Even More One Album Wonders

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2014 12:11pm | Post a Comment
The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. During that period, for any number of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album -- Perfect for completists on a budget! Here's Part III of a look at some of my favorite "one album wonders."


Margo Guryan - Take a Picture
Margo Guryan was born in Far Rockaway, New York in 1937. Her first credit as a recorded songwriter was for a Chris Connor single in 1958. Over the years, many artists have recorded her compositions although “Sunday Mornin’” and “Think of Rain” are probably her most-recorded songs.

In 1968, Guryan recorded her only solo album for Bell Records, Take A Picture. It revealed Guryan to have a breathy singing voice which worked well with the album's pleasantly-arranged pop compositions. The album probably had a better chance of selling if only Guryan had been interested in promoting it or playing live but she seems to have been content to let it sell on its own merits to fans of 
sunshine pop who were destined to discover it in time. Since its release she's returned to professional songwriting and Take a Picture has been re-released on both vinyl and aluminum discs, and for download several times.


Trader Horne - Morning Way

Trader Horne were a folk-rock duo formed by Jackie McAuley and Judy Dyble in London in 1969. Irish McAuley had, in 1965, played organ in Them and later been a member of The Freaks of Nature and The Belfast Gypsies. English Dyble had been a member of Fairport Convention before she was replaced by the great, Sandy Denny

Trader Horne cut a promo for Pye and a single, “Here Comes The Rain” for Dawn in 1970 which wasn’t included on their sole release, Morning Way (1970), after the release of which the two members parted ways a. McAuley soon after released a solo record in 1971 and went on to have a long career as a sideman and session musician. In the 1980s he formed Poor Mouth and returned to a solo career in the 1990s. Dyble too still performs regularly and releases solo records less so.

Morning Way has been re-released on compact disc and download

Bradford Shouting Quietly

It's easy to see what attracted Morrissey to the band, Bradford, comprised of five young suedeheads from Blackburn, Lancashire (Ian Michael Hodgson, Ewan Butler, John Baulcombe, Jos Murphy, and Mark Andrew McVitie) who wrote pleasantly jangly and literate pop songs that fall somewhere in between the styles of Moz himself, Aztec Camera, and Elvis Costello (in other words, they sounded a bit like Gene or Echobelly did before either of those bands had formed). 

Bradford formed in 1987, the year that The Smiths split up, and were one of the first saddled with "the Next Smiths" tag by the perpetually premature British music press. Perhaps not helping them escape the comparisons, Morrissey covered their first single, "Skin Storm," which also holds the less interesting distinction of being the first CD single released by an independent label. 

Another single followed, "Tattered, Tangled & Torn" before they signed to Midnight Music, whose planned release of what would've been their eponymous debut mini-album was cancelled. Bradford then signed with Stephen Street's label, Foundation, and released Shouting Quietly. Sales were disappointing and despite high profile slots as openers of James, Joe Strummer, Morrissey, Primal Scream, and The Sugarcubes, they quietly stopped shouting. 

Hodgson went on to form Acoustic Uprising and play in a Clash tribute band, Butler wrote and performed with rapper Ithaka, Murphy plays in a Morrissey tribute act, Baulcombe played with Merchandise and Dave Rowley's Black Country whilst McVittie was arrested on child pornography charges. Despite their relatively high profile, they are one of the many bands whose music cannot be found on Pandora.


The Fat Truckers - The First Fat Truckers Album is For Sale

The Fat Truckers were a band comprised of Ben Rymer, Mark Hudson, Ross Orton, and occasionally aided by Jason Buckle (then of Ginger Dave and soon of Relaxed Muscle. The music was crude, abrasive and witty, somewhat in the vein of bands like Supermarket, Suicide, and fellow Sheffielders, Cabaret Voltaire

Rymer had made electronic music as The Gasman in the mid-1990s but the group came together in 2000 and performed the vocals on Add N to (X)'s best song, "Monster Bobby." They released one brilliant album, The Fat Truckers First Album is for Sale on their own Roadtrain Recordings in 2003 which was inevitably linked to the then-popular electroclash scene before splitting up. Afterwards Orton went into production, Rymer DJed with Gucci Soundsystem, and Hudson formed the band, Meat For A Dark Day.


Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth

It's not exactly a mystery to me how a nation as small as Wales can produce so much truly awful rock music. Most of the biggest Welsh rock bands of the 1980s and '90s were just awful. Kevin Shields put forth the theory that Tony Blair's government pumped money into promoting Britpop and Cool Britannia -- but can anything adequately explain the popularity of Wales' Manic Street Preachers?

I once made an internet station of Welsh Rock to see if there was any better rock from Cymru. I ultimately deleted it because other than confirming my velvety soft spot for Gene Loves Jezebel, it only turned me onto one band of genius -- Young Marble Giants. It wasn't the first time I'd heard of them but even on '80s college radio stations they were far from staples.

Young Marble Giants formed in Caerdydd from the ashes of the band True Wheel. The band were Alison Statton, and brothers 
Philip and Stuart Moxham. They released Colossal Youth in 1980 which became Rough Trade's second-biggest seller (for a time) and then they split up. After their dissolution Stuart Moxham went on to form The Gist. Statton went on to play with Ian Devine, formerly of Ludus, and form Weekend (later known as Working Week). Philip Moxham went on to play with a host of acts. After a long break, the band have reunited several times and still together perform on occasion.


The Monks - Black Monk Time

The Monks were comprised of German-based American GIs Dave Day, Eddie Shaw, Gary Burger, Larry Clark, and Roger Johnston. The five formed the The 5 Torquays before and were discovered by German art students Karl-Heinz Remy and Walther Niemann who transformed them into monastic makers of raw garage-punk of the highest order.

The Monks recorded just one album, Black Monk Time, in 1966 for Polydor Records. The strangeness, rawness, and repetitiveness -- not dissimilar to their peers in Music Machine and The Red Krayola -- come from a Bermuda Triangle located between frat rock, psychedelia, and krautrock
A line-up of The Monks comprised partly of new members reunited in 1999; now older and with alopecia in some cases giving them natural tonsures. Original guitarist/vocalist Burger died in 2014 from pancreatic cancer.


Wolfgang Riechmann - Wunderbar

Wolfgang Riechmann's career as a professional musician began in 1966. The following year he joined Spirits of Sound, which also included Michael Rother and Wolfgang Flür, both of whom would go on to join Kraftwerk (Rother would later co-found Neu!). In 1972 Riechmann joined another Dusseldorf band, Phön-x. In 1976 he joined veteran band Streetmark on guitar, keyboards, and vocals. 

In 1977 and '78, Riechmann recorded his solo album, Wunderbar, playing all the instruments (guitar, electric piano, bass, vibraphone and Arp synthesizers ) with support on electronic drums from Hans Schweiß. The songs are mostly instrumental (there are occasional wordless vocals), distant yet majestic, and pleasantly icy -- somewhat comparable to the '70s/early '80s output of Kitaro or Jean Michel Jarre.
Sadly, Reichman died in August of 1978 after he was knifed, apparently randomly, by two assailants.

Wunderbar was released shortly after his death and the album cover showed Riechamann sporting a blue and white appearance that Gary Numan seems to have liked enough to revive six years after. Wunderbar has since been re-released on vinyl and compact disc several times.

The Great Unwashed - Clean Out of Our Minds

and Hamish Kilgour famously founded one of New Zealand's most respected bands, The Clean, with Peter Gutteridge and Douglas Hood in 1978. Sadly for their fans, they broke up in the early '80s. The Hamish brothers and Gutteridge then formed The Great Unwashed with Ross Humphries, formerly of The Pin Group, in the place of Hood -- Robert Scott, who'd later joined The Clean, went off to form The Bats.

