I am waiting for confirmation from the bands PR that this record will be a world record holder after it finally gets released.
Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, the prog psychedelic outfit which sprouted the first shoots of YES, has applied for a Guinness World Record for the longest period of time between a band forming and releasing their debut album.
The band, which released its first record ‘New Way of Life’ on 9th March, formed 49 years ago in 1966. There is no current holder for the record…
49 years, that is going to take some beating.
Founders Clive Bayley and Robert Hagger, joined by Billy Sherwood, Hugo Barre’ and Tony Kaye, took the band out of the freezer and back on the scene after a 45 year gap, to bring the sounds of their past into the 21st century. In their heyday, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop had a residency at the Marquee Club, where they played alongside the likes of Keith Emerson and The Nice. John Peel, a strong supporter and fan of the band also invited them to play on the BBC radio programme, Night Ride, which they did in March 1968. The line-up in those days included Chris Squire, Peter Banks and Jon Anderson.
So has it been worth the wait?
The quick answer is Yes ( see what I did there )
The album includes new versions of old classics like ‘Beyond & Before’ and a whole lot of new music too, says Clive Bayley, singer, guitarist and song writer.
Opening track ‘Electric Funeral’, one of the Bayley/Squire numbers, opens with grand drumrolls and fanfares before launching into an organ driven grandeur of a track, sounding very much like early Yes, which isn’t much of a surprise given the nature of this beast, and I would be very disappointed if it didn’t sound like Yes.
Throughout the album, you begin to realise this is a simple version of Yes, maybe even a more pure version, one with melody and soul, but without the every so complex key and note changes that Yes become known, and at times criticised for.
As with any prog album, you need a long soundscape and the seven minute mainly instrumental ‘Oceans’ fits that bill perfectly, even though the strang vocal noises are a bit off putting, you have to remember that this albums era was the late 60’s, a time full of trippy ideas.
Who knows where this group might have ended up, after all this is a strong debut; however time, and ultimately Yes have moved on. For those Yes fans who still hanker after the early years then ‘Mabel Greer’s Toyshop’ could very much be the answer to their prayers.
01. Electric Funeral (6:46)
02. Get Yourself Together (4:26)
03. New Way Of Life (4:28)
04. Beyond And Before (6:18)
05. Sweetness (4:14)
06. Images Of You And Me (4:47)
07. My Only Light (3:17)
08. King And Country (3:18)
09. Oceans (7:06)
10. Singing To Your Heart (4:19)
11. Jeanetta (4:33)
Clive Bayley – Guitar, Vocals
Robert Hagger – Drums
Tony Kaye – Hammond organ
Billy Sherwood – Production, Keyboards, Bass
Hugo Barré – Bass, Vocals