Sunday, 21 June 2015

"The Best Of" by ASHTON, GARDNER & DYKE (featuring Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Stan Webb of Chicken Shack). A Review Of The 1999 Repertoire CD Compilation - Reissued In 2010...

(2010 CD Reissue Sleeve Above)

(1999 CD Sleeve Above)

"…Advocating Love….But You Don’t Know Why…"

In 1964 THE REMO FOUR managed two UK 7" singles on the Pye offshoot label Piccadilly and a further attempt at stardom in 1967 on Fontana - each are sought after 45's now. The band included Keyboard Player and Lead Vocalist TONY ASHTON and Drummer ROY DYKE. Not getting anywhere for 4 years (they never got an album out) - in 1968 the duo then teamed up with Bass Player KIM GARDNER of THE CREATION and formed - ASHTON, GARDNER & DYKE. And that's where this rather cool little CD compilation comes in…

Originally released in 1999 on Repertoire 4835-WG (Barcode 4009910483527) - this is a March 2010 CD Reissue of “The Best Of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke” on Repertoire REP 5141 (Barcode 4009910514122). It comes with different ‘band and a gramophone’ artwork (the original had a red side-profile photo - see above) and breaks down as follows (75:52 minutes):

1. The Resurrection Shuffle
2. Ballad Of The Remo Four
3. Let It Roll
4. Billy And His Piano With...
5. I'm Your Spiritual Breadman
6. Hymn To Everyone
7. Maiden Voyage
8. Why Did You Go
9. New York Mining Disaster
10. The Falling Song
11. Oh Mathilda
12. Momma's Getting Married
13. What A Bloody Long Day It's Been
14. Rolling Home
15. Can You Get It
16. I'm Dying For You
17. Paper Head, Paper Mind
18. You, Me And A Friend Of Mine
19. It's Gonna Be High Tonight
20. Picture Sliding Down The Wall

Track 1 is "The Resurrection Shuffle" - their 2nd UK single and their most famous hit. It's a non-album track and was released on Capitol CL 15665 in January 1971. Its B-side is Track 6 - "Hymn To Everyone" from "The Worst Of" album.

Tracks 2, 13 and 19 are from their 3rd album "What A Bloody Long Day It's Been" - released February 1972 in the UK on Capitol Records EA-ST 22862. 

Tracks 3, 5, 6, 12 and 17 are from their 2nd album "The Worst Of" - released February 1971 in the UK on Capitol Records E-ST 563. Produced in part by JON LORD of Deep Purple. Track 5 “I’m Your Spiritual Breadman” features both ERIC CLAPTON and GEORGE HARRISON under pseudonyms. 

Tracks 4, 8, 9, 10, 14 and 20 are from their debut album "Ashton, Gardner & Dyke" - released 1969 in the UK on Polydor Records 583 081.

Track 7 is "Maiden Voyage (Single Version)", their debut 7" single released 1969 in the UK on Polydor 56306 (it's B-side "The Sun In My Eyes" is not included on here). It's a genuine rarity on vinyl and currently listed at £80+ in value.

Tracks 11, 16 and 18 are from their 4th and last album "The Last Rebel", a soundtrack released on Capitol Records 1C 062-80964 in Holland in 1973. Tracks 18 and 16 were also the A&B sides of a Dutch 7" single on Capitol Records 1C 006-81012.

Track 15 is "Can You Get It" - a non-album track issued as the A-side of a UK 7" single on Capitol CL 15684 in May 1971 (failed to chart). Its B-side was "Delirium" (not included here either).

The problem with A, G & D was "The Resurrection Shuffle" (lyrics above) - an absolutely storming upbeat pop single that peaked at Number 3 in the UK charts in early 1971 after huge radio-play. To say it was popular at the time is an understatement. Like Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air" in 1969 - it was beloved - an instant classic that's remembered with huge affection even to this day (Clarence Clemons - Springsteen's sadly passed saxophonist - did a fab cover of it on his "Rescue" album in 1983). But it had the effect of obliterating everything else in its path because all after that seemed like a disappointment - especially the lame follow-up "Can You Get It" which was essentially a poor man's rethread of RS. Worse - in common practice with the times Shuffle was a non-album track - so even if you went out and bought the "The Worst Of" LP that surrounded the single - it wasn't on there. Throw in the fact that nothing on the LP matched it or even sounded similar - then it's easy to see why the group failed to capitalize on that initial firestorm. The end result for A, G & D is that are now remembered as a one-hit wonder - yet they managed 4 albums - most of which are very hard to find - and more than deserve a bit of a reappraisal. A big (uncredited) draw for fans of the album track “I’m Your Spiritual Breadman” from “The Worst Of” LP (used as the B-side to the American 45 of “Resurrection Shuffle on Capitol 3060) was the twin guitars by Sir Cedric Clayton and George O’Hara Smith – ERIC CLAPTON and GEORGE HARRISON under pseudonyms. 

The first album sounds very Procol Harum circa "A Salty Dog" and their superb cover version of The Bee Gees' "New York Mining Disaster 1941" has echoes of "Everyday" by Yes - it's a very cool track in a trippy Sixties kind of way. The instrumental "Billy And His Piano With" rollicks along very nicely while the funky rock of "Let It Roll" is a very Juicy Lucy album track kind of listen. I also like the live "Momma's Getting Married" which bombs along with great vocals from the gruff-sounding Ashton. “Let It Roll” features STAN WEBB from Chicken Shack on Guest Guitar with Rolling Stones favourite Jim Price on Trumpets. “Paper Head, Paper Mind” features MICK LIBER (spelt Lieber on the cover) from Medicine Head and Third Army on Guitar with the hugely experienced CHRIS BARBER on Trumpets. JON LORD of Deep Purple fame produced the lovely string arrangements of “The Falling Song”. Lord (accompanied by The Royal Liverpool Symphony Orchestra) appears again as songwriting partner with Tony Ashton on “Oh Mathilda & The Pool Game (The Brothel)” and the instrumental “You, Me And A Friend Of Mine” from the rare “Last Rebel” soundtrack album (I’ve never seen the film starring Joe Namath in the title role). 

It doesn't say who remastered what, but the songs are licensed from Tony Ashton so we can presume he has his own masters - the sound quality is uniformly great and the playing time generous. The dull artwork does it no favours and the 3-way foldout 6-page inlay is basic to say the least, but it's the sound I'm after - and its real good. It's not all brilliant by any means, but there are goodies on here worth rediscovering. 

Tony Ashton spent time with Medicine Head and Family and then joined up with Jon Lord of Deep Purple and Ian Paice in the mid Seventies to some success on Polydor. Kim Gardner went into Badger while Ron Dyke recorded with several bands in Germany...

This is not a CD you see every day of the week, but I’d urge you to seek it out...

ASHTON, GARDNER & DYKE and bands like them are part of my e-Book:

"SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1960s annd 1970s Volume 1" 

Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


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