Keef Hartley Band — Overdog
(Eclectic Discs ECLCD 1026, 1971/2005, CD)
Keef Hartley Band — The Time Is Near
(Eclectic Discs ECLCD 1027, 1970/2005, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01
Upon his split from his high profile job with John Mayall, drummer Keef Hartley had his sights set on making his own group in the English blues rock boom. Both of these recordings are from 1970 with The Time Is Near being the slight better of the two, but both CD reissues present many well played and crafted songs. A gimmicky backward loop opens a confident track from guitarist Miller Anderson, “Morning Rain” that sports the adept brass section of Henry Lowther and Dave Caswell, who took over as the band fragmented. “From the Window” could be easily found on the first few Chicago records as Caswell’s trumpet playing adds the right accompaniment to Anderson’s soulful delivery. The band explored 60s grooves as heard on “Premonition” which Caswell wrote and the entire band shines in the solo spotlight (especially Anderson’s lead guitar and Lyle Jenkins tenor sax). The acoustic ballad, “Another Time, Another Change” is also a highpoint of the disc comparable to other singer/songwriters of the day.
Overdog also finds the band in good form with “You Can Choose” pushing a steady pace behind Hartley’s drumming with Gary Thain’s pulsing bass (Uriah Heep). “Plain Talkin’” is an up tempo groove that reminds me of the Doobie Brothers or Grand Funk and should have easily found a home on early 70s AM radio. Easily the best conceived piece is the “Theme Song” medley where Anderson’s sensitive ballad is backed by Johnny Almond’s low range flute that really works. “Roundabout” is represented in original and single mix format and you can see why the label chose this as a representative single. The track oozes gritty R&B seasoned with great organ and it captures a style later linked to Marshall Tucker in the US. One of the band leader’s own compositions is a true about face with Mick Weaver’s (Strawbs, Bee Gees) electric piano laying out a good set of chords for the late night jamming. Overall these two recordings together help establish a peak time in the blues boom where brass arrangements were a regular staple of modern song structure and popular radio hits.
Related artist(s): Keef Hartley
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more