Buried Treasure: Toe Fat, Two

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A semi-supergroup, Toe Fat were former The Gods and future Uriah Heep and Jethro Tull members fronted by Rebel Rouser Cliff Bennett, who’d scored two Top 10 hits in the 60s. Far away from the soulful R&B strains of his former band, Bennett was now a gritty-throated hard rocker and contributed to both Toe Fat albums.

Two is by far their heaviest recording and contains several gutsy hard rockers. In this mode Toe Fat really work as a band, pushing aside a handful of plodding, drawn-out blues and boogie rock rompers to reveal Midnight Sun – a rolling blues rocker, which comes across like Budgie meets early Free – and the sweet, mellow refrain of Indian Summer.

Motown subsidiary Rare Earth Records signed Toe Fat in the US, where they toured several times, but a breakthrough there or in the UK eluded them and the band folded. Bennett was reputedly asked to join Uriah Heep as their first vocalist but declined, and released a fairly average hard rock album under the moniker Cliff Bennett’s Rebellion. David Byron got the Heep gig instead, alongside former Toe Fat guitarist/keyboard player Ken Hensley, who’d left before Two, and played on Heep’s mighty 1970 debut …Very ’Eavy …Very ’Umble.

While neither Toe Fat album is essential listening, there are some very fine moments of frenetic, piledriving hard rock on both. Their rather disturbing cover art was designed by the world-famous Hipgnosis team, and is hardly their finest piece of work.