Pacific Drift

Pacific Drift was an English art-pop/psych band from Manchester that released the album Feelin’ Free on Deram in 1970.

Members: Barry Reynolds (guitar, vocals), Brian Chapman (keyboards, vocals), Graham Harrop (guitar, bass), Lawrence Arendes (drums)


Pacific Drift evolved from Sponge, an unrecorded psych-rock band with guitarist/bassist Graham Harrop and drummer Lawrence Arendes. Harrop played earlier behind Scottish singer Tony Merrick and Arendes hailed from Liverpool psychsters Wimple Winch (originally the beat-era Four Just Men). When reedist Jack Lancaster left the group for Blodwyn Pig, Sponge became Pacific Drift. The lineup was Harrop, Arendes, keyboardist/singer Brian Chapman, and guitarist/singer Barry Reynolds.

1970: Feelin’ Free

Pacific Drift hit the studio in late 1969 and released its singular album, Feelin’ Free, on Deram in January 1970. Original UK and French pressings include 11 songs, nine of them written/co-written by Reynolds, including “Plaster Coster’s USA,” “God Has Given Me,” “Tomorrow Morning Brings,” the title-track, and the lengthier cuts “Greta the Legend” and “Happy Days.” The album’s centerpiece, “Norman,” is a group-written number. Arendes co-wrote seven songs, including “Garden of Love,” co-written with Lancaster. Despite his early departure, Lancaster plays flute on select passages.

Feelin’ Free was part of Deram’s short-lived Nova series (1969–70) along with titles by Galliard, Bulldog Breed, Ashkan, Egg, Aardvark, and Hunter Muskett. The album was produced by Wayne Bickerton (Toby Twirl, Granny’s Intentions, The Flirtations, Focal Point, Dana Gillespie) and engineered by R. Wilkinson. The cover shows the band washed ashore under their skywritten nameplate. The back shows the silhouetted members standing before a ship, apparently run ashore. The credits are all handwritten.

In the US, Feelin’ Free was issued on London Records with an altered running order comprised of 12 tracks, dropping “Going Slow” and “God Has Given Me” and adding “Yes You Do,” “We’re On Our Way,” and “Don’t Turn Away.” In the UK, “Yes You Do,” was issued as the b-side to Pacific Drift’s non-album cover of “Water Woman,” written by Jay Ferguson and originally recorded by Spirit on their 1968 debut album.

Later Activity

After Pacific Drift, Reynolds briefly joined Blodwyn Pig just as it morphed into the Mick Abrahams Band. In 1971, he covered the Cat Stevens song “Wild World,” released in Italy on Clan Celentano ‎(b/w the Guess Who cover “Share the Land“). He then issued four original sides: the 1974 RAK single “Outsider’s Point of View” (b/w “Hold Me Down”) and the 1975 Epic single “The World Wasn’t Ready” (b/w “Tables and Chairs”), the latter produced by Dan Loggins (Kenny‘s brother).

In 1979, Reynolds started a working relationship with Marianne Faithfull, for whom he wrote and backed on the albums Broken English, Dangerous Acquaintances, A Child’s Adventure, and Blazing Away. During the early 1980s, he also played on albums by Grace Jones, Cristina, Black Uhuru, Valerie Lagrange, Joe Cocker, John Martyn, Charlélie Couture, and Sly & Robbie. He released one final solo single, the Dan Hicks cover “I Scare Myself” (b/w the original “Till the Doctor Gets Back“) on Island in 1982.

Lancaster later played on albums by Anthony Phillips (The Geese and the Ghost), Brand X (Unorthodox Behaviour), and the concurrent Marscape project with assorted Brand X personnel. He then formed the supergroup Aviator with drummer Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull), bassist John G. Perry (Gringo, Caravan, Quantum Jump), and guitarist Mick Rogers (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band). They released the 1979/80 albums Aviator and Turbulence on Harvest.

Feelin’ Free was first reissued on CD in 2006 by European archivists Sunrise and Mason. In 2009, it was reissued again on Grapefruit Records, this time as a disc of their complete recordings (the UK/US album tracks plus all non-album sides).



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