Greenslade was an English symphonic-rock supergroup comprised of ex-members of Colosseum, Fields, and Web/Samurai. They released four albums on Warner Bros. between 1973 and 1975. Their first two, Greenslade and Bedside Manners Are Extra, feature gatefold cover art by Yes/Uriah Heep/Osibisa illustrator Roger Dean.
Members: Dave Greenslade (keyboards), Tony Reeves (bass, 1972-75, 1976-present), Andy McCulloch (drums, 1972-76), Dave Lawson (vocals, keyboards, 1972-76), Martin Briley (bass, 1975-76),
Greenslade formed in 1972 when bassist Tony Reeves and namesake keyboardist Dave Greenslade, both formerly of Colosseum, teamed with singer/keyboardist Dave Lawson and drummer Andy McCulloch.
Reeves first interacted with Greenslade in The Wes Minster Five, an R&B/beat group that also featured drummer Jon Hiseman. Minster Five issued three 1964 singles on Manhattan and Carnival and backed singer Maynell Wilson. During 1965/66, Reeves played on albums by Sounds Orchestral, Davy Graham, and the Mike Taylor Quartet while Greenslade did stints in The New Jazz Orchestra and Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds.
In 1967, Reeves replaced Andy Fraser in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where he reconnected with Hiseman. The pair broke-off with fellow Bluesbreaker, reedist Dick Heckstall-Smith, and formed brass-rockers Colosseum, where they called in Greenslade and guitarist/singer James Litherland for the 1969 albums Those Who Are About to Die Salute You and Valentyne Suite. Upon Farlowe’s entrance, Reeves left to work with John Martyn and Sandy Denny while Greenslade remained for the 1970/71 Colosseum albums Daughter of Time and Live. He then played piano on one track (“Crabs”) on A Story Ended, the 1972 solo album by Heckstall-Smith.
Reeves also worked as a producer, starting with the 1967 Polydor release Take a New Look at The Beatles by the London Jazz Four. Between his time with Colosseum and Greenslade, he produced 1970 albums by the Scandinavian bands Day of Phoenix and Made in Sweden, both on Sonet; and 1971 titles by the UK folk acts Open Road and the Woods Band, both for the Greenwich Gramophone Company.
Lawson was a member of Web, a soul-jazz-psych ensemble whose members hailed from the Bournemouth R&B scene along with future members of King Crimson. Lawson joined for their 1970 third album I Spider and stayed as they morphed into Samurai for a 1971 self-titled album on the Greenwich Gramophone label.
McCulloch played in psych-rockers the Shy Limbs with singer/bassist Greg Lake, an eventual co-founder of King Crimson. After that band’s late 1969 debut album In the Court of the Crimson King, Lake teamed with Nice keyboardist Keith Emerson and Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer in the super-trio Emerson Lake & Palmer. McCulloch, in turn, joined Crimson for their 1970 third album Lizard. He then teamed with ex-Rare Bird keyboardist Graham Field in Fields, which issued a 1971 self-titled album on CBS.
Greenslade released their self-titled debut album in February 1973 on Warner Bros. (UK, US, Oceania, Japan, Spain, Italy, ZA), Philips (France), and Brain/Metronome (Germany). Side one features two songs by Dave Greenslade (“An English Western,” “Drowning Man”) surrounded by two Lawson co-writes (“Feathered Friends,” “Temple Song”). Reeves helped them write “Mélange,” the instrumental that opens side two. Lawson’s organ rocker “What Are You Doin’ to Me” and Greenslade’s epic “Sundance” round out the set.
Greenslade was co-produced by Dave Greenslade, Reeves, and ex-Tornado Stuart Taylor, who produced 1971–73 recordings by Michael d’Albuquerque, Byzantium (Byzantium, Seasons Changing), and Jan Dukes De Grey (Mice and Rats in the Loft). Sessions took place at Morgan Studios, London, with engineer Mike Bobak (Chicken Shack, Dada, Little Free Rock, Pussy, Red Dirt, Steamhammer) and assistant Gregg Jackman, the brother of Andrew Pryce Jackman (The Syn).
Greenslade sports a gatefold painting by artist Roger Dean, best known for his ongoing work with Yes, Osibisa, and the 1972 Uriah Heep albums Demons and Wizards and The Magician’s Birthday. On Greenslade, Dean introduces the group’s mascot: a hooded, multi-armed goblin, seen here perched on stunted branches in a sea cave with sunlight beaming down on the rugged interior, illuminating various shades of green. The green inner-spread features lyrics, credits, and ID pics of each member.
The same year as Greenslade, Dean painted covers for Badger, Budgie, Magna Carta, McKendree Spring, Snafu, and two albums by Yes: Tales from Topographic Oceans and the live triple-album Yessongs, housed in an elaborate three-fold sleeve. Greenslade became ongoing clients of Dean, who also painted the cover to their second album (below) and Dave Greenslade’s 1976 release Cactus Choir. The mascot and serif-circled nameplate appear on numerous comps.
