Chicken Shack – Unlucky Boy (1973)

LPFrontCover1Unlucky Boy is the sixth studio album by the blues band, Chicken Shack, released in 1973

Originally released in 1973, but reissued with two extra  in 1994, Chicken Shack’s Unlucky Boy finds guitarist/vocalist/songwriter and band founder Stan Webb in fine form. Only drummer Paul Hancox remains from the uneven Imagination Lady, and indeed the horn-oriented approach here is much different than the plodding Led Zeppelin-isms of the previous disc. Webb contributes six originals, and even though they are derivative of Savoy Brown (a band he joined for the Boogie Brothers album just a year later), his approach here is much more subtle and controlled than on his last effort.

FactorySampleLabels
Very rare factory sample discs

Chris Mercer’s saxes, often double tracked to sound like a horn section, bring a tough R&B to the mix, and drummer Hancox is a controlled powerhouse. Webb also reigns in his impulse to overextend guitar solos so prevalent on Imagination Lady, whipping off tight, controlled leads instead.

Articel1973_02Producer Neil Slaven contributes honest, witty, and often self-deprecating liner notes that help explain why two of these songs suffer from poor mixes (basically, he had consumed various substances and couldn’t salvage the songs after the fact). Strings on “As Time Goes Passing By,” (also included in a shorter single version) are a nice touch and bring a bit of class to the proceedings while maintaining the R&B slant of the disc. Two unedited studio jams make the cut as “Stan the Man” and the seven-minute “Jammin’ with the Ash,” both featuring pianist Tony Ashton, who really lets loose on the latter.

Things get stripped down for an unusually delicate version of Lonnie Johnson’s “Too Late to Cry” with just strummed guitar and bass. The opening trio of Webb-penned tunes shows some of his best songwriting with the instrumental “Prudence’s Party” a terrific capsule of Webb’s stinging, gritty guitar style. The album sounds dated but harkens back to a particular time in British blues that is charming in its anything goes attitude. That helps make this one of Stan Webb’s more consistent and successful offerings. (by Hal Horowitz)

This is the Masterpiece of Rock and on e of the best Blues-Rock
Album of All Time. Stan Webb, British Halfgod on Guitar in exciting form. (by Dani Rocksaurier)

This album is quite good, nothing more nothing less:

Ah, the wonderful Chicken Shack re-mastered, good news for blues freaks (such as myself)  … Here´s Chicken Shack with their charismatic frontman and lead guitarist Stan Webb. Webb was famous for his live performance, running down the aisles (before the wireless) with a mega long guitar wire, going banana while playing electrifying guitar soli!

StanWebb1973

This of course do not apply to the studio albums, which actually didn’t get nowhere near their live performances! This album is quite good, nothing more nothing less, good clean blues tracks! Get their first album or a live session, If you want the Shack on fire!!  (by Tonny Larsen)

Single

Personnel:
Bob Daisley (bass)
Paul Hancox (drums, percussion)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)
+
Tony Ashton (piano)
Chris Mercer (saxophone)

LPBackCover11
Tracklist:
01. You Know You Could Be Right (Webb) 3.47
02. Revelation”(Webb) 5.13
03. Prudence’s Party (Webb) 3.13
04. Too Late To Cry (Johnson) 3.09
05. Stan The Man (Webb) 4.25
06. Unlucky Boy (Thornton/Dupree) 2.34
07. As Time Goes Passing By (Webb) 4.46
08. Jammin’ With Ash” (Webb) 7.04
09. He Knows The Rules (McCracklin) 4.05
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10. As Times Goes Passing By (single version) (Webb) 3.32
11. Doctor Brown (Brown) 3.05

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BobDaisleyStanWebb
Bob Daisley & Stan Webb

Handwritten track list

A handwritten track list
and letter from Decca stating this was the first test pressing.

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Chicken Shack – Imagination Lady (1972)

FrontCover1Imagination Lady is the fifth studio album by the blues band Chicken Shack, released in 1972 on the Deram record Label.

Imagination Lady is much in the same tradition as the great British bluesmen Alexis Korner and John Mayall, Webb’s revolving-door personnel landed the band several notable members, including: John Almond (tenor/alto sax), Hughie Flint (drums), and Christine Perfect (keyboards/vocals). For this album, Webb (guitar/vocals) gathered a trio consisting of himself, future Gods and Jethro Tull member John Glascock (bass), and Paul Hancox (drums). Enthusiasts of the more traditional 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve and OK Ken albums have been quick to dismiss the latter-era band, often citing the whole over amplified power metal trip as detracting from their blues origins.

