Jack Bruce is best known to most people as having been the bassist and vocalist with Cream, the sixties supergroup that imploded after just two and a half years. His solo works are often just as rewarding in listening terms and throughout the decade following Cream’s demise, Bruce released a string of albums that not only helped cement his legendary status, but also show how much broader his talents could be beyond the power trio format. 1969’s ‘Songs For A Tailor’ is a fantastic mix of rock, blues and jazz that belongs in any collection; 1970’s ‘Things We Like’ more than demonstrates Bruce’s affinity with harder jazz influences and 1977’s much overlooked ‘How’s Tricks’ offers a fine collection of rock-oriented songs teaming Jack with drummer Simon Phillips and keyboard player Tony Hymas – both important fixtures in Jeff Beck’s band during the following decade.
With the release of two massive Small Faces box sets, two Humble Pie bootleg boxes, an expanded reissue of Humble Pie’s ‘Watch Your Step’ and a four disc set of the final performances of Steve Marriott’s Packet of Three all issued within just over a year, the stretch between April 2017 and the summer of 2018 was a wondrous time to be a Marriott fan. …And then, at the beginning of 2019, Cleopatra Records offered fans something extra from the archives – a long overdue vinyl release of ‘Joint Effort’, Humble Pie’s “lost” album from 1974.
The origins of ‘Joint Effort’ were already somewhat troubled. In the lead up to recording, Marriott had briefly quit Humble Pie hoping to join The Rolling Stones (the vacant guitarist’s role was filled by Faces man Ron Wood) and guitarist Clem Clempson had moonlighted with Greenslade [appearing on their ‘Spyglass Guest’ album, his contributions are fantastic]. To be fair, at that point, the future of the band looked uncertain. However, the reconvening of Clempson and Marriott in 1974 led to various recording sessions which, while perhaps not as coherent as ‘Street Rats’ (the album that eventually hit the shelves the following year), make an interesting album in their own right.
Of all the second division prog bands of the 70s – those who never quite made it to household name status with Yes and Camel – Greenslade are, perhaps, the band who’ve most been relegated to history. Despite a few high profile BBC appearances and four albums released between 1973 and 1975, they’ve never quite been given their full dues. If Greenslade get mentioned at all, it’s for their second album ‘Bedside Manners Are Extra’, released at the tail end of 1973. ‘Spyglass Guest’ – released the following year – is arguably a much better album.