And here´s the story of a forgotten but really great musician, Keef Hartley:
Keith “Keef” Hartley (8 April 1944 – 26 November 2011) was an English drummer and bandleader. He fronted his own eponymous band, known as the Keef Hartley Band or Keef Hartley’s Big Band, and played at Woodstock. He was later a member of Dog Soldier, and variously worked with Rory Storm, The Artwoods and John Mayall.
born in Plungington, north-west Preston, Lancashire. He studied drumming under Lloyd Ryan, who also taught Phil Collins the drum rudiments. His career began as the replacement for Ringo Starr as a drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, a Liverpool-based band, after Ringo joined The Beatles. Subsequently he played and recorded with The Artwoods, then achieved some notability as John Mayall’s drummer (including his role as the only musician, other than Mayall, to play on Mayall’s 1967 “solo” record The Blues Alone). He then formed The Keef Hartley (Big) Band, mixing elements of jazz, blues, and rock and roll; the group played at Woodstock in 1969. However, the band was the only artist that played at the festival whose set was never included on any officially released album (prior to 2019), nor on the soundtrack of the film.
They released five albums, including Halfbreed and The Battle of North West Six (characterised by a reviewer for the Vancouver Sun as “an amazing display of virtuosity”).
While in John Mayall, Mayall had pushed Hartley to form his own group. A mock-up of the “firing” of Hartley was heard on the Halfbreed album’s opening track, “Sacked.” The band for the first album comprised: Miller Anderson, guitar and vocals, Gary Thain (bass), later with Uriah Heep; Peter Dines (organ) and Ian Cruickshank (as “Spit James”) (guitar). Later members to join Hartley’s fluid lineup included Mick Weaver (aka Wynder K. Frog) organ, Henry Lowther (b. 11 July 1941, Leicester, England; trumpet/violin), Jimmy Jewell (saxophone), Johnny Almond (flute), Jon Hiseman and Harry Beckett. Hartley, often dressed as an American Indian sometimes in full head-dress and war-paint, was a popular attraction on the small club scene.
His was one of the few British bands to play the Woodstock Festival, where his critics compared him favourably with Blood Sweat And Tears. “The Battle Of NW6” in 1969 further enhanced his club reputation, although chart success still eluded him. By the time of the third album both Lowther and Jewell had departed; however, Hartley always maintained that his band was like a jazz band, in that musicians could come and go and would be free to play with other aggregations.
After that Hartley released a ‘solo’ album (Lancashire Hustler, 1973) and then he formed Dog Soldier with Miller Anderson (guitar), Paul Bliss (bass), Derek Griffiths (guitar) and Mel Simpson (keyboards). They released an eponymous album in 1975, which had a remastered release in early 2011 on CD on the Esoteric label.
In 2007, Hartley released a ghostwritten autobiography, Halfbreed (A Rock and Roll Journey That Happened Against All the Odds). Hartley wrote about his life growing up in Preston, and his career as a drummer and bandleader, including the Keef Hartley Band’s appearance at Woodstock.
Hartley died on 26 November 2011, aged 67, at Royal Preston Hospital in Fulwood, north Preston (by wikipedia)
Jazz/Rock perfection !
In its pomp, the Keef Hartley Band was an extraordinarily powerful combination of rock and jazz. These sessions recapture the excitement of their live performances. A laconic introduction by John Peel gives way to the wonderfully driving medley Overdog/Roundabout/Just to Cry/Sinning for you, where the musicianship and sheer musical exuberance leave you gasping. Congratulations to whoever dug these forgotten gems out of the lockers. The BBC sound engineers did a top job. If you want to understand why some many modern sound so pallid, just sit back and enjoy this amazing collection. (Amazon Customer)
I wasn’t expecting much. Despite Keef Hartley being a superb drummer, always surrounded by incredible musicians – including Henry Lowther on trumpet and Gary Thain on bass and making some seminally robust albums- I wasn’t expecting much. Of course the musicianship is always top-notch but what about the sound quality…? Well, I needn’t have worried. The musicianship is amazing and the sound quality excellent (and on the latter point, I am very fussy). The release includes material from their best albums (the first four – where Miller Anderson provided lead vocals) with the tracks being extended (particularly with more brass) than the original studio versions. the very small downside is that Spit James doesn’t appear anywhere on this platter. [He was the lead guitarist on the incredible first album Halfbreed and a bit on the second…]. Anyway an essential purchase for any Keef fan which includes two tracks at the end from the Miller Anderson Band which fit in perfect. Essential ! (by Camarillo Brillo)
Another of those great BBC recordings that make one wish they had been around in those days. John Mayall really knew how to pick guitar players and drummers. Keef Hartley band along with Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum are just two of the many fine bands that came from the Mayall school of band leading. We also get to hear the fantastic Miller Anderson on this album (by Peter Hodgson)
Indeed: What a wonderful way to discover the fanststic sound, that great power of the Keef Hartley Band … and if you love Colosseum … than ist his album a must !!!
And I add the story of Keef Hartley by the deleted ammoniterecords.demon.co.uk
Miller Anderson (guitar, vocals)
Harry Beckett (trumpet)
Mike Davis (trumpet)
Peter Dines (organ)
Lyn Dobson (saxophone, flute)
Dave Gaswell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Keef Hartley (drums, percussion)
Spit James (guitar)
Lyle Jenkins (saxophone, flute)
Jimmy Jewell (saxophone)
Henry Lowther (trumpet, violin)
Chris Mercer (saxophone)
Gary Thain (bass)
Mick Weaver (keyboards)
Alternate front + backcover:
01. Medley 25.12
01.1. Overdog (Anderson)
01.2. Roundabout (Anderson)
01.3. Just To Cry’ (Lowther/Finnegan)
01.4. Sinnin’ For You (Anderson/Hartley/Dines/Finnegan) 3.20
02. You Can’t Choose (Anderson) 5.56
03. You Can’t Take It With You (Anderson) 8.00
04. Sinnin’ For You (Anderson/Hartley/Dines/Finnegan) 3:40
05. Inerview with Keef Hartley 1.09
06. Me And My Woman (Barge) 3.37
07. Too Much Thinkin’ # 1 (studio reccording) 5.43
08. Waiting Around (Anderson/Hartley/Thain) 2.24
09. Just To Cry (Lowther/Finnegan) 3.40
16. Shadows Across The Wall (Anderson) 4.36
17. To Whom It May Concern (Live Miller Anderson Band) (Anderson) 3.19
18. High Tide, High Water (Live Miller Anderson Band) (Anderson) 7.27
Track 01.: Recorded Live At The Paris Theatre London For “Sunday Concert” On 25th March 1971
Tracks 02. – 03.: Recorded Live In London For “Sunday Concert” On 23rd January 1970
Tracks 04. – 05: Recorded In London For “Top Gear” On 29th April 1969
Tracks 06. – 11.: Recorded In London For “Sunday Concert” On 12th November 1970
Track 12.: Recorded In London For “Top Gear” On 29th April 1969
Tracks 13. – 14.: Recorded In London For “Top Gear” On 14th November 1969
Tracks 15. – 16.: Recorded In London For “Sounds Of The Seventies” On 17th June 1971
Tracks 17. – 18.: Recorded Live At The Paris Theatre London On 13th September 1971
Keith “Keef” Hartley (8 April 1944 – 26 November 2011)