Review by Richie Unterberger:
The second album by Jackson Heights wasn't as nondescript as many similarly obscure efforts from bands led by musicians -- in this case, ex-Niceguitarist/bassist/singer Lee Jackson -- who pretty much vanished from the limelight after their stint with a famous group. Jackson also deserved some credit for being bold enough to move into directions in which the Nice weren't associated; 5th Avenue Bus is much more oriented toward singer/songwriter-type, folk-rock songs than the Nice ever were, with little of the art rock that the Nice helped pioneer in sight. Nonetheless, the record and its songs were kind of nondescript, as mildly pleasing as some of the singing and melodies were. Often the songs used vocal harmonies with a Crosby, Stills & Nash/America flavor, though here sometimes used with mainstream early-'70s British rock arrangements, a combination that wasn't all that arresting. Other cuts like "Luxford" had a more suitable acoustic soft rock sound, though the songs themselves weren't knockouts. Ex-King Crimson drummer Michael Giles played on the record, though he didn't stretch his prog rock chops here too often, and there are only flashes here and there -- perhaps in "Sweet Hill Tunnel," and the tensely wistful parts of "Pastor Roger" -- of the somber grandeur to which the Nice had once aspired.
Side one "Get Down to It" (Marriott) – 3:27
"Good Booze and Bad Women" (Marriott) – 3:18
"Is It for Love?" (Marriott) – 4:41
"Drugstore Cowboy" (Marriott) – 5:40
Side two "Black Coffee" (Ike Turner, Tina Turner) – 3:11
"I Believe to My Soul" (Ray Charles) – 4:05
"Shut up and Don't Interrupt Me" (Bristo, Starr) – 3:07
"That's How Strong My Love Is" (Roosevelt Jamison) – 3:49
Side three "Say No More" (Marriott) – 2:01
"Oh, Bella (All That's Hers)" (Marriott) – 3:28
"Summer Song" (Marriott) – 2:48
"Beckton Dumps" (Marriott) – 3:16
Side four "Up Our Sleeve" (Humble Pie, lyrics by Steve Marriott) – 5:02
"Honky Tonk Women" (Keith Richards, Mick Jagger) – 3:58
"(I'm A) Road Runner" (Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) – 13:29
Billie Barnum - Vocals
The Blackberries - Vocals
Dave "Clem" Clempson - Guitar
B.J. Cole - Guitar (Steel), Pedal Steel
Venetta Fields - Vocals
Sidney George - Saxophone
Clydie King - Vocal Arrangement, Vocals
Steve Marriott - Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards, Remixing, Vocals
Greg Ridley - Bass
Jerry Shirley - Drums
Keith Hartley was born in Preston, Lancashire. He studied drumming under Lloyd Ryan, who also taught Phil Collins the drum rudiments. His career began as the replacement for Ringo Starr as a drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, a Liverpool-based band. Subsequently he played and recorded with The Artwoods, then achieved some notability as John Mayall's drummer (including his role as the only musician, other than Mayall, to play on Mayall's 1967 "solo" record The Blues Alone). He then formed The Keef Hartley (Big) Band, mixing elements of jazz, blues, and rock and roll; the group played at Woodstock in 1969.
They released five albums, including Halfbreed and The Battle of North West Six (characterised by a reviewer for the Vancouver Sun as "an amazing display of virtuosity"). After that Hartley released a 'solo' album (Lancashire Hustler, 1973) and then he formed Dog Soldier with Miller Anderson (guitar), Paul Bliss (bass), Derek Griffiths (guitar) and Mel Simpson (keyboards). They released an eponymous album in 1975.
In 2007, Hartley released a ghostwritten autobiography, Halfbreed (A Rock and Roll Journey That Happened Against All the Odds). Hartley wrote about his life growing up in Preston, and his career as a drummer and bandleader, including the Keef Hartley Band's appearance at Woodstock.
Hartley died on 26 November 2011, aged 67, at Royal Preston Hospital in Preston.
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