Clouds, The

Band members               Related acts

- Ian Ellis - vocals, bass (1968-70)

- Harry Hughes - drums, trumpet (1968-70)

- Billy Ritchie - vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass (1968-70)



- Mick Clark Band (Ian Ellis)

- Ric Lee's Breakers (Ian Ellis)

- Savoy Brown (Ian Ellis)





Genre: progressive

Rating: * (1 stars)

Title:  Up Above Our Heads

Company: Deram

Catalog: DES-18044

Year: 1969

Country/State: Edinburgh, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: promo sticker on cover; minor ring wear and wear of seams; sticker on the cover that says 'prog rock'

Available: SOLD

GEMM catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Cost: $66.00


Scottish singer/bassist Ian Ellis, drummer Harry Hughes and multi-instrumentalist Billy Ritchie started out playing in the mid-1960s as '1-2-3'.  By 1968 the trio had abandoned the Scottish club circuit in favor of London, where one of their club performances managed to attract the attention of producer/manager Terry Ellis.  Serving as their agent, Ellis managed to land them a contract with London Record's newly formed Deram subsidiary.  (Almost hate to admit it, but that's the main reason we bought the LP at a yard sale - knew nothing about the band, but was curious since they were on Deram.)

In contrast to their 1969 debut "Scrapbook" which didn't see an American release, their sophomore set "Up Above Our Head" was only released in the States and in Canada. Musically the set was a little different than the debut's blend of pop and progressive moves.  With the eight tracks co-written by the three members, the set supposedly highlighted some of the band's stage favorites.  Unfortunately, nothing here was particularly tuneful or original with tracks such as the seemingly endless instrumental 'Sing Sing' and 'Take Me To Your Leader' coming off as longwinded and just this side of pompous.  The proceedings weren't helped by keyboardist Ritchie who sounded as if he'd recently overdosed on Keith Emerson and Nice records.  Yeah, the stabbing organ sounds quickly got old and the addition of horns on material such as as 'Take Me To Your Leader' cost them a star in the grading department.   At least the second side featured shorter compositions.  They weren't any better, but they were shorter ...

"Up Above Our Heads" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Imagine Me   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 

2.) Sing Sing (instrumental)   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 

3.) Take Me To Your Leader   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 

(side 2)

1.) Carpenter   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 

2.) Old Man   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 

3.) Big Noise from Winnetka   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 

4.) In the Mine   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 

5.) Waiter   (Ian Ellis - Billy Ritchie - Harry Hughes) - 


We haven't heard it, but the trio released one more LP for Island - 1971's "Watercolour Says" and a pair of singles:


- 1969's 'Heritage' b/w 'Make No Bones About It' (Island catalog number WIP-6055)

- 1969's 'Scrapbook' b/w 'Carpenter' (Island catalog number WIP-6067)


They called it quits in 1971.  


Ellis went on to become an in-demand bassist, playing and sometimes recording with an impressive collection of UK acts, including Alex Harvey, Savoy Brown, Steve Hackett, Ric Lee and The Mick Clark Band.