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1 Apr 2017

If "Tea Break Over, Back On Your 'Eads" 1975 UK Prog Jazz Rock

If "Tea Break Over, Back On Your 'Eads" 1975 UK Prog Jazz Rock

By the time 1975's "Tea Break Is Over, Back On Your Head" was released, sax player Dick Morrisey was the only original member left in the line up, making it clear the group was rapidly running out of creative steam. While the band's trademarked elaborate horn arrangements remained in place (check out the closing sax solo on 'Ballad of the Yessirrom Kid'), with sinmger/drummer Clive Davies responsible for the bulk of material, selections such as 'Merlin the Magic Man', the title track and 'I Had a Friend' found the band returning to a more mainstream and commercial sound. The results weren't bad, but precious little really stood out - the Spanish influenced 'Don Quixote's Masquerade' was probably the best of the lot. Curiously, the track listing reflected a Morrissey composition 'Song for Alison' that wasn't on the LP; the unlisted 'The Night Bird' was apparently substituted at the last moment. The set proved a commercial disappointment; their first release not to at least hit the top-200 charts. (Always loved the humorous Ken Cox/John Pasche cover art.) Shortly after the album was released the band broke up for good. ........

I was working a shift at WUOG, UGA, in 1977 and a friend with me in the studio pulled out the album, "Tea Break Over." She said I would like it because it combined my interests in blues, rock and jazz. I ended up playing cuts off this album every time I had a shift and the GM of the station called me in amazement and glee after one of the tracks paid tribute to Charlie Parker. I still have both albums but to have a clean CD has been something to cherish as I realized I had not listened to them in about 25 years. Not sure what they did after my introduction in '77 or where they might be now but to have this disc is a treasure for me............ByGlenn Crooks..............

Tea Break Over–Back on Your 'Eads!, released in 1975, was the eighth and final studio album by British jazz-rock band If. It was followed by compilation CDs covering tracks from the first four LPs featuring the band's previous line-up. 

The album reflects the band's more rock-influenced style, perfectly balanced with Dick Morrissey's harsher hard bop/bebop sax playing. The title track "Tea Break", referring to the hardships of being "on the road", is the punch line to an old musicians' joke and contains a tribute to Charlie Parker in the lyrics ("The Bird was the man to be heard" and "The music was the word") as well as in a swirling bebop tenor solo. The "Ballad of the Yessirom Kid", a tribute by the band to Dick Morrissey, finishes with a roaring bebop tenor solo. "Song for Alison" features the flute more than holding its own with a rock accompaniment. The song "Don Quixote" opens with an extensive acoustic Spanish guitar solo by Whitehorn. ................

If's final album continued in the polished and funky vein of "Not Just Another Bunch of Pretty Faces". To get the bad stuff out of the way first: the sappy ballad "I Had a Friend" is next to "Stormy Every Weekday Blues" the weakest song the band recorded. But the rest is fortunately better, and varies from good to ok. My personal favourite is "Don Quixote's Masquerade", a delicious piece of laidback and atmospheric jazzy '70s rock. The opener "Merlin the Magic Man" is very typical for this version of If, complete with funky rhythm guitar and the obligatory jazzy horn riffs. "Ballad of the Yessirrom Kid" is of the more straightforward and rocking kind, listenable but not fantastic. But the band would always shine in their instrumental numbers, and "Song for Alison" and "Raw Sewage" is no exceptions to that rule. The title-track is on the other hand a bit harder to make stick to the ears, at least mine. "Tea-Break Over - Back on Your 'Eads" is overall a respectable offering and the band could have closed their career in a far worse way, but the real and true If was in my opinion the first version of the band that lasted from 1970-1972........................

Clifford Davis / Drums, Synthesiser, Vocals 
Gabriel Magno / Keyboards 
Carlos Martinez / Percussion 
Walt Monaghan / Bass, Vocals 
Dick Morrissey / Saxophone 
Geoff Whitehorn / Guitar 

A1 Merlin, The Magic Man 5:05 
A2 Ballad Of The Yessirrom Kid 5:20 
A3 Don Quixote's Masquerade 7:50 
B1 Teabreak Over - Back On Your Eads 6:05 
B2 The Night Bird (Song For Alison) 3:55 
B3 I Had A Friend 4:30 
B4 Raw Sewage 6:13 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..