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Monday, September 19, 2011

Satisfaction - Satisfaction (1971 uk, splendid progressive jazz rock, extra tracks esoteric remaster release)

In the early I970's the musical changes taking place within the world of rock seemed to be in a constant state of evolution. For those musicians schooled in a background of blues, jazz or R&B the advent of "progressive" music lead to a re-thinking of direction. As a result many short-lived bands appeared, recording albums for the newly established "underground" imprints such as Pye's Dawn label, Philips* Vertigo label and Decca's own identity and their offshoot, Deram.

A plethora of these bands could be deemed as being "jazz influenced progressive", fusing brass sections with the traditional guitar, bass, drums and keyboards line-up of the typical rock band. Of these groups, acts such as Colosseum, Keef Hartley Band and Juicy Lucy achieved notable success. Alongside these bands there were those who succeeded in recording a solitary album before breaking up due to a lack of commercial success. Of these Heaven,Walrus and Galliard have since caught the attention of record collectors focussing on this classic era.

Another such outfit was Satisfaction. In many ways, Satisfaction were typical of their contemporaries, having a line-up firmly rooted in the British blues and beat boom of the mid-!960s.The group was formed by trumpet player Mike Cotton, a musician who had fronted bands since the late 1950's. Cotton began his musical life as leader of the Mike Cotton Jazzmen, but changed musical direction with the advent of the Rhythm and Blues explosion in 1963.The Jazzmen soon became the Mike Cotton Band and within months were known as the Mike Cotton Sound. Signing to EMI's Columbia label, the band recorded two EP's, a string of singles and an album over the next two years.

Aside from a UK top forty single, the real reputation of the Mike Cotton Sound lay in the fact that they were one of the hardest working acts on the British live circuit in the mid-1960*5. Not only did they perform in their own right, they also acted as a backing group for visiting American musicians such as Solomon Burke, Gene Pitney, the Four Tops and Stevie Wonder. By 1966 the Mike Cotton Sound had evolved into an accomplished Soul outfit, recording cover versions of US R&B classics such as "Harlem Shuffle" for Polydor, before moving to Pye records for their final single.

The group then teamed up with American singer (and ex-serviceman) Bruce MacPherson Lucas to record a further single for Pye, followed by two singles for MGM Records. The emergence of Psychedelia and "underground" music soon caused a downturn in the band's fortunes. Soul music was no longer a popular attraction on the live music scene in Britain and, like countless other acts; this led to the disbanding of the Mike Cotton Sound. Cotton remained a noted session player, but by 1970 he had taken note of the changing musical climate and assembled a group of musicians to head in a new and progressive direction.

Together with former Artwoods guitarist Derek Griffiths, Cotton created Satisfaction, featuring John Beecham on trombone, Lem Lubin and Nick Newell (saxophones) and Bernie Higginson (drums).This new band, although jazz influenced, also had a stronger rock edge to their approach and soon secured a contract with Decca records in 1970. The CD you hold in your hands features the fruits of a series of recording sessions for Decca, all produced by staff A&R man David Hitchcock (who would later find acclaim as producer of Caravan, Camel and Genesis).

The album "Satisfaction" (released as Decca SKL 5075) gained very favourable reviews upon its release. The record featured excellent musicianship and imaginative compositions. Highlights included the excellent "Sharing", "Call You Liar, Liar" and the superb closing track "Go through Changes", all of which highlighted the musical dexterity of the band. Sufficiently enthused by the response to the release of their eponymous album, Decca released two singles in quick succession in an attempt to try to break the band into the UK singles chart.The first of these, "Love it is" b/w "Cold Summer" enjoyed a very positive response from the British music press but failed to secure a chart placing. "Don't Rag the Lady" b/w "Gregory Shan't" shared a similar fate, gaining good notices but attaining few sales.

Within months of the appearance of the album and singles, Satisfaction had ceased to exist, leaving behind them the recorded legacy you can hear on this CD. For the first time the "Satisfaction" album and the band's non-album singles have been remastered from the original Decca master tapes and are now available in the digital form. Savour the Satisfaction.
by Mark Powell

1. Just Lay Back And Enjoy It (M. Cotton, D. Griffiths) - 7:35
2. She Follows The Band (L. Lubin) - 3:50
3. Cold Summer (B. Higginson) - 5:09
4. Sharing (J. Beecham, D. Griffiths) - 6:15
5. Call You Liar Liar (L. Lubin) - 4:16
6. You Upset The Grace Of Living When You Lie (T. Hardin) - 6:24
7. Just Like Friends (D. Griffiths) - 4:01
8. Go Through Changes (L. Lubin, D. Griffiths) - 7:13
9. Love It Is (Bonus Track) - 3:00
10.Dont Rag The Lady (Bonus Track) - 3:16
11.Gregory Shan't (Bonus Track) - 4:21

*Mike Cotton - Vocals, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Pocket Cornet, Harmonica
*John Beecham - Trombone, Tuba
*Derek Griffiths - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Bernie Higginson- Drums, Vocals, Bongos
*Lem Lubin - Vocals, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Nick Newell - Flute, Alto, Tenos Saxophone, Trumpet

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