Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972)

- Steve Ellis -- vocals

- Andy Gee (aka Andreas Grober) -- lead guitar

- Jim Leverton -- bass

- Dave Lutton -- drums, percussion

- Zoot Money -- keyboards


  supporting musicians

- Maggie Bell - vocals

- Allen Collins -- drums, percussion

- Gary Farr -- harmonica

- Mick Weaver -- keyboards


  line up 2 (1972-73)

- Steve Ellis -- vocals

- Andy Gee (aka Andreas Grober) -- lead guitar

- Dave Lutton -- drums, percussion

- Zoot Money -- keyboards

NEW - Nick South -- bass (replaced Jim Leverton)



- Erie Apparent (Dave Lutton)

- Fat Mattress (Jim Leverton)

- Follow the Buffalo (Andy Gee)

- Juicy Lucy (Jim Leverton)

- Love Affair (Steve Ellis)

- Steve Marriott  (Jim Leverton)

- Savoy Brown

- Springfield Park

- Vinegar Joe (Nick South)

- Le Temps (Andy Grober)

- Tranquility (Jim Leverton)

- Widowmaker (Steve Ellis)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Riding On the Crest of a Slump

Company: Epic

Catalog: KE 31945

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: timing sticker on cover (not shown in picture)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6315

Price: $25.00


Ah, Steve Ellis ...  one of those immensely talented British singers like Steve Gibbons and Frankie Miller who simply never got a chance in the States.  Ellis' career stretched back to the mid-1960s starting with The Soul Survivors (not the US band) and fronting Love Affair (again not the US band).  Even though Love Affair enjoyed a string of British successes, by 1969 Ellis had decided to strike out on his own recording a series of four singles with Chas Chandler acting as his manager:

- 1970's 'Loot' b/w 'More More More' (CBS catalog number S-4992)

- 1970's 'Evie' b/w 'Fat Crow' (CBS catalog number S-5199)

- 1971's 'Take Your Love' b/w 'Jingle Jangle Jasmine' (CBS catalog number S 7037)

- 1971's 'Have You Seen My Baby' b/w 'Goody Goody Dancing Shoes' (CBS catalog number S 7411)


In 1971 he formed the cleverly titled Ellis with former Peter Bardens guitarist Andreas Grober (aka Andy Gee), ex-Fat Mattress bassist Jim Leverton, former Eire Apparent drummer Dave Lutton, and keyboardist Zoot Money.


In spite of the butt ugly cover art that made these guys look like a bunch of stoned hippies (check out the guy sitting on the ground), I remember buying this one based on the fact The Who's Roger Daltry produced it - turns out Daltry was a long time friend and Ellis' then-landlord).  If you were looking for a musically adventuresome album, 1972's "Riding On the Crest of a Slump" probably wasn't the place to be looking.  Mind you, exemplified by the beautiful ballad El Dommo'' and '', there were several first rate songs on the album, but the majority of the set was built on tried-and-true rock genres.  The emphasis was deservedly on namesake Ellis.  He had an impressive voice that was rich and raspy, but was simultaneously capable of handling softer and more commercial material ('Morning Paper').  I don't know if anyone will care, but to my ears his voice bore at least some resemblance to Steve Gibbons, Frankie Miller, or perhaps a British version of Bob Seger.  While most of the attention was on Ellis, the band's secret weapon was German guitarist Grober.  Judging by these nine tracks, Grober was one of those rare guitarists capable of playing any genre while subscribing to the sadly overlooked less-is-more school of soloing.  Unlike many of his compatriots, Grober's solos were continually front and center, rather he picked his spotlight moments with care - check out 'Angela'.


Another one you can still find on the cheap and that is worth looking for.


"Riding On the Crest of a Slump" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Good To Be Alive   (Colin Allen) - 3:23  rating: *** stars

With kind of a raw Rod Stewart and the Faces feel, 'Good To Be Alive' was a good rock song that could have been great if they'd dropped the Dylan-esqe harmonica (courtesy of Gary Farr) and Zoot Money's irritating tinkling piano.  Even with those shortcomings, the song generated quite a bit of energy and was tapped as the lead off single. 

