Unfortunately, there is not much information to be had about this five-piece from Southampton.
They recorded three singles for the Decca subsidiary label, Deram, all in 1967.Their sound fell very much into the Mod / Freakbeat / Soul mould, and label hopes were high that they’d prove competition for the established R&B acts of the mid-Sixties.
But taking on the likes of The Rolling Stones was always going to be an ambitious target.
None of the three singles achieved chart success, although ‘Bert’s Apple Crumble,’ the B-side to their initial release, ‘Love Is A Beautiful Thing’ ( a cover of the Young Rascals song) proved very popular in the Mod club scene.
Each single is now well sought after by collectors, with copies of the aforementioned exchanging hands on Discogs for £230, £150 & £125 in May 2021.
All three singles an now be found on various CD compliations … and of course, your favourite streaming platform, if you’re that way inclined.
THE QUIK (Names of members remain shrouded in mystery!)
As a seventeen year old, I’d avidly read the sleeve notes of all my LPs. I still do. The difference is, some forty-six years later, that I now quickly forget even reading the album cover, never mind the detail it imparted.
However, when I read that Wynder K. Frog was actually the name adopted by and accredited to the band of keyboard player Mick Weaver, I immediately associated him as an integral part of The Frankie MillerBand that produced the brilliant 1975 album, ‘The Rock.‘
Mick formed the jazz / blues influenced band in 1967 and initially played mainly on the London circuit. An early gig saw the band, support the newly formed Traffic. Their paths would cross again a couple of years later, when Steve Winwood left Traffic to form the short-lived Blind Faith and Mick Weaver joined the remaining members to form the laboriously named Mason – Capaldi – Wood – Frog (aka Wooden Frog).
This association lasted all of three months, with no recorded output and only a handful of live shows to show fro their efforts. Mick then reverted to session work with some high profile artists, such as Buddy Guy; Steve Marriott; Roger Chapman; Joe Cocker …. and Frankie Miller, amongst others.
Which is where we came in.
Wynder K. Frog released two albums in the UK, both of which are mainly instrumental covers of established hits. The debut album, ‘Sunshine Superfrog,’ released in 1967, was recorded with Mick surrounding himself with (uncredited) New York session musicians, beefing up his distinctive Hammond organ sound with soulful horns.
The one ‘original’ on the album, is the swirling and ever so funky, ‘I Feel So Bad,’ featured at the top of this post.
The sound was well received in mod / soul / Northern Soul / jazz circles, especially around the London area, where the latter genre was having something of a renaissance.
The follow up album, ‘Out of the Frying Pan‘ was released a year later. Again, it features an eclectic mix of covers, ranging from a stonking version of ‘Green Door,’ which garnered decent airplay at the time of its release, to ‘Willie & The Hand Jive‘ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’
Mick wrote two of the tracks on this one, ‘Gasoline Alley,’ and this, the wonderfully quintessentially Sixties, ‘Harpsichord Shuffle.’
Shortly after the band broke up, their U.S. label, United Artists, released the ‘Into The Fire’ album featuring six original tracks.
Five 7″ singles were also released in the UK, including this cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s ‘I’m a Man.’
WYNDER K. FROG Mick Weaver – Keyboards Neil Hubbard / Mike Liber – Guitar Chris Mercer – Sax Bruce Rowland – Drums Alan Spenner – Bass Rebop Anthony Kwabaku – Congas
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.
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.
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
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?
QUICKSAND: Robert Collins – Keyboards Phil Davies – Bass Anthony Stone – Drums Jimmy Davies – Guitar
RELEASES BY QUICKSAND
Passing By / Cobblestones
Time To Live / Empty Street, Empty Heart
Home Is Where I Belong
Reviews & Comment: Punk,, Psychedelic, Psych, Rock, Reggae, 60s Garage, Mod, Blues & Freakbeat.