West London based Catapilla originally formed in Christmas 1970 with a line up of Jo Meek (vocals), Malcolm Frith (drums), Hugh Eaglestone (sax), Dave Taylor (bass), Graham Wilson (guitars), Robert Calvert (sax) andThiery Rheinhart (wind instruments).
Their brand of experimental Jazz Rock brought them to the attention of Orange Music, a management company who also handled John Miles, and they arranged for the band to showcase their set to an invited audience of Music Industry people. Black Sabbath manager Patrick Meehan picked up on the band and offered to produce their debut LP. However before he got them to the studio vocalist Jo Meek left and was replaced by her sister Anna.
The band's self titled debut LP (Vertigo LP 6360029}, produced by Meehan, was released in late 1971 and mint copies of it are today worth around £40 on the collectors market. To support the release the band headed out on a nationwide tour with fellow Vertigo acts Graham Bond and Roy Harper. However the age old "musical differences" reared its ugly head before the group entered the studio to record their second LP resulting in Eaglestone, Frith, Rheinhart and Taylor quitting to be replaced by Bryan Hanson (drums), Ralph Rawlinson (keyboards) and Carl Wassard (bass).
It was this line up that recorded 1972 's "Changes" LP (Vertigo 6360074), a much more instrumental affair than their debut. Soon after the album's release though the band split up. Most of the members pursued non-recording musical careers though Calvert did record with John Stevens and Taylor popped up in Liar. It was Eaglestone however who kept the name Catapilla alive, opening two collectors record shops in Exeter and Taunton.
by Mark Brennan
Catapilla released two highly original albums on the legendary Vertigo-"swirl" label. Their style was jazzy, sax-driven progressive rock with lengthy tracks. They really don't remind me of any other band, with the possible exception for "Tumbleweed" and "Promises" that both reminds me a little bit of Affinity (another Vertigo-"swirl" band). The album opens with the 15-minute "Naked Death".
It features heavy sax-work, powerful vocal-parts with the aggressive, tormented female vocals of Anna Meek, and a long jam in the middle. What really gave Catapilla their distinctive stamp were probably the vocals of Meek and the atmospheric sax-playing. The highlight on the album is of course the 24-minute "Embryonic Fusion". An intense blowouts of energetic, saxophone-driven early 70's jazz-influenced progressive rock. It features great jamming and some structured and strong riffs too. A good album for anyone who likes saxophone-dominated progressive rock.
1. Naked' Death - 15:38
2. Tumbleweed - 3:54
3. Promises - 5:42
4. Embryonic Fusion - 24:08
All tracks written by Wilson, Rheinhart, Cahert, Frith, Meek.
*Jo Meek - Vocals
*Malcolm Frith - Drums
*Hugh Eaglestone - Sax
*Dave Taylor - Bass
*Graham Wilson - Guitars
*Robert Calvert - Sax And
*Thiery Rheinhart - Wind Instruments
Catapilla's 2nd album