Although their material, particularly in their early days, was strongly influenced by the Chicago blues scene they were, despite their name, from the Stafford area. They formed there in 1969 and were really 'Johnny Come Latelys' on the tail end of the British blues boom. This probably accounted for the band's low profile over most of their long career here in the UK, although Shoot Her If She Runs was included on the Harvest Bag compilation back in 1971.
The 'Chicago' was dropped from their name, but once the British blues boom eroded they concentrated on the American market and their albums achieved modest commercial success there in the seventies. By then, their original bassist Richard Jones had left (after their first album) to go to Cambridge University, although he later rejoined the band in 1975, after a spell in
Principal Edwards Magic Circus the previous year.
The Live/FM album recorded in New York was a top seller Stateside and they became big FM radio favourites but it wasn't until the release of the catchy and accessible Couldn't Get It Right that they were drawn to wider attention in the UK.
Always a tight sounding band they were unfortunate not to have achieved more success over here, although they continued to record well into the eighties. There's a See For Miles compilation of some of their 1974-76 material, Loosen Up with material from their Sense Of Direction, Stamp Album and Gold Plated albums. This shows them to have been more influenced by funk than the blues. For the most part the songs are pretty ordinary and uninspired. No better is the later compilation on C5 which confirms them as 'also-runs'. This is a view reinforced by C5's reissue of A Lot Of Bottle, which comes with two additional tracks: covers of Willie Dixon's Seventh Son and Muddy Waters' Louisiana Blues.
01. Rich Man 5:49
02. Mole On The Dole 5:08
03. You Make Me Sick 3:52
04. Standing By A River 5:31
05. Shake Your Love 5:28
06. All The Time In The World 6:04
07. If You Wanna Know 5:29
08. Don't You Mind People Grinning In Your Face 2:26
09. Like Uncle Charlie 4:14
Pete Haycock (guitar, vocals)
Arthur Woods (keyboards)
Colin Cooper (vocals, saxophone, harmonica, rhythm guitar)
Derek Holt (vocals, bass)
George Newsome (drums)