Shaped from the ashes of British acid-blues band Black Cat Bones (the opposite half of BCB fashioned Free), Leaf Hound’s tantalising cocktail of medication and distortion was so forward of it’s time that their sole album (for 40 or so years, a minimum of), Growers of Mushroom, nonetheless sounds prefer it was launched yesterday. It’s additionally the blueprint for each “stoner rock” album of all time ever.
Growers Of Mushroom is now acknowledged as an undisputed basic of heavy riff’n’roll, and has gone on to affect numerous bands, together with almost each main participant within the stoner rock motion, from Kyuss to Monster Magnet.
Leaf Hound: Growers Of Mushroom
Unhappy Street to the Sea
Drowned My Life in Concern
Work My Physique
With a Minute to Go
Growers of Mushroom
However, as frontman Peter French (see additionally: Cactus and Atomic Rooster) explains, the band’s leafy-green imagery was extra horror present than dope present. “The title Leaf Hound was not what some folks have presumed it to be,” he says, “the thought of the title coming from a brief horror story by Ray Bradbury known as The Emissary, a few canine that had returned from the lifeless coated in mud and leaves.”
Moreover, French says, the band’s picture was largely the figment of revisionist imaginations: “The drug scene after all was round, however we by no means actually took to it. The drug-crazed picture of Leaf Hound that some folks appear to have assumed couldn’t be farther from the reality. The band was as straight as a die after we wrote and performed and recorded our album.”
Each week, Album of the Week Membership listens to and discusses the album in query, votes on how good it’s, and publishes our findings, with the purpose of giving folks dependable critiques and the broader rock neighborhood the possibility to contribute.
Different albums launched in October 1971
- Teaser and the Firecat – Cat Stevens
- Meddle – Pink Floyd
- The Morning After – The J. Geils Band
- 200 Motels – Frank Zappa
- In Search of House – Hawkwind
- Message from the Nation – The Transfer
- 18 Different Voices – The Doorways
- Restrictions – Cactus
- American Pie – Don McLean
- Grateful Useless – Grateful Useless
- Chicago at Carnegie Corridor – Chicago
- Tough and Prepared – The Jeff Beck Group
- Fearless – Household
- Bloodrock U.S.A. – Bloodrock
- Fog On The Tyne – Lindisfarne
- Focus II (Shifting Waves) – Focus
- Recollections – John Mayall
- Pawn Hearts – Van der Graaf Generator
- Rainbow Bridge – Jimi Hendrix
- Reflection – Pentangle
- R.E.O. Speedwagon – REO Speedwagon
- Stoney & Meatloaf – Stoney & Meat Loaf
- Tupelo Honey – Van Morrison
- UFO 2: Flying – UFO
- Struggle Struggle Struggle – Nation Joe McDonald
What they stated…
“Growers of Mushroom is not only a proto steel album however proto stoner, a predecessor of stoner rock. All of the traits of the subgenre are current on right here; extremely distorted guitars, mid tempo track constructions, uncooked manufacturing and audible bass. Leaf Hound are wilder than Black Sabbath, heavier than Led Zeppelin and extra psychedelic than Deep Purple MK II.” (Sputnik Music (opens in new tab))
“The band they hold reminding me of probably the most is Sir Lord Baltimore – there nearly appears to be some subliminal transatlantic psychic hyperlink between these two teams, who would have been recording their debut albums at about the identical time (so I do not see how one might have straight borrowed something from the opposite.” (Head Heritage)
“Lead vocalist Peter French – who went on to type Atomic Rooster and later labored with Cactus and a later lineup of Randy Pie – is in superb type right here, and his scorched-earth screech could even remind some followers of Robert Plant. His cousin, guitarist Mick Halls (who changed Foghat-bound lead guitarist Rod Value, guitarist in French’s earlier group, Black Cat Bones), would not have the identical guitar prowess that, say, Jimmy Web page had on the time, however he is no slouch both, displaying appreciable ability all through.” (AllMusic (opens in new tab))
What you stated…
Gary Claydon: I first heard about this album from a gig-going mate someday across the late 70s/early 80s throughout a dialog about uncommon or uncommon information that we owned. He informed me he had one which he thought I’d like. It was by a band known as Leaf Hound and it was “fairly respectable”. He could not be persuaded to mortgage it me however did comply with tape it for me so I hot-footed it spherical to his place just a few days later clutching a C60. That continues to be the one time I’ve ever seen an unique copy of Growers Of Mushroom ‘within the flesh’.
Leaf Hound advanced from the remnants of Black Cat Bones who counted some acquainted names of their numbers at varied instances. They launched one album, Barbed Wire Sandwich (Spinal Faucet eat yer coronary heart out!) which has a critical contender for the ‘worst ever album cowl’ award.
