Rick Grech

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1978)

- Rick Grech (aka Ric Grech) (RIP 1990) -- bass, violin, cello




- Blind Faith

- The Crickets

- Family

- The Farinas

- Ginger Baker's Air Force


- Square Dancing Machine

- Traffic





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Last Five Years

Company: RSO

Catalog:  SO 876

Country/State: Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 2093

Price: $10.00

For a guy who played with so many all-star outfits, it is kind of a sad testament Rick Grech's own recording catalog is so slim - basically one odd 1973 compilation - "The Last Five Years".   


Part of the reason for that slim catalog has to do with the fact Grech wasn't much of a singer.  It wasn't that he had a bad voice (check out Family's 'Second Generation Woman'), rather he just didn't sing very often.   Grech also had a knack for playing with group's where he was completed overshadowed by the other members - Blind Faith, Family, Traffic ...


Anyhow, calling 1973's "The Last Five Years" a Grech album was certainly a marketing stretch.  True to the title, the album pulled together nine tracks that spanned the 1968-1973 time frame.  The earliest tune was Family's 'Hey Mr. Policeman'.  The most recent effort was apparently a 1973 collaboration with Gram Parsons ('Kiss the Children').   And that highlighted one of the oddest aspects of the collection.  Pulling together material from Blind Faith, Family, and Traffic, Ginger Baker's Air Force (the instrumental 'Doin' It') Gram Parsons, and Rosetta Hightower ('Just a  Guest') the collection served to showcase Grech's role as a musical journeyman.   A talented sideman, but still a sideman.  He provided bass, or electric violin on all of the songs.  He also wrote, or co-wrote most of the material, though that made the inclusion of the Steve Winwood penned 'Sea of Joy' kind of a mystery.  He even handled the lead vocals on Family's 'Second Generation Woman'.  For all that, you didn't really walk away with much insight into the man.  RSO certainly didn't put a great deal of effort into the project, witness the absence of any kind of biographical information, let alone any attempt to track down some of the shelved material Grech had recorded - tunes like 'Spending All My Days' and 'Exchange And Mart' which had been planned for an aborted solo project.  It made for an interesting, but odd career retrospective.


"The Last Five Years" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Second Generation Woman  (Rick Grech) - 3:06

One of three tunes Grech wrote for Family's second album -  1969 "Family Entertainment".  It was also one of the few times he was featured on lead vocals.  The interesting was Grech actually didn't have a bad voice - certainly more commercial than Roger Chapman.   The tune as even released as a single:

- 1968's 'Second Generation Woman' b/w 'Home Town' (Reprise catalog number 0809)

2.) Kiss the Children  (Rick Grech) - 2:49

Hearing the late gram Parson's voice jump out the speakers made 'Kiss the Children' the album's biggest surprise.  I did not know Grech and Parsons had worked together.  For anyone interested the song was found on Parson's 1973 "GP" album.  rating: **** stars

3.) Face the Cloud  (Rick Grech) - 2:50

Family at their most psychedelic (always loved John Whitney's electric sitar) and one of the few tunes to capture Grech on vocals (albeit backing vocals).  rating: **** stars

4.) Just a Guest  (Rick Grech) - 4:17

The ballad 'Just a Guest' was perhaps the album's most interesting number - Grech wrote it and the late Rosetta Hightower sang the crap out of it (I'm guessing the lyrics were quite personal to her given she'd left the US in the mid-'60s).  Interestingly the song doesn't seem to have ever been released (outside of this album).   rating: **** stars

5.) Doin' It (instrumental)  (Rick Grech - Ginger Baker) - 5:18

A tune lifted from the first Ginger Baker Air Force album - 'Doin' It' was a bland, almost free-form slice of sax-powered jazz-rock improvisation.   And it seemingly went on forever ...   rating: * star


(side 2)
1.) Hey Mr. Policeman  (Rick Grech - Charlie Whitney - Roger Chapman) - 3:11

Powered by Roger Chapman's ominous vocal, 'Hey Mr. Policeman' was one of the reasons to buy Family's "Music In a Doll's House".     rating: **** stars

2.) Rock 'n' Roll Stew  (Rick Grech - Jim Gordon) - 3:15

Perhaps the funkiest thing Traffic ever recorded ...   'Rock 'n' Roll Stew' was originally found on Traffic's 1971 "The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" collection and was unique as one of the few Traffic tunes to feature the late Dave Capaldi on vocals.   Always loved Grech's bass line on this one.   rating: **** stars

3.) How-Hi-the-Li  (Rick Grech) - 4:55

'How-Hi-the-Li' was another tune from Family's 1969 "Family Entertainment" album.  Grech may have written the tune and turned in the dazzling bass line, but Roger Chapman stole the song.  With a cool jazzy-rock vibe, the song also sported some hysterical lyrics including name dropping Chinese premier Chou En Lai and one of my favorite stabs at politicians: "And the politicians start to speak; Trying to make themselves clear; To the ones who can't diagnose; The symptoms of verbal diarrhearating: **** stars

4.) Sea of Joy   (Stevie Winwood) - 5:18

Interesting choice for inclusion on the album since Grech didn't write it and didn't even play bass on it (that honor apparently went ot the late Jack Bruce).  As far as I can tell Grech's contribution was limited to the electric violin solo - mind you it was a pretty solo, but it was a violin solo.   rating; **** stars



Only 43, but long plagued by alcohol and drug issues, Grech died on renal failure in March 1990.