Hardin & York with Charlie McCracken

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1974)

- Eddie Hardin -- vocals, keyboards

- Richard Charlie McCracken -- bass

- Peter York -- vocals, drums, percussion


  supporting musicians:

- Christine Holmes -- backing vocals

- Liza Strike -- backing vocals

- Barry St. John -- backing vocals



- Axis Point

- Eddie Hardin (solo efforts)

- Hardin / York

- Hardin, York & Fenwick

- Hardin, York & Charlie McCracken

The Spencer Davis Group (Eddie Hardin, Peter York)

- Taste (Charlie McCracken)

- Peter York's Percussion Band






Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Hardin & York with Charlie McCracken

Company: Vertigo

Catalog: 6360 622

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 873

Price: $25.00


Eddie Hardin and Peter York's second post-Spencer Davis Group album saw the band line up expand to include former Taste bassist Charlie McCracken - hence 1974's cleverly titled 'Hardin & York with Charlie McCracken".  To be honest, the earlier "Hardin / York" debut wasn't anything special and with a couple of isolated exceptions, most folks were going to be hard pressed to say anything really nice about the follow-up.   With Hardin again responsible for the material (two tracks co-written with Deep Purple's Roger Glover), all seven of these songs were professional and competent with the band taking stabs at a variety of genres including pop (the horrible ballad 'Loving You's So Easy'), Deep Purple-influenced rock ('Ain't No Breeze'), jazz-soul  ('Freedom'), and even outright experimentation ('Clubtop').  The problem was competence didn't equate to energy or excitement; two qualities that were in short supply throughout the album.   It was one of those albums you could slap on at a party as background music; music nobody had to pay much attention to, unless you had an affection for ARP synthesizers (in which case you were in for a treat).   Having to pick a favorite track was a major chore since none of these performances were going to floor you - if pushed to make a selection, the ironically titled 'Wish I'd Never Joined a Band' was probably best of the lot.   


"Hardin & York with Charlie McCracken" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ain't No Breeze   (Eddie Hardin - Roger Glover) - 3:13

One of two tracks co-written with Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, 'AIn't No Breeze' was a decent, if pedestrian slice of hard rock.   To be perfectly honest, the song's combination of keyboards and guitars gave the song a very Deep Purple-ish feel.  Elsewhere, York's solo spot was a needless waste of time.   I like Deep Purple, but was this anything special ?  Nope.   rating: *** stars

2.) Back Row Movie Star   (Eddie Hardin) - 4:48

Other than the cheesy '70s synthesizers, 'Back Row Movie Star' wasn't a half bad stab at a commercial viability.  Musically the song was kind of strange with the first half showcasing a mid-tempo ballad, while the second section found the band picking up the pace (and unfortunately the quotient of synthesizer activity).  Regardless, it was pretty commercial which it probably why Vertigo tapped it as a German single.   rating: *** stars

3.) Freedom   (Eddie Hardin) - 10:03

'Freedom' was an extended, multi-sectioned, largely instrumental jam that showcased all three member's technical proficiency; Hardin's stabbing keyboards seemingly getting disproportional attention ('course he wrote the tune).   The first part of the ten minute plus effort sounded like mixture of a basement progressive band and something off of a Young-Holt Trio jazz-soul album.   The second section found the trio shifting to more of a Stax/Booker T. mode with lots of what sounded like Hammond B organ.  From there the tune saw Hardin move over to synthesizers and a mildly progressive feel.  The final section shifted to bluesy-ballad with one of Hardin's better vocals.   Pleasant, but nothing that was going to change your life.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) Wish I'd Never Joined a Band    (Eddie Hardin - Roger Glover) - 2:35

I'm guessing the title was meant to be ironic ...   otherwise 'Wish I'd Never Joined a Band' was actually one of the album's better tracks with a bouncy melody and some of Hardin's nicer synthesizer moves.   The life-is-hard-on-the-road lyrics were a bit tired, but so what.   rating: **** stars

2.) Clubtop (instrumental)   (Eddie Hardin) - 4:16

'Clubtop' started out with some needless synthesizer noodling, before shifting over to some needless avant-garde percussion moves and sound effects and then exploding into what sounded like the theme song for a second rate circus.   rating : ** stars

3.) Some Sweet Dream   (Eddie Hardin) - 5:05

Another track that started out sounding like something out of the Deep Purple catalog, but to their credit Hardin and York managed to inject a commercial edge to the song (nice chorus) and York's percussion fills actually gave the tune a funky edge.   rating: **** stars

4.) Loving You's So Easy   (Eddie Hardin) - 5:13

Their spelling, not mine - 'Loving You's So Easy' was a bland, synthesizers propelled ballad that simply never kicked into gear.  The backing singers and thunderstorm sound effects were clearly intended to give the track some gravities, but just made it sound more cheesy.    rating: ** stars


The band was apparently fairly popular in Germany which probably explains why the album only saw a German release (ice to see Vertigo spending so much on the Gil Funccius designed air-brushed cover art).  It probably also explains why a German-only single was issued




- 1974's 'Back Row Movie Star' b/w 'Wish I'd Never Joined a Band'  (Vertigo catalog number 6147 008)