Monday, May 15, 2017

Beckett - 1974 - Beckett


01. Once Upon a Time... The End - 0:55
02. Rolling Thunder - 5:23
03. Rainclouds - 5:10
04. Life's Shadow - 6:51
05. New Dawn Chorus - 1:02
06. A Rainbow's Gold - 4:40
07. Don't Tell Me I Wasn't Listening - 5:30
08. Green Grass Green - 4:35
09. My Lady - 3:26
10.True Life Story - 5:36

*Robert Barton - Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Fisher - Drums
*Terry Wilson-Slesser - Vocals
*Ian Murray - Bass
*Kenny Mountain - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Tim Hinkley - Keyboards

Beckett is simply one of the great lost Progressive Rock albums of the 1970s. These guys only did one album, but what an album it was. A Rainbow's Gold is simply one of the best songs on the 1970s overall. And Rolling Thunder is just amazing. It is a crying shame these guys never got the sales they deserved.

Beckett Vocalist Terry Wilson-Slesser, a native of Newcastle upon Tyne, was to figure in ex-Free guitarist Paul Kossoff's solo outfit Back Street Crawler and was later hook up with Charlie. The vocalist was also known to be in contention during 1980 for the AC/DC frontman vacancy following Bon Scott's death.

Wilson-Slesser had replaced original Beckett singer Rob Turner, the previous frontman having been killed in an auto accident. Soon after this appointment guitarist Les Tones quit. The group's first major performance was supporting UFO at Newcastle's City Hall. Beckett carved out a live reputation by performing residencies at the infamous Star Club in Hamburg, Germany. Beckett , having scored the financial backing of Island Publishing, then underwent a major line-up change.

The band's 'My Lady' single was a clear flexi-disc given away free at gigs in 1974, the same year the band released their eponymously titled album, produced by Family's Roger Chapman, on the Raft label subsidiary of Warner Bros. On the live front Beckett supported the likes of Wizzard, Slade, Free, Ten Years After, Thin Lizzy and The Faces. The band performed at the 1974 Reading Festival, after which they switched labels to CBS Records. For a period Wilson-Slesser was rehearsing with Mott The Hoople musicians following Ian Hunter's exit.

The Beckett concerts with Free would ultimately lead to an eventual union between Terry Wilson-Slesser and guitarist Paul Kossoff in Back Street Crawler. . The singer also acted as backing vocalist on Def Leppard's 'Pyromania' album. The Beckett song 'A Rainbow's Gold' was covered by Iron Maiden as a B side on their 1984 hit single '2 Minutes To Midnight'. That same year Wilson-Slesser acted as an offstage singer for the Michael Schenker Group, performing on a European and Japanese tour.

The Iron Maiden Connection:

Now this is a truly intriguing album for all Iron Maiden fans.

One obvious reason for that is a song "A Rainbow's Gold", which Maiden covered and released in their 2 Minutes to Midnight / Rainbow's Gold single.

But there's another hidden fact, which is way more interesting, though sadly unknown for closely all Maiden-fans.

A true gem of this album is its fourth track, "Life's Shadow". First off, let's take a look at the lyrics of the song:

Mark my words my soul lives on
Please don’t worry cause I’ve have gone
I’ve gone beyond to see the truth

When your time is close at hand
Maybe then you’ll understand
Life down there is just a strange illusion

Every Maiden-fan should be able to recognize those lyrics. In case you're not familiar with the material of Iron Maiden, these lyrics are pretty much identical with Maiden's epic song called Hallowed Be Thy Name.

The song with its mood and structure has some similarities with Maiden's hit song, but it does have huge similarity with another Maiden song: listen to the instrumental part starting from 4:45. That should sound familiar as well. This exactly the same instrumental part can be found from Maiden's track called The Nomad.

I'm not sure if I should blame Maiden from plagiarizing here. It's an interesting case for sure.

