(Trumpets/Backing Vocals) Paul Griffin, Eric Johnson, Graham Radcliff (Trombones) Andy Crompton, Mike Carton (Saxes) Munch Manship, Steve Shaw (Guitar) Robin Hill (Keyboards) Vinnie Parker (Bass) Nigel Thomas (Drums) Tony Relph (Percussion) Dave Hassell (Vocals) Tony Williams (Producer) Barry Guard (Engineer) Mick Glossop
- Celebration Force Ten 4:19
- Listen To Me Force Ten 3:40
- Portrait Of The Artist Force Ten 4:26
- Full Circle Force Ten 6:56
- Come Home Baby Force Ten 2:50
- Moebius Strip Force Ten 4:06
- Requiem Max Force Ten 3:32
- Silly Place For A Zebra Force Ten 3:08
- Seventh Position Force Ten 3:15
- You Force Ten 3:50
- Skiddleydoo Force Ten 2:18
- Nature Force Ten 3:10
- Push Off Punks Force Ten 2:06
- Technicolor Turkey 2:32
- Chappy Man Chapman's "Pennine" Crew 4:04
- Yer Bogey Chapman's "Pennine" Crew- 3:31
I emigrated to the UK in 1970 and in 1973, I founded a ten piece band called Force Ten. (A hybrid of Blood Sweat & Tears/Chicago/Tower of Power) The BBC employed “radio bands” in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and I was fortunate to be working with The Radio Big Band in London and The Northern Radio Orchestra in Manchester. I invited several of those musicians to join me in what I conceived to be a jazz/funk, or fusion band with horns, which, like pizza, didn’t yet exist in the UK. I was also performing with Thames television, Granada television and in many of the local theater clubs. I met Barry Guard, our producer, when I was performing with Wilma Reading, an exotically beautiful woman, and a wonderful singer from Australia. Barry was also a producer for Sir Cliff Richards and he managed to secure a recording contract for us with Decca. They ordered us away to a marvelous studio in Oxfordshire called The Manor, owned by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Records. There, we were to reside within its confines for a week; free from the distractions of those things that tend to distract twenty and thirty year old guys with horns and other such instruments. Artistry and creativity were free to conjoin in an atmosphere of mutual expression and aroma therapy. We followed a group named “Queen” onto the premises, and while we were considering what aroma therapy had done for them, I recall how one of the staff members commented that we were “rather large for rock musicians.” I made some snide remark about, “rock on this! and who were those starving musicians, anyway?” We smiled knowingly, as we tucked into our third helping of Yorkshire Pudding and a flagon of their best mead. These serving wenches were going to hear some real music now that we had arrived. What kind of a name is “Queen” anyway. Force Ten! Now there’s a name you can get your teeth into! Let the royal treatment begin, says we.
The rhythm section was first at bat after our night of debauchery. The red light came on, and a wave of nausea ensued. The producer yelled, “CUT!” and the brass section hurled insults. “Flipping Heck” says I. Oh well, maybe a little game of football, (soccer) will get the creative juices flowing. Robin sends a pass in my direction, and I collide into a tree. I’m sure that was deliberate! More insults, and I spent the next month on crutches. (The nurses at the hospital agreed that we were “a little large for rock musicians.”)
Now it was the turn of the elite, patrician horn section to make their grand debut before the Neumann U87 microphones. The red light is turned on and tension fills the air; Eric fouls the air. This wasn’t the aroma therapy we had signed on for. Eric lets out with one of his robust belly laughs, and the producer yells, “CUT!” More insults, and another game of football ensues. By the third day, our football game had really improved.
The final product was something we were all excited about, but our timing, karma, or whatever, denied us our audience, our entourage, our—-MONEY! Decca went belly-up and we did the same—belly-up to the bar that is; “more beer! and red meat for our friends!” Decca refused to release the masters to us and when asked for a rough mix, they gave us one that was full of bleeps and other sounds that I’m certain we didn’t make. (Except for Eric) I guess we really were “rather large for rock musicians!”
Ah well, Robin Hill, our guitar player has since gone on to a successful classical career, having released his eighth cd for a major label. With the exception of our second trumpet player, Eric, who became a commercial airline pilot, (Lord help us all) and who also holds the record for surviving the longest bungee jump, without a bungee, when he plummeted off of table mountain in Cape Town, the rest have all enjoyed successful musical careers. As for me: after twelve years, I returned to the land of my birth, and…
4. WHO’S PAUL GRIFFIN?
I had written a Jazz-Rock/Fusion arrangement on what was at the time a relatively obscure piece of classical music: Aaron Copland’s, “Fanfare For The Common Man.” Once recorded, and believing that we had something really special, our producer took it to the “powers that be” at Decca. A few days later we were told that we couldn’t do it since Aaron Copland wouldn’t permit any arrangements on his music. Six months later, Emerson, Lake & Palmer had their number one hit with this piece, earning them millions. It was uncanny how similar an arrangement it was to mine. (Years later, I wrote a “cross-over” arrangement for trumpets and trombones. [no rhythm!] Andy Crompton and I tracked up the eight parts, and it can be heard on my “Trumpets & Crumpets” cd.) I returned to New York in 1982 and a dear friend of mine, who was also friendly with Aaron Copland, played a recording of my arrangement for him. I was pleased to know that the maestro very kindly approved.
Fortunately, I managed to get a “rough mix” of the Force Ten album before Decca pulled the plug on us. After years of storage on cassette, and non decoded reproductions of encoded dubs, the following tracks have managed to survive on my hard drive.
The issues of copyright have always amazed me. Evidently, the fact that we wrote and performed this music warrants us absolutely zero entitlement to the recordings or their disposition. Even though Decca entered into bankruptcy, their mean-spiritedness lived in perpetuity as they continued to deny us any acquisition rights to our own creativity. Given the musical climate of the seventies, this band definitely caught a bad break from a despotic multi national corporation.
Celebration:Our first track on the cd energized us all. This was one of the many compositions that Robin brought to the project. Typically, he would lay down a guitar track on my Sony: Reel to Reel (at my home in Euxton, Chorley) and I would work out the horns from there.
Listen To Me:
Portrait Of The Artist:
Come Home Baby:
Requiem Max:Nigel Thomas (Nidge) asked Robin to go for a pack of cigarettes. Take his car and his dog, Max, and the Doberman would be happy for the ride. However, Nidge forgot to warn Robin that Max was very protective of the car. When Robin arrived at the shops, Max allowed Robin to get out of the car, but wouldn’t let him back in. Nidge had to take a taxi to the shop in order to get Robin back in the car. Robin memorialized Max’s ultimate demise (in 7/8 time) with this track. (It should be noted that Max’s demise was not a consequence of this particular incident.)
Silly Place For A Zebra: “Zebra Crossings” (Zeh-bra) are better known as pedestrian crossings in the USA, and they are much more pervasive in the UK. I regularly complained about the placement of a particularly heinous one in my “hometown” of Chorley in Lancashire. Especially at eleven pm when the pubs were just belching out their final, and most rebellious customers. It seemed a good enough excuse to write a tune! We recorded the rhythm section first and then I composed the horn parts.
Nature: This track has become a post-script to our collaborative efforts. Robin, and Maurice Cheatham (drums) visited Irene & I in the Catskill Mountains. Robin and Maurice laid down the rhythm, and later, I added some synths and trumpets. The Latin section was performed by Rodgers Grant on Keyboards and Ron Fink on flute.