Thursday 16 November 2017

Back Door - Review

I just spent a few days up north and was reminded of a pub I visited from time to time many years ago on the N. York. moors on Blakey Ridge close by Rosedale. It's a beautiful place in the summer and bleak in the winter. On the ridge is the 'pub at Blakey', or more precisely the Lion Inn. Two out of three of the band who played there are dead now, but their first album was my first truly great one. I had progressed somewhat, musically speaking, since an opening vinyl purchase featuring Adge Cutler and the Wurzles, a statement surely worthy of an exclamation mark. Back Door came soon after.

There's a vogue these days for virtuoso electric bass players, but, I'm guessing, the bass player in this band was the first to turn his instrument into bass, rhythm and lead all in one and without any overdubs, too. Back Door were Ron Aspery, Alto and Soprano Sax and Flute; Colin Hodgkinson, Fender Bass; Tony Hicks, Drums. Their jazz-rock style is infused with furiously fast melody lines played in unison on all three instruments, contrasted with atmospheric slowies that invoke the bleak moorland and the sheep outside the lonely pub's back door.

My vinyl of Back Door is playable but noisy in the way that vintage vinyl is, so their music was well worth the media change to CD. (I prefer CD, not download, btw, with its insert from the original album cover. I'll still play the vinyl version from time to time.) This is music from the early seventies so, if you are a contemporary music type, just keep in mind that this is well past the time of Stockhausen, who all of us are trying still to get to grips with. I'm not easily thrilled by music these days. This music continues to do it for me.

It's possible that the mistake Back Door made was signing with Warner Brothers when they had an early offer from the virgin Virgin Records who were then just about to make it big and take many new bands with them.  Back Door had their day in the lime light though and deserve to be revisited; as is the Lion if you are ever passing that way.