-= 7-FLOOR =-

Friday, August 14, 2009

Killing Floor - Zero Tolerance (1969)

Yes. this is the band from the late 60s / 70s,
reformed some thirty years later! Original members Mick Clarke (gtr/voc)
Bill Thorndycraft (vcl/hrp/gtr) Lou Martin (keys)
and Stuart McDonald (bs) got back together but couldn't find the drummer
(sounds a familiar story!) so co-opted Mick's longtime drummer Chris Sharley.
In fact, during recording,
the original drummer Bazz Smith got in touch so he does appear on a couple of tracks.
There are 14 tracks, 12 new original songs and a pair of standards.

The band pick up where they left off all those years ago so this is high-energy blues-rock.
Things kick off with a chugging rocker, "Burn Out",
with clattering piano from Lou, Bill and Mick sharing the vocals and good harp and guitar.
Another chugger follows, "Prozac Blues" with a nice steel guitar intro,
liked this one. As I did the next track "Calm Down",
a slow blues with excellent piano and some high-energy guitar work.
"Sperm Bandit" sees some more good piano, harp and slide guitar. "The Big Issue"
and the title track are protest /issue songs,
the first being sort of punk blues and the latter being an aggressive song.
I wasn't so keen on these. The two covers are Slim Harpo's
"Strange Love" and Sonny Boy's "Bring it on Home".
Both are delivered with a nice rolling beat,
both have good harp work and the latter good piano and guitar too making it an
excellent closer to the CD.

Other favourite tracks are the rocker "Iron Ewe" - touches of "Cell Block 9" -
and "Road of Diamonds" with grand solos all round, my pick of the CD.
Good to see the band doing a whole lot of new material;
and not just re-treads of their earlier tunes.
A solid rhythm section and good solos from all.
Lou's piano playing impressed,
not only his solos but also his fills and background playing.
Solid vocals from both Bill and Mick,
with trademark high-energy guitar work from Mick and some useful suckin'
and blowin' from Bill.
Overall a good modern blues-rock album that comes with a recommended sticker!

The line-up is:
Bill Thorndycraft (original Killing Floor singer) - Vocals, harp, and acoustic guitar.
Mick Clarke (original Killing Floor guitarist) - Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
Stuart (Mac) McDonald (original Killing Floor bassist, also ex Paul Rodger's Peace,
Jellybread, Salt) - Bass
Lou Martin (original Killing Floor pianist, also ex Rory Gallagher Band,
Blues'n'Trouble and others) - Keyboards
Chris Sharley (Mick Clarke Band, ex Sassafrass) - Drums
Bazz Smith (original Killing Floor drummer) - Drums (tracks 3 & 12)

Bill’s thoughts about the Album:

Mick had the structure for this song with one of his many magical Riffs which
he seems to produce like Armani produce quality suits.
I wanted to write a song about ‘Burnout’ a syndrome/phenomena never mentioned
much before the mid 1990’s but ubiquitous in the late 90’s following the increase
in expectations and workloads of professionals,
especially in people professions such as the Police, Social work,
and frontline medical workers and then extending to many other professions.
This resulted in the remarkable increase in stress related problems such as Depression,
Migraine, Asthma, IBS,Back pain etc and increased alcohol and Drug dependency.
This leads on to the second song on the album...

Prozac Blues
which I had structured before the coming together of the band and is rather
personal to me as it documents many events in my life especially the
premature death of my sister who had taken on the task of caring for my
disabled elderly mother who was very demanding not just because of her
physical disability but more significantly, because of her enduring mental
health problems….my sister was prescribed a cocktail of Prozac and Valium to
help her cope with this complex and untenable situation….
There are several million Full time carers in Britain today whose
lives are devoted to and overwhelmed by the demands of the caring role and
who save the government and Tax payer millions of pounds by their unpaid labour.

Calm Down
Bazz Smith flew in from his home in Switzerland to play on a couple
of songs…this was jammed from nothing in one take thanks to our excellent
engineer Lee Bowman having the sense to run the tapes…otherwise
I am not confident we could have reproduced the feel on another take…I love Lou’s
piano break in the middle!!

Sperm Bandit
was influenced by Dotun Adebayo’s book and documentary “Sperm Bandit”
about the modern day phenomena of some women acquiring the sperm of a male
partner unbeknown to the man for the purpose of pregnancy with no
intention of any further requirements of the man….which I thought was an
interesting theme for what was originally Mick’s song.

Big Issue
aka Bush ’n’ Blair…..This was a song I had written before the
band came together again ,written around 2000, and when we recorded it in 2003,
we thought it best to retitle it as we we not confident that Mr Bush and
Mr Blair would be in power for much longer at that time. So the Big Issue
seemed an appropriate alternative title as the song is about so many “Big Issues.
” You can take your choice!!

Strange Love
I have always loved Slim Harpo’s sound and consider him a greatly underrated
blues man…This is one of my favourite Sim Harpo songs which Mick does great
credit to on vocals and guitar

Zero Tolerance
A term and political slogan used frequently by the media and politicians….I will say
no more!!!

Run On
Running has been a significant part of my life in the past and to a lesser
extent now…it was only logical for me to write about the joy and therapeutic
value gained from running. Another wonderful riff and rocker from Mr Clarke..

Iron Ewe
Mac’s idea ably co written by his partner Jan and given the Mick Clarke arrangement

What is it about you?
I had written this song many moons ago and it might ring a bell for those men
who struggle to understand women…Lou’s piano solo in the middle highlights
one of his influences, the great Fats Domino….a very fine piano Solo Mr Martin!!!
Thank You Lou….

Road of Diamonds
Essentially Micks song and one of my favourites on the album…I love Micks
‘Twangy guitar’ in the middle. Very remininicent of the late great Duane Eddy….

Radnor Rumble
Mac and Jan’s song with a great arrangement from Mick and driven by the
formidable Bazz Smith on Drums…Enjoy Mac’s superb Bass!!

Fred McDowell
A song about a Blues hero of ours featuring another great Mick Clarke Riff and
fine Bass playing from Mac.

Bring it on home
Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) has been a major influence on me ever since I
had the privilege to witness him live at the Black cat club, Woolwich back in the
sixties…I was delighted when the band agreed to do this on the album and hope you
enjoy our version for which much credit must go to Mick for his arrangement..

Throughout the album we were fortunate to have Chris Sharley drum for us in the
absence of Bazz…Chris in my opinion, is one of the finest Rock Blues drummers
around and his solid drumming combines perfectly with Mac’s imaginative Bass.
Hopefully you will agree…Let us know if you enjoy the album….Let us know if you don’t!!!

(info by: CGR)

1. Burnout (Thorndycraft / Clarke)
2. Prozac Blues (Thorndycraft / Clarke)
3. Calm Down (Smith / Martin / McDonald / Thorndycraft / Clarke)
4. Sperm Bandit (Thorndycraft / Clarke)
5. The Big Issue (Thorndycraft/Clarke)
6. Strange Love (Slim Harpo)
7. Zero Tolerance (Thorndycraft / Clarke)
8. Run On(Thorndycraft / Clarke)
9. Iron Ewe (McDonald / Davies)
10. What is it about you? (Thorndycraft / Clarke)
11. Road of Diamonds (Thorndycraft/Clarke)
12. The Radnor Rumble (McDonald / Davies)
13. Fred McDowell (Thorndycraft / Clarke)
14. Bring it on Home (Sonny Boy Williamson)

Size: 113 Mb
Bitrate: 256 mp3
Artwork Included


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