Thursday, January 14, 2016

Brian Davison's Every Which Way - 1970 - Brian Davison's Every Which Way

Brian Davison's Every Which Way
Brian Davison's Every Which Way

01. Bed Ain't What It Used To (9:24)
02. Castle Sand (6:38)
03. Go Placidly (3:45)
04. All In Time (8:46)
05. What You Like (3:36)
06. The Light (6:15)

- Brian Davison / drums, percussion
- Graham Bell / electric piano, acoustic guitar, lead vocals
- Geoffrey Peach / reeds, flute, vocals
- Alan Cartwright / bass
- John Hedley / lead guitar

First album after the Nice's break-up, this first album is a very endearing oeuvre, lets it shown that Davison was much more than a candle-holder for Emerson. How this album never managed its own ray of sunshine is beyond me, because it had everything to make it. In a sort of progressive blues (ala Savoy Brown's raw Sienna) criss-crossing Traffic's middle period (the wind player reminds me of Chris Wood) and McDonald & Giles (with a touch of VdGG in the sax), the group pulls a very credible first album, that most progheads looking for UK proto-prog should hunt down. The artwork presenting a gatefold dove with a cannabis branch (rather than an olive tree branch) is suggestive enough, but the inside gatefold tells you that the branch had soon been smoked.

The album boast relatively long tracks, that are filled with excellent interplay between all musos and frequently draw chills down your spine. Starting with the 9-min+ Bed (a solemn and meaty proggy blues number like Savoy Brown or Ten Year After can do them, but with added winds), the album veers in heavy Traffic towards Crimson territories with Castle Sand. Superb!! Especially with its psych/space outro. The last track on the first side was probably meant for radio airplay and reminds of early Traffic and is quite a charming ditty.

The second side of this album starts with yet another lengthy jazzy-bluesy, but this time more of the SOAFF Traffic, with Bell's vocals reminiscent of a certain Stevie Winwood. Again plenty of time to develop the instrument breaks, Davison showing all of his finesse behind his kit. The sort What You Like is probably the album's most gut- wrenching, with the horns shifting from Graaf's Jaxon to Tippett-Boys Marc Charig. Finding plenty of space for an extended brass section, The Light shines all the way through the end of the album, with guitarist Hedley pulling a Neil Young-type of extended solo (Cowgirls In The Sand or Cortez The Killer), giving all kinds of drama, plenty of goose bumps and the envy to spin the album again.

Generally the expression earthed gem or hidden gem is often over-used (even by yours truly) and when the time comes to use it advisedly, it is rather hard to come around meaning it, but in this case, this old dog begs you to believe him. Nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking, but this album consolidates whatever ground was broken into by other preceding them

Had this been a Traffic album, critics and the buying public would have embraced the results.  Instead the set was greeted with complete indifference and the band quickly called it quits.  

- Bell went on the form Bell & Arc.
- Cartwright became a member of Procol Harum.
- Davidson rejoined formed Nice alumnus Lee Jackson in Jackson Heights, followed by a stint in Refugee.  Personal and health issues left him sidelined throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s and he subsequently turned his attention to academia, though in 2002 he rejoined Keith Emerson and Jackson for a reunion of The Nice.   The reunited band toured the UK and even released a live album.   Sadly, only 65, Davison died of a brain tumor in 2008.
- Hedley's remained active in the music business playing in a number of bands, most which never recorded.  One of the exceptions was Last Exit.  He's also continued to work as a sessions player and as a touring musician - he's apparently a regular on cruise ships.
- Peach went on to play in a number of bands including Lake and Mott the Hoople.

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