Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Howard Werth was born and raised in East London. The fledgling Werth was hooked on rock’n’roll from its inception, at an age when he was barely able to do more than eat, sleep and listen.
His musical taste buds were further tickled by his introduction to the jazz world of Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey and Miles Davis, along with his first introduction to the incredible voice of Ray Charles. In his early teens he was deeply drawn to the music of James Brown.
It’s hardly surprising that Howard’s early semi-pro outfits displayed a mixture of all these influences, especially those of Charles and Brown.
In the sixties Howard went to art school at the outset of the pop-art era and was trained by some of the major British exponents of that movement. Musically at the time Howard was indulging in the blues and r’n’b, which ran into his Motown / psychedelia period. At the same time Howard’s art & design skills had secured him a job at Pye Records designing album covers for The Kinks, Sandie Shaw, Marlene Dietrich and the Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds (and related) EP series, among countless other projects.
Towards the end of the decade Howard was working for IPC magazines as well as gigging at the Flamingo and various other London clubs of that era, and spending much of his spare time at the UFO Club, the Electric Garden, or the Drury Lane Arts Lab, where the notion of forming what was to become Audience first started to take form and nag at his creative nodes.
In early 1969 Audience took off and recorded the first of four albums, gigging in many and various corners of planet earth, creating merry and influencing the hippest, whilst charting in Europe, Australia and the U.S. along the way, as well as playing shows with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, touring with Rod Stewart & The Faces and Jeff Beck (to name but a few), and being supported on a regular basis by bands such as Genesis.
When Howard brought Audience to a close in late 1972 he got to work on his first solo album “King Brilliant” (now reissued on Luminous Records) and it was around the time of this album that Howard was approached by The Doors and asked to fill the space left by Jim Morrison. Howard spent some time rehearsing with them, but after some agonising and deliberation, Ray Manzarek decided against The Doors reforming. However Howard was later to reunite with Ray in Hollywood, where they worked together extensively on Howard’s songs, some of which would later be re-worked to form the basis of the album “Six Of One and Half a Dozen of the other”, which was originally released on Howard’s own METAbop! label, in conjuction with Jake Riviera, Elvis Costello’s manager and business partner, the man who started Stiff Records.
A London-based band who were popular on the club and college circuit. After an album for Polydor, which is now rare and sought-after because it was withdrawn soon after its release, they were signed to Charisma after they were spotted by the label's boss Tony Stratton-Smith supporting Led Zeppelin at the Lyceum in London.
Friend's Friend's Friend and The House On The Hill were both creative and worthwhile rock albums. Both, especially the former, are dominated by the outstanding sax and flute playing of Keith Gemmell and Werth's strong and rather unusual vocals. Shel Talmy was lined up to produce the Friend's Friend's Friend album but declined at the last moment because he didn't like some of the material. He was looking for a big commercial album and while tracks like Belladonna Moonshine and It Brings A Tear probably appealed to him many of the others (e.g. Raid) were more experimental and didn't. As a result the band ended up producing the album themselves. Their Indian Summer 45, which sold quite well in the States, and the House On The Hill album were produced by Gus Dudgeon. This had a cover version (I've Put A Spell On You) but otherwise, like the first two, was made up of self-penned material including the R&B Jackdaw and the gentler I Had A Dream.
The band toured America with The Faces and built up a good underground following there. The line-up was augmented for the Lunch album by Nick Judd and American sessionmen Bobby Keys and Jim Price. This was probably their magnum opus but after its release personality rifts, particularly between Keith Gemmell and the rest of the band, ripped them apart.
They also performed the score for the 'Bronco Bullfrog' movie (also released under the name 'Angel Lane') which was written by Howard Werth. It was a film shot in the East End with a team of kids from a theatre, none of whom were professional actors.
After the band split, Gemmel joined Sammy; Werth apparently went to the US in an attempt to make music with the surviving Doors members, before returning to the UK. In 1975 he recorded as Howard Werth and The Moonbeams. Trevor Williams went on to Jonathan Kelly's Outside, and then The Nashville Teens; Connor first joined Jackson Heights and then Hot Chocolate; and Judd joined first Sharks (May '73 - Jul '74), then The Andy Fraser Band, eventually becoming a session musician.
01. Banquet 03:47
02. Poet 03:05
03. Waverley Stage Coach 02:59
04. River Boat Queen 02:57
05. Harlequin 02:35
06. Heaven Was An Island 04:18
07. Too Late Im Gone 02:37
08. Maidens Cry 04:47
09. Pleasant Convalescence 02:30
10. Leave It Unsaid 04:10
11. Man On Box 03:05
12. House On The Hill 04:06
13. Paper Round 03:42
14. The Going Song 01:42
15. Troubles 01:22
16. Indian Summer 03:16