In late sixties Jonathan was becoming more and more popular in his native Ireland, but he knew that England was where the music was really at, The Beatles, Carnaby Street etc. Jonathan's last two singles had been released in Britain and so he decided that it was a case of "England here I come"
Britain was awash with talent in the late sixties and even some one of Jonathan's immense talent and fame in his native Ireland was not assured success and he made several trips across the Irish Sea and played many small gigs in and around London before he got his break. One night in 1969 he was playing in a restaurant when in walked Colin Petersen who was formally a member of the Bee Gees said "I knew when I saw and heard him that this was a talent which should be encouraged and developed". Colin became his Record Producer and Colin's wife Joanne became his personal manager. He released another single this time called 'Denver' but again this single failed to get into the top ten. A follow up single was released in 1970 called 'Make a stranger your friend' another antiwar song. This song had a catchy chorus and Jonathan's talents were recognised by many people in show business if not yet by the record buying public at large. A choir was formed to sing the chorus amongst those who turned up to join in were, Mick Taylor from the Rolling Stones, Klaus Voorman, Madeleine Bell, Carl Wayne and Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, surely with a cast like this it would be a massive hit...but it wasn't.
Two more singles followed and 1970 was to be a good year for Jonathan, though by the end of it the success he so richly deserved would still not be his. The first of these singles was 'Don't you believe it' this is a very sought after single because Eric Clapton was invited to play slide guitar on the track, even Slowhand's presence wasn't enough to get it into the top ten though. The next single wasn't released under Jonathan's name but instead under the name of 'Humpy Bong' the song 'Don't you be too long' was backed with 'We're allright till then' both excellent songs. Jonathan was the writer of both tracks and played guitar on the single but this time the vocal duties were taken by Tim Staffell. Humpy Bong were short lived and never played any concerts although there was one appearance on Top Of The Pops. 1970 also saw the release of Jonathan's first album, simply titled 'Jonathan Kelly' This album included many of his singles as well as other unreleased songs, it is now a hard to find item and is the rarest of all Jonathan's albums.
Nine Below Zero started off life as Stan’s Blues Band in 1977 and consisted of four South London lads who found inspiration in the Rhythm and Blues. Led by Dennis Greaves (lead vocals & guitar) the band included his schoolmates Mark Feltham (vocals & harmonica), Peter ‘Pete’ Clark (Bass) and Kenny Bradley (Drums).
Graves was obsessed by the Blues. But to form a R&B band in the late 70s was a bold, almost reckless, move. This was the time when Punk was exploding, and had literally blown other music genres – like R&B and Progessive Rock – out of the water. (I think I’m right in saying that Dr. Feelgood were probably the only well-known British R&B band at the time. They’d formed in 1971 and hailed from Canvey Island in Essex and were known for their driving R&B which had made them one of the most popular bands on the growing London pub rock circuit.)
Despite the seemingly unstoppable rise of Punk, the sharply dressed Stan’s Blues Band played in local South London pubs like the Apples and Pears, the Clockhouse, the Green Man and the Thomas ‘A’ Becket. Playing six to seven nights a week they built up a loyal following. Like Dr. Feelgood they went hell for leather and played at a frenetic pace. Mixing original songs with covers at their gigs, they were soon playing all over London.
Stan’s Blues Band changed their name to Nine Below Zero (they were named after a song by Sonny Boy Williamson II) on the advice of former musician Mickey Modern. He’d seen them play at the Thomas ‘A’ Becket (in the Old Kent Road, Southwark, South London) in 1979 and was so impressed that he offered to manage them.
In a bold – but completely justifiable – move, Modern decided that Nine Below Zero’s first album would be a live one. And so with just one change of personal (Micky Burkey for Kenny Bradley on Drums) Live At The Marquee was released in 1980.
The album was recorded at the well-known music venue, the Marquee Club (in Wardour Street, West London) on Wednesday 16th & Thursday 17th July and was billed as a live recording. The admission fee was £2 with a reduced rate available for students & Marquee Club members.
by John Field
This re-release is the latest on Universal’s ‘Re-present’ imprint. The album was originally released back in 1980 and became a huge success for the band. This remastered release sees the original 14 track album expanded to 21 tracks for the first time, taking in the whole show, also included in the package is a DVD featuring live footage from the night, so instead of having to imagine the sweaty crowd crammed in to the Marquee you can see them in all their glory.
