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
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more