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10 Jun 2017

String Driven Thing ‎ “String Driven Thing” 1970 Scotland Psych Folk Rock















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String Driven Thing ‎ “String Driven Thing” 1970 Scotland Psych  Folk Rock 
full with bonus……
Scotland's contribution to progressive rock may appear rather minute, but the role the Scots played in the development of folk rock (and by the same extent progressive folk)is simply enormous. After Donovan, the Incredible String Band, the Pentangle and a few more, came this Glaswegian trio called String Driven Thing in 67, composed of Chris Adams and his wife and guitarist John Mannion. While they stayed rather unsuccessful for a long while, with their debut album completely unnoticed on a independent label. By 71, the group had seen Mannion leaving, but he was replaced with violinist Grahame Smith and bassist Colin Wilson. Soon they got signed to the Charisma label and with Shel Talmy producing two excellent albums, encountering a certain kind of success in Continental Europe, but staying close to unknown in the Isles. After health-related problems in a tour founder Chris Adams quit with his wife leaving Grahame Smith reforming the group from scratch for two further albums. Neither of these albums will have the charm or adventure of the two earlier albums, developing a more AOR rock that had no real distinction except for a violin sound and the group folded in the mis-70's.

SDT reformed in the mid-90's under Chris Adams' instigation releasing a live album. SDT still plays now and again as the millennium is well under way....by Hugues Chantraine.................

 First album and a complete unknown from the public since it was released on the Concord album with only 100 copies printed, which makes it one of the more expensive albums around. Fortunately for you, this album has been released in the Cd format in a compilation: The Early Years 68-72. At the time the group consisted of a trio including Scott husband and wife team Pauline and Chris Adams and 12-string guitarist Mannion. Released in 70, this album sank without a trace, but can still be of an interest to progheads even if it sounds quite different of their better-known Machine That Cried album. We have a relatively strange mix of west-coast folk rock (CSNY-type) with classic Moody Blues period intonations and some tracks come with some mellotrons, others with string arrangements. Some acid-folk vocal arrangements can make think of a cross between Spirogyra and TMB. Somehow Genesis' FGTR's sound (but poppier) is not that far away in sprit from this album as the overall arrangements can appear to burry the original ideas.
While there are some rather out of place country feels (their West Coast influences), there are many tracks that have quite a bit of charm and although not really progressive per se, they have many endearing qualities to progheads. Not quite essential, but if you are into SDT, you might want to investigate it. The bonus tracks are from home demos (of the future album to come for the most part) and some are of poor quality, but still worth a listen, but overall this is a worthy release of TRC, which is the only correct labels marketed by the SPM/WWR galaxy. For confirmed fans only, though........by Sean Trane .......

One of the finest bands signed to the Charisma label during its early-'70s heyday, Scotland's String Driven Thing originally formed as a trio in 1969, led by the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Pauline Adams, plus percussionist John Mannion. Locally popular at the tail end of the 1960s, the band faded from view shortly after releasing a self-titled debut album in 1970. They continued playing, however, with the lineup expanding to include bassist Colin Wilson.
1972
String Driven Thing - 1972 In early 1972, Chris Adams journeyed to London, hoping to interest the Strawbs' management with a three-song demo. Finding himself with some free time, he was flicking through the record labels section of the Yellow Pages when he spotted Stratton Smith Enterprises. He called and found himself in conversation with the head of Charisma chief Tony Stratton Smith's publishing company, Mooncrest Music. Within a week, Stratton Smith himself was in Glasgow, for a String Driven Thing showcase at the Burns' Howff pub; a week after that, the band signed with his label.
Shedding Mannion around the same time, the group returned to Glasgow with a princely retainer of 20 pounds per week, to rehearse. A month later, they went back south for their first ever live shows as a "signed" band: a community hall in the town of Tunbridge Wells, where Strat had his country retreat, and the 1972 Reading Festival. It was an audacious entry, but it worked and the group quickly set to work on its first Charisma album, to be titled — like its independent predecessor — String Driven Thing.

Recorded in two weeks in August 1972 with producer Shel Talmy, the album landed rave reviews across the music press, with Melody Maker in particular leaping onto the group's side. (Amusingly, it later transpired that the album's distinctive gatefold sleeve, designed by Po of Hipgnosis, cost more than the actual recording sessions!)

