The Herd with Peter Frampton

Peter Frampton, the British singer/guitarist whose 1976 live album Frampton Comes Alive has sold over 17 million copies, has revealed that he now suffers from a degenerative muscle disease called Inclusion-Body Myositis. Frampton has told Rolling Stone as well as CBS News that he feels he will not be able to play guitar well for much longer, so he has announced a farewell tour, and explained that his upcoming double album was created at a feverish pace because he felt a need to create as much material as possible before he further loses his musical abilities. Frampton said, "I've been playing guitar for 60 years. Started when I was eight and now I'm 68. So, I've had a very good run".

Frampton's public "run" began during his teenage years. After his brief stint as a guitarist for a British beat band called the Preachers, who recorded one 1965 single ("Hole In My Soul" b/w "Too Old In The Head") produced by Bill Wyman, Frampton joined a psychedelic pop-rock band known as The Herd. Frampton replaced the Herd's original singer/guitarist Terry Clark, with whom the band had recorded two doo-wop singles for the U.K. Parlophone label in 1965. The Frampton-era lineup which recorded the Herd's only full-length album also consisted of keyboardist Andy Bown, bassist Gary Taylor, and drummer Andrew Steele. The Herd's brand of psychedelic pop-rock was listenable, sometimes even respectable, but was hardly exceptional for its time, place, and genre. Although young Frampton's voice was recognizable, his guitar did not play the key role in the Herd's music, and he had yet to discover his trademark "talk box" device.

The Herd released one full-length album on each side of the Atlantic in 1968. Their American album was titled Lookin' Thru You, and contained ten tracks; their U.K. album was titled Paradise Lost, and contained twelve. The albums had five tracks in common. To my American ears, the American LP sounds more commercial, while the British LP sounds more offbeat.

Despite psychedelic leanings, the American release Lookin' Thru You comes across like the more innocent music that came about during the '60's. As sung by the teenage Frampton, songs such as "I Can Fly" and "Our Fairy Tale" sound like songs from the early Who, but with innocent lyrics. "From The Underworld" and "Paradise Lost" have more of a baroque pop ambience with horns. "Come On - Believe Me", written and sung by bass-voiced bassist Gary Taylor, has a more understated sound that recalls the Righteous Brothers. "On My Way Home" has a likable Lovin' Spoonful feeling. "Goodbye Groovy" sounds the way the Beatles may have sounded if Billy Preston had played piano on some of their earlier material. Lookin' Thru You is a decent addition to a '60's psych-pop collection, but unless Frampton's participation is a factor, it won't be one of the prized jewels of such a collection.

With seven different tracks, some of them fitting more than one sense of the term, the U.K. release Paradise Lost is a more U.K.-centric set. Varied by a British beat song ("Mixed Up Minds"), a smooth jazz number ("On Your Own"), a five-minute jazz instrumental ("Impressions Of Oliver"), a classical track with Gary Taylor singing over Bach's "Air On G String" ("Sad"), a gentle ballad with multi-track vocals and irregular instrumentation ("She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not"), and a faux Negro spiritual with a church organ ("Fare Thee Well"), Paradise Lost is considerably more eclectic and quirky than its American counterpart, presenting the Herd as more than just a teen-idol fad. For this reason, it holds up better with age than the American LP.

Frampton cut one more single with the Herd in 1968. The fairly ambitious "Sunshine Cottage", written by Frampton and Bown, had a heavier psych-pop wall of sound than most of their earlier tracks, coming across like a more psychedelized variation on the Walker Brothers' baroque pop. Frampton's guitar sounds quite similar to that of George Harrison on this track. The B-side, "Miss Jones", was an equally heavy psych-rock track on the order of the Who, with less innocence than earlier Herd songs. Written and sung by Taylor, this track takes the point of view of an employer making inappropriate advances toward a secretary.

After the "Sunshine Cottage" single was released, Frampton left the Herd to form Humble Pie with the late Steve Marriott. Without Frampton, the Herd recorded two inauspicious singles in 1969 and 1971 before the band's final dissolution. Bown and latter-day drummer Henry Spinetti played in a short-lived band called Judas Jump. Bown later joined Status Quo in 1976. Taylor and Spinetti both played on Gerry Rafferty's 1978 City To City album.

Many Herd compilations have been issued over the years in different countries. You may need to search to obtain a physical one, but just about any one that you find will contain most -- and in some cases all -- of the Frampton-era tracks, and will likely provide all of the Herd songs that most people will ever need. If you really want to go the whole hog, the 2005 German double-CD The Complete Herd contains every released Herd track and then some, including all of the A- and B-sides from all of the pre- and post-Frampton singles.

The Herd - Lookin' Thru You

The Herd "Lookin' Thru You" (Fontana SRF-67579) 1968

Track Listing:

1. I Don't Want Our Loving To Die
2. Come On - Believe Me
3. Our Fairy Tale
4. On My Way Home
5. Goodbye Groovy
6. From The Underworld
7. Paradise Lost
8. Sweet William
9. I Can Fly
10. Understand Me

The Herd - Paradise Lost

The Herd "Paradise Lost" (Fontana STL.5458) 1968

Track Listing:

1. From The Underworld
2. On My Way Home
3. I Can Fly
4. Goodbye Groovy
5. Mixed Up Minds
6. Impressions Of Oliver
7. Paradise Lost
8. Sad
9. Something Strange
10. On Your Own
11. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
12. Fare Thee Well

The Herd - Sunshine Cottage / Miss Jones

The Herd "Sunshine Cottage" (b/w "Miss Jones") (Fontana single TF 975) 1968

Track Listing:

a. Sunshine Cottage
b. Miss Jones

The Herd - The Complete Herd

The Herd "The Complete Herd" (Repertoire REP 5032) 2005

Track Listing:

CD 1

1. I Can Fly
2. Diary Of A Narcissist
3. From The Underworld
4. Sweet William
5. Paradise Lost
6. Come On - Believe Me
7. I Don't Want Our Loving To Die
8. Our Fairy Tale
9. Sunshine Cottage
10. Miss Jones
11. The Game
12. Beauty Queen
13. You've Got Me Hanging From Your Lovin' Tree
14. I Don't Wanna Go To Sleep Again
15. Understand Me
16. Follow The Leader
17. Charlie Anderson
18. Bang!
19. Mother's Blue Eyed Angel
20. Laugh and Dance and Sing
21. Sugarloaf Mountain
22. Fare Thee Well, Instrumental Reprise (Half Of Me)
23. Sweet William
24. I Don't Want Our Loving To Die
25. The Game

CD 2

1. From The Underworld
2. On My Way Home
3. I Can Fly
4. Goodbye Groovy
5. Mixed Up Minds
6. Impressions Of Oliver
7. Paradise Lost
8. Sad
9. Something Strange
10. On Your Own
11. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
12. Fare Thee Well
13. Come On - Believe Me
14. Our Fairy Tale
15. You've Got Me Hanging From Your Loving Tree
16. I Don't Wanna Go To Sleep Again

Special Bonus / Early Recordings

17. Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)
18. Here Comes The Fool
19. She Was Really Saying Something
20. It's Been A Long Time Baby
21. Too Much In Love
22. This Boy's Always Been True
23. Good Citizen