Active from 1964-1967, this North English combo deserve more than its ” Lemmy Kilmeister’s first band” footnote. With their taut 40-minute sets and clerical airs, they were favorites of the Northern dance club scene, though the lack of original material limited their options. A late move to London to record for Shel Talmy didn’t change the world, though theirs’ surely turned more moddish and they found hipper writers to cover. The band’s appealing confidence shows in the title track, a startling rearrangement of the Who’s then-unreleased “The Kids Are Alright” replete with tinkling keys and falsetto call-and-response vocals, and on the irresistibly twitchy “Say Mama.” Stay tuned till the closer, “Little Rosy,” an unreleased Ray Davies tune performed with properly Kinksy abandon.
Blue Ash is a Lost in the Grooves artist. Click to sample the music or purchase tracks from Around Again – A Collection of Rarities From the Vault 1972-1979. And keep an eye peeled to Frank Secich’s Blue Ash blog here at LITG for news, photos and insights straight from the band. This reissue (of a double CD first put out by the good folks at Not Lame) is just the start, as we’ll soon be digging deeper into the Blue Ash vaults for songs never before heard by fans.
Metal Mike Saunders provided this vintage record review for the Lost in the Grooves anthology:
Blue Ash No More, No Less (Mercury, 1973)
“I Remember A Time” could do for Blue Ash what “Mr. Tambourine Man” did for the Byrds: the start of a brilliant career, a Number One hit, instant mythology. The guitar intro lasts all of five seconds before Jimmy Kendzor and Frank Secich’s voices come in, oozing of everything the Byrds and Lovin’ Spoonful ever promised, the soaring harmonies in the chorus driving over jangling lead guitar work. It’s the sound of tomorrow right here today, it’s the perfect folk-rock single. It’s beautiful, that’s what.
This is one of the most spirited, powerful debuts ever from an American group. No More, No Less opens with “Have you Seen Her,” a fast rocker kicked off by four whomps on David Evans’ snare. This is the one that makes me think of The Who; the lead guitar is pure West Coast, though.
"Just Another Game” is the one quiet song, an effective tonedown before “I Remember A Time.” “Plain To See” is similar to “I Remember A Time” in the way its simple, compelling melody rocks out with vocal harmonies framed over a trebly Byrds guitar sound.
“Here We Go Again” follows, midway between the hardest and softest numbers on the first side. What’s great here are the group vocals on top of the tuff folk-rock cum hard rock instrumental sound; it’s like killing two birds with one stone, the whole premise behind the old and new Mod groups (Small Faces, early Who, the Sweet), not to mention the hard pop masterpiece known to the world as “Do Ya.”
By the time this album ends, there’s no doubt about it, Blue Ash have got themselves one hell of a debut LP that may send fellow stateside groups like Stories, the Raspberries, and Big Star running back to the woodshed to come up with music even better than their present stuff. (Mike Saunders)