John Du Cann – The World’s Not Big Enough (1977)

frontcover1John William Cann (5 June 1946 – 21 September 2011), later known by his stage name John Du Cann, was an English guitarist primarily known through his work in the 1970s band Atomic Rooster. His early bands included the Wiltshire-based The Sonics (not to be confused with the 1960s US band of the same name) and London-based The Attack, which released “Hi Ho Silver Lining” a few days prior to Jeff Beck. He went on to lead a psychedelic, progressive, hard rock band called Andromeda, before being asked to join Atomic Rooster, featuring re-recorded guitar parts and vocals for their 1970 self-titled debut album, and the albums Death Walks Behind You (1970) and In Hearing of Atomic Rooster (1971).

Upon departing Atomic Rooster in 1971 he formed Daemon, later renamed Bullet, then Hard Stuff, releasing two albums based more heavily on aggressive guitar work. In 1974 he was a temporary guitarist in Thin Lizzy for a tour of Germany. Sometime following this, his manager suggested a name change for him from John Cann to John Du Cann.

As a result of being signed to the same management company, 1977 saw the pairing of Du Cann with Francis Rossi of the British rock band Status Quo. Rossi was invited to produce Du Cann’s proposed new album, The World’s Not Big Enough, which remained unreleased until 1992. The session musicians for this album included Rossi on guitar, Andy Bown on keyboards, future Quo drummer Pete Kircher and bassist John McCoy. The album was described in Record Collector magazine at the time as sounding like “Quo mixed with the Sex Pistols”.

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Atomic Rooster in 1969: John Du Cann, Vincent Crane & Carl Palmer

In September 1979 Du Cann had a hit on the UK Singles Chart with “Don’t Be A Dummy”, an unreleased version of which (featuring vocals by Gary Numan) had featured in a Lee Cooper Jeans television advertisement in 1978. The single reached number 33 in the UK Singles Chart.

In 1979, Cann and Crane re-formed Atomic Rooster with Preston Heyman on drums (with whom they recorded their 1980 self-titled album). Following this, after a brief spell with former Cream drummer Ginger Baker (who was released after only three weeks), Paul Hammond returned to his place on the drums, and the band released two more singles on Polydor with minimal success. In 1981, the band were booked at the last minute at the Reading Festival, but Cann was unable to make it, and Mick Hawksworth sat in with the band on bass guitar, while Crane took over on lead vocals. In late 1982, Cann had had enough of the non-success of the band, and left for the final time.

In the late 1990s he was introduced to the Angel Air record label by John McCoy. He was later active cataloguing and remastering his personal tape archive and compiling reissues for the label, for which he received full credit and royalties.

johndu-cann01Du Cann died on 21 September 2011 after a heart attack. As he died without heirs the bulk of his personal collection of 75 guitars, 30 amplifiers, records and CDs was auctioned in January 2012. An original copy of the Andromeda LP made £800, whilst his well used 1963 Fender Strat sold for £6500.

he World’s Not Big Enough is the only solo album by John Du Cann, who was best known as guitarist and vocalist with Atomic Rooster and Hard Stuff in the 1970s. The album was recorded in 1977, but remained unreleased until 1992, and was remastered in 1999.

During the mid-1970s, Du Cann was signed to Quarry Management, who also handled Status Quo. When Du Cann presented some demo tracks to Arista Records, it was suggested that he record them in a studio with Status Quo guitarist Francis Rossi acting as producer. A group was assembled to record the album, including bass guitarist John McCoy, who later played with Ian Gillan; Liverpool Express and Original Mirrors drummer Pete Kircher, and keyboard player Andy Bown who was also a member of Status Quo. Ex-Atomic Rooster drummer Paul Hammond also played on several tracks. The band subsequently performed concerts in London, but Arista ultimately decided not to release the album.

The album was eventually released in 1992, and featured Du Cann’s 1979 UK hit single “Don’t Be a Dummy”, which he performed on Top of the Pops. The 1999 CD version also featured a number of bonus tracks, mostly demos and rough versions of songs not featured on the original album.

“She’s My Woman” and “Where’s the Show!” were re-recorded when Du Cann rejoined Atomic Rooster, and were released on the band’s 1980 album Atomic Rooster. ((by wikipedia)

Du Cann’s shelved 1977 album includes the singles “Don’t Be a Dummy,” “Throw Him in Jail,” and “Where’s the Show!” It’s peculiar, though not half-bad, power pop/new wave with a mainstream slant. Sometimes it exhibits a glammish, cheerfully snide attitude that isn’t too far removed from an early-’70s Bowie influence. No doubt it’s the kind of thing that will have the experts sniffing out whiffs of inauthenticity immediately (especially when they become aware of Du Cann’s hard rock past), but it’s not as ridiculous as might have been anticipated. Let it not be said that Angel Air is unwilling to pull out all the stops for such a not-in-demand project; it’s added a dozen bonus tracks of undocumented source and vintage material that is generally less impressive than the material from the unreleased LP. These are closer to hard rock in mood, with Du Cann handling all the vocals, guitars, and bass on most of them, and ex-Atomic Rooster bandmate Paul Hammond doing most of the drums. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Andy Bown (keyboards on 01. + 15. + 26.)
John Du Cann (guitar, vocals; bass 16. – 25.)
Paul Hammond (drums, percussion on 13. + 16. – 25.)
Pete Kircher (drums, percussion on on 01. + 15. + 26.)
John McCoy (bass  on 01. + 15. + 26.)
Francis Rossi (guitar on 01. + 15. + 26.)

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Tracklist:
01. Don’t Be A Dummy (Bond) 3.05
02. You Didn’t Know Any Better (Cann) 3.23
03. Fashion Fantasy  (Cann) 2.34
04. When I Was Old (Cann) 2.35
05. Only One Night (Cann) 3.00
06. Where’s The Show! (Cann) 2.25
07. She’s My Woman 2.30
08. Throw Him In Jail (Cann) 2.28
09. Evil You (Part 1) (Cann) 2.42
10. Don’t Talk (Cann) 2.25
11. Your Application Failed (Cann) 2.52
12. If I’m Makin’ (Cann) 2.58
13. Street Strutter (Cann) 2.22
14. Evil You (Part 2) (Cann) 2.42
15. Hesitation (Cann) 2.26
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16. Exodus (Johnny and His Epic Guitars) (Gold) 2.41
17. Moody Child (Cann) 3.24
18. Truck Stop (Cann) 2.48
19. Well Let’s Go (Cann) 3.56
20. Paradise (Cann) 2.47
21. I Want To Be Alone (Cann) 2.28
22. Ode To Mai West (Cann) 2.30
23. Wise Man (Cann) 2.56
24. Ooh Be Doo (Cann) 3.39
25. Thanx For Nothing (Cann) 3.59
26. Who Cares? (Cann) 2.07
27. The Door (Cann) 0.21

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single

Single from 1977

 

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