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7.12.09

Splinter




Splinter - Dark Horse Demos 1972 - 1975 - Dark Horse Records

Issued in 1975 by Dark Horse Records but never commercially released. The album was a promo test pressing of acoustic demos. The album has been circulated under different titles, including "Acoustic Demos", and "Splinter Unplugged 1972". In fact, the album has no officially defined title. The disc/s were issued to selected media personnel and radio stations only. The track, "Love Is Not Enough" was officially released as a Japanese single in November 1976 (Warner-Pioneer) and re-recorded for Splinter's official "Two Man Band" LP, in 1977. The LP's tracks are all acoustic (6 & 12-string) demos. There are only vocals, and acoustic guitars on the album. There is no producer listed. The recording has no official catalog number or record distributor listing. The album was obviously intended, at some stage, for an official release. It was supposedly recorded in a day, at F.P.S.H.O.T, in 1972, with no overdubs. Without proper production, the album sounds more like a "folk". than a "pop" or pop rock album, but this is certainly no criticism. All the songs are well written, with good lyrics, vocal harmonies, and some great guitar playing. This was Splinter at their acoustic best. It would have interesting to hear the fully produced, finished version of this album.
Not to be confused with Peter Green's Splinter group, Splinter was an English pop rock duo with folk touches who were together from 1974 to 1984. In the same mould as Gallagher & Lyle, and the early Gerry Rafferty, the band's nucleus of Bill Elliott, and Bobby Purvis were excellent musicians and songwriters, and are probably best remembered for their great "Costafine Town" and "China Light" songs. However, the band should be remembered for more than those two songs, as they released a few albums, all with some beautifully written, melodic pop rock songs. Splinter had strong Beatle connections, especially with John Lennon, and Badfinger, and it was George Harrison who saw the duo's potential, and contributed to Splinter's musical output. Try and find Splinter's "The Place I Love", and "Two Man Band" albums. "The Place I Love" is a fabulous but neglected album. The late George Harrison produced the album, and played on all tracks. Splinter's "Harder To Live" album can be found on this blog


TRACKS / COMPOSERS

SIDE 1

1. Split Crow Road [Purvis] (3:20)
lead vocals: Bill & Bobby
Bobby Purvis: "This one's a song where we come from. I don't know if anybody [to studio audience in Rochester, NY] knows the north of England. Has anybody been to the north of England? No? Don't know what you're missing." Bill Elliott: "You're not missing very much." Bobby: "Well, we've got sort of what you might call a ghetto, you know, and they sort of demolished this part I'm gonna sing about; it's called Split Crow Road. It's no longer there, but it used to be a pretty nice place, you know."
Identical to the live version performed at WCMF-FM in Rochester, NY on November 5, 1975.
2. This Is My Corner [Purvis] (3:35)
lead vocals: Bobby & Bill
3. Why Can't We Live By The Sea? [Purvis] (1:47)
lead vocals: Bobby & Bill
4. Raincoat Salesman [Purvis & Elliott] (2:26)
lead vocals: Bill & Bobby
5. This Time We're Gonna Come Through [Purvis] (2:36)
lead vocals: Bobby (+Bill)
6. Don't Get Under My Feet [Purvis] (3:11)
lead vocals: Bill & Bobby
7. Christmas Time Feeling [Purvis] (2:50)
lead vocals: Bill & Bobby

SIDE 2

1. Re-directed [Purvis & Elliott] (1:59)
lead vocals: Bill & Bobby (duet)
2. Railway [Purvis] (2:26)
lead vocals: Bobby & Bill (trading verses)
3. Little Piece Of Luck [Purvis & Elliott] (2:12)
lead vocals: Bobby & Bill
4. Down By The Albion [Purvis & Elliott] (2:22)
lead vocals: Bobby & Bill
5. City Lady [Purvis & Elliott] (3:20)
lead vocals: Bobby (+ Bill)
6. Love Is Not Enough (To Stay Alive) [Purvis] (2:39)
lead vocals: Bill & Bobby
This was recorded for a single release (A-side) in Japan in November 1976 and remade for the "Two Man Band" LP in 1977. This demo is excellent.

All of the songs were published 1975 Ganga Publishing B.V.

BIO (WIKI)

