When I was younger (I’m 55), I listened to a lot of music.  As much as I could get my hands on.  As much as radio would gift me with.  As much as friends had that I didn’t.  What I could borrow, and what Jean from Art’s Record Shop would let me open and listen to (I miss that woman.  She fed me musically as much as any radio ever did).  I consider myself lucky given the music that I have been able to listen to.  However, there was much I may have heard, but couldn’t get into because other things took more precedence and that was where my dollars ended up at, invested in the other stuff.

Greenslade was one of those bands.  Progressive music like Gabriel and Hackett-era Genesis, Yes, ELP, Barclay James Harvest, and others, Greenslade made a decent name for themselves.  What set Greenslade apart was their use of several keyboards to play their jazz-influenced, progressive style, and, for a few albums, no guitars.

Fronted by keyboardist, David Greenslade, the band was active from its formation in 1972, beginning with their eponymous debut,  on through their final album of their original incarnation, Time and Tide (1975).  The band split in 1976.

There was a reformation in 2000, which yielded Large Afternoon.

What initially drew me to them was their intriguing use of Roger Dean’s artwork on Greenslade (1972), and Bedside Manners Are Extra (1973).  Dean’s work was already familiar by his work with Yes.  I did NOT buy the album, nor did I really pay too much attention to their music back in the ’70s.

Recently, feeling that I should take some steps backward musically, I decided to catch up with Greenslade and make my long-overdue acquaintance with the band via their five albums.  I listened to all that I could through YouTube. and found myself a fan.  As I listen further, I expect to become a BIG fan.  It brings me a lot of joy to experience this feeling.

I heard a lot of ELP here although they were around the same time so influence should not factor in too much.  Musically, I seem to prefer Bedside Manners Are Extra.  Of the album’s six tracks, it was hard to pull one that I preferred out of the box.  But “Pilgrim’s Progress”, “Time To Dream”, and “Sunkissed You’re Not” are excellent tracks.

“Spirit Of The Dance”, “Melancholic Race”, and “Little Red Fry Up” are excellent tracks from Spyglass Guest, the band’s third studio set that underscores their building excellence and maturity.

The bad thing is that all of this is being listened through a dismal laptop speaker.  Once I re-position in Illinois, unpack the equipment, and settle in, I expect the LPs to bring me immense joy.

Guess that I’m going to be doing a lot of this in the future.  For now, there’s Greenslade.

I promise to report back in the near future on whether this was worth my time.  I’m sure it was though.  If you have a suggestion as to a band to pick up on, let me know via the commenting section.  Be my record store clerk and recommend away.

[While we’re here, let me challenge you with this: Find a band that you neglected from years back, and dive into them.  Go to all the resources you have available to you, e.g. YouTube, and dig in deep.   After a little time, write up your experience of the band you decided to do this with.  Send it to me.  I’ll post it.  We may become inspired yet again.]

By MARowe

8 thoughts on “Why Did I Not Pay More Attention: Greenslade”
  1. You had me really interested until the “and, for a few albums, no guitars” part.
    I am not saying that I haven’t ever enjoyed music that had no guitars in it, but it sounds akin to endorsing a beer with no alcohol content.

  2. I think Bedside Manners are Extra is Greenslade’s best and most consistent album. Here’s a group that many have missed or not even heard of:

    Family (1967- 1973)

