Category Archives: MUSIC PAST

glencoe

I bought Glencoe‘s debut album shortly after its release in 1972 and could never understand why, despite some high profile support slots with likes of Deep Purple, Argent and Wishbone Ash, they never seemed to receive the public acclaim they so deserved.

Why they never broke into a theatre-filling headline act in their own right, I’ll never know.

That said, when opening for Argent at Glasgow Apollo in September 1973, the crowd demanded and was rewarded with an encore. That’s something pretty rare indeed, especially in my fair city!

Their roots lie in London based band Forever More, who recorded two well received albums between 1970 and 1971, and counted among their number, three Scots: Onie Mcintyre, Alan Gorrie and Stewart Francis, who had formerly played together in Hopscotch.

Album cover (USA) – FOREVER MORE:’Yours.’

The group disbanded in 1972 shortly after changing their name to Glencoe, when McIntyre and Gorrie left to form Average White Band (together with another former member of Hopscotch, Hamish Stuart.) One of those recruited as a replacement was Graham Maitland on keyboards, who had played with Francis in … yes, you got it – Hopscotch.

The world of music has always been a bit incestuous.

Following an audition, bassist Norman Watt-Roy joined up and completing the new line-up was guitarist John Turnbull, formerly of the excellent Newcastle band Skip Bifferty.

The eponymous debut LP was released in 1972, and followed a year later by ‘The Spirit of Glencoe.’

Although, the albums differ in feel, both ooze class. The first is loud and in the main a mix of heavy rock and blues, though slower numbers like ‘Look Me In The Eye,‘ and ‘Questions,‘ illustrate Glencoe’s versatility. There’s plenty excellent and very distinctive guitar work from John Turnbull, while Graham Maitland’s keyboard playing dances all over the tracks and is an integral, identifying feature of the band.

Airport‘ is probably the best known track on the album, but I think ‘It’s‘ edges it as my favourite on the album. Slower in pace, and with a bluesy feel, it highlights the talents of each player.

The 1973 follow-up, ‘The Spirit Of Glencoe,’ isn’t quite so ‘instant.’ I was initially unsure as to how I felt about it. But it’s a grower, believe me!

‘Is it You?‘ is very much in he vein of the first album, chunky and beat heavy, it features John and Graham dueling guitar licks and bar-room, honky tonk piano. ‘Born in the City’ is another of the old school formula, and the one minutes and nine seconds of ‘Arctic Madness‘ shows a playful side, incorporating (I think) an accordion led eightsome reel.

(Album cover, front and back, ,for ‘The Spirit of Glencoe.’)

The two ballads, ‘Strange Circumstances‘ and ‘Song No. 22‘ are absolutely captivating, though I have to say I prefer their louder stuff.

What this album does, though is show that Glencoe were no one-trick pony. My research has not turned up one negative comment about the band.

The fact they had the quality of ex Steve Miller Band keyboard player, Ben Sidran, ex Osibisa percussionist Kofi Ayifor and ex Steve Miller Band bassist, Gerald Johnson all guest on the second album, shows the respect they had already garnered from their peers.

Indeed, after the band split in 1974, bass player Norman Watt-Roy and guitarist both had spells playing with Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

Yeah – I’ve most definitely got Glencoe filed under ‘One That Got Away.’

GLENCOE
Stewart Francis – Drums / Vocals
Graham Maitland – Keyboards / Vocals
John Turnbull – Guitar / Vocals
Norman Watt-Roy – Bass / Vocals

RELEASES BY GLENCOE

TITLEFORMATLABELRELEASE YEAR
Airport / It’s7″ singleEpic1972
Look Me In The Eye / Telphonia7″ singleEpic1972
Friends Of Mine / To Divine Mother7″ singleEpic 1973
Roll On Bliss / Nothing7″ singleEpic1973
GlencoeLPEpic1972
The Spirit Of GlencoeLPEpic1973

quicksand

It was with bands like Quicksand in mind that convinced me to take LOUD HORIZON back down a retrospective path. Like so many bands, their music may not jump out the speakers and smack you in the face upon first listen. But boy, stick with it a couple of spins and you appreciate all the subtleties and intricacies.

