Breakthrough. Underground Sounds of 1971

Recorded 1971. Released 2021

1971 saw a wealth of imaginative artists meld seemingly disparate musical genres and influences such as jazz, blues, folk, rock and classical music on a host of wonderful albums, all of which appealed to an audience of students and followers of the “underground’ culture. This 4 CD – 5 hour set transports me back to a time when I was 17 years old, revising for my Mock exams by candlelight, playing cricket and rugby, learning how to drink beer and wondering what I could do for the rest of my life. Luckily, music was a distraction and helped me avoid thinking too deeply about the future and made me appreciate the present. What would life be without music and sport?

Disc 1

Evening Over Rooftops by Edgar Broughton Band

The Edgar Broughton Band’s third, eponymous, album featured meat hanging in a warehouse along with one human being.

Spanish Tide by Family

Family were on the lineup of the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival. Bob Dylan appeared on Sunday 31st August but the full lineup on the day before was King Crimson, The Edgar Broughton Band, Blonde On Blonde, Gypsy, Blodwyn Pig, Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments, Marsha Hunt & White Trash, Pretty Things, Free, Family, Bonzo Dog Band, Joe Cocker, Fat Mattress, Moody Blues, The Who.

Simple Sister by Procol Harum

In July 2009, organist Matthew Fisher won a British court judgment awarding him 40% of the music royalties from 2005 onwards for 1967’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. The band’s name does not come from a Latin phrase; if it did, the spelling would be Prucul or Prucol. In fact, a friend of theirs had a pedigree Siamese cat which she had called Procol Harum.

She Said by Barclay James Harvest

“She Said” is from the first of two albums the band released in 1971, “Once Again”. Searching for a name for their band in 1968, each member wrote single words on a piece of paper which were drawn out, one by one, and rejected until only three remained. James had been written because their previous singer was called James; they were living in a farmhouse at the time so someone had written Harvest and they aspired to make money so another member of the band had written Barclays. Presumably, after the Barclay’s boycott a few years later, there was serious consideration given to changing their name to Midland James Harvest.

Late November by Sandy Denny

“Late November” is from Sandy Denny’s first solo album, “The Northstar Grassman And The Raven”. It also appears on the four record retrospective, “Who Knows Where The Time Goes“. It’s brilliant because it’s Sandy Denny, but I’d have chosen “Next Time Around”. This song fits very nicely into the “underground” genre but it is at odds with the other 51 songs in this set which are much more in the “progressive” genre.

Mother Goose by Jethro Tull

Jennie Franks is an English playwright and filmmaker who was married to Ian Anderson when Jethro Tull recorded “Aqualung”. After divorcing Ian Anderson, she moved to Los Angeles and married Jeffrey Price who wrote the screenplay for “Who Killed Roger Rabbit. In 1971, she had taken pictures of homeless people in London and these inspired the front cover and some of the lyrics for “Aqualung”.

House On The Hill by Audience

Audience lead guitarist, Howard Werth, played a nylon strung acoustic guitar with a contact microphone.

Master Of The Universe by Hawkwind

This song was used by the Ford Motor company to advertise the Ford B-Max in TV adverts in 2012.

Bitches Crystal by Emerson Lake & Palmer

ELP’s second gig was on the Saturday of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. The full line up that day was John Sebastian, Shawn Phillips, Lighthouse, Joni Mitchell, Tiny Tim, Miles Davis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Doors, The Who, Sly & The Family Stone and finally, as the sun rose on the Sunday morning, Melanie. 600 000 people attended the festival. At the end of their set, Keith Emerson fired two cannons.

I’ve Seen All Good People by Yes

When he was 15 years old, Jon Anderson left school to support his father who had become seriously ill. He had two jobs – working on a farm and delivering milk. However, his dream was to play football for Accrington Stanley. Due to his small stature (5’5″), he was turned down and when his brother’s band needed an extra backing singer, his musical future was set on the path to glory.

Golden Fleece by Spring

Spring were from Leicester and when their van broke down coming back from a gig in Cardiff, they chanced upon Kingsley Ward, the founder of Rockfield Studios. Through this connection, they recorded one album with future David Bowie and Elton John producer, Gus Dudgeon. When the band broke up, drummer Pick Withers joined Dire Straits.