    I have to admit I came late to Family. It was 1972 and I was working in a record store and everyone started listening to “Bandstand” (my favourite of their albums) and I got hooked. So naturally I wanted to go back and get the rest of their catalogue, starting with their first, “Music in a Doll’s House” (68). This heady collection of psychedelic songs, with influences of jazz, blues, soul, Beatles, and early Progressive Rock is a masterpiece. Produced by Dave Mason of Traffic, it is so diverse, so interesting, that it stands as a unique statement of the time. Family at this time was: Roger Chapman – vocals/sax/harmonica; John (Charlie) Whitney – guitar/steel guitar; Jim King – saxes/harmonica/vocals; Ric Grech – bass/violin/cello/vocals; and Rob Townsend – percussion. Roger Chapman is my favourite vocalist. He sometimes went into Joe Cocker territory, then early Rod Stewart, but with more power than either. He dominated as the lead vocalist, taking no prisoners. Roger retired a couple of years back now, after having a successful solo career since the late 70s. (However, as seems to be the case these days, Family is mounting a reunion tour this fall – more on that). The songwriting team of Chapman/Whitney was a force too. Through seven unique studio albums (eight if you count Old Songs New Songs, a partial comp) they composed nearly all the material. This same team produced another masterwork, Family Entertainment (69). After this, Ric Grech left to play bass with Blind Faith. Jim King then left (or was ousted, depending on what you read) and a new bassist was brought in – John Weider – Bass/violin, from Eric Burdon and the Animals. This lineup then went on to put out three albums: A Song for Me (70), Anyway (half live, half studio) (70) and Old Songs New Songs (71). Weider then left and was replaced by John Wetton from Mogul Thrash on bass/vocals. Also added was a great keyboardist and vibe player, Poli Palmer. During Wetton’s relatively short stay, they made their two best albums in my opinion, Fearless (71) and Bandstand (72). John Wetton’s presence and contributions cannot be over emphasized. His higher register backing vocals complemented Roger Chapman’s guttural attack and his bass playing, as always, was heavier in the mix. But as all things seemed to be in the world of Family, more departures occurred. John Wetton left to join King Crimson for my particular favourite KC period, and Poli Palmer left to join another band with, ironically, Ric Grech. So now Jim Cregan from Blossom Toes (later to Cockney Rebel) joined them on bass/guitar and Tony Ashton on keys (who later became part of Jon Lord’s solo outings). This lineup cut the final Family album It’s Only a Movie (73).
    Epilogue: After Family broke up, Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney formed Streetwalkers, a more Blues-based hard rocking outfit and released a number of good, solid albums (Red Card is my favourite). The first of those, originally released as Chapman Whitney Streetwalkers, could be called another Family album by virtue of the content and the way it fell in with the style of “It’s Only a Movie”. It is now released for the first time on CD as “First Cut” in a slightly modified form. That band folded and Roger kept going as a solo artist until, as I mentioned before, he “retired”. His solo work was far more Blues-based than either earlier bands and if you are into the electric Blues, then you would love his work. Charlie Whitney still plays and records Bluesy rock and is very locally owned and operated.
    Soon this fall a number of Family albums are being released with new remastering and bonus tracks – another reason that Family have reformed, sadly without Charlie Whitney – the word on the street is that Charlie and Roger had a falling out. Family was a marginally successful band on this side of the Atlantic but now would be a good time to explore their powerful catalogue.

  3. I totally get what you’re saying. I actually had a similar situation with Coldplay. Now before you pass judgement, hear me out! I guess it’s been about 7 years now since it happened. I guess like most listeners, my mood dictates what I listen to. For me, from about 2000-2005, I immersed myself into the world of Americana music. I fell in love with artists like Patty Griffin, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, Wilco, and many more. During that time, I had heard Coldplay on the radio and various tv shows, but I never really paid any attention to them. I was too rapped up in the Americana sound. Then one day, while I was listening to my local radio station, Lightning 100, while was laying in bed waking myself up, I heard their song Fix You and it totally woke me up out of my Americana haze. The bridge in that song is so beautiful it just woke me up to the possibilities of what pop music can be in today’s bubblegum pop world. Later that day, I went out and bought all their albums. As I was listening to each album, I couldn’t believe how I could have dismissed them like I had. Because of that experience I have forever changed how I approach music.

  4. One of my all time favorite bands! You should also hunt down Dave Greenslade’s solo album, “Cactus Choir”. Criminally unavailable on cd, but you can find clips on youtube.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.