Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
2nd of May
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Remastered reissue of 1971 album. Vertigo. 2004.
Remastered reissue of 1971 album. Vertigo. 2004.
Incredible followup to their debut
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 02/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have felt that May Blitz was an often underappreciated hard rock/psych band. Although the band is thought of as British (since they were based there and recording for the British Vertigo label), it was only their drummer, Tony Newman who was British. Newman had previously been with the Jeff Beck Group (he appeared on Beck-Ola), and of Sounds Incorporated, which dated back to the days when the Beatles were still playing at places like the Star Club and The Cavern (the early 1960s). The other two guys, guitarist/vocalist James Black and bassist Reid Hudson were Canadians from Victoria, BC, and they were previously in a Canadian act called The Runabouts who were also known as the Missing Lynx (good name there, especially since the lynx is native to Canada). The two Canadian guys came to Britain, and from one source, it was James Black who founded May Blitz with two other guys, both ex-Bakerloo (a band that featured future Colosseum and Humble Pie guitarist Dave "Clem" Clempson), bassist Terry Poole and drummer Keither Baker. Before the band even got started on recording their debut, Poole and Baker left to be replaced by Hudson and Newman, which established May Blitz as we know them.
They signed to Vertigo and released their self-entitled debut in 1970. That album received an American release on the Paramount label. They then followed it with The 2nd of May the following year. But this one is harder to acquire on LP, since it apparently never received an American release on the Paramount label (or Vertigo, which finally had a liscence to operate in the States by '71). Well, this second album is a truly wonderful followup to their debut. Parts of this album is jazzier than before, showing the jazz influence of Tony Newman's drumming. But of course the bluesy psychedelic hard rock is still there, and in fact many of the songs are even heavier than on their debut. "For Mad Men Only" is a great example, bordering on heavy metal, with James Black giving us some heavy guitar work. "Snakes and Ladders" starts off almost Hendrix-like, with Hendrix-like vocals and repeating bass lines. Then the music changes gears to something heavier reminding me of how Black Sabbath (who happened to be recording for Vertigo as well) might have sounded like if they included psychedelic elements in their music. "The 25th of December, 1969" is a more mellow song with lyrics about Christmas, but don't worry, this isn't a Christmas carol, and in the middle is nice jazzy, psychedelic passage. "In Parts" is unique only for the fact it's the only time a May Blitz song ever had a flute. Starts off really nice with James Black's bluesy vocals, but the second half of this cut ends with a drum solo that lasts right until the end, which I find pointless, because usually you hear a conclusion with the original theme of the song after the drum solo, which didn't happen here. "8 Mad Grim Nits" is the band's only instrumental cut, and it's a really heavy and aggressive piece showing James Black's talent on the guitar. He add some strange sound effects as it progresses. "High Beech" is a pleasant psychedelic number with reverbed guitar and a mood not unlike "Tomorrow May Come" (from their debut), with a late '60s hippie vibe going on here. "Honey Coloured Time" is a mellow bluesy number where the band gets jazzy, not only with Tony Newman's drumming and use of vibes, but even the guitar work. "Just Thinking" is yet another psychedelic number complete with reverb guitar. This one starts off slowly and I love how it builds up to a wonderful psychedelic climax.
I own the 1994 German CD reissue on the Repertoire label (who reissued many great prog and psych albums), and the sound quality is simply amazing, for example, the acoustic guitars really comes clear on "High Beech".
Unfortunately The 2nd of May proved to be May Blitz's final album. The band broke up because of lack of success, while their labelmates Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep had became hugely successful (despite neither of them exactly the darling of rock critics). The two Canadian guys seemed to have dropped out of music altogether (one report stated they returned to Canada, and I'm guessing back to their day jobs), and Tony Newman went on to other things like Three Man Army, Boxer and an in-demand studio musician (has played with Marc Bolan, Chris Spedding, David Bowie, even Whitesnake). Aside from the drum solo on "In Parts", this is a truly excellent album for those who like that bluesy hard rock/psychedelic with some prog trappings."