Hardin & York – Still A Few Pages Left … (1995)

FrontCover1The unusual power duo of keyboardist/vocalist Eddie Hardin and drummer Pete York made a few albums in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and were aptly described as a cross between Traffic and Procol Harum. They leaned closer to Traffic than Procol Harum, with their blend of hard rock, soul, progressive, and jazz influences; the swirl and swell of Hardin’s Hammond organ; and Hardin’s Stevie Winwood-esque vocals. And they came by that Traffic influence honestly: York had played alongside Winwood in the Spencer Davis Group before Winwood formed Traffic, and Hardin joined the Spencer Davis Group on keyboards and vocals after Winwood’s departure.

Both Hardin and York left the Winwood-less Spencer Davis Group in October 1968, and teamed up shortly afterward to form a two-man group, with Hardin on vocals and Hammond C3 organ, and York on drums. The two-man band is unusual in rock to this day, and as far as two-person organ-drum combos go, the only other one of note from that period was used by Lee Michaels, the keyboardist who sometimes performed and recorded only using drummer Frosty for accompaniment. (A much more obscure one, Hanson & Karisson, were also active in Sweden around this time.) Hardin covered the bass parts with the left hand of his organ, and the result was actually a pretty full band sound for just the two members. However, on their three albums, the duo was sometimes augmented by horns, flute, guitar, backup female vocals, and other orchestration.


Hardin & York with the legendary Roadie called “Pike”

Although Hardin & York weren’t that big in the U.K. or U.S., they had more success on the European Continent, particularly in Germany, where they were big both on record and as a touring act. In fact, they were the last band to play the famous Star Club in Hamburg in 1970 before it closed and were popular enough to be honored by a bootleg recorded in Germany in the early ’70s. In 1971 each member started playing with their own bands as well (the Pete York Percussion Band and Hardin/Fenwick/Newman), occasionally playing in those bands on the same bill as live Hardin & York concerts.

Hardin & York’s third and final album, For the World (1971), put a greater emphasis on orchestration and slower tracks. One of the session musicians on that record, guitarist Ray Fenwick (who had also played with the Spencer Davis Group in the late ’60s), joined Hardin & York in mid-1972, at which point the act’s name changed to Hardin, York & Fenwick. In mid-1973, Hardin & York, or Hardin, York & Fenwick if you prefer, disbanded when Hardin and York joined a reunited version of the Spencer Davis Group. Both Hardin and York remained active as session musicians and support players to Deep Purple and solo projects, and Hardin & York reformed their duo act in 1999, primarily for the German audience. (by Richie Unterberger)

BookletBackCover1And this is their rare reunion-album from 1995:

The first few tracks are a bit of a throwback to the 70,s typical blues/rock when there is a Hammond organ about. track 2 John Lords solo is quite tame like Keith Emerson on a quiet night in with light shades of Deep Purple. Debbies voice is very unmistakable like today and comes in at a time when the music on the album needs a bit of a lift. The track that seems like it could have been the single “Is this Love” is the liveliest so far with the band singing & Debbie filling in on a few backgroud vocals. Track5, Stocktaking sounds like they got Eric Clapton to sing & maybe if they did this would be the best track on the album, but then it probably is anyway. Some lovely guitar work & vocals on the last track, tinkles of some 80s style Genesis keyboarding but thats more the Synths ending in contrast to the earlier Hammond organ.
Finally “I thank E bay for this one as I don’t think it would be too easy to come by if you are out there collecting, so keep your eyes on E-bay even if your outbidding me” (by Pat).

Ray Fenwick (guitar, bass)
Eddie Hardin (keyboards, vocals)
Pete York (drums, percussion)
Debbie Bonham (background vocals on 03., + 04.)
Jon Lord (organ on 03.)
Neil Wilkinson -(drums, Percussion)

01. Credit Card City (Hardin) 4.15
02. My Eyes Don´t See (When You Are Gone) (Hardin) 3.55
03. Stuck On You (Hardin) 9.09
04. Is This Love (Hardin) 4.08(Hardin)
05. Stocktaking (Hardin/Fenwick) 5.13
06. Salvation (Hardin) 4.08
07. Still A Few Pages Left Suite (Hardin) 5.59
08. It´s Just A Feeling (Hardin/Fenwick) 4.45




Hardin & York – Live (1994)

HardinYorkLiveFCOne of the first German bootlegs was the “Hardin & York” live recording at a youthclub in Hamburg-Altona in 1970. A real collector´s item and till 1994 really hard to find. But then Eddie Hardin & Pete York decided, to publish this bootleg as an “official bootleg”.

It´s really amazing to listen to the live sound of “the smallest big band”, which was then and now more than exciting.

A mixture between a jazzy version of The Beatles tunes “Lady Madonna” and “Norwegian Wood” (later called “Northern Medley”) sentimental ballads and of course their famous Rock N Roll Medley.

HardinYorkLiveBootlegFCOriginal Bootleg frontcover

Eddie Hardin (keyboards, vocals)
Pete York (drums)

01. Lady Madonna/Norwegian Wood (Lennon/McCartney) 24.17
02. Drinking My Wine (Hardin) 3.50
03. I´ll Drown In My Own Tears (Charles) 4.28
04. The Long Road (Hardin) 3.15
05. Driftin´ Blue (Hardin) 6.36
06. Jailhouse Rock/Mean Woman Blues (Leiber/Stoller/Demetrius) 5.04