Posts Tagged ‘Andy Bown’

The Herd

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Listen: The Game / The Herd
The

Public opinion always focuses on Peter Frampton when it comes to The Herd. But let me tell you, as with pre and post Frampton, The Herd were all about Andy Bown. A shockingly unsung hero, it was Andy Bown who rejoined his Herd defector in the early 70′s for a few Frampton’s Camel US tours. Thank the Lord, Jah, The Dahli Lama and whoever else needs praising. Had it not been for that fateful reprieve, I may never have met the man.

The first and last Fontana single by The Herd, post Peter Frampton’s departure, was this, ‘The Game’. It was met with zero welcoming from the press and the public. Don’t forget, hipsters turned their noses toward The Herd during the band’s heyday, assuming them to be manufactured by songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blakley. History proved otherwise.

As if overnight, while still trying to find a seemingly current US copy of ‘The Game’, several were discovered gracing the 10 for 59¢ shrink wrapped deletion boxes sold at Woolworth’s during the late 60′s. Praise be. Those miracle pre packs were always like discovering a desert island while clinging a life preserver at sea or some such analogy. Come to think of it, I acquired my domestic copy of The Herd’s first US single, ‘I Can Fly’ tucked inside one of those extraordinary boxes as well. Stumbling on a warehouse full with unsold skids of those boxes nowadays would have us on a stretcher.

Andy Bown’s intentionally needle pinning production jammed trombones, saxophones, probably other brass too, and loads of “La la la la” background vocals into a typically Herd organ led track. The record reeked of English Pop. I loved it. Always have, always will.

The Status Quo

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Listen: Technicolor Dreams / The Status Quo
Technicolor

It’s still there, my favorite hotel in the whole wide world. Amsterdam, Holland’s American Hotel. Don’t let the name trick you into thinking it’s some home away from home for US citizens. Instead, the place has weathered nearly a century at Leidsekade 97. Just gander at the wall photos in the Bar American and try not letting your heart freeze. Good luck.

A cocktail lounge in the true European sense of the word, Bar American overlooks one of the city’s main squares, the center of Amsterdam as I know it. When time has permitted, I’ve sat for hours from mid afternoon sipping champagne, preferably as drizzle turns to sleet, watching the world go by. Seldom have I been been happier. Dare I say, some of my best times ever have been had in that hotel, other than when Corinne convinced me to eat one too many hash cakes in The Bulldog a few blocks away. Even the walls of our room, when throbbing with dripping colors, become a warm and fuzzy memory of The American Hotel, where, by the way, they serve free champagne at the breakfast buffet.

Somewhere in that bar, right next to a signed, framed shot of The Status Quo, hangs a similar photo of The Herd. I know, I know. Have mercy.

But I can see them both, clear as day, and it does remind me of Andy Bown’s haircut. Undoubtably the best haircut in 60′s pop. Seriously, who had a better haircut than Andy Bown? Go ahead, I dare you to challenge that one.

Bless those Status Quo guys. By the mid 70′s, they’d made him a member of their band, where he still remains today.

The Status Quo’s third US single, ‘Technicolor Dreams’, has been forever overlooked, given it’s one of the five greatest psychedelic pop records from that sparkling era. Other equally worthy tracks are consistently spotlighted, but never this. Although, THE RECORD COLLECTOR PRICE GUIDE could convince you otherwise. Withdrawn just after release in the UK, ‘Technicolor Dreams’ booked for £1000 a few years back.

Having gotten my original in the day, let’s fast forward to ’94, while on a Dallas business trip with Duane, I picked up another for $9, then rather pricey. Constantly needing safety copies helped in making an incredibly valuable investment. Don’t ask me exactly where it is though, but definitely somewhere in the black hole of unfiled 7′s, lining up for wall shelf seniority.

Judas Jump

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Listen: This Feelin’ We Feel / Judas Jump
This

No new info here: I’m an Andy Bown freak.

