Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Champion - Champion - 1978

When singer David Byron left Uriah Heep in 1976, he joined forces with Clem Clempson (former guitarist of Humble Pie and Colosseum) and keyboardist Damon Butcher to form a new band. Along with bassist Willie Bath and drummer Geoff Britton (of Wings), they formed Rough Diamond. In 1977, they released their one and only self titled album, but Byron left the group shortly thereafter to pursue a solo career. The remainder of the band immediately recruited a new vocalist (Garry Bell), and eventually a new drummer (Jeff Rich) and changed their name to Champion, which released a self-titled album in 1978 before disbanding in March 1979

I originally downloaded the file and the Following text from Robots for ronnie's blog and can be found here


Champion is a name most probably are not familiar with, though their bloodline is littered with acts that have scaled various heights of success both before and after the band's short existence. When David Byron was unceremoniously ousted from Uriah Heep in 1976, he quickly assembled a new band called Rough Diamond. That band featured ace guitarist Clem Clempson, who had previously been with acts like Bakerloo, Colosseum, Humble Pie and Strange Brew. Alongside Clempson was Geoff Britton, who had worked for several years in East of Eden and Wings. Though the band possessed enough talent and drive to take them to new heights, their sole effort on Island Records in 1977 failed to ignite the charts and Byron promptly exited the band later that year. With Byron now pursuing a solo career, the band brought in replacement vocalist Garry Bell and were soon snapped up by Epic Records. In 1978, the band released their self-titled album under their new moniker, Champion.

Essentially, Champion were a studio project and the band did not tour to support the album. The option to tour was left open to the band and label, providing that album sales demanded such...but sales were disappointing and both the band and label agreed to part ways. Clempson and Bell would later issue a double sided single in 1980, and Clempson would continue onward working with Jack Bruce, Jon Anderson and a reunited Colosseum in subsequent years. Britton later joined Keys in the early 80's.

"Champion" is a groovy soul/blues styled album that follows suit with much of what Grand Funk were also doing in the late 70's. With a sound that falls more into MOR territory and less heavy rock, the album is a bit pedestrian in delivery but with its share of hooks. "Sha-La-La", "You Knock Me Out" and "Say Goodnight" are all exceptional tracks, while the remainder of the album is a little more faceless. Despite the blandness here, this is a decent album that deserves at least a spin or two, if anything, because of the band's star studded lineage. Thanks to 'orchman' for this contribution. Check it and see what you think...

Willie Bath - Bass

Clem Clempson - Guitar

1. Sha-La-La
2. It's Your Life
3. Melissa
4. Sweet Mystery
5. You Knock Me Out
6. Book Him Dano
7. Skinny Dippin'
8. Straight Talking
9. Please Go Away
10. Say Goodnight

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