Thursday, September 14, 2017

Back Door - 1976 - Activate

Back Door 

01. You Got Evil
02. Thru The Zig Zag Gate
03. Train Won't Blow
04. Dragonfly
05. Eliminate
06. Speedwalker
07. Roll On
08. Moon Mad Woman
09. Cryin' Inside

Colin Hodgkinson - Basses, Guitars, Vocals
Ron Aspery - Sax, E-Piano, Piano, Organ, Mellotron
Adrian Tilbrook - Drums, Percussion

Produced by Carl Palmer

I didn't think Anotherr Fine Mess sounded very much like Back Door. This definitely does, though, and it's way better than people seem to think it is.

A huge return to form. It's not as good as their debut album, but it's better than 8th Street Nites.

Back Door - 1975 - Another Fine Mess

Back Door 
Another Fine Mess

01. I'm Gonna Stay A Long, Long Time 3:30
02. Blakey Jones 4:16
03. T.B.Blues 3:31
04. Candles Round Your Hat 4:45
05. Detroit Blues 2:43
06. The Spoiler 4:53
07. Shaken By Love 4:11
08. Streamline Guitar 2:30
09. Manager's Shirt 2:38
10. The Dashing White Sergeant 3:05

Ron Aspery - Sax, Flute
Tony Hicks - Drums
Colin Hodgkinson - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Dave MacCrae - keyboards all tracks,
Bernie Holland - guitar on a couple of tracks

The third album was ‘produced’ some might argue ‘over produced’.  Dave MacRae joined on Fender piano and played on all tracks.  He dominates the album and manages to squeeze out the edginess and wildness. They even had an arrangement, ‘Detroit Blues’, from Mike Gibbs.  The first track is a shock it does not sound much like the group, even Hodgkinson’s vocal sounds more commercial.  There is even a fadeout!  ‘Blakey Jones’ is dedicated to Brian Jones landlord of the pub where they started.  ‘Detroit Blues’ is more Mike Gibbs than Back Door; it is easy to imagine this played by one of Gibbs’ larger ensembles.  The last track ‘The Dashing White Sergeant’ is very jolly and would be very good at concerts but it fades out into the distance.  As did the band.

Back Door - 1973 - 8th Street Nites

Back Door 
8th Street Nites

01. Linin' Track 4:01
02. Forget Me Daisy 2:14
03. His Old Boots (Sein Alter Stiefel) 3:21
04. Blue Country Blues 2:47
05. Dancin' In The Van 1:52
06. 32-20 Blues 2:25
07. Roberta 2:50
08. It's Nice When It's Up 2:25
09. One Day You're Down, The Next Day You're Down 3:33
10. Walkin' Blues 3:15
11. The Bed Cracks Louder 2:21
12. Adolphus Beal 3:53

Bass, Vocals – Colin Hodgkinson
Drums – Tony Hicks
Saxophone, Flute – Ron Aspery

Piano, Tambourine, Percussion – Felix Pappalardi

Producer – Felix Pappalardi

Back when giant carnivorous bass players ruled the Earth, Back Door were the hungriest of them all. They formed in 1971 as a jazz-rock trio, with Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals), Ron Aspery (keyboards, sax), and Tony Hicks (drums). Later Adrian Tilbrook took over on drums. What sets Back Door apart is the bass playing. While a few bassists -- such as Chris Squire, John Entwistle, and Jack Bruce -- have tried exploiting the bass' potential as a lead instrument, they were confined by bands where the guitar or keyboards were the usual lead. Not Colin Hodgkinson; he dispenses with these instruments altogether, allowing the bass to be the sole lead instrument. He strums chords on it the way you'd expect someone to with a six-string. Later bands like Ruins and Sadhappy have taken up this challenge, but many of Back Door's achievements remain unsurpassed.

After releasing four albums on Warner between 1973 and 1976, and touring with Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- drummer Carl Palmer produced their last album, Activate (1976) -- they broke up in 1977. Hodgkinson went on to play with Jan Hammer, Alexis Korner, and the Spencer Davis Group. He even had his moment of crotch-grabbing fame as the bassist on the U.K. version of Whitesnake's massive-selling album Slide It In. After a move to Germany, he recorded for the Inakustik label, with the Electric Blues Duo and with the Spencer Davis Group.