City Song by Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne’s second album, “Fog On The Tyne” was produced by Bob Johnston and engineered by Ken Scott. Bob Johnston produced all of Bob Dylan’s albums between 1965 and 1970. Ken Scott engineered every Beatles album between 1964 and 1968.

Summer Time by Pretty Things

Dick Taylor was a school friend of Mick Jagger. Together with Keith Richards, they formed Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. Brian Jones recruited all of them for his band along with Ian Stewart which he called Rollin’ Stones. However, Dick Taylor soon left to resume his studies at Sidcup Art College where he met Phil May and formed Pretty Things.

Time Machine by Beggars Opera

Scottish band Beggars Opera’s second album was “Waters Of Change”, which was produced by Phil Coulter, who had co-written “Puppet On A String” for Sandie Shaw’s entry into the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest.

Disc 2

Do It by Pink Fairies

In 1970, Pink Fairies played outside the fence at The Isle of Wight Festival. Along with Hawkwind, they played for free in protest at the excessive ticket prices. Occasionally, Pink Fairies and Hawkwind would combine to play gigs as Pinkwind.

Eternal Messenger by Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come

The first album by Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, released in 1971 was called “Galactic Zoo Dossier”. The theme of the album was that humanity is actually living in a zoo and is being controlled by cosmic, religious and commercial forces. I don’t dismiss this idea and, in fact, much of the recent political shenanigans in the U.K. lend credence to this notion.

Lady In Black by Uriah Heep

“Lady In Black” was released as a single and tells the story of a man wandering through war-torn darkness and encountering a goddess-like entity called Liz Truss who consoles him. I made some of that last sentence up. The song reached Number Five in the German singles chart

Eire by Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy’s eponymous, first album was produced by Scott English who wrote “Bend Me, Shake Me,” a hit for Amen Corner.

Winter Wine by Caravan

Caravan’s third album was called “In The Land Of Grey And Pink”. The whole of Side Two was given up to one song, “Nine Feet Underground”.

Virgin Spring by Mighty Baby

This is the seventh Mighty Baby song that has appeared on one of these fantastic box sets. Mighty Baby were a band from the Sixties who were formed from members of The Action. When Mighty Baby played on the same bill as Richard And Linda Thompson at The Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970, members of the band introduced the duo to Sufism.  One of the members of Mighty Baby and The Action was Ian Whiteman who changed his name to Abdul-Latif Whiteman and subsequently became a much sought after typographer and Islamic designer.

Blue John’s Blues by Barclay James Harvest

Barclay James Harvest released two albums in 1971 – “Once Again” and “Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories”. “Blue John’s Blues” is from the latter.

The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys by Traffic

Rebop Kwaku Baah was a Ghanian percussionist who joined Traffic just before they recorded their fifth album, “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys”. He had played on Nick Drake’s “Three Hours” from “Five Leaves Left“. He died in 1983, aged 38.

Saving It Up For So Long by Samurai

Tetsu Yamauchi is a Japanese bass player who played in Free (after Andy Fraser left) and The Faces (after Ronnie Lane left). His first band was Samurai.

Munich by Cressida

Cressida Dick resigned as Head of the Metropolitan Police a few days ago.

Folk Song by Jack Bruce

“Folk Song” is taken from Jack Bruce’s third solo album, called “Harmony Row”. The title is taken from from a street in Glasgow, near where Jack Bruce grew up. The street, since demolished, was famous as the largest unbroken houserow in Europe, stretching for over a mile.

Life Is A Long Song by Jethro Tull

“Life Is A Long Song” was the lead track on an EP released by Jethro Tull in 1971. It reached Number 11 in the U.K. Singles charts.

Burning Bridges by Family

“Burning Bridges” is taken from Family’s fifth album, “Fearless”. Bass player John Wetton played with Mogul Thrash (1971), Family (1971-1972), King Crimson (1972-1974), Roxy Music (1974-1975), Uriah Heep (1975-1976), Wishbone Ash (1980) and Asia (1981-2017)

The Seed by B.B. Blunder

After The Blossom Toes split up in 1969, Brian Godding and Brian Belshaw played with the former’s sister-in-law, Julie Driscoll.

