Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1972-73)
- Keith Gemmell -- sax, flute
- Mick Hodgekinson (aka Johnny Average) (RIP 2007) -- vocals,
- Geoff Sharkey -- vocals, lead guitar
- Paul Simmons - bass, backing vocals
- Mick Underwood -- drums, percussion
- Johnny Average and the Falcons (Mick Hodgekinson)
- Johnny Average and the Thunderbolts (Mick Hodgekinson)
- The Johnny Average Band
- Audience (Keith Gemmell)
- Episode Six (Mick Underwood)
- Ian Gillan Band (Mick Underwood)
- Ginhouse (Geoff Sharkey)
- The Herd (Mick Underwood)
- Billy J. Kramer (Mick Hodgekinson)
- Quartermass (Mick Underwood)
- Raw Glory (Mick Underwood)
- Stackridge (Keith Gemmell)
- The Roy Young Band (Keith Gemmell,
Mick Hodgekinson, and Paul Simmons))
Rating: 3 stars ***
Catalog: PHS 700-006
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor edge wear
Catalog ID: SOLD 5211
Price: SOLD $25.00
It's doubtful many folks have ever heard the British band Sammy - I certainly hadn't which was kind of surprising given the band's impressive pedigree. Drummer Mick Underwood was apparently the band's driving force, with the line up rounded out by a collection of rock veterans including ex-Audience horn and woodwinds player Keith Gemmell, ex-Billy J. Kramer keyboardist Mick Hodgekinson, former Ginhouse guitarist Geoff Sharkey, and ex-Roy Young Band bassist Paul Simmons.
Signed by Philips, the band debuted with a 1972 45 'Goo Ger Woogie' b/w 'Big Lovin' Woman' (Philips catalog number 6006 227). While the single did little commercially, it attracted enough interest and attention for Philips management to green light an album.
Co-produced by Louie Austin and Deep Purple's Ian Gillam, 1973's "Sammy" offered up a competent, if slightly worn set of mid-1970s hard rock. Largely penned by Sharkey and Simmons, lyrically and musically there wasn't a lot of originality going on here (kind of like the album cover) - Gemmell's sax adding occasional jazz-influenced runs to the band's blues and rock oriented sound. As lead singer Sharkey wasn't bad; his raw raspy voice sounded surprisingly good on tracks like 'Give Me More', their unlikely cover of 'I Ain't Never Loved a Woman (The Way That I Love You)', and 'Get Into a New Thing'. Imagine Uriah Heep-lite with the saxes, a little more boogie and variety ('Who Do You Really Love') and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood. The band was actually far more impressive on their isolated stabs at more-pop oriented material like 'Sioux-Eyed Lady' and 'Jo Anne'. Elsewhere the album spun off a UK single in the form of 'Sioux-Eyed Lady' b/w '70 Days' (Philips catalog number 6006 249). Brainless fun, it's actually not a bad effort, especially if you approach it with the right mindset.
One LP and two 45s appears to cover the band's recording legacy. By the way, the British album release featured different cover art:
Philips catalog number 6308 136
"Sammy" track listing:
1.) Give Me More (Geoff Sharkey - Mick Underwood) -
2.) I Ain't Never Loved a Woman (The Way That I Love You) (Shannon) - 5:05
3.) Sioux-Eyed Lady (Geoff Sharkey) - 3:44
4.) Boogle (instrumental) (Paul Simmons - Geoff Sharkey - Mick Underwood - Mick Hodgekinson) - 0:55
5.) 70 Days (Geoff Sharkey) - 4:15
2.) Jo Anne (Mick Hodgekinson) - 4:38
3.) Boggled (instrumental) (Paul Simmons - Geoff Sharkey - Mick Underwood - Mick Hodgekinson) - 0:55
4.) Who Do You Really Love (Geoff Sharkey) - 4:31
5.) Lady Lover (Paul Simmons) - 3:50
Got this interesting email from bassist Paul Simmons:
Interested to see your website, I was perusing the web the other day and came across your site regarding the “Sammy” album and 2 singles. I was the bass player at the time and your comments were largely fair and well placed, although we did do quite a lot of gigs and went down well but didn’t pull off a recorded success. Very much like the Roy Young Band that I played with before, much of the problem was probably the lack of compositional strength and some disagreements on arrangements.
Your only mistake in the written piece is that the album was produced by Martin Rushent and Deep Purple singer Ian Gillam (not Jon Lord) and the front cover artwork was done by Philip Castle who was the man who did the artwork for the film Clockwork Orange. Sadly Mick Hodgkinson is now dead.
Absolutely correct and I made the changes. As far as Hodgekinson goes, in the late 1970s he apparently moved to the States, ending up in Woodstock, New York where he formed a series of local bands including Johnny Average and the Falcons and The Johnny Average Band. Sadly Hodgekinson died of cancer in November 2007.
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