Heads Hands & Feet

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70)

- Tony Colton (aka Anthony George Chalk) -- vocals

- Pete Gavin (RIP) -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Chas Hodges --: bass, fiddle, guitars, vocals
- Albert Lee --  guitar, mandolin, keyboards, vocals
- Ray Smith --  guitar, bass, vocals

  line up 2 (1970-71)

- Tony Colton (aka Anthony George Chalk) -- vocals

- Pete Gavin (RIP) -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Chas Hodges --: bass, fiddle, guitars, vocals
- Albert Lee --  guitar, mandolin, keyboards, vocals

NEW - Mike O'Neil (RIP 2013) -- keyboards 
- Ray Smith --  guitar, bass, vocals


  line up 3 (1971-73)

- Tony Colton (aka Anthony George Chalk) -- vocals

- Pete Gavin (RIP) -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Chas Hodges --: bass, fiddle, guitars, vocals
- Albert Lee --  guitar, mandolin, keyboards, vocals

- Ray Smith --  guitar, bass, vocals


  supporting musicians (1972)

- Jerry Donahue -- backing vocals

- Gerry Hogan -- pedal steel guitar

- Ray Osborne -- backing vocals




- Chas and Dave (Chas Hodges)

- Tony Colton's Big Boss Band

- Chas Hodges (solo efforts)

- Allbert Lee (solo efforts)

- Poet and the One Man Band (Tony Colton, Albert lee, Peter Gavin,

  Mike O'Neill and Ray Smith





Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Tracks

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST 11051

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: bullet hole lower right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3323

Price: $20.00


Technically Heads Hands & Feet's third album (their planned debut album having been shelved), 1972's "Tracks" is simply an overlooked dandy.  If you had to slap a label on them, I guess you'd go with country-rock, but they were so much more than that.  They certainly sported a plethora of talent including four talented writers and singers in Tony Colton, Chas Hodges, Albert Lee, and Ray Smith, several multi-instrumentalists, a killer guitarist i Lee, and a steady rhythm section in Pete Gavin and Hodges.  Produced by Colton, the album reflected a smooth, easy-going, group charm that you'd associate with people who've worked together for a long time and were comfortable with one another.  Musically it was a pretty diverse set ranging from outright country ('Jack Daniels (Old No. 7)') to surprisingly conventional rock ('Hot Property').  The biggest surprise to my ears was how an English band managed to out-Band The Band on tracks like ''Jack Daniels (Old No. 7') and give Lowell George and Little Feat a run for their money on the opener '(Let's Get This) Show On the Road'.   It made for one of those rare albums that didn't have a single clunker on either side.  Simply a perfect lazy Sunday morning collection.  


"Tracks" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) (Let's Get This) Show On the Road   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith - Alvin Lee - Chas Hodges - Pete Gavin) - 3:50   rating: **** stars

Ah, life on the road ...  Geez, ever wondered what a British version of Little Feat would have sounded like?   Well, if you have, I suggest checking out the group-penned opener '(Let's Get This) Show On the Road'.   Like a good Little Feat tune, kicked along by energetic vocals from Colton and Smith and  a funky and melodic Albert Lee riff, this was a great little tune.  Youtube has an interesting promotional video for the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5LXOBTumOY 

2.) Safety In Numbers  (Tony Colton - Ray Smith - Alvin Lee) - 3:30   rating: **** stars

Opening up with some classic Pete Gavin drums and featuring Hodges' gravelly voice, 'Safety In Numbers' was even better.   Even if the rest of the song had sucked, this one would have been a keeper for Lee's stunning solos.  How can anyone play that well ?  The song was tapped as a Japanese 45:

- 1972's 'Safety In Numbers' b/w 'Hot Property'  (Capitol catalog number ECR 10112)

3.) Roadshow  (Alvin Lee)  - 3:10   rating: **** stars

Beautiful Lee-penned ballad.  For a guy who was reluctant to sing, he had a wonderful voice.  In a change of pace, the song featured Lee on keyboards.   This one was tapped as an Italian single:

- 1972's 'Roadshow' b/w 'Rhyme and Time' (Capitol catalog number 3C 006  81234)

4.) Harlequin   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith) - 4:22  rating: **** stars

With Colton handling vocals and keyboards, 'Harlequin' offered up a beautiful, epic, haunting acoustic, folksy ballad.  It's one of those songs that climbed into my head and never left.  I even appreciate Gerry Hogan's pedal steel guitar.  Not sure when, or where it was recorded, but YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song for what appears to be a television show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v41oBFBFIVo 

5.) Dancer   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith - Alvin Lee - Chas Hodges) - 3:18   rating: *** stars

Nice acoustic guitar opening that transition into something sounding like a British version of The Band.


(side 2)

1.) Hot Property   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith - Alvin Lee - Chas Hodges - Pete Gavin) - 4:05   rating: **** stars

And for anyone who thought these guys couldn't do much more than country-rock, 'Hot Property' demonstrated they were equally at home.  Awesome Lee and Smith dual lead guitar solos on this one.   YouTube has a clip of the band playing this, along with 'Harlequin' on a July, 1972 appearence on the London Weekend Television show.  AFter a brief country hoedown introduction, the song actually starts about a minute into the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn4is2Lv2Rc   The song was released as a single in Canada and as a promo 45 in the States:

- 1972's 'Hot Property' b/w 'Jack Daniels (Old No. 7)  (Capitol catalog number PRO 6567)

2.) Jack Daniels (Old No. 7)   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith - Alvin Lee - Chas Hodges - Pete Gavin) - 3:24   rating: **** stars

Hum, who would have thought an English band would be able to out band The Band ?    They do it without breaking sweat.  A country song for people who don't like country songs.