The band continued pushing forward. Visiting France, they stopped by the renowned Chateau D'Heuroville studios (the Honky Chateau of Elton John fame), where they were filmed recording some songs with a French producer, who later claimed he'd done a better job than Shel Talmy ("he had a point," mused Adams); December 1972, meanwhile, saw the band fly to New York to support Genesis at that band's first ever American show, at the Philharmonic Hall.
1973 - 1975
String Driven Thing's rise ought to have been inexorable. Their latest single, "Circus," was making waves on both sides of the Atlantic, and plans were afoot for the group to join Genesis on their own latest tours of both Britain and the U.S. Unfortunately, the beginning of 1973 saw Chris Adams hospitalized with a collapsed lung, an event that was to have a serious impact on String Driven Thing's future.
That experience, and the nightmare of the next week's worth of agonizing recuperation was to form the inspiration for much of The Machine That Cried, String Driven Thing's next album. However, although the band did make it onto the British dates, the American shows never happened; instead, the band found itself shunting up and down the British highway system, playing small clubs and universities, and breaking in the new material.
The group's management at this time was being handled by Charisma's own in-house team, a less than satisfactory arrangement, but one that Stratton Smith seemed unwilling to change. Indeed, when Adams approached him to speak of the group's "total lack of confidence" in the setup, he simply "hummed and hawed and did nothing." Neither was that the end of the group's travails. In conversation with another label staffer one day, Adams mentioned that the band was considering adding a drummer to the lineup. A few days later, Stratton Smith showed up at a concert in Oxford, and instead offered them a keyboard player, Robert John Godfrey. He survived a week of rehearsals, but just one show, at the London Roundhouse, before the band declared him unsuitable and brought in a drummer (fellow Glaswegian Billy Fairley) after all. Godfrey went on to his own solo career at Charisma.
In this form, String Driven Thing returned to the studio to record The Machine That Cried, alongside what remains their best-known number, the single "It's a Game." The LP has since been acclaimed not merely String Driven Thing's masterpiece, but one of the finest progressive rock albums of the entire era — its CD reissue on the British Ozit label was widely heralded as among the most intelligent re-releases of recent years, and the excitement that greeted the re-formed String Driven Thing's return to action hailed almost wholly from memories of this marvelous album. At the time, however, all seemed doom-laden. "It's a Game," although it received plenty of British airplay, went nowhere (although a hit Bay City Rollers cover later went some way toward making amends); The Machine That Cried simply died and, by the end of the year, String Driven Thing looked to have followed it, as both the Adams and Colin Wilson walked out. Stratton Smith alone was left to carry the flag, rebuilding the group around himself and newfound vocalist Kim Beacon, and soldiering on until 1975. The two albums that followed both have their place in the prog rock pantheon, but the magic had gone from the band.
It returned in the early '90s, as the Adams returned to the helm, overseeing both reissues of the band's original albums, and the preparation of new material and concerts.................

String Driven Thing formed in Glasgow in 1967 as a three part harmony folk band with the Adamses and guitarist John Mannion. After paying their dues on the Scottish folk circuit they put out a self-titled album on the independent Concord label (copies of which are collectable and difficult to find) although a long way from their later Charisma label output. The group moved to London in 1970 and Chris Adams began to steer the band towards the electric folk-rock genre where his song writing abilities, which often feature hard-bitten and bitter observations capturing the harsher side of life, would be seen to better effect. By 1972 he had recruited classically-trained violinist Graham Smith and guitarist Colin Wilson on bass, but soon afterwards Mannion left, citing musical differences.
Adams then secured a deal with Tony Stratton-Smith's Charisma label and another eponymous album came out, produced by Shel Talmy at London's IBC Studios, with the songs "Circus", "Jack Diamond" and "Easy To Be Free" among the standout tracks. With Smith's high octane violin and Adams' distinctive vocals, the band toured the UK and Europe with Charisma stablemates Lindisfarne and Genesis. This exposure raised their profile and led to TV appearances and an American tour. A second album, The Machine That Cried, was recorded in February 1973 at IBC, but now with the addition of a drummer, Billy "The Kid" Fairley. This was a much bleaker and rockier offering and though reviews were mixed at the time, it is now regarded as a forgotten classic. Standout tracks include "Heartfeeder", "The Machine That Cried" and "Sold Down The River". The song "Night Club", which opened Side Two, was inspired by the cover of their first Charisma album, designed by Hipgnosis, famous for their work with Pink Floyd. Recorded while Chris Adams was suffering health problems, including a collapsed lung and depression, the album is on the whole a very dark affair. Despite its cult status, it did not sell well at the time.
By 1974 the constant touring was taking its toll and Wilson was replaced by Bill Hatje on bass, then Billy Fairley gave way to Colin Fairley (former Beggars Opera but no relation.) Soon afterwards, disillusioned with life on the road, the Adamses quit and returned to their native Glasgow. With their departure the band disintegrated, but Charisma recruited three musicians to continue touring with Smith and Fairley. Singer Kim Beacon, guitarist Andy Roberts and bassist James Exel joined the band, with Roberts and Exel collaborating for much of the songwriting, including the single "Cruel To Fool" produced by Shel Talmy. Two albums followed. Please Mind Your Head, recorded by engineer Tony Taverner at Escape Studios in Kent, and Keep Yer A'nd On It, produced by Andy Johns at Island's Basing Street studios......................

