Jodo

Jodo was an English hard-rock/blues band that released the album Guts on Decca in 1970. That same year, two members appeared on the MCA release Green Bullfrog, an impromptu jam session with members of Deep Purple.

Members: Rod Alexander (lead guitar, vocals), Brian “Chico” Greenwood (drums), Earl Jordan (vocals), Bill Kimber [William E. Kimber] (vocals), Jon Taylor (bass)


Background

Jodo formed in 1970 when guitarist Rod Alexander teamed with bassist Jon Taylor, drummer Dave James, and two vocalists: pop-rock singer Bill Kimber and R&B belter Earl Jordan. James soon cleared out for Chico Greenwood.

Alexander and Jordan partook in a series of spring 1970 jam sessions that resulted in the 1971 MCA release Green Bullfrog, an album of revved-up blues and ’50s rock covers. The project was arranged by Deep Purple producer Derek Lawrence with assorted players, including members of Purple, Heads Hands & Feet, and Ashton Gardner & Dyke. For contractual reasons, they performed under pseudonyms: Alexander (Vicar), Ritchie Blackmore (Boots), Albert Lee (Pinta), Big Jim Sullivan (Boss), Chas Hodges (Sleepy), Tony Ashton (Bevy), Matthew Fisher (Sorry), and Ian Paice (Speedy). Jordan, under no contract at the time, used his surname.

Kimber was the namesake frontman of Bill Kimber & The Couriers, a London beat combo that performed extensively in South Africa, where they issued the 1964 covers album Shakin’ Up a Storm on Renown. As William E., he issued the harmony ballads “Lazy Life” and “Crazy How Love Slips Away” on Polydor with backing by Gordon Haskell. On Parlophone, he cut three 1968 singles as William E. Kimber.

Greenwood and Taylor were the rhythm section of Jasper, a blues-psych quintet that released the 1969 album Liberation on Spark Records.

Lawrence produced Jodo at the recommendation of Blackmore, who roped Alexander and Jordan into the Green Bullfrog project.


Guts

Jodo released Guts in late 1970 on Decca. It features 10 originals: three co-written by Alexander and Kimber (“Nightmare,” “Rat Race,” “It’s No Good”) and five co-credited to Taylor, including “One Night Stand,” “I’m Still Trying,” “Seventeen,” and “There’s Still Time.” Jordan co-wrote “What’s Your Number,” an uptempo soul-rocker on side one. The penultimate “Pushing” was written earlier with input from David James.

Musically, Guts furrows heavy blues-rock terrain with the sonic quaintness of Elias Hulk, the precision and counterpoint of Killing Floor, and the gritty professionalism of Rumplestiltskin.

  • “One Night Stand” (2:51) — Sludgy mid-temp blues-rocker with arching figure in G minor. Gritty Jordan verses. Revved-up bridge (in F). Harmonized refrain.
  • “Rat Race” (2:56) — Fuzzy uptempo rocker. Soaring Kimber vocals. Harmonized chorus and bridge. Cutting Alexander leads. Rapidfire drum rolls. Faint boogie piano.
  • There’s Still Time” (4:39) — Socially conscious rocker. Pounding intro with fuzzy, staccato guitar figure. Verse trade-offs between Jordan (guttural) and Kimber (soulful) over pensive, open-cadence structure. Anthemic harmonized chorus with melismatic ad libs. Elongated middle with fugue-like guitar/bass twin-lead over clickety 16th note hi-hat, followed with bendy sustains over scaling ostinato. 

Lawrence produced Guts between his work on the first two albums by Wishbone Ash and the Deep Purple titles In Rock and Fireball. The engineer on these recordings, Martin Birch, also worked on 1970/71 albums by Faces, Fleetwood Mac, Junco Partners, Beggars Opera, Groundhogs, Stray, Skin Alley, and Rock Workshop. Sessions took place at De Lane studios, London.

Guts was initially a US-only release. In 1971, the album appeared in New Zealand on MCA. The sleeve on both issues — credited to photographer Bruno Schreck and graphic designer Virginia Clark — features a b&w image of a middle-aged man in a hat and trench coat, walking his bike along an old cobblestone street.

Decca paired “Rat Race” and “Wish You’d Never Been Born” on 7″. The single appeared as both a promo (yellow label) and official (black label, rainbow logo) release.


After Jodo

Taylor joined Little Free Rock, which cut a second album in 1971 without a release option. The vaulted album (nine songs) is included on the 1991 archival CD Time Is of No Consequence.

Greenwood joined brass-rockers Trifle, which issued the 1971 album First Meeting but disbanded after the sudden death of singer George Bean. He later joined ex-Tomorrow singer Keith West and alumni of Family and Quiver for the 1975 rustic rock one-off Moonrider.

Alexander and Kimber wrote and produced three 1972/73 MCA singles as Axe, including “People Come, People Go,” a galloping harmony rocker with searing, echoey guitar breaks. Concurrently, Alexander played guitar for the MOR vocal act Backwater Junction.

Jordan released a surname-sake solo album on Capitol in 1972. Lawrence produced the album and co-wrote most of the songs with arranger Del Newman (Cat Stevens, Gordon Giltrap, Carly Simon, Ten Years After). That same year, Jordan joined the Les Humphries Singers for a four-year stint.

Guts was reissued on CD in 2007 by German archivists Lion Records, which also excavated post-psych titles from the US (Banchee, Boomerang, Euclid, Tin House) and Japan (Food Brain, Flower Travellin’ Band). In 2013, bootleggers Subway Records reissued the album on vinyl.


Discography:

  • Guts (1970)

Sources:

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