The Herd really were his band from what I can assess, having been a member before and after Peter Frampton. Not that I don’t love the Andy Bown / Peter Frampton period. PARADISE LOST is a class album, always overlooked even by the band themselves.

When it comes to an Andy Bown backing vocal, I can spot it a mile away. So after that first listen to ‘This Feeling We Feel’, I was in.

Scored the US promo above when relieving a Dewitt, NY Shopping Town Mall clothing store of a big box full with 45′s, meant for a tie-in promotion with WNDR, the local Top 40. If you bought an item, you got a 45. That box was beaming with stuff I needed, unlike their racks. A long store clerk negotiation that required me going home, on my bike, collecting a few dozen cast off singles acquired from various sources, and returning to do a one-for-one trade was well worth it.

Even though I had mail ordered for the UK pressing which arrived a week or so later, this Andrew S. Bown production hit the turntable first, and stayed, eventually switched out for Thunderclap Newman’s ‘Accident’.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed Adrian Williams

God bless Jackie Hyde at Sony in the UK. She one day thought to mention that Adrian Williams, down the other side of the building, was the singer of Judas Jump. I almost blacked out, tearing across the courtyard to do a face to face.

I don’t think anyone had ever asked him anything about Judas Jump his whole life. He was more shocked at my interest than I was with his employment at Sony. We’d spoken a lot on the phone, but never did I think he was one in the same.

What an embarrassing surprise for me, not knowing Allan Jones was a member of The Amen Corner prior to Judas Jump. I deserved the one upping that transpired. Great chap, Adrian Williams.

Frampton’s Camel

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

All Night Long / Frampton’s Camel

Above / Below: UK Promo Only sleeve (front/back)

All Night Long / Frampton’s Camel

Listen: All Night Long / Frampton’s Camel 01 All Night Long.mp3

Peter Frampton was, unfairly, a guilty pleasure to loads of folks for years. Once he hit the big time it was uncool to like him. Not me. I loved The Herd, and was loyally into Humble Pie. That was a funny one actually. Here you had a signature member of The Herd and Steve Marriott in the same band. If you’re an Anglofile, you give them rope. Their early stuff I liked even though it leaned toward the extended blues rock sludge setting in at the time. Live, they were on fire. Luckily, I saw them open for Ten Years After on that first US tour, not yet Americanized in any way, still kitted out in lime or purple velvet and silk trousers etc. Glued to the edge of the stage in the Livestock Pavilion on the Syracuse State Fair grounds, overjoyed by the fact that we were seeing members of The Small Faces and The Herd, was half the thrill.

Then Peter Frampton went solo. His second, post Humble Pie release was issued as Frampton’s Camel. He’d shed that Humble Pie heaviness. The album didn’t sell. I never heard it anywhere at the time, although the single ‘All Night Long’ got a lot of daytime BBC Radio 1 play that summer ’73 I’d spent in London. It was a perfect seasonal single and has sentimental value.

Listen: (Baby) Somethin’s Happening / Peter Frampton PeterFramptonSmethin.mp3

For the record, the follow-up album, SOMETHIN’S HAPPENING, went fairly undiscovered too. He toured that record with former band mate Andy Bown, from The Herd, on keyboards. Rich Packter, the A&M promotion guy during summer ’74 had set Corinne and I up with Peter and Andy for lunch at the then turquoise and pink circular Holiday Inn restaurant in Downtown Syracuse. Frampton’s Camel were opening for Uriah Heep that night. We both worked at Discount Records, so I’m guessing Rich could justify the meal.

As far as we were concerned, this was lunch with The Herd. It was great fun picking their brains about the past. They both laughed non stop at all my questions, in a most flattering way. And I’m sure Andy Bown was genuinely surprised at the attention. Peter didn’t seem to mind one bit that when push came to shove, these two crazies were there to meet Andy Bown.

So yeah, SOMETHIN’S HAPPENING is a gem too. Soon after, Peter Frampton’s deserved home runs began. The industry calls this process artist development. I call it finally getting a fair shot at radio.

