Raw Material

Raw Material was an English post-psych band that released a self-titled album in 1970 on small-press Evolution, followed in 1971 by Time Is… on RCA Neon.

Members: Colin Catt (vocals, keyboards), Mike Fletcher (saxophone, flute, vocals, 1970-72), Dave Green (guitar, 1970-72), Phil Gunn (bass, guitar, ?-1971), Paul Young (percussion, 1970-72), Cliff Harewood (lead guitar, 1971-72)


Raw Material had its roots in a musical partnership between keyboardist Colin Catt and bassist Phil Gunn, classmates at Norwood Technical College during the mid-1960s. They commenced jam sessions as a trio with drummer Paul Young and employed their first in a series of guitarists just prior to leaving school.

Inspired by Cream, Catt and Gunn made their initial forays into songwriting. Gradually, elements of blues and jazz crept into their R&B style. As Raw Material, they toured Germany in early 1969. Back home, they signed to small-press Evolution as a five piece with guitarist Dave Green and reedist Mike Fletcher.

Evolution Singles

Raw Material’s debut single, “Time and Illusion,” appeared in September 1969. It was written by sound engineer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven (Unit 4+2, Marianne Faithfull, Cat Stevens, Forever More), who also wrote psychedelic songs for Tinkerbells Fairydust (“In My Magic Garen”), The Attack (“Neville Thumbcatch”), and Robbi Curtice (“The Soul of a Man”). The flipside, “Bobo’s Party,” was composed and first recorded by American folkster Melanie.

The single was produced and arranged by United Artists staff writer Ed Welch, who penned both sides of Raw Material’s second single, “Hi There Hallelujah” (b/w “Days of the Fighting Cock”), released in January 1970. The a-side was co-written by Mike de Albuquerque, a collaborator on Welch’s own subsequent album (Clowns, 1971) and a brief member of Electric Light Orchestra.

1970: Raw Material

Raw Material rerecorded their first a-side and second b-side (as “Fighting Cock”) for their self-titled debut album, produced by Welch and released in 1970 on Evolution. Welch co-wrote two additional songs for the album: one with Linda Hatchard (“I’d Be Delighted“) and another with ex-Les Fleur De Lys Phil Sawyer (“Pear on an Apple Tree”).

Catt and Gunn co-wrote “Future Recollections” and collaborated on “Destruction of America” with session bassist Herbie Flowers (Rumplestiltskin, Hungry Wolf). Green co-wrote “Traveller Man” with beat producer Larry Page (The Kinks, The Knack, Riot Squad, The Troggs) and Yash Klodzinski (co-writer of “Willow Tree” by Fruit Machine, a precursor to Rare Bird).

Raw Material was engineered by 20-year-old Albuquerque-associate Robin Sylvester, a recent member of Ora who also worked on 1970 albums by Caravan, East of Eden, The Fox, Black Cat Bones, and the Mike Westbrook Concert Band. The cover depicts an ancient robed flutist, watched at a distance by dark beasts as smoke billows overhead from an out-of-frame volcano (possibly Vesuvius), obscuring the orange sky.

After the 1969 self-titled album by psych-rockers Arzachel, Raw Material was the second and final album released on Evolution, which ended its two-year run with a pair of early 1971 singles by popsters the Black Abbots.

Raw Material returned to Germany as a top-billed act. In July 1970, they played the Aachen Open Air Pop Festival, a three-day event at the Hauptstadion that also featured performances by Amon Düül II, Golden Earring, Edgar Broughton Band, Taste, the Keef Hartley Band, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, If, Quintessence, Pink Floyd, Krokodil, Can, and Kraftwerk.

In 1971, Raw Material appeared there on Vogue Schallplatten with an alternate cover that shows the five members standing in an overgrown meadow in hippie attire. The album also appeared on CBS (Italy) and Zel Records (Spain). The Spanish issue sports colorful psychedelic art in the vein of Peter Max.

The six-minute “Traveller Man” was split across two sides of a 7″ single (Part 1+2) in the UK (Evolution), Germany (Ariola), and Belgium (Fever).

Sounds Progressive

In London, short-lived pop press Eyemark Records commissioned Raw Material for an album of covers, released in October 1970 as Kid Jensen Introduces Sounds Progressive and attributed to Sounds Progressive. It features covers of songs by the Spencer Davis Group (“I’m a Man“), Jethro Tull (“Living in the Past”), Norman Greenbaum (“Spirit in the Sky”), Cream (“Badge”), Family (“Second Generation Woman“), Gun (“Race With the Devil“), Fleetwood Mac (“Man of the World”), Rare Bird (“Sympathy”), Canned Heat (“Let’s Work Together”), and the Bo Diddley staple “Who Do You Love,” a recent hit for Juicy Lucy.

1971: Time Is…

In 1971, Raw Material were among a handful of acts (Spring, Indian Summer, Dando Shaft, Tonton Macoute) that signed with Neon, the newly formed progressive division of RCA. Their second album, Time Is…, appeared as NE 8 between titles by Shape of the Rain and Keith Tippett‘s Centipede. The album consists of six originals, including the three-part suites “Insolent Lady” (8:52) and “Sun God” (11:15).

Green wrote two songs (“Empty Houses,” “Insolent Lady”) and co-wrote “Ice Queen” with Fletcher, Catt, and outsiders Cliff Homewood and K. Catt. He also co-wrote the side two opener, “Miracle Worker,” with Catt and Gunn, who co-wrote the final two pieces (“Religion,” “Sun God”) with Fletcher and Young.

Time Is… was recorded at Command Studios in Piccadilly and produced by Mickey Clarke (Room, Stonehouse) with engineer Barry Ainsworth (Deep Purple, Beggars Opera, Continuum, Stud). Original copies are housed in a gatefold sleeve, designed with photographs by Keith MacMillan, also responsible for visuals on 1969–71 albums by Hannibal, Warhorse, Affinity, Black Sabbath, Manfred Mann Chapter Three, Rod Stewart, and Colosseum (Valentyne Suite).

Neon issued one Raw Material single, a cover of the Andy Fraser/Paul Rodgers composition “Ride a Pony,” originally recorded by Free on their 1970 fourth album Highway. “Religion” appears on the flipside.

Later Activity

Dave Green briefly resurfaced in the Jim McCarty-led one-off Shoot.



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