All parties involved were part of Christchurch's legendary Flying Nun Records stable so it should come as no surprise that the Unwashed recorded their sole album, Clean Out of Our Minds for them in 1983. Despite their new band's name and the album title being obviously and consciously oppositional to "The Clean," the end result fits were hardly at odds with the output of the Kilgour brothers' previous band if a bit looser and evincing more influence of psychedelia (especially Syd Barrett and 13th Floor Elevators). 

The Great Unwashed proved to be short-lived and ended with The Clean reformed for the first of several occasions. David Kilgour went on to have a solo career whilst Gutteridge later joined Snapper (and other bands) and also recorded as a solo artist. The Great Unwashed's only studio album was later released on CD by Exiled Records.

Mother Love Bone - Apple

Although Mother Love Bone were credited with attracting major label attention to Seattle, their musical sensibility (and Wood's sartorial) were decidedly at odd with the horde of ripped-jeans-and-ripped-abs tortured bros that would come to characterize grunge after its crossover.

Mother Love Bone were led by Mississippi-born singer Andrew Wood -- or
Landrew the Love Child -- whose band Malfunkshun had been snubbed by Sup Pop, apparently for not being grunge enough -- but who were included on C/Z Records' seminal Deep Six (1986) compilation. The rest of the band were Bruce Fairweather, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard (both formerly of Green River), and Greg Gilmore (formerly of 10 Minute Warning and Skinyard), who first assembled in 1988.

Whilst most of Mother Love Bone's Seattle area peers like Gilmore's 10 Minute Warning, The Melvins, Soundgarden, Nirvana, The U-Men (and to an extent, Wood's former band) combined the influence of hardcore punk with the sludge of early heavy metal, Mother Love Bone unabashedly owed more to '70s arena rock and glam

Wood was a charismatic, androgynous, and sometimes goofy frontman who seemed to understand and seriously embrace the silliness of good time rock but behind his cherubic appearance there was a dark side. Wood wrested with a heroin addiction that saw him go to rehab at least twice. Sadly,  he overdosed and died in 1990, two days before the planned release of Mother Love Bone's debut. 

After his death, Wood's former roommate and Soundgarden's singer, Chris Cornell, formed Temple of the Dog with Ament, Gossard, and other musicians who would end up forming Pearl Jam. Fairweather joined the band Love Battery. Wood would also be honored Alice in Chains's "Would?" and Faster Pussycat's "Mr. Lovedog."
 In 2005, Scot Barbour released a touching documentary titled Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story.


The Free Spirits - Out of Sight and Sound

With a few exceptions (notably Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, The Graham Bond Organisation, and The Doors), jazz and rock musicians moved tended to travel in separate circles until the late 1960s when jazz musicians Gary Burton, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and others created fusionLater, rock groups like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, and the bands of the Canterbury Scene would incorporate jazz instrumentation and improvisation in what has sometimes been called jazz rock.

Located somewhere in the middle of fusion and jazz-rock (but definitely closer to the later) were New York City's The Free Spirits, comprised of Bob Moses, Chris Hills, Columbus Baker, Jim Pepper, and Larry Coryell. Drummer Bob Moses had previously played with Roland Kirk and guitarist Larry Coryell had been introduced on Chico Hamilton's soul jazz classic, The Dealer, in 1966.

The Free Spirits released Out of Sight and Sound on ABC Records in 1967. Although it's a fine collection of music, the union proved to be short. With double tracked vocals, and liberal use of sitar, it probably holds more appeal for fans of pop psych or sunshine pop than it does for serious rock or jazz heads -- which is part of its breezy, easy appeal.

After The Free Spirits moved apart, Moses has enjoyed a long career as a musician and instructor. Chris Hills and Columbus Baker formed the free funk band, Everything is Everything who, in 1971 (and in collaboration with vocalist Chico Walters) released Comin' Outta The Ghetto. Jim Pepper had a fairly long career as a solo artist before passing away in 1992. Coryell went on to have a long, respected career as a bandleader and sideman that continues into the present. 

That's it for this installment. I'll return with more "one album wonders" soon. Until then!

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