Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dunhill Records: Walking in the Park

We’ve come to the end of the line of our look at Dunhill Records, and typically on Saturdays I like to feature songs that were below the Top 40 line on the Hot 100, an album cut, or were non-charting singles. Today is no different, as we turn to a progressive British jazz/blues/rock band named Colosseum.

While Dunhill didn’t sign Colosseum directly, their American releases were issued on Dunhill through an arrangement with UK’s branch of Fontana Records. Apparently Mercury, Fontana’s US distributor, passed on Colosseum. An outgrowth of the Graham Bond Organization and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Colosseum was formed by drummer Jon Hiseman and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith who played with both bands. I was just talking to someone last week about Heckstall-Smith’s performance novelty of playing two saxes simultaneously.

In addition to Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith, Colosseum featured James Litherland on guitar and lead vocals, Tony Reeves on bass, and Dave Greenslade on keyboards. You may remember Greenslade’s name as he fronted a band of the same name in the 1970s. Their 1969 debut LP, “Those Who Are About to Die Salute You,” took its name from what gladiators would say to Caesar before entering in a contest to the death.

Written and originally recorded by Graham Bond, “Walking in the Park” was the first single from this LP. The placement of this song on the album was interesting. Fontana led the album with the track and Dunhill placed it at the end of the album. Either way, the single failed to chart in either the UK or the US.

“Walking in the Park” also featured sideman Henry Lowther on trumpet. The song has a killer arrangement with Litherwood’s powerful vocals and lead guitar, Greenslade’s organ, and the horns of Heckstall-Smith and Lowther. Buckle-up, as this one really moves.

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