Jody Grind - Reissues album review

Tim Hinkley’s short-lived proto-proggers exhumed

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By the late-60s, many British underground rock bands were embracing classical and jazz influences to forge a new strain called ‘progressive music’. While the movement went massive, many of its early pioneers somehow didn’t catch on and lay almost forgotten for decades.

Formed by former Bo Street Runners keyboardist Tim Hinkley and named after a Horace Silver jazz track, Jody Grind are a prime example. Influenced by The Nice and Arthur Brown’s Crazy World, Hinkley was joined by guitarist Ivan Zagni and drummer Martin Harriman to record October 1969’s One Step On (610) for Transatlantic.

The album starts with the 19-minute title suite, complete with incongruous brass fanfares arranged by future Tull keyboardist Dee Palmer, while Harriman’s drum solo precedes a frantic version of the Stones’ Paint It Black.

The trio’s collective chops often dwarf the quality of the songs as the album navigates a torrid brew of solos and off-key singing, now standing as a primeval period piece enlivened by face-painted cover shot and several moments when the band’s inner alchemy flames on.

After the original trio split, Hinkley brought in singerguitarist Bernie Holland and drummer Pete Gavin to record July 1970’s Far Canal (510). Vegetable Oblivion and Plastic Shit (recorded live at the Roundhouse) show an improvement in songwriting, and instrumentals such as Paradiso display a red-hot creative unit finding its feet.

Sadly, any further steps were stunted after the album didn’t sell and Jody Grind split up.