Every Which Way

Every Which Way was an English psych-rock/soul band that released a self-titled album on Charisma in 1970. The band was formed by ex-Nice and future Refugee drummer–percussionist Brian Davison, who features before the nameplate in certain media. Vocalist Graham Bell hailed from Skip Bifferty–Heavy Jelly. He reunited with his former Skip-mates the following year in Bell + ARC and released a solo soul-rock album in 1972.

Members: Graham Bell (keyboards, lead vocals), Alan Cartwright (bass), Geoff Peach (reeds, flute, backing vocals), Brian Davison (drums, percussion), John Hedley (guitar)


Background

Every Which Way was formed by drummer Brian Davison immediately after the spring 1970 breakup of The Nice. He enlisted singer Graham Bell, reedist Geoff Peach, guitarist John Hedley, and bassist Alan Cartwright.

Davison (1942–2008) first recorded with beatsters the Mark Leeman Five, which cut four Columbia singles in 1965/66. He then cut one 1966 Decca single in beatsters The Habits. In August 1967, he replaced drummer Ian Hague in The Nice, an organ-psych combo with keyboardist Keith Emerson, bassist/singer Lee Jackson, and (initially) guitarist David O’List. They recorded four albums: The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, Ars Longa Vita Brevis (both 1968), Nice [aka Everything as Nice as Mother Makes It] (1969), and Five Bridges, the last of those recorded live and released three months after their final concert on March 30, 1970.

Bell (1948–2008) started in the Tyneside R&B/beat combo The Chosen Few, which morphed into psychsters Skip Bifferty. They released one revered 1968 album and became Heavy Jelly for the 1969 single “I Keep Singing That Same Old Song,” the longest a-side up to that time (at eight minutes). He briefly fronted psych-rockers Griffin with (future Yes) drummer Alan White. Their one single, “I Am the Noise In Your Head” (b/w “Don’t You Know”), appeared on Bell Records (no relation) in late 1969.

Peach hailed from Sleepy, which evolved from beatsters The Warriors, the starting vehicle of future Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. Sleepy cut two 1968 pop-psych singles on CBS and backed singer Sandy Shaw on her 1969 Pye release Reviewing the Situation.

Every Which Way signed to Charisma, an underground label recently established by ex-Nice manager Tony Stratton-Smith. They were part of that label’s inaugural group of acts, along with Genesis, Lindisfarne, Rare Bird, Van der Graaf Generator, and Jackson Heights (formed by Davison’s former Nice colleague Lee Jackson).


1970: Brian Davison’s Every Which Way

Davison produced their singular album, Every Which Way, released in October 1970. It was engineered by Nice-associate Malcolm Toft (Tyrannosaurus Rex, Aphrodite’s Child, David Bowie, Gass) and a then up-and-coming Roy Thomas Baker, who’d recently produced albums by Free (Fire and Water), Ten Years After, and Chicken Shack.

Every Which Way features six soul rockers: two in the six-minute range (“Castle Sand,” “The Light”), two at roughly nine minutes (“Bed Ain’t What It Used to Be,” “All In Time”), and two shorter cuts (“Go Placidly,” “What You Like”). Bell wrote all the songs except “All In Time,” written by outsider Maria B. Niforos, and “What You Like,” a Bell/Niforos co-write. In France, “Go Placidly” and “What You Like” were paired on a pink-vinyl 7″ as part of the Série Parade series on Philips.

The original 1970 Charisma pressing sports a black-framed painting by German-Guatemalan artist Nan Cuz, taken from the 1969 adult fairy-tale book In The Kingdom of Mescal. It lists no band identification on the front, but the back states “Brian Davison’s Every Which Way.” Contemporary pressings on Mercury (US) and Philips (Germany, France, Japan, Australia) show the extended name on the front cover.

German and Japanese pressings are housed in a gatefold sleeve with an alternate cover that shows a b&w fowl flanked with green hemp leaves. The innerfold shows a red and yellow-tinted xerox photo of the band surrounded in green.


Later Activity

Davison played on the 1973 Harvest release Lifemask by singer/songwriter Roy Harper. He then reteamed with Jackson in Refugee, a partial Nice reunion with Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz (ex-Mainhorse) in lieu of Emerson, by then a megastar in Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Refugee released one 1974 album on Charisma before Moraz got drafted by Yes to replace Rick Wakeman. (Moraz would only appear on Relayer before launching a solo career.) Davison briefly replaced drummer Pierre Moerlen in Gong for a late-1974 tour behind You, but left months later due to drinking issues (replaced by a returning Moerlen).

Bell rejoined his ex-bandmates in their post-Bifferty project ARC; they cut a 1971 album as Bell + Arc. He then cut a 1972 self-titled solo album on Charisma before exiting the scene till the late 1980s, when he surfaced in Snowy White’s Blues Agency.

Cartwright joined the 1972–75 lineup of Procol Harum, playing on the albums Live – In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Grand Hotel, Exotic Birds and Fruit, and Procol’s Ninth. Hedley joined the Newcastle jazz-rock combo Last Exit, which gigged and demoed circa 1975/76 but failed to land a deal before bassist/singer Gordon Sumner (aka Sting) left to join The Police. Hedley later formed WHTV with ex-Back Door drummer Adrian Tilbrook.

Brian Davison’s Every Which Way was first issued on CD in 2003 by bootleggers Progressive Line. It has since been reissued by Long Hair (Germany: 2006, CD | 2011, LP), Dogtoire (Russia: 2010), Esoteric Recordings (UK: 2020), and Trading Places (UK: 2021, LP).


Discography:

  • Every Which Way (1970)

Sources:

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