“Fairly respectable” my mate known as Growers Of Mushroom. Man, did he ever undersell it! It is a prime slice of early 70s heavy rock. No frills, all thrills. There may be nothing groundbreaking right here, you possibly can say it is pretty generic of it is time nevertheless it’s rather well achieved and properly paced. The uncooked, nearly lo-fi manufacturing lends it a satisfying edge (it apparently took simply 11 hours to file). Influences are plain sufficient, it is definitely Zeppelin-esque in locations.
Stray veers firmly into Heartbreaker territory, for example, however you possibly can hear Sabbath, Heep, Purple, Cream & The Who in there as nicely. There are snippets of Work My Physique that at all times convey Donovan’s Season Of The Witch‘ to my thoughts.
I actually like Peter French’s voice. It is a thriller how he by no means turned far more excessive profile. He went on to work with Atomic Rooster and Cactus and would audition for each Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. He has a particular air of Robert Plant about his supply on Growers Of Mushroom however he additionally jogs my memory a little bit of Rod Stewart within the slower passages. Mick Halls isn’t any Jimmy Web page however he does a superb job with some meaty riffs and some good solos whereas the rhythm part are strong.
I actually performed my taped copy of Growers Of Mushroom ’til it broke so I used to be happy when the album was re-issued on CD within the early 90s because of the curiosity generated by an article in, I feel, Document Collector journal. It is a superb album, a real ‘misplaced’ basic.
A few factoids. The album was first issued in Germany on the Telefunken label, after the band had gone down a storm on a brief tour there, and had two tracks lacking. Leaf Hound got the impression by their label, Decca, that the album wasn’t going to get a UK launch and had just about determined to name it quits by the point it got here out.
The band’s title was apparently derived from a brief story by Ray Bradbury whereas many of the track titles had been taken from horror anthologies curated by a sure Herbert van Thal, who was liable for the extremely standard Pan E book Of Horror Tales collection that ran for about 30 years from the late 50s.
Brian Carr: Life was busy this week. Fortunately a few of that was as a consequence of me enjoying and singing my means by way of some songs, however after I noticed the album cowl for Leaf Hound’s Growers Of Mushroom, I wasn’t impressed. The paintings and title screams “psychedelic,” which to me isn’t a drawing level. However after I noticed the ballot pop up on my feed this morning, I gave it a bit time. Glad I did – this can be a fairly killer file. Wanting ahead to subsequent listens!
Invoice Griffin: I most likely would have actually appreciated this if I had heard it when it was contemporary however now, it is simply fulfilling, not awe-inspiring. In fact, I had no thought what the importance of mushrooms was when it was contemporary so the title appears moderately foolish to me.
Neil Immerz: Properly, right here’s one other band I’ve by no means heard of earlier than. I took a pay attention yesterday and I’m so shocked at how nice it’s. It’s positively acquired that Led Zeppelin vibe, with a little bit of Black Sabbath thrown in. It really jogs my memory very a lot of the primary Witchcraft album. Good things
Evan Sanders: A enjoyable album and I am one other one who’s reminded of Led Zeppelin and Free. A newer comparability is Greta Van Fleet within the class of “bands who sound like Led Zeppelin however aren’t”.
Mike Canoe: I stumbled throughout Freelance Fiend on a CD compilation years again however the remainder of the album is new to me. To my ears, Leaf Hound is a blues-based rock band influenced by different bands influenced by the blues: Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jethro Tull, and so on.
The entire album has an uneasy and paranoid vibe which will have made it a tough promote for listeners wanting to increase the more and more distant Summer time of Love. The music and lyrics might not be as darkish and heavy as Black Sabbath however nonetheless unexpectedly gloomy for a band with a colour-saturated cowl replete with a rainbow and a title hinting at psychedelic mushrooms. Even the title monitor appears to be referring to a drug bust and/or dangerous journey. Not a enjoyable time in any respect.
The eight-minute-plus Work My Physique is not a track about intercourse, as somebody raised on Kiss and Aerosmith may be led to consider, however as a substitute a dirge concerning the every day drudgery of life that will make Roger Waters smile. The Piper on the Gates of Daybreak has gone house, drawn the blinds, and triple locked the door.
It took me a number of listens to get used to Pete French’s singing, particularly on softer songs like Unhappy Street To The Sea or With A Minute To Go, however I am getting there. The remainder of the band thunders out an enjoyably thick backside heavy chug all through – with some thriller organ performed on the epic Work My Physique. Freelance Fiend could have been the gateway drug, to overuse a metaphor, however the remainder of the album is rising on me as nicely.
I am at all times desirous about an album like Growers Of Mushroom. When a brand new challenge of Basic Rock journal, I normally (digitally) flip to “Buried Treasure” first, the place a band not dissimilar to Leaf Hound is featured. I’ve the agency perception that my subsequent favorite album is on the market and odds are it was recorded across the identical time as Growers Of Mushroom.
John Davidson: I nearly did not make time to hearken to this album. I would by no means heard of it earlier than and wasn’t certain I needed to hearken to the opposite half of Free all that a lot. However I am glad I made the hassle.
