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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Climax Chicago Blues Band - A Lot Of Bottle (1970 uk, splendid hard blues rock, 2013 remaster and expanded)

1970’s A Lot of Bottle found the band both pursuing and eschewing the more expansive direction introduced on Plays On.  Still signed to AIR, the group was shifted to EMI’s progressive-rock Harvest label, but the sound was once again more explicitly rooted in the blues, as on the debut record.  Yet, like Plays On, A Lot of Bottle was almost entirely written by the group, making room only for Willie Dixon’s “Seventh Son,” and Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues.”  Chris Thomas returned, this time recording at AIR’s own facility.

A gentle acoustic opening song, “Country Hat,” showed one direction the band might have pursued, while “Brief Case” emphasized the saxophone in its arrangement.  “Alright Blue?” turns attention to the blues-drenched harmonica, and the Muddy Waters cover even takes in country influences.  “Reap What I’ve Sowed” was heavy guitar rock complete with a majestic Haycock solo.  Esoteric adds four previously unreleased tracks to the original album.  “Spoonful” paid homage again to Willie Dixon’s songbook, and three songs hailed from a 1971 show at London’s Blow-Up Club: “Flight,” Seventh Son” and “Reap What I’ve Sowed.”

The Climax Blues Band had its commercial breakthrough with 1975’s Stamp Album, and the central trio of Haycock, Cooper and Holt remained intact through 1983.  Cooper stayed with the band until his death from cancer in 2008, but a new line-up continues to maintain the spirit of the original group.  All three of Esoteric’s reissues of the band’s seminal early albums have been remastered by Ben Wiseman and annotated by Malcolm Dome.
by Joe Marchese 

1. Country Hat - 1:57
2. Everyday - 2:25
3. Reap What I've Sowed - 4:36
4. Brief Case - 4:02
5. Alright Blue?/Country Hat (Reprise) - 4:16
6. Seventh Son (Willie Dixon) - 6:50
7. Please Don't Help Me - 2:557
9. Morning Noon And Night - 2:36
9. Long Lovin' Man - 3:36
10.Louisiana Blues (McKinley Morganfield) - 5:20
11.Cut You Loose - 5:24
12.Spoonful (AIR Studios, London, 1970) (Howling Wolf) - 6:37
13.Flight (Live At Blow Up Club 1971) - 7:07
14.Seventh Son (Live At Blow Up Club 1971) (Willie Dixon) - 4:19
15.I Reap What I Have Sowed (Live At Blow Up Club 1971) - 3:40
All song by The Climax Chicago Blues Band except as otherwise noted.

Climax Chicago Blues Band
*Colin Cooper - Vocals, Saxes, Harmonica
*Pete Haycock - Vocals, Guitars
*Derek Holt - Vocals, Bass Guitar
*Arthur Wood - Keyboards
*Anton Farmer - Keyboards
*George Newsome - Drums