Musically Nine Below Zero are a hard working rhythm and blues outfit who put their heart and soul into a performance. The guitar work of Dennis Greaves coupled with the fantastic harmonica work of Mark Feltham are the backbone of the Nine Below Zero sound and on tracks like ‘Tore Down’, ‘Hootchie Cootchie Coo’ and ‘Pack Fair & Square’ the guys demonstrate what rocking blues are all about.
This album may have been recorded 42 years ago, but it still sounds as fresh and as urgent as it did back in the day and with the remastered treatment and the inclusion of the DVD it makes a compelling package. The band are still treading the boards and no doubt still putting in quality performances proving that old blues bands never die, they just need a bit of a polish from time to time.
by David Wilson
1. Tore Down (Sonny Thompson) - 2:55
2. Straighten Her Out (Dennis Greaves, Mark Feltham, Peter Clark, Stix Burkey) - 2:30
3. Homework (Al Perkins, Dave Clark) - 2:28
4. I Can't Help Myself (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 2:20
5. Can I Get A Witness (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:21
6. Ridin' On The L'n'N (Lionel Hampton) - 4:32
7. I Can't Quit You Baby (Willie Dixon) - 6:03
8. Stop You Naggin' (Dennis Greaves) - 2:30
9. Hootchie Cootchie Coo (Hank Ballard) - 2:30
10.Wooly Bully (Domingo Samudio) - 2:47
11.Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster) - 6:16
12.Pack Fair And Square (Big Walter Price) - 2:16
13.Watch Yourself (Walter Jacobs) - 3:56
14.Swing Job (Dennis Greaves, Mark Feltham, Peter Clark, Stix Burkey) - 2:26
15.Rocket 88 (Ike Turner) - 2:58
16.(Just A Little Bit) (Earl Washington, John Thornton, Piney Brown, Ralph Bass, Sylvester Thompson) - 2:20
17.Twenty Years Behind (Wilko Johnson) - 1:59
18.Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker) - 4:47
19.Is That You (Dennis Greaves) - 2:24
20.Keep On Knocking (Perry Bradford) - 5:25
21.Madison Blues (Elmore James) - 5:57
1. Tore Down
3. (Just) A Little Bit
4. I Can'T Help Myself
5. Can I Get A Witness
6. Hootchie Cootchie Coo
7. Is That You
8. Keep On Knocking
Nine Below Zero
*Peter Clark - Bass
*Stix Burkey - Drums
*Dennis (The Menace) Greaves - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Before we all lived together we rehearsed every day in an old loft on Henry Street. Mouse and Suzi Perry lived there and while we practiced Mouse and Kelly would be doing posters for the weekend dances at the Avalon. How they could work with a thousand people hanging around always amazed me. Coming and going was a loose knit group of people called "the Family Dog," many of whom were crazies from Detroit. They were our audience and we were their band. James was from Detroit. He said that his first job at fourteen was being a human hood ornament on his father's car in the "Thrill Show". He would be mounted horizontally on the hood with his head out in front; the car was then driven at high speed through a wooden wall of fire. The first time he was a little scared and moved ever so slightly just before impact and almost broke his neck. Later he learned to keep his head perfectly straight and didn't feel a thing.
Our first logo was the Indian God's Eye. Cindy, Peter's wife, made a little silkscreen and printed God's eyes on leather with our name. They were just chunks and odd shaped scraps of shoe leather; we handed these out to our friends. Then we went to putting our stickers and buttons. Everyone had buttons in those days. The stickers were square yellow things with the god's eye; that was our idea of publicity. Our first interview was in the "Mojo Navigator", a very underground newsletter. In it we put down the Fillmore; Janis said it was full of sailors looking to get laid. We agreed that the Avalon - where we played a lot was the more happening place. A week later Bill Graham - who had read the interview - threw Janis out of the Fillmore just as she was coming in up the front stairs. She was wired and was taken completely by surprise. It was a scene; both she and Graham screaming and cursing each other at top volume.
