Music today started with some good old-fashioned British-based Folk music, excellently executed by the relatively unknown band The Druids who were based in Derby. They were formed in 1969 as a trio with John Adams on mandolin and bass, Keith Hendrick on guitar and banjo and Mick Hennessy on bass, but the key was that they could all sing. They were soon joined by fiddle player Dave Broughton and then added a female voice with Judi Longden. They were a contemporary of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention without the electricity. They sang songs from the British Isles and Ireland arranged for four voices. They released their first album Burnt Offering in 1971. If you like this kind of thing it’s a great example of the style and hard to find on vinyl (I have a CD). For more info here’s a couple of links:

The Druids

Next to listen to was the recently arrived unreleased Stackridge album The Original Mr. Mick (2000). It was originally conceived as a concept album but the record company didn’t buy the concept and took the tapes and rearranged it, added songs from other sessions and turned it into their idea of a Pop album (I actually like it despite the trouble). The record disappeared into obscurity and the band that had already been having problems with each other promptly broke up. Stackridge were one of the great eccentric unpigeonholeable British bands that deserved a lot more attention than they got based on the quality of their songs, the ideas, the singing, the lyrics. Mr. Mick (1976) has songs and an ongoing narrative that invites you into their vivid imaginations and musical storytelling. A bit of a dodgy cover on the CD but inside the music is both intriguing and engaging. Lovely West Country accents and catchy songs. I saw them live at The Liverpool Stadium in the mid-seventies. Andy Davis and James Warren went on to form The Korgis and had a big hit with Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime – No. 5 in the UK, No. 18 in the USA, No. 11 in Australia. Noctorum drummer Ed has also played with James Warren and Stackridge.

Delivery were a bit of an odd band that made one album, Fools Meeting, in 1970 released under the name of Carol Grimes and Delivery. They were an offshoot of the Canterbury scene that hooked up with Blues singer Carol Grimes (who incidentally didn’t want star billing but the label did it anyway). The band was formed in 1966 as Bruno’s Blues Band by Phil Miller on guitar with Steve Miller on keys, Pip Pyle on drums and Jack Monck on bass. Journeyman sax player Lol Coxhill joined in 1968 and they changed their name to Steve Miller’s Delivery. In 1969 Grimes joined and future Soft Machine bassist Roy Babbington replaced Monck. Soon after the release of the album, Pyle left for Gong and they broke up. But they had a short-lived new lineup without Grimes and including Caravan’s Richard Sinclair, Pyle returned, Phil Miller went on to form Matching Mole. Steve Miller left, replaced by Dave Sinclair who was on just one of the two studio Matching Mole albums. Phil Miller came back along with the other Dave Stewart and the band then changed its name to Hatfield and the North. Simple! Another great album the world’s never heard of.

Fuzzy Duck’s one and only album is one of those great rarities that record collectors talk about in hushed tones. The original pressing was just 500 copies. There’s one for sale on Discogs at the moment for £1,200 but there’s also one for £600 so I suppose that the record is worth what someone is prepared to pay. It was released in 1971 on MAM, Gordon Mills’ label. He was the man who renamed Arnold Dorsey (Engelbert Humperdinck) and Ray O’Sullivan (Gilbert O’Sullivan). Fuzzy Duck were quite a different planet to these middle of the road megastars and being on the wrong label is never good. But this is a period that confused lots of bands because the transition to the seventies from the sixties meant leaving a good thing behind for a new thing. Fuzzy Duck had one foot in the sixties and one foot in the seventies. But it’s a good record.

It didn’t help when guitarist/vocalist Graeme White left before the album was released. He was replaced by Garth Watt-Roy but he was also soon gone. He had been a member of The Greatest Show On Earth with brother Norman (Ian Dury) and sang on the last Steamhammer album Speech released in 1972. Other members, Mick Hawksworth (Andromeda) – bass, Roy Sharland (Crazy World Of Arthur Brown) – organ, and Paul Francis (Tucky Buzzard) – drums, knew it was over. Hawksworth joined Alvin Lee’s band, Francis joined Tranquility and worked with Maggie Bell, Mick Ronson and Chris Spedding.

Songs Of The Daze features Stackridge on The Old Grey Whistle Test (1975/1976), plus interview (1973):

The musical musings in this post are an excerpt from my daily blog, TO WHERE I AM NOW, featured on my main website. See more pictures and read the full post here.

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