Majority One 


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1964) as the Mustangs

- Roger France  -- lead guitar

- Larry Graham (aka Graham Wigley) -- vocals

- Rob Long  -- rhythm guitar, vocals

- Don Lill -- drums, percussion

- Ken Smith -- bass

 

  line up 2 (1964-68) as Majority

- Roger France  -- lead guitar

- Larry Graham (aka Graham Wigley) -- vocals

- Rob Long  -- rhythm guitar, vocals

- Don Lill -- drums, percussion

- Ken Smith -- bass

 

  line up 3 (1968-70) as Majority One

- Roger France -- lead guitar

- Larry Graham (aka Graham Wigley) -- vocals

- Rob Long -- rhythm guitar, vocals

- Don Lill -- drums, percussion

- Ken Smith -- bass

 

  line up 4 (1970-71) 

NEW - Walter Andrews -- bass (replaced Ken Smith)

- Larry Graham (aka Graham Wigley) -- vocals

NEW- Chris Kelly -- drums, percussion, vocals, (replaced  Don Lill)

- Rob Long -- rhythm guitar, vocals

NEW- Peter Mizen -- lead guitar, vocals (replaced Roger France)

 

  line up 5 (1971) 

- Walter Andrews -- bass 

- Larry Graham (aka Graham Wigley) -- vocals

- Rob Long -- rhythm guitar, vocals

- Peter Mizen -- lead guitar, vocals

NEW - Iain Sutherland -- drums, percussion (replaced Chris Kelly)

 

 

 

- Black Label

- The Majority

- The Mustangs

- Rocky Cabbage

- Barry Ryan (backing band for)

- The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver (Iain Sutherland)

- Barry Wigley (solo efforts)

 

 

 


 

Genre: psych

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Majority One

Company: Pink Elephant

Catalog: PE 888010
Year:
 1971

Country/StateYorkshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: Dutch pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 160

Price: $150.00

 

I guess because they were signed to the Pink Elephant label, I just assumed Majority One was a Dutch band who happened to sound a lot like an English band.  So much for my keen insight into '60s bands ...

 

Seemingly inspired by The Beatles, like thousands of other British bands, lead guitarist Roger France , singer Larry Graham, rhythm guitarist Rob Long, drummer Don Lill, and bassist Ken Smith formed their own band in 1964.  Originally known as The Mustangs, the quintet quickly decided to leave their native Hull for London where the morphed into The Majority, becoming a popular attraction at happening clubs like Balises, The Playboy Club, The Revolution, and The Speakeasy.  The resulting attention saw them score a recording contract with Decca Records.

 

Over the next four years the band released a string of eight singles.  Heavy on outside material including Ray Davies' 'A Little Bit of Sunshine', kudos to Decca for sticking with the band so long, even though none of the band's commercial, but derivative pop singles charted:

 

- 1965's 'Pretty Little Girl' b/w 'I Don't Wanna Be Hurt No More' (Decca catalog F 12186)

- 1965's 'A Little Bit Of Sunlight' b/w 'Shut 'Em Down In London Town' (Decca catalog number F 12271)  (Penned, but apparently never recorded by Ray Davies and The Kinks)

- 1966's 'We Kiss In A Shadow' b/w 'Ring The Bells' (Decca catalog number F 12313)

- 1966's 'Simplified' b/w 'One Third' (Decca catalog number F 12453)

- 1966's 'To Make Me A Man' b/w 'Tears Won't Help' (Decca catalog number F 12504)

- 1967's 'Wait By The Fire'  b/w 'I Hear A Rhapsody' (Decca catalog number F 12573)

- 1967's 'Running Away With My Baby' b/w 'Let The Joybells Ring'  (Decca catalog number F 12638)

- 1968's 'All Our Christmases' b/w 'People' (Decca catalog number F 12727)  (Penned by the Bee Gees, the song was featured in the film "The Mini Mob" which included a cameo appearance by the band)

 

1968 saw the band dropped by Decca.  The group subsequently underwent a serious of personnel changes - Walter Andrews replacing Ken Smith on bass, Chris Kelly replacing Don Lill on drums and Peter Mizen taking over lead guitar from Roger France.  Writing material and cutting demos, the revamped band paid their bills as sessions players and touring musicians, including a stint backing Barry Ryan.  Greeted by enthusiastic crowds while backing Ryan during a European tour saw the band decide to switch their focus from the UK to mainland European audiences. Relocating to France, they were signed by the Dutch Pink Elephant label where the cut one final 45 for the label before renaming themselves Majority One.   Under that name they cut a pair of singles, before being given an opportunity to record and album.

