Released in 1971 on RCA’s progressive wing, Neon, Spring’s only album is a masterpiece of mellotron and Progressive Rock in a not too daunting example for those who are convinced they don’t like the genre or are scared of it, or for those who are even scared of liking it? It isn’t all twiddly bits and weird timings, so fear not. It’s best described as an album of songs from the progressive era that incorporates progressive elements such as mellotron, instrumental passages and let’s face it – really great artwork!
The album included Pick Withers on drums who would later join Dire Straits and play on their first four albums. There’s definitely something in the water in Leicester, Spring’s home town, boasting a whole lot of well known groups: Roger Chapman and Family, Diesel Park West, Showaddywaddy, Gaye Bykers on Acid, Crazyhead, The Bomb Party, Fun Lovin’ Criminal’s drummer Frank Benbini, Kasabian, The Young Knives and Queen’s John Deacon – and of course The Deep Freeze Mice (they made ten albums). Quite a selection of diverse musicians, so discard your genre preferences and branch out into the open minded microcosm of this creative hub in England’s East Midlands.
Pat Moran the band’s singer died in 2011 but after Spring he became a engineer at Rockfield studio in Wales where many a great record was made through the years and Spring’s odd journey began. (Click the Wikipedia link for the story).
Moran also worked extensively overseas but it is a mystery to me how after this one great album as the lead singer, that he never made another album, apart from a reissue with unreleased tracks (Spring 2). But he was involved with a lot of great albums on the technical and production side. This from the Guardian Obituary; “Pat Moran was assistant engineer on Queen’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera and was engineer on the 1977 Rush album A Farewell to Kings. He produced Iggy Pop’s Soldier (1980), Hawkwind’s Choose Your Masques (1982), Robert Plant’s The Principle of Moments (1983) and Big Country’s No Place Like Home (1991).” He also engineered Van Der Graaf Generator’s Godbluff (1975) and Still Life (1976)
Spring’s debut also included Ray Martinez on guitar who later had a career as a session guitarist. The album was produced by the legendary Gus Dudgeon who famously worked with Elton John on his classic albums as well as many other well known bands and solo artists. A selection of Dudgeon’s productions from Wikipedia:
“Audience, Chris Rea, Ralph McTell, Lindisfarne, Joan Armatrading, Elkie Brooks, Fairport Convention, Sam Gopal Dream, The Sinceros, The Beach Boys, Mary Wilson, Solution (band), Voyager (band) and Steeleye Span, XTC, Menswear and The Frank and Walters. In the 1980s he built Sol Studios.”
Gus Dudgeon and his wife Sheila were tragically killed in a car accident in 2002.
The Spring album isn’t available on Spotify so this is a link to You Tube where the whole album has been posted, including unreleased material. Enjoy.
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