12 April 2015

Sunchariot - Firewater/ The Only Girl I Knew



Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1973

A trend has emerged in recent years for compiling psychedelic pop and rock obscurities from the early seventies on to CD compilations. Now that the sixties era seems to have been largely hoovered clean, obscure quirky rock and art pop with psychedelic influences from that period is gaining popularity. Sunchariot seem to have escaped a place on one of these albums so far, but there's no good reason for that.

Take "Firewater" for example. It's a truly berserk piece of rock music about the plight of the Native American, filled to the brim with hollering noises, dramatic tribal vocals and an urgent instrumental break. There are shades of stomping glam about this, but nothing dominant in that sense. For the most part, it sounds like the work of a proper rock band swimming around in a period concept for all it's worth (and indeed, the seventies was awash with these ideas. Hard to know who started it, but I suspect Jeff Lynne got the ball rolling with the Idle Race's "Days Of Broken Arrows", and finished it with ELO's "Wild West Hero" - but perhaps that's too simplistic an overview).

At least one member of Sunchariot went on to far more successful ventures. Dave Howman (whose name appears to have been spelt "Hawman" on the credits here) went on to co-write songs for - among other people -  Monty Python, including "Brian" in the "Life Of Brian" and "Every Sperm Is Sacred" in "The Meaning Of Life". He's a multiple BAFTA nominated songwriter who continues to create soundtrack work and play with his band The Ruthless Brothers.

As for the rest of the group, I'm afraid I'm unsure of their whereabouts. If anyone knows more, please speak up.

2 comments:

Graham Clayton said...

Do you think that there is more than a passing resemblance between the instrumental break of "Firewater" and the introduction to "Run to the Hills" by Iron Maiden? Both sings are about Native Americans - maybe Iron Maiden used "Firewater" as inspiration?

23 Daves said...

Haven't listened to "Run to the Hills" in years, but on further inspection, you do have a point. It could well be coincidence, though. Both are using fairly stripped back tribal rhythms as the basis for the tracks, so inevitably there will be some crossover.

If I did find out that The Maiden had ripped off "Firewater", though, I'd be thrilled.