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Ellis: Reissues

Two break-up snogs with the former Love Affair man.

When his Love Affair ended in 1969, 20-year-old frontman Steve Ellis bounced from project to project until a band sprang from the Venn intersection of his rock’n’roll pals.

Using keyboard ace Zoot Money, German ex-pat axeman Andy Gee, Fat Mattress bassist Jim Leverton and Grease Band’s Dave Lutton on drums, in 1972 debut LP Riding On The Crest Of A Slump (610) swept in. Produced by Roger Daltrey and with Mitch Mitchell on-side too, it had some weight behind it.

The songs are a brace of decent Rod/Marriott/Traffic jams going from honky-tonking knees-up Good To Be Alive to the soul limboing I Wish I Was Back Home, plus thoughtful in-betweeners such as El Doomo (a mega-hit for Yugoslav band Smak). It’s only a matter of time before Pinball Wizard shakes out Morning Paper, its carefree pillaging made even more pleasurable when you know that the band recorded in every room in Daltrey’s studio mansion, including the loo.

On 1973’s …Why Not? (510), Leverton is replaced by former Alexis Korner prodigy Nick South, and hard rock and blues come to the fore. Under Chicken Shack/ Fleetwood Mac/Blues Breakers producer Mike Vernon’s direction you can hear the group “spread out”, as Money puts it – albeit in a less stimulating way than its predecessor. Opus 17 34, however, is quite progressive in its jazz-soul-Superstar experimentation, giving bolster to this footnote in Brit rock history.

Jo Kendall
Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.