Cochise is another one of those bands (like Quiver, Lindisfarne, and Bronco) that never really made it's mark with music fans. This 2 CD set collects all three of the band's albums plus a couple of stray Singles. This set was remastered from the original master tapes, and has good sound. The 15 page booklet has an essay on the band, the music, and the period when they were together.
Cochise was (and I hate using this label) a "second tier" band--not a headliner-but still playing some good music. Their sound was an amalgamation of English and West Coast influences both in their music and vocal style. The band had a few personnel changes from album to album, but the mainstays--Mick Grabham on guitar, and B.J. Cole (who also played in Juicy Lucy) on steel guitar and Dobro,along with Rick Wills-bass, played on through to the last. The lead singer's spot (along with the drummer's) would change but didn't seem to hurt the band's sound.
Their first album , "Cochise", (produced by The Pretty Things Dick Taylor) was issued in 1970, and had a very distinctive cover shot of a women's breast and body looking somewhat like sand dunes by Hipgnosis, and the title, "Velvet Mountain", hmmm, what does that allude to? I can still remember seeing that album cover as an import in the record bins and thought any band that uses a photo like that has to have something going for them. And I was right--except for possibly Paul Simon's "59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)", which still sounds a bit peculiar to my ears--to each his own. But the interplay between Grabham and Cole was pretty cool sounding--tough electric guitar meshed with the sweet strains of a steel guitar.
The next album has a new vocalist which didn't really alter the band's sound much if at all. The second album "Swallow Tales" (1971) was produced by the band and their sound doesn't really change all that much, with Cole's compositions being a bit out of the ordinary. Again, Cole's and Grabham's guitars are the stars here. Check out "Down Country Girls", "Lost Hearts", and "O Come All Ye Faithful" for examples of this album's sound.
The third album, "So Far" (1972), has a different drummer but (still) retains the major players. The sound is a bit harder being produced by Vic Smith (The Jam associate), and also includes the live track "Dance Dance Dance" by Neil Young. But overall this album wasn't as good as their first effort. There's also a bit of orchestration here on "Thunder In The Crib". But by the time this album was released the band was breaking apart. A number of band members went on to have good careers in music--Grabham played with Procol Harum, Cole did session work and played with Juicy Lucy, Rick Wills and Willie Wilson played on David Gilmour's first solo album, Wills played with Foreigner, while Wilson played with Pink Floyd on "The Wall".
This is another good example of the depth of quality English bands during the late 60's/early 70's. Yes Cochise's first album is probably still the best of the three, but each album has worthwhile music for fans (like me) of this period in Britain. Should this be your next purchase? Only if you already own the albums from more well known, "better" bands from the era. But along with Quiver, Bronco, Locomotive, Skin Alley, T2, Cressida,and other lesser known bands, Cochise is worth adding to your music library because their best tunes are worth hearing as examples of another band that just didn't quite have what it took to "make it' into the big leagues.