Water Into Wine Band, The

Band members               Related acts

- Pete McMunn - vocals, guitar (1971-76)

- Trevor Sandford - vocals, guitar and bass (1971-76)
- Bill Thorp - vocals, violin, piano, glockenspiel, bongos (1971-76)
- Ray Wright - vocals, guitar, bass (1971-76)


- none known




Title:  Hill Climbing for Beginners

Company: Myrrh

Catalog: MSA-6543

Year: 1974

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: timing strip on front; see picture

Available: 1

Price: $35.00


A lot of collectors will instantly recoil and avoid The Water Into Wine Band based on the connection with Myrrh Records.  Myrrh is largely known for releasing religious material, which could understandably lead to the mistaken belief these guys were nothing more than empty-headed Christian proselytizers.

Pete McMunn, Trevor Sandford, Bill Thorp and Ray Wright came together while attending Cambridge University in the early-'70s.  By the mid-'70s they were fulltime musicians, their blend of folk and Christian themes attracting a growing audience on the club and college circuits.  Signed by Myrrh, the quartet's 1974 debut "Hill Climbing for Beginners" teamed them with producer John Pantry.  Interestingly, while the set's widely been described as progressive acid folk.  That's largely hype.  Imagine America had Dan Peek's religious leanings been allowed to steer the group and you'll get a better feel for the collection.  Mind you, that's not meant to slam the LP.  While there's no attempt to hide the band's religious agenda (virtually every one of the eight tracks contains a religious theme), material such as the title track and "Jesus I've Been Walking" stands as capable and frequently attractive folk.  Sure, the lyrics are occasionally clunky and won't have much appeal to someone who's an atheist, but the overall effect is kind of charming.  Boasting some tasty electric guitar, "I Have Seen the Lord" was the most atypical track and also the standout tune.  


Interestingly, there are apparently significant differences between the original UK release and the subsequent US pressing.  Apparently considered too raw for tender American ears, the band were asked to record several selections for the American issue.  The smoothed out version is supposedly rather lame compared to the UK issue.  If you're willing to fork out some big bucks, you can find out for yourself ...  or you can get the US pressing for a relatively cheap investment (see out asking price).


"Hill Climbing for Beginners" track listing:

1.) Stranger in the World   (Trevor Sandford)  - 4:40

2.) I Used to Be Blind (But Now I'm Shortsighted)   (Ray Wright) -  5:25

3.) Jesus I've Been Walking   (Ray Wright) -  6:55

4.) Hill Climbing for Beginners   (Trevor Sandford) - 4:21

5.) The Start of a Run   (Trevor Sandford - Bill Thorp) - 4:56

6.) Song of the Cross   (Ray Wright - Pete McMunn) - 11:12

7.) I Have Seen the Lord   (Ray White) - 4:36




Title:  The Harvest Time

Company: Custom

Catalog: CJT 002

Year: 1976

Grade (cover/record): 



Price: $


Never released in the States, 1976's "The Harvest Time" found the band dropping their occasional brushes with rock structures in favor of a more folk and classical orientation.  While there were a number of attractive songs (the ballads "Wedding Song" and "Waiting for Another Day" the overall results were disappointing.  Moreover, depending on your personal tastes, the side long title track was noteworthy for it's ambitious structure, or simply boring.  We'll opt for the latter.  Overall the set simply lacked much of the debut's low-keyed charm.  

Pressed on a small private label in extremely limited quantities, this one will cost you a pretty penny (we've occasionally seen it on dealer lists in the $400-$500 range)..

"The Harvest Time" track listing: