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Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation-Doctor Dunbar's Prescription-NEW CD

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 Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, The ‎– Doctor Dunbar's Prescription




Aynsley Dunbar’s early progress from youthful drumming prodigy in Mersey beat-era Liverpool to a bandleader with a Top 30 LP has been covered in the sleevenote to first album ‘The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation’ (BADCD001). Briefly, that album – recorded by the same quartet of Dunbar (drums), Victor Brox (vocals), John Morshead (guitar) and Alex Dmochowski (bass) – reached some versions of the UK chart thanks to heavy live promotion.


The drummer might not have been around to lead his band in a second studio foray that year had he taken up an opportunity to join the New Yardbirds – soon, of course, to be renamed Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t the first time he’d turned down a supergroup, having asked Jimi Hendrix for a £30 weekly wage instead of the offered £20 and losing out to the less expensive Mitch Mitchell.


November 1968 was the release date, and on the 16th of that month the Retaliation were enthusiastic participants in a one-day festival held at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Others to be seen and heard at ‘The Blues Scene ’68’ included Muddy Waters, Champion Jack Dupree and John Mayall. Dunbar had featured in Mayall’s band the Bluesbreakers alongside John McVie and Peter Green, the quartet recording seminal album ‘A Hard Road’; legend has it Retaliation were so-named as a consequence of Aynsley getting the sack!


The new album featured a generous ten tracks, five per vinyl side, and ‘Low Gear Man’, ‘Call My Woman’ and ‘I Tried’ were all in the live set as performed at the RFH. Interestingly, the album’s running order was changed by US label Blue Thumb, with ‘Change Your Lowdown Ways’ promoted over ‘The Fugitive’, and we have reflected this in our reissue.


Interestingly, while ‘Change Your Lowdown Ways’ was picked out as the standout track by Blue Thumb boss Bob Krasnow, it was ‘The Fugitive’ that became a hit single in France, earning the band a place on a pop tour headlined by ‘French Elvis’ Johnny Hallyday. Back in Britain, Retaliation would be part of a ‘Blues Scene ’69’ tour inspired by the previous year’s festival, appearing with the Groundhogs, John Lee Hooker, Jo Ann Kelly and Champion Jack Dupree. They would later back Dupree in the studio.


The album’s spontaneous feel comes from the fact that, unlike the (also Ian Samwell-produced) debut, it had not been possible to take time off the road to routine it. Hence the songs were rather more straightforward in nature, having had to be road-tested and routined while on tour. Its title was a sly reference to Dr Ian Dunbar, an (unrelated) doctor who had prescribed cannabis as a medicine in the late Sixties before it was classed as a banned substance.


The covers this time included Larry Davis’ ‘I Tried’ and Little Walter’s ‘Mean Old World’, the album closer that was also recorded by Fleetwood Mac. Original compositions of note include the previously mentioned ‘Call My Woman’, a song in the vein of US bluesman Freddie King. For unknown reasons, Victor Brox wrote or co-wrote six of the ten tracks using the nom de disque of Hickley.


The multi-talented Brox, who supplied most of the vocals, had played guitar, horn and keyboards on the first album, but had concentrated mainly on organ for this one; hence, a keyboard-player was sought to bring the ranks up to a five piece.


A six-week American tour included four dates supporting Country Joe & the Fish at the prestigious Fillmore West in San Francisco. On returning to Britain, a suitable keyboard-player was found in the Grease Band’s Tommy Eyre, whose recent pedigree included contributing the organ part to Joe Cocker’s smash hit version of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’.


Eyre was a superb musician, and his addition certainly increased the possibilities open to the band. But, as so often happens, the dynamic within the ranks changed. There was also the beginning of a backlash against British blues, with Melody Maker’s Chris Welch – a big supporter in the early days – calling the record ‘unmoving’. Against that, Beat Instrumental approved ‘another set of driving white blues’.


Perhaps it was the ‘another’ that gave away the fact that music was changing, and groups like Retaliation would have to show a more progressive attitude if they were to compete with the up-and-coming likes of Led Zeppelin. Ironically Black Sabbath, another major prog band about to make their impact, would include a cover of the first Retaliation single, ‘Warning’, on their debut LP which hit the UK Top 10 in early 1970.


For Aynsley and his four cohorts, the next task was to record a third album. This was the peculiarly titled ‘To Mum From Aynsley And The Boys’, and is now available as BADCD003. We’ll see you there…

1. Change Your Low Down Ways
2. The Fugitive
3. Til’ Your Lovin' Makes Me Blue
4. Now That You've Lost Me
5. I Tried
6. Call My Woman
7. The Devil Drives
8. Low Gear Man
9. Tuesday's Blues
10. Mean Old World


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