The Herd

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

From The Underworld / The Herd

From The Underworld / The Herd

From The Underworld / The Herd

Listen: From The Underworld / The Herd 03 From The Underworld.mp3

I just think this is one of the greatest singles ever made. I have loved it since the very first listen. Now considered a psychedelic classic, it wasn’t at the time, or for years. The Herd were accused of being too mainstream then. The media and public sometimes look down on you if you’re successful, usually associating it with being lower quality, simply because it’s mass appeal, I guess. I do that too I suppose. Still, I never could understand why this record wasn’t appreciated then as it is now, but at least it got it’s day.

Even the lyrics entranced me, a seldom occurrence. Stuff like “a black night’s coldness” and “into another world you will pass” gave me the creeps. I liked getting the creeps then, had a bit of a cemetery attraction. That may have been a pot smoking side effect, going there late at night, alone, stoned, to scare myself. And I really did, several times that summer. Quit the cryptic visits and smoking pot shortly thereafter.

Peter Frampton downplayed his time with The Herd for years. You couldn’t mention it to him. Now I think he realizes it was very credible, as he was super nice about doing the jukebox tab for me. I wanted to advise him while signing it, not to be too flattered. It’s just that living in the US, one never sees Andy Bown.

The above US promo-only foldout picture sleeve is nearly extinct. The only one I’ve ever seen actually. Oh and thank you Howard Thompson for the test pressing. It was a really awesome birthday present that year.

From The Underworld / The Herd jukebox tab

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Peter Frampton

Kaiser Chiefs

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

kaiserruby, Kaiser Chiefs, Overseer, The Herd, The Creation, Andy Bown
kaiserrubyback,       Kaiser Chiefs, Overseer, The Herd, The Creation, Andy Bown

Listen: Ruby / Kaiser Chiefs KaiserChiefsRuby.mp3

One of the best UK singles from this millennium, no lie. The background vocals are lifted, or influenced, beautifully from The Creation. Whether by design or simply by growing up hearing all but formula AOR music on the radio – it doesn’t matter. Great call.

I picture it here, even though I despise colored vinyl. I mean, seriously, I really hate it. Add to that, a sticker on the outside plastic sleeve (above top) affixed crooked. Makes my skin crawl. Records should be as God made them, black. But if it’s the only way to get a 7″ of ‘Ruby’, I will adjust. There’s always Lexapro.

Drummer Nick had the best haircut in rock, identical to Andy Bown’s of The Herd until this recent US tour. Not to worry, it should grow back fine. Turns out we know each other from years ago, when I signed Overseer to Columbia. Nick worked at the studio in Leeds where the album was made, and shared a house with Rob Overseer as well. Small world.

And I must say, nicer guys you won’t meet.

Andy Bown

Monday, August 10th, 2009

andybownsweetusa, Andy Bown, Peter Frampton, The Herd GM Records, Mercury Records

Listen: Sweet William / Andy Bown AndyBownWilliam.mp3

It’s real simple. Andy Bown was in The Herd. He has a lifetime, out of jail free card. End of story.

Add to that, a haircut rivaling only Brian Jones.

But seriously, he’s made a lot of great singles. These are two. ‘Sweet William’ was originally released as the B side of The Herd’s seminal classic ‘From The Underworld’. The above version was a re-record for Andy Bown’s second solo album, ironically titled SWEET WILLIAM. I always loved the song.

andybownsatyricon, Andy Bown, Peter Frampton, The Herd GM Records, Mercury Records

Listen: New York Satyricon Zany / Andy Bown AndyBownSatyricon.mp3

Go back and read my story of meeting he and Peter Frampton during a Frampton’s Camel show back in the 70′s. It was an exciting moment. A few years later, ‘New York Satyricon Zany’ came out as a UK single, with an obvious Peter Frampton solo during the last passage. Either way, it became an instant favorite, and it’s just one example of Andy Bown’s many songwriting and vocal superiorities.