Paladin was an English jam-rock band that released the 1971/72 albums Paladin and Charge! on Bronze. Bassist Pete Beckett resurfaced later that decade in the L.A.-based Player.
Members: Derek Foley (vocals, guitar), Pete Beckett (bass, vocals), Peter Solley (keyboards, violin), Lou Stonebridge (keyboards, vocals), Keith Webb (drums), Joe Jammer (guitar, 1972)
Paladin formed in 1970 when keyboardist Peter Solley and drummer Keith Webb teamed with bassist Peter Beckett and two members of Grisby Dyke: guitarist Derek Foley and keyboardist Lou Stonebridge.
Solley (b. 1948) got his start in The Thunderbirds, the backing band of singer Chris Farlowe. In 1968, Solley and Webb backed Terry Reid on the singer’s US opening slots for Cream. Webb (b. 1934) played on Donovan‘s 1967 release Wear Your Love Like Heaven. While on tour with Reid, Solley and Webb conceived the new band in room 204 of the Loews Midtown Hotel in New York City.
Stonebridge emerged in Glass Menagerie, a Mancunian pop-psych band that issued five 1968/69 singles on Pye and Polydor. He then teamed with Foley in Grisby Dyke, which issued the 1969 Deram single “The Adventures of Miss Rosemary La Page.”
Beckett (b. 1948) first appeared in Winston G and The Wicked, a Liverpool mod combo that issued the 1965 Parlophone single “Until You Were Gone” (b/w “That Way Too”). He then did stints in The Thoughts and an unrecorded lineup of World of Oz, possibly inspiring their 1968 b-side “Peter’s Birthday.” He auditioned for Badfinger just prior to Solley’s call.
Paladin, named after an 8th century knight, formed after Solley wrapped commitments with the 1969/70 touring lineup of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. He called the musicians together in the village of Arlingham in Gloucestershire.
The new band, distinguished by its use of two keyboardists, played a mix of rock, soul, jazz, blues, and Latin rock on the London live circuit, where they impressed representatives of Bronze Records, a newly established label for post-psych talent (Colosseum, Juicy Lucy, Uriah Heep). On January 8, 1971, Paladin entered London’s Olympic Studios and recorded their debut album with producer Philip Kinorra.
Paladin released their self-titled debut album in 1971 on Bronze. Solley composed the opening number, “Bad Times,” and the bulk of side two: “Third World,” “Fill Up Your Heart,” and “Flying High.” Side one also contains the Stonebridge–Beckett co-write “Carry Me Home” and the seven-minute Webb composition “Dance of the Cobra.” The closing track, “The Fakir,” was composed by Lalo Schifrin and recorded in 1963 by Cal Tjader. Most of the tracks are single-take, live-in-studio recordings.
Lincoln produced Paladin at Olympic and Island Studios with engineers Andrew Johns and Vic Smith. Johns produced the two Blodwyn Pig albums and recently engineered titles by Free, Humble Pie, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Mott the Hoople, Renaissance, Spooky Tooth, Ten Years After, Traffic, and Tramline. Smith (aka Vic Coppersmith-Heaven) worked with multiple pop-psych acts (The Attack, Skip Bifferty, Tinkerbells Fairydust) and produced 1971 albums by Guillotine and Paul Korda.
This and the following Paladin album would be the only tech credits for Lincoln, who made the 1970 folk-psych album The North Wind Blew South (with Johns and Jimmy Page) and recorded earlier as Julien Covey.
Paladin sports a textures, embossed gatefold cover designed by John Kosh, who also did 1970/71 album visuals for The Beatles (Let It Be), Curved Air (Second Album), Family (Fearless), Mary Hopkin, McGuinness Flint, The Rolling Stones, and The Who (Who’s Next). The cover is monotone apart from the grey serif nameplate. The inner-fold has medium and close-up shots of each member (left), plus credits and a small band history (right).
In North America, Paladin appeared on Epic in a single sleeve with the left inner-fold layout as the front cover. In select European markets, the album was issued by Bronze-distributor Island Records.
“Dance of the Cobra” appears on FULL Music for the Beautiful People, a 1973 Colombian Epic comp with cuts by ELF, Redbone, and REO Speedwagon. Beckett appropriated the song’s bassline for the Player hit “Baby Come Back.”
In July 1971, Paladin issued a new single: “Anytime,” a Solley track backed with the Webb–Foley number “Giving All My Love.”
“Anyway” is the closing track on side one of Charge!, released in April 1972 on Bronze (UK, Oceania, Japan, Peru) and Island (Europe, Mexico). The album contains a track by Webb (“Get One Together”) and three additional Solley numbers: “Give Me Your Hand,” “Well We Might,” and “Mix Your Mind With the Moonbeams.” Stonebridge contributed the nine-minute closing number “Watching the World Pass By” and co-wrote “Good Lord” with Foley and Beckett.
Lincoln produced Charge! at Apple Studios with engineer Geoff Emerick, a long-time Beatles tech hand who also worked on 1972 albums by Fanny and Stealers Wheel.
Charge! features a gatefold cover painting by illustrator Roger Dean, who also did 1972 covers for Babe Ruth, Budgie, Gentle Giant (Octopus), Midnight Sun, Osibisa, Uriah Heep (Demons and Wizards), and ongoing clients Yes (Close to the Edge). It shows an alien-hybrid gladiator riding a cybernetic horse in a foggy, lava-laden, green-skied realm with mounted, silhouetted characters in the distance. The inner-spread is a red-tinted medium shot of the band gathered at a candlelit wooden table.
Later in 1972, the front portion of Dean’s art reappeared on the cover of the self-titled debut album by Brazilian samba-folksters Quinteto Violado. The Recife act claimed they hired an artist and were unaware of the theft until they toured Japan. A 1973 Spanish Philips issue of Quinteto Violado (titled Musica Nova Do Brasil) sports different art.
“Well We Might” appears on the 1972 German Ariola comp Pop Eye, a two-record set with tracks by Bill Withers, Billy Preston, Elton John, Hookfoot, John Kongos, Lee Michaels, Man, and T. Rex.
Stonebridge and Foley left Paladin in mid-1972. The band issued one further a-side, the Solley composition “Sweet Sweet Music,” produced by Lilian Bron (wife of Bronze founder Gary Bron) and backed with “Get One Together.” Chicago-born guitarist/singer Joe Jammer filled out the band in these final months. Paladin disbanded in late 1972.
Peter Solley joined funk-rockers Snafu for their first two albums, the 1973/74 titles Snafu and Situation Normal. He also played on 1974 albums by Gravy Train and Keith Christmas. In 1975, he played on Arthur Brown‘s debut solo album Dance and joined Fox for a three-album run. Solley then joined Procol Harum for their 1977 release Something Magic. That same year, he played on titles by Pat Travers and Joanna Carlin.
In 1978, Solley played in the Fox-spinoff Yellow Dog and backed Al Stewart on one track (“Palace of Versailles”) on Time Passages. He also appears on Snakebite, the debut album by David Coverdale’s Whitesnake.
Between 1979 and 1982, Solley produced new wave records by The Romantics (“What I Like About You”), Wreckless Eric, Oingo Boingo, The Fools, and the Aussie bands Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons and The Sports. He arranged the baroque version of “Smithers-Jones” by The Jam, which appears on their 1979 album Setting Sons.
Peter Beckett moved to Los Angeles and linked with Aussie singer and songwriter Steve Kipner (ex-Tin Tin) in Skyband, which issued a 1974 glam-rock album on RCA Victor. He then teamed with guitarist/singer (and future actor) Ron Moss in the yacht rock band Player, which issued four albums on RSO and Casablanca between 1977 and 1981, scoring a Billboard No. 1 with “Baby Come Back.” In 1989, he joined the Little River Band.
Joe Jammer issued a solo album, the 1972 Regal Zonophone title Bad News, an early engineering credit for Alan Parsons. He also played on 1972/73 albums by Chili Charles, Jimmy Dawkins, Kazimierz Lux, Teresa Brewer, and joined Stealers Wheel for their second album Ferguslie Park. In 1974, he co-founded the Olympic Runners, a studio-based Brit-funk band that issued five albums on London Records. Concurrently, Jammer played on Flying Dutchman titles by saxophonist Oliver Nelson and Latin rockers Cesar 830.
Lou Stonebridge joined McGuinness Flint for the 1973/74 Bronze titles Rainbow and C’est la Vie. In 1975, he played on Take No Prisoners, the debut solo album by ex-Uriah Heep frontman David Byron. Between 1979 and 1982, he played on albums by Charlie Fawn, The Dance Band, Sky High, and assorted artists on the Manfred Mann–McFlint family tree (Dave Kelley, The Blues Band, Stonebridge McGuinness).
Derek Foley appears on Two Heads Are Better Than One, the 1972 Chapter 1 collaborative release by Graham Bond and Pete Brown. He also appears on The “Not Forgotten” Association, Brown’s 1973 spoken-word release on Deram.
Keith Webb later backed Stevie Ray Vaughan. He died in March 2007.
In 2002, the Brazilian specialty label Rock Symphony issued the Paladin compilation disc Jazzatack, comprised of alternate takes of numbers from their two albums, plus the previously unheard “Trip to Venus.”
- Paladin (1971)
- Charge! (1972)
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