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Monday, March 2, 2015

Climax Chicago - Rich Man (1972 uk, great blues rock with funky vibes , 2013 bonus track remaster)

Gospel Truth, Hipster Image, The Velvet Chords were all band names emblazoned across posters in the mid 60s. Hipster Image were impressing a lot of people in the Stafford, England area in the early 60s under the leadership of Colin Cooper on guitar, sax and vocals.

Decca were impressed by Hipster Image and a single was released, produced by Alan Price. It did very poorly, and in fact marked the end of the road. Returning to Stafford, Colin formed Gospel Truth with a very young Peter Haycock, still at school but already proving to be a sensational guitarist, and John Cuffley on drums who had already featured on a hit 45 with Emile Ford’s Checkmates.

Gospel Truth picked up where Hipster Image left off, and in the late 60s, Cooper and Haycock pointed the band in that direction and the Climax Chicago Blues Band was formed with guitarists Peter Haycock and Derek Holt; keyboardist Arthur Wood; bassist Richard Jones; drummer George Newsome; and vocalist and harmonica player, Colin Cooper.

Prior to the release of 1969's Plays On, Jones left the group, prompting Holt to move to bass. In 1970 they moved to the Harvest label, at the same time shifting towards a more rock oriented sound on A Lot of Bottle. Around the release of 1971's Tightly Knit, Newsome was replaced by John Cuffley; upon Wood's exit in the wake of 1972's Rich Man, they continued on as a quartet, also dropping the "Chicago" portion of their name to avoid confusion with the American band of a similar name.

‘Rich Man’ in 1973 also saw the nucleus of the band settle down to Cooper, Haycock, Holt and the addition of John Cuffley on drums. The album was released in America on the Sire label and made a dent into the lower regions of the Billboard chart.

It was an ambitious album and in keeping with the general progressive output on Harvest. However, like the band’s second album, it does come over as sounding disjointed, the political attitude and the humour of the tracks ‘Rich Man’ and ‘Mole On The Dole’, for instance, seem a little lost in time, and contrived. ‘All The Time In The World’ became the live set opener for many years. Tagged on the end of the album, almost as an afterthought, but to me the gem of the album is the sensitive slide & harmonica blues ‘Don’t You Mind People Grinning In Your Face’, long on title but brief and heartfelt succinct.
Climax Blues Band

1. Rich Man - 5:50
2. Mole On The Dole - 5:04
3. You Make Me Sick - 3:52
4. Standing By A River - 5:29
5. Shake Your Love (Climax, Gottherer) - 5:28
6. All The Time In The World - 6:03
7. If You Wanna Know - 5:30
8. Don't You Mind People Grinning In Your Face (Sonhouse) - 2:31
9. Mole On The Dole (Single Version) - 3:59
All songs by Climax Chicago except where stated.

Climax Blues Band
*Colin Cooper - Vocals, Alto, Tenor Saxes, Guitar, Harmonica
*Pete Haycock - Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Derek Holt - Vocals, Bass Guitar, Electric Piano
*John Cuffley - Drums, Percussion

1969  The Climax Chicago Blues Band (2013 remaster and expanded)
1970  A Lot Of Bottle (2013 remaster and expanded)
1971  Tightly Knit (2013 remastered with bonus tracks)

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