Formation

String Driven Thing formed as a three part harmony folk band in 1967 with the Adamses and guitarist John Mannion and put out a self-titled album on the small independent Concord label (copies of which are collectable and difficult to find) although some way from their later Charisma label output which was much more folk-rock. The group moved from Scotland to London and Chris Adams decided to try and take the band away from its folk roots into the folk-rock genre where his song writing abilities, which often feature hard-bitten bitter observations capturing the harsher side of life, would be seen to better effect. He met up with classically-trained violinist Graham Smith and folk guitarist Colin Wilson, who moved to bass, but soon afterwards lost John Mannion who did not think the new direction suited him.
Record deal and tour

They secured a deal with Tony Stratton-Smith's famous Charisma label[3] and another self-titled album came out, produced by Shel Talmy, with the songs "Circus", "Jack Diamond" and "Easy To Be Free" amongst the standout tracks. With Graham Smith's violin and Chris Adams' Bob Dylan-like vocal style the band toured with other Charisma artists such as Genesis. This helped them raise their profile and included some TV appearances, an American tour and a second album, The Machine That Cried, which was recorded with the addition of a drummer, Billy 'The Kid' Fairley, which was a much bleaker and rockier offering and a forgotten classic. Standout tracks include "Heartfeeder", "The Machine That Cried" and "Sold Down The River". The song "Night Club" was inspired by the cover of their first Charisma album. Recorded while Chris Adams was suffering health problems, including a collapsed lung and depression, the album did not sell particularly well.
After Wilson was replaced by Bill Hatje on bass the Adamses became disillusioned and left around end 1973 and the band disintegrated with Graham Smith taking over and recruiting several studio musicians to continue touring. Two further Charisma albums followed, Keep Yer (H)And On It (featuring the only known song with the footballer Stan Bowles in the title ("Chains (I want to be just like Stan Bowles")) and Please Mind Your Head featuring only Smith from the original Charisma line-up, both solid rock albums but not in the same class as the Chris Adams era material. Lead singer Kim Beacon, guitarist Alun Roberts and drummer Colin Fairley (ex-Beggars Opera) were all part of the new line-up with new bass guitarist James Exell and Alun Roberts doing much of the writing and composing. The group finally split up around 1976.
String Driven Thing put out quite a few singles on the Charisma label, some tracks of which are not on any of the vinyl albums but do appear as bonus tracks on the Ozit Records cds. Two of the best are the Chris Adams compositions "It's a Game" and "Eddie". "It's A Game" was covered by the Bay City Rollers in 1977 and became a chart hit in England and Germany. Chris and Pauline Adams later put out a few singles again on the Charisma label both as 'Chris and Pauline Adams' and just 'Adams'. The b-side of their first single "The City at Night" features Graham Smith and is worth a listen but most are more for the folk market. Colin Wilson went on to put out a solo folk album called Cloudburst on the Tabitha label which is also hard to find and has recently been reissued. The Chris Adams/Graham Smith String Driven Thing line up has reconvened on several occasions most notably in 1991, 2001 and in 2004 which also saw an appearance from Pauline Adams.
Late career and breakup

