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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Norman Haines Band - Den Of Iniquity (1971 uk, brilliant soulful heavy prog rock, Esoteric 2011 reissue)

Keyboardist/singer/namesake Norman Haines started his professional musical career as a member of the Birmingham-based beat group The Brumbeats.  Following The Brumbeats' breakup Haines became a member of Locomotive, which cur a couple of highly regarded singles and the album "We Are Everything You See" before collapsing.  Haines then recruited lead guitarist Neil Clarke, singer/bassist Andy Hughes, and drummer Jimmy Skidmore for the band Sacrifice.  

In 1970 the Parlophone label signed Sacrifice to a recording contract.  Apparently unhappy with the band name, Parlophone marketing executives unilaterally released the band's debut single 'Daffodill' b/w 'Autumn Mobile' (Parlophone catalog number R 5871) under the name 'The Norman Haynes Band' (no I didn't typo that).

While the single did little commercially, Parlophone decided to finance an album.  With Tony Hall in the producer's chair, 1971's "Den of Iniquity" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios.  With namesake Haines and bassist Hughes responsible for the majority of material, the few detailed reviews I've stumbled across portrayed the album as having a dark progressive sound.  

Only partially true and not a particularly accurate description.  Propelled by the combination of Haines'  blistering voice and keyboards and Clarke's fantastic guitar, the results managed to combine razor sharp hard rock, blues-rock and more commercial moves. You're probably scratching your head trying to figure that combination out, but the fact of the matter is songs like the ominous title track, 'Finding My Way Home' and 'Everything You See (Mr. Armageddon)' (the latter previously recorded by Locomotive) should have held equal appeal to top-40 radio and free form FM audiences.  

Stylistically the biggest surprise was the pretty acoustic ballad 'Bourgeois'.  Written and sung by Hughes the track served to spotlight his folkie roots.  In contrast, side two found the band stretching out on a pair of largely instrumental blues-rock oriented numbers.  Less dynamic than side one, the 13 minute 'Rabbits' and 'Life Is So Unkind' served to spotlight the band's instrumental prowess, guitarist Clarke in particular getting a chance to showcase his first-rate playing.

With little support from Parlophone the LP didn't exactly burn up the charts, though part of the blame may have rested with the choice of art work.  The Heinrich Kley drawing was pretty stunning and some British retailers apparently refused to stock the album.

With the band calling it quits in 1972 Haines released a solo 45: 'Give It To You Girl' b/w 'Elaine' (Parlophone catalog number R 5960).  He was offered a spot in the newly formed Black Sabbath, but passed on it and then largely disappeared from the music scene though he appears to have returned to the fold fronting Norman Haines Blueskool.

1. Den Of Iniquity - 4:33
2. Finding My Way Home (N. Haines, Andy Hughes) - 3:25
3. Everything You See Mr.Armageddon - 4:35
4. When I Come Down - 3:56
5. Bourgeois (Andy Hughes) - 2:59
6. Rabbits (Neil Clarke) - 13:05
.a.Sonata (For A Singing Pig)
.b.Joint Effort
7. Life Is So Unkind - 8:21
.a.Moonlight Mazurka
.b.Echoes Of The Future
8. I Really Need A Friend - 3:44
9. Daffodil - 3:51
10.Autumn Mobile - 3:32
11.Give It To You Girl - 4:36
12.Elaine - 2:54
13.Rabbits (Single Version) (Neil Clarke) - 3:53
All compositions written by Norman Haines except where noted.

The Norman Haines Band
*Neil Clarke - Lead Guitar
*Norman Haines - Vocals, Keyboards
*Andy Hughes - Vocals, Bass
*Jimmy Skidmore - Drums, Percussion

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Anonymous said...

Nice one, thanks alot Marios for sharing stuff like this!

kobilica said...

A true masterpiece.Thanks for Esoteric version...

adamus67 said...

Perhaps one of the rarest progressive rock albums that has been online auctions like eBay alongside Arzachel, Tudor Lodge, and Blonde on Blonde to name a few, is considered a collector’s item and a cult classic as the original LP released back in 1971 by the Parlophone label, has been finally given the reissue treatment for its 40th anniversary done by the good people at Esoteric Recordings. After Locomotive split up as former members of the band formed The Dog That Bit People, founder Norman Haines, who wanted to stay true to the orchestral brass rock sounds on We Are Everything You See, decided to go into the Hard Rock treatment for his Organ along with different styles of Soul, Jazz, and Folk music.

This album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, and engineered by Peter Brown in the spring of 1971.
Norman Haines is a great keyboard player, whose playing style and sound is simular to Caravans 'David Sinclair', or Rare Birds 'Graham Feild', and even Egg's 'Dave Stewart' at times. The latter, especially on the track 'Life Is So Unkind'.

