The 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.
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.
Hardin & York’s debut album was quite competent yet derivative early progressive rock, and derivative of Traffic in particular. At least, however, it came by its influences quite honestly, Pete York having drummed behind Steve Winwood in the Spencer Davis Group, and Eddie Hardin having joined the Spencer Davis Group after Winwood left. And the duo does get quite a lot of sound out of their keyboards and drums, although they had plenty of backup from some session musicians. Hardin sings and writes uncannily like Winwood circa Traffic’s “Forty Thousand Headmen” period, but while that’s a good standard to shoot for, therein also lies the problem: it’s not quite as good as the Winwood-paced Traffic, and certainly not as original. All that noted, if you’re looking for something in the mold of Traffic-lite and keeping your expectations realistically modest, this is pretty decent stuff. It might be a tad more rooted in soul-pop than Traffic, but it doesn’t suffer for that. Hardin’s vocals are impressively rich and gritty, and his piano and organ quite skillful. (by Richie Unterberger)
On this album you cab hear some hightlights of the prog era … listen to “”, “Candlelight” and “Mountains Of Sand” (this is a masterpiece !).
Eddie Hardin (keyboards, vocals)
Pete York (drums, percussion)
Vic Flick (guitar)
Herbie Flowers (bass)
Ron Hills (cornet)
Mike Hurst (guitar)
Rex Morrissey (saxophone)
Mel Thorpe (trombone, flute)
Sue + Sunny
01. Tomorrow Today (Hardin) 3.36
02. 100 Years From Now (Hardin) 2.44
03. I’m Lost (Hardin/Davis) 8.23
04. Drinking My Wine (Hardin) 4.45
05. Candlelight (Hardin) 4.37
06. Beautiful Day (Hardin) 2.32
07. Mountains Of Sand (Hardin/York) 6.45
08. Can’t Keep A Good Man Down (Hardin) 6.23
09. Listen Everyone (Hardin) 4.06
10. All I See Is You (Hardin) 3.23
11. Mullberry Place (Hardin) 4.30
12. Sunday Morning (Hardin) 3.35
13. Rock ‘N’ Roll Music(Berry) 3.52
14. Can’t Find My Way Home(Hardin) 2.37
15. Just A Case Of Time (Hardin) 4.22
My copy of this album was signed by Eddie Hardin & Pete York
Eddie Hardin (19 February 1949 – 22 July 2015)