Orange Bicycle

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1970-71)

- John Bachini -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Kevin Curry -- drums, percussion

- Bernie Lee -- vocals, guitar

- Wilson Malone -- vocals, keyboards

- R.J. Scales (aka Robb Storme) -- vocals




- Allcock and Brown (John Bachini)

- Burlesque (Kevin curry)

- Will Malone (solo efforts)

- Micky and the Wop (John Bachini)

- Motherlight (Will Malone)

- Paul and Barry Ryan

- The Rob Storme Group

- Robb Storme and The Whispers

- Supertramp (Kevin Curry)





Genre: psych

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Orange Bicycle

Company: Parlophone

Catalog:  PCS 7108

Country/State: London, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2523

Price: $250.00

Bassist John Bachini, drummer  Kevin Curry, guitarist Bernie Lee, keyboard player Wilson Malone, and vocalist R.J. Scales (aka Rob Storme), had been perforrming since the 1950s.  Startling out as a skiffle group, in search of popular success they followed various musical trends, including stints as Robb Storme and the Whispers and The Rob Storme Group.  The group found stead employment backing a stream of less talented British acts, including serving as support group for Paul and Barry Ryan.  By 1967 they'd jumped on to the psychedelic bandwagon, changing their name to Orange Bicycle.  Over the next three years they released a string of singles for Columbia and Parlophone.


- 1967's 'Hyacinth Threads' b/w 'Amy Peate' (Columbia catalog number DB 8259) 
- 1967's 'Laura's Garden' b/w 'Lavender Girl (Columbia catalog number DB 8311) 
- 1968's 'Early Pearly Morning' b/w 'Go With Goldie' (Columbia catalog number DB 8352) 
- 1968's Jenskadajka' b/w 'Nicely' (Columbia catalog number DB 8413) 
- 1968's 'Sing This All Together' b/w 'Trip On An Orange Bicycle' (Columbia catalog number DB 8483) 
- 1969's 'Last Cloud Home' b/w 'Tonight I'll Be Staying Here' (Parlophone catalog number R 5789)
- 1970's 'Carry That Weight' b/w 'You Never Give Me Your Money' (Parlophone catalog number R 5811) 

Produced by the late Jonathan Peel, 1970's "Orange Bicycle" was best described as a late inning addition to the English pop-psych catalog.  Powered by R.J. Scales growl of a voice (which occasionally reminded me of Family's Roger Chapman), these guys rocked with considerably more conviction than most of their competitors.  Offering up a mixture of band originals and cover tunes (including three Elton John - Bernie Taupin numbers), the set wasn't particularly original, showing a wide range of influences, ranging from The Beatles to The Move.  Hearing it today, you had to wonder if it actually sounding a bit old fashioned at a time when most of their contemporaries had moved on to other musical directions.   That said, the collection had more than it's share of pleasures, with their enthusiasm making up for occasional lapses in material.   


"Orange Bicycle" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Lady Samantha   (Elton John - Bernie Taupin) - 3:41  rating: *** stars

Kudos to the band for being early converts to the cause; 'Lady Samantha' being the first of three Elton John and Bernie Taupin covers.  I was never a big fan of the original, so this "roughed up" cover didn't fo much to change my opinion.   Bernie Lee's fuzz guitar work provided the song's highlight.

2.) County Comforts   (Elton John - Bernie Taupin) - 3:21

Their second Elton John cover, the ballad 'Country Comfort' was a nice place to check out R.J. Scales' unique voice.  His voice has always reminded me a bit  of Family's Roger Chapman..  Raw, ragged, and gravelly, the man sounded like he'd been gargling with glass shards - certainly an acquired taste  Again, I wasn't a big fan of the Elton John original, so this county-tinged cover didn't do a great deal for me.

3.) The Sweet Thing Is   (Wilson Malone) - 2:14   rating: **** stars

Penned by keyboardist Malone, with lyrics like "you look like a black man's daughter ...", 'The Sweet Thing Is' certainly wouldn't pass today's politically correct muster.  That said, it rocked with far more conviction than the previous two covers.   One of the album standout performances.

4.) Make It Rain  (John Dove) - 4:05    rating: **** stars

A highly melodic, blues ballad, 'make It Rain' showcased John Bachini's elegant bass and the band's unexpectedly sweet harmony vocals.  Imagine Procol Harum had that band figured out how to write a truly melody tune.  This is the one I would have pushed as a single.  

5.) Say You Don't Mind  (Denny Laine) - 2:59    rating: **** stars

Anyone who associates Denny Laine as little more than a Paul McCartney sidekick should check out Orange Bicycle's cove rof his 'Say You Don't Mind'.   Once again Scales' raspy voice and Lee's fuzz guitar combined to make this a standout performance.   Always loved the 'Obladi, Oblada' nod at the end of the song.   Another tune that should have been tapped as a single.

6.) Hallelujah Moon   (Wilson Malone) - 3:24   rating: **** stars

Powered by Malone's harpsichord and heavy orchestration including a large chorus, 'Hallelujah Moon' was a dark and haunting ballad. This one's always reminded me of something Cat Stevens might have done if he'd ever decided to record with a real rock band.


(side 2) 

1.) Jelly On the Bread   (John Dove) - 

Yeah, the band probably should have paid any royalties they received directly to Chuck Berry since the song sounded like it had been copied from 'Maybelline'.  That said, if for no other reason, Lee's slide guitar made it worthwhile to give 'Jelly On the Bread' a listen.   The tune was tapped as the album's first single:




- 1970's 'Jelly On The Bread' b/w 'Make It Rain (Parlophone catalog number R 5854) 









2.) Take Me To the Pilot   (Elton John - Bernie Taupin) - 3:06   rating: *** stars

One of the few early Elton John tunes U actually liked, their cover wasn't a radical departure from the original arrangement.  Again, can't say they did anything to make it their own, or improve on the original.   





- 1970's 'Take Me To The Pilot' b/w 'It's Not My World' (Parlophone catalog number R 5829) 




3.) Come Tomorrow Morning   (Alan Hawkshaw - Ray Cameron) - 4:08   rating: *** stars

Combining Scales voice with a strange mix of singer/songwriter tune and a strange chorus that sounded like something swiped from a Blood, Sweat and Tears song didn't make for one of the album highlights.

4.) Back   (John Bachini) - 

5.) Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You   (Bob Dylan) - 4:24   rating: *** stars

Seemingly early-1970s recording contracts all carry a must-record-Dylan clause.  Orange Bicycle complied by closing the album with a suitably downbeat and somber cover of 'Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You'.  Scales' voice realy bore a comparison to Roger Chapman on this one.


Neither the two singles, nor the parent LP did much commercially.   The band struggled on for another year, releasing a non-LP single before calling it quits:

- 1971's 'Goodbye Stranger' b/w 'Country Comforts' (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ 3029)