A Band Called O (The O Band)

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1970-74) as The Parlour Band

- Craig Anders -- lead guitar,vocals

- Mark Anders -- bass, viocals

- Pete Filleul -- keyboards, vocals 

- Jonathan 'Pix' Pickford (RIP 2021) -- vocals, lead guitar

- Jerry Robbins -- drums, percussion 


  line up 2 (1974-76) as A Band Called O

- Craig Anders -- lead guitar 

- Mark Anders -- bass 

NEW - Dick Ballard -- drums, percussion (replaced Jerry Robbins)

- Pete Filleul -- keyboards, vocals 

- Jonathan 'Pix' Pickford (RIP 2021) -- vocals, lead guitar


  line up 3 (1976)

- Craig Anders -- lead guitar 

- Mark Anders -- bass 

- Dick Ballard -- drums percussion 

NEW - Ian Lynne -- vocals, keyboards replaced Pete Filleul) 

- Jonathan 'Pix' Pickford (RIP 2021) -- vocals, lead guitar 


 line up 3 (1976-77)

- Craig Anders -- lead guitar 

- Mark Anders -- bass 

- Dick Ballard -- drums percussion 

NEW - Jeff Bannister -- vocals, keyboards replaced Ian Lynne) 

- Jonathan 'Pix' Pickford (RIP 2021) -- vocals, lead guitar



  line up 5 (1977) as The O Band

- Craig Anders -- lead guitar 

- Mark Anders -- bass 

- Dick Ballard -- drums percussion 

NEW - Jeff Bannister -- vocals, keyboards replaced Pete Filleul) 

- Jonathan 'Pix' Pickford (RIP 2021) -- vocals, lead guitar 






- Craig Anders (solo efforts)

- The Alan Bown Set (Jeff Bannister)

- The John Barry Seven (Jeff Bannister)

- Bronco (Jeff Bannister)

Climax Blues Band (Pete Filleul)

- East of Eden (Pete Filleul)

- Pete Filleul (solo efforts)

- Dave Kelly Band (Pete Filleul)

- The O Band

- The Parlour Band (Craig Anders, Mark Ander, and   Pix Pickford)

- Pix Pickford (solo efforts)

- Racket (Pix Pickford)

- The Alan Ross Band (Craig Anders)

- The Swinging Blue Jeans (Jeff Bannister)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Oasis

Company: Epic

Catalog: EPC 8-596

Year: 1975

Country/State: Jersey, Channel Islands, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing; still in shrink wrap; includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5373

Price: $25.00


Formed in 1970 and calling the English island of Jersey (located in the Channel Islands) home, as The Parlour Band, brothers Craig and Mark Anders (guitar and bass respectively), drummer Dick Ballard, former Climax Blues Band keyboardist Pete Filleul, and singer/lead guitarist Jonathan 'Pix' Pickford recorded an interesting, slightly progressive-feeling LP - 1972's "The Parlour Band Is a Friend" (Deram catalog number SDL 10).  In spite of finding a sponsor in the form of BBC disc jockey John Peel and generating some attention opening for Caravan and Steve Hillage, sales were poor and the band called it quits.


Renaming themselves A Band Called O, the band relocated to Leicester and underwent a  personnel change that saw original drummer Ballard replaced by Dick Ballard. 


1975's "Oasis" was the band's second album for Epic. Teamed with producer Nicky Graham. musically the collection found the group clearly interested in courting a larger audience.  Material like the funky 'Amovin'', 'Foolin' Round' and the breezy pop tune 'Fine White Wine' found the band working in a more commercial mid-1970s AOR genre. With all five members and producer Graham contributing to the writing chores, the set wasn't bad.  Powered by some nice lead vocals from Pickford, the collection was tuneful and occasionally fun,  Check out 'Bird of Paradise.'  Most of this stuff would have easily slotted into top-40 radio along side other mid-1970s "yacht rock" acts like Ambrosia, Pablo Cruise, Journey, Firefall, etc.  Doubt that comment then listen to 'That's Up', or 'Some People'.  Unfortunately, the album seldom rose above that pedestrian level.  Professional, but largely forgettable this was a pretty good example of music as product, rather than art.  Not bad product, but product nevertheless.  So was there anything that actually stood out?   Powered by some jumpy Filleul synthesizers the group composition 'Take Your Time' showcased a mild progressive feel.  Similarly, complete with a pretty melody and weird reggae mid-section 'Sleeping' offered up a nod to their progressive roots and was probably the most atypical of the ten songs.  'That's Up' reminded me of a '70s American Southern-rock band like 38 Special.  Just interesting enough to make me wonder about their other releases ...  Epic seemingly gave up on the band, failing to even float a single from the collection.