The Greenslade cover art is the same in each territory with slight color variations on Brain (duller) and Philips (yellower). However, Brain reissued the album in 1976, retitled with new art in accordance with their Gold Rock series (Birth Control, Captain Beefheart, Emergency, If, Scorpions).
Warner issued “Temple Song” as a single, backed with “An English Western.” Greenslade promoted the album with a Feb–March 1973 UK tour supporting Rory Gallagher.
During 1973, Greenslade played on the Tony Hazzard album Was That Alright Then?, which also features Mike Batt and steel guitarist BJ Cole (Cochise). Reeves appears on the single “Parti Sans Laisser D’adresse” by chanson singer Gilles Olivier.
Bedside Manners Are Extra
Greenslade’s second album, Bedside Manners Are Extra, appeared in December 1973 on Warner (UK, Spain, Italy, Japan, NZ) and Brian (Germany). Dave Greenslade wrote two songs with Lawson (“Time to Dream,” the title track), one with McCulloch (“Drum Folk”), and one by himself (“Pilgrim Progress”). Lawson lone-wrote “Sunkissed You’re Not” and co-wrote “Chalkhill” with Reeves.
Sessions for the self-produced album took place at Morgan during July 1973 with Boback and Trevor White, an 18-year-old tape operator who later worked on albums by Automatic Fine Tuning, Gentle Giant, Mallard, and Jethro Tull (Songs from the Wood). Bedside Manners is White’s earliest credit.
Dean’s gatefold depicts the mascot perched on a ledge before a dark, foggy townscape with a black cat and fungi overhang. This time, the only colors present are the green skin, headpiece, and red robe of the mascot himself. The inner-spread has lyrics written out in green cursive under tinted performance pics of each member. The photographer, Fin Costello, also notched 1972/73 visual credits on albums by Argent, Nazareth, Tempest, and Trapeze.
1974: Spyglass Guest
In September 1974, Greenslade returned with their third album Spyglass Guest, recorded at Morgan with multiple guests and released on Warner (UK, Spain), Vertigo (Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, Oceania), and Mercury (US).
Dave Greenslade composed two numbers, including “Melancholic Race,” the only original recorded exclusively by the whole band. He co-wrote the album’s epic, “Joie De Vivre,” with lyricist Martin Hall, who’d written songs for Colin Scot and Luv Machine. It features violinist Graham Smith, then of String Driven Thing and later Van Der Graaf. At McCulloch’s suggestion, they lifted the album’s title from the line “Spyglass guest at the feast,” though Hall never explained its meaning.
Greenslade’s other composition, “Spirit of the Dance,” features him on organ, Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, Mellotron, and ARP synthesizer. Lawson, who doesn’t appear on that track, wrote “Little Red Fry-up,” “Rainbow,” and “Red Light,” the last two featuring only him and McCulloch. Guitarist Clem Clempson (Bakerloo, Colosseum) guests on “Little Red” and Reeves’ “Siam Seesaw,” which also features folkster Andy Roberts on acoustic guitar.
Spyglass Guest concludes with the band’s only cover, “Theme for an Imaginary Western,” written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown and originally found on Bruce’s 1969 debut solo album Songs for a Tailor. Dave Greenslade recorded the song earlier with Colosseum on Daughter of Time (Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith appear on the original).
Spyglass Guest was co-produced between the band and Jeremy Ensor, the former bassist of Principal Edwards Magic Theatre who added rain sounds to “Rainbow.” Gregg Jackman engineered the album with Morgan newbie Lindsay Kidd, a tech hand on For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night by Caravan.
Despite the use of Dean’s logo, Spyglass Guest sports cover art by Keith MacMillan (aka Keef), the artist responsible for the album visuals of numerous acts on Vertigo (Affinity, Beggars Opera, Nirvana, Warhorse) and RCA/Neon (Fresh Maggots, Raw Material, Spring, Tonton Macoute). The cover shows a gong in the dark behind a black panther. The back displays three pics: Greenslade and McCulloch playing chess; Lawson writing at a desk; Reeves tending to a horse. The inner-spread features lyrics and studio pics. Their mascot is absent.
After Spyglass Guest, Reeves cleared out for bassist/guitarist Martin Briley, a backing musician for assorted folk and pop singers (Julian Brook, Mae McKenna, Stephanie De-Sykes) who’d played in vaulted psychsters Mandrake Paddle Steamer.
1975: Time and Tide
Dave Greenslade composed and lone-performed the titular sequence on harpsichord (“Time”) and Mellotron (“Tide”), helped only by the
- Greenslade (1973)
- Bedside Manners Are Extra (1973)
- Spyglass Guest (1974)
- Time and Tide (1975)
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