This mid-priced August 2010 UK CD from Esoteric Recordings (a Cherry Red label) reissues the debut album of one of Britain's great boogie bands - "Juicy Lucy" by JUICY LUCY.
Sandwiched between "Valentyne Suite" by Colosseum (VO 1) and "Chapter Three" by Manfred Mann (VO 3) - "Juicy Lucy" was the 2nd album released on the then fledgling progressive rock label 'Vertigo' (famous for its Spiral label design). This reissue is a new 24-bit remaster by BEN WISEMAN of Audio Archiving in London (it was first put out by Repertoire in 1994) and features a relevant bonus track. It's also available digitally at the losttunes website.
Esoteric Recordings ECLEC2215 breaks down as follows (41:07 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 8 are the album "Juicy Lucy" released September 1969 in the UK on Vertigo VO 2 (874 901 VTY)
Track 9 is the non-album B-side to their debut 7" single "Who Do You Love" (Track 2 on Side 1). It was released 6 February 1970 in the UK on Vertigo V 1 and entered the UK singles chart in late March 1970 at number 28 - eventually rising to Number 14 in mid April. On the strength of that popular rocker, the album also belatedly charted in the UK in April 1970 - rising to Number 41.
The 5-piece featured RAY OWEN on Lead Vocals with GLENN ROSS CAMPBELL on Lead Guitar, Mandolin and Vocals [both ex The Misunderstood], NEIL HUBBARD on Guitars, CHRIS MERCER on Saxophones & Keyboards [ex John Mayall's Bluesbreakers], KEITH ELLIS on Bass & Vocals [ex Koobas and Van Der Graaf Generator] and PETE DOBSON on Drums and Percussion.
Sporting one of those gatefold sleeves you never forget - a nude Zelda Plum covered from head to toe in soggy fruit (she turned up at some of the early gigs and danced with the boys as they played the tune) - it promised sleazy Rock'n'Roll your mother would disapprove of. And it delivered in places too - especially when Ray Owens was at the microphone.
But therein lay the problem with this record and this band. With him to the fore, they had the kind of attention-grabbing growling vocalist they needed with a voice that sounded like a cross between Captain Beefheart and the US DJ Wolfman Jack. But of its 8 tracks only "Mississippi Woman" and "Who Do You Love" featured Owen on Lead Vocals. The others were handled by Glenn Ross Campbell ("Just One Time" and "Chicago North-Western") and Keith Ellis ("She's Mine, She's Yours", "Train", "Nadine" and "Are You Satisfied") - who were nowhere near as good. It meant that those who'd bought the single and expected more of the same felt short-changed.
Having said that - there's absolute gems on here. Their own "Mississippi Woman" is a cracking rock track while the eerie slow-paced menace of "Just One Time" has graced many of my Shop Play CD compilations - it's hard to categorize but its utterly brilliant. Their cover versions of Chuck Berry's "Nadine" and Buddy & Herb Rich's "Train" are good rather than great and "Chicago North-Western" sounds like sub-standard Allman Brothers. But it ends well on the mandolin-driven Dr. John voodoo of "Are You Satisfied". The non-album B-side is excellent too - far better than it had any right to be.
But then you're back to their rip-roaring incendiary cover of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" - it's the album's ace-in-the-hole (lyrics above). Loud, manic and positively dangerous for hip joint replacements - it sounds utterly astonishing even now - a full 40 years after the event. Half way through its radio-rattling 3-minute duration, Campbell just goes ape on the slide steel guitar and combined with Owen's fantastic vocal delivery, it often brings customers to our counter asking - "who the f**k is this!"
The sound quality is incredibly clean and crisp - full of power - while the 16-page booklet features a really detailed account by MARK POWELL of their transition from The Misunderstood of 1966 to Juicy Lucy of 1969. The UK inner gatefold is also reproduced, Chris Welch's original liner notes, there's pictures of the alternate Dutch, Mexican and New Zealand album artwork (more variations on a woman in fruit), the 7" single (UK Demo and Foreign Picture Sleeves) and Vertigo adverts for the album and the band. It's all very well done indeed.
There are some bands you're soppy for - and JUICY LUCY is one of them. And although some of the tracks on here don't quite live up to the wanton promise of that unbelievable single and that saucy-as-sin album cover - there's much that does.
A wicked little reissue really...
PS: Their 2nd Vertigo album from October 1970 "Lie Back & Enjoy It" has also been remastered and reissued by Esoteric in 2010 with a bonus track.