Wait though – I may be giving the impression Quicksand were an out and out ‘prog’ band. Perhaps they were edging tn that direction, and I’ve seen them described as such in what little information I can glean, but they were so much more than that.

The eight tracks on this, their only album release, cover all bases. From melodic, hooky rock with some sprightly Hammond organ dancing in the background on the opening track, ‘Hideaway My Song,’ , the following track ‘Sunlight Brings Shadows‘ certainly ticks the ‘prog’ box, with time signature changes, organ / guitar face-offs and choral like harmonies.

‘Empty Street, Empty Heart,’ is more relaxed, again maximising the band’s catchy harmonies, before side one ends with ‘Overcome The Pattern’ transitioning into ‘Flying’ – together, they effortlessly combine ‘prog’ with a bit of a psychedelic feel.

The latter of these two actually sounds very familiar. Instinctively, I thought of fellow Welsh band, Man, who I saw live on several occasions back in the mid-Seventies. However, I can’t find any such track being recorded by the Swansea based outfit.

(There is , though, a connection between the two bands however, as Quicksand’s original bass player Will Youtt did eventually join Man.)

Though they’d probably best be described as a guitar driven band, side two of the album opens with two tracks that more prominently feature keyboards. Opener, ‘Time To Live‘ is drenched in vocal harmonies overlaying the bass and organ. Title track ‘Home Is Where I Belong,‘ features a light Hammond organ hook that reminds me of some Allman Brothers work. ‘Seasons / Alpha Omega‘ returns to the prog rock feel, this time with, dare I say it, Uriah Heep sounding driving bass, guitar and keyboards to the fore. Final track ‘Hiding It All,’ is more of a psych infused slow burner, but a lovely end to the album.

Formed in Neath, South Wales, in 1969, the band released only two singles: ‘Passing By’ / ‘Cobblestones‘ in 1970 – both tracks written by the then soon-to-depart, Michael Youatt – and then three years later, ‘Time To Live’ / ‘Empty Street, Empty Heart,’ both of which appear on the band’s only album release.

Quicksand made a point of recording and performing their own, original compositions and this they did throughout the length and breadth of the UK during their all to brief six years together.

In 1975 though, Robert Collins (keyboards) left the band. Brothers Jimmy and Phil Davies left for Alkatraz while drummer Anthony Stone joined up with Deke Leonard’s Iceberg – yes, another Man connection right there.

I have to admit, like many of the bands that will feature on these pages, I unfortunately did not get to see Quicksand play live. And though, over the years the album has been released in many territories, mainly on CD format , it was only recently, when given an unofficial, vinyl re-release, did I finally pick up on them.

Still – better late than never, eh?

Clockwise from top left:
Robert Collins
Phil Davies
Anthony Stone
Jimmy Davies

QUICKSAND:
Robert Collins – Keyboards
Phil Davies – Bass
Anthony Stone – Drums
Jimmy Davies – Guitar

RELEASES BY QUICKSAND

TITLEFORMATLABELRELEASE
YEAR
Passing By / Cobblestones7″ singleCarnaby1970
Time To Live /
Empty Street, Empty Heart
7″ singleDawn1973
Home Is Where I BelongLPDawn1973


spirits & worm

A&M record executive, Bob Garcia contributed to the sleeve notes of this album, the one and only from Long Island, New York band Spirits & Worm:

” … have caused others to define their music as a ‘fresh young sound- very colourful and full of rhythm – a happy sound!

“We believe in the near future that the music industry and public will take notice of this group, and recognize them as one of the more exciting and talented groups yet to hit the airwaves.”

Very few people were to read this proclamation however, when the album was released in 1970, for it was pulled from distribution almost immediately and it’s believed that only a handful of copies actually found their way into public domain, mainly in the New York area.

The legend and likely reason, is that releasing an album with two goats sitting on top of a grave was always going to court controversy. Imagery with satanic connotations would not go down well. And so it seems some label boss took cold feet and the album failed to be granted the release it merited.

