Thursday, 17 May 2018

Holy Mackerel (Jason Crest) "Closer To Heaven" 1993 -Recorded in 1973 UK Psych Pop Acid Blues Rock


Holy Mackerel (Jason Crest)  "Closer To Heaven" 1993 -Recorded in 1973 UK Psych Pop  Acid Blues Rock 
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2nd previously unreleased album by British rock/blues rock band from Kent. Recorded in 1973 and this CD issue is remastered…..~


Unreleased 1973 rural-rock album from post-Jason Crest band…~


Holy Mackerel were formed in 1970 from the ashes of Kent-based psychedelic band Jason Crest. Three members of that highly regarded outfit - singer and chief songwriter Terry Clark, drummer Roger Siggery and guitarist Derek Smallcombe joined forces with local musicians Tony Wood and Chris Ware in an attempt to move towards a more contemporary rock sound. After a brief flirtation with the name Highway, the band settled for the more distinctive soubriquet of Holy Mackerel. They gigged incessantly, occasionally as headliners but often as support act to bands as diverse as Three Dog Night and the Sweet. As a result of their punishing live schedule, Holy Mackerel slowly established a considerable reputation on the thriving college and university circuit; indeed, the sheer volume of live work undertaken by the band ensured that they were financially secure enough to survive without the aid of a recording contract. 

By 1972 Holy Mackerel were attracting capacity crowds in their own right, an achievement that did not go unnoticed within the music industry. The band finally accepted an offer from management agency General Artistes, who also handled unabashed pop acts like Vanity Fayre and Chicory Tip. Fronted by high profile entrepreneur Roger Easterby, General Artistes succeeded in obtaining a recording contract for Holy Mackerel from CBS Records. 

The first of Holy Mackerel’s four singles appeared on 27 October 1972 (‘Rock-A-Bye’ c/w 'New Black Shoes’, CBS 8447). However, this was merely a taster for the band’s eponymously-titled debut album which emerged three weeks later. 'Holy Mackerel’ (CBS 65297) was a slightly tentative first step that bore the familiar hallmarks of a popular live band struggling to adapt to the differing demands of the recording studio environment. Nevertheless there were sufficient glimpses of quality to suggest that a second album might prove to be an altogether more substantial affair. 

Shortly after the release of the Holy Mackerel album, Roger Easterby formed a new label entitled Santa Ponsa. Naturally enough Holy Mackerel were enticed away from CBS to become one of Santa Ponsa’s first signings: the perils of a joint management and recording contract would only become evident at a later date. At the time a brave new world beckoned, particularly when Santa Ponsa quickly hit paydirt with the chart success of Guy Darrell’s 'I’ve Been Hurt’ (a mid-1960’s recording leased with delicious irony from CBS). 

Flushed with this early success, Easterby instructed Holy Mackerel to record a version of an old Bruce Channel song called 'We Got It Nailed Down’ (Santa Ponsa PNS6). This track failed to register commercially when issued as a single in September 1973, as did the country chestnut 'Tennessee Waltz’ (Santa Ponsa PNSI1) a few months later. 

Undeterred, Easterby urged the band to proceed with the recording of their second album. They responded enthusiastically, with three members writing material of sufficient calibre to ensure that this album (given a working tide of 'Take A Deep Breath And Smile’) would represent a quantum leap forward from their CBS debut. Holy Mackerel were already established as a crowd-pulling live act: with the aid of a supportive record company and some outstanding new material, surely this album would prove to be the vinyl breakthrough that they needed? 

By the time that the album had been painstakingly pieced together in the studio, Santa Ponsa were floundering badly. Guy Darrell’s unexpected hit had proved to be a one off rather than the start of something big: the label subsequently released a further two dozen singles without securing a second success. As a result, Easterby wasn’t in a position to gamble with the release of an album without the financial safety net of a hit single. One of the more commercial tracks - Terry Clark’s 'Ballad of Joe McCann’, fortunately a better song than the tide would suggest - was selected as a single (Santa Ponsa PNS18) in early 1974. Its lack of success ensured that, by the time Santa Ponsa ceased trading later that same year, the second Holy Mackerel album had still not emerged. 

Having lost both their management and recording company in one fell swoop. Holy Mackerel’s career was plunged into a protracted state of limbo. They briefly delayed the inevitable by electing to struggle on, although drummer Roger Siggery hailed out and was replaced by Dennis Elliott, who would subsequently join Foreigner. Terry Clark recorded a handful of solo singles under a variety of ludicrous aliases, the most notable being a version of 'Best Part of Breaking Up’ credited to Eddie Fontana (Santa Ponsa PNS23 in October 1974). Overwhelmed by events. Holy Mackerel had slowly disintegrated by this stage: ironically the album that may have been their salvation remained unissued. 

Twenty years later, 'Closer to Heaven’ (which has been digitally remastered from the sole surviving acetate copy) is a fascinating but frustrating glimpse of what might have been. Perhaps the band were too eclectic for their own good, but their consummate mastery of various musical styles enabled them to mould a wide variety of disparate elements into a distinctive and fully coherent sound. Many rock bands of the era may have laid claim to the raging dual guitar onslaught of 'Judgement Day’, but few would have been equally well-equipped to tackle the delicate beauty of 'Walk Through The Valley’ without stumbling into mawkishness or parody. 

