You can skip this ad in 3,2,1, etc., but a worthy shout out must go to Esoteric Recordings and label manager Mark Powell for finding and presenting stuff that to many have been consigned to dusty lofts or car boot sales. The concept of the “remaster” with bonus tracks and restored artwork would have been the devil’s work not too many years ago.
However, there are many (including some from this very site) who have issued words of demurral regarding this practice sighting that only new music is of benefit. However, an album that was originally released in 1975 but has now been re-released in 2019 means that there has been a 44 year gap. Anyone who was not even born then, or at anytime in-between, would regard (for example) Greenslade’s Time And Tide as something very new and refreshing – which it is. Coincidentally, it is this very album that is the subject of this article, and it has indeed NOT been available in the shops (er, shop) since the ending of The Vietnam War; well, it has been, in a CD type of way, but not in as good a version as this.
Presented in a miniature gatefold sleeve displaying Patrick Woodroffe’s wonderful artwork and cover, the fourth and final album from this quirky band has two CDs – the original album and a concert recorded for a Swedish radio broadcast in the same year. And so for the edification of the first timers (lucky you), Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding for the time is now and the tide waits for no one – GREENSLADE…
Packed into a record that was just over 30 minutes long, here was a prophetic blend of pop prog that was performed by a band that ostensibly had two keyboard players, a drummer, and a bass player. The line of was ex Colosseum member Dave Greenslade, Dave Lawson from the band Samurai, Andrew McCulloch who had played on King Crimson’s Lizard album, and new boy session guitarist Martin Briley, brought in to replace Tony Reeves on bass but with little hints of lead guitar – stay tuned for even more trivia later.
Blasting off with Lawson’s Animal Farm, more Priory than Orwellian, his distinctive vocals let the listener know who this band are. The ARP synthesisers give the track a nostalgic freshness and they are sorely missed in today’s music. The sharp production is especially noticeable with the drum mix. Engineer Gregg Jackman also worked on Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water and the recording of the ride cymbals and kick are second to none. So first timers, this was an era when everything was recorded onto analogue multi-track tape recorders with men in lab coats lining up the recording heads, getting squiffy on the heady aroma of isopropyl alcohol cleaner and using microphones that each cost more than the laptop studios of today.
Journalist bashing Newsworth comes next with some great tom tom and soft shoe shuffle snare rhythm complimenting a descending bass line. The Treverva Male Voice Choir “la las” along to Dave Greenslade’s harpsichord with the very uplifting Time followed by Fender piano and Mellotron drenched (by the tide) Tide – both distinctive instrumentals that lead into Catalan. Elderly relatives should go the the bottom the their stairs to soften the blow caused by the BANG BANG start of this track, with the remastering doing nothing to reduce its impact (this has to be listened to quite loudly if you want the full heart attack experience). This penultimate instrumental is a Catalonian feast of museum consigned keyboard sounds from Crumar Stringmen, clavinets, and again the ARP synth from Lawson’s arsenal…
Martin Briley gets to plug in his lead guitar for the subtle ending of the very fine ballard Waltz For A Fallen Idol – very theatrical with images of a faded Actooor staring into his dressing room mirror whist taking off his make up. But then the curtain is raised to the simply terrific The Ass’s Ears. Arpeggio’d electric piano, held organ chords, Squire-esque bass, and a thick but small electric lead guitar motif. Dave Lawson’s vocal style is at its best here; love it or not quite sure, it packs a punch like a mule. Doldrums is a man becalmed in life or maybe in a boat (there are gull effects) but again the selection of vintage keyboards makes the track standout with the mighty Solina String Ensemble making a watery appearance.
Almost tagged on as a bonus, but part of the original album is an instrumental called Gangsters. Funky clavinet driven with a splash of vibes and a synthy sax type lead, the album is over with the final “blam” chord sounding not too dissimilar to the end of the Men Behaving Badly theme (overseas viewers can research this). Written for a BBC1 Play For Today, it almost makes you wonder what the hell has gone wrong with today’s music, and yes it is a great short track. Beware, though, that there is a vocal version of this performed by Chris Farlowe, which can be found as a bonus track on Dave Greenslade’s subsequent venture, and it is an acquired taste.
Talking of which and as promised, another public information film about what happened next for all you first timers. Skip this in… well you know, put the kettle on or pay attention to these quick info tippets:
Dave Greenslade did a very acceptable solo album called Cactus Choir before making an odd noise soundtracking an LP sized The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony, which was a concept book with music by the illustrator Patrick Woodroffe. Dave Lawson became a much sought after synthesiser player adding keyboards to the very recommended Mr Mick by Stackridge, partaking in the soundtrack of a British TV series called The Paradise Club (with Dirty Den) – CD still available on some outer planets – and (drum-rooooooooll) using his ARP 2600 to make the sound of that sax looking thing in the Star Wars Tatooine Cantina scene! – “Respec”, as you youngsters might say.