It seems to me the decision maker didn’t actually listen to the album though. The ten, Carlos Hernandez penned tracks are about as far removed from the occult as can be. They are indeed, as Bob Garcia quoted, ‘a happy sound,’ influenced more by the lush West Coast sound popularized by likes of Jefferson Airplane, with vocalist Adrianne Maurici’s powerful vocals drawing comparison to those of Grace Slick.

It does seem a little strange that A&M didn’t just ask the band to change the album’s artwork, but whatever the underlying reasons, originals of this album exchange hands for great sums of money. In fact, one copy was sold through Discogs in 2020 for £730!

There have been a couple of subsequent Limited Edition reissues; in 1994, Sweet Herb Records ran 400 copies and the following year, Water Serpent Records released a further 375 hand-numbered copies.

More recently, the Audio Clarity label have made the re-issued album more freely available, and I’m happy to say I managed to bag one for myself!

Not only is it a piece of psych / psychedelic mastery, but it holds its own special place in musical history.

SPIRITS & WORM:
Adrianne Maurici – Vocals
Carlos Hernandez – Lead Guitar
Alfred Scotti – Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
Tommy Parris – Bass Guitar / Vocals
Artie Hicks Jr. – Drums

RELEASES BY SPIRITS & WORM

TITLE FORMATLABELRELEASE
YEAR
Spirits & WormLPA&M1970

the raunch

THE RAUNCH: ‘Total Raunch’ album cover.

The Raunch were a garage band from Ossining, N.Y., one of countless mid-Sixties groups benefiting from a healthy local scene at that time.

While still at High School, lead guitarist Jay Manning formed The Synners with a couple of pals. They played a few local / school shows before they graduated in 1965.

The Synners morphed into The Invaders and auditioned for a vocalist. Enter Sandy Katz. A writing partnership between Jay and Sandy soon developed as the band built upon their repertoire of Ventures and other instrumental covers.

As the remaining original band members moved away, bass player Frank Taxiera was enlisted. In fact, ‘… he couldn’t play and didn’t have equipment, he was jst coo and he fit,‘ Jay was quoted as saying.

Tom Walker completed the final line-up on drums.

It was while rehearsing as The Invaders a girlfriend of Jay mentioned the band sounded ‘raunchy’ and so the name was changed to The Raunch.

Throughout 1966 the band played many gigs throughout New York state and won several Battle of the Bands competitions. Their musical style evolved, as did their equipment and wardrobe.

Sandy’s dad, Marty, a successful businessman, backed the band, paying for everything and even creating a record label, Bazaar Records, for the purpose of releasing their music.

All the band’s recordings were made at Ren-Vell studios, and in most cases were done in one single take which gives the sound a real authenticity.

Both sides of their sole single on Bazaar Records are classic examples of ’60s garagepunk: ‘A Little While Back‘ is a crude heavy fuzz punker with a blistering guitar solo.

It’s backed with, ‘I Say You’re Wrong,’ a tough and moody song with classic garage girl-treats-boy-bad lyrics.

While both songs of this, their only release, were self-penned, the band were also invited to contribute a track to the highly collectable *Battle of the Bands‘ compilation on the regionally active Ren-Vell label. For this, they recorded a cover of of the Paul Revere & The Raiders song, ‘Hungry.’

(* This compilation recently – April 2021 – sold on Discogs for £162.)

The band recorded two other tracks at the Ren-Vell studio that remained unreleased until 2015, when the rather unique covers of ‘Hey Joe‘ and ‘Tobacco Road‘ supplemented those previously mentioned on the excellent, five track, ‘Total Raunch‘ EP, on Break-a-Way Records.

The Raunch played throughout 1966 into 1967 and in the end, Jay and Frank joined the military. while Sandy an Tom finished High School.

And then they were gone …

THE RAUNCH:
Sandy Katz – Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
Jay Manning – Lead Guitar
Frank Taxiera – Bass
Tommy Walker – Drums

RELEASES BY THE RAUNCH

TITLEFORMATLABELRELEASE YEAR
A Little While Back / I Say You’re Wrong7″ singleBazaar1966
Total Raunch12″ – single sided EPBreak-a-Way Records2015