Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chick Churchill “You & Me” (1974)

Besides singer/guitarist Alvin Lee, the only other member of the British blues-rock band Ten Years After who has ever released a solo album is keyboardist Chick Churchill. Churchill’s only solo album, titled You & Me, was released in 1974, when the original breakup of his usual band was all but final. Churchill wrote and produced the ten songs; besides playing the keyboards, he also arranged the strings. Two of his usual bandmates (bassist Leo Lyons, drummer Ric Lee) assisted on some tracks, as did Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, Martin Barre, Cozy Powell, Bernie Marsden, and Bill Jackman. Churchill only sang the lead vocals on two tracks, “You’re Not Listening” and “Falling Down an Endless Day”. The other tracks were sung by journeyman vocalist Gary Pickford-Hopkins, who performed on Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth album that same year.

As you might have guessed after reading the names of the supporting players, the music on You & Me suggests that Churchill was considering a solo career in the then-dominant progressive rock genre. The album mainly consists of mellow art-pop. Although it’s not as stodgy as some entries in that genre, You & Me is also not particularly stimulating. Churchill’s playing distinguishes the material only slightly; it’s most effective on the pretty ballad “Dream of Our Maker Man” and the instrumental “Chiswick Flower”. The opening track “Come and Join Me” resembles a Rod Stewart song from the period, but has less vigor than Rod the Mod would have delivered. Churchill is able to carry the tunes on his two vocal turns, but he was wise to tap a professional to sing on the rest of the tracks.

Churchill did not continue to pursue a solo recording career. After the breakup of Ten Years After became official in 1976, Churchill continued to work in the music business as a publisher and promoter. Since then, Ten Years After have regrouped – but that’s another story.


Chick Churchill “You & Me” (Chrysalis CHR 1051) 1974

Track Listing:

1. Come and Join Me
2. Broken Engagements
3. You and Me
4. Reality in Arrears
5. Dream of Our Maker Man
6. Ode to an Angel
7. You’re Not Listening
8. Chiswick Flower
9. The Youth I Dreamt In Slipped Away
10. Falling Down an Endless Day

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