Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1972)
- Andy Bown -- guitar, keyboards
- Charlie Harrison - bass
- Alan Jones -- woodwinds
- Henry Spinetti -- drums, percussion
- Adrian Williams -- vocals
- Trevor Williams -- lead guitar
- Amen Corner (Alan Jones)
- Andy Bown (solo efforts)
- Chapter 24 (Charlie Harrison)
- Coast Road Drive (Charlie Harrison)
- Denick and Armstrong (Henry Spinetti)
- The Herd (Andy Bown and Henry Spinetti)
- Hustler (Henry Spinetti)
- The Mindbenders (Charlie Harrison)
- Paradox (Charlie Harrison)
- Poco (Charlie Harrison)
- Scrugg (Henry Spinetti)
- Status Quo (Andy Bown)
- Storyteller (Andy Bown)
- Thunderbyrd (Charlie Harrison)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 6058
Here's one I bought for the cover, not knowing anything about the band, though I recognized a couple of the players. Just looking at this cover gave me the heebie-geebies; the thought of being spray painted with a heavy coat of gold paint (or any color) made me start scratching ...
With Andy Fairweather-Low having broken up Amen Corner, multi-instrumentalist Alan Jones was apparently the driver behind forming what became Judas Jump, Finding a sponsor in the form of infamous manager Don Arden. Arden fronted Jones an advance and suggest a number of potential collaborators including singer Adrian Williams, former Herd keyboardist/guitarist Andy Bown and drummer Henry Spinetti. The band line up was eventually completed via the addition of lead guitarist Trevor Williams, and ex-The Mindbenders bass player Charlie Harrison. Pulling a page out of the Traffic career management manual they relocated to the Isle of Wight, where they spent a couple of months in seclusion rehearsing and getting comfortable with one another. With continued support from Arden, their impressive musical pedigree helped get them signed by the British Parlophone label. In an unusual move, Parlophone sent them on a tour of the States, followed by a European jaunt. Only then were they given a chance to enter the recording studio resulting in the release of their debut single:
- 1969's 'Run for Your Life' b/w 'Beer Drinking Woman' (Parlophone catalog number R 5828)
While it wasn't a massive hit, the song did well enough for Parlophone to finance an album. Produced by Andy Bown and Michael Viner (the liner notes actually listed him as 'Andrew Brown'), 1969's "Scorch" offered up an entertaining collection of Bown-penned rockers. Curiously, several on-line reviews portray the album as being 'jazz rock' or 'progressive'. Too my ears neither description was particularly accurate. True, Alan Jones' woodwinds were occasionally featured ('John Brown's Body') and Bown added some Mellotron to the proceedings, but for the most part tracks like 'Rocking Chair', 'Beer Drinking Woman' and 'Purple God' offered up a fairly commercial blend of blues-rock, pop and conventional rock. As lead singer Adrian Williams was gifted with a nice voice that was capable of handling both the band's lighter pop numbers and their tougher material. He occasionally reminded me a bit of Stevie Winwood, if with a slightly fuller voice. The rest of the band were all quite impressive with Bown deserving kudos for his tasteful keyboards and Jones having the sense to keep his contributions short and largely in the background. Certainly not the most original album you've ever heard, but with one or two exceptions, it's solid from start to finish. There aren't many albums that can make the same statement.
Top left to right: Alan Jones - Trevor Williams - Henry Spinetti
Bottom left to right: Adrian Williams - Charlie Harrison - Andrew Bown
"Scorch" track listing:
1.) John Brown's Body (Andy Bown) - 3:24 rating: **** stars
'John Brown's Body' opened the album with a likeable slice of blues-rock. That said, this wasn't your standard variety of Savoy Blues-styled English blues-rock, rather featured a surprisingly up-tempo and commercial edge - imagine Steve Winwood and Traffic having a couple of beers and actually enjoying themselves while performing a blues song. When the album was finally released in the States, the label tapped this as the US single:
- 1972's 'John Brown's Body' b/w Cry-de-Cry'' (Pride catalog number 1007)
2.) Rockin Chair (Andy Bown) - 3:09 rating: *** stars
Kicked along by some tight horns, 'Rockin Chair' was one of the album's most commercial endeavors, The track had a nice pop melody and showcased the band's unexpectedly tight vocal harmonies.. Probably would have been a better choice as a single than the tunes that were actually released.
