Hookfoot - A Piece of Pye (1969)

Bit of an unusual one, this, as the article wasn't originally published in The Ptolemaic Terrascope.

However - I did originally research and write it for the Terrascope, but as publication of the first issue, in 1989,was delayed I decided instead to submit it to Bucketfull of Brains magazine (which I'd been writing for for the previous six or seven years). The feature duly appeared in Bucketfulls 29 and 30 in 1989.

Scouting around the internet in search of something or another recently I realised though that there was actually very little information out there about Hookfoot, and what there was was largely incorrect (for the record, former Kiss member Bob Kulick, an American, wasn't a pivotal member of the later line-ups of Hookfoot - he actually appears only on one song, 'Sweet Sweet Funky Music', playing second lead guitar; and there are no Hookfoot recordings featuring former Cochise member Mick Grabham)

Part of the problem is that Hookfoot were, as you'll read, very much a band of "musician's musicians". All of them were in great demand as session players, both individually and collectively. As well as backing Elton John on many of his early albums they also perform en masse on Mick Grabham's 'Mick The Lad' solo LP (possibly it was this which led to the misinformation that Grabham was himself a Hookfoot member) and on Steve Swindell's solo LP from 1974 (the astute amongst you may recognise Swindell's name as a former Hawkwind member). The band also backed Harry Pitch and Zack Laurence on the chart-topping one-hit wonder 'Groovin' With Mr Bloe'; and although his voice is perhaps an acquired taste, Long John Baldry's 'It Ain't Easy' LP from 1971 also featured bassist Dave Glover, drummer Roger Pope and guitarist Caleb Quaye throughout, some of the songs sounding distinctly Hoofoot-esque.

Another part of the problem was, quite frankly, their music. Great songwriters, great musicians, but their tastes strayed too far towards bluesy country funk for the heads to ever fully embrace them. A bit like Steve Stills, in some ways: you kinda dug the way he did it, but not always what he actually did. Thing is though, Caleb Quaye was undeniably one of THE finest guitar players the UK has ever produced - not for nothing did Eric Clapton surprise David Letterman a lttle while ago by informing him "I'm not the world's best guitar player. Caleb Quaye is." - and I can't help wondering, if Hookfoot had played hard rock and psychedelia, whether their albums might not today be held in the same kind of reverential, big-dollar high esteem by collectors as, say, Little Free Rock, Ashkan, Aunt Mary, Blonde on Blonde and especially I suppose Black Cat Bones (who likewise featured a stellar guitar player in the shape of a young Paul Kossoff). I still challenge any fan of the above not to go into a toe-curling trance of guitar-fuelled ecstasy on hearing Hookfoot blister through 'Nature Changes' on the 'Live in Memphis' album though, or to goggle in awe at the pyrotechnics on display on all twelve minutes of 'Shoe Shine Boy', one of the otherwise unreleased songs on the 'Headlines' compilation album.

As it is though, Hookfoot's albums are scarce, but not really worth that much when it comes down to it. I'd definitely implore you to move Heaven and Earth to track down at the very least 'Communication' and 'Good Times a' Comin', my own two personal favourites; but don't sweat too much if you never find the others. I'm not even sure they've even been released on CD - I'd certainly be very surprised if 'Headlines' has, and I don't think I've ever seen a copy of 'Roarin'' on sale legitimately either. Live in Memphis 1972', being a more recent release (and one which I should confess up front I had a hand in putting out), is probably a bit easier to track down.

So anyway, I thought it was about time I gathered together all my Hookfoot ephemera in one place and published it here on Terrascope Online. By all means get in touch if you have any questions or anything to add to it. Just don't bother hurling abuse. I know they weren't the greatest band in the world. I just happened to love them very, very much indeed...

Phil McMullen
Editor, Terrascope Online - April 2010



01. A Peace One 01:46
02. You Better Get On 07:16
03. Death Song 06:36
04. First Things First 03:05
05. Wide Open Funky Spaces 04:13
06. S.B.W 02:37
07. Shoe Shine Boy 12:13
08. A Peace Two 00:55


Caleb Quaye - Guitar, Piano & Keyboards
Ian Duck - Guitar, Harmonica & Vocals
Dave Glover - Bass Guitar
Roger Pope - Drums & Percussion


CD: Hookfoot - A Piece of Pye  (C)1969
Air Mail Archive AIRAC-1584 Japan Remastered 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this fantastic Hookfoot music!

The best-kept secret of UK rock music.