Dr. Z

Dr. Z was an English post-psych organ trio that released a standalone single on Fontana in 1970, followed by the album Three Parts to My Soul on the Vertigo “swirl” label in 1971.

Members: Keith Morris [aka Keith Keyes] (keyboards, vocals), Bob Watkins (drums), Rob Watson (bass)


Dr. Z was formed in 1969 by three University of Oxford students: keyboardist Keith Morris, bassist Rob Watson, and drummer Bob Watkins.

Morris, a composer rooted in rock and classical, earned a Doctorate in Music. As the band got underway, he performed a cantata on UK television.

Watson worked as a mortuary attendant, a computer operator, and a plumber’s assistant before earning his Honours degree in Chemistry. He was also a qualified scientific librarian who doubled on piano.

Watkins took up drums at age eleven. As a teenager, he played in orchestras, theater pit-bands, and beat groups. His influences ranged from the big band jazz of Buddy Rich to the brass-rock of Blood Sweat & Tears and their drummer, Bobby Colomby. He was completing an Honours degree in Geography when he met Morris and Watson.

1970: “Lady Ladybird”

Initially a quartet, Dr. Z linked with Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor for the Morris-penned soul-psych single “Lady Ladybird” (b/w “People In the Street”), released in July 1970 on Fontana.

“Lady Ladybird” (2:46) is a soul-psych number with sonorous vocals over splashing cymbals and sparkling ivory runs, all wound to a climax with nimble bass lines. “People In the Street” (3:09) features exuberant vocals and staccato piano over a two-chord pattern (F-C) flanked with rapid-fire rhythms and cymbal mist.

In 1971, Dr. Z regrouped as a three-piece to cut a concept album written and produced by Morris, who adopted the surname Keyes.

1971: Three Parts to My Soul

Dr. Z released Three Parts to My Soul in November 1971 on the Vertigo swirl label. The album is parenthetically subtitled Spiritus, Manes et Umbra, Latin for “Spirits, Ghosts and Shadows.” Keyes composed all six songs, which have evocative titles like “Burn In Anger” and “Evil Woman’s Manly Child.” Two tracks, “In a Token of Despair” and the sub-titular “Spiritus, Manes et Umbra,” clock at over 10 minutes.

Keyes plays piano, harpsichord, organ and handles all vocals, which range from theatrical singing to demonic soliloquy.

Three Parts to My Soul was co-produced by Irish musician Patrick Campbell-Lyons of the chamber-psych combo Nirvana. He also produced 1970–71 albums by Aquila, Clear Blue Sky, and Mike Absalom.

Island staffer Richard Digby Smith engineered Three Parts with assistance from Eclection/Fotheringay alumnus Trevor Lucas, the husband of Sandy Denny. Smith and Lucas also co-engineered the 1971 release Ace of Sunlight by singer Jess Roden‘s rustic rock combo Bronco. Smith himself notched a long list of contemporary credits, including 1970–72 albums by McDonald and Giles, Patto, Free, Mott the Hoople, the Sutherland Brothers, and Gordon Haskell.

Famed graphic artist Barney Bubbles (Colin Fulcher) designed the Three Parts cover: a hanging heart wreath, aflame and inscribed with a giant “Z” next to “Dr.” The outer die-cut, which bears the Latin title, opens to a three-fold inner-spread with the English title flanked with roses and characters that represent the “three parts.” This was one of Fulcher’s earliest covers; he also illustrated the 1969/70 debuts by Quintessence and Brinsley Schwarz and the 1971 release In Search of Space by Hawkwind.

Later Activity

During the late 1970s, Morris taught music at Swansea University and wrote several musicals that were staged by the art department. In 1978, he wrote both sides of the single “King of the Pipes” (b/w “Birnbeck Island”), recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, and released as Gorilla Grip on one-press Birnbeck Island Records.

Three Parts to My Soul was first reissued on its 20th anniversary by German specialists Second Battle. Multiple CD and LP reissues have since appeared on Si-Wan Records (South Korea) and Arkama (Italy). In 2001, Vertigo Japan reissued the album as part of that region’s British Rock Legend Series, which also includes titles by Gentle Giant, Cressida, Caravan, Gravy Train, Tudor Lodge, Khan, East of Eden, Mellow Candle, and Fantasy. That and most other CD issues of Three Parts add both sides of the 1970 single as bonus tracks.


  • “Lady Ladybird” / “People In the Street” (1970)
  • Three Parts to My Soul (1971)


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