Juicy Lucy

Juicy Lucy was an English blues-rock band that released the 1969–70 Vertigo albums Juicy Lucy and Lie Back and Enjoy It. They charted with the revved-up Bo Diddley cover “Who Do You Love?” Amid multiple lineup changes, they cut the 1971 Bronz title Get a Whiff a This and the 1972 Polydor album Pieces.

Steel player Glenn Ross Campbell (formerly of The Misunderstood) initiated Juicy Lucy, which had multiple rock journeyman, including bassist Keith Ellis (The Koobas, Boxer), saxist–keyboardist Chris Mercer (Keef Hartley Band), guitarist Mick Moody (Tramline, Snafu, Whitesnake), and bassist Andy Pile (Blodwyn Pig, The Kinks).

Members: Ray Owen (vocals, 1969-70), Glenn Ross Campbell (steel guitar, 1969-72), Chris Mercer (saxophone, 1969-72), Neil Hubbard (guitar, 1969-70), Keith Ellis (bass, 1969-71), Pete Dobson (drums, 1969-70), Paul Williams (vocals, 1970-73, 1996), Micky Moody (guitar, 1970-73, 1996), Rod Coombes (drums, 1970-72), Jim Leverton (bass, 1971-73), Bernie Marsden (guitar, 1971), Jean Roussel (keyboards, 1972-73), Andy Pyle (bass, 1972-73), Ron Berg (drums, 1972-73)


Background

Juicy Lucy formed in London in mid-1969 when saxophonist Chris Mercer teamed with American steel guitarist Glenn Ross Campbell.

Mercer (b. 1947; Blackburn) served in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers for the 1967–68 Decca albums Crusade and Bare Wires. He then joined the soul-jazz sextet Wynder K. Frog for their 1968 second album Out of the Frying Pan. In early 1969, he joined the Keef Hartley Band for their first two albums (Halfbreed, The Battle of North West Six) and guested on titles by Locomotive (We Are Everything You See) and Martha Velez.

Campbell (b. 1949) hailed from Riverside, California, where he played in The Misunderstood, a garage-rock band with guitarist Tony Hill. They cut one local single, “You Don’t Have To Go” (b/w “Who’s Been Talkin”’) and gained the support of English DJ John Ravenscroft (aka John Peel), who hosted a breakfast show on KMEN in San Bernardino.

The Misunderstood went to London and cut two singles: “I Can Take You to the Sun” (b/w “Who Do You Love”) and “Children of the Sun” (b/w “I Unseen”). The latter appeared belatedly in February 1969, two years after external factors (visa issues, the draft) forced them to disband. Hill formed the psychedelic proto-metal band High Tide.

In May 1969, Campbell resurrected the Misunderstood name for two Fontana singles: the Junior Wells cover “You’re Tuff Enough” (b/w Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster”) and “Never Had a Girl (Like You Before)” (b/w “Golden Glass”). He wrote the latter two sides with Steve Hoard of fellow South Cal garage rockers The Bush and The Light.

For their new band, Campbell and Mercer recruited singer Ray Owen, guitarist Neil Hubbard, bassist Keith Ellis, and drummer Pete Dobson. Hubbard passed through Reginald Dwight’s Bluesology and recently rubbed shoulders with Mercer in Wynder K. Frog.

Ellis spent five years in The Koobas, a Liverpool beat group that cut multiple singles and a long-awaited album that finally appeared in early 1969, months after their breakup. He recently played on the first Van Der Graaf Generator album, The Aerosol Grey Machine, but they disbanded temporarily over contract entanglements. By the time VDGG was ready for its proper launch, Ellis had already signed on with Campbell and Mercer’s project, which named itself Juicy Lucy, an American slang for cheeseburger.


Juicy Lucy

Juicy Lucy released their self-titled debut album in November 1969 on Vertigo. It features six originals: two co-written by guitarists Neil Hubbard and Glenn Ross Campbell (“Just One Time,” “Chicago North-Western”) and one that bassist Keith Ellis co-wrote with producer Nigel Thomas (“She’s Mine, She’s Yours”). Campbell co-wrote “Walking Down The Highway?” with saxist–keyboardist Chris Mercer, who joint-wrote “Are You Satisfied?” with Thomas and drummer Pete Dobson.

Juicy Lucy features covers of Buddy Miles (“Train”) and Chuck Berry (“Nadine”). Ray Owen sings lead on “Chicago North-Western,” “Train,” and the Bo Diddley cover “Who Do You Love?” (not the same song as the 1966 b-side, a Misunderstood original). Owen (an implied sixth wheel) has co-writing credits on “Highway?” and the group-written opener “Mississippi Woman.”

Campbell sings the remaining songs and plays steel guitar, mandolin, and marimba on Juicy Lucy, which features Hubbard on lead electric and acoustic guitars and Mercer on tenor sax, organ, and piano.

1. “Mississippi Woman”
2. “Who Do You Love?”
3. “She’s Mine, She’s Yours”
4. “Just One Time”
5. “Chicago North-Western”
6. “Train”
7. “Nadine”
8. “Are You Satisfied?”
9. “Walking Down The Highway?”

Sessions took place in September 1969 at London’s IBC Studios with Thomas and co-producer Gerry Bron. 

Juicy Lucy was the second Vertigo album release (VO 2), slotted between titles by Colosseum (Valentyne Suite, VO 1) and Manfred Mann Chapter Three (self-titled, VO 3). Campbell and Thomas co-conceived the album’s gatefold cover, which shows burlesque dancer Zelda Plum reclined on her backside and covered in fruit. The photographer, Peter Smith, also has credits on Bare Wires, Valentyne Suite, and 1969 albums by Little Free Rock and Pentangle.

In February 1970, Vertigo lifted “Who Do You Love?” as a single (b/w “Walking Down the Highway”). It reached No. 14 on the UK Singles Chart. Atco issued Juicy Lucy stateside in May 1970 with an alternate cover that shows Plum’s face behind a wall of fruit.


Lineup Change

Before sessions commenced on the second album, Hubbard and Dobson cleared out for guitarist Mick Moody and drummer Rod Coombes.

Moody (b. 1950) first played in The Roadrunners, an unsigned beat group with (future Free, Bad Company) singer Paul Rodgers and (future Quiver, Attractions) bassist Bruce Thomas. He then formed the blues-rock combo Tramline, which cut two albums in 1968–69 on Island. Coombes played in a pre-LP lineup of Trifle.

Meanwhile, Owen formed his own band, Ray Owen’s Moon, which cut the 1971 Polydor album Moon. It features a re-recorded “Mississippi Woman” and the Owen originals “Hey Sweety” and “Ouiji,” plus the Jimi Hendrix cover “Voodoo Chile” and multiple songs by bassist–keyboardist Sid Gardner.

Juicy Lucy continued with English blues-rock singer Paul Williams, who did beat-era stints in The Wes Minster Five (a Colosseum precurssor) and Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band. Recently, he sang in Aynsley Dunbar‘s Retaliation and Blue Whale.


Lie Back and Enjoy It

Juicy Lucy released their second album, Lie Back and Enjoy It, in October 1970 on Vertigo.

1. “Thinking of My Life” (Paul Williams) – 4:27
2. “Built for Comfort” (Willie Dixon) – 6:00
3. “Pretty Woman” (Paul Williams) – 3:12
4. “Whisky in My Jar” (Micky Moody, Keith Ellis, Paul Williams) – 4:00
5. “Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham” (Mac Davis, Delaney Bramlett) – 4:15
6. “Changed My Mind” (Neil Hubbard, Glenn Ross Campbell) – 3:07
7. “That Woman’s Got Something” (Glenn Ross Campbell, Paul Williams, Micky Moody) 2:53
8. “Willie the Pimp” (Frank Zappa) / “Lie Back and Enjoy It” (Paul Williams) – 7:08

Producer Gerry Bron and Nigel Thomas

Paul Williams – vocals, congas, piano
Chris Mercer – saxophone, keyboards
Mick Moody – guitars
Glenn Ross Campbell – steel guitars, mandolin
Keith Ellis – bass
Rod Coombes – drums, percussion

Lie Back and Enjoy It appeared in a six-fold poster cover with full-scale candid closeup pics of each member (front spread) and a monochrome live shot (back spread).

18 Sep 1970
A: Pretty Woman
B: I’m a Thief

After Lie Back, Keith Ellis cleared for bassist Jim Leverton, a Dover native whose background included multiple beat groups (The Burnettes, The Loving Kind) with guitarist Noel Redding. After Reddings’ bassist gig in the Experience, they reunited in Fat Mattress.

Ellis resurfaced in Boxer, the third band of TimeboxPatto singer Mike Patto and guitarist Ollie Halsall.


Get a Whiff a This

Juicy Lucy released their second album, Get a Whiff a This, in June 1971 on Bronze.

A1. “Mr. Skin” (3:44) Jay Ferguson
A2. “Midnight Sun” (3:40)
A3. “Midnight Rider” (3:10) Greg Allman
A4. “The Harvest” (3:50) Bob Darin
A5. “Mr. A. Jones” (3:15)
B1. “Sunday Morning” (3:47) Thackitt
B2. “Big Lil” (4:22) Mercer, Campbell, Coombes
B3. “Jessica” (4:13)
B4. “Future Days” (4:00) Thackitt

Producer – Juicy Lucy, Nigel Thomas

Bass – Jim Leverton
Drums – Rod Coombes
Guitar – Mick Moody
Guitar [Steel] – Glenn Ross Campbell
Saxophone, Piano, Organ – Chris Mercer
Vocals – Paul Williams
Written-By – Moody* (tracks: A2, B2, B3), Williams* (tracks: A2, A5 to B3)

In August 1971, Juicy Lucy appeared on the bill at the Weeley Festival near Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. The constant turnover took its toll on the group both creatively and commercially, with co-founders Campbell and Mercer, plus Coombes exiting prior to the fourth Juicy Lucy album


Pieces

Juicy Lucy released their second album, Pieces, in 1972 on Polydor. It features five songs co-written by Paul Williams and non-performing collaborator John Edwards, plus covers of Chuck Berry (“Promised Land”), Zoot Money (“It Ain’t Easy”), Blind Alfred Reed (“How Can a Poor Man Stand These Times and Live”), and a band arrangement of the tradional “Cuckoo.”

Blodwyn Pig

A1. “Promised Land”
A2. “Cuckoo”
A3. “All My Life”
A4. “It Ain’t Easy”
B1. “Suicide Pilot”
B2. “Why Can’t It Happen To Me”
B3. “Dead Flowers In the Mirror”
B4. “Prospector Dan”
B5. “How Can a Poor Man Stand These Times and Live”

Recorded At – Olympic Studios
Producer – Bruce Rowland
Engineer – Anton Matthews, Keith Harwood

Backing Vocals – Gay Debonaires
Bass – Andy Pyle
Drums – Ron Berg
Guitar – Mick Moody
Keyboards – Jean Roussel
Vocals – Paul Williams

This was recorded by a makeshift line-up of Williams, Moody, keyboardist Jean Roussel, and the former Blodwyn Pig rhythm section of bassist Andy Pyle and drummer Ron Berg. Juicy Lucy disbanded shortly thereafter.


Discography:

  • Juicy Lucy (1969)
  • Lie Back and Enjoy It (1970)
  • Get a Whiff a This (1971)
  • Pieces (1972)

Sources:

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