They also added Joe Konas (guitar/vocals) and changed their name to "The Gods". In 1966 The Gods opened for Cream at the Starlite Ballroom in Wembley, London. A single (Come On Down To My Boat Baby/Garage Man) was recorded in early 1967. At this point the line-up included Mick Taylor, Ken Hensley, John Glascock, Brian Glascock and Lee Kerslake.

In May 1967 Mick Taylor got a call from John Mayall who was looking for a new guitarist. When Taylor joined the Bluesbreakers, he left behind a faltering bluesband. The band sought to revive their fortunes on the club/college circuit. They relocated to London and secured a residency at The Marquee. John Glascock (bass) was replaced by Greg Lake in June 1967. The problem was that Greg Lake was too talented for the background role the rest of the band had in mind for him and in the Summer of 1968 he split to join King Crimson. The band had to re-group again and John Glascock was asked to return.

With John Glascock back in the fold they recorded a couple of interesting progressive rock albums and a few 45s. Of their 45s, "Hey! Bulldog", the Beatles track, is their best known, and both sides have been included on compilation CD "The Great British Psychedelic Trip Vol. 3". The band played an imaginative amalgam of psychedelia and progressivism. Tracks like "Towards The Skies" and "Time And Eternity" from their 1968 album Genesis are full of heavy ploughing Hammond organ and distorted guitar riffs and Ken Hensley's unique and rather dramatic vocals add a further dimension.

Most of The Gods' material is pretty typical late sixties pop/rock, epitomised by songs like "Radio Show" and "Yes I Cry". The compilation album The Best Of The Gods offers a good way to get to know the band's music. There are shades of Vanilla Fudge on their cover of West Side Story extract "Maria". On a few tracks like "Candlelight" and "Real Love Guaranteed" there is an inkling of the heavier sound Hensley and Kerslake would propagate in their next venture, Uriah Heep.

The Gods were the successors of the Rolling Stones at the famous Marquee Club in London. After recording two albums, Genesis (1968) and To Samuel a Son (1969), they signed with a new record company, recruited Rebel Rousers singer Cliff Bennett and changed their name to Toe Fat which also lasted two years and two albums.

Reissue Liner Notes

After leaving Stevenage based R&B outfit The Jimmy Brown Sound in early 1965, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Ken Hensley formed The Gods with Mick Taylor (guitar), John Glasscock (bass/vocals) and Brian Glasscock (drums). However, this lineup only lasted until June 1967 when Taylor quit to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and then the Rolling Stones. Hensley then moved to Hampshire where, whilst living in a van(!), he met up with bassist Paul Newton and put together a new version of The Gods which featured Hensley, Newton, drummer Lee Kerslake and guitarist John Konas. However, despite building up a good following on the South Coast college circuit, Newton left (he later became a founding member of Uriah Heep) and was replaced by Greg Lake. With a residency at London's Marquee and a contract with EMI's Columbia label it looked like The Gods would at last release something but, as Hensley recalls, "Just as we were about to start recording we had a falling out with Greg. The main problem was that he was far too talented to be kept in the background."

The Gods: Joe Konas, Lee Kerslake, John Glascock, Ken HensleyWith Lake leaving in the summer of 1968 to form King Crimson (and later Emerson, Lake & Palmer), John Glasscock returned to the lineup and the band released the album Genesis (SCX 6286), now an £85 collectors item, and the single "Baby's Rich" / "Somewhere In The Street" (DB 8486), all recorded on a four-track studio. This was followed by the singles "Hey Bulldog" / "Real Love Guaranteed" (DB 8544) and "Maria" (from "West Side Story") / "Long Time Sad Time Bad Time" (DB 8572), both released in 1969, though by the time the band's second LP To Samuel A Son (SCX 6372) was released at the end of the year The Gods had long since ceased to exist. In fact they had become the band Toe Fat backing ex-Rebel Rouser Cliff Bennett and appeared on one self-titled LP released on Parlophone.

Following this, Ken Hensley became a founding member of Uriah Heep where he again teamed up with Paul Newton. He also released three solo LPs ("Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf", "Eager To Please" and "Free Spirit") as well as working with the likes of Blackfoot and Ozzy Osbourne. Kerslake, after a short spell with the National Head Band, also joined Uriah Heep whilst John Glasscock later worked with Chicken Shack, Carmen and Jethro Tull whilst Konos quit the playing side to run a music shop in Ontario, Canada.

