Mogul Thrash

Mogul Thrash was an English brass-rock band from London that released a self-titled album on RCA Victor in 1971. The band was formed by ex-Colosseum/future-Bandit guitarist James Litherland and also featured bassist/vocalist John Wetton, who later gained global fame in the supergroups King Crimson, UK, and Asia.

Members: Roger Ball (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone), Malcolm Duncan (saxophone), Bill Harrison (drums), James Litherland (guitar, vocals), Mike Rosen (trumpet, mellophone, guitar), John Wetton (bass, guitar, vocals)


Mogul Thrash coalesced in early 1970 when guitarist James Litherland (born Sept. 6 1949) departed Colosseum after two albums. Trumpeter Mike Rosen hailed from the multi-national folk-psych band Eclection, which issued a self-titled album on Elektra in 1968. Bassist John Wetton, drummer Bill Harrison (aka Bill Atkinson), and Scottish saxophonists Roger Ball and Malcolm Duncan were all newcomers to the scene.

The band initially billed itself as James Litherland’s Brotherhood but changed names to avoid confusion with Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath. As things were getting underway, Litherland and Wetton supplemented the folk-psych combo Edwards Hand. The 1970 release Fly on Strangewings by Jade features Litherland on five tracks and Rosen on two.

Mogul Thrash entered Advision Studio in June 1970 with Brian Auger at the console. The first fruits of these efforts was the single “Sleeping In the Kitchen,” a Ball composition. Wetton co-wrote the b-side, “St. Peter,” with Forever More/future-AWB bassist Alan Gorrie. 

Their singular album appeared in 1971 on RCA Victor, which issued the record in the U.K., Germany, and Japan. It contains three songs per side, including “Dreams of Glass and Sand,” “Going North, Going West,” and the pre-released b-side. Also featured is a nine-minute version of Litherland’s “Elegy,” originally cut with Colosseum on Valentyne Suite. The album was engineered by Eddie Offord (The Idle Race, Yes, ELP, Stone the Crows, Rory Gallagher, Heads Hands & Feet). Musically, the album mines blues-rock/jazz territory similar to If, Blodwyn Pig, and Litherland’s former band.

Mogul Thrash ran aground soon after the album’s release. During the ensung five-year period, Litherland played on albums by Long John Baldry and Leo Sayer (Just a Boy). In 1976, he surfaced in funk-rockers Bandit with Scottish vocalist Jim Diamond.

Atkinson and Wetton concurrently played on Gordon Haskell‘s 1971 release It Is and It Isn’t. Wetton joined Family for the 1971/72 albums Fearless and Bandstand. He subsequently fronted King Crimson on the 1973/74 albums Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and Red. After a brief stint in Uriah Heep and appearance on albums by Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera, Wetton fronted the supergroups UK and Asia.

Ball and Duncan became the Pumping Spumona Horns, playing on albums by Stone the Crows, Vinegar Joe (along with Rosen), Randy Stonehill, Scaffold, and Kiki Dee. They ultimately became mainstays of the Average White Band. Rosen played on albums by Sandy Denny, The Kinks, and the Keef Hartley Band before exiting music.

Mogul Thrash was first reissued in 1999 by U.K. archivists Blueprint. It has since been pressed multiple times on Disconforme SL, Won-Sin Music, Great Barrier, Absinthe, and Stressed Records with most CD issues containing both sides of the 1970 single. The 2011 CD on Flawed Gems (Sweden) adds five Jan.–April 1971 BBC recordings, including the previously unavailable “I Can’t Live Without You,” “Fuzzbox,” and “Conscience.”


Discography:

  • “Sleeping in the Kitchen” / “St. Peter” (1970)
  • Mogul Thrash (1971)

Sources:

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