HUMBLE PIE – ” Humble Pie ” Released July 1970

Posted: January 13, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

There’s nothing like making the grand entrance to impress people, but few do it in such style as Humble Pie’s Jerry Shirley and I managed when we drove to Steve Marriott’s country home on Friday. As the brakes of Jerry’s mini failed in the entrance to the drive we gracefully smashed into and through the newly-repaired gate and glided to a regal halt half on the lawn!

A barefooted Steve came hurtling through a gateway from the rear garden and pulled up in his tracks when he saw what had happened. Jerry was attempting to halt the car which had started rolling again in the direction of Steve’s car while I clambered through the dead gate.

“I thought it was a scooter crash, we’re always getting them out here. We keep having to rush out with cups of tea to revive people,” Steve gasped. “Are you okay? Right, one new gate needed and two shots of liquid refreshment for medicinal purposes.” on that practical note we filed into one of Steve’s two cottages to find his wife, Jenny, making tea amid four dogs, three kittens, and two geese. This, it seems, was only part of the Marriott menagerie.

Steve Marriott had been living in the country for almost three years now and Jerry thinks it has made a new man of the one-time looner. “He’s much calmer now, different,” Jerry said on the way down. “He’s changed, but not that much… he’s more himself. He doesn’t get moods, he’s just back into being the real Steve.” He has virtually finished with drink and accessories, preferring cups of tea and the fresh air. Uppermost in Steve’s mind that day is the group’s first album with A&M. Titled simply Humble Pie, it is an important first and a lot of hard work has gone into it.

‘Live With Me’ on side one, called This Side, is the type of thing you might expect to hear during a jazz festival when the sun is high and the atmosphere is peaceful. Pete Frampton’s organ begins and is joined by Jerry on drums and then the guitars of Steve and Greg Ridley. Pete controls the organ fluctuation very well, taking the crescendos down to a soft melody very neatly. It’s a relaxing number with little bursts of energy.

Steve: “That’s a stage number. All those things we kept them like we do on stage.”

‘Only A Roach’ could well be a modern country-and-western number in its approach. The vocal harmonies are used to repeat lines at the end of verses and then sing along together. Not the sort of thing I would have expected from Humble Pie‘One-Eyed Trouse-Snake Rumba‘. If you don’t know what the creature in the title is, write to me for the answer in a plain, sealed envelope! A fair old bit of rock and roll with two voices taking alternate parts.

‘Earth and Water Song’ has quiet vocals and thoughtful lyrics with an uncomplicated backing. The acoustic guitar, tapping cymbals, light drumming and flowing organ create a pleasing effect. “I am the earth and she is my water” goes one line, then there’s a short piece of louder instrumental work which becomes more prominent during the number, though it’s never obtrusive. The other side is called That Side; it is generally much louder ‘I’m Ready’ is all very heavy and has Pete yelling over a frenzied riff. A lot of bass drum and cymbals and a fine contrasting lead guitar with lots of guts going into the whole thing. ‘Theme From Skint’ is almost a folk song. It’s like a cross between Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones being folksy. It gets more pounding after a time and this is because it leads straight into…Rock On.  ‘See You Later Liquidator’ which is no doubt a reference to a certain period in the Pie’s recent career. It is musically violent and takes over as the second part of an idea that began during the preceding track. It builds and builds to a walloping crash of thunder at the end after holding the same course but progressing in volume. ‘Red Light Mamma, Red Hot!’ Much heaviness and pounderama abounds here. Stomp, stomp go the drums, the guitars crack away and Pete belts the lyrics out in fine fashion. A nice guitar passage is combined with fierce drumming and a forceful bass line.

‘Sucking On The Sweet Vine’ is the final track. “A love song” is not quite the right description, though it is basically just that. It is in some ways similar to ‘Only A Roach’ though not so involved. The theme is sadness and desolation, and the music is complimentary though very much of today. Steve: “Greg wrote it and sung it. He needed a band where he could come out of himself.”

The Album over, we talked about its chances, which I rate highly, and Steve commented: “I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever been involved in. What I’m knocked out about is the clarity, that’s down to Glyn Johns, the engineer.

“It’s not just a thin sound to get the clarity, he gets a nice loud sound at the same time. I’ll stand up for this album to anyone any day of the week. an album should be like a stage show.” From the “Life and Times of Steve Marriott”

We rejoined Jerry and Jenny and the dogs who were playing football (honestly) on the lawn. The group had a gig that evening at Southampton Top Rank and getting there was proving a bit of a problem because of Jerry’s crash, the fact that Steve oughtn’t to drive at night (says Jenny) and they had to pick up Pete at his home in Hampstead en route. So a mini cab was called.

The journey back to London from deepest Essex was spent by Steve, Jerry and myself awarding points out of ten to young ladies in the street. It’s a popular Humble Pie pastime it seems.

 

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