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Duffy Power - Innovations (1971)

Duffy Power is an English blues and rock and roll singer, who achieved some success in the 1960s and has performed and recorded intermittently since then. He was discovered in 1959 by impresario Larry Parnes, singing at a talent show with his group Duffy and the Dreamers. He was renamed Duffy Power in the style of Parnes' other discoveries, such as Billy Fury, Marty Wilde, Vince Eager and Georgie Fame. He recorded a series of cover versions of such songs as "Dream Lover" and "Ain't She Sweet" as singles for the Fontana label over the next two years, but unlike some of his stablemates failed to achieve commercial success. Duffy left Parnes in 1961, suffering from depression. However, he was introduced by a friend to the growing London blues club scene, and in 1963 teamed up with Graham Bond, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and John McLaughlin to record "I Saw Her Standing There", one of the first cover versions of a Beatles song. He continued to record for Parlophone Records through the 1960s, both as a solo artist, often backed by top session musicians, and with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, but the critical acclaim for his performances failed to be matched by sales. Actually recorded in 1965-67, but released in 1971 on Transatlantic, Innovations, is truly an amazing record with participation from greats Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, John McLaughlin, Terry Cox, and Danny Thompson. "...Before there was Cream, before there was the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and before there was Pentangle, there was Duffy Power” (Richie Unterberger).

One of the most significant influences on my musical tastes was the Alexis Korner Show, Sunday evenings, Radio 1, circa 1978/79. It was on this eclectic show that I first heard Duffy Power, probably the greatest British Blues singer.

The track that Alexis Korner played was a 1973 single, an original composition, called 'The River', and not as obviously bluesy as much of Duffy's work. I was in the habit of recording Alexis' one-hour show on a C120 cassette that I would listen to for a fortnight before recording over it. (I still have the cassette with two, rather badly recorded, shows on - how I wish I still had them all!). So, I probably listening to that track only half a dozen times at the most but the voice stuck with me.

Maybe a couple of years later,I came across a Duffy Power album called Innovations, on Malcolm's Record stall, on Norwich Market. Released in 1971 on Transatlantic Records, from mid-60's demos, it's a great album, one that I have listened to consistently over the last 20 years. The musician line-up, including Jack Bruce, John McLaughlin, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox is outstanding and the album has spontaneous, rough-edged feel, though the performance and recording quality is way beyond your average demo cuts.

In recent years I've acquired a couple of compilation album retrospectives that are both available. Leapers & Sleepers (rpm records, 2002) a 2CD set with comprehensive biographical notes tells the story of Duffy's recording history from 1962-67, including his beginnings as one of the Larry Parnes pop stable (Billy Fury, Marty Wilde, Georgie Fame, Duffy Power... you get the gist!) and Parlophone's repeated efforts to launch Duffy as a Tom Jones style pop artist - some great music including alternative cuts of some of the Innovations tracks. Sky Blues (Hux Records, 2002) is a collection of BBC session recordings, stretching from 1968 to a rare appearance in 1994, dueting with sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith. Quality varies - the best tracks are superb and overall it's a fascinating collection with great sleeve notes.

Duffy Power pretty much disappeared off the music scene in the late 70's but I recently happened across a couple of excellent charity compilations, The Wildlife Album, which features a track, Sweet Again, described as being from a 'forthcoming' Duffy Power album of new material, and The Wildlife Album 2, which features... well, would you believe it!... the 1973 single recording of 'The River' (there is even a sound-clip of the track on the website). These are courtesy of Colin Harper, member of the Ulster Wildlife Trust, musician, musicologist, longtime Duffy fan, and compiler of the 'Sky Blues' CD. Both are excellent CDs - the second even features fellow PYRSK Lal Waterson!

I now have an ambition to see Duffy Power on stage... watch this space and, in the meantime, get to know this great singer! (peopleyoureallyshouldknow.blogspot)

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2 komentarze:

Ankh pisze...

link 1 or link 2.

jazzlover79 pisze...

Any chance that this could be re-posted. Im reading "Bathed In Lightening" and Im very interested in hearing it.


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