20080423

Harsh Reality - Heaven and Hell (1969)

"A heavy organ-based progressive underground rock band whose obscure album is now very rare and highly-rated by those who've been lucky enough to hear it. Thought to have been Welsh, their sound was heavily influenced by Procol Harum. Barnwell was later with Ian Matthews Southern Comfort, Roger Swallow later went on to Principle Edwards Magic Theatre and the Albion Country Band. The other members went into session work. The album's finer moments include the title cut and "Devil's Daughter". (The Tapestry of Delights)

"Harsh Reality are a little-known, proto-prog band born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire out of the remnants of the Freightliner Blues Band (formerly the Revolution) in the early sixties. The band consisted of Mark Griffiths and Dave Jenkins on guitars, Alan Greed on lead vocals and organ, Roger Swallow on drums, and Steve Miller on bass and backing vocals. They released a single for Phillips in 1968 (Tobacco Ash Sunday/How Do You Feel) before releasing their only LP, Heaven and Hell, on Phillips in 1969. A final single followed soon after, before the band split in 1969.

Their Heaven and Hell LP is now a highly-sought rarity, going for hundreds of pounds between eager collectors. For this reason, Harsh Reality is somewhat famous/infamous in collecting circles.

Though technically proto-prog, their work represented a marriage between the sounds of Procol Harum and early Deep Purple.

Following the band's demise, Roger Swallow has lent his talent variously to Principle Edwards Magic Theatre, Matthews Southern Comfort, Plainsong, Albion Country Band, and Al Stewart before moving to California and establishing himself as an electronic musician, songwriter and entrepreneur. Alan Greed went on to work with Ray Russell[1] on the Rock Workshop albums and as a session singer. Mark Griffiths has worked with Matthews Southern Comfort, Jonathan Kelly, Al Stewart, David Essex, The Everly Brothers, and Cliff Richard & The Shadows. The rest of the band also went into session work." (wikipedia)

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7 comments:

andre said...

Hello
Good to hear that again.Many Thanks
Andre88

Stuart Shea said...

Roger Swallow also played on the Rutland Weekend Television album with Neil Innes & Eric Idle in the mid-70s.

Devil Dick said...

damn man you own thhis major rare monster???

I can touch tis withh a 10 foot pole....

500 bucks is WAY outta my league.

Cool record though, jusst wish i owned it.

Crotchbat said...

@ DD:

Own it? Oh good Lord, no. I grabbed the pic off the interwebs and got the mp3s from a friend.

Yeah - it's pricey (and kinda overrated, IMO). Three copies went for around 5 bills USD on eBay this year.

Devil Dick said...

whew.... i was starting to develop a severe case of vinyl envy....

Crotchbat said...

Rest assured, DD: I'm broke as a joke.

Still buying records whenever I can, tho.

Rainbow Demon said...

I'm with y'all on that.
Good to see you back, CB ;o)

Peace,
=RD=