Archive for the ‘Blue Horizon’ Category

Fleetwood Mac

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Listen: The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) / Fleetwood Mac

To my recollection, this 1970 non-LP A side was Peter Green’s final, officially planned single with Fleetwood Mac. Almost feels like they were veering toward the sound de jour: those beginnings of heavy guitar arena rock, as Deep Purple and The Jeff Beck Group seemed to happily forge.

In fact, around the same time ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)’ was released, so too was Deep Purple’s ‘Black Night’. And given Peter Green’s imminent departure, that musical default could very well have been Fleetwood Mac’s path of least resistance.

Luckily, guitarist Jeremy Spencer’s love of late 50′s/early 60′s doo wop/ RnR influenced the direction for their next album, KILN HOUSE, and disaster was averted.

Technically, KILN HOUSE was an extension of ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’, the B side of a previous single, ‘Man Of The World’, their only ’69 release on Immediate Records, issued a year or less, between their periods on Blue Horizon Records and Warner Brothers/Reprise. The band even adopted the comical moniker Earl Vince & The Valiants for that side of the single’s label copy.

If ever you were lucky enough to see the Peter Green lineup pictured above on that beauty of a rarer than rare 7″ sleeve, you know how powerful these five were on a stage. Simply unforgettable.

Peter Green’s closing guitar solo twists and turns once again provided musical fear as only he could.

Chicken Shack

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Listen: You Know Could Be Right / Chicken Shack
You Know Could Be Right / Chicken Shack

June 26, 1973. Arrive in England that morning, Chicken Shack that night at The Marquee. Also my first time stepping into the club, the one I had waited what seemed like a lifetime to visit.

Having booked them at college the previous year as part of a three band bill with Savoy Brown and Atomic Rooster, it was during this, their period on Deram, that my infatuation peaked. Had they been signed to say, RCA, most likely the interest level would have been less. Given the added bonus of in-house producer Neil Slaven, with his unmistakable cardboard packing box drum sound, Chicken Shack’s new found bent toward blues rock sludge became rather appealing.

Of all the Blue Horizon releases, ACCEPT, the last, topped my list of the band’s post Chris Perfect lineup. It was followed pretty quickly by the ’72 Deram debut, IMMAGINATION LADY. Keeping track of London band member’s musical chairs the late 60′s/early 70′s would leave your head swirling. I’d seen John Glascock play with Toe Fat just a year or so prior to his joining Chicken Shack for IMMAGINATION LADY. Meanwhile, the guys on ACCEPT, Dave Bidwell, Andy Silverster and Paul Raymond, all moved on to Savoy Brown debuting on STREET CORNER TALKING.

Must have been humbling for Stan Webb, career long Chicken Shack leader, to be 3rd on the bill that December ’72 to headliners Savoy Brown, whose lineup basically consisted of his old employees. Clearly, it doesn’t always pay to be the boss.

Ten Years After

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Listen: The Sounds / Ten Years After TYASounds.mp3

Abrupt false ending followed by slight reprise, non-musical sound effects, over echoed background vocals: all quickly becoming standard psychedelic production ideas by ’67/’68. Simple to observe now, but then…it was ‘pass the headphones’ stuff.

Mike Vernon, I believe signed Ten Years After to Deram prior to starting probably the best UK blues label in terms of both quality and success, Blue Horizon. I’m guessing it was this band’s original musical style that most likely drew them together.

‘The Sounds’, although recorded as a single during that short period between album one and two, and released spring ’68 (UK B side / US A side), actually marked the beginning of a unique songwriting style that blossomed fully on STONEHENGE, their third full length and first of a flawless trilogy (SSSSH and CRICKLEWOOD GREEN).

Ten Years After were about to be on a roll, due to a wildly blistering performance at Woodstock of ‘I’m Going Home’. It’s original recording was released as a followup 7″ to ‘The Sounds’. Coupled with ‘Hear Me Calling’ meant it became a classic double sider. The Woodstock version made both the film and soundtrack album, hence Ten Years After enjoyed the perfect artist development curve making those (and other albums) deservedly successful and their live draw solid for years.

‘The Sounds’, at time of release, could be found nowhere, and surprise surprise, heard nowhere in the US – certainly not upstate. It took me years to snag a copy, around ’74 I would guess, when then MCA salesman Ed Terracino (former London Records employee) gave me a stack of singles from his basement stash. I am forever grateful Ed if you’re reading.

Never did see them play this one, and maybe they never did. It must have been around SSSSH when they made their way to Syracuse, with Humble Pie supporting. It’s was Humble Pie’s first US tour, and although nowhere near as interested in their boogie rock as the music of the member’s previous bands (The Small Faces and The Herd), I went along, being a huge Ten Years After, but also with the possibility of meeting Humble Pie as a bonus.

I’ll admit, Humble Pie were surprisingly great live, still bean pole skinny, clad in lime, purple and pink velvet pants/suits and little girl blouses, America hadn’t influenced their wardrobe or haircuts yet, so it was well enjoyable.

Ten Years After, on the other hand, appeared bored and sullen. No biggie – it happens. Playing Syracuse understandably nothing to look forward to I guess.

Afterwards, I made my way backstage, really in search of Humble Pie to stalk them for Small Faces and Herd details, when I came across Chick Churchill moping dismissively against a wall. Probably an unpleasant day for the fellow, and I suppose me excitedly getting to the real point of our conversation: where are Humble Pie, didn’t help. Although I loved those Ten Years After albums mentioned above, he did throw a temporary wet blanket on my mission to covert any and all to his band.

The Accent

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

AccentRed, The Accent, Parrot, Decca, Mike Vernon

Listen: Red Sky At Night / The Accent AccentRedSky.mp3

Taking the ‘p’ out of psychedelic – maybe. There has always been some debate about The Accent’s authenticity. Summer ’67 had many happenings, some were intentional imitations. Bands appeared from nowhere with songs that were almost formula, simply by adding fuzz, backwards guitars, phasing, you name it.

Fact: The Accent issued but one single, ‘Red Sky At Night’. Not much of their history survived, they were from Yorkshire and landed a residency at Billy Walker’s Upper Cut Club in 1967, which, as a side note, had a legendary opening week (see below).

The single’s wild start/stop LSD wrenched production rivals some of that day’s best: Pink Floyd, The Smoke, Tomorrow etc.
Produced by the usually blues strict Mike Vernon, he showed his competitive strength to the Norman Smiths and certainly validates the band’s credibility.

The flanged vocal effect on the lyric ‘shaking’ at 2:22 always made me laugh and wonder too, is this one of Blue Horizon’s serious blues worshipping bands, say Fleetwood Mac or Chicken Shack, just taking the piss?

No, instead they and their single are a classic piece of history.

uppercut1, Upper Cut Club London