Kevin Lamb – folk and rock musician, known as Oldham’s Bob Dylan, spent his early musical career living in Royton, Oldham, Greater Manchester, before going to London to record. As well as recording his 1973 and 1978 solo albums, he joined Rare Bird for two LPs.
Kevin eventually left the British music scene for the lure of LA and Nashville. He sadly passed away in 2008 but left behind some beautiful songs and recordings including an album recorded with some luminaries such as Andy Summers of The Police.
Kevin started playing guitar and harmonica at the age of fifteen. He was influenced by Elvis, Eddie Cochran and many other major musicians of the time. Kevin had played mostly folk clubs in the North of England from his home base in Royton, where he lived near the Railway pub (which established a reputation later as a music venue). Kevin was in a trio during his time in Royton, one of the other members being Pete Royle. Folk and blues musician Pete Farrow, who was also a resident of Royton at that time, recalls them all going through the songwriting phase together but Pete says Kevin was far more of a natural for such things. Pete Farrow describes Kevin, “He was such a quiet, unassuming person until he actually started to play a song”. Kevin at one point had a flat on the Sholver Estate and had already been to America and been given a Martin acoustic guitar whilst on a visit there. He brought this back into England and decided to put it up for sale to fund further trips to the USA. A possible guitar buyer turned up on the doorstep at his flat and Kevin thought he had made a sale of his Martin acoustic until the buyer produced ID to say he was from the Customs and Excise and they were confiscating the guitar as Kevin had paid no duty bringing it into the UK. Kevin was devastated.
I can recall seeing Kevin perform his own material and superb versions of Dylan songs around the folk clubs of North West England and you could see he was one of those determined people who was going to pursue his rock and roll dream and head for a permanent life in America in due course.
Kevin recorded his first album which was called “Who Is The Hero” and even this included one great Bob Dylan cover. After this, one of the tracks from this album caught the attention of a well-known London band Rare Bird and the song “Who Is The Hero” was recorded by them for their “Born Again” album. Kevin is also a featured musician on this album and he wrote the lyrics for several of the songs together with Steve Gould. The titles include “Virginia”, “Lonely Street” and of course “Who Is The Hero”. Kevin, in fact, became a member of Rare Bird for two albums.
“Who Is The Hero”, Kevin’s 1973 album, gave him the nudge to become a part of the London music scene.
The material for the two Ozit CDs has been culled from Kevin’s own tapes/mixes.
“Sailing Down The Years”, Kevin’s second LP, was recorded in London in 1978. It was produced by Gary Lyons, who also produced the first of many albums by Foreigner. A song from this second album, titled “On The Wrong Track”, written and played by Kevin Lamb, reached Number 62 on the Top 100 Billboard chart in 1978. Kevin then travelled to the United States and made the US his home, playing the LA music scene for many years. He played many venues since that time, stretching from LA to Nashville and up the East Coast. He had written many new songs over the years but none were ever issued.
Many people have written great things about Kevin’s songs, for example Bruce Eder: “Kevin Lamb’s bittersweet, melancholic (but catchy) ‘Far Between The Morning’ and the gorgeous ‘Sad Lady’, a ballad worthy of Dave Cousins, ought to have gotten a lot of airplay at the time on WNEW FM and other open-format, progressive stations.”
Kevin Lamb passed away March 5th 2008 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Kevin Lamb and some fantastic musicians on this 1978 album. Includes Andy Summers from The Police on some tracks … I enjoyed every track … Definitely worth buying this album Sailing Down The Years (by grateful dead fanatic)”
Indeed: a real great album !
Ray Cooper (percussion)
Dave Dowle (drums)
Mickey Feat (bass)
Steve Gould (guitar)
Kevin Lamb (guitar, vocals)
Billy Livesey (keyboards)
B. J. Cole (pedal steel-guitar on 06. + 07.)
Geff Daly (saxophone on 05.)
Stevie Lange (background vocals)
Junior Marvin (guitar on 05.)
Andy Summers (guitar on 01. – 03. + 10.)
Chris Thompson (background vocals)
01. Sailing Down The Years 5.12
02. Back On The Farm 3.47
03. Too Late Now 4.48
04. On The Wrong Track 3.37
05. Bitter Harvest 4.31
06. Night Hours 3.27
07. There’s A Darkness 3.38
08. Sign Of The Times 3.56
09. When My Love 3.32
10. Room Service 4.09
11. A Place In Your Heart 5.12
12. How Could You Ever Have Known It 5.10
13. Woman 2.58
14. It´s Not the Way I Planned It 4.06
15. They Ain´t Coming Back 3.51
All songs written by Kevin Lamb