 

   as The Majority

- 1969's 'Charlotte Rose' b/w 'Time Is On Your Side' (Pink elephant catalog PE 22 207)

 

  as Majority One

- 1970's 'Glass Image' b/w 'Friday Man' (Pink Elephant catalog number PE 22 514-H)

- 1970's 'Because I Love' b/w 'Get Back Home' (Pink Elephant catalog number PE 22 525-H)

 

The debut 45's unexpected success also saw London Records come knocking, though their partnership with London only lasted for one single:

 

 1970's 'Glass Image' b/w 'Friday Man' (London catalog number 2534)

 

1971 saw Pink Elephant finance the band's debut album.  Produced by Jean-Pierre Rawson, the cleverly-titled "Majority One" pulled together the earlier singles and a slew of new studio material.  While the album was a bit short on originality, to my ears the band's mix of acid-tinged pop and more commercial moves was nothing short of wonderful.   Graham had a fantastic voice that sounded good across the diverse spectrum of sounds.  While he didn't get a lot of spotlight time lead guitarist Mizen consistently added interesting color to the material and the Andrews/Long  rhythm section kept everything nicely in focus.  The album's overall vibe has always puzzled me.  Though released in 1971, tracks like the pretty ballad 'Rainbow Rocking Chair', ''A Cigarette a Cup of Tea and 'I See Her Everywhere' had a vintage mid-'60s feel and vibe, leaving me to wonder if the album simply gathered up a bunch of previously recorded demos.

 

"Majority One" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Feed Back     (Peter Mizen - Rob Long) - 3:30

Surprisingly 'Feedback; actually opened up with a touch of Peter Mizen feedback guitar before morphing into a glistening slice of power pop.  For anyone who pays attention to that kind of stuff, the lyrics praised the values of feedback guitar (maybe not a big surprise, lead guitarist Mizen and rhythm guitarist Rob Long co-wrote the song).   Imagine The Hollies actually getting around to recording a truly rocking tune and you'd gave a feel for this one.  Great way to start an album !!!   rating: **** stars

2.) Rainbow Rocking Chair    (Rob Long) - 2:25

A beautiful, slightly lysergic-tinged ballad, 'Rainbow Rocking Chair' was quite pretty with some engaging Pink Floyd-styled imagery.  rating: **** stars

3.) A Cigarette a Cup of Tea     (Peter Mizen - Rob Long) - 2:50

Opening up with some heavily treated Graham vocals, 'A Cigarette a Cup of Tea' started out with a very heavy psych edge, but then the track switched directions, showing the band's affection for British music hall moves.  Imagine one of those goofball tracks that Ringo would have handled for The Beatles and you'll get a general sense of what this one sounded like (though Graham's voice was way better than Ringo's bleat).   rating: **** stars

4.) I Nearly Died   (Barry Wigley - Iain Sutherland) - 2:45

With Graham's voice reflecting a Robin Gibb tremor, the first time I heard the ballad 'I Nearly Died' I was certain they'd mistakenly included a Bee Gees number on the album.   Not only did Graham's performance bare a strong resemblance to the Gibbs Brothers, but the song's entire structure, including dark and disturbing lyric and almost gothic feel sounded like one of their better late-'60s efforts.  rating: *** stars

5.) Look Like Rain   (Barry Wigley - Rob Long) - 2:45

So now that we've started playing spot-the-influences, the gentle acoustic ballad 'Look Like Rain' sounded a bit like something Paul McCartney might had slapped on "The White Album", or perhaps recorded for his solo debut "McCartney".  The song itself had a very simple structure - Pete Mizen basically chanting the title over and over while accompanied by strumming acoustic guitars and some low-keyed percussion.  And it's also one of the tracks that burrows into your head and won't leave.   rating: **** stars

6.) Glass Image     (Peter Mizen - Rob Long) - 2:40

Even though Graham's vocals sounded like they'd been recorded over a long distance phone line with a bad connection, 'Glass Image' sported one of the album's more commercial arrangements.  Kicked along by some Mizen fuzz guitar and a stuttering string arrangement, the song had a cool, jittery urgency that makes it easy to see why it was tapped as the band's first single.  rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Because I Love You    (
Peter Mizen - Rob Long) - 2:20

'Because I Love You' was a big, drab, and highly commercial ballad, explaining why it was released as their second single and sold well throughout Europe,  Regardless, I'll tell you it was the album's first outright disappointment.  Another slice of Bee Gees-influenced dreck, for all it mattered, this one could have been an advertising jingle for deodorant.  rating: ** stars

2.) Love Came Today   (Barry Wigley - Ian Sutherland) - 2:36

Easily the album's strangest release, 'Love Came Today' was another blatant attempt to hook on to The Bee Gees coattails.   Musically it was a decent mid tempo rocker with an odd clock sound effect throughout. This time out Graham's vocals made this one highly bizarre.  To get the quivery Robin Gibb effect the track sounded like the vocal had been sped up.   Weird, weird, weird.    rating: ** stars

3.) Depths of My Mind   (Barry Wigley - Ian Sutherland) - 2:30

'Depths of My Mind; was kind of cool for trying to meld a pop melody with a hard rock chorus.   Hearing Graham stretch out was also interesting in that he sounded a bit like an angry chipmunk on this one.   The freak-out sax solo at the end of the song was also mildly entertaining.   rating: **** stars

