CHARGE Charge (WHCD034)

1. Glory Boy From Whipsnade

2. To My Friends

3. Rock My Soul

4. Child Of Nations

     a)    Soldiers

     b)    Battles

     c)    Child Of Nations

5. Looking For Somebody

6. Goodbye Good-Day

7. Lost My Woman

8. The Struggle

9. Song For The Nights

10. Blues For You

11. Now You’re Out Of My Life

12. Blueberry Hill

13. Can You? Will You?

Recorded in January 1973 as a demo-only pressing to hawk around the major record companies of the era, heavy rock trio Charge’s frenzied, guitar-drenched album was counterfeited on both vinyl and CD in the 1990s, and consequently is now firmly established as one of the most legendary rarities to escape from the early Seventies British psychedelic/ progressive underground scene.  This first-ever authorised reissue adds a previously-undocumented LP from twelve months earlier and tells the band’s story for the first time.  With re-mastered sound and a 12-page booklet with numerous hitherto-unpublished photos, this is the definitive issue of a definitive album!

 

“The only album by 70s power-trio Charge has a fascinating history.  Recorded as a demo in ’73, the band failed to secure a record contract and disbanded in 1975, after the untimely passing of drummer Pete Gibbons. The record eventually found a life of its own, however, was bootlegged in the 90s and is only now receiving an official reissue.  In retrospect, it’s easy to see why the major labels turned this album down back in ’73.  Though full of strong songs, it’s pretty uncommercial for what was still the glam era; earthy, underground progressive rock with a 16-minute suite was far from sure-fire chart material.  That, however, only serves to give it period charm 40 years on.  While not as heavy as contemporaries such as Black Sabbath, there’s a raw charm to these dynamic songs, and Dave Ellis’ voice – equal parts Bowie and Lemmy – is English without being fey, even when singing about swans on lakes.  As a bonus, a demo LP by previous incarnation Baby Bertha is appended.  Tougher but more generic 70s blues-rock, it’s notable for the late Pete Gibbons’ outstanding drumming.  A gem of obscure British rock, given a superb treatment by Wooden Hill.” (Record Collector)  

 

“Charge’s sole album was originally a 99-copy-only promo affair from 1973.  I first picked it up as a Kissing Spell reissue on the recommendation of a dealer at a record fair.  It’s a curious comfort to learn that their bassist Ian MacLaughlin chanced upon his own album in almost the same way!  That he had no knowledge of the 1992 Kissing Spell release highlights its unofficial status.  In a typical act of butchery, that label cut a track name, included no composer credits, and added a new track crudely composed of snippets from the album.  That this dubious ‘bonus’ was sequenced first may have put many off the wonderful contents of the rest of the LP.  Thankfully, some 22 years after the fact, Wooden Hill have corrected this atrocity with a fully authorised reissue.  Now restored, it shines.  The band play hugely appealing post-psych hard rock, most reminiscent of Cream, but with shades of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep.  It’s hard to imagine that fans of early 70s proto-metal won’t be excited by the likes of “Glory Boy From Whipsnade”, with its huge riff and moody vocals.  Even better, the second song, “To My Friends”, has the vocal mirror the guitar line in Sabbath style, making for a decidedly downbeat rocker.  Indeed, the whole album is a resolute downer, a vibe complemented by the rudimentary nature of the recording, which exudes the air of Quaalude-heavy basement rock.  The side-long suite “Child Of Nations” continues in this vein, but slightly runs out of steam before its 16 minutes are up – perhaps a case of the band’s ambitions overreaching their ability, with the lack of a heroic lead guitarist proving the sticking point.  Also included here is a 1972 album by pre-Charge outfit Baby Bertha, featuring many of the same personnel.  Though some of the songs are pedestrian blues-rock, there are some killer melodic hard rockers like “Goodbye Good-Day” and “Can You? Will You?”, which wouldn’t have been out of place on the Charge album.  Originally pressed in an edition of just 50, this is the first time it’s been exhumed for public consumption, being a marginal case for stand-alone release.  The accompanying sleevenotes, unseen photos and overall package are truly world class, as we have come to expect from David Wells.” (Flashback)

 

© Tenth Planet/Wooden Hill 2008-2014