Sunday, April 20, 2008

Amen Corner




Amen Corner was formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1966. The line up consisted of Andy Fairweather Low (lead singer and guitarist), Derek "Blue" Weaver (keyboards –former member of Brother John & the Witnesses), Neil Jones (lead guitar). Clive Taylor (bass), Dennis Bryon (drums –former member of Brother John & the Witnesses), Mike Smith and Allen Jones (tenor and baritone saxophones). The pop group had sufficient strength and depth to play rock, blues and R&B. After they built up a local following the group moved its base to London in 1967 and was signed by Deram (subsidiary of Decca) then later the Immediate label. Between 1967 and 1968 Amen Corner scored six UK hits. These included "Gin House Blues," (which was released as Gin House), "Bend Me, Shape Me," and "High in the Sky" for Deram, and the number one hit "(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice" for Immediate Records.















Once the hits had dried up the group split up in 1970 and the individual members pursued other careers. Mike Smith and Allen Jones (the brass section) joined Andy Bown (Herd) in Judas Jump.



Andy formed Fair Weather with Dennis Bryon (drums), Clive Taylor (bass), and Derek “Blue” Weaver (keyboards) and they had a hit single, “Natural Sinner” in 1970.



Fair Weather split the following year and Andy took time out from the industry for a few years before returning as a solo artist in 1974. "Reggae Tune" and "Wide Eyed and Legless," reached the UK charts but as the eightes came to an end Andy found himself as a musician and singer by other prominent British musicians, notably ex-Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters, Bill Wyman and Pete Townsend.







He toured Japan with George Harrison and Eric Clapton, eventually joining Slow Hand’s support band. In 2007 Andy still pursues a solo career. After the break-up of Fair Weather Derek "Blue" Weaver joined the Strawbs replacing their former keyboard player, Rick Wakeman had left to join Yes. Weaver's organ and Mellotron added significantly to the band's sound can be heard on the album Grave New World.



Their next album, Bursting at the Seams contained two British hit singles as well as gaining serious airplay in America. In 1973 Weaver left the group to become a session musician. He toured with Mott the Hoople on their 1974 U.S. tour, and soon after joined Dennis Byron as session musicians supporting the Bee Gees. Blue Weaver replaced Barry Gibbon keyboards and his synthesized bass sound with heavier rhythmic texture augmented the trio’s new sound on songs such as "Jive Talkin'" and "Nights on Broadway."







Weaver co-wrote with the brothers and became an integral element of their music before leaving in 1982. A brief return to the Strawbs before he went back to session work, Blue Weaver has played on records by Stevie Wonder, the Pet Shop Boys, the Damned, and Chicago, as well as on numerous film soundtracks and commercials. Dennis Bryon also became successful session musician playing with his old Amen Corner keyboard player at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida. More recently Alan Jones formed the new Amen Corner and they regularly tour the retro circuit.




Worth a listen
Amen Corner
Gin House Blues (1967)
Bend Me Shape Me (1968)
High In The Sky (1968)
(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice (1969)
Hello Susie (1969)

Fair Weather
Natural Sinner (1970)

Andy Fairweather Low
Reggie Tune (1974)
Wide eyed and leg less (1974)

The Strawbs
Lay Down (1972)
Part of the Union (1973)

Bee Gees
Jive Talkin' (1975)
Nights on Broadway (1975)

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