8th Street Nites is more bass-driven brilliance, produced by the late Felix Pappalardi, former producer of Cream. Though the album is less cohesive than their debut, it soars to even greater heights with its stand-out covers of Leadbelly and Robert Johnson. These blues numbers are largely played as unaccompanied bass and vocal pieces. There's something to this unadorned combination -- the inherent grittiness of the bass matched against his voice hearkens back to the raw power of Delta blues, where it's just a guy and his crappy old guitar. On "32-20 Blues," Hodgkinson sings an old Robert Johnson number while throttling away at the bass; on the opening "Laying Track," the whole band takes on Leadbelly in a sort of restrained funkiness, with the constant thrashing of a tambourine underlining the rhythm section's punches on the downbeat. 

Back Door - 1972 - Back Door

Back Door 
Back Door

01. Vienna Breakdown 2:20
02. Plantagenet 1:38
03. Lieutenant Loose 2:37
04. Askin' The Way 2:55
05. Turning Point 2:10
06. Slivadiv 3:45
07. Jive Grind 2:46
08. Human Bed 2:25
09. Catcote 1:55
10. Waltz For A Wollum 2:17
11. Folksong 3:00
12. Back Door 2:46

Bass – Colin Hodgkinson
Drums – Tony Hicks
Saxophone, Flute – Ron Aspery

Recorded London, England, June 3rd and 4th, 1972.
Produced by Back Door

Still in 1969 Colin Hodgkinson and Ron Aspery both played in Eric Delaney's band on summer season at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth. In the afternoons, when the theatre was empty, they played as duo for themselves (recording this sessions on tape recorder). After summer season, they moved to London, working at a Mecca ballroom at night. Colin joined Alexis Corner's band.

Trying to have more time for own project, they moved to Redcar (where for a first time they started to work as house band in Starlight club),and worked on the Back Door project during the day. After trying a couple of drummers, Tony Hicks joined the band.

In that line up they recorded first demos and sent them to all major record companies. All of them returned back, no company was interested in band without guitarist and keyboard player. Next year they we playing a regular Tuesday night gig at the Lion Inn, on Blakey Ridge, North Yorkshire. Brian Jones, landlord, who loved the band, put money for their first album to release.

They released a few hundred copies pressed by RCA, but sold only few of them locally. Then they found a way to the NME offices in London. The album received a really great review from Charles Shaar Murray, and things start to move faster.

The band was invited to play alongside Return To Forever at Ronnie Scott's club for three weeks. After that they received some offers from record companies and signed with Warner Brothers. WB re-released their debut album, and in 1974 they recorded second album in New York. Album is produced by Cream producer Felix Pappalardi and contains some Hodgkinson vocals. Third album contains new member, keyboardist Dave MacRae.

During four years they released four albums and toured USA and Europe, but received limited commercial success. In 1976 they decided to disband the band. Ron Aspery started successful career as session musician. Tony Hicks played in many different bands, then moved to Australia. Colin Hodgkinson went to New Your to work with Ian Hammer.

In 1986 the band reunited for short tour and recorded some material in small studio in Sussex ( but the album wasn't released).

In 2003 the band reunited once again (in original line-up) and recorded new album (with 6 re-workings of old songs and 13 new songs).The band played the few shows after, but Aspery left because of health problems. On the December 10he died at his home in Sussex.

In 2005 the band played few shows with new sax player Rod Mason. On the 13 August 2006 Tony Hicks died in Sydney, Australia.

The band was important in jazz rock history as one of the very first where bass was used as main soloing instrument. And few more players tried to do it at the same period, Colin Hodgkinson was most radical of them: only him didn't include to his band no one other leading instrument as guitar or keyboards! Hodgkinson has developed left-hander bass technique which can replace both rhythm and lead guitar if necessary.

In 2007 Colin Hodgkinson formed a new trio under the name Colin Hodgkinson Group with Rod Mason (sax) and Paul Robinson (drums). In 2008 they released 'Back Door Too!' album , a mixture of old Back Door songs and new material.

For a trio of just bass, drums and sax Back Door make plenty of noise and play highly energetic jazz rock. The sound is filled out by bassist Colin Hodgkinson's busy style who often and unusually plays chords. He, along with drummer Tony Hicks lay the foundations for Ron Aspery's wild and inventive sax excursions.

The totally instrumental 12 compositions are all fairly short in length and the diversity of the material ranging from the frantic Catcote Rag to its preceding track, the more mellow Human Bed where Aspery switches to flute show a range and scope many would think not possible with such limited use of instrumentation. The standard of playing is excellent. They're all primarily jazz musicians, but play with a rock sensibility giving their music plenty of fire and each is given a turn to shine. Often the main theme of the tune will feature unison bass and sax until Aspery goes off on some wild excursion. Not surprisingly Aspery takes most of the lead on sax throughout but Hicks, who is never less than stunning gets his turn with a fantastic performance on closing track Back Door. Hodgkinson, who incidently played with Whitesnake for a while in the early eighties gets his turn with the solo bass piece of Lieutenant Loose but his lively style of mixing individual notes with chords always puts him upfront anyway.

