Sailor

Sailor was an English music-hall pop band from London that released five albums on Epic between 1974 and 1978. Rupert Holmes produced their 1975 second album Trouble, which spawned the UK hits “Glass of Champagne” and “Girls, Girls, Girls.” After the departure of singer–guitarist Georg Kajanus, a revamped Sailor linked with onetime Chicago producer James William Guercio for the 1980 Caribou release Dressed for Drowning, which contains the operatic rock opus “Danger on the Titanic.”

Before Sailor, Kajanus released a 1968 folk-rock album with the multinational quintet Eclection and cut a 1972 rustic-rock album in partnership with bassist–organist Phil Pickett. Drummer Grant Serpell cut two 1968 singles in the pop-psych band Ice and played on the 1970 self-titled album by jazz-rockers Affinity. Keyboardist Henry Marsh hailed from the 1971 art-pop one-off Gringo.

After the initial fold of Sailor, Kajanus formed the synthpop trio Data and Pickett co-wrote the transatlantic No. 1 “Karma Chameleon” as an auxiliary player for Culture Club. Sailor reconvened with two early nineties albums and continued for years on the cabaret circuit.

Members: Phil Pickett (bass, piano, calliope, xylophone, Hammond organ, mandolin, autoharp, vocals), Henry Marsh (accordion, nickelodeon, guitar, piano, vocals, 1973-99, 2005-present), Grant Serpell (drums, percussion, vocals, 1973-79, 1990-2011), Georg Kajanus (lead vocals, guitar, 1973-79, 1990-95), Virginia David (lead vocals, 1980-81), Gavin David (vocals, 1980-81)


Formation

Sailor formed in 1973 when Grant Serpell and Henry March joined the musical team of Georg Kajanus and Phil Pickett, who released the 1972 folk-rock album Hi Ho Silver! on Signpost–MCA.


Sailor

Sailor released their self-titled debut album in August 1974 on Epic. It features ten songs written by Georg Kajanus, including a history lesson on the last 100 years of transport (“Traffic Jam”) and a tribute to 1920s burlesque legend Josephine Baker.

A1. “Traffic Jam” (3:24)
A2. “Blue Desert” (3:45)
A3. “Sailor” (2:57)
A4. “Girls of Amsterdam” (3:08)
A5. “The Street” (3:32)
B1. “Let’s Go To Town” (4:04)
B2. “Josephine Baker” (4:00)
B3. “Blame It On The Soft Spot” (3:39)
B4. “Open Up The Door” (2:30)
B5. “Sailor’s Night On The Town ” (3:24)

Engineer – Robin Black
Engineer [Assistant] – David Harris
Executive-Producer – Dan Loggins

Producer, Lead Vocals, Twelve-String Guitar – Georg Kajanus
Accordion, Piano, Keyboards [Nickelodeon], Vocals – Henry Marsh
Bass, Keyboards [Nickelodeon], Piano, Vocals – Philip Pickett
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Grant Serpell

Design [Back] – Simon Cantwell
Design [Sleeve Design] – Roslav Szaybo
Photography By – Brian D. Hennessey

Sailor is housed in a gatefold sleeve with group and member pics by photographer Brian D. Hennessey.

“Traffic Jam” “Blue Desert” “Sailor” “Blue Desert” 

After Sailor’s UK chart breakthrough, Epic released Sailor in North America with the inner-pic on the front cover and the original side-by-side on the back cover with liner notes by Diane Hyatt.

In 1976, Epic re-issued Sailor in Germany and the Netherlands with a new cover.


Trouble

Sailor released their second album, Trouble, in November 1975 on Epic. It features ten Kajanus originals.

A1. “Girl, Girls, Girls” (3:02)
A2. “Trouble In Hong Kong” (3:07)
A3. “People In Love” (3:29)
A4. “Coconut” (2:24)
A5. “Jacaranda” (2:15)
B1. “A Glass of Champagne” (2:41)
B2. “My Kind of Girl” (3:01)
B3. “Panama” (3:25)
B4. “Stop That Man” (3:05)
B5. “The Old Nickelodeon Sound” (2:56)

12-String Acoustic Guitar, Charango, Arpa [Veracruzana Harp], Lead Vocals – Georg Kajanus
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Grant Serpell
Keyboards [Bass Nickelodeon], Guitarrón, Piano, Vocals – Phil Pickett
Keyboards [Nickelodeon], Accordion, Piano, Marimba, Vocals – Henry Marsh

Design – Roslav Szaybo
Photography By – Peter Lavery
Producer [Associate] – Rupert Holmes
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Jeffrey Lesser
Written-By – Georg Kajanus

Rupert Holmes produced Trouble ahead of albums by Sparks (Big Beat) and John Miles (Stranger In the City).

“A Glass of Champagne”

“Girls, Girls, Girls”

“The Old Nickelodeon Sound” (New Zealand-only release) 


The Third Step

Sailor released their third album, The Third Step, in September 1976 on Epic. It features ten Kajanus originals.

