Label: Decca (UK issue on MCA)
Year of Release: 1972
As the well of late sixties obscurities begins to run dry, collectors and compilers are beginning to turn their attention towards the early to mid seventies as a source of relatively untapped goodness. Whilst psychedelia was thin on the ground (although not totally non-existent) during this period, the kind of simple, gritty rock and roll which had wormed its way through mod, Nederbeat and R&B remained available for some time afterwards - and here is one such example.
"Running Wild" could have been recorded at any point from 1966 onwards, being pushed forwards by a stomping rhythm and simple riff, and sounds pretty great today. It's not a record of sophistication, but the whining guitar lines, lyrical concerns of "running wild and sleeping rough" and rock and roll journeymen tales do make it a bit of a primal beast, although never so uptempo that it doesn't have an agreeable dirty laziness to the rhythm as well. This was apparently something of a favourite on some club dancefloors at the time, although obviously that didn't seem to translate to record sales.
Information about the band Axe isn't widely available, but one of their key members Rod Alexander is still active today, with a biography that boasts involvement with the likes of The Everley Brothers, Ritchie Blackmore, Mike Berry and "Left and to the Back" favourite Rolf Harris. He also apparently enjoyed some time in West Africa during his career, which might explain why this pressing of "Running Wild" appears to be Gambian in origin - thanks to the forum posters Vinyl_Junkie and carryonsidney over at 45Cat for digging that information up. This is the only African pressing I own at the moment, and God knows how it ever managed to worm its way back into the UK...