Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lion - Running All Night - 1980 Vinyl Rip

 Another repost

This is My 'Teaser'
A hugely underrated album from 1980 which features the collective talents of

Steve Webb on lead and rhythm guitars
Robin Le Mesurier on lead and rhythm guitars
Steve Humphreys on bass
Gary Farr on lead Vocals
John Sinclair on Keyboards and Vocals
and Eric Dillon on Drums

Do not confuse this band with the hair metal band of the same name that appeared in the late eighties

This band only hung around for this one album but it has quality all the way through it. probably its biggest problem was how to categorize it as there are numerous different styles on offer here with the bulk of the writing being done by Farr and Sinclair who quite blatantly steals a guitar riff here and there for later use on the 'Abominog' album

  This following review is by Godwaffle and is taken from the rate your music site. I had started to write one myself when I came across this and quite frankly I couldn't have put it any better Interesting to note that this apparently has had a CD release but I couldn't find it anywhere so I have had to settle for  a vinyl copy

This is truly a forgotten little gem from 1980. Like the other reviewer of this album I discovered this band because of another band member. In my case it was keyboardist John Sinclair who went on to play with Uriah Heep soon after this album. Being interested in all things Heep and the numerous bands that all the various members of Heep have played in, I came across this album in a cut-out bin back in 1982. Gary Farr, the singer here, was a veteran already, having fronted the T-Bones in the mid 60s and also had recorded a few excellent solo albums and here he brings a confidence and assurance that is nicely matched and complemented by the rest of the band. That's the thing here--this seems like a release from a band who had been around for several years and the album, carrying all the collective experience of its various members, helps create an assured and highly polished album that veritably shines. "Summer Ghosts", "Cold Sheets (Winters in New York), "Running All Night (With the Lion)".......hell EVERY single song on here is a beautifully constructed and produced piece with lots of interesting group interplay and solos. Some of the material sounds a bit like the Michael McDonald era Doobie Brothers, with Gary Farr's white soulful vocals adding a nice center for the mature and sensitively drawn vignettes the songs reveal. It's a real departure hearing Farr transformed into a rock front man, instead of the introspective singer/songwriter but a close scrutiny of the songs here shows his trademark wit still solidly intact. The context has simply altered. Uriah Heep covered the track, "Running All Night (With the Lion)" and quite frankly, this version is superior. Delivered in a slower tempo, it comes across a touch more urbane and stylish. I also noticed that Sinclair stole a repeated guitar motif from the song "Sweet Fire" for "Sell Your Soul" also from the Heep album "Abominog". Seems like he got a lot of mileage out of this forgotten release!
The absolute highlight of this already great album is the utterly magnificent mini-epic "Diana". This song has a sweeping kind of majesty to it and the lyrics, using the passing of time as a central conceit, to describe how little things change sometimes from an individual perspective, is simply beautiful. Kind of brings to mind the literary song style of Al Stewart. The band are all playing there asses off here too and it's completely inspired. It really is a song you should hear if you haven't (and most people probably haven't). This is the time to hear it too--a small label out of Las Vegas (Retrospect Records) has given this a long overdue CD release and it sounds nearly as good as the vinyl did. I would recommend this to anyone who likes melodic, stylish music a wee bit on the mature side. Like the other reviewer, I suppose this could be called AOR but it's actually in a special category all it's own. That's probably why it didn't find a larger audience on its initial release. Become one of the few, in the know people who can now be privy to a well kept little secret--Running All Night!

There is another Heep connection here in that Eric Dillon played alongside Gary Thain on Miller Anderson's album Bright City

