on 23 February 2004
Zoot Money, John Mayall and Graham Bond were the 'big three' British R&B bands in the mid 60s. Each had their own character: Zoot added humour to the music, John was the purist, and Graham was simply Graham. But of the three, only Mayall achieved commercial success over the longer term.
I never saw Graham's Organisation play live, only seeing him later on his return from America, but I did see the other two on several occasions. Zoot's band was just as powerful as Mayall's. But I think Zoot was never taken as seriously as he needed, in order to really 'make it big'. Dropping his trousers on stage was great (even if you were a straight male like me!) but it kind of put him in a 'Barron Knights' and 'Freddie and the Dreamers' sort of category. Hard driving music for sure, but somehow not sufficiently intense to crack America. Hey, who's gonna take him serioously when he throws his shoes into the audience and drops his trousers in the middle of a heavy R&B song???
But Zoot was great, and the guys in my band would always go to the club if Zoot was playing. It was like a law of nature - if Zoot was on, you went. And he was always fantastic. This album captures the period perfectly, it's very well recorded because Klook's Kleek was next door to the recording studio and they used to run a cable out the window and into the club. That's why several of these mid 60s bands recorded live albums there. It's a unique record of a unique period, when 'big names' played small clubs. It only lasted for a short period: some, like Mayall, went to the US, the others faded away, and the clubs closed.
Zoot never really became a 'Big Time Operator' in the music scene, but who cares? This album is very good, and if you want the *real* 60s, as opposed to what people tell you it was, this is it!
on 10 February 2004
This CD is a faithful repro of my favourite LP. You can smell the stale Watney's Red Barrel and see the man himself prancing and sweating around the stage. Great to hear some magical musicians at work, too - Paul Williams's bass playing and the sax of Johnnie Almond are veritable music to an old fogie's ears. I never saw Zoot and the band at Klook's Kleek despite living just round the corner but I saw them plenty of other places and this brings it all back.
on 3 July 2011
Wow! What a great album! Had a worn out vinyl copy about 40 plus years ago, but it was so scratched it wouldn't play properly, so it's terrific to be able to hear it again.
A top band, with many members who went on to forge long term careers (Andy Summers on guitar, who subsequently joined the Police; John Almond, Colin Allen and Paul Williams, who played with John Mayall and many others; Nick Newell, who has done sessions with a huge number of influential bands since the 60s). John Almond sadly died about a year ago, but his great sax and flute playing will live on.
Zoot Money and Paul Williams are both strong and soulful singers, and the whole band oozes professionalism, class, and above all, fun! I love Money's big Hammond organ sound, in the days when bands carted around unsplit Hammonds that weighed a ton! They don't sound like that any more!
Nicely packaged, with good liner notes, but no additional tracks, as the unused ones were junked - doh!
Strongly recommended for all those who love R&B, blues and soul, and the album gives a good idea of the sheer quality of such bands plying their trade in the 60s.