Mark Brennan

Track Listing

1. To Samuel A Son (3:29)
2. Three O' Clock In The Morning (3:16)
3. He's Growing (2:25)
4. Sticking Wings On Flies (2:39)
5. Lady Lady (3:18)
6. Penny Dear (2:34)
7. Long Time, Sad Time, Bad Time (3:12)
8. Five To Three (2:59)
9. Autumn (3:12)
10. Yes I Cry (2:42)
11. Groozy (3:41)
12. Momma I Need (3:57)
13. Candlelight (2:34)
14. Lovely Anita (3:32)
15. Maria (3:58)*

Total Time: 48:40

- Ken Hensley / keyboards, vocals
- Joe Konas / guitars, vocals
- Lee Kerslake / drums, vocals
- John Glascock / bass, vocals

Download link


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rough Diamond - David Byron

"At the end of June 1976 David Byron ended what had been a six and one half year association with Uriah Heep. While this termination with that band seemed outwardly abrupt, it had been brewing within his own mind for some months
Several days later Geoff Britton, an old friend who had been a member of wings,called to ask Byron about his immediate plans. At this point they were somewhat vague,but Geoff convinced the singer that forming a new band was the right thing to do.
The decision made ,David called upon Stephen Barnett,an old friend,to guide them through the transition and become the bands manager.
Geoff and Dave had long admired Clem Clempson's guitar prowess as exhibited in Colosseum and Humble Pie,and decided to approach him.Clem,in the meantime,had just finished an American tour with the Steve Marriott All-Stars together with Damon Butcher, an extremely adept and unheralded keyboard player. The two of them were apparently going to form a band in Los Angles,but decided to return to London in search of a vocalist.
When they got back,the four of them got together and after several Vodkas and an hour of blowing,decided that what they had was a very interesting cross current of musical concept sand individual ideas of portraying them,which were diverse and yet highly compatible and frequently entertaining.The identity was already beginning to come through.
Their search for the fifth member was the longest and most frustrating;they tried out virtually every bass Guitarist you might have heard of and several you haven't. But it was Willie Bath, a freind of Geoff's and a highly experienced and respected musician who fitted in immediately.
Rough Diamond has enjoyed every minute of making this music and hope you do too."

Kicking off with the exuberant "Rock 'N' Roll", in which Byron seems to refer to his time with Uriah Heep when he sings , "I've given my life to a band on the road, I made my mistakes and maybe they showed, but I live for today, cause tomorrow's far away", he and the band seem absolutely upbeat and positive and quite frankly it's infectious and you kinda feel upbeat and positive yourself. Nice (but short) sax solo too. I think that when another reviewer suggests that these songs all start well but don't ever seem to build into anything is a fallacy. I mean maybe this guy was in a bad mood after being flipped off on his way home from work when he wrote that because each song here seems very well constructed and follows a natural progression to logical conclusions. No, there aren't any sudden rythmic Can freakouts on display but there are a lot of well produced mid tempo tracks and rockers deftly blended. "Seasong" is a real standout and shows how Byron could own any ballad he set his mind to. And that's the key here, Byron seems reinvigorated by his new bandmates and well he should be. Clem Clempson shows off an array of styles, powerful and rockin' on "By The Horn" (which features some Beatlesesque 'cmon, c'mon' back up vocals) and offering up searing solos like that heard on "Scared" , which sounds like something from a more intense Lennon song of the early 70's. Keyboard player Damon Butcher is not someone you've ever heard of but he certainly SHOULD have been on the strength of his varied contributions on piano and Hammond organ heard here. His sometimes subtle contributions add another layer of depth to an already thick sound. He was talented beyond his years and I'm surprised he never did anything of note after this. His solo piano piece, "The Link", is impressive indeed. The final song, "End of the Line" is a smoldering slow burn groove (with much thanks to Clempson's dark chords) and features some slightly ironic lines like, "But I've served my time and now it's past, there ain't no no no no way I'm going back to that line." Sorry David but you would right after the tour for this album.
Unlike many albums this one holds together and has a nice feeling of cohesiveness. This record was made by a bunch of guys who cared about the final product and a good listen will show it is a well polished and well produced slice of later 70's rock. It's not as heavy as a Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath album of the era but then Byron, Clempson and Britton (not to mention Butcher and bassist Willie Bath) were not into playing that type of music in the first place. Byron's solo album from one year before this (Take No Prisoners) showed his love of old time rockers with a bit of the mystical and storyteller thrown in. That's basically what you get here with a cleaner sound and a set that is just more consistent.

