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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ashton Gardner Dyke And Co - What A Bloody Long Day It's Been (1972 uk, extraordinary heavy prog jazz brass rock)



Though chiefly remembered for their UK No.3 hit, "Resurrection Shuffle", the careers of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke stretched back a long way before they achieved that sole international smash in 1971.

Bassist Kim Gardner (born 27 Jan 1946, Dulwich, London) began his musical adventures in 1961 in the Middlesex based R&B outfit The Birds along with future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, vocalist Alistair McKenzie, guitarist Tony Monroe and drummer Pele McDaniels.  They made three singles for Decca between 1964 and 1965, "You're On My Mind"/"You Don't Love Me", "Leaving Here"/ "Next In Line" and "No Good Without You Baby"/"How Can It Be" and also appeared in the horror movie, "The Deadly Bees" (as well as having a legal battle with the American Byrds) before splitting in late 1966 (though a further single, "Say These Magic Words"/"Daddy Daddy", was released, credited to Birds, by Reaction at the same time).  

Gardner then teamed up with guitarist Eddie Phillips, vocalist Kenny Pickett and drummer Jack Jones in The Creation and scored minor chart success with the singles "Making Time"/"Try And Stop Me" (Planet 116, No.49 July '66) and "Painterman"/"Biff Bang Pow" (Planet 119, No. 36 November '66) though their further singles, "If I Stay Too Long"/"Nightmares" (Polydor 56177) and "Life Is Just Beginning"/"Through My Eyes" (Polydor 56207), both failed to chart as did two other singles, featuring Gardner's old Birds colleague Ronnie Wood who'd replaced Phillips, "How Does It Feel"/"Tom Tom" (Polydor 56220) and "Midway Down"/"Girls Are Naked" (Polydor 56246).  With the band splitting in mid-'68, Gardner, along with Wood, Twink and Jon Lord recorded as Santa Barbara Machine Head before teaming up with Ashton and Dyke.

Organist/vocalist Tony Ashton (born 1 March 1946, Blackburn) began his career in North West England beat group The Executives, who, whilst he was with them, released two singles, "March Of The Mods"/"Why Why Why" (Columbia DB 7323) and "Strictly For The Beat"/"No Room For Squares" (DB 7393).  He was also briefly a member of The Collage Boys and The Mastersounds before, in March 1965, accepting an offer from Liverpool group Remo Four.  

The band's drummer was Roy Dyke (born 13 February 1945, Liverpool) who'd been with the group since 1961 and had released two singles prior to the arrival of Ashton, "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate"/"Peter Gunn" (Picadilly 7N 35186).  Together with bassist Phil Rogers and guitarist Colin Manley they played in Hamburg for almost two years and also released a single "Live Like A Lady"/"Sing Hallelujah" (Fontana TF 787) before splitting in early 1968, by which time Ashton and Dyke had met up with Gardner and the trio decided to form their own outfit.

Their first job was to provide backing on one of P.P.Arnold's tours after which, in late '68, they secured a deal with Polydor Records who released the single "Maiden Voyage"/"See The Sun In My Eyes" (BM 56306) plus the threesome's self-titled debut LP (583081) which included the single's A-side.  A heavy touring schedule throughout most of 1970 paved the way for their second album, "The Worst Of…", by which time they'd signed to Capitol Records (EST 563), which featured contributions from guests like George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Stan Webb and P.P.Arnold.   

Later in the same year, they released the single "Resurrection Shuffle"/"Hymn to Everyone" (CL 15665) which promptly shot to No.3 in the UK charts, spending over three months in the Top 75, as well as hitting No.22 in Germany and No.40 in America.  However, this proved to be their only UK hit as the follow-up, "Can You Get It"/"Delirium" (CL15684) failed to register (though it did hit No.44 in Germany). Likewise, their third album, "What A Bloody Long Day It's Been" (EAST 563) also failed to chart and so, after providing the soundtrack, alongside Jon Lord, for the U.S. movie, "The Last Rebel" (Capitol 062 80964), the trio disbanded in early 1973.

Tony Ashton had also worked with Green Bullfrog, Mike Hurst, Third World War, Tucky Buzzard and Jon Lord, whilst with Gardner and Dyke and he continued session work by helping out the likes of Family, Chris Barber, Jerry Lee Lewis and Longdancer.   His first solo single "You, Me And A Friend Of Mine"/"I'm Dying For You" (CL 15702), taken from "The Last Rebel" LP, had come out in early 1972 and he followed it in 1973 with "Celebration"/"Sloeback" (Purple PUR 109).  He also continued working with Jon Lord appearing on the single, "We're Gonna Make It"/"Band Of The Salvation Army Band" (PUR 121) and LP, "The First Of The Big Bands" (3507).  

He also released two further solo singles, "Resurrection Shuffle"/"Ballad Of Mr. Giver" (Oyster OYR 101) and "The Crezz"/"Somethin' Something" (Handkerchief Hanky 14) as well as working with Chicken Shack, John Entwhistle and Medicine Head before forming PAL with Lord and Ian Paice, releasing the 1977 LP, "Malice In Wonderland" (Oyster 2391269), and taking part in the Wizards Convention project.   Since then he's concentrated on producing though he did appear at the all-star Concert For Kampuchea in 1979.  Roy Dyke joined Badger and appeared on their LPs, "One Live Badger" and "White Lady".   He also worked with Chris Barber, Family and Medicine Head, as well as Pat Travers, and continued as a leading session drummer.  Kim Gardner joined Badger for their second LP and then worked with the likes of Mike Hugg, Chris Barber and Dwight Twilley before becoming a permanent member of Billy Burnette's backing group.
by Mark Brennan


Tracks
1. It's Gonna Be High Tonight - 2:49
2. It's A Drag, I'm A Drag - 3:19
3. Still Got A Long Way To Go (Tony Ashton, Kim Gardner, Roy Dyke, Mick Liber) - 3:06
4. The Falling Song - 9:58
5. Ballad Of The Remo Four - 3:52
6. (The Old) Rock And Roll Boogie Woogie (Tony Ashton, Kim Gardner, Roy Dyke, Mick Liber) - 6:02
7. Got To Get Back To You - 3:44
8. What A Bloody Long Day It's Been - 4:08
9. Im Going To A Place - 4:00
All compositions by Tony Ashton except where indicated

Personnel
*Edward Anthony Ashton - Keyboards, Vocals
*Kim Gardner - Bass
*Roy Dyke - Drums
*Mick Liber - Guitar
*Lyle Jenkins - Saxophone, Flute
*Dave Caswell - Trumpet, Horns
*John Mumford - Trombone, Percussion

1969  Ashton Gardner And Dyke - Ashton Gardner And Dyke
1970  Ashton, Gardner And Dyke - The Worst Of
1971  Ashton, Gardner and Dyke - Let It Roll / Live
Related Acts
1967-68  Remo Four - Smile
1964-66  The Creation - How Does It Feel To Feel  
1964-66  The Birds - Collectors' Guide To Rare British Birds

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