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Splinter - The Place I Love - 1974 - Dark Horse

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. "The Place I Love" was Splinter's first studio album, with the late George Harrison playing guitar on all the songs, and producing the album. It has been said that "The Place I Love" is similar in sound to some of George Harrison's solo works, especially the vocals, and guitar work, and Splinter's sound was often compared to Badfinger. These comments in no way detract from the album, which is full of great songs, terrific vocal harmonization, and superb musicianship by artists like Klaus Voormann, Billy Preston, Alvin Lee, and others, including "Hari Georgeson", and "P.Roducer"!! Splinter's sound was always in the Beatlesque mould, because of the Harrison/Apple associations, but the songwriting from Bobby Purvis was superb, and songs like "China Light", and "Costafine Town" are classics in themselves. One reviewer said "Lost classics such as "China Light", "Costafine Town", and "Situation Vacant" are among the best Beatles songs that the Beatles never made". "The Place I Love" is HR by A.O.O.F.C. The sound quality isn't ! If you can find this CD in a remastered form, buy it. A great, and sadly forgotten album of the seventies. Search this blog for other Splinter releases.


A1 Gravy Train 4:00
A2 Drink All Day (Got To Find Your Own Way Home) 3:20
A3 China Light 4:35
A4 Somebody's City 5:20

B1 Costafine Town 3:10
B2 The Place I Love 4:25
B3 Situation Vacant 4:00
B4 Elly May 2:43
B5 Haven't Got Time 3:55

All songs composed by R.J Purvis, except "Costafine Town" with lyrics by R.J Purvis, & W.Elliot, and music by R.J Purvis


Gary Wright, Billy Preston - Keyboards
Bill Elliott, Bobby Purvis - Vocals
George Harrison - Synthesizer, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, 8 String Bass, Mandolin, Harmonium, Jew's-Harp, Dobro, Percussion
Alvin Lee - Guitar
Willie Weeks, Klaus Voormann - Bass
Mike Kelly, Jim Keltner - Drums
Graham Maitland - Accordion
Mel Collins - Horn Arrangements


Out of all the albums cut by artists in the Beatles' orbit, Splinter's The Place I Love is the one that, along with Badfinger's albums, most deserves reissue. The first album released on George Harrison's Dark Horse Records label, The Place I Love — which did chart — was produced by the ex-Beatle and features the best music associated with him that was heard in the 14 years between Living in the Material World and Cloud Nine. Splinter, consisting of Bill Elliott and Bob Purvis, harmonizes beautifully, and their vocals recall John Lennon and George Harrison at their respective peaks. Coupled with upwards of a half dozen or more guitars (and keyboards, percussion, and Jew's harp) overdubbed by Harrison (working under various aliases, since he was still signed to EMI at the time) with some additional contributions by Alvin Lee), and a rhythm section that included Jim Keltner on drums and Klaus Voormann playing bass, it's not surprising that Splinter's debut album comes off like a cross between the Plastic Ono Band on a very good day and very melodic offshoots of All Things Must Pass in its leaner moments. It really rocks, too — Harrison's guitar playing (six-string, 12-string, and electric) on "Somebody's City" is some of his best and flashiest, and coupled with the duo's singing and Mike Kelly's pile-driver drums and a tasteful Mel Collins horn arrangement, is an absolute jewel, and "Gravy Train," which opens the album, is practically a sequel to "Get Back." "Costafine Town," which made the charts, is a warmly nostalgia-laden tune with a memorable melody and gorgeous singing. Much of this album actually sounds like very good Badfinger outtakes, which makes its absence from CD even more frustrating; Splinter deserved to be remembered, but so far their recognition has only come from the hardcore underground network of Beatles enthusiasts. In 1999, The Place I Love was reissued as a bootleg CD-R with a bonus track, the ethereal "Lonely Man," off of the group's second album, Harder to Live, which features even better singing than anything on The Place I Love and also includes Harrison on guitar. © Bruce Eder © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kxfoxq85ldfe


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.


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


miles said...

this was in my collection many years ago, and i remember it fondly. unfortunately it was lost to a necessary purge. thanks for reminding my of it, and allowing me to hear it again.

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

How are you, Miles? Splinter were a good band in the early days, and wrote many wonderful songs. There is a demand out there for this kind of music. I'm just trying to help out. Thanks, Miles, & TTU soon

José Carvalho said...

I´ve the first two lps from these guys (harder to live is the 2nd) which I still hear from time to time.
But in this kind of music you don't have too many choice in the net. I'm searching a Michael Blount lp called souvenirs and any lp from Bpb Hurzicka but they're really hard to find. Thanks for your Splinter 3rd album upload, didn't knew it existed.

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

Hi, José. Splinter's early stuff was good. I've gotta say that Michael Blount and Bob Ruzicka's albums are very hard to track down. If anybody reads this, info is appreciated. Thanks for comment, José. TTU soon

Barron said...

I completely missed out on this band at the time. I learned about it today reading reviews of the Shankar-Harrison "Collaboratons" cd on Amazon.

Thanks for posting this. Looking forward to hearing it momentarily.

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

Thanks,Barron. Keep in touch...P

José Carlos said...

Hi, Paul. Several centuries ago (hahaha) I have had this gem in my LP collection. It's wonderful to see it again!!!! But the link is dead. Would you reupload it, please? Thanks for your good job....