Track List

1. Rock And Roll 3.30
2. Looking For You 4.05
3. Lock And Key 4.55
4. Sea-Song 7.30
5. By The Horn 3.15
6. Scared 5.32
7. Hobo 5.50
8. The Link 2.20
9. End Of The Line 4.40

DOWNLOAD LINK byron-Rough Diamond - Rough Diamond (1977).zip

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Faced Killer - David Byron

Baby Faced Killer is the 2nd solo album of British rock singer David Byron. It was his first Solo Album since being sacked by Uriah Heep And Departing The Then "Super Group" Rough Diamond Who's Solitary Self Titled Album Is Well worth A Listen

This album is perhaps a bit on the light side especially when you consider it was released in the UK right in the middle of the Punk Revolution , but nonetheless It has some excellent songs on it if a bit diverse. Sadly this would be Byron's penultimate album before dying a lonely death His years of alcohol abuse finally catching up with him. Ironically he turned down the chance to re-join Uriah Heep a couple of years before his death.

David Byron will live on in the memories, and on the turntables (yes Turntables) of many rock fans out there, He was one of the original true rock front men where his only true home was on a stage with an audience eating out of his hand


Track Listing

  1. Baby Faced Killer (Byron / Boone) – 3:10
  2. Rich Man's Lady (Byron / Boone) – 3:51
  3. Sleepless Nights (Byron / Boone) – 3:48
  4. African Breeze (Byron / Boone) – 4:12
  5. Every body's Star (Byron / Boone) – 4:20
  6. Heaven Or Hell (Byron / Boone) – 4:42
  7. Only You Can Do It (Byron / Boone) – 4:04
  8. Don't Let Me Down (Byron / Boone) – 3:21
  9. Acetylene Jean (Byron / Boone) – 3:19
  10. I Remember (Byron / Boone) – 4:08
Additional tracks not included on release:
  1. Down On My Luck (Byron / Boone) – 2:51 / B-side of 'African Breeze' single
  2. All In Your Mind (Byron / Boone) – 2:52 / B-side of 'Rich Man's Lady' single

Original album credits:

Band members

  • David Byron: Lead Vocals
  • Stuart Elliot: Drums
  • Alan Jones: Bass
  • Daniel Boone: Guitars, Keyboards & Percussion

Other credits:

  • Barry Desouza: Drums
  • Lester Fry: Timpani and Chimes
  • A guest lead guitarist appears on 'I Remember'
  • Backing Vocals: Lelly Boone, Gabriele Byron, Alyson Mcinness, Muff Murfin and Brad Davies
  • Arranged & Produced by: David Byron and Daniel Boone (by Courtesy of Boone Productions Ltd.)
  • My very special thanks to Daniel Boone
  • Engineered by: Brad Davies (The Old Smithy) & David Baker (Lansdowne)
  • Mixed at Berwick Street Studios by Brad Davies, 'Sleepless Nights' remixed at Lansdowne by David Baker
  • Mastered by: George Marino (Sterling Sound, NY)
DOWNLOAD LINK (copy and paste into browser)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bread,Love And Dreams - Amaryllis

Well Here Goes

This Is My First Blog And To Be Honest I don't Really Know What I Am Going To Do With It.No Point In In Putting Up All That Boring Personnel Stuff You Know What I Mean Age,Sex,Sign Of The Zodiac,Preferred Blend Of Tea Etc

So Then I Thought Lets Talk About Music, Real Music Mind, You Know Where People Actually Play Instruments As (Opposed To Sitting In Front Of A PC With Some Programme) And Sing Songs With A Melody. And Then When They Have Done All The Hard Work And Have/Had A product In The Market Place They Could Then Go Out And Actually Play The Stuff Live To An Audience Without Having Some Guy In The Wings Pressing Play On The Tape Recorder

So That's It Then This Blog Is Going To Be About Real Musicians And The Music They Have Blessed Us With Over The Years

So Lets Get Started