"A Band Called O" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Amovin'   (Craig Anders - Jonathan Pickford - Pete Filleul) - 3:39   rating: *** stars

'Amovin'' started the album off with a mildly funky number.  One part Average White Band, two parts Pablo Cruise, or some other faceless '70s yacht rock band.  Pete Filleu's cheesy synthesizer solo gave the song an added star.  Actually, it was quite radio friendly in a mid-'70s fashion.   

2.) Foolin' Round   (Craig Anders - Jonathan Pickford) - 4:34   rating: *** stars

To my ears 'Foolin' Round' sounded even more like they'd been drinking at Pablo Cruise school of mid-'70s West Coast rock fountain. Nice Pickford vocal and Craig Anders turned in a cool lead guitar solo, but this was musical product clearly written for commercial airplay.  Recorded during a 1975 appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test, the live version was marginally better.: A Band Called "O" - Fooling Around - Old Grey Whistle Test - 1975 - YouTube

3.) Sleeping   (Jonathan Pickford) - 5:22   rating: *** stars

The ballad 'Sleeping' opened with general noodling, briefly giving the impression the band had a progressive vein in their recording body.  The song had a nice melody with both Pickford and Anders turning in a pair of the album's prettiest solos.  Still the overall effect was at best mildly entertaining.  YouTube has another clip of the band performing the track on The Old Grey Whistle Test: A Band Called "O" - Sleeping - Old Grey Whistle Test - 1975 - YouTube

4.) Moroccan Roll (instrumental)   (Craig Anders - Mark Anders - Dick Ballard - Jonathan Pickford - Pete Filleul - Nicky Graham) - 2:28   rating: ** stars

The instrumental 'Moroccan Roll' injected a touch of jazz-rock into the mix with each member (particularly Anders), getting a touch of spotlight time.  Can't say I'm a big fan of the genre so this one didn't do much for me.

5.) Fine White Wine   (Jonathan Pickford) - 3:50  rating: **** stars

To my ears the breezy, country-rocker 'Fine White Wine' was one of the album's standout performances.  For some reason this one has always reminded me of country-rock outfits like Rick Roberts and Firefall.   


(side 2)
1.) Take Your Time   (Craig Anders - Mark Anders - Dick Ballard - Jonathan Pickford - Pete Filleul - Nicky Graham) - 3:10   rating: ** stars

The opening guitars momentarily recalled The Allman Brothers, but kicked along by Filleul's keyboards 'Take Your Time' quickly morphed into a smooth, quasi-funky track that was perfect for a call waiting line.  And just when you thought it was an instrumental the vocals kicked in.  Unfortunately this time out Pickford and company didn't seem that comfortable with the song's higher register.

2.) Bird of Paradise   (Jonathan Pickford) - 2:08  rating: **** stars

Slowing it down and injecting a soulful vibe into his vocals, 'Bird of Paradise' was one of the tracks showing off some unique ideas and identity.  You couldn't label this one progressive, but it was quite different from the rest of the set and served to showcase the band's sweet harmony vocals.  There was also another tasty Anders solo.

3.) Ice   (Craig Anders) - 2:08  rating: *** stars

Balancing Filleul's keyboards and some nice Anders' slide guitar, 'Ice' was another tune with commercial potential.  Country-blues meets top-40 pop?  Shame it was so short.

4.) That's Up   (Craig Anders - Jonathan Pickford) - 3:10  rating: **** stars

I have no idea why a band from the Channel Islands would remind me of an American Southern-rock outfit, but 'That's Up' did.  For some reason, the tune makes me think of 38 Special, or perhaps The Outlaws.  A rollicking rocker there's not an original lick on the song, but it's is catchy.  Probably the one song that I find myself humming. 

5.) Some People   (Craig Anders - Jonathan Pickford) - 5:53   rating: **** stars

Opening up with an interesting little guitar riff, 'Some People' floated into FM rock territory with lots of space for instrumentals; each member getting a chance to strut their stuff.  Normally that kind of song structure wouldn't do a great deal for me, but this one had a solid melody and Pickford turned in another strong vocal.  It was another track that I wished had stretched out a but longer.




The band recorded three other studio sets and a live retrospective that I haven't gotten around to hearing:  1974's "A Band Called O", 1976's "Within Reach", 1977's "The Knife" (the latter credited to 'The O Band') and 2012's "On the Road 1975-1977."  There's also a three track 12" 1977 EP: "Look To the Left, Look To the Right'' b/w 'A Smile Is Diamond' and 'Fine White Wine' (United Artists catalog number UP 36297).  


Pickford apparently fell in love with Spain when he went there on vacation.  He now lives in the country where he started the band Racket with a bunch of other English expatriates including keyboardist Blue Weaver.


Filleul seems to have become a journeymen sessions player working and recording with a string of bands including The Climax Blues Band, East of Eden, and the Dave Kelly Band.