Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1969-71)
- Phil Brigham -- vocals, guitar
- Chris Hayward -- flute
- Gerry Murphy -- drums, percussion
- Alan Reeves -- vocals, keyboards
- Phil Trainer (Phil Steele) -- vocals, bass
- Ensemble Vocal Gerard George (Chris Hayward)
- Jupiter Sunset Band (Alan Reeves)
- The Krew (Alan Reeves)
- Last Tango (Phil Steele)
- Philip Steele (solo efforts)
- Shorty and Them (Alan Reeves)
- The Showtimers (Alan Reeves)
- Total Issue (Chris Hayward)
- Trainer (Phil Trainer)
- Trees (Phil Trainer)
- The Wranglers (Alan Reeves)
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title: Now We're Even
Country/State: UK / US
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: sealed; cutout notch top edge
Catalog ID: 2900
French rock and roll ... well, not quite.
New York-born singer/bassist Phil Trainer had spent several years traveling the world playing in various bands. He'd also spent some time with former Shorty and Them keyboardist Alan Reeves in a band called Clinic.
The original Clinic never attracted much attention, but in 1969 Trainer was living in Paris where he crossed paths with singer/guitarist Phil Brigham. Having moved to Paris with his family, Brigham was still in high school. Attending The American School of Paris, he'd started a rock band with fellow students Chris Hayward and Gerry Murphy. Along with Reeves, Trainer recruited the three high schoolers for a new version of Clinic.
Quickly signed by EMI, the band's first recording effort was a film project. Keyboard player Reeves was married to French model Albane Navizet who's scored a small role in the George Lautner directed "La Route de Salina". Lautner had already hired French singer Daniel Bevilacqua (aka Christophe), to record several songs for the accompanying soundtrack album. Lautner wanted to include several rock songs on the soundtrack. His original choice was Pink Floyd, but when they proved unavailable, Navizet passed along a Clinic demo. They were hired for the job, ultimately recording seven of the album's 15 songs. Never seen it, but the movie was apparently pretty lame, though Clinic's contributions tot he soundtrack were quite good (particularly compared to the rest of the album) and a pair of singles were released in France:
- 1970's 'Salina Sunrise' b/w 'The Road To Salina' (Disques Somethin' Else catalog number 6061 0310
- 1971's 'Serenity' b/w 'Miss You Too' (Pathe Marconi catlaog number 2 C006-11064)
Recorded in Paris' Studio Ossian and Studio 10, 1972's "Clinic" proved a surprisingly accomplished project. For such a young band with minimal in-studio experience, it was certainly surprising to see EMI allowing the group to produced themselves. Adding to that, they were allowed to record and release eight original tunes. As was very common, EMI didn't even make an effort to include a "known quantity" cover song. With three of the five members contributing to the writing chores, none of material was particularly original, or ground breaking, but each one had a strong melody, benefiting from enthusiastic performances. My ears hear touches of Santana-styled Latin rock ('Tell Me What You See'), CSN-styled rockers ('Know My Mind'), and powered by Reeves Hammond B-3 moves, even an occasional nod to ELP-styled progressive influences (the side two instrumental 'Prelude').
Even" track listing:
1.) Tell Me What You See (Alan Reeves) - 4:06 rating: **** stars
I certainly wasn't expecting the catchy, Latin-tinged rhythm and melody that kicked along the opener. Ever wonder what 10 cc would have sounded like had they left their experimental side at home, well 'Tell me What You See' might give you a feel for the results. Loved Brigham's soaring lead guitar work on this one.
2.) My Love Is East (Phil Trainer) - 4:25 rating: *** stars
Maybe a bit too commercial for their own good, you still had to admire how good their blended voices sounded. Kind of a CSN vibe going on and the backward lead guitar segment was great. I'm guessing Trainer was on lead vocals. Would have made a strong single.
3.) Gypsy (Philip Brigham) - 5:00 rating: **** stars
Judging by the pretty ballad 'Gypsy', Brigham's voice wasn't quite as good as Trainer's. Still, as a big harpsichord fan, Reeves' contributions tot he song's beautiful melody made this one a keeper.
4.) Know My Mind (Phil Brigham - Phil Trainer) - 5:00 rating: **** stars
With strumming acoustic guitars, Reeves' barrelhouse piano solo, and another dash of CSN vocals, 'Know My Mind; was probably the album's most conventional rock tune and another track that was highly commercial and radio friendly. Always loved the cheesy synthesizers that fade the tune out.
Reeves organ gave the instrumental 'prelude' a bit of an ELP feeling, but when the rest of the band kicked in the Santana feel came back into the spotlight.
2.) Here I Stand (Alan Reeves - Phil Brigham - Phil Trainer) - 5:00 rating: **** stars
'Prelude' effortlessly segued into 'Here I Stand' carrying on the Latin-rock-meets-CSN sound. Smooth and totally beguiling. Nice showcase for Reeves Hammond B-3 moves.
3.) Country Ways (Phil Brigham) - 3:00 rating: *** stars
If the CSN influences had bypassed you on some of the earlier releases, that wasn't going to be case with the acoustic ballad 'Country Ways'. The influences were so blatant, you almost wondered how they avoided getting hit was a copyright lawsuit. The track was also tapped as a single:
- 1973's 'Country Ways' b/w 'Tell me What You See' (Horses catalog number HS 400 508)
4.) Now We're Even (Alan Reeves) - 7:50 rating: **** stars
The title track was the album's best performance, effortlessly mixing CSN, Santana, and progressive elements into a wonderful FM radio rocker. Okay, the extended percussion jam wasn't necessary, but it was relatively brief.
The original French album on Horse, was released as a gatefold sleeve. Released in 1973. the US version on Roulette was a standard, non-gatefold sleeve.
The band recorded some material for another George Launter film project, resulting in the release of a non-LP single:
- 1971's 'Laisse Aller C'est Une Vaise' b/w 'Take Me Home' (Les Disques Motors catalog number MT 4 007)
After Clinic called it a day Brigham returned to the States where he enrolled in the Berklee College of Music. In the ensuing years he's gone on to enjoy some success writing material television and the Movies.
Hayward was briefly a member of the French jazz-rock band Total Issue.
Reeves remained active in music, playing in a number of bands and continuing to work in film music.
Trainer remained in Europe, recorded a series of albums and singles under his own name and as Philip Steele.
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