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16 Nov 2016

Blackfoot Sue “Nothing To Hide” 1973 UK Glam Pop Rock

Blackfoot Sue  “Nothing To Hide” 1973 excellent UK Glam Pop Rock
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Blackfoot Sue are remembered today, if at all, for their one-off UK hit, Standing In The Road, a 1972 no.4. Helmed by twins Tom and David Farmer, their ‘classic’ lineup included guitarists Eddie Golga and Alan Jones, all but Jones doubling on keyboards when required. Their official site mentions that they bought a Mellotron, but never took it on the road, in which case, why bother? Why not just hire one when you need it? Odd. Anyway, their third (non-album) single, Summer, is an atypically gentle number, sometimes referred to as being part of the 'Seasons Suite’, although I can’t trace any references to the longer work. It features a few Mellotron flute pitchbends for good measure, although it’s some way off 'Mellotron classic’ status. 

They released their only album to appear during their 'lifespan’, Nothing to Hide, in 1973, bullishly containing no singles, while featuring a vicious put-down of the then-current glam scene, Glittery Obituary. The album’s peak, though, is the ripping The Spring Of '69, a condensed heavy epic on a par with the genre’s market leaders. Although there’s no Mellotron on the original record, it’s the easiest place to find the aforementioned Summer, one of no fewer than five bonus tracks on Repertoire’s mid-'90s CD issue, although, oddly, the track’s ('Tron-free) b-side, the rather average Morning Light, has been added to their follow-up. 

This unluckiest of band’s said follow-up, Strangers, was recorded in 1974, but not released until '77, and then only in the States, just as the band were splitting up. The bulk of it comprises workaday hard rock-lite, until halfway through side two, when they suddenly lurch into an eleven-minute instrumental prog epic, 1812 (apparently a live fave), complete with musical quotes from Tchaikovsky’s piece, church bells, cannon fire and a studio trickery-assisted lengthy Mellotron choir chord at the end. It’s not the only 'Tron on the album; Joining Together, while not a great song, features a full-on strings part, although it does little to improve the track. As on Summer, no-one’s credited, so it could be either of the Farmers or Golga. 

Blackfoot Sue were, at heart, a hard rock band who never really gained enough audience credibility to break through commercially, despite some fine album tracks. As their site says, in the early '70s you were either a 'serious’ album artist, or you had hits. They had a hit, cogito ergo sum. Or something. Although their first album’s noticeably better than their second, it doesn’t contain 1812, so if you really want to hear this lot properly, you’re going to need both, as 1812 doesn’t appear on any compilation (although, sensibly, The Spring Of '69 does). Incidentally, the band later morphed into Liner, a cheeso late-'70s mainstream band whose one, eponymous album is a classic 'record company record’, i.e. the label loved it, but nobody bought it. Forget that, remember them this way…… 

- Eddie Golga - lead guitar, keyboards, vocals 
- Alan Jones - guitar, vocals 
- Tom Farmer - bass, keyboards, lead vocals 
- Dave Farmer - drums, vocals 

01. Messiah - 4:55 
02. Country Home - 4:15 
03. Cry - 3:08 
04. My Oh My - 3:01 
05. Now We’re Three - 2:34 
06. The Spring Of '69 - 3:52 
07. Glittery Obituary - 3:33 
08. On His Own - 3:23 
09. Too Soon - 4:35 
10. Gypsy Jam - 2:11 

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