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14 Mar 2017

Judas Jump "Scorch" 1970 UK Prog Rock











Judas Jump  "Scorch" 1970 UK Prog Rock
full
Debut album by the short-lived British progressive rock supergroup, Judas Jump. The group released one album and three singles before disbanding in 1971. 

Members Ady Brown and Henry Spinetti had earlier worked with The Herd, along with Peter Frampton, before joining Judas Jump.........

CD reissue of 1970 album. Judas Jump was a heavy progressive rock band, with lots of organs, flutes, and sax in their sound and who had the distinction of inaugurating Parlophone Records' new numbering sequence with their first (and only) album, Scorch, as PAS 10001. Their members made them a kind of U.K.-level super-group with guitarist/keyboardman Andy Bown and drummer Henry Spinetti having come from the Herd and woodwind player Alan Jones an alumnus from the Amen Corner. A trio of singles in 1969 and 1970 was followed by a rather ornately designed album that didn't get a U.S. release until 1972, when the group was already on its way into history. Their music was on the bombastic side of progressive rock, which may be one reason why it didn't succeed, as well as explain why they didn't get signed to EMI's progressive rock imprint Harvest Records. After attracting a decent amount of press, the records proved lacking and the group faded away, with Bown passing through the band Storyteller before joining Status Quo for a time. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide..........

UK supergroup from such origins as The Herd, Amen Corner and the Mindbenders, branching out to the beyond, with a more progressive direction, as was de rigueur at the fag end of the 60's. Despite a fair amount of promotion and a contract with the Beatles label: Parlophone, they only made this one great album and 2 singles, but failed to click with the public.

With Amen Corner's Alan Jones they were able to augment their sound with brass and woodwind, and listening today you can see some parallels with contemporaries Chicago and BST, but most of all the flavour is British and puts you in mind of a Traffic/Spooky Tooth groove, with some Jethro Tull thrown in for good measure - yet their pop roots were not deserted, which is what sets this album apart from so many others that line my shelves from the 1969/1970 period.

In common with many contemporaries at this time, Judas Jump were keen to throw of the shackles of the pop success they'd previously enjoyed with their Top 40 bands. Judas Jump was their collective attempt to "go progressive". Luckily for us they avoid the pitfalls of many of their bombastic pretentious contemporaries and retain a poppy, rocky edge which permeates the whole album. "Scorch" kicks off with "John Brown's Body", a great lurching ballsy opening statement as ever you'll hear, with a nice wailing harmonica backdrop.

The pace hardly lets up with "Rocking Chair" and "Beer Drinking Woman", but slows a little for the closing percussive dressed "Bossa Jump". Following by "Cry De Cry", an acoustic part, and then we get the tasty single, Trevor Williams' "Run For Your Life". It's not all wonderful though as towards the end of the album, it runs out of steam, and like a disappointing fizzy drink • goes slightly flat.

Ending with the thoroughly awful Ye-Olde-Musical- Hall-Romp "Private Holiday Camp" - this dated piece of nonsense is not on the US copy - be thankful my American cousins! Alan Jones, Trevor Williams and Andy Sown all contribute material, but Bown deservedly gets the lion's share • as it's at that point where the others kick in, that downward trend is marked. Unbelievably, these days Andy Bown sessions for the boogie stalwarts Status Quo, so he's still around, and still doing it.

A strange place for him to be? Maybe not so strange when you consider Status Quo and The Herd were Pop Contemporaries in the late 60's, which is no doubt where they must have met up and down the proverbial swinging circuit. In fact the Quo were a formidable pop combo back in the days before they discovered the 12 bar ad nauseum and their early albums: "Picturesque Matchstickabie Messages", and "Spare Parts are full of charming youthful and naive psychedelic whimsy..............

With Andy Fairweather-Low having broken up Amen Corner, multi-instrumentalist Alan Jones was apparently the driver behind forming what became Judas Jump, Finding a sponsor in the form of infamous manager Don Arden. Arden fronted Jones an advance and suggest a number of potential collaborators including singer Adrian Williams, former Herd keyboardist/guitarist Andy Bown and drummer Henry Spinetti. The band line up was eventually completed via the addition of lead guitarist Trevor Williams, and ex-The Mindbenders bass player Charlie Harrison. Pulling a page out of the Traffic career management manual they relocated to the Isle of Wight, where they spent a couple of months in seclusion rehearsing and getting comfortable with one another. With continued support from Arden, their impressive musical pedigree helped get them signed by the British Parlophone label. In an unusual move, Parlophone sent them on a tour of the States, followed by a European jaunt. Only then were they given a chance to enter the recording studio resulting in the release of their debut single:
While it wasn't a massive hit, the song did well enough for Parlophone to finance an album. Produced by Andy Bown and Michael Viner (the liner notes actually listed him as 'Andrew Brown'), 1969's "Scorch" offered up an entertaining collection of Bown-penned rockers. Curiously, several on-line reviews portray the album as being 'jazz rock' or 'progressive'. Too my ears neither description was particularly accurate. True, Alan Jones' woodwinds were occasionally featured ('John Brown's Body') and Bown added some Mellotron to the proceedings, but for the most part tracks like 'Rocking Chair', 'Beer Drinking Woman' and 'Purple God' offered up a fairly commercial blend of blues-rock, pop and conventional rock. As lead singer Adrian Williams was gifted with a nice voice that was capable of handling both the band's lighter pop numbers and their tougher material. He occasionally reminded me a bit of Stevie Winwood, if with a slightly fuller voice. The rest of the band were all quite impressive with Bown deserving kudos for his tasteful keyboards and Jones having the sense to keep his contributions short and largely in the background. Certainly not the most original album you've ever heard, but with one or two exceptions, it's solid from start to finish. There aren't many albums that can make the same statement.  ....Bad Cat.............

Credits
Bass – Charlie Harrison
Drums – Henry Spinetti
Lead Guitar – Trevor Williams
Lead Vocals – Adrian Williams
Organ, Guitar – Andrew Bown
Saxophone, Flute – Alan Jones

Tracklist
A1 John Brown's Body 3:24
A2 Rockin' Chair 3:06
A3 Beer Drinking Woman 3:38
A4 Medley: 49 Fingers/Purple God 4:11
A5 Bossa Jump 4:32
B1 Cry-De-Cry 2:34
B2 Run For Your Life 3:39
B3 Cully 2:34
B4 Mississippi Turnpike 2:50
B5 Medley: Primerose Lady/Scorch 6:01

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..