Janis always started screaming when she was taken off guard. Janis had come out from Texas to join us in June. When she first started singing with the band, some of our hardcore fans did not like her. They saw her as a distraction from our unique "freak-rock" sound. From the rest of us, there was immediate acceptance - an instantaneous recognition that she was great and that we were all plugged into the same socket. It just was. But in those first few months some people actually said to us, "get rid of the chick". One day we all piled into a car, drove over to Marin, picked up a newspaper and looked up 'Houses for Rent'. That same day we found a big house in the little town of Lagunitas and rented it for three hundred a month. It was a beautiful day. Everything seemed to work out right. Nothing could go wrong; God takes care of us perfectly. I'd taken psylicibin.
The house was at the end of a road way back in the woods with no other houses around it. On the big butane tank coming up the driveway someone had scrawled "God is alive and well". Later another had added "In Argentina". Eventually the house became known as "Argentina". Peter and Cindy and their baby Lisa took one of the bedrooms upstairs, James and Nancy and their baby, Hongo, took the other. Jam's had a lovely sunlit room like a porch which she decorated with plants. Like the room she became her most peaceful and beautiful self during that time. I lived in a funky space in the back of the kitchen. I liked that it became the favorite hangout. Sam and Rita moved into a tiny out in the back. They were always getting high and getting it on. They were lovestruck, inseparable and on a never-ending honeymoon. Soon the inevitable conflicts began. Peter and Cindy liked cleanliness, regular meals and a bit of order. Nancy and Rita were into drugs and staying up all night stringing beads and general anarchy. Nancy in particular was one of the original free spirits and believed in letting her son, as well as everything else in the house and the universe, run free. Add to all this Mishka, James and Nancy's german shepherd - a big, neurotic, whining, barking animal that was constantly chewing or chasing something. You knew that it couldn't go on for very long.
The Dead and Quicksilver were both living within two miles and we had one great rock and roll party there. We cooked up a mess of food, bought a few cases of cheap wine and rolled a hundred joints from a big pile of grass that had been found growing in Nebraska or some place. The inner sanctum of the San Francisco rock scene showed up. Everyone jammed together; six or seven guitars all at once. Probably a couple of hundred people came and went - all night and into the morning. At dawn people were all over the place, coming down from this, waking up from that. Someone had brought a goat with them; there was goat shit all over the house and it had eaten half of my bedspread. Big Brother, with all its wives, lovers, children and pets lived there together until the end of 1966.
During that time we rehearsed almost every day and sometimes after dinner too. Getting better, tighterand more integrated as a band was ourtop priority. By the time we simultaneously but separately all moved back to the city we had developed some musical muscles. Also, we'd become somewhat of a family of brothers and sisters; despite the disputes and the different personalities, we loved each other. Together, I think we felt more ready to take on the world. The music on this album is truly a record of that time of incubation and innocence.
by David Getz
1. Bye Bye Baby (Powell St. John) - 4:10
2. Great White Guru (Chris Kenner, Arranged by David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 5:46
3. Women Is Losers (David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 5:09
4. Oh My Soul (Richard Penniman) - 2:34
5. Amazing Grace (Traditional) - 11:30
6. Caterpillar (Peter Albin) - 4:11
7. It's A Deal (David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 2:13
8. Hi Heel Sneakers (Robert Higgenbotham) - 3:36
9. Faster Pussycat Kill Kill (Bert Shefter, Igo Kantor, Paul Sawtell) - 2:22
10.Turtle Blues (Janis Joplin) - 6:46
11.All Is Loneliness (Louis Thomas Hardin) - 9:04
12.Light Is Faster Than Sound (Peter Albin) - 6:26
Track 2 "Great White Guru" is a free version of "Land Of The Thousand Dances"
Recorded Live January 1967, at the Matrix, San Francisco
1. (Come On Baby) Let The Good Times Roll (Leonard Lee) - 2:37
2. I Know You Rider (Traditional) - 3:13
3. Moanin' At Midnight (Chester Burnett) - 4:57
4. Hey Baby (Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin) - 2:50
5. Down On Me (Traditional Arranged by Janis Joplin) - 2:45
6. Whisperman (Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin) - 1:46
7. Women Is Losers (David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 3:48
8. Blow My Mind (Jimmy McCracklin) - 2:34
9. Oh My Soul (Richard Penniman) - 2:34
10.Ball And Chain (Big Mama Thornton) - 6:43
11.Coo-Coo (Peter Albin) - 2:30
12.Gutra's Garden (Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin) - 4:36
13.Harry (Dave Getz) - 0:37
14.Hall Of The Mountain King (Traditional) - 6:51
Recorded Live July 1966, California Hall San Francisco
Originally from Washington D.C., Gary St. Clair has been a musician, songwriter and producer for over 50 years.Husky, powerful and soulful vocals, with female chorus by Clydie King, Vanetta Fields and Jesse Smith, featured in this 1971 album by the swamp rocker.
