|Atomic Rooster — Tomorrow Night
Atomic Rooster — Tomorrow Night
Birth name: Vincent Rodney Cheesman
Born: 21 May 1943. Reading, Berkshire, England
Died: 14 February 1989. Westminster, London, England
Birth name: Carl Frederick Kendall Palmer
Born: 20 March 1950. Handsworth, Birmingham, England
Location: United Kingdom
Genre: Progressive rock, Hard rock, Blues rock, Psychedelic, Funk
Years active: 1969~1975, 1980~1983, 2016~present
Album release: Oct. 14, 2018
Record Label: xx
01 Devil’s Answer
02 Play it Again
03 End of the Day
04 Tomorrow Night
05 Lost in Space
06 Lose your Mind
07 Control of You
08 She’s my Woman
09 Death Walks Behind You
10 Sleeping for Years
11 Can’t take no More
• Pete French — vocals (1971, 2016~present)
• Steve Bolton — guitar (1971~1972, 2016~present)
• Adrian Gautrey — keyboards (2017~present)
• Shug Millidge — bass guitar (2016~present)
• Bo Walsh — drums (2016~present)
• Vincent Crane
• Carl Palmer
• Nick Graham
• John Du Cann
• Paul Hammond
• Ric Parnell
• Chris Farlowe
• John Goodsall
• Preston Heyman
• Ginger Baker
• John Mizarolli
• Eamonn Carr
• Bernie Torme
• Christian Madden
Atomic Rooster — In concert 1972
BY GORDONSKENE · JUL 31, 2018
✹ Atomic Rooster — in concert — BBC Paris Theatre — 1972 — BBC Radio 1 In concert —
✹ Atomic Rooster to kick off the week. Originally formed by members of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, organist Vincent Crane and drummer Carl Palmer. Throughout their history, keyboardist Vincent Crane was the only constant member and wrote the majority of their material. Their history is defined by two periods: the early~mid~1970s and the early 1980s. The band went through radical style changes, but they are best known for the hard, progressive rock sound of their hit singles, “Tomorrow Night” (UK No. 11) and “Devil’s Answer” (UK No. 4), both in 1971.
✹ In summer 1969, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown had to cease touring in the middle of their second U.S. tour because of keyboardist Vincent Crane’s mental illness. When he recovered, he and drummer Carl Palmer took the step to leave Arthur Brown and return to England, the return date being Friday, 13 June 1969, which was the year of the rooster in the Chinese calendar, and arranged a meeting with Brian Jones to discuss a collaboration. After Jones’s death, they adopted the name Atomic Rooster (with influence from the US band Rhinoceros), and soon recruited Nick Graham on bass and vocals. They followed with what had been The Crazy World of Arthur Brown arrangement of vocals, organ, bass, and drums.
✹ They soon undertook live dates around London; at their first headlining gig at the London Lyceum on Friday, 29 August 1969, the opening act was Deep Purple. They eventually struck a deal with B & C Records and began recording their debut album in December 1969. Their first LP, Atomic Roooster, was released in February 1970, along with a single, “Friday the 13th.” By March, Crane felt it was best that they add a guitarist, and recruited John Du Cann from acid~progressive rock band Andromeda. However, just as Du Cann joined, bassist~vocalist Graham left. Du Cann (who played guitar and sang for Andromeda) took over vocal duties, whilst Crane overdubbed the bass lines on his Hammond organ with a combination of left hand and foot pedals. Atomic Rooster resumed gigging until the end of June 1970, when Carl Palmer announced his departure to join Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Ric Parnell filled the drum spot until August, when the young Paul Hammond was recruited from Farm to the drum spot. They then recorded their second album, Death Walks Behind You, released in September 1970. Originally. it was not commercially successful, as with the first album, but by February 1971, the single “Tomorrow Night” reached No. 11 in the UK Singles Chart, with the album reaching No. 12 in the UK Albums Chart. Atomic Rooster made an appearance on the Top of the Pops, and toured to support the album.
✹ In June 1971, just before they began configuring their line~up once again, the single “Devil’s Answer” hit No. 4 in the UK. Atomic Rooster began recording In Hearing of Atomic Rooster (UK No. 18). Crane felt the band needed a singer who could “project” to an audience, and asked Leaf Hound vocalist Pete French to audition for the band. Not long after French came into the studio, Crane promptly sacked Du Cann, and Paul Hammond followed him to form Bullet, later renamed Hard Stuff. French recorded all the vocals on the album (save for “Black Snake,” sung by Crane), and the album was released in August 1971.
