David Bash on the latest titles from the seminal UK catalog label Cherry Red
Hello, Friends! This month I thought I’d give a shout out to the awesome label, Cherry Red, along with its subsidiary labels, by offering some reviews of their latest releases. Enjoy!!
Artist: Sutherland Brothers & Quiver
Album: The Albums
Label: Lemon/Cherry Red
★★★★ 1/2 (4/5 stars)
Sutherland Brothers & Quiver were a band who never made much hey in The States; actually, they didn’t make too much of a dent in the charts of their native UK, either, scoring one Top 10 single and only two others in the Top 50, as well as three albums in the lower reaches of the Top 50. This fact notwithstanding, they made some pretty darned fine LPs, all eight (!) of which are contained in this box set. Their story began in Stoke-On-Trent, where brothers Iain and Gavin Sutherland formed the band, and soon afterward obtained a deal with Island Records. The box set takes us through the band’s journey from their debut album (as The Sutherland Brothers), a pop/folk/country delight which may remind one of another Iain…Matthews, through their involvement with Steve Winwood and their merger with Quiver (which featured the future Attractions alum, Bruce Thomas, on bass), which produced some wonderful melodic rock discs, particularly Beat On The Street, into their time with Columbia Records, which featured their Top 10 hit “Arms of Mary” (covered quite nicely by Chilliwack a few years later) and some fine pop/rock albums. Every album in Sutherland Brothers & Quiver’s catalogue is well sung, written and played. The discs herein contain some bonus tracks, including the band’s only U.S. hit “(I Don’t Want To Love You But) You Got Me Anyway”, and the original version of “Sailing”, which became a hit for Rod Stewart a few years later.
AUDIO: Sutherland Brothers & Quiver Reach For The Sky (full album)
Artist: David Cassidy
Album: The Bell Years: 1972-1974
Label: 7T’s/Cherry Red
★★★★ (4/5 stars)
He really wanted to be a rock star, and David Cassidy certainly didn’t know what he was getting into when he accepted the role of Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family. Perhaps Cassidy’s biggest frustration, even larger than playing a teenager when he was actually in his early twenties, was that, although he was a more than capable guitarist who would noodle B.B. King styled riffs during breaks from the TV show, he never did get to play on any of the Partridge Family records. It was no wonder he did whatever he could do divest himself from his teeny bopper image, even going as far as to pose (kinda) nude for the cover of the Rolling Stone. His solo albums on Bell Records gave him a bit of a respite from all that was Partridge, even allowing him to play guitar on the third one, Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes. This four-disc box contains everything he recorded for Bell, including Cassidy Live!, which showcased the manifestation of his rock star fantasies, both in his performances and the reaction of the huge crowd of young girls, who responded to Cassidy as if he was the second coming of The Beatles. Chart-wise, he almost was The Beatles in the UK, where he landed six top 10 singles, including two number ones, and all four of the albums finished in the Top 10.
The three studio albums were a bit different from Partridge Family records as they were more introspective and soulful, and contained some very heartfelt covers of cool tunes like “Cherish”, “How Can I Be Sure”, “Daydream” and “Lonely Too Long”, among others. Really good stuff, and Cassidy did get to write a few tunes, such as “Can’t Go Home Again” and “It’s Preying On My Mind”. However, the most interesting/enlightening album of the bunch is the live album, on which his version of “Delta Lady” particularly stands out as a rocker, even though Cassidy does oversing it a bit.
Although his coolest material came after he switched to RCA Records, The Bell Years ain’t half bad, and is definitely worth owning if you’re a fan of ‘70s pop.
AUDIO: David Cassidy Cherish (Full Album)
Artist: Various Artists
Album: New Moon’s In The Sky: The British Progressive Pop Sounds of 1970
Label: Grapefruit/Cherry Red
★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Don’t let the title fool you; this isn’t a compilation of prog, so you won’t find Caravan or Camel here. What you will get is three discs and 70 tracks of melodic rock, of various shapes and sounds, which are literally “progressive” as compared to what was on the UK charts in 1970. There are several familiar names herein, like Procol Harum, The Marmalade, U.F.O., Status Quo, The Move and others, but it’s the obscure bands which make this package really special. Among the shining lights are…well…too many to mention, but we’ll go with “All The Best People Do It” by The Humblebums, featuring a very-pre “Baker Street” Gerry Rafferty on lead vocal; the delightful pop of “Jennifer” by Angel Pavement, “I’ve Seen To Dream” by the magnificent Harmony Grass, which is the closest any band has ever gotten to Pet Sounds; “Celebrity Ball” by Plastic Penny, which readers will know better in Three Dog Night’s version, titled “Celebrate”; “I Will Be There” by The Seychelles, with its rockin’ verses exploding into a burst of harmony chorus; the gentle “Blind Man” by a nascent Curved Air, a fine cover of “Mr. Diengly Sad” by The Others; “Umbopo” by Doctor Father, who were essentially a nom du plume of 10cc; the lovely “Alias Oliver Dream” by Airbus, and so many others.
It really doesn’t get any better than this.
AUDIO: Plastic Penny “Celebrity Ball”