Straight ahead hard rockin' numbers, delightful chorus that shines through the tight rhythm section. Some ballad-like songs, sighing numbers. reminiscent of Eagles, folky shades filled with piano, and spiritual references, the final result leaves a pleasant taste.
1. Dr. Rock And Roll - 2:57
2. Song For Tomorrow - 3:23
3. Comin` On Home (Gary St. Clair, Tim O'Brien) - 3:13
4. Gospel Changes - 4:42
5. Jim Dandy - 4:40
6. Satisfy You (Gary St. Clair, Tim O'Brien) - 4:13
7. Little Brother (Gary St. Clair, Tim O'Brien) - 5:03
8. Somebody To Love (Gary St. Clair, Tim O'Brien) - 4:04
9. Shake A Hand (Joe Morris) - 6:03
All compositions by Gary St. Clair unless as else stated
Well, it’s happened again, as not for the first time I find myself confounded and astounded at the way the Esoteric Miners keep unearthing albums and bands which have somehow avoided exposure like so many agoraphopic moles! Now, I don’t mind admitting that, when it comes to useless knowledge about obscure 1970s recording artists, I tend to imagine that I have more than the average bear, but once again I find myself asking the question ‘Who in the name of heaven are these guys?’ Well, now I know. They were a Danish band, and as was the way with a small and somewhat incestuous scene over there at the dawn of the ’70s, had some crossover musician-wise with other bands such as Secret Oyster and Burnin Red Ivanhoe (both of whom I happily DID know about!). So once again nourished in the way of, well, esoteric musical knowledge, I plunged into this double CD to see what was going on in this new and fascinating area.
The first thing which I have to admit to finding odd is the name. I can understand if they didn’t want something as simple as Phoenix, but Day Of The Phoenix would have worked quite well as a more evocative title. Instead, they settled on Day Of Phoenix, which inescapably reminds me of a mis-spelt tourist brochure! Still, it makes you remember it (or would have, if I’d heard of it!), and it’s certainly not the worst band name ever. They released two albums and two singles during their lifetime and shifting line-ups, and these two discs have the lot. The first disc contains the first album Wide Open N-Way, from 1971, and a single consisting of two covers from the pens of Dave Cousins and Randy Newman, which sneaked out without much attention in 1969. No, it’s the album that we’re interested in here, and with good reason as it is without doubt a forgotten prog-rock gem. Of its five tracks, three are over ten minutes long, and if that doesn’t prick up the ears of an old prog-head then I don’t know what does. Incidentally, I have no clue what an N-Way might be, and the happily hippy lyrics to the title song don’t make it any clearer. I thought maybe it might be a Danish road, but I suspect it is far more interesting than that.
Anyhow, the music is a curious mix of jazzy, expansive proggy jamming and tighter composed sections, with some West Coast harmony vocals oddly evoking the likes of Crosby, Stills And Nash. Take for example the oddly titled Cellophane, Parts One And Two which opens the album (one could say that maybe it should have closed the record, so as to wrap things up, but perhaps we shouldn’t). It really does come closer than anything else I’ve ever heard to what might have arisen had David Crosby And Graham Nash joined Yes instead of Jon Anderson – and it’s actually really, really good. The nice, breezy vocals fit with the casual, unfettered instrumental excursions perfectly, and it’s almost a shame when the song eventually ends.
