In my own personal scheme of things, Little Free Rock are pretty doggone important. I grew up with them. They were my first grass-roots contact with the underground rock'n'roll culture. Formed in Preston, Lanes in 1966 by guitarist Pete Illingworth after he'd recovered from the demise of fabulous local legends, David John & The Mood, the band emerged in the heady climate of 1967 as the trio, Purple Haze with Pal Varley on drums and Frank Newbold on bass.
Taking their cue from Hendrix and The Cream, they built up a hardcore following in the Northwest. From humble beginnings with a live set comprising entirely cover versions - material by The love, Creation and Tomorrow amongst others - the trio soon began to write original songs. A five-track demo Bade in London in early 1969 (reproduced here), led to an eponymous debut LP on Transatlantic Records, a relocation to 'The Smoke' and a name change. Within months of their arrival they were changing musical direction.
Their manager, having been knocked out with Ginger Johnson & His African Drummers jamming with The Stones in Hyde Park this summer, suggested a similar collaboration. The experiment worked wonders and at ensuing gigs LFR would regularly be joined by as many as 25 percussionists, the lads from Preston, the only white faces on stage! Caspar Laval, Speedy Acquaye, Lofty and Mac (from Osibisa) all played with the band. They even attracted Peter Green to play a couple of gigs and were invited to play sessions for his first solo LP (which were sadly unused).
Record company wrangles and personnel disputes - ex-Killing Floor bassist, John Taylor permanently replacing Newbold, Lord Eric coming in on hand-drums - meant that another LP was not forthcoming. Fortunately managerial involvement with Robert Stigwood saw them record six songs in their new style, all of which appear here and ooze with an excitement sorely lacking on the Transatlantic release.
LFR eventually split in 1974 with no original members still here - a disastrous period as back-up S4I queen Sarah Gordon was followed by Varley leaving for fame and fortune with teen stars The Arrows and the sacking of Illingworth! It's good to finally have all this stuff available and it's a fitting tribute to a band who really did deserve better.
by Nigel Cross
1. Money On Your Mind (Peter Illingworth) - 4:19
2. Evil Woman (Frank Newbold, Peter Illingworth) - 4:33
3. Time Is Of No Consequence (Peter Illingworth) - 5:08
4. Tiego (Peter Illingworth) - 4:13
5. Talking To The Trees (Peter Illingworth) - 3:45
6. Big Bird (Peter Illingworth) - 4:00
7. Money On Your Mind (Peter Illingworth) - 4:37
8. Evil Woman (Frank Newbold, Peter Illingworth) - 4:33
9. Time Is Of No Consequence (No Vocals) (Peter Illingworth) - 5:07
10.Roman Sumer Nights (as The Purple Haze) (Frank Newbold) - 2:32
11.Wait A While (as The Purple Haze) (Peter Illingworth) - 2:17
12.Blud (as The Purple Haze) (Peter Illingworth) - 3:50
13,Dream (as The Purple Haze) (Frank Newbold) - 2:24
14.Evil Woman (as The Purple Haze) (Frank Newbold, Peter Illingworth) - 2:47
Little Free Rock
*Frank Newbold - Bass (The Purple Haze)
*John Taylor - Bass
*Paul Varley - Drums
*Peter Illingworth - Guitar
*Eric Carboo - Percussion
More Little Free Rock Releases
1969 Little Free Rock
[ Rip and Scans by MARIOS ]