Week of November 3, 2002

Skin Alley


Thomas Crimble - Keyboards, Bass, Vocals
Bob James - Sax, Guitar
Krzysztof Henryk Justkiewicz - Keyboards
Alvin Pope - Drums
Nick Graham - Vocals, Keyboards, Bass, Flute
Tony Knight - Drums, Vocals


Skin Alley (CBS 63847) 1969
CD: Eclectic ECLCD1041, 2006
To Pagham And Beyond (CBS 64140) 1970
CD: Eclectic ECLCD1042, 2006
CD reissue (both of the above on one disc): See For Miles SEECD681, 1999
Two Quid Deal (Big T TRA 260) 1972
Skintight (Big T TRA 273) 1973
CD reissue (both of the above on one disc): "Bad Words And Evil People" Castle CMDDD1257, 2006


Tell Me/Better Be Blind (CBS 5045) 1970 
You Got Me Danglin'/Skin Valley Serenade (Big T BIG 506) 1972 
In The Midnight Hour/Broken Eggs (Big T BIG 511) 1972

A progressive Anglo-American rock combo, who are probably best known for their track "Living In Sin" by virtue of its inclusion on CBS's popular 1970 budget-priced double compilation, "Fill Your Head With Rock". This pleasant, melodic track was taken from their debut album and is arguably their finest moment. The album is well worth seeking out, though. It contains "Tell Me", a mellow song with a beautiful melody; "Marsha", a fast organ-dominated instrumental with a long sax solo; "Country Aire", an instrumental folk piece with flute and harpsichord; "All Alone", a slow, melodic song about loneliness with pleasant sax and a long organ solo; the mellow mid-tempo "Night Time" with lots of flute and jazzy piano improvisations and "Highway", a fast R&B influenced progressive piece with long sax and organ solos. 

By the time of "Skintight" in 1973 they were playing more commercial, mainstream rock with lots of orchestration and brass arrangements. Side A is disappointing but there are three decent tracks on Side B - "Instermental", a soul/funk orientated instrumental; "The Heap Turns Human", which brings to mind The Who in the "Who's Next" period and the bluesy hard-rocker "Maverick Woman Blues", which featured strong vocals and slide guitar. The album was produced by American Don Nix and remixed at Ardent Studios, Memphis. 

Nick Graham was also in The End, Atomic Rooster and Tucky Buzzard. Drummer Tony Knight (real name Tony Brown) used to play with the Chessmen.

(Vernon Joynson/Costas Arvanitis/Bill Stow)
Taken from The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson   ISBN 1 899855 04 1

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