The title track is next up, with comparisons to Yes being further underlined by the fluid yet very clean guitar tone of Karsten Lyng. The other epic is the twelve-minute Mind Funeral, giving its its name to this collection, which mixes more tricky musicianship and superb ensemble playing with lyrics such as ‘carry the coffin the size of a matchbox’ – and yes, I’m sure we all know people with minds which would fit that! It’s an unexpectedly great album, and whets the appetite for 1972’s The Neighbour’s Son, which followed it. The one real exception to this rule is the near-seven-minute Paradox, which illustrates firmly that they could still open up and confound expectations when they wanted to. They just, well, didn’t want to. The two sides of another single are cut from the same pleasant cloth.
This is a nicely designed package, and it certainly makes sense to collect the full output – and at least you get Paradox, which makes the second album worth the owning – but the reason you really need this one is Wide Open N-Way, which remains an astonishing illustration of just how much the freedom of the artistic times could create great music. A shame they didn’t follow it up in that same rich vein, but take it from me, they are well worth discovering. Unless everyone else already knew about them, in which case I shall hang my head. While listening to Disc One, naturally.
Having released his debut solo album Iceberg in 1973, Deke Leonard formed a band of the same name to tour it. Original bassist Paul Burton was replaced by Martin Ace by the time Kamikaze was recorded, in typical fashion in between live dates promoting the first album. Another of Deke’s narratives describes the cover shoot. The tale involves searching for big cats, Jumbo jets, and being drenched to achieve the desired photographic intent, and so another chapter in Deke’s life on the road is written…
This record, not surprisingly, sounds more like a band than Iceberg, although oddly it is not as immediate as its predecessor. Kamikaze again features Deke’s penchant for good time rockers, kicking off with Jay Hawk Special. The addition of fiddle player Byron Berline on the initially bluesy Sharpened Claws playing a rumbustious jig’n’reel in the second half of the song lends it a downhome countrified feel, and as the song ends Byron’s fiddle carries on, a lone hoedown after everyone has gone home.
Deke’s vocal on the Quo-like rocker In Search Of Sarah And Twenty Six Horses bears an uncanny resemblance to Noddy Holder, something I had not considered before, but the resemblance is definitely there. You would think from the title that this song was inspired by a CS&N styled drug-fuelled haze, but the straight ahead nature of the music puts paid to that theory. Deke explains further in a convoluted tale involving a girl called Sarah Cheesewright and a book entitled Portrait Of The Artist And 26 Horses, another example of his way with a story.
The personnel on the concluding track of the album proper Devil’s Gloves is a Man line-up in all but name, and points the way for the future, as Deke rejoined his natural home soon after the release of this album. The song itself is a charging energetic romp that crosses Deke’s R&B sensibilities with the soon-to-be new Man line-up’s taste for a different twist on funk rock, here driven by Terry Williams’ drums in tandem with Dave Charles’ congas.
The best of the bonus tracks is an early version of California Silks And Satins which would of course later appear on Man’s Rhinos Winos And Lunatics album. Co-written with former Help Yourself singer and songwriter Malcolm Morley, this first version is more electric and more strung out, and very “West Coast” in feel. Morley was another who joined Man’s new line-up a few months down the line.
Kamikaze and Iceberg before it showcase a songwriter in fine form, and as one of the bonus tracks here has it, Deke Leonard is definitely a joyful soul. If you’re a fan of Man you probably already have these two albums, but isn’t it about time you replaced those well worn vinyl copies with these pristine remasters?
by Roger Trenwith, 6th May 2015
1. Cool Summer Rain (Deke Leonard, Francis Leonard) - 0:32
2. Jayhawk Special - 4:17
3. Sharpened Claws - 7:20
4. Taking The Easy Way Out - 5:28
5. The Black Gates Of Death - 4:42
6. Stacia - 1:04
7. Broken Glass And Lime Juice (Deke Leonard, Francis Leonard) - 5:36
8. April The Third - 3:51
9. Louisiana Hoedown (Tom Riley) - 2:55
10.In Search Of Sarah And Twenty-Six Horses - 6:48
11.The Devil's Gloves - 5:16
12.She's A Cow - 3:34
13.California Silks And Satins (Deke Leonard, Malcom Morley) - 7:58
Co-founder of Welsh wizards Man and lifelong rock’n’roll raconteur, Deke Leonard was in and out of that legendary band more times than Harold Wilson collected and handed in the keys to 10 Downing Street. After being sacked by Man in early 1972 Deke recorded his first solo album Iceberg, starting in May of that year, with the album eventually being released in 1973.
