Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jody Grind - 1970 - Far Canal

Jody Grind 
Far Canal

01. We've Had It (5:07)
02. Bath Sister (3:28)
03. Jump Bed Jed 7:14)
04. Paradiso (7:31)
05. Plastic Shit (7:18)
06. Vegetable Oblivion (2:09)
07. Red Worms & Lice (7:23)
08. Ballad For Bridget (3:42)

Tim Hinkley / Keyboards, Vocals
Pete Gavin / Drums
Bernie Holland / Guitar

Following the release of Jody Grind's debut One step on, the ubiquitous musical differences quickly developed between band leader Tim Hinkley and the other two members. As a result, Hinkley found himself in a similar position to Vincent Crane of Atomic Rooster (an interesting comparison given both were organ players), in having a band name but no band. Essentially, Hinkley wanted to move in a more straightforward, perhaps commercial, direction which could be exploited in a live environment, while the other two wanted to continue to explore the roots of prog direction of their first album.

Hinkley therefore recruited Bernie Holland and Peter Gavin as replacements, creating a line up which would last until the end of the band's brief 2 year existence. Far canal (I am not sure where the title comes from, but it appears to be a disguised form of swearing. Interestingly, or perhaps not, it is the name of English Football team Plymouth Argyle's fan site) was released a mere 6 months after the band's debut, the opening 5 minute song We've had it immediately indicating the softer and more accessible style of the new line up.

Tracks such as Bath sister and Jump bed Jed are fairly ordinary rock numbers, the latter having a rhythm guitar riff similar to Focus's Syliva (which of course it predates). The complete absence of the wonderful brass rock arrangements which adorned the first album are in part the reason why the tracks appear under-developed. While on the plus side, this leaves more room for the fine organ playing of Hinkley, it renders the tracks far less distinctive than their peers on the band's debut.

O Paradiso is a looser instrumental which once again (per the debut album) features an unwelcome drum solo. Plastic [&*!#] was recorded live, and as such is the only live recording of the band available. The song is essentially a Hendrix like piece featuring obscure vocals and a dynamic lead guitar jam.

The album closes with a couple of largely instrumental numbers with obscure titles and an outro of smooth jazz . Of these, Red worms and lice is an impressive, if slightly wandering organ and guitar jam. Ballad for Bridget is not a ballad at all, but a shuffling jazz piano number which is quite out of place.

In all, an interesting if unexceptional second album, which sees Jody Grind rather falling into line. Had Hinkley decided to continue to explore the direction of the band's fine debut, perhaps things might have been different. As it was, this was to be this short lived band's swan-song.

After the demise of Jody Grind, Hinckley went on to join Vinegar Joe, a band which featured Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer in its line up, and later moved to Nashville, USA where he now lives.

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