01. Time wil be your doctor (5:11)
02. Mrs Prouts (6:48)
03. Just look around you (4:24)
04. Afternoon out (4:59)
05. More than I am (5:33)
06. Country boy (6:04)
07. In out time (6:41)
08. A word from bid D (1:41)
Bonus tracks on Repertoire:
09. Double time woman (3:00)
10. Big brass band (2:58)
11. One more hour (3:59)
12. No name face (3:03)
- Paul Francis / drums
- Mick Hawksworth / bass
- Roy Sharland / organ
- Graham White / lead vocals, guitar
This is one of the many harder-edged and organ dominated progressive bands that emerged in the early Seventies. Unfortunately very little is known about FUZZY DUCK's history. The musicians were Paul Francis (drums, percussion), Mick (Doc) Hawksworth (bass, vocals, acoustic 12-string, electric cello), Roy (Daze) Sharland (organ, electric piano) and Grahame White (guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar). The eponymous album from 1971 was released on CD by both the German Repertoire Records and the UK Aftermath Records. It has obvious hints from mainly ATOMIC ROOSTER but also DEEP PURPLE.
FUZZY DUCK's music is simple but it touches me very much: pleasant vocals, a tight rhythm-section, strong guitarwork and, the most delightful element, floods of Hammond organ. This reminds me of Ken Hensley from early URIAH HEEP and Manfred Wieczorke from German heavy progressive band JANE. The guitarplay is also a good point, featuring fiery solos and catchy riffs. The final song "A word from bid D" includes the so called 'ducking vocals' from keyboardplayer Roy (Daze) Sharland, very funny to hear. FUZZY DUCK's music has echoes from ATOMIC ROOSTER, SPENCER DAVIES GROUP, VANILLA FUDGE and QUATERMASS. If you like the Hammond organ, don't miss this CD! By the way, I own the Aftermath CD version, it contains 11 tracks, including the previously unreleased "No name face".
The members of Fuzzy Duck were certainly not novices by the time they banded together and released their only studio album. Bassist Mick Hawksworth had spent the latter sixties with future Atomic Rooster alumnus John Du Cann in the hard-core psych band The Five Day Week Straw People, with both of them later moving on to the semi-legendary psych band Andromeda where they were joined by Fuzzy vocalist/guitarist the late Grahame White. Drummer Paul Francis had played with both The End and Tucky Buzzard. And Roy Sharland had been a member of the pre-Uriah Heep lineup known as Spice. So from that curriculum vitae you would expect a sound that included psych and blues guitar, heavy Hammond organ riffs, and above all very well-structured rhythms. Plus this was recorded in 1970 so throw in poor production, muddy bass notes and unremarkable male vocals straining outside their natural limits.
Well I’m happy to report that the band does not disappoint, as the previous paragraph describes Fuzzy Duck to a ‘T’. Presumably named after the old drinking game of the same name, Fuzzy Duck were a brief flash in the pan that apparently served as little more than a vehicle for the various professionals in it to move on to other things. The band doesn’t seem to have stayed together for more than a year or two, but they clearly had enough in the form of individual reputation and connections to land a record deal on the fledgling but up-and-coming MAM Records label.
But keep in mind that blues-based psych rock with heavy bass, lots of Hammond and strained male vocals were standard fare in 1970, so I’m not sure this really qualifies as progressive music unless we’re assuming just about everything from Canned Heat to Blind Faith qualifies as prog rock. Probably not.
That’s not to say this is a throwaway album though, because there’s some pretty good music on it. It’s just not substantively different from early Uriah Heep, Steppenwolf, Grand Funk, Jody Grind, Wishbone Ash or any of dozens of bands like them. As long as you are okay with that, this is a pretty decent album.
The album kicks off with a heavy bass, lively Hammond rocker titled “Time Will Be Your Doctor”. This is pure hard rock but well played (“Country Boy” later on the album falls into this category as well). And while “Mrs. Prout” is quite similar there is a move toward more psych-leaning guitar and drawn-out keyboards ala Ray Manzarek. After this comes “Just Look around You”, which borders on being a heavy folk tune but is backed with the heavy organ and bass emphasis again.
But then back comes the psych, this time quite heavy and extended thanks to White’s guitar and vocals on “Afternoon Out” and “More Than I Am”. These both sound a bit improvisational and hearken back to the late sixties, showing without a doubt the recent influences of several band members.
The CD reissue (unfortunately not remastered though) includes a handful of singles recorded after White left the band and was briefly replaced by Garth Watt-Roy (Living Daylights, Greatest Show on Earth, East of Eden). The production on these is a bit better, and a couple (“Double Time Woman” and “One More Hour”) were released as singles, presumably with the other two bonus tracks occupying their backsides. These are much lighter on organ, virtually devoid of bass and include horns. The sound is decidedly more AOR than the original album, and I suppose these were only included because the CD version had a lot more whitespace than the original forty minute vinyl version had.
No matter, this is a decent album that is representative of the early seventies heavy rock sound. It’s not too deep in the prog department though, but almost qualifies as proto-prog based on the various musicians’ backgrounds and it’s timing at the very end of the late sixties blues/psych musical era. Three stars and recommended as an interesting curio and as a nostalgic piece, but not as serious prog music.