Whereas the manufacturing is uncooked, this can be a correctly heavy blues rock album reminiscent at instances of a Led Zeppelin covers band (focussed on I and II) however generally they channel early Sabbath or Jethro Tull as nicely whereas
The title monitor Grower of Mushrooms appears like an extended misplaced Cream track.
It is adequate that they need to have garnered extra consideration however they had been perhaps two years late to the get together. Heavy rock was in full flight by 1971 and these guys are nonetheless enjoying prefer it’s 1969.
That won’t appear to be a lot from this far eliminated however in these days fads and vogue had been fast paced.
Greg Schwepe: One other enjoyable discovery right here within the Basic Rock Album Of The Week Membership. And yet one more “By no means Heard Of Them, However Actually Like Them” discover. Good selection.
After listening to this new discover, I learn the band’s bio in Spotify. Discuss an extended listing of “who was on this band, they joined, then left, then joined so and so…” Mainly an enormous ol’ melting pot of influences and backgrounds. Which leads me to my primary apparent commentary about music on the whole; we’re drawn to new bands and music due to traits they might have with bands we already like. And once more, I could actually be stating the apparent right here, but when it appears like a favorite band; you’ll stick round lengthy sufficient to hearken to the whole album.
When listening to Growers Of Mushroom I envisioned listening to this for the primary time whereas being cranked from some gigantic audio system outdoors at a summer season get together in somebody’s yard. “Wow, what’s that enjoying? I prefer it!” as you attain for yet one more burger and bottle of your favorite beverage. Freelance Good friend opens up the album and acquired me hooked. Once more, at that imaginary yard get together, you’re beginning to groove. “Yeah…”
As you hearken to the album, there’s an evolution of the influences for me. Begins with a Zeppelin and Sabbath vibe. Then perhaps a bit Cream. Then, wait, is that Three Canine Night time? Perhaps. Now a bit Grand Funk, and perhaps some Foghat to complete off the album.
Work My Physique is eight minutes or so of barely jazzy goodness. Discovered a stay model too and it’s simply nearly as good.
The title monitor and ode to psilocybin agriculture is the one track for me that type of has that whimsical 70s vibe. However given the subject material, I get that.
Remaining favourites on the album are Hipshaker and Too Many Rock ‘N’ Roll Occasions. At that time I can actually hear the British boogie rock popping out in Leaf Hound’s sound.
So we now have a superb album by a band that has their very own sound however has sufficient traits of different bands of the time that hold you hanging round. Now, again to that imaginary summer season yard get together and extra Leaf Hound.
Alex Hayes: It hasn’t occurred too typically over time, however, on the odd event, I’ve been identified to purchase an unfamiliar album on a hunch, normally after being drawn in by the paintings. I will be searching in a file store someplace, and make an impulsive buy as a result of I just like the ‘look’ of a sure album. I’ve been fairly prepared to take that gamble if the value is correct.
Clearly, my success charge won’t ever be 100%, however I’ve sometimes picked up some belting music by doing this. Caravan’s 1971 cult basic, In The Land Of Gray And Pink, got here into my life that means. One other, newer, instance is Opus Eponymous, Ghost’s debut, which I picked up a few decade in the past in Manchester, when that band’s profile was nothing near the one which they take pleasure in these days. I will be endlessly indebted to the Ministry for that one.
Once more, that is how I first acquired my palms on Growers Of Mushroom, the one album from the short-lived Leaf Hound (a minimum of till a post-millennium reformation of the band). My copy is on CD, alas, not an unique vinyl copy, which might be value just a few grand within the present market. The factor is, this one initially threw me after I acquired it house and performed it. It wasn’t what I used to be anticipating in any respect.
The title of the band, the quilt paintings, and the title of the album – all of those had me anticipating a listening expertise extra akin to the aforementioned In The Land Of Gray And Pink. I had been anticipating one thing extra psychedelic, progressive, and, for need of a greater phrase, hippie-ish. What I would really bought was one thing altogether extra primordial and potent. Growers Of Mushroom turned out to be a seminal early heavy rock album, with much more “oomph” than I would anticipated.
It is so rattling good although, particularly after just a few listens. To the uninitiated, I would place this in a creative candy spot between Led Zeppelin, Free, and one thing like Atomic Rooster. It is surprisingly nicely produced too. Undeniably uncooked, but pleasingly so, it is very evocative of these pioneering early days of the basic rock period. From a sonic standpoint, the album jogs my memory of Deep Purple In Rock.
I would say that it was a disgrace that Leaf Hound hadn’t caught round longer and recorded extra materials, however, in a means, that solely provides to Growers Of Mushroom‘s general attraction. The truth that the album turned out to be a one-off solely provides to its standing as an underground basic. That is nicely value 37 minutes of anybody’s time, and it nonetheless holds up nicely as a extra obscure time capsule from a golden period.
Ultimate Rating: 7.27 (36 votes solid, whole rating 262)
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