3.) Rhyme and Time   (Albert Lee) - 2:35   rating: *** stars

Pretty acoustic number that again showcased Lee's surprisingly engaging voice.

4.) Paper Chase   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith) - 3:50   rating: **** stars

With Colton on lead, 'Paper Chase' was another keyboard powered ballad, but this time around with an unexpected commercial, almost pop, orientation.

5.) Song and Dance   (Albert Lee) - 5;26   rating: **** stars

My pick for the album's best performance - Lee's slinky and funky voice continued to surprise me and his guitar work was simply seminal.  How could you not appreciate the solo on 'Song and dance'?  Should have been released as a single.  Not sure when or where it was recorded, but YouTube has a Lee solo performance of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohMPzKabmxQ 



And natureally, on the verge of major stardom, it all came flying apart with the band splintering in different directions.


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Old Soldiers Never Die

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 7025

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; includes lyric insert

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 1207

Price: $15.00


With the Heats hands & Feet's prior album having generated  positive reviews from the critics, the band returned to the studio to record a follow-on.   Unfortunately, personality issues arose and the band split before they could complete the album.   That left singer Tony Colton to pick up the pieces and complete what would become 1973's "Old Soldiers Never Die".  With Colton producing the posthumous set, the album wasn't a manger departure from the band's earlier sound.  That meant an album that was highly divergent bouncing across the musical spectrum from The Band-styled Americana ('Just Another Ambush'), to straightforward country ('Take My Music To the Man'), and Procol Harum-styled progressive moves ('Stripes').  For his part, guitarist Albert Lee was strangely subdued on this outing, only taking the spotlight a handful of times; 'Stripes' probably being the best of his solos this time around.  The good news was the album gave you an opportunity to recognize the talents brought to the table by the rest of the band - notably singer Colton who had a fantastic, if frequently overlooked instrument and bassist Chas Hodges.   


This is one of those album's that over the years has  steadily grown on me.   I can remember being distinctly under-whelmed when I bought it and to this day there are way too many clunkers to make it a classic release.   That said, it's an album I readily slap on the turntable on those cold Sunday mornings and nobody in the house complains.


Old Soldiers Never Die" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Jack of All Trades   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith) - 1:42   rating: ** stars

Um, the aptly titled 'Jack of All Tracks' has always struck me as being kind of a mess, bouncing between waltz, pop, and show tune.  

2.) Meal Ticket   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith - Albert Lee - Chas Hodges - Pete Gavin) - 2:43   rating: ** stars

Maybe it's just my ears, but 'Meal Ticket' sounded like the band had been listing to more than their share of Jerry Lee Lewis.  Elsewhere, Lee turned in a nice solo.  Not necessarily a bad thing, rather it simply wasn't the most original thing you've ever heard. 

3) I Won't Let You Down   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith) - 5:06  rating: **** stars

Showcasing Albert Lee's glorious acoustic guitar, the country-rock flavored 'I Won't Let You Down' was one of the prettiest songs they'd ever written.   I've always scratched my head wondering how these guys managed to nail the genre so well.

4.) Soft Word Sunday Morning    (Tony Colton - Albert Lee - Ray Smith) - 4:35   rating: ** stars

Big, highly orchestrated ballad that would have slotted well into some sort of chick flick soundtrack.  One of Colton's nicer performances, but the song sounded like a reheated Procol Harum effort.   


(side 2)
1.) One Woman  
   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith - Albert Lee - Chas Hodges - Pete Gavin) - 5:35  rating: **** stars

'One Woman' was a simply blazing slice of country-rock; way more rock than country on this one.   Easily the best song on the album, and maybe the best thing in their catalog.  The track was released as a UK single.  

2.) Just Another Ambush    (Tony Colton - Ray Smith) - 4:55  rating: **** stars

I'm guessing that Colton and Smith had been listening to a lot of The Band when they wrote and recorded 'Just Another Ambush'.  Colton's vocal bore more than a passing resemblance to Levin Helm on this one.  Always loved the horn arrangement on this one.  Very likeable Americana vibe to this one. 

3.) Stripes   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith) - 4:58  rating: **** stars

The piano powered 'Stripes' was another tune that's always reminded me of Gary Brooker and Procol Harum.   Very pretty ballad with a dense sound and interesting anti-war lyric.  The song also sported one of Lee's prettiest solos.  rating: **** stars

4.) Take My Music To the Man   (Tony Colton - Ray Smith) - 3:43   rating: ** stars

Straightforward country tune that gave Lee an opportunity to stretch out a bit on his Telecaster.  In spite of the fact the tune sounded like something out of Delbert McClinton's catalog, I wasn't a big fan.   

5.) Another Useless Day (Chas Hodges) - 4:45   rating: ** stars

'Another Useless Day' ended the album with an energetic, if anonymous slice of boogie rock.


Two singles were released in the UK and parts of Europe:


- 1973's 'Just Another Ambush' b/w 'I Won't Let You Down' (Atlantic catalog number K 10312)

- 1973's ''One Woman' b/w 'Dirty Heavy Weather Road' (Atlantic catalog number K 10292


In the States ACTO released a promo single, but did little to promote it:

- 1973's 'One Woman' b/w 'Dirty Heavy Weather Road' (ATCO catalog 45-6923)