A1. “One Drink Too Many” (3:59)
A2. “Give Me La Samba” (3:17)
A3. “Cool Breeze” (3:21)
A4. “Two Ladies On The Corner” (2:45)
A5. “Dancing” (4:37)
B1. “Stiletto Heels” (3:11)
B2. “Out Of Money” (2:55)
B3. “Hanna” (3:16)
B4. “Quay Hotel” (4:05)
B5. “Melancholy” (2:35)

Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Jeffrey Lesser
Engineer [Associate] – Bernie O’Gorman, Damion Korner

Bass, Electric Piano [Nickelodeon], Synthesizer [Synthesised Brass And Reed], Vocals – Henry Marsh
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Grant Serpell
Piano, Electric Piano [Nickelodeon], Synthesizer [Synthesised Strings], Organ [Calliope], Xylophone, Vocals – Phil Pickett
Twelve-String Guitar, Charango, Harmonium, Piano, Lead Vocals, Words By, Music By, Written-By, Directed By – Georg Kajanus

“Stiletto Heels”

“One Drink Too Many” 


Checkpoint

Sailor released their fourth album, Checkpoint, in August 1977 on Epic. It features eight Kajanus originals, including “Romance” and “Checkpoint Charlie.” Grant Serpell and Henry Marsh co-wrote “Put Your Mouth Where the Money Is” and “Istanbul 6.25.”

A1. “Stay With Me Now” (4:03)
A2. “Romance” (4:15)
A3. “Keep Off The Streets At Night” (2:50)
A4. “Checkpoint Charlie” (5:30)
A5. “Joe’s Pianola” (2:33)
B1. “Down By The Docks” (5:38)
B2. “Put Your Mouth Where The Money Is” (2:45)
B3. “My Girl (She Knows What To Do)” (3:10)
B4. “Istanbul 6.25” (3:24)
B5. “Nothing Has Changed” (4:36)

Producer – Bruce Johnston, Curt Becher
Engineer – Curt Becher, Steve Levine
Strings – Thor Baldursson (B1, B5)

Art Direction – Roslav Szaybo
Design – J. Guttner, R. Szaybo
Photography By – Brian Cooke

“Down by the Docks”

“Romance”


“All I Need Is a Girl”

On March 31, 1978, Sailor released “All I Need Is a Girl,” a standalone Kajanus a-side backed with “Copacabana,” written by the other three members.


Hideaway

Sailor released their fifth album, Hideaway, in September 1978 on Magnet.

Hideaway marks the return of Phil Pickett, who wrote “Stranger In Paris,” “One Life One Love One Day,” and “Pyjama Party.”

Grant Serpell and Henry Marsh continue their writing partnership with three contributions: “Stay the Night,” “Jamaica Girl,” and “I Wish I Had a Way With Women.”

Georg Kajanus wrote four songs: “Give Me Shakespeare,” “Ashes and Diamonds,” “When It Hurts You” and “Machines.”

A1. “Give Me Shakespeare” (3:16)
A2. “Stay the Night” (3:36)
A3. “Stranger In Paris” (3:32)
A4. “Ashes and Diamonds” (3:55)
A5. “Jamaica Girl” (2:56)
B1. “One Life One Love One Day” (3:06)
B2. “When It Hurts You” (3:13)
B3. “Pyjama Party” (2:44)
B4. “I Wish I Had a Way With Women” (2:46)
B5. “Machines” (3:58)

Producer – Georg Kajanus

Acoustic Guitar – Georg Kajanus, Henry Marsh, Phil Pickett
Drums, Percussion – Grant Serpell
Electric Guitar, Piano – Henry Marsh
Bass, Organ [Hammond], Piano – Phil Pickett
Synthesizer – Georg Kajanus, Henry Marsh, Phil Pickett

Lead Vocals – Georg Kajanus (A1, A4, B2, B5), Henry Marsh (A2, A5, B4), Phil Pickett (A3, B1, B3)

“Give Me Shakespeare”

“Stranger in Paris”


Dressed for Drowning

Sailor released their sixth album, Dressed for Drowning, in 1980 on Caribou. It features nine songs composed by Phil Pickett, including one (“Pearl Harbor”) co-written by Henry Marsh.

A1. “Danger On The Titanic” (5:49)
A2. “Don’t Send Flowers” (3:45)
A3. “Private Eye” (5:22)
A4. “Don”t Look a Gift Horse” (5:13)
B1. “Runaway” (4:26)
B2. “Hat Check Girl” (2:56)
B3. “Pearl Harbor” (4:42)
B4. “Starlight” (3:41)
B5. “Who Will Stop The Rain” (5:09)

Recorded At – Caribou Ranch
Producer – James William Guercio
Engineer – Wayne Tarnowski

Acoustic Guitar – James William Guerico
Backing Vocals – James William Guerico (B3), Virginia David
Bass Guitar – James William Guerico (B3)
Drums – James Stroud
Electric Guitar – Henry Marsh
Lead Vocals – Henry Marsh, Phil Pickett, Virginia David
Percussion – James Stroud
Piano – Henry Marsh, Phil Pickett
Synthesizer – Henry Marsh, Phil Pickett
Tenor Saxophone – Wayne Tarnowski (A4)
Twelve-String Guitar – Phil Pickett
Vocals – Gavin David

Photography – Elliot Gilbert
Design – Andrea Klein (Sleeve Design), John Berg (Album Design)


Discography:

  • Sailor (1974)
  • Trouble (1975)
  • The Third Step (1976)
  • Checkpoint (1977)
  • Hideaway (1978)
  • Dressed for Drowning (1980)
  • Sailor (1991)
  • Street Lamp (1992)
  • Live in Berlin (1998)

Sources:

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