23 September 2009

Heads, Hands and Feet - Warming Up The Band

Heads, Hands and Feet - Warming Up The Band

Label: Island
Year of Release: 1971

Since Oasis' split was marked with a 'special' entry on Left and to the Back, I see absolutely no reason why my attention cannot be turned to the sad news of the Chas and Dave break up as well.  Of course, finding a vaguely related obscurity where C&D are concerned is dead easy - Chas Hodges was an extremely successful musician before his time in the world's most famous cockney duo, so there's an array of goodness to choose from.  In fact, a whole compilation could probably be created presuming I had the time to actually research and create one (it's an oft quoted fact in pub quizzes that Chas and Dave's session work on Labi Siffre's "I Got The" was sampled by Eminem for "My Name Is").

I'm picking this one, though, for no special reason other than it's good, and I also happened to find it resting beneath a pile of singles the other day after years of it being presumed AWOL from my collection.  Heads Hands and Feet were a bunch of country rockers from Britain who landed a cool $500,000 American deal off the back of one gig, although the A&R person responsible wasn't giving away such a large cheque as a blind gamble.  Almost all of them were seasoned session musicians who had played on numerous tracks before, and among them on backing vocals and bass guitar was Chas Hodges, a man who had worked with Joe Meek, Shirley Bassey,  and Jerry Lee Lewis amongst many others.

Naturally, Heads Hands & Feet never became a household name, and the half a million advance seems a little optimistic now - but "Warming Up The Band" is a cool little single, filled with boogieful piano riffs, a swaggering energy, and possibly too much cowbell for its own good.  There's no reason why this couldn't have followed their labelmates Free into the charts, but it obviously didn't quite click with the public.  Perhaps there was an old school roughness to it nobody took to.

The band managed three albums before quitting, but remain cult favourites in the worlds of both country music and rock.  Whilst Chas Hodges continued to have a varied career, adding rockney music to a long list of genres on his CV, some of the others sadly quit the music industry altogether after the failure, Pete Gavin the drummer becoming a construction worker, for example (and you only need to hear the grooves on this track to realise that's a horrible waste).  

There's little to add as a footnote here, beyond apologies for the whopping great scratch towards the end.  Yes, that was created by the record sliding under some other singles and getting marked, although I suppose I should be grateful that it isn't warped and doesn't jump.  If you're wincing at the damage in the final few seconds of this disc, just imagine how I felt when I heard it... 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

cool site - many cool items BUT, i must mention that albert lee (H,H & F lead guitarist) had a wonderful career beginning with backing emmylou harris and then releasing some awesome solo records!! in fact, he played at clapton's fund raiser in chicago (where sheryl crow, who followed him, said, "i don;t do anything that fast....") Thanks~GMB