Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-71)

- Stewart Brown -- vocal, acoustic guitar

- Brian John (BJ) Cole -- pedal steel guitar, dobro and cello

Mick Grabham -- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

- John 'Willie' Wilson -- drums, percussion and  backing vocals
- Ricky Wills -- bass guitar, percussion & backing vocals

  line up 2 (1971-72)

- BJ Cole -- pedal steel guitar, dobro and cello

NEW - John Gilbert -- lead vocals (replaced Stewart Brown)

Mick Grabham -- lead guitar, piano, organ and  backing vocals

- Ricky Wills -- bass guitar, percussion & backing vocals

- John 'Willie' Wilson -- drums, percussion and  backing vocals


  supporting musicians (1972):

- Cal Batcher -- guitar

- Steve Marriott -- keyboards, backing vocals

- Robert Kirby --

- Nigel Olsson -- backing vocals

- Caleb Quaye -- keyboards

- Tim Renwick -- lead guitar 


  line up 3 (1972)

- BJ Cole -- pedal steel guitar, dobro and cello

- John Gilbert -- lead vocals

Mick Grabham -- lead guitar, piano, organ and backing vocals

NEW - Roy Otemro aka (Roy O'Temro) (RIP) -- drums,

  percussion  (replaced  John Willie Wilson)
- Ricky Wills -- bass guitar, percussion & backing vocals


Bad Company (Rick Willis)

- Bluesology (Stewart Brown)

- Chimera (Roy O'Temro)

- BJ Cole (solo efforts)

- Creepy John Thomas (Roy O'Temro)

- The KiKi Dee Band (BJ Cole)- The Dodgers (John Wilson)

- Mick Grabham (solo effort)

- Guitar Orchestra (Mick Grabham)

- Herbie Goin's Nightimers (Roy Otemro)

- Jokers Wild (Rick Willis)

- The Jones Gang

- The Lee Riders

- Andy Fairweather Low Band (BJ Cole)

- Mighty Joe Young (John Gilbert)

- Nigel Olsson's Drum Orchestra and Chorus (Mick Grabham and

  Nigel Olsson)

- Plastic Penny (Mick Grabham)

- Procol Harum (Mick Grabham)

- Quiver (John Willie Wilson)

- Roxy Music (Rick Willis)

- Stud (John Wilson)

- The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver (John Wilson)

- Taste (John Wilson)

- The Universals (Mick Grabham and Nigel Olsson)





Genre: country-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Swallow Tales

Company: United Artists

Catalog: UAS-5518

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap; opened; has outer cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6052

Price: $25.00


Not to be confused with a late-1970s German band with the same name ...


Cochise is one of those talented, early-1970s English bands that simply couldn't catch a break in the United States (not to imply they were commercial gangbusters in their native UK).   The band  was largely the brainchild of former Plastic Penny lead guitarist Mick Grabham.  When Plastic Penny folded Grabham started recruiting for a new band,  Formed in 1969 the original Cochise lineup featured the talents of former Bluesology singer Stewart Brown, pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole, ex-Taste drummer John 'Willie' Wilson, and former Jokers Wild bassist Ricky Wills  Having played the college and club circuit, they found a backer in the form of Andrew Lauder who helped get them a contract with United Artists.


Following a personnel shakeup that saw original vocalist Steven Brown replaced by former Might Joe Young singer John Gilbert (Brown decided to retire from music and head off for a life in the Mediterranean), the band returned with their sophomore release - 1971's "Swallow Tales".  Self-produced the album found  B.J. Cole and Mick Grabham picking up all of the writing duties which meant the band's overall sound remained largely unaltered with another heavy country-rock feel to the bulk of these eleven tracks.  If you were into early 1970's country-rock/Americana groups like The Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, etc., then tracks like 'Jed Collder' and 'Another Day' were probably going to be right up your aural alley.  I certainly didn't have a problem with those efforts, but I'll readily admit that I was partial to the group's more commercial (read rock) oriented songs like 'Home Again' and 'Why I Sing the Blues'.  That said, even on their best efforts these guys lacked a certain originality that would have served to segregate them from the tidal wave of competitors.


"Swallow Tales" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Love's Made a Fool of You  (Buddy Holly - B. Montgomery) - 2:51    rating: ** stars 

If their 'toughened up' cover of Buddy Holly's 'Love's Made a Fool of You' served as your introduction to the band, you probably weren't going to be all that impressed.  The performance itself wasn't bad, but simply didn't have enough going for it to make you forget the original (or the score of other cover versions).  Not the smartest choice of a US single ...  





