Killing Floor

Band members               Related acts

- Michael 'Mick' Clarke -- lead guitar (1968-72)
- Lou Martin -- keyboards (1968-70)
- Stewart MacDonald -- bass (1968-72)
- Bas Smith -- drums (1968-72)
- Bill Thornycroft -- vocals, harmonica (1968-72)


- Mick Clark Band
- Rory Gallagher (Lou Martin)

- S.A.L.T. (Michael Clark)
- Toe Fat (Michael Clark)





Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Killing Floor

Company: Sire

Catalog: SES 97019

Year: 1969

cpuntry/State: London, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; US pressing (note the LP picture is inaccurate in terms of color)

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4803

Price: $120.00


Original from South London, guitarist Michael Clarke, keyboardist Lou Martin, bassist Stewart MacDonald, drummer Bas Smith and singer Bill Thornycroft came together in 1968. As Killing Floor they started out as a blues cover band, eventually working some original material into their repertoire. Rather than immediately hitting the club circuit, they spent several months rehearsing, eventually attracting the attention on DJ John Edward who signed on as their manager. Edward's connections helped land the band a series of opening slots for name acts such as Chicken Shack and Ten Years After. They also supported blues man Freddie King on a pair of English tours.

With their blues orientation and the buying public's sudden addiction to the genre, you would have thought a major label would've jumped at a chance to sign them. It didn't happen. Attempts to attract major labels were all failures, leaving the band to eventually sign with the newly formed Spark Records (manager Edwards had a publishing deal with the company starting the label). Signed by Spark (London's newly formed Sire label acquiring American distribution rights), the quintet made their recording debut with 1969's Edwards produced "Killing Floor" (congrats for sporting one of the year's most disturbing covers). Musically material such as "Nobody By My Side", "Come Home Baby" and "Bedtime Blues" was straight-forward English blues. Thornycroft had a nicely ragged voice that was well suited to the genre. Keyboard player Martin (check out the harpsichord instrumental "Sunday Morning") and guitarist Clarke were both major talents. That said, nothing here was particularly original; in fact you were left with the odd feeling you'd heard some of this stuff before. Perhaps explaining that feeling, in an interview guitarist Clark confessed the band was originally planning on recording a set classic Chicago blues songs, but once in the studio were told they had to record original all material. In a panic Thornycroft rewrote the lyrics, the band rearranging much of the material to give it a half-legitimate claim to being original. Still, anyone into John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, or early Fleetwood Mac will certainly take a shine to the LP. (Interestingly we've occasionally seen this one crop on high priced psych lists. While there's nothing wrong with the set, be forewarned they definitely aren't a psych band.) 

"Killing Floor" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Woman You Need Love (Willie Dixon) - 4:54
2.) Nobody By My Side (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke) - 5:03
3.) Come Home Baby (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke) - 4:09
4.) Bedtime Blues (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke) - 7:42
5,) Sunday Morning (instrumental) (Lou Martin) - 1:01
6.) Try To Understand (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke) - 2:40

(side 2)

1.) My Mind Can Ride Easy (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke) - 2:33
2.) Wet (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke - Lou Clarke - Bas Smith) - 0:39
3.) Keep On Walking (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke) - 5:08
4.) Forget It! (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke) - 5:39
5.) Lou's Blues (Lou Martin) - 2:40
6.) People Change Your Mind (Stewart MacDonald - Bill Thornycroft - Michael Clarke - Bas Smith) - 8:40