While certainly valid assessments, the power trio featured on Imagination Lady brings more than sheer volume to this release. As with the previous Chicken Shack long-players, this disc features several Webb originals augmented with some well-chosen cover tunes. The album opens with a ferocious cover of B.B. King’s “Crying Won’t Help You.” This version is highlighted by Glascock’s thrashing basslines and Webb’s wah-wah driven lead guitar and gin-soaked vocals. In a style akin to the Faces or even some of the rowdier moments from the Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac, this trio grinds out the blues with a decidedly English edge. The folkie “If I Were a Carpenter” is speared with searing electric guitar leads that rip throughout the likewise spirited contributions from Glascock and Hancox. The tune is also afforded an unexpected sensitivity that contrasts well between the all-out sonic onslaught of the chorus and the restrained polyrhythms of the verses. In regards to original material, “Daughter of the Hillside” is without a doubt Webb’s most impressive contribution to the album. It is arguably the strongest side on the disc. This straight-ahead rocker is an ideal trio effort with equal contributions from all three recalling the intense instrumentality of Cream or early Led Zeppelin. With so much potential, it’s unfortunate that the 11-minute epic “Telling Your Fortune” — which is nothing more than a 12-bar blues platform for solos from Webb and Hancox — is so erratic. In an ironic contrast, the closing number “The Loser” is upbeat and almost pop-oriented, again displaying the immense strength of this short-lived incarnation of Chicken Shack. (by Lindsay Planer)

StanWebb2

Chicken Shack were chief beneficiaries of the 1968 Brit blues boom, but the sales graph was flatlining by the time of 1972’s Imagination Lady. Shame, really: some of us will strip to the waist, grease up and wrestle for the right to proclaim it the worthiest thing they ever did. Wildcard guitarist and sole constant Stan Webb had commandeered drummer Paul Hancox and bassist John Glascock to create a brawny blues-rock trio with the pedal constantly to the metal – and the transfusion of new blood duly created a rampaging ogre.

Listen to them, positively steaming in with Crying Won’t Help You Now: lack of blues feel is more than compensated for with unruly, unpolished, first-take excitement. Hancox in particular – recommended by John Bonham – is a flailing Tasmanian devil in the Philthy Animal Taylor mould. The insane phased drum solo in Telling Your Fortune perhaps indulges the man a tad too far – but you try stopping him.
Thrillingly, the band lunge at If I Were A Carpenter like pub drunks: it’s a Vanilla Fudge-style, taste-free disembowelment, and all the better for it. Truthfully, Imagination Lady is closer in spirit and execution to May Blitz than Fleetwood Mac, in the grand tradition of fractious, E-major wah-wah sludge-rock. (by record collector)

For me is this album a masterpiece of heavy blues rock !

StanWebb

Personnel:
John Glascock (bass)
Paul Hancox (drums)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)

Booklet.JPG

Tracklist:
01. Crying Won’t Help You Now (King) 5.10
02. Daughter Of The Hillside (Webb) 3.53
03. If I Were A Carpenter (Hardin) 6.35
04. Going Down (Nix) 3.33
05. Poor Boy (Webb) 5.11
06. Telling Your Fortune (Webb) 11.11
07. The Loser (Webb) 2.32

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Chicken Shack – Accept (1970)

frontcover1Accept is the fourth album by the blues band, Chicken Shack, released in 1970. Accept was Chicken Shack’s last album on the Blue Horizon label. This album was also the last for Andy Sylvester, Dave Bidwell and Paul Raymond as members of Chicken Shack. It also marks a departure from pure blues to a more progressive and psychedelic sound. (by wikipedia)

This band’s fourth album, it was released in 1970 and seems to offer a prescient blend of nascent prog and heavy blues rock, where their prior outings skewed more decisively toward the latter. That it came out in 1970 and not 1971 is a big difference considering the changes in the rock scene that the next year would bring — if one had to pinpoint a moment when “rock got heavy,” even factoring in Blue Cheer‘s prior contributions, there are solid arguments to be made for ’71 — but though Chicken Shack weren’t the first to blend blues jams and more progressive and melodic flair, what with Jethro Tull around and all, Accept Chicken Shack does it with remarkable balance between the two sounds that, over the ensuing years, would only grow more and more incongruous.