Splinter was a two-man vocal group from South Shields, England, consisting of Bill Elliott (William Elliott) and Bobby Purvis (Robert J Purvis), who formed in 1974. They were connected with George Harrison, of The Beatles and had groups of instrumentalists to back them on each album. One of those musicians was a guitarist known as Hari Georgeson (Harrison's pseudonym). Splinter was the first artist signed to Harrison's Dark Horse Record label, when it was still partnered with A&M Records. All of Splinter's albums are out of print. Splinter, who had worked together at various times in the Newcastle and London music scenes, first came to the attention of Harrison through Mal Evans who was involved with both groups. Harrison was impressed with one of their songs which he felt would be ideal for an Apple film, Little Malcolm and his Struggle with The Eunuchs. Harrison initially wanted to sign Splinter to Apple Records and arranged sessions at Apple Studios to work on the song - he brought in Pete Ham from Badfinger to participate. Entitled "Lonely Man" plans were made for the song to be released as an Apple single and Splinter were shown performing the piece in the film. However, as Apple fell apart Harrison decided to establish his own record label, and once he heard more Splinter material he invited them to record an album. Work on this spanned 18 months. Also in this period Purvis and Elliot co-wrote the song "Kyle" with Gary Wright - it appeared on the 1974 Spooky Tooth album, The Mirror. On their debut album The Place I Love, Harrison produced and played guitar on all the songs. Other musicians included Alvin Lee, Billy Preston, Gary Wright, Jim Keltner, and Klaus Voorman. Most of the songs were written by Purvis, with Elliott co-writing lyrics on "China Light" and "Costafine Town". "Costafine Town" was an international hit single, reaching the Top 10 in Australia and South Africa and the Top 20 in the United Kingdom. Both this single and album also appeared on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart. The follow-up single, "Drink All Day", was banned in the UK by the BBC for the inclusion of the word "bloody". In preparing for a second Splinter album in 1975 Harrison recorded them at his Friar Park studio. Harrison pressed this as a private album on Dark Horse Records. On Harder To Live, Splinter's second album, Harrison only participated on one track. "Lonely Man" was co-produced by Harrison and Tom Scott, and Harrison played guitar. It was used in the 1974 movie Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs, which was Harrison's first foray into film production. "Lonely Man" was a hit in Japan, and in recording a version of the song in Japanese, Splinter became the first western artists to sing in Japanese. They were helped to achieve this by the Japanese actor and singer, Masatoshi Nakamura. Another set of musicians provide backing (Chris Spedding, Waddy Wachtel and John Taylor). Also in this period Splinter won the Outstanding Song Award at the 1976 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival at the Budokan in Tokyo with the song "Love Is Not Enough". This performance was released on an album that documented this annual song festival. As a result of this success, "Love Is Not Enough" was released as a single in Japan. This first version was produced by Tom Scott, and is a different arrangement from the one that subsequently appeared on Two Man Band. Although the duo of Purvis and Elliott continued to perform together until 1984, the 1977 release Two Man Band was the last Splinter album released in most countries, including the United States. Harrison is credited as co-executive producer, and played some of the guitar. The main production duties were entrusted to Norbert Putnam. Although Two Man Band was Splinter's last release in the U.S. and most other parts of the world, the duo did record two more albums that were each released in no more than two countries. Both albums were done without Harrison. The first of these, titled Streets At Night, was released only in Japan in 1979. Purvis and Elliott produced and arranged this album themselves. This album had Alan Clark who played keyboards, synthesizers, and clavinet. In this period Splinter were associated with the Japanese music TV station, NTVM, and worked with the Japanese rock band, Godiego. A single of Splinter singing the Godiego song "Ghandara" (associated with the TV show Monkey) was released, and they also appeared on a compilation album, Our Favourite Songs, a set led by members of Godiego. The final Splinter album was Splinter, which was released in the UK in 1980 on the Bellaphon label. (The album was also issued in Japan the following year under the title Sail Away, with a song called "Pigalle" used in place of "All That Love". They finally split in 1984. In recent years, Purvis has re-emerged as a performer and composer, working for a British cancer research charity.

MORE ABOUT SPLINTER

Not too many people remember Splinter, which is a shame on a number of counts. For starters, their sound — an amalgam of mainstream electric rock with pop and folk elements, surprisingly similar to Badfinger — was intrinsically satisfying and made them one of the more pleasing and promising groups of the mid-'70s. For another, they were one of the few genuinely bright discoveries to come out of the Beatles' orbit in the period after the breakup of Apple. And they cut one great album featuring some superb work by George Harrison as a producer and musician. Co-founder Bill Elliott had already worked on the periphery of the Beatles' orbit in 1970 when, as part of the Elastic Oz Band (sometimes billed as "Bill Elliott & the Elastic Oz Band"), he'd worked with John Lennon on the single "Do the Oz," recorded to raise money and enlist support for the underground Oz magazine, which was being suppressed in England. The two singers, who harmonized very attractively together, hooked up with George Harrison just as the latter was setting up his own Dark Horse Records label. That ill-starred venture coincided with Harrison's disastrous 1974 tour of the United States and the release of his own Dark Horse album — ironically enough, Splinter's debut LP and single were better received by those who heard them than Harrison's own album, which was doubly funny since the ex-Beatle guitarist lavished more attention on their LP The Place I Love than he evidently did on his own album. The duo sang beautifully — Elliott's vocalizing recalled John Lennon, and their harmonizing brought to mind not only the group Badfinger at their best, but also memories of the finer massed vocal sections of All Things Must Pass. Moreover, Harrison's guitars (many of them, overdubbed many times), percussion, and keyboards were all over the album, along with Klaus Voormann's bass and some piano and organ by Billy Preston, thus establishing an even closer connection with the late Apple organization and its sound. Harrison's appearances throughout the album were under various guises: "Hari Georgeson," "P. Roducer," and "Jai Raj Harisein." The Splinter debut album and the accompanying single "Costafine Town" made the lower reaches of the American Top 100, but this was their only brush with success. They cut two more albums over the next three years, Harder to Live and Two Man Band, under the aegis of Dark Horse Records, and, after touring for a few more years, they finally split up in 1984. In recent years, Bob Purvis has re-emerged as a performer and composer, doing charity work for a British cancer research charity. © Bruce Eder, allmusic.com, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0pfixq95ldse~T1

7 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK

p/w aoofc

philliebuster said...

I never heard of them before, but this looks fantastic!

Many thanks!

pb

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, pb. Great band. Just basic demos, but some great songs. Thanks for comment

concupiscente said...

thank you! I love this guys

A.O.O.F.C said...

How are you, pb? Thanks for comment. Seasons greetings! TTU soon

avicenne said...

Thanks a lot for this one, man. I've just got into Splinter lately, sublime 70's music. (The only downer is that I've run out of mellow Gallagher & Lyle style popsters to listen to.)

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,avicenne! That's the problem with this kind of melodic folk rock...It's very limited, and getting harder to find good music in this genre. At least we have a few good albums to listen to. Maybe some more of these albums will be remixed and remastered for CD. Thanks for coment, & keep in touch