Hampton Grease Band

Band members                       Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-70)

- Jerry Fields - vocals, percussion 
- Bruce Hampton - vocals, trumpet 
- Mike Holbrook - bass 
- Harold Kelling - vocals, guitar 
- Glenn Phillips - guitar, sax 



- The Codetalkers (Bruce Hampton)

- Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit

  (Bruce Hampton)

- The Fiji Mariners (Bruce Hampton)

- The Late Bronze Age (Bruce Hampton)

- Supreme Court (Glenn Phillips)



Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Music To Eat

Company: Columbia

Catalog: G 30555

Year: 1969

Country/State: Georgia, US
Grade (cover/record): 

Comments: gatefold sleeve; double LP

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 179

Price: $50.00

Having met while playing in local Atlanta, Georgia bands, singer (I'm used the term loosely) and guitarist Harold Kelling began working together in the late-1960s. Adding drummer Jerry Fields, bassist Mike Holbrook and guitarist Glenn Phillips to the lineup, the band began playing Atlanta's small underground music scene. 


Drawing inspiration from the likes of The Mothers of Invention, the band attracted a small cult following and by 1968 was even opening for name acts such as Jimi Hendrix (???), B.B. King, Procol Harum, and Three Dog Night playing Atlanta. Somehow attracting the attention of Allman Brothers manager Phil Walden, in 1969 the group scored a contract with Columbia.

1969's "Music To Eat" was difficult to describe. Teamed with producer David Baker, the debut was initially planned as a single album set. Hard to believe, but reportedly recorded with a matter of days, Columbia executives were apparently furious at the results, recruiting producer Tim Gleelan to work with the band in an attempt to convince them to record some shorter, more commercial material. Clearly unsuccessful, Columbia caved on the "commercial" concept, instead electing to release the material as a double album set. With original material such as "Halifax", "Hendon" and "Six" all clocking in at close to 20 minutes, nobody was about to mistake these guys for your run-of-the-mill top-40 cover band. Musically the band displayed an-every-thing-including-the-kitchen-sink approach to songwriting. Mixing everything from meltdown guitar jams (checkout Kelling and Phillips work about ten minutes into "Halifax") to outright dissonance ("Six") and Zappa-styled dada lyrics (hearing Hampton 'sing' the words off the back of a spray paint can ("Spray Can")can best be described as a disturbing experience), the results were comparable to other aural disasters such as Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music". Elsewhere, sounding like a cross between an 80 year old blues singer, a cat in heat and a vacuum cleaner on the frizz, in the role of lead singer namesake Hampton was an acquired taste. While the remaining four members were at least capable of playing their instruments, they seldom sounded as if they were playing the same song. A complete commercial disaster (Columbia reportedly tried to market the album as a comedy set), the album was reportedly one of the company's all-time worst sellers. So why the fours stars?  It's based 100% on the album's bizarre characteristics ...  most people won't last more than a couple of minutes, but there are some hardcore folks out there that will find this fascinating.

"Music To Eat" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Halifax (Glenn Phillips - Bruce Hampton) - 19:36


(side 2)
1.) Maria (Glenn Phillips) - 5:27
2.) Six (Bruce Hampton - Harold Kelling)- 19:31


(side 3)
1.) Evans
     a.) Egyptian Beaver
     b.) Evans

2.) Lawton


(side 4)

1.) Hey Old Lady and Bert's Song
      a.) Spray Paint (Jerry Fields - Bruce Hampton - Mike Holbrook - Harold Kelling - Glenn Phillips) - 1:15
      b.) Major Bones (Jerry Fields - Bruce Hampton - Mike Holbrook - Harold Kelling - Glenn Phillips) - 2:05
      c.) Sewell Park (Jerry Fields - Bruce Hampton - Mike Holbrook - Harold Kelling - Glenn Phillips) - 5:18
      d.) Improvisation (Jerry Fields - Bruce Hampton - Mike Holbrook - Harold Kelling - Glenn Phillips) - 11:35

Signed by Zappa's Bizarre/Straight label (Mothers of Invention alumnist Bill Payne had mixed part of their album), the band subsequently collapsed in the wake of Kelling and Hampton's departures. Hampton reappeared as a member of the equally eclectic Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit.