Jody Grind may seem like a strange name for a band in the late 1960s during the psychedelic scene. They were a part of the underground scene in London. Now I remember hearing some of Jody Grind’s music 10 years ago both on Internet Radio and on a Podcast, and then I lost sight of them. It wasn’t until I remember five years ago buying Mark Powell’s book, Prophets and Sages: An Illustrated Guide to Underground and Progressive Rock 1967-1975.
His book made me opened my eyes and I championed the book here on Music from the Other Side of the Room where it was more to just the big names of the Progressive Rock movement. And he is a great expert when it comes to the underground scene and through looking the overlooked and underrated bands in which I would called them “Hidden Treasures” that Long John Silver had completely forgotten while on the shores through their telescopes.
But let’s get to Jody Grind. The band released their debut album in 1969 on the Transatlantic Records label and now reissued by Esoteric Recordings this year, the band which was launched out of the brainstorming mind of Tim Hinkley (Bo Street Runners) wanted to follow in the inspirations between the late Keith Emerson, Vincent Crane, and Steve Winwood. The band considered Ivan Zagni on Guitar, Barry Wilson on Drums, Louis Cennamo on Bass Guitar (Paint it Black, Rock & Roll Man) and David Palmer (Jethro Tull) handling the horn arrangements.
Recorded at Morgan Studios in the Summer of that year, it’s hard to understand why the album itself never charted well and while they were well received by the Music Press in the U.K, in my opinion, they just weren’t ready for Hinkley mind-blowing work he brought to Jody Grind. Rock n’ Roll Man is Hinkley’s tribute to his hero Chuck Berry. The song is like a rolling adventure done in the style of Johnny B. Goode with the fast 12-bar blues rock that Zagni takes it into the mountains with a maximum sound.
Night Today begins with a walking jazz turned soulful awakening between Tim’s Organ, Louis’ Bass, along with the clean melodic chords by Ivan and Barry’s gentle laid-back drumming. Tim heads down into the R&B groove throughout his Organ in the styles of Graham Bond. He just hits the notes on the keys as the members follow his route. It’s a nights out into the streets of Soul-Jazz Rock.
The cannon blast of Little Message brings Palmer’s brass arrangements and blistering roars into the highway as Hinkley and Zagni take the center stage and almost having a ride into the thunderstorms of electricity. It’s a real stunning track that comes to mind between Chicago and The Nice. The opening 18-minute title track that the two of them wrote together is a great introduction and a magnum opus.
I got to admit Zagni plays well throughout his guitar improvisation. It is a cross of Jimi Hendrix, Tony Iommi, Martin Barre, and Frank Zappa. And then once they cover The Rolling Stones Paint It Black which closes the suite and after the ecstatic drum solo by Barry, it is a brilliant take of the song and full sonic force that the horn section adds the powers that be.
USA is a crunchy blues rock done in the styles of Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy-era. It is a dooming and haunting composition that you can imagine during the time period of what the States was going through. The two bonus tracks on the album contain an alternate version of Night Today and a single version of Rock n’ Roll Man.
The 16-page booklet contains liner notes about the history of the band done by Mark Powell along with psychedelic artwork which was the gatefold sleeve done by John Courage. While the artwork contains Hinkley paying homage to Arthur Brown wearing a wizard’s cape and hat by casting a spell in a dark-blue background, the music industry is not an easy place to be.
One Step On is a lost treasure and mind-blowing yet explosive album I’ve listened to. I have to give Esoteric a big amount of credit for reissuing this unearthed gem. The band would later do a follow-up which was their last album which will be reviewed either this year or in 2017 entitled, Far Canal.