CLEOPATRA RECORDS 8th February 2019
I’m a little too young to remember Humble Pie and could not have even named their genre before hearing this but as soon as I saw the name Steve Marriott, I knew I had to check it out. Steve Marriott, you see, was a prime mover in The Small Faces, an astoundingly good band of the sixties (Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, Lazy Sunday Afternoon, etc) – you can find many cheap compilations and should check them out. Humble Pie was his next project and is entirely different. Although a band, it seems that at times it was Marriott plus sidesmen. Whatever; this smokes.
Heavy on the funk and soul at the outset, this is a slab of early seventies groove that will get you moving along with the heavy boogie. This was to have been released in 1974 / 75 but the record company turned it down. I don’t know why but the tapes do run a little hot, though I imagine that would have been fixed on release and now just adds to the vintage appeal. A possible reason for rejection was that this was a band that swapped and changed around: Andrew Loog-Oldham’s Immediate Records had been handed one of the first heavy metal albums as Humble Pie’s first album, a mostly acoustic offering as the second and the new label, A&M, had a splitting / reforming band on their hands, falling out, shedding members and generally behaving like any band of their time that had been chemically enhanced a few too many times.
There is a big love for the blues and the Hammond-driven belter Let Me Be Your Lovemaker combines electric blues with soulful urges. The set opens with a funky Think (James Brown) and closes on a jam on the same number. In between, The Beatles’ Rain is transformed into heavy blues and originals cover the heavy and the sweet. The band seems able to effortlessly translate soulful feelings into electric rock and the set is very more-ish.
Not purely for completists, this neophyte found much to love in and of this album itself. If you’ve never heard the band, there’s no reason not to start here.