Goliath

Goliath was an English jazz-rock/soul band from Manchester that released a self-titled album on CBS in 1970.

Members: Linda Rothwell (vocals), Malcolm Grundy (guitar), Joseph Rosbotham (woodwinds), John Williamson (bass), Eric Eastman (drums, percussion)


Goliath evolved from the unrecorded Mancunian act Petrus Booncamp, which featured guitarist/bassist John Williamson and singers Linda Rothwell and Roy Robinson. The band gigged in Germany before Robinson left to join Norwegian hard-rockers Titanic. Williamson and Rothwell returned to Manchester to form Goliath with guitarist Malcolm Grundy, drummer/vibist Eric Eastman, and saxist/flutist Joseph Rosbotham. The new band purveyed a jazz-inflected soul-rock style akin to fellow female-fronted acts Room, Dada, and Delivery.

Goliath was released in 1970 on CBS (UK/Aus.) Eight of the nine songs are originals, including “Men”, “Prism,” “No More Trash,” and “Festival of Light.” Side one climaxes with the 10-minute “Hunters Song.” The frenetic opener, “Port and Lemon Lady,” was issued on 7″ (b/w “I Heard About a Friend“). The album’s one cover, “Maajun (A Taste of Tangier),” was written by folk artist Davy Graham. The recording was engineered at CBS Studio, London, by Mike FitzHenry (Gun, Andwella’s Dream, Skin Alley, Heaven, Matching Mole, Ray Russell Quartet). The cover features a bent, discarded cigarette, shot foreground to resemble a giant, ruptured saxophone.

Musically, the songs are characterized by staccato fretboard runs, angular rhythmic patterns, and the frontal presence of Rosbotham’s spicy woodwinds and Rothwell’s husky vocals. Though it would be their only album, Goliath’s signature style was subsequently echoed in the bands Catapilla and Fusion Orchestra.

Williamson resurfaced in Titanic for their 1975 fourth album Ballad of a Rock ‘N Roll Loser. In the 1990s, he cut two albums with blues-rockers The Skeleton Crew (not to be confused with Fred Frith‘s 1980s-era duo with Tom Cora). Rothwell cut a pair of 1972/73 singles on the Chapter 1 label.

Goliath was first reissued in 2004 by Spanish pirates Estrella Rockera. In 2012, the title was officially reissued by UK archivists Aurora (CD) and Sweet Dandelion (vinyl).


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1 thought on “Goliath

  1. Musically, Goliath were fueled with spiky sax charts, hyperactive snare rolls, shredder-intense fret-board runs, and the powerhouse voice of Linda Rothwell.

    Comparisons are easily made to contemporary female-fronted jazz-rock/blues-rock bands like Delivery and Room, but the maturity of counterpoint and clarity of instrumentation on Goliath’s sole album places the Mancunian act several years ahead of the curve. In retrospect, Rothwell and Co. could be viewed as the stylistic antecedent to the likewise contrapuntal, femme-belted Fusion Orchestra.

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