Thursday, 12 January 2012

High Tide: 'some incredibly powerful music'

Led by Tony Hill (one of the two great guitarists to play with cult faves the Misunderstood), The short-lived High Tide were perhaps the most unlikely band to have recorded for Apple, though the demos they made with Peter Asher in early 1969 remain unheard. Those who saw them live say the experience was overwhelming. They were billed as 'the heaviest band in the world' that autumn, but their brand of vicious hard rock (with extensive electric violin and guitar duels) was never going to catch on, and their two albums sold dismally. 

I've seen precious little about them in the contemporary press, but what I have is here. Firstly, however, here are the details of their three BBC radio sessions:

As far as I'm aware, these have never been released either. Sometime in the summer of 1969 they backed South African expat Denver Gerrard (formerly half of hippie duo Warm Sounds) on his solo album Sinister Morning, which limped out on Deram Nova in March 1970. He returned the favour by producing their debut at around the same time. Here's an article from issue 4 of ZigZag, dated August 1969:

In the same month they played at a gig to raise money for the magazine:

Sea Shanties appeared in September 1969. Here's a press ad for it:

At its best, it's simply amazing, as on the track here, but reviewers were nonplussed by the music's sheer aggression. 'For those that dig noise, this is ideal', ventured Record Mirror on September 13th. 'Great crashing guitar and lots of bended, freaky sounds everywhere.' Melody Maker were more direct on October 4th, branding it 'prolonged monotony. High Tide – low ebb!'

The latter apparently badly demoralised the band, who decamped to Puddletown in Dorset after playing a few more gigs, such as this one:

In Puddletown LSD and yoga dominated their schedule. Nonetheless, they managed to tape a second, self-titled LP, which appeared in October 1970.

Melody Maker remained unimpressed, commenting on the 24th that 'the band does not come up with enough varied musical ideas to sustain the original concept, and the lack of harmonic invention ultimately detracts from one’s appreciation'. Sales were again slow, but on December 5th Melody Maker ran a somewhat more positive piece, containing the surprising news that they were big in Italy:

It was too little too late, however. Dire poverty was affecting them, as were drummer Roger Hadden's mental problems, and by the end of the year they were no more.

No comments:

Post a Comment