Judas Jump – Scorch (1970)

LPFrontCover1Judas Jump was a British short-lived prog rock supergroup, formed in 1969. They released one album and three singles before disbanding in 1971. They are best known for their various members who had success before and after Judas Jump.

Judas Jump was established in 1969 as a heavy progressive rock band. They used mellotron, woodwind and brass in their sound, and secured a recording contract with Parlophone. Keyboard player Andy Bown, and drummer Henry Spinetti, had earlier worked with The Herd, along with Peter Frampton. After The Herd dissolved, Bown and Spinetti spent two years with Judas Jump.

Also in their line-up was the former Amen Corner saxophonist, Allan Jones, who switched to playing mainly woodwind. The band issued three singles in 1969 and 1970, followed by their only album, Scorch (1970). A United States release on the MGM-distributed Pride Records was oddly delayed until 1972, by which time the group had disbanded. On 14 February 1970, Judas Jump featured on the cover of the British music magazine, NME.

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Judas Jump were the opening act on 26 August 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival. On 24 October 1970, Judas Jump played a concert at Polesworth’s Memorial Hall.[3] Although they attracted considerable press coverage, their records sold poorly, and did not reach either the UK Singles Chart or UK Albums Chart.

Although Adrian Williams was listed as lead vocalist, Andy Bown is the lead vocalist on almost all tracks. In a mid-1980s interview for a fanzine, (The Rock Marketplace), Bown admitted that as leader, primary song writer, and producer, he decided to replace most of the vocals with his own prior to the album’s release.

Bown ultimately joined Status Quo. Fellow band member, Charlie Harrison, played with the American country rock band Poco, between 1978 and 1984.[1] Spinetti went on to various session musician work, including playing on Gerry Rafferty’s single, “Baker Street”. (wikipedia)

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UK supergroup from such origins as The Herd, Amen Corner and the Mindbenders, branching out to the beyond, with a more progressive direction, as was de rigueur at the fag end of the 60’s. Despite a fair amount of promotion and a contract with the Beatles label: Parlophone, they only made this one great album and 2 singles, but failed to click with the public.

With Amen Corner’s Alan Jones they were able to augment their sound with brass and woodwind, and listening today you can see some parallels with contemporaries Chicago and BST, but most of all the flavour is British and puts you in mind of a Traffic/Spooky Tooth groove, with some Jethro Tull thrown in for good measure – yet their pop roots were not deserted, which is what sets this album apart from so many others that line my shelves from the 1969/1970 period.

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In common with many contemporaries at this time, Judas Jump were keen to throw of the shackles of the pop success they’d previously enjoyed with their Top 40 bands. Judas Jump was their collective attempt to “go progressive”. Luckily for us they avoid the pitfalls of many of their bombastic pretentious contemporaries and retain a poppy, rocky edge which permeates the whole album. “Scorch” kicks off with “John Brown’s Body”, a great lurching ballsy opening statement as ever you’ll hear, with a nice wailing harmonica backdrop.

The pace hardly lets up with “Rocking Chair” and “Beer Drinking Woman”, but slows a little for the closing percussive dressed “Bossa Jump”. Following by “Cry De Cry”, an acoustic part, and then we get the tasty single, Trevor Williams’ “Run For Your Life”. It’s not all wonderful though as towards the end of the album, it runs out of steam, and like a disappointing fizzy drink • goes slightly flat.

Ending with the thoroughly awful Ye-Olde-Musical- Hall-Romp “Private Holiday Camp” – this dated piece of nonsense is not on the US copy – be thankful my American cousins! Alan Jones, Trevor Williams and Andy Sown all contribute material, but Bown deservedly gets the lion’s share • as it’s at that point where the others kick in, that downward trend is marked. Unbelievably, these days Andy Bown sessions for the boogie stalwarts Status Quo, so he’s still around, and still doing it.

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A strange place for him to be? Maybe not so strange when you consider Status Quo and The Herd were Pop Contemporaries in the late 60’s, which is no doubt where they must have met up and down the proverbial swinging circuit. In fact the Quo were a formidable pop combo back in the days before they discovered the 12 bar ad nauseum and their early albums: “Picturesque Matchstickabie Messages”, and “Spare Parts are full of charming youthful and naive psychedelic whimsy. (taken from the CD liner notes)

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Personnel:
Andy Bown (keyboards, guitar)
Charlie Harrison (bass)
Alan Jones (sacophone, flute)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Adrian Williams (vocals)
Trevor Williams (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01.John Brown’s Body (Bown) 3.24
02. Rockin Chair (Bown) 2.57
03. Beer Drinkin’ Woman (Bown) 3.32
04. 49 Fingers (Bown) 1.01
05. Purple God (Bown) 3.07
06. Bossa Jump (Bown) 4.28
07. Cry-De-Cry (Bown) 2.33
08. Run For Your Life (Williams) 3.37
09. Cully (Bown) 2.31
10. Mississippi Turnpike (Jones) 2.55
11. Primrose Lady (Jones) +  Scorch (instrumental) (Bown) 4.31
12. Private Holiday Camp (Bown) 4.56
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13. This Feeling We Feel ( Bourtayre/Fishman) 2.49
14, Hangman’s Playing (T.Williams)  3.37
15. I HaveeThe Right (To Live My Life) (Jones) 4.30
16. Private Holiday Camp (short version) (Bown) 3.28

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