Leaf Hound

Leaf Hound was an English hard-rock band from London that released the album Growers of Mushroom on Decca in 1971. They sprouted from the final lineup of blues-rockers Black Cat Bones.

Members: Peter French (vocals), Mick Halls (guitar, 1970-71), Derek Brooks (guitar, 1970-71), Stuart Brooks (bass, 1970-71), Keith George Young (drums, 1970-71), Ron Thomas (bass, 1971)


Background

Leaf Hound formed from the final lineup of Black Cat Bones, a blues-rock band formed in 1966 by guitarist Derek Brooks and his bassist brother Stuart Brooks. That band endured constant flux as early members Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke departed for Free and others left for Ashkan.

By late 1969, Black Cat Bones stabilized just long enough to record Barbed Wire Sandwich, released in early 1970 on Decca. Soon after, guitarist Rod Price co-founded Foghat and singer Brian Short launched a solo career. The Brooks brothers hired drummer Keith George Young and two recent members of the Brunning Sunflower Blues Band, singer Peter French and his guitarist cousin Mike Halls. This lineup chose a new name, Leaf Hound.


Growers of Mushroom

In 1971, Leaf Hound released Growers of Mushroom on Decca. The album features nine songs, including four Halls/French compositions (“Freelance Fiend,” “Sad Road to the Sea,” “Stray,” “Growers of Mushroom”), three Brooks co-writes (“Work My Body,” “Stagnant Pool,” “Sawdust Caesar”), and the group-written “With a Minute to Go.”

The one outside composition, “Drowned My Life In Fear,” came from songwriter Peter Ross, a Hookfoot contributor who cut the 1972 album Bored Civilians with ex-T2 guitarist Keith Cross.

Growers of Mushroom was recorded at Spot Studios in Mayfair, London in late 1970 with producer Paul Lynton (Nick Straker Band, Mobiles) and engineer John Hudson (Pete Brown & Piblokto!, Juliet Lawson, Landscape, Visage). The cover illustration, which shows the band behind a mushroom crop with a frog (foreground) and rainbow (background) amid green pastures, is credited to the Decca Record Publicity Art Department.

“Stray” was issued as a single, backed with the non-album Halls/French cut “It’s Going to Get Better.”

An alternate, self-titled version of the album appeared on the German Telefunken label with a scalloped tracklist, omitting “Freelance Fiend” and “Growers of Mushroom.” Leaf Hound sports a hand-penciled cover and a big-poster insert. Telefunken accompanied this release with a 7″ of “Drowned My Life In Fear,” also backed with “It’s Going to Get Better.”

The non-album b-side also appears on the 1971/72 German Decca compilations Neues Aus Dem Schlager Schuppen and Spitzenschlager Musikbox ’72.


Later Activity

Between the recording and release date of Growers of Mushroom, the Brooks brothers quite. The remaining Leaf Hound (French, Halls, and Young) hired bassist Ron Thomas for a European tour behind the Telefunken release. Shortly after, Leaf Hound folded when French joined Atomic Rooster for their 1971 album In Hearing Of.

Stuart Brooks joined the Pretty Things for their 1972 release Freeway Madness.

French joined American hard-rockers Cactus for their 1972 fourth album ‘Ot ‘N’ Sweaty. In 1978, he released the solo album Ducks In Flight on Polydor, accompanied by Halls and a host of studio musicians and rock journeymen (Kenney Jones, Pete Wingfield, Henry Spinetti, etc).

Growers of Mushroom was first reissued on CD in 1994 on See for Miles (with “It’s Going to Get Better” as a bonus track) and Repertoire Records (with a second bonus track, “Hipshaker”). Since 2001, the album has been the subject of numerous official and unofficial reissues. A round of mid-noughties Repertoire reissues (UK, Japan, Ukraine) add a third bonus track, “Too Many Rock ‘n Roll Times.”

French formed a new Leaf Hound in 2004 with a group of younger musicians. Their one studio disc, Unleashed, appeared in 2007 on Repertoire. Six years later, Live In Japan 2012 appeared on Ripple Music.


Discography:

  • Growers of Mushroom (1971)

Sources:

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