Atomic Rooster “Black Snake” (1972) | B.F.T.P. Vol 328
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia |
In summer 1969, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown had to cease touring in the middle of their second U.S. tour because of keyboardist Vincent Crane’s mental illness. When he recovered, he and drummer Carl Palmer took the step to leave Arthur Brown and return to England, the return date being Friday 13 June 1969, which was the year of the Rooster in the Chinese calendar, and arranged a meeting with Brian Jones to discuss a collaboration. After Jones’s death, they adopted the name Atomic Rooster (with influence from the US band Rhinoceros), and soon recruited Nick Graham on bass and vocals. They followed with what had emerged as The Crazy World of Arthur Brown formula of vocals, organ, bass, and drums.
They soon undertook live dates around London; at their first headlining gig the opening act was Deep Purple on Friday August 29, 1969 at London Lyceum. They eventually struck a deal with B & C Records and began recording their debut album in December 1969. Their first LP, Atomic Roooster was released in February 1970, along with a single, “Friday the 13th”. By March, Crane felt it was best, that they add a guitarist, and recruited John Du Cann from acid/progressive rock band Andromeda. However, just as Du Cann joined, basist/vocalist Graham left. Du Cann (who played guitar and sang for Andromeda) took over vocal duties, whilst Crane overdubbed the bass lines on his Hammond Organ with a combination of left hand and foot pedals. Atomic Rooster resumed gigging until the end of June 1970, when Carl Palmer announced his departure to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Ric Parnell filled the drum spot until August, when the young Paul Hammond was recruited from Farm to the drum spot. They then recorded their second album, Death Walks Behind You, released in September 1970. Originally it was not commercially successful, as with the first album, but by February 1971, the single, “Tomorrow Night” reached No. 11 in the UK Singles Chart, with the album reaching No. 12 in the UK Albums Chart. Atomic Rooster made an appearance on the Top of the Pops, and toured to support their music.
In June 1971, just before they began configuring their line-up once again, the single “Devils Answer” hit No. 4 in the UK. Atomic Rooster saw considerable popularity, and singer Pete French was brought in at the end of June. They began recording In Hearing of Atomic Rooster (UK No. 18). The sound diverged from Death Walks Behind You though, since French’s vocals were much more bluesy, and the music followed suit. Du Cann and Vincent had arguments over, who should run the band so Vincent sacked him, and so consequently Paul Hammond followed John and left the band after the album was released to form Daemon (with John Gustafson) and Hard Stuff, respectively.
The latest Atomic Rooster line up featuring Pete French on vocals, Steve Bolton on guitar, Rik Parnell on drums, and of course Vincent on the keys toured Italy, right across America & Canada. This line-up ended their international tour to appear at benefit gig in September 1971 at the Oval cricket ground appearing in front of some 65,000 people, supporting The Faces and The Who. It was after this concert, that French moved on to sign with Atlantic records and to join the American rock band Cactus and record their album ‘Ot ‘N’ Sweaty (1972). Crane then recruited vocalist Chris Farlowe in February 1972, at that time in Colosseum, to take the place of French. They went on tour and recorded another album in spring 1972. They released the album Made in England along with the single “Stand by Me”, now on Dawn Records. They were more into soul at this point, and all the progressive and heavy rock leanings from the other releases had receded. The single did not chart, and the album just barely caught any attention, but touring followed through.
Guitarist Steve Bolton left at the end of 1972, and was replaced by John Goodsall, under the name Johnny Mandala. They released the album Nice ‘n’ Greasy in 1973 with the single “Save Me”, and a re-working of “Friday the 13th”. This time, it was in a complete funk style. After nearly two years without any hits, Dawn Records dropped the group and Atomic Rooster began to split. After a tour, Farlowe, Mandala and Parnell left. The single “Tell Your Story, Sing Your Song” was released in March 1974 as “Vincent Crane’s Atomic Rooster” on Decca. All subsequent gigs were played by Crane along with members of the blues band Sam Apple Pie. A final concert was played in February 1975, a benefit gig for the RSPCA. Afterwards, Crane disbanded Atomic Rooster.
Atomic Rooster “Black Snake” (1972) | Bast From The Past Volume 328