Terry Reid’s “River”

I’ve mentioned this album before and posted a track or two because it is a huge favourite of mine, ever since I saw Terry performing tracks from it on the Old Grey Whistle Test when it was first released.

Terry Reid is a British R ‘n’ B singer, who first came to prominence when he was in his teens and a member of Peter Jay’s Jaywalkers. Terry ended up signing with Mickie Most, the 60s and 70s pop Svengali who managed a lot of chart acts and he wanted Terry to fit into a pop balladeer mould. Terry however, had other plans. He gigged around the circuit and supported a lot of big names, including Cream, Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac.

He was Jimmy Page‘s first choice for the singing spot in his then unnamed new band, which he was putting together after the final demise of The Yardbirds. Terry was already busy with other things and suggested that Jimmy check out the then unknown Robert Plant.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Anyway, Terry’s career carried on and in 1973 he recorded an album that is surely one of the lost classics of 1970s rock, River.

The album was produced by Eddie Offord and, in addition to Reid himself on vocals and guitar, featured the talents of the great David Lindley on guitar, pedal steel and slide, Lee Miles on bass, Conrad Isidore on drums and Willie Bobo on percussion . Acclaimed by the critics, the album bombed.

I really don’t understand why, myself. It has a fantastic lazy, laid back vibe, with flourishes that are reminiscent of Tim Buckley and Van Morrison and is perfect Summer music. At a time when the likes of Seals and Crofts, The Eagles and Jackson Browne were all selling bucketloads of albums, River should have been another platinum smash.

Anyway, here is the title track of the album, judge for yourselves.

The following video is Terry live at the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre, performing a loose early version of “Dean“, the opening track from River. Notice Linda Lewis on “backing vocals”.

I love this clip, the festival back then was a completely different beast to the modern, corporate rock, festival. I love the woman in a pink smock dancing at around 3 minutes into the clip. The two old ladies wandering through the crowd at about 4:50 are a bit of a surprise!

As Bob Harris must have said all those years ago;

“Mmmmmmmmmm. Nice!”