Black Cat Bones

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1966)

- Derek Brooks -- rhythm guitar

- Stuart Brooks -- bass

- Paul Kossof (RIP 1976) -- lead guitar

- Terry Sims -- drums, percussion

- Pat Tiller -- vocals, harmonica


  line up 2 (1966-68)

- Derek Brooks -- rhythm guitar

- Stuart Brooks -- bass

- Paul Kossof (RIP 1976) -- lead guitar

NEW - Frank Perry -- drums (replaced Terry Sims)

- Pat Tiller -- vocals, harmonica


  line up 3 (1968)

- Derek Brooks -- rhythm guitar

- Stuart Brooks -- bass

NEW - Simon Kirke -- drums (replaced Frank Perry)

- Paul Kossof (RIP 1976) -- lead guitar

- Pat Tiller -- vocals, harmonica


  line up 4 (1968-70)

- Derek Brooks -- rhythm guitar

- Stuart Brooks -- bass

NEW - Phil Lenoir -- drums, percussion (replaced  Simon Kirke)

NEW - Rod Price -- vocal, lead guitar (replaced  Paul Kossoff)

NEW - Brian Short -- vocals (replaced Pat Tiller)


  supporting musicians (1970):

- Steve Milliner -- keyboards

- Robin Sylvester -- keyboards





- Back Street Crawler (Paul Kossoff)

- Bad Company (Simon Kirke)

- The Brunning Sunflower Blues Band (Derek Brooks and

  Simon Brooks)

- Downliners Sect (Pat Tiller) 

- Foghat (Rod Price)

Free (Simon Kirke and Paul Kossoff)

- Leaf Hound (Derek Brooks and Simon Brooks)

- Paul Kossoff (solo efforts)

- Kossoff, Kirke, Tesu, Rabbit

- The Pretty Things (Stuart Brooks)

- Brian Short (solo effort)

- Wildlife (Simon Kirke)



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Barbed Wire Sandwich

Company: PIP

Catalog: PIP-6809

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5884

Price: SOLD $40.00


With Cream enjoying mid-1960s superstar status, by 1966 seemingly every Englishman under the age of 30 was joining a blues-rock band.  Among the legions were rhythm guitarist Derek Brooks, his brother Stuart on bass, lead guitarist Paul Kossoff, drummer Terry Sims, and former Downliners Sect vocalist Paul Tiller.  The London-based Black Cat Bones subsequently hit the London clubs circuit (in case you cared, a black cat bone was a lucky charm popular in the African American community).  They also became an in-demand backing band for American R&B acts such as Champion Jack Dupree who were hitting the UK tour circuit.  Over the next three years the band underwent a steady stream of personnel changes.  Drummer Sims was quickly replaced by Frank Perry, who in 1968 was replaced by Simon Kirke.  Original vocalist Tiller was replaced by Brian Short.  Next out the door were Kirke and Kossoff who join the newly formed Free.  The survivors wasted no time recruiting replacements in the form of drummer Phil Lenoir, and lead guitarist Rod Price.  In spite of the ongoing personnel changes the band remained popular on the London club scene.  


Left to right:: 

Stuart Brooks -  Derek Brooks - Paul Tiller - Frank Perry - Paul Kossoff 


The band eventually caught the attention of producer Mike Vernon and in 1969 they finally signed a recording deal with the Decca's progressively oriented Nova label (the Pickwick affiliated PIP label acquired American distribution rights).  Debuting with the David Hitchcock produced "Barbed Wire Sandwich" the album featured a mixture of traditional blues numbers and new studio material largely penned by Price.  The predominant sound was straight-ahead English blues-rock.  Think along the lines of early Fleetwood Mac, or Savoy Brown and you'd be in the right ballpark.  That means lots of folks wouldn't have much interest in the collection.  Shame, since it's actually one of the better releases in the genre.  Short was an excellent singer and while most of the attention shone on the band was a result of Kossoff's membership (he was gone before they recorded the album), Price took advantage of the opportunity to show he was just as talented.  He may not have been able to match Kossoff's instantly recognizable screeching Les Paul sustains, but he was actually a faster and more fluid player.   


Given I'm not a gigantic blues-rock fan, I'll admit this was actually far better than I expected.  Not something I'd want to hear everyday, but by the same token the next time I wanted to scratch a blues-rock itch I'd probably pull this one out before a Savoy Blues Band album. 


"Barbed Wire Sandwich" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Death Valley Blues - 3:55   rating: *** stars

'Death Valley Blues' was a standard blues-rock number, with the real draws being Price's snarling lead guitar and Shore's vocal.  At least to my ears on this one he sounded uncannily like the late Rory Gallagher.

2.) Feelin' Good - 4:50   rating: *** stars

It took awhile to get going, but the first part of 'Feelin' Good' was one of the prettiest tunes on the album and the quick nod to the traditional 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' was pretty funny.  Price turned in one of his best performances here.   

3.) Chauffeur - 5:15   rating: **** stars     

A growling, sinewy slice of blues-rock, 'Chauffeur' was as good as anything Free ever did (it actually sounds like a Free track).  The lyrics aren't anything special, but the end result was easily the best track on the album this one had FM radio potential all over it.   

4.) Sylvester's Blues   (Rod Price) - 3:40     rating: ** stars  

Penned by Price, 'Sylvester's Blues' started out as a bland acoustic blues number, before morphing into a bland, up-tempo blues number.  Professional, but forgettable, the highlight was a bit of Price slide guitar.   

5.) Coming Back   (Rod Price) - 2:30     rating: ** stars  

Another Price original, 'Coming Back' was another pedestrian blues-rocker.  The song sported another nice Price solo, but other than that ...   


(side 2)
1.) Four Women   (Nina Simone) - 5:05   rating: *** stars

With Short turning in one of his best vocals and as one of the few songs to stray from their patented blues-rock repertoire, side two started with the album's most surprising performance - an intense cover of Nina Simone's 'Four Women'.    

2.) Save My Love   (David Brooks - Stuart Brooks - Phil Lenoir - Rod Price - Brian Short) - 4:51    rating: *** stars

The lone band composition, 'Save My Love' found the band channeling their Cream roots.  Nice blues-rocker with an emphasis on rock.   

3.) Good Lookin' Woman   (Rod Price) - 6:16   rating: **** stars     

The blazing 'Good Looking Woman' was my choice for second best performance.  With Price turning in his lone lead vocal, the highlight came in the form of the twin lead guitar workout from Derek Brooks and Price.

4.) Please Tell My Baby - 3:12     rating: ** stars  

Built around engineer Robin Sylvester's barrelhouse piano 'Please Tell My Baby' sounded like a studio goof.  The in and out fades were simply irritating.




The band toured Europe in support of the album, but when it tanked they split up.


The Brooks brothers reappeared in The Brunning Sunflower Blues Band, which then morphed into Leaf Hound.  Stuart also did a brief stint with The Pretty Things.


Price reappeared as a member of Foghat.




Short reappeared with an instantly obscure solo album; 1971's "Anything for a Laugh" (Translantic catalog TRA 245).