1. Andy Fraser Band – Andy Fraser Band

He was so young when he was the bass player in Free. He was 16 or 17 years old and writing songs like ‘Alright Now’ and then he was 19 or 20 when he formed his solo band. He played bass guitar like I had never heard it before – he played lead bass while the actual bass line was played on the pedals of the keyboard. It was a three-piece band: keyboards, lead bass and drums and Andy Fraser sang. It is an astonishing record because of the growling fuzz solos that Andy Fraser throws in. It’s quite a soulful album; its just an amazing record – a hidden gem.”

2. Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express – Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

It’s a superb album full of Hammond organ solos, the songs are good and there is some brilliant guitar playing on it. In 40 years I never managed to work out how to play a jazz-rock solo but I’m quite good at the Chuck Berry – I know my limits. But it’s a great record from start to finish and the title track of album is a manic slice of jazz rock with a delicious freak out section where all seems lost, and then somehow it pulls back from the brink. I met Brian Auger backstage as I managed to gatecrash a gig he did in Brighton. I got a selfie and he was like, ‘Who is this?’ – like what people do to me, I did to him. All I could say to him was how many records of his I have worn out over the years and how much his music means to me. For me this is one of the most audacious recordings in rock… the band was simply on fire.”

3. The Groundhogs – Thank Christ for the Bomb

Thank Christ For The Bomb – what a title for an album! And the songs are full of angst and drama too… not to mention fabulous interplay between the three band members, who go from massive crescendo to hear a pin drop writhing a few crotchets. There wasn’t a lot of raunchy music going on before 1976 / 77 in Britain. I liked Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies but my favourite was the Groundhogs for the blues-rock thing. The Groundhogs’ guitarist Tony McPhee is now a chum of mine (how nice it is to buy your guitar hero a pint and gossip about amusing gig mishaps) and he was a real blues guy that came out of that period when there were a lot of brilliant British blues guitar players. I don’t put Eric Clapton into that because I think he is decidedly inferior but I’m talking about Peter Green, Paul Kossof, Jeff Beck, Tony Iommi, Mick Abrahams of Bloodwyn Pig, Rory Gallagher, – where did they all come from? And we’ve had nothing since. Punk rock came along and nobody wanted guitar solos after 1976 which pissed me off a bit.”

4. Egg – The Polite Force

Egg was a three-piece band that was organ-based and unique – maybe orchestral jazz prog is the best way to describe it. There was no guitar but if you play it to anyone they will talk about the guitar which is really an organ with a fuzz pedal played by Dave Stewart. It’s really an amazing noise with Robert Wyatt-esque lyric construction. A wonderful record – a symphony in four parts.”

5. Santana – Abraxas

I had a girlfriend in 1970 when I was still at school and her parents had a really nice stereo radiogram and nobody had stereo at that time. These really big albums that we know and love by The Beatles and The Stones – the stereo versions of their albums were mixed by the tape op. The band spent two or three days mixing the mono and thought only a few people will listen to the stereo and its never going to take off (laughs). Abraxas is a beautiful stereo album and I used to rearrange the furniture in my girlfriend’s living room so I could lie between the speakers and listen to all the swirling Hammond and Carlos Santana’s guitar and the percussion breaks. It’s a great album in stereo and I play the Gibson SG because of Carlos Santana. I said that’s the guitar for me if it’s going to make me sound anything like that!”

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