Blossom Toes' If Only For A Moment was prog - just maybe not as we know it

Blossom Toes

Two years after their arresting debut We Are Ever So Clean, those budding darlings of impresario Giorgio Gomelsky released If Only For A Moment. Ostensibly led by Brian Godding, a guitar god of the second firmament, who shared songwriting duties with the equally talented Jim Cregan, Blossom Toes now sought to leave behind the psychedelic leanings of their earlier work for a heavyweight sound that veers between the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Captain Beefheart via Iron Butterfly.

The opening track Peace Loving Man is penned by Godding and sung by bassist ‘Big’ Brian Belshaw. It’s a riff-laden anti-Vietnam anthem delivered with aggressive vigour (check out the buzzsaw guitar coda) and released as a single.

Throughout the album, Godding’s thoughts are frequently troubled by violence and its destructive effect upon the sound mind. ‘The darker side of you is when you shine,’ he laments on Kiss Of Confusion, while ruminating upon the proverbial good cop/bad cop scenario in Billy Boo The Gunman. His pacifist tendencies again come to the fore with Love Bomb; a 100 per cent gold-plated purified projectile that he schemes to drop upon the devil’s own. It was the unadulterated dictum of the Woodstock nation, now advancing all too rapidly towards extinction.

Cregan contributes his own off-centre blend of songwriting sensibilities with Listen To The Silence, Wait A Minute and the luxuriating textures of Indian Summer that might have shone twice as brightly had it ever been released as a single.

Jim Cregan is still gigging in 2016

Jim Cregan is still gigging in 2016 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Belshaw also lends his quivering tonsils to a distinguished cover of troubadour Richie Havens’ Just Above My Hobby Horse’s Head, which is further garnished with tasty sitar licks courtesy of folkie Shawn Phillips. It’s a fitting companion to the band’s own uncommon compositions which display a remarkable maturity in both music-making terms and in their grasp of studio production techniques.

A few months later, the band decided to call it quits after being involved in a near fatal car crash when returning home from a gig. Godding went on to form BB Blunder with Belshaw and later found regular work with Keith Tippett, Mike Westbrook and Kevin Coyne. Cregan co-formed the noteworthy but short-lived blues rock trio Stud, before joining the ranks of Family. He later forged a musical partnership with Rod Stewart.

A bunch of posies they never were; If Only For A Moment remains an enduring work that has stood the test of desperate times and continues to indicate a byroad to the promised land of prog.

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