Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-73)

- Rod Coombes  -- drums, percussion backing vocals

- Warwick Rose -- bass

- Alan Ross -- vocals, guitar, recorder

- Neil Sheppard -- eyboards, backing vocals

- John Weider -- guitar, violin, backing vocals




The Animals (John Weider)

- Family (John Weider)

- Moonrider (John Weider)

- Rigor Mortis (Alan Ross)

- Ross (Alan Ross)

- Alan Ross Band

- Stars (Alan Ross)

- Streetwalkers (John Weider)

- Stud (John Weider)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Meet At the River

Company: Regal Zonophone

Catalog: SRZA 8510

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: --

Catalog ID: --

Price: --


The short-lived Ro Ro featured the talents of drummer Rod Coombes, bassist  Warwick Rose, singer/guitarist Alan Ross (apprently still in his teens), keyboardist Neil Sheppard, and former Animals guitarist  John Weider.  Rose and Ross were the band's front men (which I'm guessing had something to do with the unique name).   


The band made their recording debut with a 1971 single for the Parlophone label:




- 1971's 'Here I Go Again' b/w 'What You Gonna Do' (Parlophone catalog number R 5920) 


From there they were signed by Regal Zonophone which released a sophomore 45:



- 1972's 'Goin' Round My Head' b/w 'Down On The Road' (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ 3056)


While the single didn't do a great deal commercially, Regal Zonophone decided to finance an album.  Produced by John Adcock,  1972's "Meet at the Water" is a grower.   The first couple of times I played it I remember thinking it was largely split between forgettable sensitive singer-songwriter numbers and equally uninteresting country-tinged numbers.   I should have paid more attention since given a chance the album's far better than that.   As lead vocalist Ross wasn't gifted with the greatest voice you've ever heard, but he sure managed to make the most of his talents occasionally reminding me a bit of a young, slightly flatter Stevie Winwood (''), or a Paul Rodgers wannabe.  It the band wanted to carve out a strong image, the album was a complete failure.   Country-tinged numbers like 'Down On the Road' were definitely an acquired taste (which I didn't have).   Far better were the Free-styled blues-rocker like 'Beautiful Lady', 'Wild, Wild Woman' and 'Whole Fire Burning'.   No, you weren't going to forget about Paul Rodgers and company, but if you were going to pick a musical influence, you could have done far worse.


"Meet At the River" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Goin' Around My Head   (Ro Ro) - 5:06

I've always loved the acoustic separation on this album (very '60s vibe) with various instruments popping in and out of the right and left channel.   That characteristic was seldom as obvious as on the opening rocker - 'Goin' Around My Head'.    Great, frenetic melody with Ross turning in a nice, slightly dusty lead vocal (okay, his occasional falsetto bursts weren't really necessary).   The song would have been even better without Brian Rogers heavy orchestration.   As menitonned above, the album's most commercial offering, the song was tapped as an instantly obscure single  rating: *** stars

2.) Beautiful Lady   (Ro Ro) - 5:01

'Beautiful Lady' was a Free-styled blues-rock.  The tune had a nice enough melody but as lead singer Ross' dry and strained voice couldn't come close to Paul Rodgers, though his lead guitar was easily a match for Paul Kosoff (his economical playing has always reminded me of Stevie Winwood's chops), .  Elsewhere, Rose's bass was as impressive as anything Andy Fraser did for Free.  As a big fan of Free-styled blues-rock, I really enjoyed this one.   rating: ***** stars

3.) Something About Her   (Ro Ro) - 4:41

A dark, slowly-paced folk flavored number, 'Something About Her' may have had the album's best melody.  Kicked along by strumming acoustic guitars and Rose's wonderful bass, the song also showcased the band's grossly overlooked harmony vocals.   Nice performance and my pick for standout performance on the set.  I would have made this one the single.   rating: **** stars

4.) Down On the Road   (Ro Ro) - 2:27

Country hoedown ...   geez, why do so many British bands feel the need to showcase their affinity for the genre.   Not terrible, but probably one most folks would skip on a regular basis.   rating: ** stars

5.) Meet At the River   (Ro Ro) - 4:53

I'll admit initially the title track didn't do much for me.   My first impression was that of a middling country-tinged number from a band that had listened to way too many Band LPs.  The country-tinge was accurate (particularly on the chorus), but  Rose's killer bass line and the stellar acoustic and  lead guitars were hard to ignore and eventually the irritating refrain climbed into your head and wouldn't leave.   rating: **** stars 


(side 2)
1.) Mandala  (instrumental)   (Ro Ro) - 2:11

Side two opened up with a pretty Spanish-flavored acoustic guitar instrumental.  It would have made a nice piece of incidental film music, but outside of that context was forgettable.   rating: ** stars

2.) Give Me the Benefit   (Ro Ro) - 6:06

A pretty mid-tempo ballad, 'Give Me the Benefit' showcased Sheppard's keyboards and has always reminded me a bit of an early Traffic tune.   It took awhile for me to figure out where the Traffic influences came from and then one day it dawned on me that Ross' dry, raspy voice sounded a bit like Stevie Winwood.  It was also one of the tracks where Brian Rogers orchestration didn't hurt the proceedings.   Nice.  rating: **** stars

3.) June   (Ro Ro) - 5:10

When you listen to 'June' on a good paid of headphones, Ross sounds like he was swallowed by the recording microphone - his vocal is right there.   Otherwise the song was a pretty acoustic ballad that sounded a nit like early Cat Stevens.   The recorder accompaniment sent shivers up my spine - not good shivers since I'm still emotionally scarred from having taken recorder lessons in elementary school.   rating: *** stars

4.) Wild, Wild Woman   (Ro Ro) - 4:07

'Wild, Wild Woman' was another funky, blues-rock number.   As on the earlier blues-rocker, Rose's bass playing was phenomenal - tuneful and dynamic; one of the few people out there who could really make the bass a lead instrument.   One of the album's standout performances.   rating: **** stars

5.) Whole Fire Burning   (Ro Ro) - 5:42

'Whole Fire Burning' started out sound like it was going to be the album's most conventional rocker and then abruptly shifted into Free-styled ballad territory with some nice fuzz guitar.   A ruse - by the end of the song these guys were jamming out with what was in fact the album's tauntest and most enjoyable rocker.  Great way to end the LP.   rating: **** stars


One last non-LP single and the band was history:




- 1973s 'Blackbird' b/w 'Feel It Coming' (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ 3076) 



Ross went on to an interesting post-Ro Ro career.  He worked as a sessions player, was part of John Enwistles's studio and touring band, and recorded some solo material (under the names Ross and the Alan Ross Band).  For awhile Ross and his wife ran a horse sanctuary in the town of Wittersham.