Leonard was always an old-fashioned rock’n’roller at heart, and during his spells in Man his presence kept a check on their looser jamband instincts, as you can see in the 20-minute version of Spunk Rock on the fabulous Greasy Truckers compilation album recorded earlier in 1972 with Deke in the band. This track remains my favourite ever jamming track, as there is not an ounce of fat on it. Contrast that with the following year’s similarly lengthy Deke-less C’mon, a different kettle of spacerockin’ hippy rambling entirely…I still love it all the same.
Deke tells a great story as his three “life on the road” autobiographies to date attest, and the cover booklet tale regarding his trademark humbug Telecaster is a fine example. If you look closely you will see that the Telecaster has a Stratocaster neck. This is because he had to replace the original after nearly getting electrocuted, which apparently “screwed the neck up”, requiring the temporary replacement for the photo. One wonders what it did to the guitarist, never mind the neck of his instrument!
A few of the tunes on this back-to-basics R&B knees-up of an album found their way into Man’s set when he rejoined in 1974. One of these is the belting 7171-551, and the tale behind that is a good one. Originally the tune had a working title that was actually Mike Nesmith’s phone number. Quite rightly Deke decided he couldn’t use that for the title on the record, so the track listing for the release was changed. Unfortunately the record label printed the first batch of the LP with Nesmith’s actual 10 digit phone number!
Mixing rock’n’roll stompers with souped up psychedelicised country rock, Leonard is joined by a fine cast of the Manband family past, present and future, and by members of the closely related band Help Yourself. Dave Edmunds lends production assistance on future Man track A Hard Way To Live, a song released as a single. Deke had to deconstruct Edmunds’ layered production, lest it sounded “exactly like a Dave Edmunds record”. Deke ponders in his wryly humorous way that had he left it alone he might have had a hit with it.
All in all this album is a fine representation of Leonard’s good time vibe, and the informative booklet plus six bonus tracks taken from non-album singles, b-sides and outtakes.
by Roger Trenwith, 6th May 2015
Born Roger Leonard in Llanelli, South Wales in December 1944, Deke played in various bands throughout the sixties and took his stage name from Deke Rivers, Elvis’ character in the 1957 movie ‘Loving You’.
In 1968 he joined harmony group The Bystanders, however, the band soon embraced a West Coast psychedelia, progressive rock and blues dynamic and changed their name to Man.
Deke Leonard died on 31 January 2017, aged 72. According to his obituary in the April 2017 edition of the magazine Classic Rock, the cause of death was heart failure.
1. Razorblade And Rattlesnake - 6:03
2. I Just Can't Win - 2:43
3. Lisa - 3:55
4. Nothing Is Happening (Deke Leonard, Martin Ace) - 4:34
5. Looking For A Man - 3:50
6. A Hard Way To Live - 3:28
7. Broken Ovation - 5:28
8. Jesse - 4:08
9. Ten Thousand Takers - 3:06
10.The Ghost Of Musket Flat (Deke Leonard, Martin Ace) - 2:48
11.Crosby (Second Class Citizen Blues) (Deke Leonard, Martin Ace, Micky Jones, Terry Williamas, Dave Phillips) - 1:54
12.7171 551 - 5:29
13.Diamond Road - 3:49
14.Turning In Circles - 3:35
15.The Aching Is So Sweet - 4:51
16.Nothing Is Happening (Deke Leonard, Martin Ace) - 3:50
17.The Four Corners Of Hell - 6:02
18.Afterburner Boogie - 3:52
All compositions by Deke Leonard except where noted
*Deke Leonard - Guitar, Slide guitar, Keyboards, Harmonium, Vocals