3.) Beer Drinkin' Woman (Andy Bown) - 3:38 rating: **** stars
Imagine Savoy Brown deciding to ditch the blues influences and instead record a taunt rocker, 'Beer Drinkin' Woman' was almost as good as the title. Easy to see why this one was tapped as a single.
- 1970's 'Beer Drinking Woman' b/w 'I Have The Right' (Parlophone catalog number R 5873)
4.) Medley: 49 Fingers/Purple God (Andy Bown) - 4:11 rating: * star / rating: **** stars
Kicked along by Bown's barrelhouse piano, other than some drunken harmony vocals singing/slurring the title track over and over, there wasn't a great deal to '49 Fingers'.
'Purple God' made it clear these guys had a commercial, pop edge and weren't afraid of popular success. With one of those melodies that buries itself in your head it was hard to figure out why Parlophone didn't tap it as a single.
5.) Bossa Jump (Andy Bown) - 4:32 rating: **** stars
'Bossa Jump' had a breezy melody (perhaps the album's most captivating melody), complete with lotsf strumming acoustic guitars, and another drunken sing-along chorus - the main lyric being the refrain "don't cut my hair, or my brains will fall out". Hard not to like that type of in-depth social commentary ...
Side two started out with one of the album's stranger efforts. An acoustic ballad bathed in a 'hippie vibe', 'Cry-De-Cry' sounded like an outtake from a mid-1960s Donovan set. Full of pretty harmony vocals, it wasn't bad, but sounded nothing like the rest of the album. \
2.) Run For Your Life (Andy Bown) - 3:29 rating: **** stars
It took awhile for me to place it, but the mid-tempo rocker 'Run For Your Life' sounded like a good Thunderclap Newman track. I have no idea if it was intentional, but Williams nailed Newman's vocal style on this one.
3.) Cully (Andy Bown) - 2:36 rating: **** stars
'Cully' was the album's most straightforward rocker and one of the set's highlights. Williams' slide guitar stole the show on this one.
4.) Mississippi Turnpike (Andy Bown) - 2:59 rating: ** stars
For better or worse every early-1970s UK band seems to have felt obligated to include at least one country flavored number - Judas Jump's contribution to the genre was the bland and instantly forgettable 'Mississippi Turnpike'.
5.) Medley: Primrose Lady / Scorch (instrumental) - (Alan Jones / Andy Bown) - 6:01 rating: ** stars / rating: **** stars
Showcasing Bown's keyboards, 'Primrose Lady' was a pretty, country-rock tinged ballad. Nice, but not particularly memorable and the song had a weird, echoy production sound - the track literally sounded like it had been recorded in a shower stall.
- While it sounded like a throwaway instrumental, the Stax influenced title track was actually one of the album''s most impressive performances - Bown's Hammond B3 and Williams fuzz guitar certainly made it the funkiest number. Shame they didn't spend the time to flush the track out.
For fans there was a final, non-LP single:
- 1970's 'This Feelin' We Feel' b/w ''Hangman's Playing' (Parlophone catalog number R-5838) (UK release)
Released by Capitol Records in the States, the single was flipped:
- 1970's 'Hangman's Playing' b/w 'This Feelin' We Feel' (Capitol catalog number P-2859)
And with that, the band called it quits.
Curiously, in 1972 MGM's Pride subsidiary decided to released the set posthumously in the States. Gawd only knows what their thinking was. In case anyone cared, the original UK pressing featured a gatefold sleeve, while the Pride release didn't. The US release also dropped one song found on the UK original - 'Private Holiday Camp.'
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