- 1971's 'Love's Made a Fool of You' b/w 'Words of a Dying Man' (United Artists catalog number )







2.) Jed Collder   (Mick Grabham) - 3:18   rating: *** stars   

Penned by Grabham, 'Jed Collder' was a straight-ahead country-rocker that's always reminded me a bit of what The Band might have sounded like had they decided to record a truly commercial album. 

3,) Down Country Girls   (Mick Grabham) - 1:49  rating: *** stars

Kicked along by Cole's pedal steel guitar, 'Down Country Girls' had an even stronger country-rock influence.  With an up-tempo melody it was one of the tracks that actually grew on me the more I heard it.     

4.) Home Again   (Mick Grabham) - 3:41  rating: **** stars  

'Home Again' was a pretty pop ballad that also served as one of the album's most commercial offerings.  While the track served to showcase Gilbert's voice (he had a nifty haunting edge in his delivery), the secret weapon on this one was actually Rick Willis' dynamic bass. 

5.) Lost Hearts   (B.J. Cole) - 3:25   rating: **** stars  

Largely because it found them stepping away from country-rock, 'Lost Hearts' was a welcome change of pace.  Musically this one had an interesting Spanish influence.  Wilson's pounding drums and Grabham's acoustic guitar solo actually gave the song what was almost a Flamenco feel to it.  Very nice !!!    

6.) Strange Images   (B.J. Cole) - 2:03    rating: ** stars 

Kind of a bluesy ballad, 'Strange Images' was okay, but never really kicked into gear.    

7.) Why I Sing the Blues   (Mick Grabham) - 4:09  rating: **** stars  

Dropping the country-rock influences for another straight ahead rocker, 'Why I Sing the Blues' was side one's best performance.  Once again, the rock genre served to showcase Gilbert's likeable voice and while the song wasn't the most original offering you've every heard, if sounded surprisingly rugged and pounding.  Maybe it's just my ears, but I think you could hear the late Steve Marriott's ragged voice on backing vocals.   


(side 2)
1.) Another Day   (Mick Grabham) - 5:16  rating: **** stars  

'Another Day' started side two with the album's prettiest melody and the song that was actually best suited for commercial airplay (which probably explains why United Artists ignored it).  Imagine a really good Rusty Young and Poco song and you'll get a feel for this one.   

2.) Axiom of Maria   (B.J. Cole) - 7:02    rating: ** stars 

I've never been sure what to make of 'Axiom of Maria'.  The song started out with a weird instrumental segment and then drifted into a odd country-tinged number that never really found a groove to settle into.  The church bell closing didn't do a great deal for me other, though I will admit that Grabham turned in the album's best solo on this one.  

3.) Can I Break Your Heart    (Mick Grabham)- 5:03  rating: **** stars  

'Can I Break Your Heart' was another country-rock number, but this one had a great melody, showcasing the band's tight knit harmony vocals.     

4.) Come All Ye Faithful (instrumental))   (arranged by B.J. Cole) - 1:15    rating: ** stars 

Arranged by Cole and clearly intended to showcase his pedal steel guitar, the album ended on a pretty instrumental version of 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. 


In England and the rest of Europe where the album was released on Liberty Records, a pair of singles were released:


- 1970's 'Love's Made A Fool Of You' b/w 'Words Of A Dying Man' (Liberty catalog number LBF 15425)

- 1971's 'Why I Sing The Blues' b/w 'Jed Collder' (Liberty catalog number LBF 15460)


                            Belgian picture sleeve  French picture sleeve






With another personnel change that saw former Creepy John Thomas Roy Otemro (aka Roy O'Temro) replace original drummer Wilson (who subsequently following by stints in Stud and Quiver (soon to be The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver), the band released a third studio set - 1972's "So Far" (United Artists catalog number UAS-29286).  There's also at least one posthumous 'best of' album 1999's "Past Loves - A History" ().


The retrospective set collected 16 tracks from across the three studio albums and included liner notes from BJ Cole.


"Past Loves A History" track listing:

1.) Past Loves

2.)Trafalgar Day

3.) Moment And The End

4.) Watch This Space

5.) China

6.) That's Why I Sing The Blues

7.) Strange Images

8.) Down Country Girls

9.) Home Again

10.) Another Day

11.) Love's Made A Fool Of You

12.) Cajun Girl

13.) Diamonds

14.) Blind Love

15.) Thunder In The Crib

16.) Midnight Moonshine



The band then fell apart with Cole and Grabham recording solo LPs.  


- 1972's "Mick the Lad'" United Artists catalog number (UAS-29341)

- 1972's "The New Hovering Dog" (United Artists UAS 29418)


Grabham then moved on to Procol Harum as a replacement for lead guitarist Robin Trower who'd moved on to pursue a solo career.