✹ The Atomic Rooster lineup featuring Pete French on vocals, Steve Bolton on guitar, Ric Parnell on drums, and Crane on keyboards toured Italy, then across America and Canada. This lineup ended their international tour to appear at a benefit gig in September 1971 at the Oval cricket ground, appearing in front of some 65,000 people, supporting The Faces and The Who. After this concert, French moved on to sign with Atlantic records and joined the American rock band Cactus. In February 1972, Crane recruited vocalist Chris Farlowe, at that time with Colosseum, to take the place of French. They went on tour and recorded their first album together in spring 1972. They released the album Made in England along with the single “Stand by Me,” on Dawn Records. They were more into soul at this point, and the progressive and heavy rock leanings from the other releases had receded. The single did not chart and the album just barely caught any attention, but touring followed through.
✹ Guitarist Steve Bolton left at the end of 1972, and was replaced by John Goodsall, appearing under the name Johnny Mandala. They released the album Nice ‘n’ Greasy in 1973, along with the single “Save Me,” a re~working of “Friday the 13th.” This time, it was in a complete funk style. After nearly two years without any hits, Dawn Records dropped the group and Atomic Rooster began to split. After a tour, Farlowe, Mandala and Parnell left. The single “Tell Your Story, Sing Your Song” was released in March 1974 as “Vincent Crane’s Atomic Rooster” on Decca. All subsequent gigs were played by Crane along with members of the blues band Sam Apple Pie. A final concert was played in February 1975, a benefit gig for the RSPCA. Afterwards, Crane disbanded Atomic Rooster.
✹ This concert comes around the time of the release of their fourth album, Made in England.
About Gordon Skene
✹ Gordon Skene, dvojnásobný nominant Grammy, zároveň archivář, provozuje Gordon Skene Sound Archive a svojí webovou stránku, která se věnuje zachování a povzbuzení zájmu o historii a historické zprávy, události a kulturní aspekty naší společnosti. Pasat daily je jediné místo na internetu, kde můžete slyšet Nixonovu řeč, poslouchat rozhovor s Johnem Cassavettesem, nebo si pustit vysílání Charlese Muncha, který nacvičuje s Bostonskou symfonií v roce 1950. Všichni na stejném místě. Je to žijící historie — vše zde je nadčasové.
by Phil Freeman
• Atomic Rooster were one of the more interesting bands from the early ’70s UK rock scene. Organist Vincent Crane‘s melancholy lyrics, sung by others, sounded like the perspective of the guy on the bus who grabs your arm and won’t let go. This wasn’t surprising, since he had a history of mental illness. Crane got his first break in 1967, when he joined The Crazy World of Arthur Brown; he wrote the organ-and-horns arrangement for the band’s only real hit, “Fire.” During their first US tour, though, he had a nervous breakdown. He flew back to the UK and spent a few months in the Banstead Asylum. He rejoined TCWoAB in 1969, but when the band disintegrated (Brown briefly joined a commune) Crane and drummer Carl Palmer formed Atomic Rooster with bassist/vocalist Nick Graham. Their self-titled debut album was released in February 1970, but a month later Crane decided they needed a guitarist, and brought in John Du Cann; exit Graham and, three months later, Palmer, who left to start Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Between June 1969, when they formed, and March 1974, when they disbanded for the first time, Atomic Rooster had nine different lineups, employing a total of 10 members. But they also produced five surprisingly strong albums that blended funk, soul, psychedelia and hard rock.
• The debut immediately establishes the template for their sound on the first two tracks, “Friday the 13th” and “And So to Bed.” Crane drives his organ a lot harder and less jazzily than, say, Ray Manzarek of the Doors had done; Graham’s vocals have a desperation that suits the lyrics, many of which seem to revolve around themes of betrayal or bad faith; and Palmer’s drumming, while nowhere near as busy as it would get with ELP, nevertheless does a lot more than just drive the music forward. (“Decline and Fall” is an instrumental on which he gets plenty of solo space.) “Broken Wings” adds horns to an overdriven soul ballad, and the closing track, “Before Tomorrow,” is another instrumental that nudges right up to the edge of aggro jazz fusion in the vein of Tony Williams Lifetime.
