In 1968, inspired by Jimi Hendrix and suchlike, a Dickensian Street Urchan stole thought the dark night to his local music store, hurled a brick and disappeared rapidly down an alleyway concealing an object 'neath ragged cloak. In die sanctity of a musty basement Martin Weaver, panting feverishly, feasted his glittering eyes upon the battered 'Les Paul* now grasped in his hands." All Guitars are bereft11 he cried» quoting Prouhdon.
Thus was born the Wicked Lady. Two months later a bearded itinerant holy-man, later known as 'Mad' Dick Smith, came onto the scene claiming to have played bongos for an obscure order of The Monks of St. Catherine" in a remote Scottish Monastery, he was officially conscripted as drummer. To make up this emerging "Power Trio" came Bob "Motorist" Jeffries, a member of the same Hells Angels chapter as Matin Weaver and previous member of the short-lived "Kill'em Dead" "Death Flower" circa 1968.
In early '68 The Wicked Lady became a functional reality. Initially they played at Catherines of Hells Angels, rallies and late night parties. It would be fair to say that the atmosphere of those early months could be summed up in a bottle of jack Daniels, speed and the noise of a fully blown Harley. Students soon began to show an interest in the band, and that summer they were booked for several university and college gigs, akin to placing a piranha in a bowl of placid ornamental goldfish.
The band kept it together for 2 of those gigs, but at the following, an A&R man for EMI, having offered them a recording deal, was badly beaten up by Martin Weaver and thrown naked and unconscious intom the audience amid a cranked-up rendition of Tuck'em all Ophelias lament" (one of the lost songs). It is preumably due 10 a sense of injured pride that said A&R man did not press charges - but the police did arrive that night and amid skirmishes with the incited crowd stopped the performance.
That night seemed to mark a turning point in their "Career** or rather, the beginning of their fell, amd a descent into crawling chaos. The next performance at Oxford University saw "Mad" Dick Smith forcibly removed from stage by the other members after apparently shouting "The Pink Fairies are SH-! The Pink Fairies are SH-! for 15 minutes, having thrown his drum kit into the audience injuring twelve students (a figure that must have been exaggerated by die press). A catalogue of disasters ensued, reading something Eke a parody of a Rock History- Bob Jeffries tried to ride his customised '51 BSA Bantam chopper on stage at Cambridge, but stalled and felt into the crowd, badly bumping his arm in the process.
They were banned permanently from entering the town of Peasonhall after "insighting a crowd to riot”. Gigs in Northampton, their home town, were impossible. The alleged "incitement to riot” party favourite sprang up again in Norwich, Birmingham and no less than five other towns and cities. To cap it all, at a gig attended by John Peel and several media luminaries, those influential personages amongst the crowd were greeted by die improbable sight of seeing the curtain raised to display all 3 members lying unconscious on stage following a drinks/drugs binge - nothing would rouse them and this gig had to be called off.
This event literally finished them. The personalities in the band were becoming increasingly unstable, violence and disorder becoming their trademark. "Mad" Dick Smith left suddenly in mid 71» to return in 72, when he recorded some tracks with the band, only to disappear permanently some weeks later. Bob Jeffries was "lost at sea'1 in a bizarre re-enactment of the final sequences to die Biker Movie "Easy Rider". And Martin Weaver, that same year (1972), left Britain to become a soldier of fortune on the African continent, gun-running and suchlike.
During those turbulent years of '60-72 some songs woe recorded on a 2-track revox, (stolen from the same store mentioned in our opening paragraph), and it is those tracks that make up this CD. They capture something of the anger and genius of the Wicked Lady but also tell of the narcotics consumed at the time. As such the musk is hard and honest.
The fact that the band were totally wasted when recording might even add to the deep atmosphere and evil guitaring listeners are about to experience. Crank up the amp, mentally picture Whitney Houston, and let it rip. Matin Weaver is currently rehearsing with a "Wicked Lady Mk II called " Witch Hunt", you may hear the results in a few months... until then you can rest easy...
1. Run The Night - 5:08
2. War Cloud - 7:37
3. The Axeman Cometh - 6:52
4. Life And Death - 9:58
5. Wicked Lady - 6:01
6. Out Of The Dark - 10:14
7. Rebel - 3:32
8. Living On The Edge - 10:09
*Bob Jeffries - Bass
*"Mad" Dick Smith - Drums
*Martin Weaver - Guitars, Vocals
[Thank you SAINTVITUS for sending this post]