Recorded with the lineup of founding guitarist/vocalist Stan Webb, bassist Andy Sylvester, keyboardist/vocalist Paul Raymond and drummer Dave Bidwell, it would be their final outing through Blue Horizon Records and after it came out, Webb would have to completely revamp the lineup after losing Sylvester, Raymond and Bidwell all to Savoy Brown.

chickenshack1969Chicken Shack live at the  Bath Festival 1969 (© Al By)

All the same, listening to the rolling start of “Diary of Your Life,” the gritty swing and harmonies of “Never Ever,” the complex structure and arrangement of “Some Other Time” — vaguely post-Beatles but grown outward — and the soft departure of “Andalucian Blues,” whatever friction there might’ve been in the band doesn’t show up in the compositions, which are more varied than some of what would follow in the UK (also a good deal of what preceded), but hit with no less impact when they choose to do so. At 35 minutes, Accept Chicken Shack leaves one wondering how anybody couldn’t with its niche blend of elements and confident execution, earning its place in that great dusty canon of heavy ’70s classics just waiting to be discovered by new generations of listeners in a vinyl shop or online. In this case, clearly the latter.

Webb has kept Chicken Shack going. Over the years he’s brought in nearly 50 players, but they still perform as Chicken Shack from time to time (seem like a good bet for the next installment of Psycho fest) and had releases out as recently as 2008. Accept Chicken Shack is more than a footnote in a larger career, however, and as you can hear in these songs, whatever came later, this lineup was able to come together to accomplish something special during their time. (by theobelisk.net)

backcover1

Personnel:
Dave Bidwell (drums)
Paul Raymond (keyboards, vocals)
Andy Sylvester (bass)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)

booklet1

Tracklist:

01. Diary Of Your Life (Webb) 3.06
02. Pocket (Webb/Raymond) 3.23
03. Never Ever (Webb/Raymond) 2.43
04. Sad Clown (Webb/Raymond) 3.41
05. Maudie (Webb/Raymond) 2.54
06. Telling Your Fortune (Webb) 4.23
07. Tired Eyes (Webb) 2.06
08. Some Other Time (Webb/Raymond) 3.06
09. Going Round (Webb/Raymond) 2.32
10. Andalucian Blues (Webb/Raymond) 2.21
11. You Knew You Did You Did (Webb) 2.26
12. She Didn’t Use Her Loaf (unknown) 4.12
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13. Maudie (single version) (Webb/Raymond) 3.01

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single
German single version of Maudi b/w Andalucian Blues

 

Chicken Shack – OK Ken (1968)

FrontCover1O.K. Ken? is the second album by the blues band, Chicken Shack, released in February 1969. O.K Ken? reached number 9 in the UK Albums Chart, three places higher than its predecessor, 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve.

This album was Christine Perfect’s last album as a member of Chicken Shack. (by wikipedia)
This is an excellent example of a band playing music they love and having a great time doing it. There’s nothing particularly new going on but it doesn’t really matter, there are some great electric blues songs with occasional vocals from the superb Christine Perfect. The strange conversational outtakes between each song can become annoying but they don’t make the album any less enjoyable. (by an amazon customer)

Anyone growing up in the progressive rock and blues era of the late 60’s early 70’s will know the Chicken Shack as a heavy blues band and regular performers on John Peels Top Gear programme. OK Ken is perhaps one of the most spontaneous with the band performing at their best and having a laugh whilst doing it. Each track is introduced by impressions of famous people at the time, such as John Peel, Hughie Greene and Prime Minister Harold Wilson. There is also what appears to be an intro by the real Steptoe and Son alias Wilfred Bramble and Harry H Corbet.

ChickenShack1968_02

Chicken Shack (with fans). Major contributors to the British Blues movement

These can make the album or detract from it depending on your viewpoint, but for me they add to its appeal. The music is heavy and blues based with some good numbers by Freddie King and tremendous vocals by Christine Perfect. It is solid, traditional electric blues with an injection of fun. If you grew up with band you will know it and love it, if not you will surely enjoy it but may find the track intro’s annoying. (by Colin Andrew)

This is a typical Britisch blues album from that “Blue Horizon” period and it´s a real good one and note the great brass section !

And their hit single “I´d Rather Go Blind” is till today a classic tune … such a movingly song !