4.) I Don' Mind the Rain   (Barry Wigley - Ian Sutherland) - 3:10

'I Don' Mind the Rain' was another track that sounded like it had a 1967 timestamp.  A pretty, acid tinged ballad complete with effects treated vocals, glistening backing vocals, and harpsichords, to my ears the song's always reminded me of "Revolver" era Beatles  - ah the summer of love.   rating: **** stars 

5.) I See Her Everywhere    (Peter Mizen - Rob Long) - 2:30\

And that serves a s a perfect transition to the Baroque influenced 'I See Her Everywhere'.  If you loved 'Eleanor Rigby' then you'll love this sweet, if slightly sappy McCartney-styled ballad.  Again, Mizen handled the lead vocals.  rating: *** stars

6.) Roger La Frite   (Barry Wigley - Ian Sutherland) - 5:50

Probably because it served to show what these guys could have done with a little more leeway and time, 'Roger La Frite' was a killer rocker.  Built on an insidiously catchy hook and some tasty Mizen lead guitar, this one should have been tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

7.) Revelation (instrumental)  (Walter Andrews) - 0:25

Credited to drummer Andrews, the album ended with a brief and forgettable instrumental 'Revelation'.     rating: ** stars

 

In addition to the two earlier singles, the album was tapped for one more 45:

 

   

 

- 1971's 'Love Came Today' b/w 'Depths of My Mind' (Pink Elephant catalog number PE 22 525)

 

So what's the take away here?  Well, I'd say it's a great album that falls short of being a classic album by sounding a couple of years behind prevailing early-'70s tastes and by the absence of a truly original sound.  (In contrast, some of the material they released under the pseudonyms Black label and Rocky Cabbage had a far more '70 sound - check out 'I'm Leaving' or 'Freedom' .)  Nevertheless, song for song it's way better than a slew of better know releases.  Shame they didn't get a chance to record another set.

 

 

Pink Elephant released one final non-LP single:

 

 

- 1971's 'Game' b/w 'I See Her Everywhere' (Pink Elephant catalog number PE 22 634)

 

 

Some Majority One materials was subsequently released under other names including Black Label and Rocky Cabbage.

 

The Black Label material was apparently recorded and released by the French Tuba label while the band was still active.  

 

- 1970's 'No Matter What' b/w 'So Heavy It Hurts' (Tuba catalog number RU 8000)

- 1970's 'I Hear You Knocking' b/w 'Got To Move' (Tuba catalog number RU 8001)

- 1970's 'Lili'  b/w 'Extra Heavy Hard Rock Man' (Tuba catalog number RU 8004)

- 1972's 'Motorway Woman' b/w 'Step by Step' (Tuba catalog number RU 8011)

 

The two Rocky Cabbage singles were released in 1971 by the French Barclay label:

 

- 1971's 'A Cause du Pop' b/w 'Freedom' (Barclay catalog number 61 546 L)

- 1973's 'I'm Leaving' b/w 'Birds Must Learn To Fly' (61 686 J)

 

There's also at least one Larry Graham solo effort; credited to Barry Wigley:

 

  

 

- 1972's 'Walk On the Grass' b/w 'Brother Jack' (Tuba catalog RU 8016)

 

 

An original copy of the album will set you back at least $100, but there are a couple of reissues out there.  

In 2005 the Synton label reissued the set in CD format with the addition of the bonus track 'Get Back Home' (Synton catalog number OL 5682).

 

In 1995 the RPM imprint released a eighteen track compilation entitled "Rainbow Rockin' Chair" (RPM catalog number PM 307).  

 

Also worth checking out is a compilation of The Majority 's catalog.  Released in 2009, "The Majority - The Decca Years 1965 - 68" pulled together 15 of the band's sides (Rev-Ola catalog number CRREV288).

 

Out of the blue I got an email from one of the band members:

 

Hi , just found your website while idly googling my old band , Majority One . Pretty accurate bio , but , if you're interested , a few mistakes. The last line up was in fact from 1968 ,as I joined the band as they started working with Barry Ryan . The last drummer was in fact Iain Sutherland, who'd been our roadie and took over on drums when Chris Kelly stormed out of a rehearsal in a cloud of talcum powder after an argument. We became M.One as our French manager ( J P Rawson) wanted to bring in a girl vocalist ,an idea we quickly stopped. As for the album ,all songs were in fact co-written in the summer of 1970 while we were working in the south of France . The vocals on "Looks like Rain" and "I See Her Everywhere" are in fact me, as is most of the bass playing as well .  Wally Andrews left the band halfway through the sessions. I still have three unplayed copies of the original album as well as all the singles. If you find this useful , thank you , if not , still thank you for a fair review of work I did nearly fifty years ago . Cheers Pete Mizen  (July 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

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