Top positive review
14 people found this helpful
on 1 June 2006
MAY BLITZ, briefly an integral part of the UK heavy underground live music scene, were formed by ex-Jeff Beck Group member Tony Newman (drums), who recruited Canadians James Black (lead guitar, vocals) and Reid Hudson (bass and vocals) in 1969. There were many such "power trios" around at the time most famously Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Groundhogs and Bakerloo. Their debut album "May Blitz" was released on Vertigo (6360 007) in 1970 but despite containing some excellent original heavy music sold moderately. The album has very good sound quality and production, the distinctive cover was designed by NME cartoonist Tony Benyon. I managed to get hold of an original copy some years ago and in recent years this album and the follow-up "2nd of May" have each been reissued by Akarma on vinyl and both albums together on a "Beat Goes On" cd BGOCD153.
The first track "Smokin' the Day Away" , a smoke in the country away from the "smoke" starts slowly, almost ponderously, and develops into a jam before returning to the main theme, my favourite song, it is very effective i can almost "smell" that stuff! It also contains some fine drum work and unusual metallic sounding guitar effects. "I Don't Know" , which has another "back to the country" theme is a lazy bluesey number which contains some fine guitar work which snakes its way along. "Dreaming", as the title suggests, is a slow dreamy song with acoustic guitar and shimmering cymbals, then momentarily speeds up into a frenzy of screaming "Arthur Brown" style half-sung vocals, fast tom toms and slide guitar. "Squeet" ("squeet all over the wall?...what could they possibly be talking about??) is an unusual song which develops into a boogie-style jam, "Tomorrow May Come", a dream of a better world, is a slow and ethereal song with echoed vocals, drums and guitar, this mood changes into the fast-paced "Fire Queen" with screaming vocals and thundering drums. Waves lapping introduce the last track "Virgin Waters", a beautiful song about first love, containing some lovely effects, whispered vocals, brilliant drumming and echoey acoustic guitar which build to a heavy climax.
Overall a brilliant group and an amazing album, definitely more "gem" than "lost", an essential addition to any progressive Psych/Space Rock collection!
The 1971 follow-up to "May Blitz", "The 2nd of May" featured similarly grotesque artwork on the cover and contained eight excellent tracks, but sold poorly, probably due to lack of air play.
The album kicks off with "For Mad Men Only", with a heavy fuzzy power chord guitar and driving beat, it contains some great riffs and solos, certainly a sign of things to come as they are similar to bands such as Black Sabbath. This track also reminds me of the typical heavy sound from UK underground Psyche/Space rock band "Stray". The style of vocals in "Snakes and Ladders" sounds reminiscent of Hendrix, has a strong bass line, fuzz power chords which sound very Black Sabbath indeed. There are echoed backing vocals and "space" effects swirling around, now we're in Hawkwind territory! "The 25th of December" as you'd guess is a Christmas song which swings along beautifully, occasionally leading into whispered vocals and a jazzy style rhythm and bluesy guitar. "In Part" is a jazzy style number which has a flute playing in the background, funny thing the vocals are half sung half spoken, almost rap-like, which leads into a fine drum solo. I don't care what anyone says, i love 'em!! The next track on the cd is called "8 Mad Grim Nits", not sure who they refer to but it is a crazy fast jazzy jam featuring very fast drum and bass playing and some wild fuzzy, phased over- amped lead guitar, really sounds like they had a lot of fun doing this one! Here's another group i would have loved to have seen live. "High Beech" is a beautiful folky song overlaid with watery acoustic guitars and nice lyrics, "shadows spring to life", "today is the beginning of the rest of our lives". "Honey Coloured Time" is another beautiful song about our hypocritical world with hushed vocals, which includes some fine jazz style guitar and bass and a Hendrix style ending, talk about mixing styles. "Just Thinking" is a ponderous, dreamy love song, very laid back, and features some interesting echoed "squeaky" guitar effects.
I enjoy listening to this album very much and it's a shame May Blitz didn't do more after they were dropped from Vertigo. James Black and Reid Hudson returned to Canada and Tony Newman went on to work with such artists as Three Man Army, Marc Bolan, David Bowie & Mick Ronson, Chris Spedding and David Coverdale's Whitesnake. IMO an essential addition to any Prog/Space/Psyche collection.