ChickenShack1968

Personnel:
Dave Bidwell (drums)
Christine Perfect (keyboards, vocals)
Andy Sylvester (bass)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)
+
Johnny Almond (saxophone)
Buddy Beadle (saxophone)
Don Fey (saxophone)
Steve Gregory (saxophone)
Roderick Lee (trumpet)
Terry Noonan (trumpet)
Walter Horton (harmonica)

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. Baby’s Got Me Crying (Webb) 2.25
02. The Right Way Is My Way (Webb) 2.00
03. Get Like You Used to Be (Perfect/Webb) 3.05
04. Pony And Trap (Webb) 3.00
05. Tell Me (Burnette) 4.40
06. A Woman Is The Blues” (Perfect, Webb) 2.50
07. I Wanna See My Baby (Walker) 3.30
08. Remington Ride (Remington/Penny) 2.50
09. Fishing In Your River (Webb) 4.30
10. Mean Old World (Jacobs) 3.15
11. Sweet Sixteen (King,/Josea) 6.20
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12. Worried About My Woman (single A side) (Webb) 2.37
13. Six Nights in Seven (singe B side) (Webb) 4.59
14.  I´d Rather Go Blind (James /Jordan/Foster) 3.17
15. Night Life (single B-side) (Buskirk/Breeland/Nelson) 5.21

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PerfectWebb
Christine Perfect + Stan Webb

Chicken Shack – Live At The Marquee, London (1973)

FrontCover1“Please welcome to the Marquee… Chicken Shack.”

None of that loud, rabble rousing introduction from the English MC. So we know, the venue is correct. But the year of performance? The back cover of this bootleg offers the lineup as Stan Webb, Paul Butler (ex Keef Hartley), Ric Lee (ex Ten Years After) and Andy Pyle (ex Kinks, Bloodwyn Pig). Surely some mistake. As the tracks played this evening at the London Marquee Club seem to suggest a gig to promote the new/next album, Unlucky Boy, which was released in 1973. This is borne out by Webb’s introduction of the band after the first song.

The Marquee Club gig exists in collector’s archives as either a 1CD or 2CD set. Not much else is known. At least, all that googling did not find out much about this recording.

What we have here is a blues gig finding its feet in the new order. By 1970, blues was StanWebb2already blues rock with one part of the scene going heavy metal. Blame it on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Blame it on Led Zeppelin. But Chicken Shack proved to be fearless in that they throw up old blues covers, a blues version of the rockabilly Blue Suede Shoes and a handful of Chicken Shack originals. Wah Wah pedals, long instrumental breaks, oodles of Webb’s blueswailing all come together for an excellent early ’70s gig. Note there are some flaws in the recording but not much.

Perhaps the albatross surrounding Webb’s neck was the one hit single Chicken Shack laid. Sorry. The Christine Perfect sung I’d Rather Go Blind, that most people remember Chicken Shack for. Tonight, that was four years ago. But on this night, they were the journeymen that Eric Clapton would love to be remembered as.

Recorded live the the Marquee Club, London, 1973
VG to Ex- SBD stereo. Some tape speed issues, cuts or taper stops and starts the recording.

StanWebb

Personnel:
Rob Hull (bass)
Alan Powell (drums)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)
David Wilkinson (piano)

BackCover

Tracklist:
01. Have You Ever Loved A Woman (Myles) 6.17
02. Daughter Of The Hillside  (Webb) 5.27
03. Prudence’s Party (Webb) 4.20
04. Dave’s Boogie (Wilkinson) 9.15
05. Webb’s Guitar Shuffle (Webb) 6.24
06. Crying Won’t Help You Now  (Webb) 6.54
07. The Thrill Is Gone (Hawkins/Darnell) 6.17
08. Poor Boy (Webb) 16.13
09. Unlucky Boy (Webb) 6.44
10. Blue Suede Shoes (Perkins) 4.48
11. Stan’s Blues (Webb) 7.04
12. You Know You Could Be Right (Webb) 5.15

Live2016

Still alive and well: Stan Webb´s Chicken Shack !

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Chicken Shack – Forty Blue Fingers (1968)

FrontCover1Chicken Shack are a British blues band, founded in the mid-1960s by Stan Webb (guitar and vocals), Andy Silvester (bass guitar), and Alan Morley (drums), who were later joined by Christine Perfect (McVie) (vocals and keyboards) in 1968. Chicken Shack has performed with various line-ups, Stan Webb being the only constant member.

David ‘Rowdy’ Yeats and Andy Silvester had formed Sounds of Blue in 1964 as a Stourbridge-based rhythm and blues band. They invited Stan Webb, who was leaving local band The Shades 5, to join them. The band also included Christine Perfect and Chris Wood (later to join Traffic) amongst others in their line up. With a new line-up Chicken Shack was formed as a trio in 1965, naming themselves after Jimmy Smith’s Back at the Chicken Shack album. ‘Chicken shacks’ (open-air roadside chicken stands) had also been frequently mentioned in blues and R&B songs, as in Amos Milburn’s hit, “Chicken Shack Boogie”. Over the next few years the band had a residency at the Star-Club, Hamburg with Morley, then Al Sykes, Hughie Flint (who was John Mayall’s drummer when Eric Clapton was in the band) and later Dave Bidwell on drums.

