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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Peggy’s Leg “Grinilla” 1973 Irish Psych Prog Rock

Peggy’s Leg  “Grinilla” 1973 Irish mega rare Psych Prog Rock
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The Irish quartet Peggy's Leg issued a rare 1973 album, Grinilla, pressed in a quantity of only 500 copies, and sold primarily to fans in their region. The record's a dull fusion of progressive rock with mellower folk-rock-ish sounds, dominated by lengthy multi-sectioned tracks, and prone to some simplistic hippie-dippy lyrical philosophizing. Lead guitarist Jimi Slevin went on to join Skid Row.... by Richie Unterberger...~


Peggy's Leg had always appeared to me as something of a mystery. A musical myth of legend and folklore. I had never seen a picture of any band member let alone the album, an album which to Irish collectors was something of a holy grail regardless of music genre. Those who claimed to actually have a copy of the only album that Peggy's Leg released, Grinilla, were quite impressed with themselves as being part of an exclusive club. Only 500 were pressed and no one knows how many of these actually exist. But a few years back an Italian private pressing emerged, though still limited to 200, which dispersed as soon as they were pressed. And finally getting my hands on a copy was quite bizarre and unexpected, yet very exciting. Even the album artwork is bizarre. It's a black and white drawing of a gorilla dressed in a space suit, he has a huge banana on his back thats fed to him via a tube and the gorilla has this huge evil grin on his face! Cool. 

A mixture of classical, jazz, rock, light jazz-rock, prog wrapped up in a psychedelic sensibility this album is indeed a very strange and unique experience, and rather than being pompous or bordering on pretension like perhaps the Nice or ELP, Peggy's Leg have this innocent naiveness about their music, though full of passion as "Think For Yourself" testifies, and the musicianship throughout is very tight, Peggy's Leg are always very competent juxtaposing hard and fast distorted riffing with smooth and delicate acoustic passages and intricate time signatures, and it can take a few turns to get to grips with the six selections on offer. How Irish audiences, who were rather conservative at best in the early 70's, took to Peggy's Leg is a mystery, and it took many acts to find success away from home before being accepted at home. For example, Thin Lizzy were nothing in Ireland until they went to London and built their reputation up there, and when they came back home they were treated like superstars, typical Irish trait unfortunately. But it would seem that Peggy's Leg were never given that opportunity and for 1973 were maybe too eclectic or "weird" to be accepted but they were truly ahead of their time and peerless, at least on the Irish scene, which is perhaps one of the reasons they disappeared without trace, but fortunately enough they recorded this stunning piece of work that is hard to find but discovery will be very rewarding. 

To hear the subtle change from one style to the next, as on "Into The Nightmare", is a worthwhile experience. And just as you settle into that mood a flurry of electric harmony guitar riffing from Jimmy Gibson and Jimmy Slevin kicks in accompanied by some machine gun drumming from Don Harris before gently easing in to where we started with a smooth lyric that's pure psychedelia. This is par for the course here, and every tune is wonderfully constructed and thoughtout. The lyric content is very dreamlike with allusions of mythical places and stoned out visions, references to Hitler, plagues and disease. Obviously they had a short time to record this album, the vocals certainly do show limitations, and though it is excellently frenetic in places musically, it would definitely have benefited from a more forgiving mix, and the vocals with some extra manipulation could have been more that edge it lacks if the drama the lyrics demand and in turn they do sound rather slight and even unfinished. 

And if anyone is familiar with the classical piece "Sabre Dance" written by Khatschaturian, there is a version here that is mind-blowing fast with a heavy chocked riff doubled with the bass of Vincent Duffy and ends the album on a high. Rumour is that this may have been released recently on CD though only available over the internet from Jimmy Slevin's own website and if available I recommend prog rock fans to get their hands on a copy. Grinilla is an extremely rare Irish prog album that could be the soundtrack to many an Irish myth or legend with a timeless quality and a very enjoyable collection of songs and stories from a forgotten era of Irish progressive music, as rare as it already is ....by...jonnydeluxe ...~


Grinilla was the only album made by this short-lived Irish band. They play prog rock with lots of folk influences and some strong guitarwork. In my opinion the record is a satisfying totality with interesting material to offer. The album is a pretty balanced one and therefore it's quite hard to choose any clear standout tracks. All of the songs are entertaining and quite strong. 

The original pressing was limited to 500 copies so it's a pretty rare collector's item nowadays. I'm actually quite surprised that this LP isn't more famous. It's mostly remembered by record collector's but it should be listened by everyone who likes progressive rock. Recommended for the genre fans. Almost four stars....by...CooperBolan .......~


In late 1972 Jimi Sleven formed Peggy's Leg with drummer Don Harris, guitarist Jimmy Gibson and bassist Vincent Duffy. This lineup worked wonders from the word go and in no time were topping the local popularity polls. In '73 they were voted Best New Group, Don Harris Best Drummer and Jimi Best Guitarist, and appeared live at the New Spotlight poll winners concert in Dublin's National Stadium. 

The Leg played all over Ireland bringing their unique sound as far west as Achill Island, where they played in the legendary Wavecrest Hotel, and also appeared regularly at Donal Corvin's 'Gonzo's Rock Palace' in Moran's Hotel in Dublin, then one of the premiere rock venues in the country. The Leg also played regularly at venues throughout Northern Ireland despite the tragedy of the Miami Showband massacre where Jimi lost a good friend and possible future Leg member in that most talented and genial of Dubliners, the great Tony Geraghty. 

In late 1973, and by this time under the management of John Dee, one time member of the Irish cult band Mushroom, Peggy's Leg recorded the album 'Grinilla', a work comprising five lengthy original compositions and a version of Saber Dance largely modeled on the Dave Edmonds' Love Sculpture hit. 

Grinilla was well received by critics and fans alike at the time, and although it was recorded in only a few days (23 studio hours) and with a minimum of overdubs or time to correct mistakes, still ranks as a fine work and has become a much sought after collector's item. An original copy in good condition can fetch thousands of Euros. Jimi's re-mastered and greatly improved CD version was licensed to the London-based Kissing Spell label, but is now back in the band's possession since late 2005. 

The original Peggy's Leg line-up stayed together for six months or so after the Grinilla release when Vincent Duffy decided to do his own thing. Vince was replaced after a long search by the talented Martin Biseneiks on keyboards and finally by the wonderful John Brady on bass. In 1975 Jimi decided to leave the Leg, and again under the management of John Dee, joined Brush Shiels, Nollaig Bridgeman and Timmy Creedon in the reformed Skid Row. Peggy's Leg stayed together for a few months with the brilliant Eric Bell replacing Jimi on guitar, but disbanded shortly afterwards.... Jimi Slevin's ....~


Personnel: 

Jimi Slevin — guitars, vocals 
Jimmy Gibson — guitars, vocals 
Vincent Duffy — bass 
Don Harris — drums, percussion 



Tracklist 
A1 History Tells
A2 Think Of Yourself
A3 Variations For Huxley
B1 Into The Nightmare
B2 Just Another Journey
B3 Sabre Dance 

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