Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hookfoot - A Piece Of Pye (1969 uk, splendid bluesy country rock, 2010 japan Remaster)

Vocalist multi-instrumentalist Caleb Quaye was the mastermind fronting the largely forgotten Hookfoot.  Quayle started his professional musical career as a member of Long John Baldry's backing band Bluesology.  When Baldry decided to disband the group in 1967 Quaye struck out as a solo act releasing an obscure 45 on Philips 'Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad' b/w 'Woman of Distinction'.

When the single disappeared without a trace, Quaye turned to sessions and live working, including supporting former Bluesology keyboardist Elton John.   His work with John led to a steady paycheck as a house musician signed to Dick James Music (DJM) which also happened to have signed Elton John to a recording contract.  It also introduced him to fellow DJM employees Ian Duck, David Glover, and Roger Pope.  Duck, Glover and Pope had a lengthy history themselves having started out as members of The Soul Agents, The Loot, and The Final One.  With all four working together in support of various Elton John projects, in 1969 Quaye convinced them to join him in forming a band - Hookfoot and were promptly signed by DJM.

‘A Piece of Pye’ is a collection of earlier songs like, the bluesy filler ‘S.B.W.’ [Sonny Bow Williamson] and the guitar heroics tour-de-force jamthat is ‘Shoeshine Boy’ – oh, dear Lord how well I remember that one blowing my socks off when I first heard it as a teenager! The remaining material on ‘A Piece of Pye’ was completely new to me – early recordings by the sound of it, all of them credited to guitarist Caleb Quaye. 

You Better Get On’, a showcase bluesy groover that sounds like it might’ve been the highlight of their live set at the time, up to the standard of the stunning ‘The Way of the Musician’ debut 45 released on Page One in France which unfortunately remains un-re-released to this day. It’s must be a contender for some future late 60s compilation, surely, just as Caleb Quaye's 'Baby Your Phasing is Bad' recorded immediately pre-Hookfoot is a something of a staple requirement.

There's a fair bit of other un-re-released still languishing on 'B' sides of various singles as well, including 'Heart to Heart Talking', 'Red Man', 'Freedom (Nobody's Shoes), 'Hookfoot' (the song the band became named after, apparently due to drummer Roger Pope's habit of hooking his wayward kit back towards him while playing) and 'The Opener' (original B-side of 'Sweet Sweet Funky Music' from Good Times a' Comin'). Plus, the live album that I must confess had a hand in releasing via the SPM label in Germany back in the early 1990s is also overdue for some reissue attention.
by Phil McMullen
1. A Peace One - 1:46
2. You Better Get On (Ian Duck, Dave Glover, Roger Pope, Caleb Quaye) - 7:16
3. Death Song (Ian Duck, Caleb Quaye) - 6:36
4. First Things First - 3:05
5. Wide Open Funky Spaces - 4:13
6. S.B.W (Ian Duck, Caleb Quaye) - 2:37
7. Shoe Shine Boy 12:13
8. A Peace Two - 0:55
All songs by Caleb Quaye unless as else stated

The Hookfoot
*Caleb Quaye - Guitar, Piano, Keyboards
*Ian Duck - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Dave Glover - Bass Guitar
*Roger Pope - Drums, Percussion

1973  Hookfoot - Roaring (expanded edition)

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