Formed from the remnants of Perth band the Beaten Tracks in 1968, the Chain were named by singer Wendy Saddington after the classic soul track "Chain of Fools." Saddington soon left and the band released one of Australia's first progressive blues singles, "Show Me Home," in 1969. Soon after, the Chain shortened their moniker to Chain. In June 1970, Chain recorded the classic live album, Live Chain, at Caesar's Palace discotheque, and along with other Australian acts like Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Carson, and the Adderley Smith Blues Band, were considered at the forefront of the Australian blues movement.
In 1971 the new Chain (already by now, "Mk 7"!) attracted the attention of the aggressive young entrepreneur Michael Gudinski, who was by then in the throes of putting together the enduring Mushroom indie record label. Gudinski, who also became the group's manager soon afterwards, has subsequently acknowledged that Mushroom was conceived and built upon Chain's reputation, and he in turn enthusiastically helped foster their career during those heady times.
During the same year, the band continued to grow in stature as a must-see drawcard around the Melbourne blues haunts, as well as being a popular staple at the various outdoor festivals common to the era. An appearance at the Odyssey Festival at Ourimbah in January was captured on the double-LP set History Of Chain, cementing the group's greatness for posterity. Other festival appearances, such as at Myponga outside Adelaide and Wallacia near Sydney (each featuring a roster of the cream of OzRock's best) had a similar effect, and Chain by now were regarded as among the premier of Australia's progressive blues units.
The "classic" line-up of Chain enjoyed a national top ten hit in May with its debut Infinity single, "Black And Blue" (working title: "We're Groaning"), backed with Taylor's ambitious but solidly-delivered and decidedly progressive "Lightning Ground". The A-side recalled the traditional Afro-American "work-song" motif, and heralded the solid, blueswailing body of songs featured on Toward The Blues, Chain's first album for Festival's "progressive" Infinity imprint, which was released to great (and enduring) critical acclaim in September.
At a climactic concert on 13 June 1971 at the Melbourne Town Hall, where a number of the scene's pre-eminent bands assembled (headliners Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs released an LP of their stunning performance there), a self-deprecating Chain were awarded a silver disc plaque (at that time a coveted accolade) for selling 25,000 copies of the "Black 'n' Blue" single, a record that went on to become one of mainstream rock radio's most-played and most oft-requested staples.
1. Thirty Two-Twenty Blues (Robert Johnson) - 4:10
2. Snatch It Back And Hold It (Junior Wells) - 5:03
3. Boogie - 10:44
4. Booze Is Bad News Blues - 7:46
5. Albert Gooses Gonna Turn The Blues Looses - 7:04
6. Black And Blue - 4:50
7. Undgemend - 3:28
8. Blow In D - 6:01
9. Mr. President - 3:40
10.Leaving - 2:47
11.Two Of A Kind - 4:43
12.Forever - 5:07
13.I'm Gonna Miss You Babe - 3:30
14.Gertrude Street Blues - 5:01
All songs by Barry Harvey, Phil Manning, Barry Sullivan, Matt Taylor, except where noted.
*Barry Harvey - Drums
*Phil Manning - Guitar
*Barry Sullivan - Bass
*Matt Taylor - Vocals, Harmonica