Listen: Save Me / Atomic Rooster AtomicRoosterSaveMe.mp3
I do recall the excitement of booking Atomic Rooster at my college, December ’72. IN HEARING OF had been released a few months earlier and Elektra were falling all over themselves to support the show, sending loads of extra copies plus posters and glossy 8×10′s to the school radio station. Packaged together with Savoy Brown and Chicken Shack for a two month run, this was an Anglophile’s dream tour.
All three bands shared a common backstage area that night, the men’s locker room, attached to the school’s gymnasium where the show took place. Indeed a fun event for a college freshman concert chairman, but a hard one, forced constantly to decide between watching each band’s respective set or hanging out backstage pestering the crap out of the members. Somehow, I buzzed back and forth, balancing both.
Atomic Rooster had so many revolving door, lineup changes, and for what good I’m unclear. Personally, I liked their clumsy, over done, early 70′s productions. The drum sounds were particularly dreadful, which was common to most low budget Prog rock bands from the period. The more muddy and needlessly over thought the recording/production, the more I liked it. Despite all of leader Vincent Crane’s bad ideas, my interest only increased with each one. I’m guessing others agreed, as I was not alone in the Atomic Rooster cult.
By ’73, the lineup and new album, ATOMIC ROOSTER IV (renamed for the US as an alternative to NICE N GREASY, the UK title), featured Chris Farlowe on vocals, replacing Pete French.
Now here’s where it gets a bit confusing. ‘Save Me’ is actually an updated version of Atomic Rooster’s debut single ‘Friday The 13th’, when Nick Graham was their singer. Either some of his original take, or a newer vocal from Pete French (who replaced Nick Graham prior to Chris Farlowe joining) recorded for the album version of ‘Friday The 13th’, survived.
Hence, either the voice of Nick Graham or Pete French is included on ‘Save Me’. You could loosely say that one of these chaps is dueting, although clearly not by choice, with Chris Farlowe on the above rendition.
Listen: Save Me (Mono) / Atomic Rooster AtomicRoosterSaveMe (Mono).mp3
Just to complicate things further, the US release of ‘Save Me’, here in it’s promo only mono version, features less of Chris Farlowe and more of whoever the fuck sang it prior. You’d logically expect the opposite given a) it was released after the UK single and b) Chris Farlowe was by then the band’s current, full time vocalist.
Vincent Crane clearly over thought all this nonsense. Perfectly bloated (as Prog should be) and quite frankly, hysterically fascinating.
Time eroded their following quite quickly though. As the recordings got messier, so too did trying to stay current with their members. Most fans gave up, as did the entire lineup – all of who walked by the time ATOMIC ROOSTER IV hit the shelves in the US.
Don’t get me wrong though, as I do love the crazy world of Vincent Crane.