Take A Man Who Only Knows The Good Time Scene
Two - in my opinion - excellent albums that have never been released on CD to my knowledge. Can't think why - unless Dave Stewart is ashamed of them?
UPDATE (March 2008) - Hux Records are releasing these on CD soon, so the downloads have gone.
In 1976 I was playing bass guitar in a folk-rock group called Crannog that had a Monday night residency in The Queens in Crouch End. It was a very popular gig, and every week the pub was packed (I was even asked for my autograph once as I wandered round Crouch End between Harum Records and John Beeby's Music Place on a Saturday afternoon). The leader of the band, Kevin McCabe, was an old friend of Barry Dransfield, and Bazza used often to get up and play with us. Great stuff, and the heaving throng loved it as well. We'd stay behind in the pub after closing time for several hours jamming.
After a while I decided to leave the band, and Bazza suggested Brian Harrison as my replacement. Brian was the bass player in the Dransfield band, who had just come off the road after touring support to Tom Paxton (!) to promote their magnificent 'Fiddlers Dream' album, and he got the job. I formed my own band (Brahms & Liszt) but still went to see Crannog most Monday nights and often got up to play with them.
Previously, Brian had been in a band called Longdancer with Dave Stewart and Steve Sproxton, both of whom also came to The Queens from time to time. I duly sought out and bought their albums.
The first Longdancer album was mostly acoustic, and the songwriting was shared between the four members. Dave wrote a couple of rather twee hippy ditties, Brian wrote some sombre ballads, Sprocker wrote the (for me) standout tracks, and Kai Olsson wrote the remainder.
LONGDANCER - If It Were So Simple
1. Silent Emotions 2. Hold Up The World 3. Don't Turn Out The Lights 4. Trivialities 5. Time To Pay 6. Too Much Too Soon 7. Take A Man 8. Crying Out Loud 9. Ballad To Hillary 10. If It Was So Simple
Apparently there was some friction between Dave and Kai, with the latter wanting to stay acoustic and DS wanting to go electric. Either way, KO left before the 2nd album and was replaced by a full-time bass player (Matt Irving) and drummer (Charlie Smith). Both of these were more-than-competent musicians (and I love the boxy drum sound) but not so hot on the songwriting stakes and their contributions (Rosemary and Sandy's Song, respectively) are by far the weakest tracks on the album. By contrast, Dave Stewart's songwriting had improved no end and he's taken over from Sprocker as the star of this album - particularly 'Cold Love'. If you can ignore the fact that 'Sweet Leaves', written with his then-wife Pam (who I rather liked) is a love song to dope, it's actually a rather lovely song. The recorders date it a bit though...
The production was by Del Newman (presumably responsible for that great drum sound - check out Cold Love again), who also played synth (VCS3?) and contributes the perfect ending to that same track.
LONGDANCER - Trailer For A Good Life
1. Trailer 2. Take A Song 3. Sandy’s Song 4. Rosemary 5. Country Song 6. Sweet Leaves 7. Mother Nature 8. The Ship 9. Cold Love 10. Hard Road
Dave went on to form The Catch, The Tourists, and then The Eurythmics and fame. Steve didn't do anything musically that I'm aware of. Brian played with Crannog for a while and then went off to the States to work for Dave. Kai went solo. Matt played with Screaming Lord Sutch along with his brother Jaques 'Fifi' Irving (a damn fine drummer), Charlie joined Crannog and then did some local pub gigs with me and Roddy Rogers. Finito.