Upp - 1976 - This Way

This Way

01. Never Turn My Back On You 8:25
02. Groovin' Mood 3:20
03. Say Goodbye 5:00
04. Dance Your Troubles Away 3:40
05. I Don't Want Nothing (To Change) 3:25
06. There's Still Hope 4:00
07. Nitto 3:50
08. Get To The Bottom 3:25

Backing Vocals – Christy Thompson, Jeanie Arnold
Bass [Electric & Mutron] – Stephen Amazing
Drums – James Copley
Guitar – David Bunce, Jeff Beck (tracks: B1, B2)
Keyboards, Lead Vocals – Andy Clark
Percussion, Vibraphone – Gary Coleman
Soloist, Saxophone – Tom Scott

Upp was a British keyboard based soul funk/jazz rock band, active in the 1970s and based in South London. The group consisted of Stephen Amazing aka Steve Fields (bass guitar), David Bunce (guitar), the group's founder Andy Clark (keyboards), and Jim Copley (drums). Stephen Amazing played bass at different times in bands called 'The Kinetics' and 'The Abstracts'. Andy Clark had recorded several albums with south coast blues-boomers Clark Hutchinson. The group's debut album, "Upp", was released in 1975, and produced by Jeff Beck who also played guitars on the album. Jeff also produced "This Way" (posted here), and played guitar solos on "Dance Your Troubles Away" and "Don't Want Nothing to Change." This album has been classified as jazz fusion, but fundamentally the music is a mellow blend of funky white soul. The musicianship is good, and the band's sound is reminiscent of a lightweight AWB. Listen to Be Bop Deluxe's great "Sunburst Finish" album with Andy Clark on keyboards
USA Edition Front Cover

I listened to it again tonight and it still stands up as a fine slice of original music. A bit funky, a bit mellow, difficult to classify. A little bit like AWB in places perhaps. Great bass playing, strong white soul vocals. Guest appearance from Jeff Beck. Only four stars because it's a bit patchy - some standout songs and a few fillers.

Upp - 1975 - Upp


01. Bad Stuff
02. Friendly Street
03. It's A Mystery
04. Get Down In The Dirt
05. Give It To You
06. Jeff's One
07. Count To Ten

Bass – Stephen Amazing
Drums, Percussion – Jim Copley
Keyboards – Andy Clark
Guitar – Jeff Beck

Upp were a keyboard-based band from South London in the early 70s. Andy Clark (keyboards) and Steve Field (bass) aka "Amazing Steven Amazing" came from the excellent but obscure Deram signing "Clark-Hutchinson", Jim Copley (drums) later played with Go West, Hazel O'Connor and Manfred Mann's Earthband. Jeff Beck personally signed them to his own label and management.

Upp was a British rock-jazz fusion band, active in the 1970s. The group was originally going to be called 3 UPP, and consisted of Stephen Amazing (bass guitar), Andy Clark (keyboards) and Jim Copley (drums). David Bunce (guitar) joined on guitar for the second album.

Stephen Amazing, aka Steve Fields prior to his career in Clark Hutchinson in his teenage years, used to play bass guitar in a band called 'The Kinetics', and also, at times, in another band called 'The Abstracts'. Some photographs showing Fields in the Kinetics can be seen at Bill Chewter's Facebook page
Jim Copley has spoken of the genesis of the band; "Three months of rehearsing almost everyday, Jeff Beck came down to the studio to play with David Bowie who was doing his Hammersmith Odeon farewell concert in 1973. Jeff was with a friend of my dad’s and he heard the band through the wall and we were doing James Brown and very funky stuff. He kicked the door open and he came in and we stopped 'cause it was Jeff Beck and he said 'please carry on, I love it, I love it!’. The band was heavily influenced by other acts like Otis Redding, Sly & The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway.

The group were signed to CBS in 1974 and the debut album, Upp, was released in 1975. Jeff Beck produced and also played guitars on this LP, although there was no mention of him playing in the liner notes. Upp released its next album a year later, titled This way Upp. Beck again produced this album and played guitar solos on "Dance Your Troubles Away" and "Don't Want Nothing to Change." This album was recorded at CBS Studios, London.

The group backed Beck on the 1970s BBC One special Four Faces of Guitar, which also featured Julian Bream. They played two songs, which were "Get Down in the Dirt" and Beck's arrangement of The Beatles' song "She's a Woman", with an interview about Beck's instrumentation as an intermission between the two.