Sunday, 23 October 2016

Graham Bell - Selftitled (Blues, Art & Progressive Rock UK 1972)

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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Graham Bell (vocals) Veteran vocalist from the British scene. He released a solo single in 1966! It was 'How do you say I don't love you / If you're gonna go'.

It was early 1966, when The Chosen Few get a new singer, Graham Bell, and change their band name to Skip Bifferty. They established themselves in London. After several years as a tight unit, they released a self-titled album, Skip Bifferty, in 1968. Some of their songs were produced by Ronnie Lane, and arranged by Steve Marriott. 

In 1969, due to legal problems with their manager Don Arden, they changed their name (again), this time to Heavy Jelly, releasing a single,'I keep singing that same old song / Blue'. But they parted ways that same year. Bell was to reunite with Gibson and White very soon, while Gallagher and Turnbull formed Arc in 1970, but they soon were to rejoin Graham, as we're going to read. After the Skip Bifferty/Heavy Jelly separation, Gibson and White formed a new band, Happy Magazine, still in 1969. When their vocalist left, Graham Bell was called, and the band changed the name to Griffin. A terrific lineup. But they only released two singles, being 'I am the dark noise in your head / Don't you know' (1969) the first one.

Colin Gibson and Craddock joined Ginger Baker's Airforce, and Alan White joined Balls (with Denny Laine) for a while, also going to Ginger Baker's Airforce. Graham joined a new band in May 1970: Every Which Way, formed by drummer Brian Davidson (ex-The Nice). The band was short-lived, and after a debut album, Every Which Way, and a successful presentation at The Marquee, they sadly split. Graham started thinking about a solo career. He wrote some demos, and called his old mates (now in Arc) to back him. All went so well, that they decided forming a stable lineup, under the name Bell & Arc.

They released Bell & Arc, with lots of great guests: Kenny Craddock (guitar, keyboards), Bud Beadle (sax), Steve Gregory (sax), Jeff Condon (trumpet), John Woods (percussion), Alan White (drums, percussion). But after the album, Rob Tait left, being replaced by John Woods. But John Woods wasn't to stay too much time in the band. For their American tour in November/December 1971, they got Alan White. After the tour, Alan White left, being replaced by a great drummer, Ian Wallace.

In January 1972, Gallagher left, and another great replacement arrives, Kenny Craddock. But, after one month, they disbanded in February 1972. Graham Bell went solo again. He released his first solo album, Graham Bell, that same year, with these musicians (some parts were recorded in UK, some parts in Nashville).

He also appeared in the symphonic version of The Who's Tommy, released in November 1972. It was recorded with The London Symphony Orchestra, The English Chamber Choir, plus a cast of thousands: Sandy Denny, Graham Bell (who sings lead in '1921'), Maggie Bell, Steve Winwood, Richie Havens, Merry Clayton, Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, Richard Harris, plus The Who, of course.

To celebrate the release, on December 9th, 1972, the whole work was played live at The Rainbow, with mostly the same artists as in the album, plus some added stars, such as actor Peter Sellers, Roy Wood, Roger Chapman, Elkie Brooks, David Essex, Marsha Hunt, Vivian Stanshall, etc. Graham Bell was also there.

And now I have a very big gap in Graham Bell's career. Any help with info would be very appreciated. Some time later, he formed a band with old mate Kenny Craddock. They were called Stotts, but their live was too short. The next (happy) news was finding Graham Bell again! 

It was in 1988, when he joined exquisite guitarist Snowy White, in a new venture, Snowy White's Blues Agency. 

They released two albums, Change my life and Open for business (rereleased under the title Blues on me). But they sadly split in 1990. All the members (except Graham) went to play with Mick Taylor All Star Band.

Does anybody know what is Graham doing now, please?

01. Before You Can Be A Man
02. The Thrill Is Gone
03. After Midnight
04. Down In The City
05. Watch The River Flow
06. Too Many People
07. How Long Will It Last
08. The Whole Town Wants You Hung
09. The Man With Angeless Eyes
10. So Black And So Blue

1. Graham Bell
2. Graham Bell
3. Graham Bell


molympus said...

Thanks a lot for the album.

By the way, I like the text... it's like I would have written it by myself...

There, you'll find the sad answer to the question in your last line.

Said that, thanks a lot for your blog, it's really fantastic.

RhodB said...

Great share and the usual informative narrative. great reading


moxnix said...

Thank you for Graham Bell!

Anonymous said...

Graham died 2 May 2008 in London, England.