An unfortunate appearance at the end of their career highlighted issues that the band had with categorising their music and finding an appropriate audience. In October 1975 String Driven Thing opened for Lou Reed at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey. The raucous crowd was there for Reed and had little tolerance for the violin-led folk-rock music. String Driven Thing was booed off the stage.
String Driven Thing's violinist, Graham Smith, later joined his Charisma labelmates Van der Graaf in 1977 and also featured on some Peter Hammill albums and put out three solo albums in Iceland later reissued on CD by String Driven Thing specialist label Ozit Morpheus Records. Vocalist Kim Beacon sang lead on Tony Banks' solo debut, A Curious Feeling, in 1979 and also had some solo material issued. Chris Adams recorded some solo material in the 1990s and subsequently reformed String Driven Thing with a largely different line-up, although his wife and Graham Smith have sporadically appeared live. A new album was recorded and toured in 2008.
All String Driven Thing, Chris Adams and Graham Smith albums are available on CD (Ozit Morpheus Records) as are some live material and some hard to find tracks and outtakes on a CD called Dischotomy with some alternate takes and rare material not found anywhere else. There are several BBC transcription discs of String Driven Thing live performances featuring both line-ups and two of these sets are on a German live bootleg CD called It's a Game.
Refounding

In April 2009 String Driven Thing refounded as String Driven. With an Americana-inspired sound and still led by Chris Adams a new album, Songs from Another Country, was released in the United Kingdom on Backshop Records.
The new sound was first heard publicly at Fifestock in March 2009. A new website was launched at the same time as the album release to help promote it.................................

Former members
Chris Adams - guitar, vocals (1967–1974, 1991–1994, 2001-2016; died 2016)
John Mannion - guitar (1967–1972)
Colin Wilson - bass (1970–1974; died 2013)
Billy "The Kid" Fairley - drums (1973–1974)
Bill Hatje - bass (1974)
Colin Fairley - drums (1974–1975)
Kim Beacon - vocals (1974–1975; died 2001)
Andy Roberts - guitar (1974–1975)
James Exel - bass (1974–1975)
George Tucker - guitar (1991,1994–2004)
John Bradley - drums (1991, 1994–2001)
Bob Cairns - violin (1994–1995)

Current members
Pauline Adams - vocals, percussion (1967–1974, 1991, 2001, 2004, 2012–present)
Graham Smith - violin (1972–1975, 1991, 2001, 2004, 2012–present)
Robin Adams - guitar (2004–present)
Andy Allan - bass (2001–present)
Dick Drake - drums (2004–present)


Tracklist
July Morning
Say What You Like
Magic Garden
Wonderful Places
I Don't Wanna Wake Up
City Man
Another Night In This City
That's My Lady
Catch As Catch Can
No More You And I
Lie Back And Let It Happen
One Of The Lonely People

Discography

Albums
String Driven Thing (1968) (Concord)
String Driven Thing (1972) (Charisma)
The Machine That Cried (1973) (Charisma)
The Machine that Cried (band's official version) (Ozit)
Please Mind Your Head (1974) (Charisma)
Keep yer 'and on it (1975) (Charisma)
Dischotomy
Suicide (Live in Berlin) (Ozit)
In the Studio '72 (first Charisma album plus) (Ozit)
The Early Years (all of the Concord first album plus)(Ozit)
It's a Game (German bootleg of two BBC concerts London 1973 and 1974, originally on BBC transcription discs with Solid Gold Cadillac and Blodwyn Pig) 

Singles
"Another night in this old city / Say what you like"
"Eddie / Hooked on the road"
"Are you a rocknroller demo only"
"Circus / My real hero"
"I'll sing one for you / To see you"
"It's a Game / Are you a rocknroller"
"Overdrive / Timpani for the devil"
"Mrs O'Reilly / Keep on moving"
"Stand back in amazement / But I do"
"Cruel to fool / Josephine" 

Solo releases
The Damage (Chris Adams)
The Damage II (Chris Adams) (Ozit)
Touch of Magic (Graham Smith) (Ozit)
Arrival of Spring (Graham Smith) (Ozit)
Cloudburst (Colin Wilson)
Kalinka (Graham Smith) (Ozit)

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