Crawler - 2006 - Live at the Paradise Club Boston

Live at the Paradise Club Boston 

01. Radio Introduction – 0:29
02. Without You Babe – 3:43
03. Sail On – 4:52
04. Disc Heroes – 3:29
05. How Will You Break My Heart – 4:50
06. Where Is The Money – 4:22
07. You And Me – 8:39
08. One Way Street – 4:47
09. Blue Soul – 9:08
10. Selfish Lover – 3:49
11. Radio Announcer – 0:23

Recorded in 1978, this is the second gig from the Paradise Club, Boston.

- Terry Slesser / vocals
- Geoff Whitehorn / guitar
- John Rabbit Bundrick / keyboards
- Terry Wilson / bass
- Tony Braunagel / drums

Crawler - 2005 - Live At The Nottingham Boat Club 1978

Live At The Nottingham Boat Club 1978

101. Sail On – 5:11
102. Disc Heroes – 3:22
103. Where Is The Money – 5:14
104. You And Me – 7:09
105. Muddy Water – 4:32
106. How Will You Break My Heart – 4:45
107. Keep On Running – 5:35
108. Blues My Guitar – 8:06

201. Liar – 4:50
202. The Shape I’m In – 3:48
203. First Class Operator – 4:15
204. One Way Street – 4:51
205. Stone Cold Sober – 7:20
206. Selfish Lover – 5:35
207. Blue Soul – 13:10

Recorded in 1978, this is the Crawler gig at the Nottingham Boat Club.

- Terry Slesser / vocals
- Geoff Whitehorn / guitar
- John Rabbit Bundrick / keyboards
- Terry Wilson / bass
- Tony Braunagel / drums

Crawler - 2004 - Demo Anthology (1975-78)

Demo Anthology (1975-78)

01. Sweet, Sweet Judy (1975 – TW Studios) – 3:40
02. Cold, Cold, World (1976 – Welsh) – 4:44
03. Evening Time (1976 – Welsh) – 5:28
04. Sit Down Easy (1976 – Welsh) – 4:03
05. Crazy Women (1976 – LA) – 4:17
06. The Music’s Mine (Instrumental Version)(1977 – Notting Hill) – 6:35
07. Poor Man (1977 – Notting Hill) – 3:45
08. Sweet Sister (1977 – Notting Hill) – 4:04
09. Red Beans And Rice (1977 – Notting Hill) – 4:18
10. Tony’s Blues (1977 – Decca) – 5:08
11. Red Beans (Instrumental) (1977 – Decca)1:57
12. Direct South (1977 – Decca) – 4:58
13. Sail On (1977 – Decca) – 5:15
14. Alone Baby (1978 – St John’s Wood) – 3:12
15. How Do You Live Your Life? (1978 – St John’s Wood) – 3:24
16. Jesus (1978 – St John’s Wood) – 4:33
17. 1st Class Operator (1978 – St John’s Wood) – 3:44
18. Burning In The Fire (1978 – St John’s Wood) – 5:12

- Tony Braunagel / vocals
- Terry Slesser / bass
- Geoff Whitehorn / guitar
- Terry Wilson / drums

This is an album of demos recorded between 1975 and 1978. This collection of songs, largely unfinished yet containing an essence of blues rock, highlights the greatness of the band that was unable to fully realize their potential during their time. Taken from unfinished songs ‘in the can’, “Demo Anthology” gives us more, not only of what we missed but also a glimpse into the song crafting process that Crawler employed.

18 songs are on this album, filed in the year that the demo (song) was recorded. With this, we are afforded a rare view into the extraordinary output of Crawler as the band prepared to rehearse for their first and then their second release shortly thereafter.

Selections include the demos for “Sail On” and “First Class Operator”, which were eventually finished and made it onto their second album. There are other songs that were demoed for the Snake sessions but didn’t make it onto the final product. You can call these gems extended jams because that is what they turned out to be. The importance of this album is that it gives up songs that would never be chosen (for the most part). It’s like getting another Crawler album. The stuff is unrefined but if you’re a fan, who cares.

Listening to the early 75 -76 songs is pure Crawler output. These songs were good enough to be released and they rock. With the world much poorer for only 2 official Crawler releases at their time, albums like these help to fill the void.