The Following is an extract from Steve Webb's Autobiography

I headed back to Southampton to share a flat with John Cartwright, the extraordinary talented song writer and multi-instrumentalist (He wrote most of the songs in the JRB) and we tried to figure out what to do. The phone rang and it was one Gary Farr who had heard I was free and wanted me to try out for his new band Lion and I needed some bread so John said ‘Do it.’ Gary was one of the greats from the early sixties R&B boom and with his band The T Bones was a big influence on the London scene. He had then gone on to the States and was signed to Atlantic and made a wonderfully poetic album “Addressed to the censors of love” which is changing hands for a lot of loot these days. His new outfit had John Sinclair on keyboards, Eric Dillon on drums and Steve Humphries on bass. Various guitarists had been considered, Snowy White was in for a time, but after a fitful start I was asked to join. The other players had all been in successful bands, John in The Heavy Metal Kids, Eric in Fat Mattress (Noel Redding’s band that toured with Hendrix) and Steve with Mahatma Kane a popular London mob. Gary's brother Rikki was the manager, he had put on the Isle of Wight festivals and ran a huge sound company in the U.S. When we first met he said “Webby, you remind me of Eric Santana especially when you scale up to the treble E.” Now you cant top that I thought but he did. “Lads, we’re gonna go to Los Angeles, build a studio and in six months you'll have a record deal.” And that's exactly what happened give or take a few months. We added another guitarist, the wonderful Robin Le Mesurier (now playing with French star Johnnie Halliday), signed to A&M in 1978 for a monstrous amount of money and had a great time auditioning producers at our demo studio out in Topanga Canyon. We saw Roy Thomas Baker (of Queen fame) who came out in a Rolls and a fur coat, the temperature was 30c, he listened and said, “You want stringy-poohs do you?” Gary wasn't having that. Todd Rundgren, who sat on the floor and trashed the lyrics, said if he took the job it would end up a Todd album, Gary wasn't having that. Glyn Johns (Stones etc.) who after a listen said he'd take the synth outside and chop it up first thing. Well you guessed it! Finally Ron Nevison came out, said nothing, just told us to play and recorded us using our 8 track and ropey old mixer. The result was stunning compared to our own efforts up to then and we wanted him on the case immediately. Nevison had engineered some of the Zep stuff and had huge hits in the States with The Babys and other hard rock acts. His assistant was Mike Clink and we all know Mike went on to produce Guns & Roses, I guess he learned a lot of that sound working with Ron. We worked at the Record Plant and the recording went well and the album was delivered but then the plot began to unwind and Rikki and Ron fell out for God knows what reason, who had the biggest Rolls Royce is my guess. We re-recorded the whole album again with Pete Henderson who had just won a Grammy for Supertramps “Breakfast in America” and I guess we spent A&M’s profit. What a great pile of money. The band were on a weekly advance, $200 bucks or so, so we weren’t rolling in it ourselves but the studio costs and the equipment and all the rest, about four hundred grand, no wonder at the end of it all A&M decided to drop us. We did tour with the Tubes and that was fun, but the band had lost its way and at the end of 1980 we fell apart


01 - Summer Ghosts
02 - Cold Sheets (Winters In New York)
03 - Running all Night With the Lion
04 - Get Here Woman
05 - Helpless
06 - How Does It Feel
07 - Sweet Fire
08 - Diana
09 - Blind Dog (The Nevison Tapes)
10 - Sweet Fire (The Nevison Tapes)

Tracks 1-8 Vinyl Rip
Produced by
Peter Henderson And Lion

Tracks  9&10
From The Ron Nevison Recordings

Finally it would appear that the band carried on without Farr, if only briefly, changing their name to The Difference a name suggested by John Sinclair and still used by Steve Webb
This early version of the band didn't leave us any studio recordings all that would seem to exist is this extremely poor video from 1980

Cheers Abominogjnr 



  2. Thank you very mich for this post, Colin. I was looking for this raritie from long time. I'm going to listen to it this evening and tomorrow, after that i will make my comments on Lion.



  3. Hey Colin, i've listen to "Lion" during last hour, in my long walk with dogs as every evening.
    I think that this is a very good album, and the Heep relation is very evident (as you said, this version of running all night is better than the Heep's version and the guitar riff in sweet fire is with evidence the same of sell your soul. I like very much the song Diana too).
    At last, this is a very imprescindible (is correct?) album for understand the Heep's sound of eighteen.
    I'm sure that i will like this album more and more listening to it in the next times.

    Thank you so much for another gem

  4. Listening to it right now. Good album even though a little too 'pop' in places for my tastes (or reggae in Get here woman). A little bit more guitar would do it good. Great stuff, anyway. Maybe it's because I can't help considering it in the shadow of Abominog: no contest for me, good as this version of Running all night is, I prefer Goalby vocals. Thank you for this intersting post!

  5. fdr

    you are quite right with your observations. I think if I had heard this album back in 1980 I would have dismissed it almost immediately with perhaps only two or three tracks worth a second listen too. but age does strange things to you. All of a sudden you find yourself liking things you swore were crap. But in hindsight they weren't that bad they just didn't fit into your lifestyle at the time (if it wasn't Rock I wouldn't listen to it). Probably the best thing I have found out about growing old is is the fact I can go back and listen to the music of my youth that I missed(or ignored)at the time and re-discover everything that passed me by. With the state of the music industry now I cant see my sons having the same problem

    Excuse my ramblings


  6. Thanks for this. I must have been one of the few people who actually had this album before Abominog, so was rather surprised when I heard some of the songs when that album came out.

    I remember seeing Heep in 84 in Eastbourne when they were supported by Glasgow - what would be the chance of them coming to NZ??

  7. Аbominogjnr - спасибо и решпект!

  8. Добро пожаловать в ваш wizard666

  9. thank you SO MUCH for this... I lived in LA in 1981 and The Difference were my FAVORITE band. I used to go to see them at the Central every week.


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