Disc 3

Breakthrough by Atomic Rooster

Atomic Rooster played a gig at The Oval cricket ground in September 1971, supporting The Faces and The Who.

Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) by Caravan

In June 1970, Caravan played on the third day of the Kralingen Music Festival. Other acts that played that day included Mungo Jerry, Caravan, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, Soft Machine and Pink Floyd.

You, You Point Your Finger by Patto

Mike Patto had been the lead singer in Spooky Tooth before forming Patto.

Nite People by Colin Scot

Musicians that played on Colin Scot’s eponymous debut include Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), Jane Relf (Renaissance), Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman (Yes), Linda Hoyle (Affinity), Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins (Genesis), Peter Hamill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Billy Rankin, Bob Andrews and Brinsley Schwarz (Brinsley Schwarz), Robert Fripp (King Crimson). Despite this, the album flopped.

Pantagruel’s Nativity by Gentle Giant

Gentle Giant have released 11 studio albums and 18 live albums.

Glistening Glyndebourne by John Martyn

John Martyn was born in Surrey to a Belgian Jewish mother and a Scottish father. His parents divorced when he was five years old and he spent the rest of his childhood alternating between Scotland and England. For the rest of his life, he adapted his accent according to the company he was in, displaying a perfect Southern or Scottish accent at different times.

Solitude by Peter Hamill

Peter Hamill has released 40 solo albums as well as 19 Van Der Graaf Generator albums.

Young Mother by Curved Air

Curved Air’s second album was called “Second Album”

The Fakir by Paladin

Paladin’s second album was engineered by Geoff Emerick at Apple Studios. It was produced by Philamore Lincoln, a pseudonym used by Philip Kinorra who had been the drummer with Brian Augur’s Trinity when, combining with Julie Driscoll, they had a hit with “This Wheel’s On Fire” in 1968.

Pieces Of Me by Linda Hoyle

Linda Hoyle had been the lead singer with Affinity, who hailed from Sussex, released four albums and were the subject of a great “on the road” film made by Annie Nightingale. 

Call Me A Liar by Edgar Broughton Band

“Call Me A Liar” was the ‘B’ side to a single called “Hotel Room”.

Son Of The Father by Stray

Stray were managed by Charlie Kray, brother of Ronnie and Reggie.

Someone’s Learning by Status Quo

Status Quo have had more than 60 U.K. hits, more than any rock band. “Someone’s Learning” is over 7 minutes long and is as far from “Down Down” or “Rockin’ All Over The World” as you could get.

July Morning by Uriah Heep

In 1970, “Rolling Stone” reviewer Melissa Mills wrote “If Uriah Heep makes it I’ll have to commit suicide. From the first note you know you don’t want to hear any more. Uriah is watered down, tenth-rate Jethro Tull, only even more boring and inane. UH is composed of five members: vocals, organ, guitar, bass, and drums. They fail to create a distinctive sound tonally; the other factor in their uninteresting style is that everything they play is based on repetitive chord riffs. According to the enclosed promo information, Uriah Heep spent the past year in the studio, rehearsing and writing songs. No doubt their lack of performing experience contributed to the quality of the record; if they had played live in clubs they would have been thrown off the stage and we’d have been saved the waste of time, money, and vinyl”. It’s not known whether or not Melissa Mills kept her promise.

Disc 4

A Spoonful Of Bromide (Helps The Pulse Rate Go Down) by Atomic Rooster

Vincent Crane was the keyboard player with Atomic Rooster, having previously played in The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. He later played on the magnificent “Dont’ Stand Me Down” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners in 1985. He took his own life in 1989.

Running Down Deep by Help Yourself

Help Yourself were a magnificent soft-rock English rock band who I first heard in a house in Coventry in 1973 when I went to look up an old friend who has now become my oldest friend.