Had “Closer to Heaven’ been released at the time, the Holy Mackerel story may have had a rather differentending. This belated issue at least provides the band with a suitably impressive epitaph. ….by David Wells, September 1993….~


A mix of prog flavored blues rock, and pop, with a semi-commercial orientation. Recorded in late 1973, as a proposed follow-up to their CBS label debut, this remained unreleased until this issue by Tenth Planet, in a pressing of 500 numbered copies. Informative liner notes on the back cover…..by…tymeshifter ….~


Resurrection in Remaster 16 years from Amphonotones in Italy. Maybe the first CD conversion.  Holy Mackerel is a group formed by three former Jason Crest Terry Clark, Derek Small Convey, Roger Sigaly in 1972, Small Convey via Samuel Prodi, Cigalia via Orang Utan. Of course Paul Williams’ USA group is a different band of the same name. This work is a sound source for the second album that got into Okura as it was recorded in 1973, LP of LP released as excavation sound board of Limited 500 press from UK Tense Planet in 1993 was made into. Members are co-producers of Roger Easternby and Death Champ with five members of Terry Clark, Derek Small Convey, Chris Wear, Tony Wood and Roger Cigalie, the same as First in 72 years. Generally, the impression that there is almost no change in the route as a bluesy swamp / hardware sound on the extension line of First. Swappy catchy songs are deployed around the bluesy & hard twin, guitar and ensemble, tactical vocal that cleared up, and Hamari of the rhythm corps supporting the bottom stably are not bad either. Including fluent solo, twin · guitar is quite cool, obediently obediently, depending on the song, it also shows excitement with a strong session session color, and the whole band feeling is enough. Though it seems that Okura was entered unfortunately due to some circumstances, Sleeve is also Tohoho, but as a work it is a perfect impression that it is completed to some extent, a good edition established as a hard color pub / rock line…..~


A mix of prog flavored blues rock, and pop, with a semi-commercial orientation. Recorded in late 1973, as a proposed follow-up to their CBS label debut, this remained unreleased until 1993……~


Singer Terry Clarke, guitarist Derek Smallcombe and drummer Roger 'Spodge’ Siggery had all played in UK psych legends Jason Crest. Following their collapse in 1969, Clark joined short-lived UK rockers Hunter, whose sole LP was released in America only under the band name Orang Utan, while his former bandmates played with High Broom, best-known for releasing a version of Dancing In The Moonlight on Island in 1970. Smallcombe then played a stint with progressive rockers Samuel Prody, whose sole LP was released in Germany only, before rejoining Clark and Siggery in 1972 to form the quintet Holy Mackerel, along with new recruits Chris Ware (guitar) and Tony Wood (bass). 

Having relocated from their native Kent to rural Lancashire, they devised a set that drew on progressive, pop and country influences before starting to gig. According to their LP’s sleevenotes, they 'took the Northern college circuit by storm, experimenting and refining their music until they were ready for their album’. Having come to the attention of producers Roger Easterby and Des Champ (best-known for making hits with pop artists including Vanity Fare, Deep Feeling, Dr Marigold’s Prescription and Chicory Tip), they were signed to CBS and entered the studio. A single coupling Rock-A-Bye and New Black Shoes was issued in late October 1972, preceding the appearance of their self-titled LP in November. 

Unfortunately, as 1973 came around the market for such records was fast shrinking, and it sold poorly despite an enthusiastic endorsement from John Peel ('A group to watch and, of course, a good one to listen to as well’) and 45 releases in Germany, Turkey and elsewhere. They appeared on Peel’s show in November, performing Waterfall, Spanish Attraction, Oh! and Trie Boy & The Mekon, but it made little difference to their success. They did go on to record a follow-up album, entitled Closer To Heaven, but CBS didn’t release it and it languished until finally appearing in 1993. 

Having departed CBS, the band remained with Easterby and Champ for three further singles that appeared on the producers’ own Santa Ponsa label (a subsidiary of Pye), but none of those charted, so they finally called it quits in mid-1974……~


The Holy Mackerel 
*Terry Clarke - Lead Vocals 
*Derek Smallcombe - Guitars, Vocals 
*Chris Ware - Guitars 
*Tony Wood - Bass 
*Roger Siggery - Drums






Tracklist 
1 Gemini
2 Balla Of Joe McCann
3 Burglar Man
4 Blue Eyed Redeemer
5 Judgement Day
6 Hard Times, Good Times
7 Near You
8 Walk Through The Valley
9 Waterfall 







watch….
Jason Crest “Radio Sessions 1968-69″ Compilation Tenth Planet 1999 in 1000 Copies British Psychedelia


watch
Holy Mackerel (Jason Crest, Samuel Proby,Orang Utan) “Holy Mackerel” 1972 UK Psych Country Rock 
https://johnkatsmc5.blogspot.gr/2016/12/holy-mackerel-holy-mackerel-1972-uk.html

watch

Jason Crest "The Collected Works Of Jason Crest" (1967-69) CD + LP Compilation 1998 UK Psych Rock 

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