Thursday, August 13, 2015

Affinity - Affinity (1971-72 uk, wonderful folk jazzy psych prog)



At the end of January 1971, lead vocalist Linda Hoyle and Hammond organist Lynton Naiff, having both given a month's notice, quit Affinity - the band they had been with for two and a half years - to go their separate ways. It was an amicable split.

The remaining members of the band - bass-player Mo Foster, guitarist Mike Jopp, and drummer Grant Serpell - each began to embrace new projects. However they missed the fun of a small cohesive team and, after some discussion, made the decision to keep the name Affinity and to try to continue as a performing and recording entity. It was not an easy task since finding replacements for Linda and Lynton - both of whom were superb musicians - was necessarily a challenge.

Affinity had first met Vivienne McAuliff e at Exeter University while playing one of their last gigs with the original line-up. She had been lead vocalist with the college band, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre. Vivienne had been a founder member of Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, a band that was formed at Exeter University. One of the first bands to use theatre as part of their act, they were signed by Radio One DJ John Peel to his own label, Dandelion, and were very successful during the time that they were together. She went on to play with Affinity, and then sung with various bands around London. She also sang on many records, with artists such as Gerry Rafferty (the Baker Street album, City to City), Patrick Moraz (from the band Yes), and various members of Genesis.

In later life she worked with the legendary fashion designer John Galliano and eventually became senior lecturer at the London College of Fashion whilst still being involved in the music scene. She leaves behind one son, James, and a lot of very happy memories for those of us who were lucky enough to have known her. Back in London the band held a set of tortuous auditions but it soon became clear that Vivienne - with her crystal-clear voice and outgoing personality - was the only possible choice to replace Linda. She became one of the lads.

At about this time ex-Tornados keyboard-player Dave Watts answered an advert in Melody Maker and brought with him not only his own Hammond Organ but also an impish sense of humour. Within minutes he slotted in to the band banter and, as soon as he played, the guys knew he was the right man. Unlike Linda - whose voice was jazz-tinged - Vivienne's voice was higher pitched and more folky - in the style of Sonia Kristina of Curved Air. The band initially adapted some of their older material, but they mainly set out to write and rehearse new songs with Vivienne in mind: Mike spent some time composing and refining material with songsmith BA Robertson whilst Mo wrote with Vivienne herself.

There was soon enough material for a whole new set and UK college gigs and club dates soon followed. Sadly, as quickly as the musicians had come together, there were problems and the band eventually fragmented with the various members being torn in different directions. Affinity truly ended in 1972 when Mo, Mike, and Grant were invited to play with ex-Manfred Michael d'Abo for a lengthy US tour.

Frustratingly, a studio album of the new material at that time never happened. But this album - the album that never was - is an attempt to fill that void and is compiled from a set of studio demos and full band rehearsals. To make the tracks sound as the band would have intended there have been a few discreet overdubs. In addition Mo and Mike have composed two new instrumental pieces especially for the project.
Tracks
1. Moira's Hand (B.A. Robertson) - 5:21
2. Grey Skies (Mo Foster, Vivienne McAuliffe) - 8:42
3. Cream on Your Face (Mike Jopp, B.A. Robertson) - 5:23
4. Sunshower (J. Webb) - 5:47
5. All Along the Watchtower/It's About That Time (Bob Dylan, M. Davis) - 7:45
6. Rio (Mike Jopp, B.A. Robertson) - 4:50
7. Poor Man's Son (Mike D'Abo) - 3:25
8. Sarah's Wardrobe (Mo Foster, Mike Jopp) - 4:17
9. Highgate (Mo Foster, Mike Jopp) - 3:56

Affinity
*Mike Jopp - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Mo Foster - Bass Guitar, Double Bass, Hammond Organ, Fender Piano, Percussion
*Grant Serpell - Drums
*Vivienne McAuliffe - Vocals
*Dave Watts - Hammond Organ, Piano

Free Text
Free Text II