Theme Song / En Route / Theme Song (Reprise) by Keef Hartley Band

Keef Hartley’s career started when he replaced Ringo Starr in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

Windweaver by Jade Warrior

Jade Warrior’s management company, Mother Mistro, were also responsible for Assagai, an Afro-rock band, who Vertigo wanted to sign because of the success of Osibisa. Mother Mistro told Vertigo that if they wanted Assagai, they had to also take Jade Warrior.

Many Are Called But Few Get Up by Man

Man’s fourth album was called “Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?” which is a Swansea saying, usually directed towards a landlord of long standing.

Bluebell Wood by Big Sleep

Phil Ryan was a keyboardist and composer with Eyes Of Blue, whose third album was released under the pseudonym, Big Sleep.

Black Cat by Gentle Giant

Many of the songs on Gentle Giant’s second album, “Acquiring the Taste”, were produced by Martin Rushent, who achieved great success with The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks and The Human league.

Man-Erg by Van Der Graaf Generator

“Man-Erg” is over 11 minutes long and was written about the conflict between good and evil, represented as “angels” and “killers” in the song.

Circus Mind by Pretty Things

Pretty Things did not release any albums in 1971 but they did release an EP called “Stone Hearted Mama” Both”Summer Time” (Disc One) and “Circus Mind” are taken from this EP

10538 Overture by Electric Light Orchestra

Contractual complications forced The Move and The Electric Light Orchestra to co-exist between 1970 and 1972 but soon after the release of “10538 Overture”, Roy Wood left ELO to form Wizzard. At the time he blamed manager Don Arden for producing a poor sound on stage. However, he subsequently asked Don Arden to manage Wizzard. This was six years after Don Arden had marched into Robert Stigwood’s office with a couple of heavies, and threatened to throw him out of his second floor window for trying to steal The Small Faces away from his management company. This song is also included on Beyond The Pale Horizon. The British Progressive Pop Songs of 1972. It is the first track on Side One of the group’s eponymous first album, released in 1971. It was released as a single in 1972 so it qualifies for both compilations. It could not have existed without “I Am the Walrus”.

Song For The Bearded Lady by Nucleus

Nucleus were a British jazz-fusion band, which existed between 1969 and 1989. They released 21 albums and over 40 musicians were members of the band at some time.

Heart Of The Sunrise by Yes

Yes released two albums in 1971. “I’ve Seen All Good People” (Disc 1) is from “The Yes Album”, released in February and “Heart Of The Sunrise” is from “Fragile”, released in November. Rick Wakeman introduced the band to the idea of musical recapitulation in this song and drummer Bill Bruford regarded the song as a breakthrough. “It had the drama and the poise and the kind of fey, pastoral English-y lyrics at the beginning where the music all gives way to a slightly feminine vocal “.


“Breakthrough. Underground Sounds of 1971” is one of a series of brilliant box sets distributed by Cherry Red Records. Here are some of the others.

Across The Great Divide. Getting It Together In The Country 1968 – 74

Beyond The Pale Horizon. The British Progressive Pop Songs of 1972

Crawling Up A Hill – A Journey Through The British Blues Boom 1966-1971

Good As Gold. Artefacts Of The Apple Era 1967-1975

I’d Love To Turn You On – Classical & Avant Garde Music That Inspired The Counter Culture

Looking Through A Glass Onion. The Beatles’ Psychedelic Songbook 1966-72

Lullabies For Catatonics. British Avant-Pop/Art Rock Scene 1967-74

Milk Of The Tree. An Anthology Of Female Vocal Folk And Singer-Songwriters

Oh! You Pretty Things. Glam Queens And Street Urchins 1970-1976

Peephole In My Brain. The British Progressive Pop Sounds Of 1971

Separate Paths Together – An Anthology Of British Male Singer/Songwriters 1965 – 1975

Summer Is Icumen In – The Pagan Sound of British and Irish Folk 1966-75

Think I’m Going Weird. Original Artefacts From The British Psychedelic Scene 1966-1968

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

3 thoughts on “Breakthrough. Underground Sounds of 1971

  1. What a superb collection. Thanks for pointing me in its direction – can’t wait to explore. Uriah Heep, Man and Hawkwind all on the same album!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: