Pacific Drift

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1: (1969-70)

- Lawrence Arends (aka Larry King) (RIP 2017) -- drums,

  percussion, vocals
- Brian Chapman -- keyboards, vocals
- Graham Harrop -- bass, guitar, vocals
- Barry Reynolds -- vocals, guitar, bass 


  supporting musicians: (1970)

- Dave Davani -- brass section

- Jack Lancaster -- flute 





- Blodwyn Pig (Barry Reynolds)

- Blue Angles (Brian Chapman)

- Brian Chapman (solo efforts)

- Chicken Shack (Brian Chapman)

- Compass Point All Stars (Barry Reynolds)

- Four Just Men (Lawrence Arends)

- Ivan's Meads (Barry Reynolds)

- The Measles (Barry Reynolds)

- Barry Reynolds (solo efforts) 

- The Sponge (Lawrence Arends, Graham Harrop and 

  Barry Reynolds)

- Sponze (Lawrence Arends)

- Toggery Five (Graham Harrop)

- Wimple Winch (Lawrence Arends)

- Young and Renshaw (Graham Harrop)





Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Feelin' Free

Company: London/Deram

Catalog: DES 18040

Year: 1970

Country/State: Manchester, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: US release, minor ring, edge and corner wear; promo sticker on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID:

Price: $60.00


I believe a copy of "Pacific Drift" was the first "used" collectable album I ever bought.  I found it at a community yard sale; knew nothing about the band, but recognized Deram as being a label that had some interesting UK blues-rock and progressive acts on its roster.  Besides, for $3.00 how could I go wrong?


By 1969 drummer Lawrence Arends (aka Larry King), bassist Graham Harrop and singer/guitarist Barry Reynolds were all members of the Manchester-based Sponge.  By that point in time Sponge had undergone extensive personnel changes, slimming down to a quartet with the addition of former Blue Angels keyboardist Brian Chapman.  Manager John Rubin arranged an audition with Decca Records which was looking for talent for it's newly formed Deram and Nova imprints.  Signed by the label the band was subsequently teamed with Manchester-based producer Wayne Bickerton (probably best known for producing Giles, Giles and Fripp's "Cheerful Insanity" LP.  At this point the band members also decided on a name change - the shift to Pacific Drift having been inspired by a six-week residence they had recently completed at The Jokers Wild Club in Freeport, Grand Bahamas.  


Recorded during a five day recording session at London's Regent Studios, 1970's "Feelin' Free" offered up an engaging mixture of commercial and more cutting edge genres. With all four members contributing material, the set found the band taking competent stabs at a variety of musical genres, including straight forward pop ('Just Another Girl'), BS&T-styled horn rock ('Norman') and blues-rock moves ('Happy Days').  Reynolds had a great voice that was extremely flexible in terms of being able to handle the different musical genres.  He was also an impressive, if understated guitarist with keyboardist Chapman showing equal dexterity.  Perhaps a bit short in the originality department, but thoroughly catchy and commercial.  With the exception of the supper club ballad 'Don't Turn Away' the entire LP was worth hearing, highlights including 'Grain of Sand', the American single 'Yes You Do' and the harpsichord propelled ballad 'Tomorrow Morning Brings.'  Nah it wasn't a particularly innovative, or ground breaking collection, but it was consistently entertaining and it's one of those album's that I like the more I hear it.  Talented quartet and it is unfortunate they did not get a shot at recording a sophomore collection.


By the time London/Deram got around to releasing the album in the States the band had already broken up.  Even stranger, London's marketing elected to modify the album for the American audience.  While the LP packaging remained the same, the track listing and running orders were modified.  Found on the UK original pressing, 'Going Slow' and 'God Has Given Me' were dropped and three songs recorded during some May,1970 sessions were added to the US pressing - 'Yes You Do', 'We're On Our Way' and 'Don't Turn Away.'   The changes did nothing for the album's commercial success; US copies quickly being relegated to cutout bins.





"Feelin' Free" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Yes You Do (Barry Reynolds) - 2:54 rating: **** stars

As mentioned above, the opener 'Yes You Do' was not included on the original UK release, rather was a track recorded after the release of the original UK album and added to the US release in the apparent hope of increasing the collection's commercial potential.  Opening up with a nifty little Brian Chapman keyboard-propelled riff, 'Yes You Do' was surprisingly commercial, showcasing Reynolds' nifty growling voice and the band's sweet harmony vocals.  Easily the album's most commercial efforts,  Deram elected to released the song as an instantly obscure American single.  Shame it wasn't a hit.





- 1970's 'Yes You Do' b/w 'Tomorrow Morning Begins' (Deram catalog number 45-85063)






2.) Tomorrow Morning Brings (Graham Harrop - Brian Chapman - Barry Reynolds) - 2:39 rating: **** stars

The acoustic ballad 'Tomorrow Morning Brings' introduced a distinctive English folk flavor to the album.  With a beautiful, pastoral melody and the band's sweet harmony vocals, it was one of the album highlights.
3.) Feelin' Free (Barry Reynolds - Lawrence Arends) - 2:33
rating: **** stars

Showcasing Chapman's electric piano, the ballad 'Feelin' Free' had a jazzy feel that's always reminded me a bit of a more commercial Brian Auger performance.   The more often I hear it the more I've grown to like it.
4.) Garden of Love (Jack Lancaster - Barry Reynolds) - 1:44 
rating: *** stars

With a slightly jazzy vibe, 'Garden of Love' showcased a lovely Reynolds guitar riff, but was otherwise rather forgettable.  The song was very short and was co-written by former Sponge flute and sax player Jack Lancaster (though it was apparently inspired by a William Blake poem (no credit to the writer). 
5.) Just Another Girl (Andrew Matus) - 3:08 
rating: *** stars

The album's lone non-original, 'Just Another Girl' was written by producer Bickerton under the alias "Andrew Matus."   With Deram interested in underscoring the band's commercial potential, their recording contract apparently included a stipulation the band cover the song with an eye to releasing it as a single.  The band were apparently less than enthusiastic about the song and ultimately their cover of Spirit's 'Water Woman' was tapped as the lead-off 45. Admittedly a little formulaic, but the track had a nice melody and Reynolds turned in one of his nicer vocals and a tasty lead guitar solo.  Easy to see why Bickerton hoped the track might be selected as the UK entry to the Eurovision Song Festival.

6.) We're On Our Way (Barry Reynolds - Lawrence Arends) - 3:29  rating: **** stars

The second "replacement" track on the US release,' We're On Our Way' found the band upping the rock quotient of their sound. Curiously, the "born on the Bayou" refrain sounded like they'd borrow liberally from John Fogerty and CCR.  Shoot if a Southern California band could sound like they were swamp-rockers, why not a bunch of guys from Manchester?   YouTube has a clip of them performing the song at the RTL Studios gig:  Mastering Written English: Tips for Fluent and Confident Writing (  Have to admit they sounded quite impressive live.


(side 2)

1.) Norman (Graham Harrop - Brian Chapman - Lawrence Arends - Clive Neale - Barry Reynolds) - 3:12 rate: *** stars

Showcasing Jack Lancaster's flute and Dave Davani's horn arrangement, 'Norman' initially didn't do much for me. A weird mixture of pop, toytown, jazz, and BS&T horn-rock, the arrangement seemed ill-focused, overly busy and too cute for it's own good. As for the plotline?  Beats me.  While it still isn't my favorite performance, Reynolds' vocals were really good.



2.) Plaster Caster's U.S.A. (Barry Reynolds - Lawrence Arends) - 3:00 rating: *** stars

Clearly inspired by the late American artist/groupie Cynthia Dorothy Albritton (aka Cynthia Plaster Caster), the rocker 'Plaster Caster's U.S.A.' paid homage to her collection of rock and roll penis casts (including the likes of The Rascals' Eddie Brigati, Jimi Hendrix, and Keef Hartley). Powered by some Reynolds' slide guitar, I guess the song was mildly humorous, but unlikely to change your life.  By the way, before her 2022 death, Albritton cast 77 artists, though only 48 were completed.




3.) Grain of Sand (Jack Lancaster - Barry Reynolds) - 2:20 rating: *** stars

Not sure what the guitar effect was, but it gave 'Grain of Sand' a nice harsh edge to what was otherwise a sweet, Caribbean-tinged ballad. Guessing this one was at least partially influenced by their musical residence in The Bahamas.
4.) Greta the Legend (Barry Reynolds) - 5:10

The combination of Chapman's keyboards and Reynolds' guitar gave 'Greta the Legend' a certain gravitas.  The track started out as one of the album's prettier ballads,  but about two minutes in the focus shifted to Reynolds' guitar, giving the song a  much harder rock sound.
5.) Don't Turn Away (Barry Reynolds - Lawrence Arends) - 3:20
rating: *** stars

The third "replacement" track on the US release
6.) Happy Days (Barry Reynolds - Lawrence Arends) - 7:33
rating: **** stars

Perhaps my favorite performance, 'Happy Days' found the band taking a stab at blues-rock.  Nah, this wasn't exactly John Mayall, or Savoy Brown - way too commercial to be compared to those guys, but since I like a nice melody, this one struck a chord.  Adding in the Stax-styled horns was merely icing on the aural cake.  I didn't even mind Reynolds' stab at scatting.


In spite of favorable reviews "Feelin' Free" did little commercially and the band were dropped by Deram, but not before a cover of Jay Ferguson and Spirit's 'Water Woman' was released as their final non-LP single:  

- 1971's 'Water Woman' b/w 'Yes You Do' (Deram catalog number DM 304)


Recorded during a 1970 appearance at Paris' RTL Studios, YouTube has a live performance clip of the song: Pacific Drift - Water Woman (Spirit cover) (  Love Graham Harrop bass line on this one.



Following the band's dissolution the members scattered to other projects.


  • Chapman went on to a stint with blue-rockers Chicken Shack and then recorded some solo material.


  • Harrop briefly joined the Manchester-based country-rock outfit Young and Renshaw.


  • Reynolds became a late-inning member of Blodwyn Pig and released a handful of solo singles, before turning his attention to sessions work and an extended working relationship with Marianne Faithful.  He's released at least one solo album - 1982's "I Scare Myself."