5/11/15

Mike Montgomery - Solo (1976)

This is an important post. I must not ruin it. I must convince any visitor to dl this album and then write to labels for a correct reissue of this gem. Let's begin by the beginning. I was re-up-ing the Back Street Crawler Croydon gig (see one previous post) when I realized not only how good were the songs (finally I had a little overlooked this songwriting quality in the past) but also that most of them were penned by Mike Montgomery. So I tried to find what he had done before and after this BSC period. First, I learned that he quitted the band before Paul Kossoff died. Actually at the end of 1975, he was no more in and was replaced by John Bundrick aka Rabbit. So, it seems he was not happy with the band although they played his songs. Where did he go, in which band? Actually none. He recorded a solo album, this one, with unexpected musicians since two were from Thin Lizzy (Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham) and one would be some time later in this same band (Jimmy Bain). Strangely, Rabbit was also on it, so it seems the replacement in BSC was friendly. There was also Bob Kulick, the 5th Kiss man and Morgan Fischer, who had been in Mott The Hoople. What a strange melting pot. Impossible to know "who plays on what" since this album seems extremely hard to find. The only source I found is a badly sounding version that you can find on iTunes, CDBaby or numerous russian MP3 sites, with nothing else that song titles and the front cover sleeve. Listening to the sound that these providers offer (actually sell), it's likely that it was (badly) ripped from a vinyl source by someone who had no technical skills, even the most basic ones. This is a real drama since this album is nothing less than a masterpiece. Not often an album released in the seventies had escaped my vigilance and entered my top 100 at the minute I listen to it so many years later. This is the case of this one, even if the sound quality is a disaster. I tried to improve it using MP3.DoctorPro but honestly it's still far from what we could expect from an official source. Didn't find anywhere to buy the vinyl and of course not any sign of the CD. What is the explanation of this rarity I don't know. Surprisingly, this album is dated 2006 everywhere but actually it was recorded in 1976. Was it released after its completion? I don't know. It is included in the discography of some of the musicians featuring on it (such Jimmy Bain) so it seems it was officially released at the time. But you surely wonder why I give it such a positive appreciation. First, it's vocally everything I love. Imagine the late Marc Bolan (era 74-77, let's say Zinc Alloy) and Jim Carroll (most specifically Catholic Boy). Musically, according to songs, it's between Bowie (Ziggy Stardust one), Cockney Rebel (Best Years Of Your Life one) and Mott The Hoople (The Hoople one). Yes, you are not dreaming. There's a lot of the Motown beat in the structures of songs. Released in 1974, this album would have reached the status of a Glam classic, but in 1976, it was too late. Not a weak song, all are instant classics. Musicians are here used for a glittering approach of rock, the one I was always nostalgic for and that I try to keep alive whenever I can. But the story doesn't end here. I found that Mike Montgomery's son has recently tried to raise some money to record a tribute album for his dad (here). Not a success looking at the small money amount they got. But it was quite a challenge since nobody seems to remember who was Mike Montgomery. There was no more album until his death, in 1991. What a waste, what a shame. This is thus a little attempt to make this great composer a little place on the net. Since before BSC, he was in the band Bloontz, that Kossoff took as backing band to form BSC, I will post the Bloontz album (you will listen then to the original versions of "Jason Blue" and "Long Way Down To The Top", both Mike Montgomery compositions). I hope I didn't ruin this album and that you are now impatient to listen to it. Catch it here. And sorry for the sound quality. It's better than the one you'll find on paying sites.



4 comments:

Ansina said...

It's worth each word of praise you wrote, thanks!

Ruben Chandler said...

Dude, right you are. I am convinced! Great album

AnimationPipeline.com said...

Hi-

What a great write-up!

This album was never officially released.

And, you are correct, the 2006 release was based on a bad source and was not correctly re-mastered or anything.

We are still moving ahead with the Crawling Spider project, and have rough tracks for 6 songs in the bag (still needs keyboards, bg vocals, mix, and mastering). This will likely be released initially as an EP, with a follow-up full length album.

Here is a link for a sneak peak at the rough tracks:
https://soundcloud.com/crawling-spider/sets/crawling-spider-raw-tracks-from-session-1/s-IPyqU

This album includes
Tony Braunagel - All Tracks
Terry Wilson - All Tracks
Johnny Lee Schell - All Tracks
Billy Watts - All Tracks
Teresa Wilson - Pale Fire, Stealing My Way
Robbie Wyckoff - Long Way Down, Survivor, Stealing My Way
Mark Campbell - Rock & Roll Junke, 99 Days

If you would like to pre-order the album or other swag and help support this project, you can do so here:
https://crawling-spider-the-songs-of-mike-montgomery.backerkit.com/

Best,
Marlon

dkelvin said...

Thanx for this comment Marlon. I would like to ask you some questions about Mike Montgomery since I have the project to write a book about some under-rated composers of the 70's. Here's my mail didierkelvin@gmail.com. Thanx to contact me.
dk