Gonzalez

Gonzalez was an English soul-funk and Latin-rock big band that released the 1974–75 albums Gonzalez and Our Only Weapon Is Our Music on EMI, followed by the 1978–80 albums Shipwrecked, Move It to the Music, and Watch Your Step on Capitol. In 1979, they scored a UK Top 20 hit with “I Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet.” Singer Lenny Zakatek also sang with the Alan Parsons Project.

Members: Mick Eve (tenor saxophone), Roy Davies (keyboards), Ron Carthy (trumpet), Bud Beadle (flute, saxophone), Chris Mercer (tenor saxophone), Gordon Hunte (guitar), Carl Douglas (vocals, 1971-73), Lenny Zakatek (vocals), Steve Gregory (flute, saxophone), DeLisle Harper (bass), Glen LeFleur (drums), Alan Sharpe (percussion, viola), Richard Bailey (drums, percussion), Bobby John (percussion), George Chandler (vocals), Bobby Stignac (percussion), Larry Steele (bass), Robert Ahwai (guitar), Linda Taylor (vocals), Alan Marshall (vocals), Martin Drover (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals), Tim Cansfield (guitar), Hugh Bullen (bass), Jake Jacas (trombone), Sergio Castillo (drums), Trevor Murrell (drums), Kuma Harada (bass), Max Middleton (keyboards), Bobby Tench (vocals, guitar)


Background

Gonzalez sprung from Gass, a London-based soul-rock and jazz band with singer–guitarist Bobby Tench, bassist Delisle Harper, and drummer Godfrey McLean. They cut three mid-sixties R&B singles as The Gass and served as the pit band for the UK production of Catch My Soul, the rock-musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello. After their 1970 Polydor release Juju, Tench and the rhythm section formed Gonzalez as a Latin-rock side project.

Before Gonzalez established itself, Tench jumped ship to the second Jeff Beck Group for the 1971–72 albums Rough and Ready and Jeff Beck Group (the “orange album”). In 1973, Tench and JBG colleagues Max Middleton and Clive Chaman backed Juju sessionist Junior Marvin on Now Hear This, the first of two albums by Marvin’s funk group Hanson. The three then formed Hummingbird, a jazz-funk band that ran concurrent with Gonzalez.

Of the Gass alumni, only Harper remained by the time Gonzalez hit the studio as a twelve piece band with four percussionists and five brass players, including saxophonists Michael “Mick” Eve, Chris Mercer, Steve Gregory, and Geoffrey “Bud” Beadle.

Eve played in the sixties R&B–beat groups The Wes Minster Five (a Colosseum ancestor), The Nightimers, and Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames. As Gonzalez prepared its first album, he played on 1974–75 titles by Ace, Stretch, Russ Ballard, and (along with Mercer and Gregory) Linda Lewis (Fathoms Deep) and Slade (Slade In Flames).

Mercer did stints in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (1967–68), Wynder K. Frog (1968), Juicy Lucy (1969–70), the Keef Hartley Band (1969–71), and played on 1969 albums by Martha Veléz and Locomotive. Recently, he earned credits with Bloodstone, Bryan Ferry, Hemlock, Reebop Kwaku Baah (Reebop), and (with Gregory) Stealers Wheel (Ferguslie Park).

Gregory originated in the Alan Price Set (1965–67) and played in Reading soul-mods the Amboy Dukes (not the American band). Circa 1968–69, he played on Blue Horizon titles by Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, and Top Topham. Along with Beadlem, Gregory served in Ginger Baker’s Air Force and Riff-Raff and played on albums by Bell + Arc, Babe Ruth, Lindisfarne, Snafu, and Andy Fairweather Low.

Gonzalez featured rock musicianship from guitarist Gordon Hunte and Butts Band keyboardist Roy Davies. Hunte hailed from Noir, which released the 1971 soul-psych album We Had to Let You Have It on Pye-subsidiary Dawn. He appears on Reebop and the 1973 soundtrack release Super Fly T.N.T. by Osibisa.

Meanwhile, Harper moonlighted in the Olympic Runners, a studio-funk band with ex-Four Kents singer George Chandler and onetime Attack drummer Glen LeFleur, who both doubled as Gonzalez members.


Gonzalez

Gonzalez released their self-titled debut album in 1974 on EMI. It features one composition each by singer George Chandler (“Pack It Up”), bassist Lisle Harper (“Underground Railroad”), multi-reedist Steve Gregory (“Clapham South”), multi-saxist Chris Mercer (“Adelanto Nightride”), tenor saxist Michael Eve (“No Way”), and keyboardist Roy Davies (“Together Forever”), plus a cover of sixties Latin composer Ramon Paz (“Saoco”) and the group-written numbers “Gonzalez” and “Funky Frith Street.”