   US single

- 1972's 'Good to Be Alive' (mono) b/w 'Good To Be Alive' (stereo) (Epic catalog number 5-10965)  

   UK release

- 1972's 'Good to Be Alive' b/w 'Morning Paper' (Epic catalog number EPC 8318)  

2.) El Dommo   (Steve Ellis) - 5:12    rating: **** star

Opening up with some mesmerizing Andy Grober lead guitar, 'El Dommo' was a beautiful ballad made all the more impressive by the stark arrangement which highlighted his crystal clear double tracked lead guitar.  Stripped of the usual rock and roll swagger, Ellis turned in one of his most impressive performances.  Easy to understand why the track was tapped as a single - Ellis has admitted he wrote the song with commercial hopes. 

 1972's 'El Doomo' b/w 'Your Game' (Epic catalog number EPC 4525)

3.) You're the Only Reason   (Jimbo)  rating: *** stars

'You're the Only Reason' started out with an interesting melody, but quickly morphed into a less impressive slice of country-tinged, blues rock.  The song also managed to highlight some of Ellis' worst vocal characteristics - his vocals were so strained you were left to wonder whether he was going to make it through the song without rupturing a vocal chord.  Maggie Bell was featured on backing vocals.  

4.) Tune for Brownie   (Steve Ellis) - 3:02    rating: ** stars

An acoustic ballad, 'Tune for Brownie' has always reminded me of one of those throwaway Stones country rockers.  Stark and not particularly memorable, I could live without this one.

5.) Your Game   (Steve Ellis) - 4:20   rating: **** star

Kicked along by Gee's snarling, feedback drenched lead guitar, 'Your Game' was side one's toughest and most impressive rocker.  The weird thing is that the song sounds like it was recorded without any understanding of sound levels - at least on my Rega turntable and on my Koss headphones the track sounds horribly distorted.   Regardless, this is one kick ass rock song ...  


(side 2)
1.) Three Times Corner Money   (Steve Ellis) - 3:59     rating: ** stars

'Three Times Corner Money' found Ellis and company taking a half hearted stab at southern gospel rock as practiced by Elton John - imagine one of those songs off of his "Tumbleweed Connection" album.  Shrill and irritating, it didn't do a thing for me ...   

2.) Morning Paper   (Steve Ellis) - 3:20   rating: **** stars

Opening up with some nice Grober jangle rock guitar and Money's pounding piano, 'Morning Paper' was one of the album's most commercial numbers and another album highlight.  Coupled with some nice lyrics, it was probably the tune I would have tapped as a single.    

3.) Wish I Were Back Home   (Steve Ellis - Andy Gee) - 3:41  rating: *** stars

The album's strangest offering, 'Wish I Were Back Home' sounded like a weird cross between Mungo Jerry, Marc Bolan (the lyrics even included a nod to T.Rex), and some kind of band you might find in a touristy Caribbean resort hotel.  Clearly a throwaway effort and given that cast off feel, the song actually has some low brow charm. 

4.) Angela   (Zoot Money - Colin Allen) - 7:24   rating: **** star

Co-written by Money and Stone and the Crows drummer Colin Allen, 'Angela' has always been my choice for the album's best tune.  A crushing rocker that morphed into an extended jam, this one had everything going for it including a blazing melody with Money and guest keyboardist Mick Weaver setting the pace for guitarist Gee to turn in a dazzling series of solos.  Even Gary Farr's harmonica solo sounded good on this one.



The band recorded a sophomore effort (1973's "Why Not?" (Epic catalog number EPC 65650)) and after falling out with Epic management, Ellis joined Widowmaker, where he handled vocals on the debut album and wrote half the material for their sophomore release before walking.  That was followed by a shelved solo album "The Last Angry Man" (eventually released by the Angel Air label).  Frustrated by music and scared by the death of longtime friend Keith Moon, Ellis took a job as a dockworker, focusing on his family and his health.  That came to an end when he nearly lost his feet in an industrial accident.  


After a decade of medical issues, in he early 1990s he began playing live dates under the moniker Steve Ellis's Love Affair and released a live album..  He's also released a number of solo efforts.


For anyone interested, Ellis has a website at:  http://www.steveellis.co.uk/