ANCIENT GREASE – Women And Children First
The story of Ancient Grease is long and convoluted, but basically this album was recorded by a Welsh covers band called Strawberry Dust, helped out by three members of well respected Welsh psyche/prog band Eyes Of Blue. John Weathers of Eyes Of Blue wrote most of the original material, and his bandmates provided some of the rest. When the album was completed the change of name was decided on, and in 1970 Ancient Grease released their one and only album. Its main claim to fame these days is that these recordings are the first to feature the vocal talents of Graham Mortimer, otherwise known as Morty, and soon to be the lead vocalist of 70’s rockers Racing Cars. In this incarnation the music is raucous rock and roll, with Morty’s vocal style already fully formed, and perfectly suited to a hard rocker like ‘Freedom Train’. ‘Odd Song’ is a slower piece, but all the more interesting for its unusual guitarwork, and ‘Eagle Song’ is another great, straight-ahead rocker with some fine guitar. ‘Mother Grease The Cat’ and ‘Prelude To A Blind Man’ are both riff-heavy rock, while ballads like ‘Where The Snow Lies Forever’ and ‘Time To Die’ point the way to the sort of songs that Morty would later record with Racing Cars. ‘Mystic Mountain’ is a sort of Welsh country-rocker, and the title track is a hard rock classic, swamped with Hammond organ and all held together with a great binding riff, coupled with some of Morty’s best vocals, and making it the high-light of the album. The CD re-issue tags on an alternate take of ‘Freedom Train’, but really the album sounds much better when it ends with ‘Women And Children First’, and for anyone who is curious as to where Racing Cars paid their dues, or just wants to hears a great 70’s hard rock album then this is worth the investment.