They made their first UK appearance at the 1967 National Jazz and Blues Festival, Windsor and signed to Mike Vernon’s Blue Horizon record label in the same year; releasing Forty Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve in early 1968. A mainstay of the British blues boom, and a regular at UK festivals (Stan Webb’s wandering through the crowd with a 200ft extension to his guitar lead during the band’s set was a regular occurrence, Chicken Shack enjoyed some commercial success, with Christine Perfect voted Best Female Vocalist in the Melody Maker polls two years running. They had two minor hits with “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “Tears in the Wind”, after which Perfect left the band in 1969 when she married John McVie of Fleetwood Mac. She was replaced by Paul Raymond from Plastic Penny.

40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve is the debut album by the blues band Chicken Shack, released in 1968. The album reached number 12 in the UK charts. This album has three Freddy King covers; Lonesome Whistle Blues and See See Baby from Freddy King Sings; and San-Ho-Zay from Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve is the debut album by the blues band Chicken Shack, released in 1968. The album reached number 12 in the UK charts. This album has three Freddy King covers; Lonesome Whistle Blues and See See Baby from Freddy King Sings; and San-Ho-Zay from Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away. (by wikipedia)

What should I say: If you love the Bitisch Blues Boom … then you have to listen … because Chicken Shack was one of the most important groups of this boom …

ChickenShackPersonnel:
Dave Bidwell (drums)
Christine Perfect (keyboards, vocals)
Andy Silvester (bass)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)
+
Johnny Almond (saxophone)
Alan Ellis (trumpet)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
BackCover1Tracklist:
01. The Letter (Taub/B.B. King) 4.25
02. Lonesome Whistle Blues (Toombs) 3.02
03. When The Train Comes Back (Perfect) 3.32
04, San-Ho-Zay (F.King/Thompson) 3.02
05. King Of The World (Hooker) 4.59
06. See See Baby (F.King/Thompson) 2.22
07. First Time I Met The Blues (Montgomery) 6.24
08. Webbed Feet (Webb) 2.53
09. You Ain’t No Good (Perfect) 3.35
10. What You Did Last Night (Webb) 4.36

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AlternateFrontCoverAlternate US frontcover

Chicken Shack – Sindelfingen Germany Messehalle (1972)

FrontCover1Fine audience tape for the era, great capture & extremely enjoyable listen, check the samples. One of the best live tapes I have heard of this era of the Chicken Shack. Some volume fluctuations smoothed out as much as possible without major alterations. (*tiny splice right at the end on master)

Recording Information ::: unknown stereo equipment -> master audience tape -> 1st generation Maxell XLII-90 cassette, Dolby B on

Playback 2011-08-25 ::: 1st generation Maxell XLII-90 cassette on Nakamichi BX-300 cassette deck, Dolby B on, azimuth & pitch adjusted, heads cleaned & demagnatized -> Tascam CD-RW900SL pro CD recorder -> CD-RW -> computer -> EAC secure -> wav file(s) -> Audacity (for fades and/or glitch repair, no EQ) -> CD Wave for track splits -> Trader’s Little Helper -> various ears around the world.

Nothing here has ever been commercially released to my knowledge. If I’m wrong, please advise & I’ll take the offending trax offline.

Many thanks to the original taper!

LivePersonnel:
Robert John “Bob” Daisley (bass)
Paul Hancox (drums)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)

BackCover1

Tracklist:
01. Crying Won’t Help You (King) 4.34
02. Daughter Of The Hillside (Webb) 3.38
03. The Thrill Is Gone (Hawkins/Darnell) 5.26
04. Diary Of Your Life (Webb) 5.53
05. Poor Boy (Webb) 7.04
06. Goin´ Down (Nix)
07. I Dream Of You Baby (unknown)
08. Shakin´ All Over (Kidd) 4.20
09. Fortune Teller (Telling Your Fortune) (Webb) 6.13
10. I´m In The Mood For Love (Webb) 8.31
11. Johnny Be Goode (Berry) 2.15
12. Rock & Roll Woman (unknown) 3.56
13. Jailhouse Rock/Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Leiber/Stoller/Price) 4.33

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