• Atomic Rooster‘s second album, 1971’s Death Walks Behind You, included their biggest hit, “Tomorrow Night,” and was their most successful release. Its cover, featuring a reproduction of William Blake’s print Nebuchadnezzar on a black background, with the band’s name in a stark white font and no album title listed, makes it look like it should be an album of Black Sabbath~ish doom metal, and in fact there are some very heavy tracks, most notably “Sleeping for Years,” built around a crushing blues riff. John Du Cann‘s guitar pounds the riff home like a jackhammer, and he overdubs searing lead bursts in the corners of the stereo field, while Crane’s organ and Paul Hammond‘s primitive drums blast away. The album~opening title track begins with haunted~house piano and off~putting guitar squeals, before launching into a slow groove that makes you want to nod your head like a pacing elephant. “I Can’t Take No More,” despite its title, is actually a pretty high~energy, garage~rockin’ tune with an excited vocal performance from Du Cann.
• The follow~up, In Hearing Of Atomic Rooster, had a chaotic birth: Crane brought in singer Pete French of Leaf Hound, which undoubtedly pissed off Du Cann. The guitarist was fired, and Hammond left with him. They formed Bullet, who changed their name to Hard Stuff and released two albums (reviewed here) before breaking up. French’s vocals were very different from Du Cann’s; they mostly had a more conventional blues~rock quality, reminiscent of Free/Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers, but he could also tone it down for ballads. Crane plays more piano on In Hearing Of…, and Du Cann’s guitar is low in the mix, moving the music in a jazzy/proggy direction not that far from Van der Graaf Generator. Two instrumentals, “A Spoonful of Bromide Helps the Pulse Rate Go Down” and “The Rock,” are excellent; the latter features horns, again.
• The fourth Atomic Rooster album, Made In England, originally came wrapped in blue denim. Later pressings had a standard cardboard sleeve. It also featured another new lineup (Chris Farlowe on vocals, Steve Bolton on guitar, and Ric Parnell on drums), and a major shift in musical style. Crane had added an ARP synthesizer to his arsenal, alongside Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, and piano, and Farlowe, formerly of jazz~rock group Colosseum, was much happier singing over simmering grooves than hard~charging progressive rock, and the album’s first track, “Time Take My Life,” draws a line in the sand with the addition of not just horns, but strings as well. “Stand By Me,” the single (and not a cover), featured funky bass and Isaac Hayes~esque wah~wah guitar; the instrumental “Breathless” brought Crane’s piano up front as the band surged behind him; and while “All In Satan’s Name” seemed to return to the band’s old style, the lyrics (by Parnell) offered an antiwar message rather than Crane’s romantic desperation.
• Farlowe and Parnell stuck around for 1975’s Nice ‘n’ Greasy, but Bolton departed, replaced by John Goodsall (credited as “Johnny Mandala”). It was their fifth album, but since the debut had never been released in the US, it was retitled Atomic Rooster IV there and given a different track listing — “Goodbye Planet Earth” and “Satan’s Wheel” were cut, and “Moods” and “What You Gonna Do” were added. The album also features an aggressive, horn~heavy remake of “Friday the 13th,” retitled “Save Me,” and a cover of soul songwriter Jackie Avery’s “Voodoo in You.” It’s the bluesiest Atomic Rooster album by far, settling deep into the groove and punching the songs home.
• Crane reformed Atomic Rooster in 1980. They made two more albums: a second self~titled disc and Headline News. In 1989, he overdosed on painkillers.
• All five of the band’s first run of albums are included in the new box set Sleeping For Years: The Studio Recordings 1970~1974, along with non-album singles, the alternate tracks from the US versions of their albums, and a few demos. Anyone interested in this multifaceted and underrated band should absolutely buy it. (Get it from Amazon.) A lot of early ’70s rock is great, but it can blur together — Atomic Rooster‘s music stands out.
Roger Dean: https://gallery.rogerdean.com/
✹ „Život je takový, jaký si ho uděláš. Pro mě je to pokračující dobrodružství. Vzestupy a sestupy. A bylo spousta obojího!“
|Atomic Rooster — Tomorrow Night