Zzebra

Zzebra was an English ethno jazz-funk band that released the 1974–75 Polydor albums Zzebra and Panic. Material for a third album, recorded in 1975, appeared in 1999 (with the same cover as the US Panic). They featured guitarist Terry Smith (If), percussionist–saxophonist Loughty Amao (Osibisa), and keyboardist Tommy Eyre (Riff Raff).

Members: Loughty Amao (vocals, percussion, saxophone, flute), Liam Genockey (vocals, drums), Dave Quincey (saxophone), Terry Smith (guitar), Gus Yeadon (vocals, piano, guitar), Tommy Eyre (vocals, keyboards, flute), John McCoy (bass)


Background

Zzebra formed after the breakup of the original If, a brass-rock band co-founded in 1969 by Terry Smith and saxophonist Dave Quincey. In 1974, the pair met Osibisa co-founder Loughty Amao, a Nigerian migrant who played with Steve Winwood on the 1973 Island Records release Aiye-Keta, credited to Third World (no connection to the later Jamaican reggae act, also on Island).

Smith, Quincey, and Amao formed Zzebra with bassist John McCoy and Irish drummer Liam Genockey, both from Purple Records signees Maldoon. Through an ad in Melody Maker, Zzebra found singer Gus Yeadon, once of Decca psych-rockers The Elastic Band.


Zzebra

Zzebra released their self-titled debut album in October 1974 on Polydor. Dave Quincey co-composed six of the album’s eight songs in partnership with Loughty Amao (“Ifé”), Terry Smith (“Spanish Fly”).

Gus Yeadon submitted the album opener “Cobra Woman.” John McCoy joint-wrote “Mah Jong” with Smith and Quincey, who co-wrote the bulk of Side Two with Yeadon and Amao.

Quincey plays piano, clavinet, and multi-saxophone (alto, tenor, soprano) alongside Amao (tenor, baritone), who also plays flute and congas.

1. “Cobra Woman” (6:14)
2. “Mr J.” (4:17)
3. “Mah Jong” (5:10)
4. “Ifé” (6:20)
5. “Spanish Fly” (4:16)
6. “Amuso Fi” (5:16)
7. “Rainbow Train” (5:05)
8. “Hungry Horse” (6:45)

Recorded at Escape Studios, Kent, UK, October 1974.
Producer – Ken Burgess
Engineer [Recording] – John Taverner
Mixed at Advision Studios, London, November 1974.
Engineer [Mixing] – Paul Hardiman

Saxophone, Piano, Clavinet – Dave Quincey
Congas, Percussion, Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Loughty Amao
Guitar – Terry Smith
Bass – John McCoy
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Liam Genockey

Vocals – Gus Yeadon

Piano, Keyboards [Guest] – Tommy Eyre

Photography By – Keith Silva/Picturepoint
Photography By [Group Photographs] – Charles Marriot
Design – Wade Wood Associates
Art Direction – Paul Welch


“Zardoz” / “Amusofi”

A. “Zardoz (Beethoven Opus 92)” (2:44) theme from Boorman’s film Zardoz.
Arranged By – Dave Quincy
Composed By – Ludwig Van Beethoven
Producer – Jim Atkinson

B. “Amusofe” (4:29)
Producer – Roger Chapman
Written-By – Dave Quincy, Gus Eadon, Loughty Amao


Panic

Zzebra released their second album, Panic, in May 1974 on Polydor.

A1. “Panic” (4:38)
A2. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (6:21)
A3. “Karrola” (4:05)
A4. “Liamo” (6:16)
B1. “Death By Drowning” (3:00)
B2. “Tree” (6:08)
B3. “Put a Light on Me” (5:06) Electric Guitar – Jeff Beck
B4. “La Si Si-La So So” (5:20)

Recorded at Escape Studios (Egerton, Kent) and Advision (London)
Producer – Ken Burgess
Engineer – Martin Rushent, Paul Hardiman, Tony Tavemer

Bass – John McCoy
Congas, Percussion, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Loughty Amao
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Liam Genockey
Guitar – Steve Byrd
Keyboards, Flute, Vocals – Tommy Eyre
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Dave Quincey
Vocals – Alan Marshall

Backing Vocals – Jo Newman, Kim Moore, Lesley Duncan

Illustration [Back Cover] – Richard Fletcher
Illustration [Cover] – Richard Hernandez
Art Direction – Bill Levy
Design [Album] – Paula Bisacca
Design [Logo] – Marianne Landau


Take It or Leave It

In late 1975, Zzebra recorded a third album that later appeared as Take It or Leave It, a 2009 archival CD on Disconforme SL.

1. “No Point” (5:28)
2. “Living” (5:08)
3. “Poverty Song” (3:48)
4. “Bai La Jo” (7:00)
5. “Word Trips” (5:39)
6. “Take It or Leave It” (3:47)
7. “Evacuate My Sack” (5:30)
8. “Society” (6:07)

Recorded At – Escape Studios
Mixed At – Advision Studios

Bass – John McCoy
Saxophone – Dave Quincey
Vocals – Alan Marshall
Drums, Vocals – Liam Genockey
Guitar – Steve Byrd
Keyboards, Flute, Vocals, Liner Notes – Tommy Eyre
Percussion, Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Loughty Amao

Art Direction – Bill Levy
Cover [Illustration] – Richard Hernandez
Design – Paula Bisacca
Design [Logo] – Marianne Landau

Licensed From – Tommy Eyre
Reissue Producer – Jordi Soley


Discography:

  • Zzebra (1974)
  • “Zardoz” / “Amusofi” (1974)
  • Panic (1975)
  • Take It or Leave It (1999, recorded 1975)

Sources:

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