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
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more