'Den Of Iniquity', on this record we are dealing with clinical version even progressive rock. After first listen, you can almost get the impression that the supreme rule here slightly distorted or overdriven Hammond organ music suitable if zdehumanizowany character. He played for them previously linked with a group of Locomotive, Norman Haines. However, with accurate visual inspection, it turns out that it is equally important here is the guitar. Luckily, in fact, playing this instrument Neil Clarke, this album owes much... precisely it guitarist has composed expanded track 'Rabbits'.

In those days it was the norm, that LP the consisted of several parts, and each of these parts contain additional subtitle. But unless outside musicians formation, no one would be able to extract the individual parts because almost the whole song, it gnająca ahead instrumental improvisation. Topics passed smoothly into each other from time to time the rate was I must admit that this is one of the examples, when repeated around motives were not boring. However, in a fairly typical manner, in the introduction and in the end was introduced as a kind of simple staples, as a dynamic song. Please do not think that I am writing this without enthusiasm. On the contrary. 'Rabbits' is an absolutely brilliant example of how, without excessive acrobatics and pseudo-virtuosity can play as long and absorbing.

adamus67 said...

Album offered a diverse music anyway... merges several styles, from heavy all out distorted 'Mike Ratledge' type keyboards, with bluesy guitar, to a beautiful acoustic folk number. There are even a couple great tunes where a horn section is used, and brings to mind 'Locomotive', or even the band 'The Greatest Show On Earth'. Basically this album is like a heavier version of 'Locomotive'.

For example, "Finding My Way Home 'is quite light and airy almost touching song style of pop music. A tribute to folk music, with an emphasis on the art of Bob Dylan was played solely on acoustic guitar 'Bourgeois'. With the American bard, it's just my opinion. Who really knows what the author had in mind?

However, to counterbalance The Norman Haines Band offered - now fashionably called - heavy progressive recording as the title track or even composed a few years earlier and suggested the group Black Sabbath, but ultimately not used by the famous quartet from Birmingham 'When I Come Down'. Even a little surprising to me that the team rejected this composition, because in fact we have a great riff, which the group performed Norman Haines has played guitar and Hammond organ with a variety of audio transducers. Tony Iommi reportedly said years later that 'When I Come Down "did not fit the music performed by Black Sabbath.

Norman Haines also made ​​on the mandatory distorted sounding
Hammond organ, a kind of fugue in a little too long, but it is having a nice, claustrophobic aura of 'Life Is So Unkind'.

The program complements plate, the song 'Everything You See' which is a bit less impressive version of the recordings' Mr. Armageddon 'coming from the album' We Are Everything You See 'Locomotive aforementioned group. Originally the song was arranged for a rock band and brass section, and was characterized by almost indescribable dynamics and expression of performance and incredibly dark and somewhat psychedelic atmosphere. Unfortunately, he lost everything here, which does not impress quite as much.

Note the fantastic cover of native bands with metal plates. It is this figure was the author of all this confusion, the result of which many record stores do not want to accept LP for sale. So today, for the original pressing of the first British title issued by Parlophone Records deserved to be paid from 1000 to 1500 pounds. Slightly cheaper is, however, the French edition, which costs - a trifle - 500 euro.

Someone will say that I'm emotionally unstable. It is not known whether praises, or criticize. Is pointing out the strengths of the disc, or pointing out errors? Frankly, I do not know.
I just know that I really like 'Den Of Iniquity'.

Thx Marios & Laurent = perfect cooperation!

juan manuel muñoz said...

many thanks

sorogan said...

Thx a lot Marios & Laurent !!

kenrub said...


A Drain said...

hoo-ha! what a great record..

Anonymous said...

Thanx for this .....believe it or not never heard of these guys , i heard the tune when i come down by black sabbath but did not know someone else did it awesome find !!!!

Rich ( The Demon )
From The Demons Playground

Grapher said...

Many thanks for a great album! said...

I was lucky enough to play with Norman when I was 15 (1983). He'd dropped Keyboards in favour of a black Telecaster and AC30. Keyboards were too "safe" he said, you need to challenge yourself or its just another boring job. He was a fantastic guitar player, and hearing about his relationship to Black Sabbath just made him even more of a hero.

It must have been a bit of a comedown for him, as we were playing working mens clubs and collieries, while there were still some left! Anyway, it was what he wanted to do. I also remember he had a job at the durex factory, though he always told people he worked for BT!

Top bloke, top musician. Good to see he's not forgotten.

Adam Ostrogoth said...

Very good, thanks !

error404 said...

Re-up, please

Marios said...

error404, The Norman Haines Band reUp...