Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jackson Heights - 1973 - Bump 'n' Grind

Jackson Heights
Bump 'n' Grind


01. I Could Be Your Orchestra
02. Spaghetti Sunshine
03. Long Necked Lady
04. Public Romance
05. Bump And Grind
06. Cumberland County
07. It's A Shame
08. Ladies In The Chorus
09. Whatever Happened To The Conversation

Brian Chatton / keyboards, vocals
Michael Giles / drums
John McBurnie / guitar, keyboards, vocals
Lee Jackson / bass, guitar, vocals


Johnny VanDerrick / violin
Ian Paice / drums
Ian Wallace / drums
Chris Laurence / bass
Bill Bell / banjo

Compact at 33 minutes, this is the most pop orientated of the three albums with lavish production values, and colourful, `baroque-pop' arrangements, and although quite what they were aiming for is hard to tell, it is fine music by anyone's standards. This really shines on a god hi-fi !

The title track is anything but the dirty pub rock that the name seems to suggest, instead being a sweeping majestic widescreen tune, with McBurnie's vocals easily recognisable as the voice of (Patrick Moraz')`Story Of I' at the fore against full string arrangements. `It's A Shame' is a beautiful divorce ballad (if there is such a thing) with a really memorable tune and perhaps Lee Jackson's best vocal, ably served by a lush arrangement once again. `Public Romance' is especially remarkable for featuring a cornucopia of keyboards including a stunning solo played on Keith Emerson's loaned Moog by Brian Chatton, and more `Melletron' (which is mis- spelt on every album as per the original sleeve notes !).

This album closed out their career and Jackson subsequently attempted to resurrect The Nice formula with Patrick Moraz in the keyboard hot seat with Refugee, only to have his hopes dashed again as Moraz did a runner for a short lived stint with Yes. The three albums on display here demonstrate that while Jackson Heights were eminently listenable, they were always going to fall between several stools. This is not to say however that with a retrospective glance and an appreciation of that melting pot that was the early seventies London music scene, there is much to appreciate here. Even albums like this which totally failed commercially offer up standards in writing, performance and production which are seldom matched today.

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