A1. “Pack It Up” (4:28)
A2. “Clapham South” (4:04)
A3. “No Way” (3:31)
A4. “Adelanto Nightride” (3:29)
A5. “Underground Railroad” (3:54)
B1. “Gonzalez” (4:58)
B2. “Together Forever” (4:53)
B3. “Saoco” (6:47)
B4. “Funky Frith Street” (1:29)

Recorded at Island Studios (May ’74) and Abbey Road Studios (June ’74)
Producer – Neil Harrison
Engineer – John Burns, Rhett Davies, Tony Clarke

Alto, Tenor Saxophone, Electric Saxophone – Chris Mercer
Soprano, Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Bud Beadle
Soprano, Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Steve Gregory
Tenor Saxophone – Michael Eve
Trumpet – Ron Carthy

Congas, Percussion – Alan Sharpe, Bobby John
Drums – Glenn Lefleur
Drums, Timbales – Richard Bailey

Bass – Lisle Harper
Lead Guitar – Gordon Hunte
Piano, Electric Fender Piano, Clavinet – Roy Davies
Vocals – George Chandler

Artwork – Nigel Brook
Design, Photography – Fin Costello


Our Only Weapon Is Our Music

Gonzalez released their second album, Our Only Weapon Is Our Music, in 1975 on EMI.

A1. “Got My Eye On You” (3:21) Bob Marshall and John Miles
A2. “Da Me La Cosa Caramba” (3:43) Larry Steele, Roy Davies
A3. “The Love You’ve Given Me” (3:24) Headstone bassist Jerome Rimson
A4. “Ain’t It Funny” (3:18) Gordon Hunte
A5. “Rissoled” (1:28) Gonzalez 
B1. “Nothing Ever Comes That Easy” (3:57) Mike Finesilver
B2. “Ahwai Five-O” (3:35) Robert Ahwai
B3. “D.N.S.” (4:15) Hunte, Zakatek
B4. “Love Me, Love Me Not” (3:36) Hunte, Zakatek
B5. “Our Only Weapon Is Our Music” (2:49) Chris Mercer

Recorded at Chipping Norton Studios, Oxfordshire
(Except A1 & A3, recorded at Basing Street Studios)
Arranged By – Gonzalez, Mike Finesilver
Producer, Engineer – Mike Finesilver
Engineer [Assistance] – Dave Grinstead, Dave Hutchings

Alto Sax, Flute – Steve Gregory
Baritone, Soprano Sax, Flute – Bud Beadle
Tenor Sax – Chris Mercer, Mick Eve
Trombone – Malcolm Griffiths
Trumpet – Ron Carthy

Congas – Bobby Stignac
Percussion – Alan Sharpe, Godfrey McLean

Bass, Vocals – Larry Steele
Drums – Glen Le Fleur
Guitar – Gordon Hunte, Robert Ahwai

Keyboards – Roy Davies
Synthesizer – Ken Freeman
Moog – Lance Dixon

Vocals – Lenny Zakatek
Backing Vocals – Viola Wills

Photography By – Eric Swayne
Sleeve – Dick Ward
Lyrics On Insert Transcribed By – Veto Galati, Jr.


Shipwrecked

Gonzalez released their third album, Shipwrecked, in 1978 on Capitol.

A1. “Just Let It Lay” (6:19) Paul Riser, Gloria and Richard Jones
A2. “Rockmaninoff” (5:03) Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff (1973–1943)
A3. “Oh I” (5:13) Lawrence Hill, Richard Jones
A4. “Shipwrecked” (4:48) Lawrence Hill, Richard Jones
B1. “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet” (4:23) Gloria Jones
B2. “Bob Gropes Blues” (4:49) Steve Gregory
B3. “Tear Down The Business” (4:04) Steve Waller
B4. “Baby, Baby, Baby” (4:36) Lawrence Hill, Richard Jones

Recorded at Pye Studios, London; Scorpio, London; M.R.I. Recorder’s, Los Angeles.
Produced for Old “Eye” Productions
Producer – Gloria Jones, Richard Jones
Engineer – Barney Perkins, Frank Kejmar, Gary Ulmer

Arranged By – Gloria Jones and Roy Davies (A2)
Paul Riser and Richard Jones (A1, A3, A4, B2 to B4)

Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Bud Beadle
Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Steve Gregory
Tenor Saxophone – Chris Mercer, Mick Eve
Trombone – Colin Jacas
Trumpet – Martin Drover, Ron Carthy
Flugelhorn – Martin Drover

Guitar – Gordon Hunte, Steve Waller
Bass Guitar – John Giblin
Drums – Richard Bailey
Keyboards – Roy Davies
Congas, Percussion – Bobby Stignac

Vocals – Colin Jacas, Lenny Zakatek
Backing Vocals – Linda Taylor, Steve Waller

Art Direction – Roy Kohara
Artwork [Special Color Effects] – Daniel Catherine
Photography By – Renato de Francesco

In North America, Shipwrecked reappeared in 1979 as Haven’t Stopped Dancin’.


Discography:

  • Gonzalez (1974)
  • Our Only Weapon Is Our Music (1975)
  • Shipwrecked (1978)
  • Move It to the Music (1979)
  • Watch Your Step (1980)

Sources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *