Rock Workshop

Rock Workshop was a British brass-rock and blues band that released the 1970–71 CBS albums Rock Workshop and The Very Last Time. The first features Scottish singer Alex Harvey, pre-Sensational Band. Guitarist Ray Russell arranged both albums, which also feature trumpeter Harry Beckett.

Members: Alan Greed, Alan Rushton, Alex Harvey, Bob Downes, Brian Miller, Bud Parks, Daryl Runswick, Derek Wadsworth, Harry Beckett, Ray Russell, Robin Jones


Background

Ray Russell assembled Rock Workshop with assorted UK jazz and rock veterans, including singer Alex Harvey, trumpeter Harry Beckett, and members of Bob Downes Open Music.

Russell (b. 1947) led the Ray Russell Quartet with double-bassist Dave Holland. They cut the 1968–69 CBS post-bop albums Turn Circle and Dragon Hill.

Harvey (b. 1935, Glasgow) cut multiple soul-rock singles on Decca and Fontana, which issued his 1969 album Roman Wall Blues.

Beckett (b. 1935, Barbados) plays on Dragon Hill and 1969 albums by CCS, Galliard, Graham Collier, Jack Bruce, John Surman, Keef Hartley Band, and Manfred Mann Chapter Three.

Saxophonist Bob Downes (b. 1937, Plymouth) plays on 1969–70 albums by Andwella’s Dream and Egg (The Polite Force). In 1970, he released albums on Philips (Open Music), Music for Pleasure (Deep Down Heavy), and formed Open Music, which made the 1970 Vertigo album Electric City.

Trumpeter Bud Parks plays on Dragon Hill and Electric City (both with drummer Alan Rushton) and Roman Wall Blues as well as 1969 albums by Martha Velez (Fiends & Angels) and Champion Jack Dupree.

Bassist Daryl Runswick plays on Electric City and 1970 albums by Blossom Dearie and Henry Lowther Band (Child Song).

Percussionist Robin Jones (b. 1935) plays on Electric City and one track (“Burn Down the Mission”) on Elton John‘s 1970 third album Tumbleweed Connection.

Trombonist Derek Wadsworth plays on Roman Wall Blues, Fiends & Angels, and 1970 albums by Chapter Three, Graham Collier, and one track (“Time Lament”) on Daughter of Time by Colosseum.

Singer Alan Greed hailed from Harsh Reality, which cut the 1969 heavy-psych Philips album Heaven and Hell.

Keyboardist Brian Miller was a touring sideman of percussionist Frank Ricotti.


Rock Workshop

Rock Workshop released their self-titled debut album in August 1970 on CBS.

1. “You to Lose” (6:42) Russell–Cameron
    I Overture
    II Breakout
    III Main Theme – Finale
2. “Wade In The Water” (3:45) traditional arranged by Russell–Harvey
3. “Primrose Hill (Theme for Jake)” (5:20)
4. “Theme for Freedom” (8:10)
5. “Spine Cop” (4:27)
6. “Ice Cold” (3:40) Russell– Sheperd
7. “Hole In Her Stocking” (4:12)
8. “He Looks at Me” (9:19)
9. “Mooncross Grove” (0:31)

Sessions occurred on April 4–5, 1970, at De Lane Lea Sound Studios.
Producer – Fritz Fryer
Engineer – Martin Birch

Arranged By – Ray Russell
Vocals – Alan Greed (1, 3, 6), Alex Harvey (2, 7)
Guitar – Ray Russell
Keyboards – Brian Miller
Electronic Music – Laurie Baker
Bass – Daryl Runswick
Drums – Alan Rushton, Robin Jones
Congas – Robin Jones
Concert Flute – Bob Downes, Tony Roberts
Flugelhorn – Harry Beckett
Flute [Alto] – Bob Downes, Tony Roberts
Tenor Saxophone – Bob Downes, Tony Roberts
Trombone – Derek Wadsworth
Trumpet – Bud Parks, Harry Beckett

12 June 1970
A. “You to Lose”
B. “Born In the City”


The Very Last Time

Rock Workshop released their second album, The Very Last Time, in 1971 on CBS.

1. “Living Reason”
2. “Street War (Part 1 & 2)”
3. “Going Home”
4. “What’s Min2 Is Mine”
5. “Weeping Wood Mandalas”
6. “Forgotten How to Live”
7. “Light Is Light”
8. “I Think It’s …” features Alan Greed on organ.
9. “Ella Banta Dum Bundy”
10. “Very Last Time”

Recorded at Lane Lea Studios in February–March 1971.
Producer – Fritz Fryer
Engineer – Martin Birch
Arranged By – Ray Russell
Written By – Alan Greed (4, 5, 6, 7, 8), Alan Rushton (8), Ginger Harper (6), Ray Russell

Vocals – Alan Greed, Ginger Harper
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Ray Russell
Bass Guitar – Daryl Runswick
Keyboards – Brian Miller
Drums – Alan Rushton
Percussion – Phil Wainman
Congas – Tony Uter
Flugelhorn – Bud Parkes, Harry Beckett
Flute – Bob Downes, Tony Roberts
Tenor Saxophone – Bob Downes, Tony Roberts
Trombone – Derek Wadsworth
Trumpet – Bud Parkes, Harry Beckett

Art Direction – John Hays
Photography – Campbell MacCallum, Jake Jackson

28 May 1971
A. “The Very Last Time”
B. “Light Is Light”


After Rock Workshop

Alex Harvey released his third solo album, The Joke Is Wild, in 1972 on Metronome. It features his younger brother, Stone the Crows guitarist Leslie Harvey, who died that year from an on-stage electrocution. Alex then teamed with Tear Gas in the shock rock Sensational Alex Harvey Band, which released seven albums between 1972 and 1978 on Vertigo.

Bud Parks played on 1971 albums by Bill Fay, Fair Weather, Julie Driscoll (with Derek Wadsworth), and Mick Greenwood.

Robin Jones led the 1971–72 albums Denga and El Maja on Apollo Sound.

Derek Wadsworth joined the Keef Hartley Band for their 1971 live album Little Big Band and played on 1972–73 albums by Byzantium, Heads Hands & Feet, and Neil Ardley.

Harry Beckett continued his Russell association and played on 1971–72 albums by Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, Michael Gibbs, Mike Westbrook, Miller Anderson, and Nucleus.

Ray Russell continued his solo career amid the 1972–75 group projects Running Man, Mouse, and Chopyn.

Brian Miller later played in Isotope, Turning Point, and Harry Beckett’s Joy Unlimited.


Discography:

  • Rock Workshop (1970)
  • The Very Last Time (1971)

Sources:

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