Mick Cox Band
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1972)
- Peter Arnesen -- keyboards
- Steve Chapman -- drums, percussion
- Mick Cox (RIP 2008) -- lead guitar, vocals, percussion
- John Fields -- percussion
- Tony O'Malley -- vocals, keyboards
- Alan Skidmore -- sax
- Andrew Steele (RIP 2005) -- drums, percussion
- Chrissie Stewart -- bass
- Mick Weaver -- keyboards
- 10 CC (Tony O'Malley)
- Arrival (Tony O'Malley)
- Blue (Mick Weaver)
- Daddy Longlegs (Peter Arnesen)
- Eire Apparent (Mick Cox)
- The Herd (Andrew Steele)
- The Hunter-Ronson Band (Peter Arnesen)
- Kala (Peter Arnesen)
- Kokomo (Tony O'Malley)
- Magnet (Mick Cox)
- The Rubettes (Peter Arnesen)
- Taggett (Peter Arnesen)
- Van Morrison (Mick Cox)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: The Mick Cox Band
Country/State: Gillingham, UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: small cut out hole top right corner
Catalog ID: 5486
I was poking around in a junk shop when I came across a copy of this album. For some reason Mick Cox's name struck a chord with me, though it wasn't until I got home I realized he'd replaced Henry McCullough in Eire Apparent. There was also something in the cover photo - tired looking musician, that just captured my attention.
Produced by Shel Talmy, 1973's "The Mick Cox Band" was actually much better than the bland title would have you believe. Backed by a seasoned crew of musicians including singer former Arrival singer/keyboardist Tony O'Malley, ex-Herd drummer Andrew Steele, and keyboardist Mick Weaver the album featured a nice selection of Cox-penned blues-rockers that served to showcase Cox's tasteful guitar leads and O'Malley's nice voice (which bore more than a passing comparison to The Band's Levon Helm). One of the funny things about this LP is that while it lacked anything that was particularly original, taken as a whole the results were quite good. In fact it's one of those albums where my opinion has continued to rise in quality and enjoyment factors the more I listen to it. 'Stuck On You' and 'White Lie' were taunt and memorable rockers that had plenty of commercial potential. 'This Time' and 'Redirecting Mary' were slower, bluesier offerings that reflected a similarly commercial potential. No the set wasn't perfect. 'Ranger' was a pedestrian blues-rocker, while 'Queen's Avenue' featured a MOR samba rhythm and the backing singers frequently threatened to drown out O'Malley.
Cox Band" track listing:
1.) Stuck On You (Mick Cox) - 7:22 rating: **** stars
Powered by Cox's tasteful slide guitar work and O'Malley's growling vocals, 'Stuck On You' was a nice mid-tempo blues rocker with plenty of FM radio potential. Funny that bands like Bad Company rode this genre to mega stardom, while Cox couldn't get arrested. Capitol released the song as a promo single, but seemingly dropped it when it received little recognition, or airplay:
1973's 'Stuck On You' b/w 'Ranger' (Capitol catalog number P-3675)
2.) This Time (Mick Cox) - 6:19 rating: *** stars
'This Time' found the band kicking up the blues component and adding horns to the arrangement (courtesy of Tom Parker). Underscoring O'Malley's bear of a voice, it made for blues-rock for people who didn't like blues-rock. My only complaint was that the backing female singers were way too prominent in the mix.
3.) Ranger (Mick Cox) - 3:40 rating: ** stars
'Range' was a bouncy, up-tempo if rather faceless party tune. Cox's slide guitar provided the isolated highlights on this one.
4.) Queen's Avenue (Mick Cox) - 3:41 rating: ** stars
I'm not a big horn fan and on 'Queen's Avenue' they were allowed to run rampant, making for a tune that was truly irritating.
The first time I played 'White Lie' I remember wondering if I'd accidentally slapped on a late-inning Traffic album. Like one of those traffic albums (think "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys"), the song started out with a moderately jazzy instrumental segment before abruptly morphing into a more commercial sound. The problem this time around stemmed from the combination of the horns and the screeching female backing vocalists who threatened to drown O'Malley. Clocking in at almost ten minutes, the song also overstayed it's welcome.
2.) Redirecting Mary (Mick Cox) - 4:48 rating: **** stars
The album's bluesiest and slinkiest performance, 'Redirecting Mary' may also have been the standout performance. I didn't even mind the horns and female singers on this one.
3.) Ego Trap (Mick Cox) - 3:06 rating: *** stars
Well, Cox's slide work was nice, recalling George Harrison's work ... the rest of 'Ego Trap' was just kind of a mess. Imagine a bad Delaney and Bonnie performance. Extra star for the slide guitar.
4.) Questions (Mick Cox) - 4:25 rating: ** stars
'Questions' found O'Malley and company apparently deciding they would try to out Joe Cocker. Yeah, it wasn't a good artistic decision. Enough. Fire the female backing singers and tell sax player Alan Skidmore to go home.
In the 1980s Cox resumed his role as a member of Van Morrison's recording and touring band. Sadly, only 63, he died of cancer in 2008.
Although the album proved a modest commercial success, selling some 50,000 copies in the States, lead singer O'Malley subsequently decided to quit, reappearing as a member of Kokomo, followed by a stint in 10cc and a sporadic solo career. O'Malley's still involved in music and has a website at: http://www.tonyomalley.com/bio.html
Living in Alaska, drummer Steele died in 2005.
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