Jackson Heights were an English musical group formed by bassist and vocalist Lee Jackson. The group was playing from 1970, when Jackson left The Nice, to 1973, after which he teamed up again with The Nice drummer Brian “Blinky” Davison to form Refugee with Patrick Moraz.
After the break-up of The Nice in 1969, each of that group’s three members formed a group of his own, and those three groups toured together: Emerson formed Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Davison’s group was named Every Which Way, and Jackson appeared with Jackson Heights.
Jackson Heights’ debut album, King Progress, included a reworking of “The Cry Of Eugene”, a song originally recorded by The Nice, and new material including “Doubting Thomas” and “Insomnia”. The group, which included Charlie Harcourt on lead guitar, Mario Enrique Covarrubias Tapia on bass and Tommy Sloane on drums, produced a radically different sound from that with which Jackson had become well-known, centred upon songs and led by acoustic guitar.
This group disbanded shortly after the first album’s release and reformed as a trio featuring pianist Brian Chatton (born 19 July 1948, Bolton, Lancashire) and singer/songwriter/guitarist John McBurnie, with Jackson mainly playing congas. The group left the Charisma label and signed with Vertigo, for whom they recorded three albums, The Fifth Avenue Bus and Ragamuffins Fool (1972) and Bump ‘n’ Grind (1973). In the recording studio, and sometimes at concerts, the group was often augmented by notable session musicians as well as by overdubs. (by wikipedia)
Fourth and last album for JH, and apparently it was commonly agreed that this was to be the make or break album. The usual trio (armed with two ex-crimson drummer as Ian Wallace joined-up Giles) intended as concept was the lives of the ladies in a cabaret, but apparently the concept diverged into a complete extravaganza with tons of extra musicians once the label got excited about the project and over- did their part with a luxurious sleeve.
Starting on seagulls and piano into I Could Be Your Orchestra or its string-overloaded follow-up Spaghetti Sunshine, this album seems to be filled to the brim with the whole kettle of prog clichés, but then again, this might be a proghead’s easiest way to get into JH. Classically trained Brian Chatton, constantly pushed by his buddy Keith Emerson, he obviously explodes into this album (he hadn’t written anything on FAB, then did his bit in RF), but here seems to take on the lion’s share in terms of songwriting.
Again, when these big projects get on a roll, with the label’s consent, it’s usually the opposite returns that comes back in return. In the same genre than Bump And Grind, I can think of Audience’s Lunch (mega project that broke the band up) and Stackridge’s Mr Mick (also a mega project, but apparently botched up by the record company for not releasing the tracks correctly and consequently broke up the band), and indeed Jackson ended up broke with a group whose forces fled them. Swiss wizz Patrick Moraz would then step in and save the day for Jackson .(by Sean Trane)
Brian Chatton (keyboards, celesta, bells, clarinet, synthesizer, vocals)
Lee Jackson (bass, percussion, cello)
John McBurnie (guitar, mellotron, percussion)
Billy Bell (banjo on 03.)
Johnny van Derrick (fiddle on 03.)
Keith Emerson (synthesizer)
Mike Giles (drums on 01., 02., 04. + 06.)
Chris Laurence (bass)
Roger McKew (guitar on 06.)
Ian Wallace (drums on 03., 07. – 09.)
Helen Liebmann – Lynden Cranham – Martin Robinson – Mike Hurwitz
Brian Hawkins – Brian Mack – Don McVay . Jan Schlapp
Alan Travers – Andy Babynchuk – Cathy Wei – Clare Farmer – David Woodcock – Eddy Roberts – Liz Edwards – Gavyn Wright – Godfrey Salmon – Jeff Grey – Louise Jopling – Paul Pearce
01. I Could Be Your Orchestra (Murphy/McBurnie) 4.22
02. Spaghetti Sunshine (Chatton) 3.30
03. Long Necked Lady (McBurnie) 3.40
04. Public Romance (Chatton) 2.40
05. Bump And Grind (McBurnie) 3.30
06. Cumberland Country (Chatton/Jackson) 4.30
07. It’s A Shame (Chatton/Jackson) 4.25
08. Ladies In The Chorus (Chatton/Jackson) 3.10
09. Whatever Happened To The Conversation (Chatton/McBurnie/Jackson) 4.03