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Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicken Shack - 100 Ton Chicken (1969 uk, awesome blues rock, 2013 expanded edition)

The amusingly titled "100 Ton Chicken' represents Chicken Shacks third album on the Blue Horizon label. Released in late Spring '69 it heralded a shift in the band's recorded output brought about mainly as a result of the departure of Christine Perfect, who had handled not only the keyboard chores bust also a substantial part of the vocal work with the hand (it was her vocal on the reworking of Etta .lames' "I'd Rather Go Blind" that gave the Shack their top ten single success) left to persue a solo career. 

Organist Paul Raymond was recruited immediately and thrown as it were, into the deep end. The decision had been taken to get to work on a new studio album as quickley as possible. Stan in particular was keen to get away from the sound associated with the first two albums. We thought it a good idea to look for a new venue and come April of 1969 we found ourselves at Barry Morgan's Studios in North London. 

Apart from recordings that had been made on location abroad , this was to be the first time any Blue Horizon act had recorded anywhere other than CBS Studios. Bond Street. The results sounded quite different and gave The Shack what they were looking for - a "heavier" sound. Now you know how the title "100 Ton Chicken" was coined !

Far more care was taken will the choice of material for this project. Stan took to writing new material with a s ightly more commercial appeal to it. We ' rere all acutely aware of the need to ;ome up with a follow-up to "I'd Rather Go Blind" and we knew to a man it wouldn‘t be easy. In fact "Tears In The Wind" prc 'ved to be something of a success when one considers that many media people expected the follow-up to feature the dulcet tones of Christine. 

Stan also penned a couple of fine instrumentals of his own (in the Freddie King mould of course) and got another opportunity to make ise of some Cockney rhyming slang ("Horse & Cart"). We covered a Clarence Carte  tune ("Weekend Love"): took a nood once again in the direction of the great Freddie King by covering "Look Ma, I'm Cryin' " and cut versions of Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby" and Gatemouth Brown's "Midnight Hour". 

Stan even expertly handled a rendition i if Davy Grahams erstwhile instrumental "Anji". More time was also spent pulling this set together than had been taken by their predecessors. Whereas in the past we had tended to rush in. book two days and complete the job we made several visits spanning almost four weeks. This gave everyone the chance to regroup and analyse what had gone before and then re-record it : if we felt it necessary. 

We also recorded a I number of other titles that in fact have never been released. Now this may be because they were never finshed or just ; weren't good enough. No attempt has been made to discover whether these multitracks (16 tracks as I recall) still exist or not, so who's to say.

Further potential points of interest in relation to this release? Well, Morgan Sound still exists today except that the name has changed. It's still in the same place - although its expanded to both sides of the street. Look for Power Plant and Battery Studios. Our engineer on those dates was Roy Baker - nowadays better known as Producer Roy Thomas Baker (Queen. etc...) 

The album artwork was as bizarre as always - Terence Ibbott in charge. For those of you who may still have the original vinyl release (with gatefold sleeve) particular note should be taken of the exceptional photographic work. The basic theme for these sessions was jointly planned by Stan and Terence. Quite where they got the idea from heaven knows ! You can however have fun with sticky pieces of paper and your own "bubble" quotes .

Personally. I think we were all mad. But at least its made people stop and look and hopefully, listen. But - despite all our efforts. "100 Ton Chicken" was not. regretfully, the success we had all hoped for. It did not make the album charts as the two earlier efforts had done - but then you win some and lose some. The Chicken Shack continued to work the college and club circuit, here and throughout Europe increasing their already substantial fan base. One thing that Stan and his band members have never been are quitters. More power to the Parson's Nose I say.
by Mike Vernon , 1994

1. The Road Of Love (C. Carter) - 3:31
2. Look Ma, I'm Crying' (R. Toomba, J Harris) - 3:25
3. Evelyn (S. Webb) - 4:17
4. Reconsider Baby (L. Fulson) - 3:25
5. Weekend Love (C. Carter) - 2:14
6. Midnight Hour (C. Brown) - 2:55
7. Tears In The Wind (S. Webb) - 2:45
8. Horse And Cart (S. Webb) - 3:38
9. The Way It Is (S. Webb) - 4:29
10.Still Worried About My Woman (S. Webb) - 3:12
11.Anji (D. Graham) - 1:38
12.The Things You Put Me Through (S Webb) - 3:56
13.Night Life (P. Buskirk, W Breeland, W Nelson) - 5:23

Chicken Shack
*Stan Webb – Guitar, Vocals
*Paul Raymond – Keyboards, Vocals
*Andy Sylvester – Bass Guitar
*Dave Bidwell – Drums, Congas, Cowbell
*Mike Vernon – Finger Cymbals

Chicken Shack
1968  40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve (2013 reissue)
1970  Accept (japan remaster and expanded)
1972  Imagination Lady
1973  Unlucky Boy (2013 reissue)
1974  Go Live "Goodbye Chicken Shack" 

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