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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

If - Double Diamond (1973 uk, exceptional progressive brass rock, 2010 remaster edition)

The genesis of If occurred on London's late 60s jazz scene, when guitar ace Terry Smith, saxophonists Dick Morrissey and Dave Quincy joined US soul singer J.J. Jackson's “Greatest Soul Band In The Land” Jackson was managed by the American Lew Futterman, who saw the possibility of forming a UK version of Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears. 

Smith, who had experienced larger audiences as guitar for teen idol Scott Walker, was ready for a new challenge after years on the smaller jazz scene, so If was launched.  Focusing on sax instead of brass, with soloing from every member, the initial line-up consisted of Smith (guitar), Morrissey (tenor/ soprano sax and flute), Dave Quincy (alto and tenor, sax), J.W. Hodkinson (vocals), John Mealing (keyboards), Jim Richardson (bass) and Dennis Elliot (drums). 

They were well-received by critics in the U.K. and U.S. (where they toured extensively and soon found themselves sharing bills with Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, Cream, Traffic, Yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others, playing famed venues such as the Marquee and the Fillmores East and West, as well as festivals such as Reading and Newport. 

They signed to Island in the UK and Capitol in the US, and issued numerous albums, despite live acclaim and frequent TV appearances, their records never sold in huge quantities (perhaps because they were too jazzy for rock audiences and vice versa). 

By 1972 the pressures of touring and Morrissey's ill health led to a hiatus in their activities. Hodkinson joined Darryl Way's Wolf, Smith and Quincy formed the short-lived ZZebra. Mealing joined Klaus Doldinger's Passport and the Strawbs, Richardson undertook session work, and Elliott joined Foreigner. 

If wasn't away for long, though, and Futterman soon assembled new line-ups, including musicians such as former Colosseum keyboard player Dave Greenslade. By 1973 the band consisted of Morrissey, Fi Trench and Pete Arnesen (keyboards), Steve Rosenthal (vocals / guitar), Kurt Palomacki (bass) and Cliff Davies (drums). 

This sextet soon entered Virgin's Manor studio in Oxfordshire (then riding high from its success with Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells) to record Double Diamond. The resulting LP was issued (as Brain 1035) only in Germany, where they had always been popular. Following its release there were further line-up changes, and two more LPs before they finally called it quits.
CD Liner-notes

1. Play, Play, Play (D. Morrissey, K. Palomacki) - 3:49
2. Peebles On The Beach (D. Morrissey, B. Morrissey) - 4:36
3. Pick Me Up (And Put Me Back On The Road) (C. Davies) - 5:05
4. Another Time Around (Is Not For Me) (C. Davies) - 6:58
5. Groupie Blue (Everyday She's Got The Blues) (D. Morrissey, T. Preston) - 4:10
6. Fly, Fly, The Route, Shoot (K. Palomacki) - 4:29
7. Feel Thing-Part 1 (P. Arnesen) - 4:19
8. Feel Thing-Part 2 (P. Arnesen) - 4:55
9. Feel Thing-Part 3 (P. Arnesen) - 3:16

*Dick Morrissey - Flute, Tenor And Soprano Sax, Backing Vocals
*Cliff Davies - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*Kurt Palomacki - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Fi Trench - Piano, Backing Vocals
*Steve Rosenthal - Guitar, Lead And Backing Vocals
*Pete Arnesen - Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals

1970  If - If  (Repertoire remaster)
1970  If - If 2 (Repertoire remaster)
1971  If - If 3 (Repertoire remaster)
1972  If - If 4 (Repertoire remaster)
1972  Waterfall (Repertoire remaster)
1972  If - Europe '72 (Repertoire remaster)
Related Acts
1968  Terry Smith - Fall Out
1974  Zzebra - Zzebra

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