Martin Briley went on to become a successful singer songwriter and Andrew McCulloch left his sticks in Blighty to become a Yachtsman in Italy – a great loss to the music business because he was/is one of rock’s most underrated players. Mind you, if he ever has to rivet the planks on a small wooden tender he probably still draws a small crowd using just a hammer.
Back to the main feature and CD 2. A very BBC sounding ’70s radio light programme mix has Greenslade playing for a recording of a sort of greatest hits in 45 minutes, with bits of the new album thrown in, for Swedish Radio. The hirsute of both beard and chunky jumper radio engineer gets the kick drum sound, builds the rest of the band around that, then finishes his spliff.
The invited audience are very polite and, being 1975, probably bereft of English as poor Dave Lawson attempts to engage the crowd “This next track is from our last album Spyglass Guest, released in Sweden, it sold two copies…” (silence but a missed opportunity for a wind effect).
Anyway, the best tracks are actually the old stuff (for them) as these are the numbers that had been played more than the new ones from Time And Tide. Joie De Vivre at 10:59 is an absolute joy, as it is on Spyglass Guest, a superb synergy of keyboards and McCulloch’s tightly played kit, and the draw dropping Drum Folk really does need someone out there to start a “please come back” campaign for this ridiculously talented drummer. Back to the songs and despite a very dry vocal sound, Dave Lawson never drops a stitch. Pilgrims Progress and Bedside Manners Are Extra are just as good. Again THAT drumming! The Mellotron is also lovely and well up in the mix.
Interestingly though, the sleeve notes mention that Martin Briley played a double neck guitar and bass in the live situation and contributed to backing vocals, but that does not seem to be the case with this concert. The lead guitar part on Waltz and Ass’s Ears are strangely missing here, being replaced by an inadequate keyboard substitute – disappointing to be honest. Also on Newsworth the backing vocal of “Neeeewsworth” is simply not sung? Minor quibbles though since for many fans of Time And Tide this would have been the first time any other versions of these songs have been heard.
So first timers, what do you think now? Go forth and purchase as if it was brand new and don’t worry about the old fogeys pretending they actually like all the new stuff and wearing their flared slacks with a slimming tank top. Greenslade were unique in the world of rock and it is a shame that various financial and management issues meant they only made four albums. Each one did progress with Time And Tide having a refreshing poppy feel with shorter tracks and a more defined serrated edge sound. For many this was their favourite album of theirs and it certainly got some radio airplay in its day.
Championed by the late Fluff Freeman who, introduced progressive rock music to a Saturday afternoon listenership using fab Radio 1 as the channel but hijacking Radio 2 for the stereo sound. Not ‘arf pop pickers.
Roll end credits. Time And Tide is an excellent remaster of excellent rock music from the halcyon days of, well alright then, the old stuff but as has been ultimately proved in much of what Esoteric Recordings have done when its Time for the Tide to go out you’re left with a brand new stretch of beach that will always be new to some.
01. Animal Farm (3:22)
02. Newsworth (3:10)
03. Time (1:16)
04. Tide (2:44)
05. Catalan (5:03)
06. The Flattery Stakes (3:30)
07. Waltz For A Fallen Idol (3:18)
08. The Ass’s Ears (3:19)
09. Doldrums (3:30)
10. Gangsters (2:21)
– bonus tracks
11. Catalan [Single Edit – previously unreleased on CD] (3:52)
12. Rubber Face And Lonely Eyes [Previously unreleased on CD] (2:40)
Time – 38:05
The Swedish Radio Concert 1975
01. Pilgrim’s Progress (8:03)
02. Newsworth (3:04)
03. Flattery Stakes (4:43)
04. Bedside Manners Are Extra (6:26)
05. Joie De Vivre (10:59)
06. Waltz For A Fallen Idol (3:11)
07. The Ass’s Ears (3:48)
08. Drum Folk (12:00)
09. Spirit Of The Dance (3:45)
Time – 44:11
Total Time – 82:16
Andrew McCulloch – Drums, Percussion (except tracks 3,4 & 9)
Dave Lawson – Keyboards (except tracks 3,4 & 7), Lead Vocals (except track 3)
Martin Briley – Bass Guitar, Guitars, Backing Vocals (except tracks 3,4 & 9)
Dave Greenslade – Keyboards (except tracks 1 & 9)
Barry Morgan – Timbales
The Treverva Male Voice Choir – All Vocals (track 3)
Ann Simmons & Jill MacIntosh – Backing Vocals (track 6)
Greenslade – Info at Cherry Red Records